As I mentioned in my latest Commute episode, I’ve been working on a LARP idea for an upcoming convention. While it’s still a work in progress, I figured I’d share a bit of what I have so far.
Constructive criticisms are always appreciated and insightful input is invaluable. Keep in mind, this is still a draft copy and there are parts that I know need to be fixed.
Waste Land Bazaar
A Live Action Role-Playing Game of Post-Apocalyptic Proportions
by Rob Justice
“To waste, to destroy our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed.”
Welcome to the Waste Land Bazaar, a yearly gathering of communities in a blasted post-apocalyptic landscape. Decades after society has fallen those that remain band together to survive. The Bazaar is a yearly event where the few that remain gather to share news, swap gossip, be entertained, settle debts, negotiate deals, and trade supplies.
Heavily inspired by the Mad Max movies and the Fallout video games with a dash of A Boy and His Dog, Borderlands, The Road, and The Walking Dead thrown in to create a world of its own. A world where resources are scarce, violent is extreme, and everyone is doing whatever it takes to survive.
Waste Land Bazaar encourages earnest conversations about violence, slavery, drug abuse, cannibalism, and ethics. You have been warned.
The Waste Lands
Humanity waged war on itself over resources and destroyed the world. War for land. War for precious stones. War for oil. War for water. Finally, war for life itself. Everything lead to the world we have now. The Earth is a land we wasted. Now the few who remain continue the legacy of war for what is left. Over blasted deserts and cracked soil scavengers and bandits carve out a meager existence on the corpse of the old world. Life has been reduced to a single instinct:
The Bazaar started four years ago as an annual gathering for various communities, colonies, and collectives around the Wastes. What started as a way to stay informed about the region and trade some vital supplies has grown into so much more.
Celebrities give speeches and lectures to entertain and inform. Merchants setup stalls to trade for what they need back home. Entertainers work to keep everyone amused, trying to make a name for themselves and earn donations. Teenagers gather in nearby buildings to play games, make friends, and fornicate. Bodyguards patrol the perimeter to deal with any aggressive wildlife or raiders that might show up. Politicos make deals, pass laws, and respond to regional threats.
Until now the Bazaar has been unorganized, haphazard, and dangerous. This year something changes. A man calling himself the Bazaar Tsar is overseeing the gathering along with his loyal assistants. He’s been selected to act as host, referee, master of ceremonies, and figurehead for the event. He belongs to no community. He favors no groups. He has no agenda beyond the Bazaar. An agreed upon neutral third party acting as authority for two days before vanishing back into the Wastes.
At the Bazaar all actions are settled by spending Caps. Want to convince another character to believe you? Spend Caps. Want to know something important? Spend Caps. What to add a detail to the room? Spend Caps. Want to get into a fight? Spend Caps.
Whenever you want to accomplish something you offer someone, either another player or the Tsar, a Cap. If the other person agrees, they take the Cap from you and your action is successful. If the other person doesn’t agree you can offer more Caps or give up. You can offer any number of Caps but as soon as someone gives up those offers are off the table and the negotiation is over.
Things To Do At The Bazaar
If you ever find yourself without something to do at the Bazaar, perhaps you can find inspiration below. Here’s a list of common things happening at the Bazaar for your characters to do.
Every Community has access to a stack of Resource Cards. These cards represent stockpiles of goods or services that your community has brought to the Bazaar to bargain with. Upon arrival at the Bazaar, the Tsar stored your resources in a secure location and handed you a card to bargain with.
If you have a Resource Card you can freely trade it with any other player for whatever you like. You can also sell to the Tsar for Caps.
Establish Trade Routes
Upon arriving at the Bazaar your Community requested a number of Trade Route cards. These cards represent goods that you can regularly provide to other Communities. You’re responsible for transport of the goods but at the Bazaar you only have to trade Cards.
If you have Trade Route Card you can freely trade it with any other player for whatever you like.
Form a Conclave
At the start of every Bazaar each community sends forward one representative, the Politico. The selected few form a yearly Conclave that votes for the Laws of the Bazaar. The laws they pass go into effect immediately, often having drastic effects on those in attendance.
Attend the Auction
Communities can always opt to sell their Resources to the Tsar. Sometimes Resources are spent to deal with Threats. No matter how it happens, the Bazaar often ends up with some Resource cards. To get rid of them the Tsar holds periodic Auctions where the attendees can bid to win the Resources sold to the Tsar. Often the bidding starts well below their value… but often climbs well above it.
Oh, and the Tsar often has special unique items at auction too. Watch out for those!
Every Community has things that threaten their survival beyond the simple lack of resources. These Threats can be either Local or Regional. Local threats only hurt the Community they threaten, though the fall of a single Community could result in the fall of others. Regional threats are only beginning. They affect a number of Communities and unless they’re stopped could destroy all life in the Region. The Communities need to unite to solve these problems.
Start a Fight
While we like to pretend we’re all civilized here… Lets be honest. We’re not. When a fight is going to go down all those involved are pulled off to the side by the Tsar to discuss.
Every participant starts by calling out their Traits. Every Trait Witnessed earned the character an extra Cap to start the fight with.
All the participants then bid Caps in secret. Once everyone has their bid ready they reveal at the same time. Highest bid wins, ties escalate to a second round.
The Winner then offers all, or part, of their bid as an Injury. The Injury Rank is equal to the Caps offered. Any other participant who agrees to take the Injury gets the Caps.
The next Highest Bidder then offers all, or part, of their Bid as an Injury. This continues until everyone has made an offer.
Once everyone has made an offer anyone who hasn’t taken an Injury yet takes a Rank 1 Injury.
Lastly all the participants choreography the fight scene. Once all the participants decide on the back-and-forth they step back into the game and act it out for the other players.
Characters have four parts; Role, Traits, Goal, and Injuries. The Role defines who the character is within their Community and why they came to the Bazaar. Traits are unique ways for that character to earn Caps. The Goal is their personal agenda during the Bazaar. Injuries are pretty much what they sound like, things that have hurt the character. While you don’t start the game with any Injuries this is the Waste Land….
Role: Every community has three Roles, two unique and two general. Unique Roles are limited to one player per Community while you can have any number of General Roles. Each Role gives a character a different focus in the game. Talk to your community, see what Roles everyone wants to take, and then decide who’s going to be what. If your Community has less that four people you may have both a General and Unique role. No player can have both Unique or General roles though.
Traits: Characters start with one Trait. Traits determine how a player earns Caps. Traits are written on nametags and worn on the front of the player for everyone in the game to see. Whenever you accomplish the action listed with your Trait you ask for other nearby characters to Witness you. The screams of “WITNESSED!” will alert the Tsar to your needs.
Goal: Character get one Goal. Your Goal is something significant you want to accomplish during the game. Write it down and stuff it in your pocket. It might be best to keep it secret… Or maybe you’ll want to share it with everyone. That’s up for you to decide. If that goal is met your character survives even if your colony falls.
Injuries: Sometimes you get hurt in the Wastes and the Bazaar, while safer, isn’t a safe place. Injuries are written on nametags, like Traits, and require a number of Caps to bypass. Anytime you spend Caps you must spend an additional number of Caps equal to your Injury Rank.
If you ever have a Rank 10 Injury anyone can kill you by spending a Cap. They don’t even have to fight you. Tough luck.
To start the game, divide the players into communities. Each Community has six stats; Roles, Resources, Trade Routes, Vital Scarcity, Requested Scarcity, and Problems.
The primary goal of any colony is to secure their survival by collecting three Resources or one Trade Route for one of the Vital Scarcities. After that, securing three cards or one Trade Route for either their second Vital Scarcity or either of their Requested Scarcities ensures their Colony Prospers. If your community doesn’t secure at least one Vital Scarcity that colony Falls.
Resources: These are what you brought from your community to trade with. They can be traded with fellow players as seen fit or exchanged at the Bazaar for a number of Caps.
Trade Routes: These are the items your community can create. Trade Routes can be established with other communities. Only one Trade Route can be established per Card.
Bottle Caps: These fuel the mechanics of the game. Each Community starts with a pool to divide among it’s members.
Scarcities: These are the items your community needs. There are Vital Scarcities and Requested Scarcities.
Problems: These are issues your community faces that need to be resolved. They come in two levels, Regional and Local. Regional Threats are things that, if go unanswered, will spread to other Communities. Local Threats end with you.