about to chew his comrade’s face off? The slow pace of these survival situations, coupled with their often very isolated locations, can make for perfect horror stories if you then opt to add a horror element to your story. As long as your players can make up a reason why they might be there to begin with, they don’t even have to like each other very much. In fact, that’s even better, as it makes for interesting role-playing opportunities and can result in a “You weren’t there man, you don’t understand what we saw and did” bond between the survivors (assuming all the original player characters survive). Perhaps the characters have good reason to dislike each other but in the end get along famously, for example Legolas and Gimli, who conquer their traditional racial dislike for each other and become long time friends. Maybe they will loathe each other but have to stick together to survive or because it’s simply all they know how to do. The isolated environment associated with survival games allows you to focus more on character development and creating a common history between characters that makes it harder for them to ignore each other when you move into a new plot arc. The players in your game will enjoy the ‘tough as nails’ edge to their characters but survivors have very different mentalities in a game. Some will find it difficult to settle back into everyday life, after all, for these sorts, how could they be a bodyguard or gardener for very long after facing down a murderous horde of orcs howling for their innards and surviving to not tell the tale because, hey, you had to be there to get it, right?
On the other hand, survivors may not be suited to certain styles of games, so it isn’t always the best way to start your game (although you could slot survival in further along in your campaign). Such characters may resort to violence faster than other characters and may not be the kind of characters the Thelosian Ambassador needs to help him at the Imperial Concord with his delicate problem concerning recent Pelonossian incursions on sea-lanes.
As long as your players can make up a reason why they might be there to begin with, they don’t even have to like each other very much. “
You might also find that a focus on the harsh realities of daily survival detracts attention from the fact that your leaders are actually devil spawn who have infiltrated your world and need their asses kicked. If this is the case, then you could always focus the lens of survival on a grander level – the wholesale property destruction, genocide or degradation of your character’s way of life and all of the attendant moral dilemmas that crop up once there is time to think about them. Having said that, if you want a tense start to your game that will result in a tight knit, co-operative group who know how to act well in concert and who are bad-ass veterans and who have earned the scars on their character sheets, then this
is the style to open your RPG or LARP.
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