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Title: Massive live-action role-playing game set on record attempt at PAX

Source: ars technica - arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070813-massive-live-action-role-playing-game-set-on-record-attempt-at-pax.html

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Massive live-action role-playing game set on record attempt at PAX

By Ben Kuchera | Published: August 13, 2007 - 03:04PM CT

Sometimes it seems like there is nothing new to discover in the world of gaming, which is why a project like TerraDrive Live is so exciting. Billing itself as the first "Massively Multiplayer Live Action Role Playing Game," or MMLARPG, the game will take place during the three days of the Penny Arcade Expo, and it has a lofty goal: inclusion in the Guiness Book of World Records for most participants in a role-playing game.

The game itself has a long history with the Penny Arcade Expo. "In a nutshell, Technomancer Press itself was formed because of PAX (2004). TerraDrive, the tabletop RPG, was created by a PAX attendee; TerraDrive Live was co-created by the PAX Tabletop Games Lieutenant and a big PAX fan (me) and will debut at PAX," Tony Hellman, the CEO of Technomancer Press, told Ars Technica.

In many ways, though, TerraDrive Live is a crowd-sourced game. On June 1 Technomancer launched a wiki for the TerraDrive universe, allowing the community to create factions, write backstory, and develop characters, which they could then role-play themselves during the live-action portion of the game at PAX.

"I didn't expect players to metaphorically represent different people/places/events in PAX in the TerraDrive universe," Hellman told us. "They created the planets La'an, Ta'leTop, the Omega T'kon Asteroid, and the W'eaton Comet." In other words, sections of the real-world Penny Arcade Expo like the LAN gaming area and Will Wheaton's keynote will have special meaning for players of the game, with different factions vying for control of different area. Attendees playing Tetris DS in one section of the show may barely be aware that there is a brutal war being fought for virtual control of that area next to them. The combat? A modified version of rock-paper-scissors, with cards that give the bearer power-ups like protection against rock or the ability to steal someone else's card. Combat will be fast and easy to pick up, which should entice many players to sign up during the show.

"We have to have a system where there aren't a lot of rules," Hellman explained. "My goal is to teach everyone how to play while they wait in line Thursday night and Friday. If I can teach the whole convention how to play, almost everyone will. The big barrier is when you see a bunch of people doing something that looks fun, but you don't know how to get involved."

Hellman is hoping everyone gets involved and has fun living in the community-created world of TerraDrive Live and PAX for those three days. "We want to immerse people in an environment where anyone could be an enemy, and you don't know who in the crowd wants to kill you... or help you," Hellman explained. "PAX is a community. People belong to something bigger than themselves there, me included. I'd like TerraDrive Live to become something that people associate with PAX... the expo that showcases games and is a game."

Players who decide to play the game at PAX will have a great time looking out for assassins and planning raids while checking out the exhibitors and games on display at the show, and they just may end up gaming their way into the record books.

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