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Concepts Behind the Game

The Sisyphus is a science-fiction thriller set in the early 1980’s, against the backdrop of the threat of nuclear war, the Cold War, geopolitical mistrust and suspicion, and the burgeoning wave of discovery and exploration of the borders of science. It is a scenario set in a time of “peak paranoia” where the red panics of the 1950’s and 1960s and the collapse of trust in government of the 1970’s all come together in a perfect storm of social and political change.

The Sisyphus is designed to be an experience in the vein of 80’s sci-fi genre thrillers – we have looked at things like Edge of Darkness, The Nightmare Man, Threads, The Day After, and films such as The Terminator, The Thing, The Philadelphia Experiment and War Games.

The game takes place on the research vessel Sisyphus, with a hired crew, military and civilian observers and a team of scientists ready to change the world, at a very sensitive time. During the game your character will confront scientific challenges, their own preconceptions and prejudices and the line between science and morality, and will need to make key decisions on how their own ideologies square with the events unfolding around them.

There are three main drivers for the game –

  • Situational Discovery. What has happened? What is really going on?

The game environment will have clues about what the situation is and how you might be able to find out more. As the game runs, the situation will become more complex and a degree of problem solving and investigation will be required to discover what’s going on.

  • Morality and Ethics. What am I prepared to do, to sacrifice, to endure, to achieve my goals? How many people am I prepared to let get hurt on the way? Do the ends sometimes justify the means?

As information about the Sisyphus is revealed, players may need to have their characters make complex moral choices to which there are no simple good or bad answers.

People may have to weigh what they think is “right” against what their morality, ideology or beliefs tell them.

  • Survival. How do I escape this situation? How do I resume my life? If it really hits the fan, what are my priorities?

The mechanisms of survival may not be initially clear, but by the end of the larp, all characters will have made choices and decisions which dictate their final fate.