tw_09homecoming.jpgI personally started off this second day of Origins with my first trip through a TerrorWerks event. For those not familiar with it, TerrorWerks is a special event run by PST Productions, a group that runs scenario-based LARPs across the country, but is probably best known for their yearly event at Origins. This year’s event is set in a small town, where Humanatek (a Unatek company) has had a slight problem with one of their genetic experiments – apparently its turned the test subjects into marauding zombies – armed marauding zombies… Its your task as a group of up to 15 researchers, security guards and convicts (hoping for early release because of good behavior and their willingness to be test subjects) to figure out what has happened and escape the facility.   

Essentially, the event is a LARP using airsoft weapons and a 45 minute time limit. I was part of the first group to go through the new Homecoming event, so realize that there were a few bugs they were still working out. Our group was 13 strong, with 5 of guards, 4 convicts and 4 researchers (I played the role of biochemist). The event starts off fairly slowly as you enter the research facility with little to guide you as to the best route. Fortunately, you’re rapidly beset upon by zombies (who really did have nice costumes) who help to quickly establish roles – convicts are brutes who scavenge, security guards defend and researchers cower…I mean use their skills and wits. The puzzles are interesting without being too difficult for the situation and time involved, but some of them are based on finding items – not easy to do when you’ve got zombies constantly attacking and the lights set to 20%… Its worth noting that only one of the actors has a significant role, the synthetic main computer and the young lady handling our session did an outstanding job. I won’t spoil the ending, but the game’s ending seems overly scripted and time dependent, making for some very awkward moments in the last 10 minutes as the party just isn’t sure what they need to be doing.

Overall, TerrorWerks is an interesting experience. I found myself running for cover, being genuinely scared by the zombie who snuck up behind me and delivered one of my two points of damage during the session and having no problem getting into character and suspending disbelief. Some of the set work could be better and I’m nearly positive that latter sessions of the game will be better than the one I was in as the team will have the opportunity to work out some of the kinks and bugs that always a plague a first event. The entry price of $20 is a bit steep for a 45 minute play time, but its a unique experience that you’re not likely to get anywhere else.