Synergon, a business LARP: escape into drudgery!

Synergon is a BLARP: a business live-action role-playing game. Players create fantasy characters who start out as low-level corporate drones and then perform boring, soul-destroying repetitive tasks set by a game-master (called "The Boss") until they level up. Players also fight one another for the chance to do more boring, soul-destroying tasks.
Ambition Points (AP): Analogous to mana points; employees draw on AP when using abilities. Base AP = Creativity. Maximum AP = Creativity with all positive and negative modifiers applied. AP cannot exceed max AP.

Assignment: Basic tasks such as retrieving items or confronting a specific frenemy; assigned by The Boss. Each employee that contributed to completing an assignment receives 200XP.

Attack Ability: An ability used specifically to attack frenemies in hopes of draining MP and giving negative statuses. An attack roll is determined by rolling the specified dice and adding any attack modifiers.

Critical Hit: If an ability roll naturally results in the maximum number (i.e. 20 for a d20, 10 for a d10), the roll result is doubled. Modifiers are not doubled, just the dice roll. For rolls involving multiple dice, all the dice must show the maximum result (i.e. rolling double 4s for a 2d4 or double 10s for a 2d10).

Day: Made up of 8 soul-sucking hours. A night of prime-time TV is able to put employees into torpor deep enough that it basically hits the "reset button" in the brain. Each employee chooses 1 status to eliminate at EOD regardless of how many hours or days of the effect are left. At EOD, employees regenerate 10% of maximum MP and 15% of maximum AP.

Synergon (via MeFi)


  1. I’ve long held that an XP scheme would be preferable to the Personal Development Plans most offices have in place. Maybe we should be making work more like a game rather than making games more like work.

  2. Greetings Cory,

    I specially liked the “soul-destroying” piece. It’s not about repeating the same tasks, I think it’s about repeating the same tasks while you think they are meaningless or useless, that anybody else could do them with *exactly* the same result. Marxism alienation and stuff.

    An artisan, or an artist, repeats the same tasks but although the finished product or service is similar to the others, it has it’s own piece of soul, it has it’s own piece of your mood, feelings, your history, carved on it. A piece of yourself into it.

    Maybe that’s why you quitted your sysadmin job long time ago? Although Sysadmin leaves a decent amount of freedom and “artisan” work.


  3. Since I read Boing Boing a lot, I think most of my points went into Critical Hit and Attack Ability; my Ambition points are pretty low.

  4. If I’m already playing a role to get my supervisor to think I’m appropriately excited about my job in real life, does this mean I’m in the wrong business, or that the term “Business LARP” is as redundant as “hot water heater” and “ramen noodles” and the Cuyahoga River?

  5. I just need to get my coworkers in on this, and we can play the game using real life work assignments!

    1. I don’t want to play this game, but I would like to find a way to introduce a population of grues into my actual office.

  6. I have a few suggestions to add realism to this game:

    1. Immediately lose track of the gaming manual.
    2. Human Racehorses should spend three years rewriting the lost manual.
    3. The replacement manual should be greenlighted by someone who has never worked in an office or played a LARP.
    4. Players located in different departments or divisions should not be allowed to communicate with each other.
    5. Anyone who laughs during play will be forced to hand trace 18 Dilbert comic strips.
    6. The government office version of this game is identical, except firing people is more difficult. This makes the game totally inferior.

    You’re welcome.

  7. Haha – how hilarious! Some people choose to work in non-creative fields! Let us band together and ridicule them for their obvious shortcomings!

  8. I was with it until I saw that IT starts with Programmer and goes to Network Admin. That is wrong on so many levels…

    Obviously this was designed by Network Admins! Damn them!

  9. Actually bfarn, I don’t think any field of sustained human endeavor should really be called “non-creative”. Even the types of fields whose typical business environments are depicted in this LARP.

    Is there any human activity, outside of some kinds of recreation, where you really aren’t creating anything? What are you working for if you’re not creating some good or service for people?

    The thought of someone considering what they do to be totally devoid of creativity is deeply creepy to me. Even if you hate your job, you always have to find some tiny glimmer of creative outlet in it somewhere, right?

    Even in such forsaken realms as the financial sector, or the oil industry, or weapons manufacturers, or the military, you try to justify yourself as creating a worthwhile service and product (liquidity, or gas, or weapons, or “freedom”) for people, right?

  10. I disagree.

    A 15 Lvl programmer can beat a mid-Lvl CTO. The only reason a high-Lvl CTO might beat a programmer is the number of hit-points.

  11. I Call BS on the jump from Dev to Net Admin. What developer in their right mind wants to spend their day doing something completely outside their skill set….Oh wait. In the coporate world you always find management completly unqualified for their position. Never mind – Brilliant

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