A page header image shows two theater masks, one cranky and one nervous. The title reads: Paranoid & Crotchety. We write larps.

The Sound of Drums, by Tory Root and Lily Benderskaya

In the distant time of myths and legends, deep in a mountainous forest, where magic still pulses and saber-tooth tigers still roam the land, live the Leyanti, a small and isolated tribe of hunters and warriors, reclusive folk with strange ways and powerful gods. It is a full moon night, when the Leyanti hold council, and there is a full feast of argument and debate to come. The shaman has yet to choose a successor; the chief has taken a questionable lover. And four foreigners, strange outsiders, have taken sanctuary with the tribe, lived among them for a time, and there are many who rankle at this.

Time for secrets to be spoken and paths to be chosen. Will the outsiders stay past the dawn? Who will lead the Leyanti and keep their traditions? It is council night, the time of voices and change and strange, little-told tales, and as these passionate people struggle for unity, their hidden wood will ring with the sound of drums...

The Sound of Drums is a character-driven game for eighteen to twenty-four players, full of passion, politics, drumming, dueling, and storytelling. Players are encouraged to bring hand drums or other percussion instruments, and/or play if instruments are available, but it is not a requirement for anybody, and no musical ability is necessary to enjoy this game. This game takes place in a queer-normative and poly-normative culture. Content notes for incest and pregnancy (don't worry, they don't overlap.)

"I thought I was going to cry."
- a guy who doesn't cry

This is another pretty experimental game, mostly conceived by Tory, with Lily's help with writing, plotting, and sense-making. Sense-making is crucial, y'see. This is a relatively low-plot game that focuses on character interactions and cultural immersion through the use of in-game myths and storytelling. More so than most larps we know, it highly encourages players to take on a different mindset and worldview. Players are also encouraged to bring drums and rock out on them during quiet moments.

This game did not work at all as we planned and magically turned into an almost completely different game, which was a much better game than what we planned, so we just sort of left it alone to do its thing. Years later, we're maybe starting to figure out what we did by accident. :'D

Previous Runs

March 13, 2010, at Intercon J in Chelmsford, MA. There are photos of this game!
November 20, 2010, at SLAW at WPI in Worcester, MA. There are photos of this game!
March 2, 2013, at Intercon M in Chelmsford, MA.
April 18, 2015, at Brandeis Festival of the LARPs in Waltham, MA.
May 11, 2019, through the Greater Boston LARP Society at the Center for Arts at the Armory in Somerville, MA.

Game Stats

The Sound of Drums is a game for twenty-four players (characters have pre-defined genders) which runs for five to six hours, in one large room, under the direction of two GMs. Average character sheet length is about twenty-five hundred words. It can run a few players short if needed.

The game is runnable as is. It game lacks a runtime GM bible as well as casting and stuffing instructions, but might be one of the first games we write that all up for and officially box/publish.