Doctor Baxter

Baxter

This is probably Baxter, with self-grafted prototype giant pneumatic mangler-hand.

Doctor Baxter was a character at Zombie LARP: White Noise. Baxter was a Bioflex scientist, but definite information – including about appearance, gender and temperament – is patchy. (Because, um, the character was played by a different person on each run.)

Story

At the start of White Noise, Baxter had apparently been stuck in the mall for ages, fending off the local zombies. There were one or two hints that Baxter might have been an old friend of Harvey Smith, the scientist whose experiments were somehow connected with the mysterious Red Leech that lives in the mall basement.

The Station Zero Emergency Broadcast System (a sort of security system with a bit too much imagination) wouldn’t open the mall exits for anyone unless they were transmitting the right access code, so Baxter somehow got hold of a few freshly-zombified OTF soldiers, hollowed them out, stuffed them with radio transmitters, and sent them scouting around in the hope they might be able to open the doors.

Baxter never explained exactly how these “drones” had been created or how they functioned, but the plan itself did seem to work once or twice. Unfortunately, exposure to Vril energy, the taunts of the Nightmares, and other survivors hijacking the drones, eventually drove Baxter round the bend, and he/she went on a homicidal rampage. Baxter was last seen being run through with a chainsaw, but much worse attacks had already failed earlier, so his/her fate remains uncertain.

Baxterization

One of Baxter’s inventions was an industrial-strength mechanical claw that could be used to mangle zombies. The prototype was grafted directly on to its inventor’s arm using a process now called ‘baxterization’, and similar but cruder techniques may have allowed the creation of drone zombies as well. Bioflex has since hired a part-time unpaid intern to replicate Baxter’s research, so partially-baxterized Bioflex employees may be deployed during future outbreaks.

Character concept

We don’t really design ‘characters’ for Zombie LARP, there’s no money in the budget to hire a shrill, lispy acting coach to give those people their motivation. We usually only find out what the character was like after the event has happened. NPCs are ‘capsule identities’ which anyone can drop into; usually with some unique prop or costume item so that people can tell it’s the same character.

Baxter was a pretty successful NPC, in that a lot of players at White Noise seemed to learn the character’s name and role quite fast. The only reason the character is called Baxter is because the big map on the player room wall (which was drawn before Station Zero) has a note on which says ‘Don’t trust Baxter!’ so we figured we might as well explain who that actually is. This was a totally illogical choice because players actually did need to trust Baxter in order to escape! But Baxter also seemed like a good name for a mad scientist anyway. Possibly because there’s one called that in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

One thing which went slightly wrong was that we switched Baxter’s gender for the last run (Baxter was played by a man three times, then once by a woman) and this confused at least one team of players.  But we do have a clever explanation which shows why this wasn’t a screw-up: technically each run at an event like White Noise takes place in a slightly different parallel universe. So if you try to use in-character knowledge from one run during a subsequent one, and it turns out to no longer apply, it’s your own damned problem.

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