So, expect more information when I know more on how to support our adventuring for charity. I'd love to allow people to donate certain amounts to make me play wacky/against type characters like a Horserer , a series of Jameses (obvi Fighters with the Champion archetype who don't use weapons but instead just throw themselves on enemies attempting to grapple them (For those playing the Antagonist Relations Drinking Game at home take a shot for "Zack does a bad LSP impression"), or something else, but since it's in an established campaign, I'm not sure how wacky/goofy I'll be allowed to be, so folk might just have to be content with forcing me to suffer the indignity of playing a Bard or a Fighter with the Eldritch Knight martial archetype. All in all, I'm hoping I can play 12+ hours of D&D and I'm really looking forward to being a part of it.
But the offer to DM did get me thinking about how my "5th edition D&D" Shattered World game is nearly not and also what I would propose if I were organizing a 24 hour D&D event.
I have a confession. I have a "5th edition D&D" game, and my players are playing 5th edition D&D characters, but it's really monstrous conglomeration of Dungeon World, 13th Age, Apocalypse World and a dash of Numenera/Cypher System all stitched together and wearing the tattered and bloody skin of 5th edition D&D.
Just off the top of my head, (I'm sure I'm missing something) I eliminated the following
- Disallowed several core subraces, like High Elf, Hill Dwarf and Lightfoot Halfling, severely limited access to 5 of the 12 core classes from the PHB and outright forbade access to subclasses to two other core classes (if you're playing the Antagonist Relations drinking game, you can take a drink for each of the two subclasses I forbade that you guess correctly, and if you know me, you know what they are.)
- Decided not to use the Alignment system (though I know some of my players just thought I forgot to put it on the custom character sheet I created).
- Ditched the troublesome and entirely not as optional as previously promised default 5e Backgrounds.
- Axed the 5e Skill system.
- Changed the default gold standard to a modified silver standard as silver is important in the setting.
- Mucked with the default Short Rest rules, so that using a Hit Die requires a use of a Healer's Kit or magical healing.
- Dropped standard XP advancement so that leveling is entirely at my whim.
- Since the backgrounds were gone, the accompanying Inspiration mechanic was also left behind.
- 13th Age style backgrounds to replace skills for PCs in an entirely over-complicated manner that I need to revise slightly as I broke the flat math a little.
- Added silver as a requirement for all arcane spell casting.
- 13th Age One Unique Thing for players (Which reminds me that I need to go back to those and bring them up again)
- 13th Age style Icons based on Apocalypse World Scarcities/Lacks
- Numenera Style GM Intrusions for Inspiration
- 13th Age Escalation Die for Combats (though I apply it only to damage and then don't feel bad about tossing in more monsters/beefing up monster HP on the fly).
- Apocalypse World/Dungeon World style Agenda, Always Say and Principles.
- Tons of monster mechanics stolen whole cloth from Dungeon World and 13th Age...
At long last, now that you've suffered through nearly nine hundred words of nothing you really didn't already know (for those of you playing the Antagonist Relations blogpost drinking game, take a drink for "Zack uses alliteration as though impersonating an Anglo-Saxon poet.") here is my thought experiment proposal for how I'd run a 24 hour RPG event...
Exquisite Corpse Megadungeon Pt. 1So you've got four or six or eight GMs running a "single" game in 3, 4 or 6 hour chunks. It's a one-off event, so there's room for a little play, a little gonzo-ness, a little wackiness, or goofiness perhaps? Why not do this? Each GM makes a part of a megadungeon without talking to any of the other GMs, they make it so that when their team is nearly up they can put in a Red Door and that Red Door leads the PCs and players into the next megadungeon area, run by the next GM. Maybe you decide that it's all one system, maybe you decide that it's not, so maybe when players open that Red Door they get a new sheet. I could see that happening with 6 hour chunks. The player chooses the Ranger at the start of the night, they get a 5th edition D&D sheet. They open the first Red Door and now they've got the "same" ranger character but now they've got a Dungeon World ranger sheet, then the 2nd Red Door and back to the 5e D&D sheet, then the last Red Door and now they get a 13th Age Ranger sheet. All the same "character" just different expressions of reality.
Back in Middle School (or early High School?) Thomas and I ran a "Tower of Infinite Evil" that was similar to this, where we each took a direction from the entrance, with Thomas taking upper floors, and I took the lower levels. We had, if I recall correctly, several explicitly half-divine PCs and I'm sure we stretched the PC rules pretty far, since Thomas recalls having "a priest with unlimited solipsism spells". My idea was that every level was different, almost like a demi-plane created by whatever nonsense evil god(wizard?) we had or had not decided had created the tower, whereas Thomas' levels all were identical sizes with stairways in the same place. Still, part of the fun was seeing just what might be waiting on the next level. I'm sure that my approach was heavily influence by Planescape, since that would have been just around the time that I got the first Planescape box set.
Even if you didn't change up the rule sets/characters, it would be interesting to see the change as GMs changed places. I can imagine a straight forward carved stone dungeon leading to a Red Door that leads into a dungeon where the walls are brambles and thorns leading to a Red Door past which is a dungeon of ice leading to a Red Door that has a sewer dungeon.
Done right, where every GM is willing to put the Red Door to the next section wherever it needs to go when the time is right, you could avoid the pitfall of needing to make sure that PCs have to get so far so that the next GM can take over or so that the plot of the dungeon can be satisfied.
Frak (for those of you playing the Antagonist Relations blogpost drinking game, take a drink for "Zack uses cursewords from a fictional world"). Now I'm going to have this on my mind for a while, thinking of all the interesting permutations or complications you could introduce or explore.