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Goober4473
2011-04-19, 03:26 PM
The "Surprise" thread has got me thinking about this:

What are some very different ways you've played, or thought of playing, tabetop RPGs?

Some examples:

Like the mentioned thread is talking about, my last GURPS game began with people making 50-point characters (non-heroic regular person value) in the normal world, with nothing a normal person in real life couldn't have, where the only description of what the game would be about was that it was not in fact just the normal world. They ended up getting superpowers (due to magic), in a style sort of like Heroes (or Misfits, if anyone is familiar). The fact that they had no idea what the game was going to be about was very cool.

As an opposite approach, I'm currently running a Scion game, where the premise was the players get all of the setting information, get to make any character they can think of, and get to make any calls about the world they want, so long as they didn't conflict with each other. Want to decide that Ragnarok has already happened? Cool. Maybe kill off the Greek pantheon as part of your backstory? Awesome. Do it. They didn't end up with anything that extreme, but one of them is an Atlantean robot that's also a horseman of the apocalypse. I'm also going to be adding ways of spending Legend to alter the story, like with Plot Points in the CORTEX system (the system the Serenity RPG uses), and I'm considerign doing sort of cut-scenes of things the characters don't see, but the players get to.

I had one silly idea, where the players would be given premade D&D characters, and go on a generic adventure fighting orcs. After a couple fights, they would be killed by a group of orcs. I would then hand the players the character sheets of those orcs and tell them these are the real main characters.

And another idea with premade characters: It would begin as a series of one-shots. The players would always be part of some organization, and go on a mission each game. Each of the characters would have an associated description, but with physical traits left vague enough for the twist: they're playing the same character each time, only they've been mind-wiped each time. Slowly they start remembering past versions of themselves, possibly allowing them to switch between classes/sets of skills.

Tyndmyr
2011-04-19, 04:11 PM
I once played a campaign that started out with each person running a full six man party of level ones. The idea was that whoever was last alive out of the six became your character.

While it was a terrible campaign for many reasons, running an entire party did have a certain fun to it.

Nohwl
2011-04-19, 04:16 PM
what happened if you managed to keep more than one person in your party alive?

Nyarai
2011-04-19, 04:17 PM
what happened if you managed to keep more than one person in your party alive?

Fight to the death?

Goober4473
2011-04-19, 04:17 PM
what happened if you managed to keep more than one person in your party alive?

Lasers.

(Sorry, I'm tired. Portal 2 kept me up late.)

Tyndmyr
2011-04-19, 04:25 PM
what happened if you managed to keep more than one person in your party alive?

This was actually an issue. Some people were down to one person in the first fight through poor strategy and risk taking. My squad was entirely alive when we got to the point where essentially everyone else was down to one each, and we were getting oh-so-subtle cues that it was time to move on. So, I got five of them killed in terrible fashion, such as sending the bard outside to fight alone with a knife. Suicide, basically.

I'd drop that portion of the idea, really, and just go with squad o' dudes for each players. It's surprisingly quick when you've got people that know the game well, and it makes combats fairly interesting.

My particular choice was Warlock, Warlock, Cleric, Bard, Wizard, Fighter.

Odin the Ignoble
2011-04-19, 04:32 PM
I recently played in a game where we were all told to create characters for and anti-terrorism task force. It was set fifty years in the future, and we were all given primitive mech suits, about the size of compact cars.

The first couple sessions were taking out terrorist training camps, where the only real problems we had to worry about were the handful of anti tank rifles and rockets they had.

I sort of figured that we'd eventually run into the Chinese Suit Equivalent, or maybe have participate in a major conflict against actual enemy tanks.

At the end of the second mission we're wrapping things up, interrogating the hostages that sort of thing when we start getting really weird radio transmissions.

The Gm takes us to another room and plays a sound clip he prepared. It basically details new reports from around the world as every major city on the planet is turned into a glassy crater, followed shortly by news of the arrival of several UFOs showing up and blowing up anything that looks like it might be able to put up a resistance.

Then the game started in earnest.

SurlySeraph
2011-04-19, 05:22 PM
I'm fond of making characters as normal, and then rather than all meeting in a tavern you all meet on a battlefield, several miles in midair, tied up at the bottom of a swimming pool, locked in the back of a truck with sounds of screaming and gunfire coming from outside, surrounded by a forest fire, etc. Starting off with a bang and immediately forcing the group to think creatively and work together to survive is good. If you're using a standard "The villains drugged you and put you here" explanation, it gives everyone an instant incentive to investigate and fight the villains; and telling the players to explain how their characters got there can be a lot more fun than coming up with an explanation yourself.

Jerthanis
2011-04-19, 05:53 PM
I had this idea for a political drama game where the Players would be instructed not to bring their character sheets to most of the sessions, and have huge sections of the game entirely consist of players talking in-character. The plot would slowly build towards three or so major battles which would take place over huge terrain with countless foes and allies, and where the events of the battle (who lives, who dies, and how ect) would affect the continuing political plot. The events of these handful of battles would resonate through the story, and would be discussed at length in subsequent sessions.

I sort of figure Rokugan for the setting, as that would allow for an environment where the PCs must stay civil even with their arch foe, and forbid them from using underhanded sneak attacks while in the pure politics sections.



I had another idea for a 3.5 D&D game where the 4thish level party begins a quest against a powerful Great Wyrm Red Dragon... achieves some minor victory against the Dragon's forces... and the Dragon himself swoops by and kills them all... They awaken in the afterlife as Petitioners. They begin adventures across the planes as Outsiders, gaining either levels in PC classes or Outsider HD, becoming more powerful types of Angels and eventually returning to kill the Dragon and stop his plans for good.

Mercenary Pen
2011-04-20, 03:52 PM
I nearly had a group create the character for the player on their left once- in an attempt to break players out of playing more or less the same class all the time.

Goober4473
2011-04-20, 03:57 PM
I nearly had a group create the character for the player on their left once- in an attempt to break players out of playing more or less the same class all the time.

Ooh, I kinda like this. Premade characters, but made by other players. Particularly if they make the backstory and everything. Could be a lot of fun to roleplay, if you don't mind the loss of control.

Kallisti
2011-04-20, 04:49 PM
I'm planning to run a game of Don't Rest Your Head, tied into a game of Betrayal at the House on the Hill (a board game). Basically, the House on the Hill would be a part of the Mad City, and the players keep getting funneled back into it. Every time they go in, we switch over to the Betrayal game, except with custom rules for their Madness and Exhaustion powers.

Goober4473
2011-04-20, 04:54 PM
I'm planning to run a game of Don't Rest Your Head, tied into a game of Betrayal at the House on the Hill (a board game). Basically, the House on the Hill would be a part of the Mad City, and the players keep getting funneled back into it. Every time they go in, we switch over to the Betrayal game, except with custom rules for their Madness and Exhaustion powers.

I've been meaning to run a series of one-shots based on Betrayal. Maybe even with its own custom system.

randomhero00
2011-04-20, 05:16 PM
Well me and my friends dress in camo and fingerpaint. Then we get our automatic sub machine guns and "quest" and "level" off each other.


......oh wait you didn't meant that?

Totally Guy
2011-04-20, 05:50 PM
I ran a session for 7 players. A diplomatic trio of elves arrived in the dwarven halls to talk diplomacy with the dwarf prince and his three aides.

The elves forgot to bring a gift.

The dwarven prince expects one.

The elven leader is wearing the finest mithril armour ever, an heirloom of his clan.

Hilarity ensues.

Lord.Sorasen
2011-04-20, 08:30 PM
I've been working on a D&D 3.5 campaign for a pretty long time now. It's currently standard affair. But I've been sort of wondering for a while... What happens in tpk? It's beginning to be a possibility. The players are aware it could happen. I've been considering continuing from the point in which the villain wins... And also a few hundred years later. Same campaign world, but (as part of the villain's actions) severely limit magic, and run a d20 modern campaign in the aftermath of the previous story.

BayardSPSR
2011-04-21, 04:56 AM
I'm debating whether or not to pull a bit of a bait-and-switch on my players for a one-off.

The idea is, I tell them they're all Soviet civilians in the 1930s, and they instead get drafted into the Red Army to die against the Germans in Stalingrad.

I'm not sure whether or not to do it, or how to pull it off without it degenerating into a tactical wargame.

Tyndmyr
2011-04-21, 07:07 AM
I'm fond of making characters as normal, and then rather than all meeting in a tavern you all meet on a battlefield, several miles in midair, tied up at the bottom of a swimming pool, locked in the back of a truck with sounds of screaming and gunfire coming from outside, surrounded by a forest fire, etc. Starting off with a bang and immediately forcing the group to think creatively and work together to survive is good. If you're using a standard "The villains drugged you and put you here" explanation, it gives everyone an instant incentive to investigate and fight the villains; and telling the players to explain how their characters got there can be a lot more fun than coming up with an explanation yourself.

In Media Res is a pretty common tactic, and IMO, an often useful one. Last campaign I DMed started with "You all wake up in a room, hung over from the previous night, and no memory of anything...". An unusual starting circumstance gets the creative juices flowing, and gives them something to respond to. With some groups, this is extremely helpful.


I nearly had a group create the character for the player on their left once- in an attempt to break players out of playing more or less the same class all the time.

Heh, unless explicitly given instructions to mix it up, I'd create the kind of character the player on my left would enjoy. Probably with something hilarious(to me) added in. If not told at all, I can see a lot of arguing resulting. This seems like an idea with potential, but could easily go astray.

Lither
2011-04-21, 07:18 AM
In Media Res is a pretty common tactic, and IMO, an often useful one. Last campaign I DMed started with "You all wake up in a room, hung over from the previous night, and no memory of anything...". An unusual starting circumstance gets the creative juices flowing, and gives them something to respond to. With some groups, this is extremely helpful.

I find it to be a valid and effective tactic to start a game and get the players interested.

Eaxcept with me it's less like "You wake up hungover" and more like "You wake up three days after you've all died."

I occasionally think of creating a campaign where everyone has to have at least three templates with contradicting alignments.

Caliphbubba
2011-04-21, 07:29 AM
I ran a session for 7 players. A diplomatic trio of elves arrived in the dwarven halls to talk diplomacy with the dwarf prince and his three aides.

The elves forgot to bring a gift.

The dwarven prince expects one.

The elven leader is wearing the finest mithril armour ever, an heirloom of his clan.

Hilarity ensues.

The first and only time I played Burning Wheel (So far) was this scenario, like exactly. Except there were only 5 players, and two of them were under 14 years old. I could see how it would be awesome, but it sort of fell flat for me.


and to keep this on topic:

I ran an oWoD game where all my friends in the group made mortal versions of themselves (more or less). They all received invitations in the mail to a new, exclusive hotel/gaming center that opened in our city sent by the WoD version of me. When they arrived they found out that I had been brutally murdered and strange things started happening.

Eventually they all "Awakened" into one of the Iconic oWoD creatures. They found out that I was a Wraith trying to lead them to my killers. We had a Bastet, a Toreador, a Pooka, and a Hallow One as the main group. I also had Cameo apperances of other of our Friends play a few times. One played an Abomination (sliver fang/malkavian) who the main group had to end up fighting and killing. Another played a Hunter that tried to "put his friends out of their misery".

I let them use their (the player's) meta-game knowledge of the oWoD as free "Lore" abilities, but I warned them that a lot of it wasn't true/accurate. Basically the Masquerade/Veil/et al was protected by putting it in plain sight.

Along the way they dealt with things from Black Dog Gaming Factory, the Sabbat, the Technocracy. Mixed-bag stuff, but slightly off-kilter.

It was a lot of fun...

Totally Guy
2011-04-21, 07:36 AM
The first and only time I played Burning Wheel (So far) was this scenario, like exactly. Except there were only 5 players, and two of them were under 14 years old. I could see how it would be awesome, but it sort of fell flat for me.

I ran it at the last UK meetup. It was pretty awesome. But I posted a thread asking for advice on running such a scenario... the only response was pretty much "Don't."

Caliphbubba
2011-04-21, 07:56 AM
I ran it at the last UK meetup. It was pretty awesome. But I posted a thread asking for advice on running such a scenario... the only response was pretty much "Don't."

I think the problem with it for me was that 80% of the people at the table were very, very new to roleplaying and that the two younger kids didn't really stay in character. I can definately see how it would be a really neat game. I really liked how the battle of wits (or whatever it's called) played out. Except that I got beaten in debate by a 13 year old because of lucky dice rolls lol.

All in all it intrigued me as a system, but I would definately want to play it with more experianced roleplayers.

I might be playing my 2nd session tonight. I'm hopeful.

Tengu_temp
2011-04-21, 07:59 AM
If your character dies is declared dead, then you can't make a new one, the DM shoos you off the table and everyone treats you like you're dead or never existed in the first place. You might as well commit suicide from grief.

Seriously though. In games with superpowers, I'm a fan of starting the PCs as normal people, and giving them their powers on the first or second session. The players always know they're going to get them, though, so I guess it doesn't really qualify as extreme.

Analytica
2011-04-21, 08:35 AM
Seriously though. In games with superpowers, I'm a fan of starting the PCs as normal people, and giving them their powers on the first or second session. The players always know they're going to get them, though, so I guess it doesn't really qualify as extreme.

I was in an initially wonderful campaign where the implicit premise was this. We spent about a year or so realtime building up the mortal characters, their relationships and so forth, and I was really excited about getting to see it all tumble down once my cutthroat stockbroker turned into an actual werewolf against her will and without understanding any of it. Unfortunately, as time passed, the storyteller became less and less interested in pursuing those plots and instead introduced lots of temporary player characters along different storylines. Eventually the game just fell apart. :smallfrown:

It is a really good idea in general though.

Goober4473
2011-04-21, 10:26 AM
I ran an oWoD game where all my friends in the group made mortal versions of themselves (more or less). They all received invitations in the mail to a new, exclusive hotel/gaming center that opened in our city sent by the WoD version of me. When they arrived they found out that I had been brutally murdered and strange things started happening.

Eventually they all "Awakened" into one of the Iconic oWoD creatures. They found out that I was a Wraith trying to lead them to my killers. We had a Bastet, a Toreador, a Pooka, and a Hallow One as the main group. I also had Cameo apperances of other of our Friends play a few times. One played an Abomination (sliver fang/malkavian) who the main group had to end up fighting and killing. Another played a Hunter that tried to "put his friends out of their misery".

I let them use their (the player's) meta-game knowledge of the oWoD as free "Lore" abilities, but I warned them that a lot of it wasn't true/accurate. Basically the Masquerade/Veil/et al was protected by putting it in plain sight.

Along the way they dealt with things from Black Dog Gaming Factory, the Sabbat, the Technocracy. Mixed-bag stuff, but slightly off-kilter.

It was a lot of fun...

I did something very similar once, only the players made themselves minus any knowledge of oWoD. They ended up with two werewolves, two mages, and a vampire. I was a demon, in game (or well, one was in my body).

eepop
2011-04-21, 10:47 AM
We ran D&D for a few years replacing the XP chart with a "time played" chart. 3 hours * current level to reach the next level. It helped play up roleplaying elements and encouraged us more to keep going even when it was past the time we should have stopped.

Kylarra
2011-04-21, 10:53 AM
I had another idea for a 3.5 D&D game where the 4thish level party begins a quest against a powerful Great Wyrm Red Dragon... achieves some minor victory against the Dragon's forces... and the Dragon himself swoops by and kills them all... They awaken in the afterlife as Petitioners. They begin adventures across the planes as Outsiders, gaining either levels in PC classes or Outsider HD, becoming more powerful types of Angels and eventually returning to kill the Dragon and stop his plans for good.This sounds like a pretty awesome game...

Fire
2011-04-21, 10:57 AM
I played a Gurps campaign that started in Earth middle ages (right before the 3rd crusade if I remember correctly) with normal, no magic or superpowers, (but 100 points, so above average) characters that shortly after the beginning acquired a Stand (as in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure manga or anime), chosen by the Gms accordingly to the characters: my greedy venetian merchant ended up with a purse that could suck up everything in front of it when I opened it (and throw them in kind of a semi-plane), the militant priest had a sword wielding angel made of light (I don't remember the others).

Toofey
2011-04-21, 10:33 PM
I recently played in a game where we were all told to create characters for and anti-terrorism task force. It was set fifty years in the future, and we were all given primitive mech suits, about the size of compact cars.

The first couple sessions were taking out terrorist training camps, where the only real problems we had to worry about were the handful of anti tank rifles and rockets they had.

I sort of figured that we'd eventually run into the Chinese Suit Equivalent, or maybe have participate in a major conflict against actual enemy tanks.

At the end of the second mission we're wrapping things up, interrogating the hostages that sort of thing when we start getting really weird radio transmissions.

The Gm takes us to another room and plays a sound clip he prepared. It basically details new reports from around the world as every major city on the planet is turned into a glassy crater, followed shortly by news of the arrival of several UFOs showing up and blowing up anything that looks like it might be able to put up a resistance.

Then the game started in earnest.
your gm was doing it right.

With my old group I had dmed a long running campaign that had ended a few years earlier, and we had decided to start up with long one shots when we could get together ever couple of months. For the third of these I knew one of the players (who played a paladin) would be unavailable for, and I made a point of making sure all the other players know that we would have a player who they all knew, but who we didn't play with as regularly, who wanted to borrow his character when he was gone.

In game: the other player was an evil spirit that had taken over the paladin, who led them against a gold dragon (who he cloaked in illusion) to recover the body of a dead archmage.

it was a pretty satisfying twist.

Knaight
2011-04-21, 11:27 PM
If your character dies is declared dead, then you can't make a new one, the DM shoos you off the table and everyone treats you like you're dead or never existed in the first place. You might as well commit suicide from grief.

Blackleaf! Noooooo!

Anxe
2011-04-22, 01:05 PM
Most extreme thing in that respect is my current campaign! Each player has two characters fighting the evil empire. One of the character parties is a high level noble's son or other VIP fighting the empire from the outside. The other character party is part of a rebellion group fighting against the evil empire within the empire's own boundaries. The rebellion group is also just like the main character in KOTOR1.

Eventually the two groups will meet up and take down the BBEG together, with every player playing two characters in the same fight.

Dust
2011-04-22, 02:12 PM
Everyone create a character. No backstory, just mechanics. Leave out the name and gender but do everything else.

Game session one begins. Pass your character to the person on your left. This is now you.

Goober4473
2011-04-22, 03:08 PM
Everyone create a character. No backstory, just mechanics. Leave out the name and gender but do everything else.

Game session one begins. Pass your character to the person on your left. This is now you.

Pretty cool. A bit less intense than the previous idea like that in this thread, so probably less risky.

An alternate idea: Create a character, no stats, just background a personality. Pass it to your left. That player makes the stats and plays it. Or, for more absurdity, pass twice, once for bacgkround, once for stats (or vice versa).

You could even do a lot more passing, each time fleshing out some new detail of the characters. For instance, with five players, you could each write down a vague concept, then pass it over for class/race (or the equivalent level of detail for a classless system), followed by general backstory, then fully fleshed out stats, then fully fleshed out backstory, then get your original one back.

That could be some good fun.

Talakeal
2011-04-22, 03:48 PM
Some players react with extreme hostility to surprises.

One time I ran a werewolf game which they expected to be a typical one, but would actually take place during and after the apocalypse. The player's got mad and quit as, after I used the red death (a super plague from the apocalypse book that kills people and raises them as undead) they told me they wanted to play world of darkness, not resident evil.

Another time as a gimmick I had an adventure where the player's main character's get captured, then they make new characters who will, at the end of the adventure, rescue their current characters and become their side kicks. They told me "I came here to play my character. So I will just sit in jail until rescued, then the game can resume".

evirus
2011-04-22, 03:54 PM
Not a begning, but in a DnD game after a failed (planned by me) ritual, I had all the players pass their characters to other players. They changed the int/wiz scores to their old ones and I had players locked in other players bodies for 2 sessions.

It was fun. I also ruled that they couldn't change class... made the low int fighter stuck with wizard powers very clunky and hillarious.

Fiery Diamond
2011-04-22, 04:01 PM
Some players react with extreme hostility to surprises.

One time I ran a werewolf game which they expected to be a typical one, but would actually take place during and after the apocalypse. The player's got mad and quit as, after I used the red death (a super plague from the apocalypse book that kills people and raises them as undead) they told me they wanted to play world of darkness, not resident evil.

Another time as a gimmick I had an adventure where the player's main character's get captured, then they make new characters who will, at the end of the adventure, rescue their current characters and become their side kicks. They told me "I came here to play my character. So I will just sit in jail until rescued, then the game can resume".

Yeah, see, this is why I don't think it's a good idea for the GM to plan super game-altering surprises (Look- it's a different genre than you thought! or Look! You don't get to play the character you created until the end of the adventure!) without giving some kind of heads-up to the players to check that they'd be all right with it (So, this game won't be typical for the genre. or Create two characters: and don't get terribly attached to one over the other, since you won't always have both.). In both of your cases, I'd probably react like your players did. I want to play the game I want to play with the character I want to play, and not something else.

Goober4473
2011-04-22, 04:26 PM
Yeah, see, this is why I don't think it's a good idea for the GM to plan super game-altering surprises (Look- it's a different genre than you thought! or Look! You don't get to play the character you created until the end of the adventure!) without giving some kind of heads-up to the players to check that they'd be all right with it (So, this game won't be typical for the genre. or Create two characters: and don't get terribly attached to one over the other, since you won't always have both.). In both of your cases, I'd probably react like your players did. I want to play the game I want to play with the character I want to play, and not something else.

I think it depends on the players and the execution. Some players will enjoy this sort of thing, and if you know that, there's no need to clear it with them. They'll probably like the surprise more. But other players may need a heads up, or may not like it at all. Similarly, if the GM just drops something like this into a campaign with no forshadowing or buildup, or railroads the players right into a situation, that's pretty crappy.

For me, if I showed up to the first session with my character all made, and then I was told to pass it to the left, or I was handed a premade character or told to make a new one for the first session or two, I'd be pissed. But if I were told I was making a character for someone else, that would be fine, and probably really cool. Or if I'd been playing a character for a while, got captured in an unrailroady sort of way, and the GM told me to make another character for a session or two, that would be pretty cool.

Similarly, if the GM had apocalypstic things happen to an established setting, that would not bother me unless I was lead to believe otherwise. For instance, if I made a character that was all about the political intrigue of Eberron, and then the world ended near the start of the game, that would kinda suck. But handled right, maybe a little ways into the story, with the politics eventually escalating as the world ended, and then remnants of them passing on into the post-apocalypse, that would be sweet.

But that's just me. Some people want to always make their own character, and play that character just as planned, even have their build planned out to level 20 regardless of the story. And some people want to read the fluff of a setting, and play in that setting they read about, not have it used as a starting point to something else. And that's okay too, assuming it's fine with the GM and the rest of the group.

JonestheSpy
2011-04-22, 05:24 PM
My current campaign began with me telling the players "You can play anything you want as long as you can pass as human wearing a long trenchcoat and a big hat"; it's modern fantasy (but using 3.5 instead of D20 modern). They came up with concepts and then we figured out them out mechanically.

The two 'normal' ones are an Aasimar Wilder Bangladeshi biker chick and a cleric who's just an old acid-head that taps into divine energy via his hallucinations (Madness and Chaos domains). Then there's two animated suits of clothes, and a were-ostrich.

It's been pretty awesome.

Talakeal
2011-04-22, 05:34 PM
Yeah, see, this is why I don't think it's a good idea for the GM to plan super game-altering surprises (Look- it's a different genre than you thought! or Look! You don't get to play the character you created until the end of the adventure!) without giving some kind of heads-up to the players to check that they'd be all right with it (So, this game won't be typical for the genre. or Create two characters: and don't get terribly attached to one over the other, since you won't always have both.). In both of your cases, I'd probably react like your players did. I want to play the game I want to play with the character I want to play, and not something else.


In the first case, it was the still a modern horror campaign using only rules and story elements from White Wolfs world of darkness line, they just didn't like the specific plot. Is it normal for you to go over what a plot will constitute before the game begins?
Actually, thinking back on it I think the player has said the resident evil line and bitched every time he fought zombies, regardless of the genre or their roll in the campaign. Maybe he just doesn't like zombies?

In the second case it was just one adventure mid campaign, not the first adventure or the whole campaign. It was actually not my own idea, but part of the module I was running, and I figured it would be a fun change of pace for a session.

In both cases I had one player (the same player) put his foot down and refuse to play without even giving it a chance, and hold the rest of the game hostage even though all but one of the other player's didn't mind. I just said players in my initial post for the sake of brevity, but it was hardly unanimous.

Not saying he was totally wrong, but he is a problem player who I have been told by almost everyone I know both irl and on the forums to kick out of the group, so I wouldn't be too quick to say you would model your own behavior after his.

randomhero00
2011-04-22, 05:40 PM
OK, I know its 'eFed up. But what if players had poison IVs ready to "fake" inject if their character died? Then it'd be like you were really playing. hjeheheh

Vance_Nevada
2011-04-24, 06:49 AM
In the first case, it was the still a modern horror campaign using only rules and story elements from White Wolfs world of darkness line, they just didn't like the specific plot. Is it normal for you to go over what a plot will constitute before the game begins?

Well, yes. At least in a vague sense. If it's going to be zombie apocalypse, tell me that. In fact, I'd like to know whether you're going for a survivalist scrounge-for-food-and-water type game, or a 'Headshot Zombie Fragfest' game. One will be fun for me, one won't.

I don't need to know what's causing the zombies, or have the plot spoiled, but I at least need a vague outline.

It's like going to the movies. I'd need more than "It's about Space" to sell me a movie, even though I like Sci-Fi. And a game tends to be an investment of many more hours (many, many, for a campaign) than the average movie.

Goober4473
2011-04-24, 12:41 PM
It's like going to the movies. I'd need more than "It's about Space" to sell me a movie, even though I like Sci-Fi. And a game tends to be an investment of many more hours (many, many, for a campaign) than the average movie.

When I first saw The Matrix, I had no idea what it was about. I had maybe seen a comercial or two with kung-fu fighting in trench coats and sunglasses, but that's about it. The fact that I had as much idea of what was going on as Neo was completely awesome, and made that movie significantly more enjoyable than it already was.

I also showed the movie The Man From Earth to some people without telling them what it was about, because I thought they'd enjoy it more that way, and I was right. I had read the synopsis before watching it the first time, and wished I hadn't. Not that it ruined it or spoiled anything. It just would have been a little better.

But obviously you can't do that all the time. The Matrix was already rented by my friend on DVD (VHS? it was a long time ago) by the time I saw it, and The Man From Earth was on Netflix Watch It Now, so I didn't have to invest anything more than time in either. It would take a little more convincing to get me to go spend a bunch of money at the movie theater without knowing anything about the movie, but if I trusted whoever was convincing me to go enough, and knew they had a good idea of what I like, I'd do it.

I think this goes for RPGs too. You can't do it all the time, or even often, and the time investment is more than a movie, but if you can pull it off, and if the players trust the GM to make it good, you can get some really interesting and different experiences.

Jay R
2011-04-24, 01:03 PM
There was once a tournament game in which you were handed sheets of your fully-decked out ninth level characters. When the game began, however, the DM handed out new sheets of the same characters at second level, saying, "You wake up chained to the wall of a dungeon, wearing rags, with vague memories of being defeated by a large force including wraiths and spectres."

Renrik
2011-04-24, 01:32 PM
I'm running an Ebberon campaign in which there are three different parties, made of three different groups that don't know each other, and their action all effect one another. They don't know that there are other groups; they're only vaguely aware that action is happening somewhere else. The Eldeen resistance fighters know that Breland isn't entering the war because the radicals in Sharn are agitating against the merchant houses and Breland can't spare troops or take the political risks of invasion. The syndicalist revolutionaries in Sharn know that the Karnn secret agents provided them with a direct smuggling route for weapons. The Karnn secret agents know that the priorities of their nation depend tremendously on whether the Eldeen resistance can stop Aundair from taking Merylsward and cutting off supplies to the famine-stricken Karnnath.

I've been planning a campaign where the world is destroyed in the first adventure; the PCs don't know why- they just have a standard, not-really-important adventure, and as it ends, they see a wall of black descending on the world, and rips in the fabric of spacetime rend reality. They get sucked through one before the black hits them, and end up spewed into Sigil. Nobody noticed them, and everyone is acting normal until someone breaks the news, and it spreads like wildfire. In the following weeks, repercussions of the material plane's destruction appear in the form of changes to planar physics (elemental plane backup, flooding of the Styx, deterioration in the ethereal and shadow planes), floods of petitioners, and power struggles between factions, deities, princes, lords, and the like.

Otogi
2011-04-24, 03:49 PM
Have the characters fight at level 1 fighting a monster. After they kill the monster, they all gain a level but only one magic item. Rinse and repeat until death or 20.

Talakeal
2011-04-24, 05:43 PM
Well, yes. At least in a vague sense. If it's going to be zombie apocalypse, tell me that. In fact, I'd like to know whether you're going for a survivalist scrounge-for-food-and-water type game, or a 'Headshot Zombie Fragfest' game. One will be fun for me, one won't.


Neither, it was about humanity being decimated and the various supernatural groups openly fighting over the remnants. Of course, the campaign never get that far, half way through the session two of the players saw zombies, said "OMG Resident Evil!" and quit, leaving the rest of us without a full group and a dead campaign.

Bang!
2011-04-24, 08:24 PM
I've never really done anything too extreme in terms of game structure.

The most out there game I've played or run was a screwball scifi game that eventually shifted into a more straightfaced time travel game. I nearly managed to trick the player characters into becoming all of the game's relevant antagonists and NPCs. They spent most of the campaign fighting, hunting and stealing things from their past and future selves, I spent most of the campaign trying to manipulate them into timehopping into positions to oppose themselves in conflicts they'd already had.

It was pretty cool when the players recognized that the most effective way to get their hands on a particular MacGuffin that had mysteriously disappeared earlier (as the inciting incident during their shift on guard duty) was to steal it from themselves (because they knew what they'd done).

The campaign ended early, when the PCs didn't recognize themselves as the opposition in a firefight they'd already had and wound up exterminating their past selves. By that time, the game had pretty much crawled up its own ass, a couple players were losing interest and I was struggling to manage the thing, so we wound up calling it quits.

Jay R
2011-04-25, 11:23 AM
I once ran a deliberately non-lethal game of Champions (super-hero role-playing) set in the sixties. It was non-lethal for 2 reasons:
1. Heroes didn't really die in Silver Age comics, and
2. Comic book heroes take risks of the sorts gamers don't. So the introductory rulesheet said:

"I am beginning an early Silver Age campaign. The characters will not be as powerful as you are used to, and the villains will be similarly de-powered. Because I wish characters to take the kinds of risks that comic book characters actually take, I guarantee that your character will not die. Bad things may happen, but they will not be permanent.

"[Note: you are not immortal, and I cannot save you from your own stupidity. If you choose to dive into a volcano or a vat of acid, I can’t save you. But the normal run of comic book adventures is not going to do you in. Spider-Man does not, in fact, get shot to death in the comics. Take risks to save people. Really. That’s what heroes do.]"

What I didn't tell them was that it was the Silver Age in more than just feel. One of their first adventures involved investigating a spaceship that crashed outside of town. They got into a fight with a large, orange-skinned alien, which became a fight with four super-powered entities. It had gone on quite awhile before they discovered that they had blundered into the origin of the Fantastic Four.

Also, they knew this: "Rumors about heroes are also extremely common. In fact, there’s a supermarket tabloid that specializes in them. “The Brave and the Bold” is a source for any rumor about any hero you could ever want to read about, from Forbush-Man to the Crumple-Horned Snorkack. They are responsible for the rumor that Captain America didn’t really die at the end of World War II. They are currently writing an “expose” about a putative hero team called Sugar and Spike, (who nobody else thinks exists), and are trying to convince everyone that these are merely new costumes and identities for the Golden-Age Fox and the Crow. Nobody takes them seriously, but everybody seems to know what they’re saying, and they outsell the National Enquirer by millions of issues each week."

Between adventures, I would tell them about other news they heard, about new heroes in other places. They had rumors about Ant-Man, Spider-Man, weird weather conditions in Central City, a green glow occasionally seen in Coast City, etc. I even included a reference to Captain Sprocket.

They heard rumors of a half-man, half flying predator who works in the shadows in Gotham City, and other weird news.

They fought the Ringmaster, the Royal Flush gang, the Blob, Amazo and others before they finally bumped into the true villains of the world - the Crime Syndicate (evil versions of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash and Green Lantern).