View Full Version : Tournament Setting

2015-09-24, 02:22 AM
I'm thinking of starting up a tournament-style competition for my next group rather than the traditional dynamic. Something that feels more like sitting down for a few rounds of Mortal Kombat than going on an adventure. We could mix it up with different arenas, character requirements, objectives, and so-on but the core idea is that it's player versus player, not players versus DM.

I'm looking for your thoughts. Have any of you tried something like this before? Have you got any ideas for game modes? Story? Most importantly, how can I keep everyone engaged and having a fun night when there might be only two people playing at once? Help me flesh out this concept.

2015-09-24, 03:41 AM
I once set up a tournament for my group. We needed a whole day, but it was super-fun!
It went like this:

Every player set up its own adventuring party made of four 15th level characters: though it wasn't mandatory, we tried to have the members of each party to be thematically consistent (we had a group based on chess, another one based on the 4 elements...).
For the arenas, everyone that was willing to draw one or more could do that, provided that it would had to make 3 copies of each one (you'll see why): we had a classic arena, a volcano arena, a "playground" arena (with dolls-golem wandering around and so on...), an acquatic arena, and a lot of others!

We then arranged the battles, one players against another: the arena was determined casually, being sure that no one would have fought inside an arena he had drawn.
The battles took place in this way: Each player had his own copy of the map, knowing only the place in which his group had spawned. A third player, the DM of the encounter, had a third copy of the map where he signed the position and the action of both groups. Each round, the players would have told the DM secretly their own actions: the arenas were large enough to have the players look for each other for a while, so keeping the moves secrets was a way to enhance the suspense. Once the groups had met there was no need to keep secrets.
The first three round were dedicated to buffing and exploration: every form of attack was prohibeted.
Starting from the 4th round, hell could be unleashed on the arena!

It may be complicated, but we managed to do it, and we had a really good time!

Oh! On a final note, since there is no tournament without a price, we bought a brand new dice set, everyone putting a little money on it: the winner of the Tournament would have kept the dices!

2015-09-24, 03:29 PM
I am in fact currently preparing my second tournament of this type, after the huge success of the first installment!

Note: System is D&D 3.5, in case it matters.

The first tournament was a Mage's Tournament, hosted by a wealthy noble. There was no official entry requirement, but the players were notified that a caster was pretty much mandatory to solve the objectives.
There were multiple competitions, each themed after a school of magic, plus a series of one-on-one duels. For example, the competition based on Illusion had them search for hidden statuettes of themselves within the noble's manor, while avoiding acolytes of the mage's guild patrolling the halls. If they were detected, the acolytes had a special wand that immediately teleported them to outside the door.
All competitions were designed such that all players could compete at the same time and also interact with each other, although there was a rule against directly harming fellow competitors or any NPCs involved (a conveniently placed Wall of Stone certainly never harmed anyone:smallbiggrin:).
There was only one exception: the Transmutation competition basically was an obstacle course that had to be completed individually as fast as possible.
I handled this by DMing the obstacle course with one player, while two other players had their one-on-one duel under the supervision of a fourth player.
If you are interested, I can post more details about each individual competition.

After that, my players asked for a martial version of the tournament, which I am currently preparing for.
In this version, any spellcasting or similar abilities (also those gained via items) are banned and the competitions will be adapted accordingly. Ingame, the tournament will be hosted by the deity Kord, with each character participating as the champion of a deity.
This tournament will be even more focused on PvP than the first one, without any rules against lethal damage towards other competitors - but the divine power of the assembled deities will ensure that each death only lasts a few rounds before the character can immediately "respawn".
Correspondingly, the competitions themselves have various different goals not necessarily related to eliminating the other team.
I cannot give any more details here, as the exact nature of the competitions will remain a secret until the big day (but I can PM anyone interested).

So, doing a mortal-combat style tournament can definitely be fun for the right kind of party. Just ensure that everyone can participate and the goals and obstacles are more varied than "Last PC standing".