View Full Version : DM Help Turn-based combat... in real time!

2016-09-19, 08:50 AM
I'm toying with the an idea for a campaign, but am not quite sure how well it would work and how exactly to pull it off. First, here's some background info:

The players are members of an advanced space faring civilization. Let's call it Jerkia. Jerkia has evolved to the point of magitech. They've got spaceships running on pseudoscience, all kinds of nifty gadgets that let them use wormholes, bathe in lava, live forever and other stuff like that. They're so advanced! So great! So bored. They have everything they need whenever they need it, so in order to pass time, they've decided to take on the most amusing lifestyle out there. They became space bullies.

Jerkian ships fly around the universe, laughing at lesser beings and their hilarious attempts at being as awesome as Jerkians are. Sometimes they kidnap lesser beings and do things to them. Brainwash them a little, probe them for fun, maybe cause an Ice Age and look at its results, etc. They're playing Sims at a galactic scale. A while ago, they stumbled upon a hilarious primitive civilization called "humans" that had some amusing customs. Jerkians were especially fond of Rome and its gladiators.

Fast forward a few hundred years. One of the Jerkians decided to drop a meteorite on Earth, so humans now live in a Mad Max -like post-apocalyptic future. It's fun, but not quite as good a show as it used to be. So, Jerkians decide to set up their own arena and kidnap some humans to participate in it.

The Jerkian characters use a rules-light system aimed mostly at social encounters. There are several competing houses, and the players belong to one of them. Their main goal is to win the current gladiatorial championship while avoiding embarrassment. The other houses try to sabotage their efforts via petty deeds, such as painting something crude over the flag their gladiators are carrying.

The "fights" are D&D matches. The Jerkians have given humans the tech required to "cast spells" and use "extraordinary abilities". The matches are turn-based, so people take turns beating each other up. If they die, they get resurrected after the match ends. Your team get "gold" and "experience" for winning, etc. It's live action D&D with real violence. Outside of matches, the gladiators are treated as NPCs.

A few things worry me. First of all, I'm not sure which system to use for the alien characters. It must be light and abstract enough to interact well with the D&D part, and support some social interaction. Maybe FATE? Other than that, I'd have to make the matches interesting enough, but that should be pretty easy with traps and monster encounters. The tone should be in the "dark comedy" territory, so I though about things like rules lawyer NPCs who would try to influence judges (aka me) and opponents shouting insults at the player team while they're thinking about their next move. However, I'm not entirely sure how the whole thing would come together.

Any input? Ideas? Criticism?