View Full Version : 1 game, 2 GMs, 2 Parties

Criz Reborn
2007-10-17, 10:21 AM
Okay so a friend of mine was talking about running a game together. The concept is that there are going to be 2 parties running the same dungeon at the same time but they dont know the other party is there (in or, hopefully, out of character).
Were going to tell our Gamers guild that we built this dungeon together and were each gonna DM a party of 5 for a one-shot game in it. Then we're going to have the groups in separate rooms and my friend and I will be communicating each party's position over our lap tops. What do you think would be better?

(1) To have the 2 groups be evil-opposites of each other (ie- giving them premade characters) like OOTS and the Linear guild

(2) To have them just make their own characters and let them decide if they want to kill the other party to keep the treasure for themselves or to work together and reward (or punish) them with a big epic boss?

(3) Something better that we havent thought of but you have and now your going to suggest your idea

Thanks in advance. Any and all suggestions are welcome.

2007-10-17, 10:23 AM
You could make one groups a monster group and the other the holier than though types. But yes I'd go with giving them Premades, so one group isn't way more powerful than the other. Like the Linear Guild even with evil opposites.

Azerian Kelimon
2007-10-17, 10:39 AM
I'd give them liberty....up to a point. A full wizard group would tear a normal party apart, for example. And I'd make them participate in a race for the crown, in other words, they have to find an item and get it (item will be in the center of the dungeon) overcoming obstacles, and when they get to the center, they'll square off against each other.

2007-10-17, 10:48 AM
Make one party the "A" party. Have them be the stereotypical halfling rouge, dwarven fighter, elven wizard etc. Use only PHB classes and races, and make them look all shiny and standard.
Then make the other party the "B" party or the backup party using only Non PHB races and classes while still having one character in each slot: arcane, divine, fighter, etc.
So it's the superhero types and the "other guys"

Azerian Kelimon
2007-10-17, 10:51 AM
I'd avoid that, since it gimps a party. If they want to be a beguiler, swordsage, favored soul, wizard and factotum, they should be able to do so. Else, the other party will blast them to pieces (A FIGHTER? Let's be serious!).

2007-10-17, 10:55 AM
I don't know if you should keep them in separate rooms...but I guess it depends on the surroundings of the game. If it is a large room with lots of people in the Guild, have them just on opposite sides of the room at first. The ambient noise should drown out any chance of spying on the other group.

If not, I guess separate rooms is really the only alternative.

2007-10-17, 10:57 AM
wont work.

wonna know why?

2 DM's will intefear each other.

2 parties, 1 DM is the way to do it.

Azerian Kelimon
2007-10-17, 11:00 AM
It'll actually work, 's long as they plan the place together. If the layout is completely different by accident, that's bad. But if planned together, this is a brilliant idea.

2007-10-17, 11:05 AM
We've tried it once before. It didn't work well.

As long as the parties were apart, and the DMs were effectively running two separate adventures, everything was fine. But as soon as what the parties did began to affect each other, everything slowed down to a crawl as the DMs had to confer more and more.

Finally both parties joined up for the final battle. 12 PCs versus about 8 enemy monsters. It took forty minutes to play the first two rounds.

Give it a try if you like, but expect delays.

- Saph

2007-10-17, 11:09 AM
I've GM'd an essentially very similar situation before. It does work, but it requires a lot of planning in advance and constant communication between the GMs.

The hardest part will be when/if the two parties end up fighting each other. At that point, both of you need to come clean about the actual situation. Otherwise, the players are going to be all like... "why the hell is the GM taking so long to decide what these guys are doing?!"

2007-10-17, 11:43 AM
It's a good idea if you can make it work. Rather than co-GMing it might work better to have a head GM and his assistant. That would make it easier to come up with quick decisions, which is going to be essential with all those players waiting.

As a LARPer I don't see why you want to let each party decide as a whole what to do with the other party. I think it would be much more fun to watch 10 individuals work things out than 2 parties. Maybe someone's love interest is in the opposite party. Or what if someone from the other party has someone's long lost heirloom? How will clerics of different gods react to each other? They'll probably bicker with each other, but co-miserate when other party members aren't devout enough. Stuff like that works great with premade characters. As a GM I feel I've done my job best when my players are simply talking in character and I can just sit back and watch.

2007-10-17, 04:49 PM
Combat could be a problem. One group could spend a few hours searching a room and exploring in the time it takes the other group to do a 30 second combat. It might balance out, but you could easily end up with one group meeting the other at some point in their past, which could be awkward.

2007-10-17, 05:13 PM
It could work if you found some way to keep both of the party's moving so they arrived at the meeting place at about the same time. Give them a time limit, or give them information that their is in fact someone else trying to get the prize to. If you get one party resting for 8 hours, and the other one not, your going to have a problem. Since combats take so little time in game, but so much time out of game, and resting is of course the inverse. If you expect to have parties rest, create some sort of place where they should rest, and make it very hard to rest up till that point. Basically what I'm saying is you've got to design the dungeon in a way that forces both parties to be within a few minutes of each other in game time. This could still get outta whack, if one party takes a lot of time out of game to finish a combat that the other party ends quickly, but it's probaly the best you can do.

Chaos Bringer
2007-10-17, 05:30 PM
I could see this as being really fun if you and the other GM can keep in contact fast enough. If one party wants to rest you can always interupt them with a "random" encounter. Or if they really are deadset on finishing the 8 hours, confer with the other GM and if the timing is good, have your team take a break. I would enjoy finding out that the NPCs I found in the dungeon were sitting 50 feet away thinking i'm imaginary too.

2007-10-17, 09:00 PM
Not sure how this would work, but defiantly interesting.
Possibly have them make their characters before splitting them up, that way you can go for a better balance between the parties and have people playing what they want, instead of having a role put upon them. (Some people just can't effectively role-play certain character types.)

Criz Reborn
2007-10-18, 09:15 AM
Sorry its been so long since I replied. Well let me elaborate on what my friend and I are thinking of doing. We're thinking that the dungeon will actually be a temple that links 2 dimensions and that the 2 parties will be good-evil twins of each other. The temple itself will have good and evil encounters in it, with evil encounters occuring more on the side the good enters and good encounters on the evil side.
The temple itself is going to be symmetrical. There are going to be 5 artifacts in the temple that must be combined in the center room. 2 artifacts will be on each side of the temple to be collected by each party and each artifact will have a guardian. The guardians will also be good-evil twins of each other.
The temple is going to have "floating rooms." There will be specific puzzles and encounters and all that both parties will encounter, but if one group gets too far ahead of the other we will have a batch of "floating rooms" that conveniently appear to slow the party down.
If we stage it the way we want the players will not know that they're in one game. We intend to tell them we built this temple and we wanted to see how it would work in both a good and evil campaign and so were each playtesting it. The characters will be pre-made so we can make sure that the characters are exactly identical (remember: evil twin dimension and all) and as of now we are considering a party of : Sorcerer, Rogue, Warblade, Favored Soul, and Paladin (using the Paladin of Tyranny for the evil side of course).
The parties actions wont have much direct effect on each other until they reach the center. We plan to have each party gather their 2 artifacts then lead them to the center. If one group reaches the center a couple minutes before then it will be at that time we take a break rather than throw in a floating room. We decided to use 2 tables in 1 room with one of those divider walls. (We figure since the temple is symmetrical and all even if they get too loud about an encounter it wouldnt be too suspicious because theyre basically doing the same encounters.) Then when both groups are ready as they walk into the center room we're going to tear down the dividing wall and explain the situation.

2007-10-18, 10:23 AM
Please please please include mustachios and goatees in the descriptions of the characters on the "Evil" side.

Criz Reborn
2007-10-18, 10:27 AM
Please please please include mustachios and goatees in the descriptions of the characters on the "Evil" side.

Oh god....that'd be great... but then Id have to answer the question "why do we all have mustaches?"

2007-10-18, 10:38 AM
I'd go the subtle route and have a short paragraph description of each of the characters. As long as you don't focus on the mustachios and goatees, I think you'd be okay.

2007-10-18, 10:41 AM
I would do more than floating rooms - make things that interact together. You're conversing anyways.

"They pressed Switch A1"

"Ok, we pressed Switch A2" -- The doors open for both parties. One noticed they pressed a switch and it opened correctly - the other noticed a very long delay.

For the mustaches - it would be more amusing if you had female party members.

2007-10-18, 11:09 AM
Ban narcoleptic spellcasters or at LEAST primary spellcasters suffering narcolepsy. 8 hours of rest is a time discrepency you don't want. Encourage Warlocks, Binders, and Factotums for spellcasting(I can't seem to wrap my head around or get interesting in Truenaming but that might be good too). The last two of which would need to usually wait 24 hours, which is unacceptable in a "race for the prize" scenerio when they'd still be very useful with their current bind/other abilities.

2007-10-18, 11:32 AM
I'd suggest a Crusader instead of the Paladins. If there's a Warblade, the Paladin may feel a bit screwed over since the Warblade can do all kinds of cool stuff.

Criz Reborn
2007-10-18, 01:58 PM
I'd suggest a Crusader instead of the Paladins. If there's a Warblade, the Paladin may feel a bit screwed over since the Warblade can do all kinds of cool stuff.

thats actually a good idea, I'll look into that

2007-10-18, 04:01 PM
Allo. I'm the other DM that Criz has been conferring with. You do have a good point about the use of a crusader, I believe the two of us have agreed to that. Also, on using a Warlock in place of the other casters, that bears looking into and would save us some headaches. The only problem I see with that would be that our healer, in this case a favored soul, would still need resting. (Hextor and Heironeous, specifically.) The only way around that I could see is by loading them down with wands of healing.

2007-10-18, 04:14 PM
What level are they going to be, by the way?

2007-10-18, 04:44 PM
9 or 10, perhaps subject to change.

2007-10-18, 04:53 PM
You can have it so that each party has a rest point before the final encounter where each group can rest before contining on

Criz Reborn
2007-10-18, 07:19 PM
You can have it so that each party has a rest point before the final encounter where each group can rest before contining on

I was actually thinking that. Have each group enter a room with the guardians of the temple who have foreseen their coming and all and suggest that they rest before continuing on their journey.