Saturday, August 31, 2019

RPGaDay 2019 Day #27 Vast

Today’s theme is “Vast.”

This is my opportunity to talk about my megadungeon and potential hexcrawl campaigns. Because one thing that sets a megadungeon or hexcrawl apart from any other campaign type is its sheer size. This allows players to have a large amount of agency even though the campaign can be very structured. The party can kick down any door they like in the megadungeon and I have a map key that tells me what’s behind it. The party can explore any hex in the hexmap and I will have some notes, whether that’s a full dungeon, a city, or just a unique random encounter table.

The big challenge with such a campaign is the amount of information that you must generate to make it work. I was fortunate with my megadungeon campaign, in that I had a working megadungeon from the start in the form of the Castle of the Mad Archmage. While the map for my hexcrawl doesn’t have a lot of civilization on it, it does have many other features. It has terrain that the party must navigate as they explore.

RPGaDay 2019 Day #26 Calamity

Today’s theme is “Calamity.”

I don’t often deal in calamity in games that I run. I tend to give players room to breathe and consider their actions. My friend Jordan is not so kind.

He ran a game that he described as a “monster hunter” campaign. Our characters were all professional monster hunters of some stripe or another. I based my first character on Sheriff Hopper from Stranger Things, though there is a reason I describe him as my first character in that game.

Our first mission was exploring an offshore oil rig that had gone mysteriously silent. Shortly after we boarded the rig, we were trapped in the middle of a hurricane. (It was a “near-past” historical game and this was Hurricane Katrina.) We did find monsters, but the hurricane made everything more difficult. My character, Harper (original, I know), was the only one who didn’t make it to the rescue boat. It was mostly because he had been hit with a paralytic venom from one of the monsters and was barely able to worm his way along the floor. My wife also played in this game and her character lost a leg to one of the monsters.

RPGaDay 2019 #25 Lost

Today’s theme is “Lost.”

While I know I’ve talked about my old megadungeon campaign on this blog, I don’t know if I mentioned what cause it to ultimately die.

One of the reasons that it ran for as long as it did was that I was keeping an open table; Whoever showed up got to play. This might be why I got such a consistent group. They understood that I wasn’t going to hold off if not enough people or not enough of the right people showed up.

But even with such a consistent group, life happens. And life happened to one of my most consistent players, who had been part of the campaign since the very first session. It was because of an event in my campaign that she earned the nickname “Boots.”

Now, if I were a more competent Dungeon Master, I would have kept detailed notes on what the party was doing and where they had been. I had some notes, but the players were the ones who maintained the map. That map wound up being the primary record of what had been explored by the party rather than anything I had behind my screen.

When life happened to Boots, the map went with her. And without that map, I had no idea where they had been and where they hadn’t. We basically had no game without it.

The map was lost, and with it, the campaign.
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