The five DM thing progresses

Last week all five of the players who want to take turns as DM, and one of the other players met to begin hashing out how the thing will work (our 7th was on a vacation).

In the email leading up to the session, there was a bit of miscommunication, and although we seemed to be mostly on the same page at the end of the in-person discussion, we seem to have diverged again via email.  I am not sure if, in the email exchange, we’re being more honest (about what we think) or less charitable (in our interpretations of other peoples’ ideas).

Anyway we settled on using Castles & Crusades for the rules (after considering B/X, AD&D 1e and 2e, 3e/Pathfinder, “E6,” and even Old School Hack).  Some of us were pretty hard-line about keeping it simple, and I’ve have liked to try sticking to B/X, but there was quite a bit of enthusiasm for having characters with more mechanical differentiation. C&C serves both camps pretty well. There are lots of options regarding classes and races, including multiclassing and scads of optional classes, plus the primes/SIEGE system makes it pretty easy to customize PCs more.  A few people even hoped for skills and feats, etc. but that road leads to massive stat blocks.  If I have to come up with a dozen skills and feats (which an enemy NPC will probably hardly ever live long enough to use anyway) I’m not DMing.

We decided that we will adopt some measures to make PCs a little tougher (starting at 3rd level or so, and getting max or near max HP).  We also decided to introduce some sort of hero point/Fate point/Awesome point type rules, since most of the players liked the awesome points in OSH.  In addition, we decided to use some variation on a “death & dismemberment” table for when PCs hit zero HP or fail a save-or-die effect save, which to my way of thinking sort of offsets the extra HPs.  The fate points and death & dismemberment systems were delegated, as was revising the overly wonky C&C weapon & armor tables.  (In fact this part of the planning felt eerily like a professional business meeting, with me taking notes, John copying the main issues into bullet points on the battlemat, and then everything getting delegated.)

We’ll give each DM free rein to design an island about the size of the Great Britain, and add a sixth ‘neutral’ island for the base of operations/default kingdom.

The neutral island and other setting elements will be hashed out this week, I hope.  (Actually I would have preferred determining the setting first and then the rules but I was firmly outvoted on that issue.)  I guess you can start with either “end” of the snake — either choose a rule set and work out the implied setting, or choose a setting and select the most copacetic rules.

Putting the cart completely ahead of the horse, a couple of us (my self included) also started talking about what sort of PC we’d make.  Should be interesting.

After this planning session, I think we’ll probably resume Telengard until everyone is ready to move forward on the joint campaign.  Because dungeons are definitely my comfort zone as a DM, I think I might develop an island with lots of ruins from a bygone age.  So the ‘dungeons’ may be partly above-ground, and broken into more manageable pieces than a ‘megadungeon,’ but I think I’d still have enough constraint on where the things go to manage.  And if I want a gonzo megadungeon, there’s always Telengard.  In fact, if the five-DM campaign gets going for real I may take that break time to finally codify and type up the house rules and locations that are cluttering my binder, so I can have an actual rule book for the game (most likely pillaging the Labyrinth Lord text file as a skeleton).

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Published in: on September 20, 2011 at 10:59 am  Comments (5)  
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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. The five DM islands +1 neutral sounds awesome, the having to compromise on rules system, not so much. I think would have lobbied for some flailsnails type of character conversion once they hit my island.

  2. Honestly I don’t even remember a vote on whether we figured out the settings or the rule system first. It seemed like Tom just kind of took the lead in discussion topics and it went from there.

    All in all it has been interesting to see how different the lot of us are and what we do tend to enjoy while gaming. There are certainly many subjects we agreed on and then a few I don’t think there will ever really be middle ground. But that is where our own islands come in to play I hope.

    Hopefully I will eventually have something I can call my comfort zone as you do with your dungeons of mayhem Mike! My current ideas goes in a different direction then I have experienced with the group since I joined you guys a couple of years ago now. I think it has actually been over two year now. Maybe more I can’t keep track these days. I just hope the difference is a welcomed change of pace and not a horrible experience for everyone. 🙂

    • We didn’t really vote … I suggested in one of the pre-planning session emails and no one replied, so I was thinking no one liked the idea. Maybe it was just buried in all those emails.

      Yes, I agree that it sure was interesting to find out what everyone prefers.

      I’m sure something other than dungeon crawling will go over pretty well. Can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with. I just like running dungeons because they narrow down options without railroading.


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