Friday, 21 February 2014

MultiGM Campaign Inspiration and Logistics

A little sub-group is forming from our tabletop boardgaming cluster to start some roleplaying. Some of the group are old hands and others trying this RPing out for the first time. One of the things we have been looking at is sharing around the GMing duties as we are all keen to do some and it also lessens the load on any one person at the same time.

We are looking at starting with D&D 4E as we love the fantasy setting at it is a good starting point for roleplay gaming on the table. There is a strong desire to try other things as we go along though which may mean other fantasy systems or ventures into Star Wars EotE or FATE.

This is all very exciting and my enthusiasm is nice and high - but that doesnt stop my analytical mind from going to work. Concepts like shared GMing are covered briefly in things like the 4E Dungeons Masters Guide by James Wyatt but they seemed to cop out a little on resolving some of the logistics. So here is my attempt at looking at the idea and some solutions that hopefully could work both for the players and the characters.

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So here is Oinkfrog's stab at some
MultiGM Campaign Inspiration & Logistics

I have tried to use some emotive text in these descriptions to get away from this just being about technical solutions. So the more flowery names and descriptions should be taken as inspiration, a way to flavour the specific option to a campaign be it fantasy as these examples are or something else. The best solution will be one that inspires all the players not just solves things. I saw we seemed to have two, call it three things to work out:
Faceted Threat
A world/threat that allows multiple threads to run concurrently by various GMs, that can grow with the party and allow the pieces to wind together for an eventual conclusion. Could have a peril that can generate new and varied threat/s.
Party of GMs
An in-world logic for how the composition of the party changes around (handling the current GM's character). Hopefully without needing to keep track of which PCs know what in a complex way and allowing the composition to change mid journey if needed.
The Shared Home
A place which the party cares for and protects together. The shared NPCs there should ground things and allow for more logical episode transitions.

FACETED THREAT ----------
Invasive BriarThorns
A mutation is spreading like a disease transforming its victims to match its nature. The Tearfall Woods are now a tangles mass of briar thorns, all the trees are twisted and covered in the thorns. The wildlife, bears, spiders and elves that lived there are mutated with the briar burrowing through their flesh and minds.
Corruption of the Stone
Something is happening to a basic element of the world, the corruption not only changes the elements form but slowly turns life that touches the it to evil. The element could be bone, stone, water, fire, metal, wood or blood. The very stone of the world is turned against us, its hate for life is fueled by something unseen and unfriendly.
Shards from the Sky
The meteors are coming more frequently now, ploughing through the atmosphere before thundering into the earth with devastating force. The meteors arent ordinary chunks of rock, they could be tears, crystal shards, bone splinters, golems or seeds. The mystery of their nature and the source must be solved.
Waking of Varthians
The long dead civilisation of Varth is waking up and it was spread all over this land, the culture is seeping through, the personalities and violent events are imposing themselves on the present.
The Portals
Gates are opening between our world and another, this other world is different and the clash is wreaking havoc. Different races, cultures, materials, magic. The gates could be ancient gateways, newly summoned magical portals or violent upwellings that are tears in the normal fabric of our world.

PARTY OF GMs ----------
Staff of Gates
The staff allows the party to portal through one of the special gates in the far off Shadow Mountains. The staff demands that one of the party stay inside the crystal at the top of the staff to ensure the staff's return at the end of the adventure. Thus the GM's character is there and can see everything that happens but cant participate.
The Orb of Eiris
One member of the party stays behind in the tower to safeguard the people there, they are linked to the Orb which follows the party on their adventure - magically relaying what happens back to them. Magical floating CCTV.
Glow Home Lantern
A small magical lantern the light from which is generated by a small glow-imp. Those inside the tiny lantern home can see and hear everything outside, but nothing gets out from the lantern but light. The imp needs to be awake to create light and so a PC needs to 'go inside using the magical handle and keep them company. Perhaps the light protects the party in some way.
Mistlink Cloak
The party is sponsored by the Council of Mist, the leadership of the township. On each mission they demand one party member wear the Mist Cloak at all times. The council monitor the ebb and flow of magic currents through the feymist and the cloak is linked to them. Whoever wears the cloak become insubstantial.
The Playbook
This last one (inspired by the Sami lunch) requires the GM's character to have a well understood way of acting and participating in combat. The character's MO exists as a playbook that helps the rest of the party run the hero as a sort of cool NPC. Ideally the character could have an MO that allows them to take on a secondary role in the group but have all their basic skills, attacks, options and such clearly laid out for the party.
One advantage of this model is the party isnt left with a capability hole - they still have it even if it is at half capacity.

THE SHARED HOME ----------
Village of Halfhill
Your classic fantasy village or town - can be quirky or thematic (lots of dwarves, hidden in the mountains, at an oasis) but is basically a simple place where the heroes are its only hope.
Farlook Tower
A landmark location, the tower or fort is like the town or village but has presence and importance of some sort and perhaps lost history. The tower may be part of a tower network, the fort could hide hidden catacombs. The place has some skilled people as well as the party but will rely heavily on them to bolster its defences and to solve the broader threat.
Fearhold Pass
The location is something of significant strategic importance (passage through the mountains, bridge across the chasm, special mine, ancestral grave site, portal to the great city of High Haven, wall between the realm and the dark wastes. The location can be marked by a fort or a sprawling village that benefits from the location, but it needs defending and the threats will come.
Order of the Glaive
The party are part of or working directly within a highly structured organisation that is the focus of their location. The Knights of Elmfire or the Order of the Glaive etc. The party will have superiors (at least at the start) and slot into a political or military structure. This can be as simple as the city watch or have the grandeur of a brotherhood of monks handing out quests or a noble set of Knights and Paladins who are sworn to protect the land.
The Order of the Glaive can be layered atop the Farlook Tower or Fearhold Pass.
The Majestic
The party calls this vast ship of the line home, its hull and deck sport an array of interesting characters who end up with cargo or duties that bring them adventure. The same logic could apply to a caravan (nomadic village) or a more magical thing (immense transport golem).
Goldport
The adventurers call the vast city of Goldport home. It is resplendent with guilds, neighbourhoods, lords and the underworld. The party will need allegiance to the city, but more specifically to a smaller piece of it as the factions present will not always agree and the politics of the city will be a significant part of the campaign as the adventurers find their way and are called upon to protect the city from greater and greater threats.

Oh and the image is a quick Photoshop doodle done on the Surface Pro 2 (a cool piece of kit)

1 comment:

Sami said...

Great idea's Graham. You left out my idea when darkness falls evil lurks - more of a one shot than a sustainable campaign idea me thinks. :)