D&D 5E Curse of Rogue(like) (Curse of Strahd Spoilers)


In reading Curse of Strahd, a lot of elements in it really feel like a Roguelike game (most like Darkest Dungeon), intended to be played many times, what with the random Tarokka reading, Strahd's penchant for luring in adventurers over and over again, and the deadly horror setting. Obviously the entire campaign is far too long to run more than a couple of times, especially with the same group, but I was thinking, what modifications would need to be made so this could be done?

I feel like in order to actually make progress, and to avoid all kinds of weird metagame problems, the players would need to either gain the memories of their previous characters each time they died, and earn experience and other rewards for new characters as they go (i.e. they begin with more XP or magic items), or they would need to essentially rewind time to the beginning, and retain (most of) their XP each loop.

The benefits of new characters is that 1) it feels more lethal/horrible, 2) the ghosts/zombies/whatever of old characters can show up later, and 3) the world progresses over time, so that each new set of characters encounters it as it was when the last group left it (plus a short amount of time).

The benefits of a time loop are 1) the characters remain consistent, so players can get more into them, 2) not so much character building, and 3) the players get to use their knowledge of what's going to happen to keep doing better and better each time, skip parts they don't need to do, etc.

So the idea would be:
- Increase the difficulty to even more lethal levels, and expect many TPKs.
- Each time the players die, they either make new character, or revert in time to the beginning.
- They get to keep their knowledge of what happened either way, and they keep at least a portion of their XP, if not all of it.
- Do a new Tarokka reading each time. If the players had gained any of the big three objects or the ally, they'll need to do so again, as the objects are re-hidden. Or they time loop and they were never found at all.

My plan, since I'm finishing up Dead Gods soon, is to have Tenebrous be responsible, whether its time looping or memory retaining, as he shows up in the Amber Temple, and originally appeared in Dead Gods.

My biggest concern currently is what happens when one or more PCs die, but not all of them? In time-loop version, it could loop if any one of them dies, but that means they don't get a chance for resurrection. Perhaps they get a couple of days to keep trying before the loop happens? Otherwise, would more PCs just kind of be added?

What do you all think? Could it be done? Would it be fun? Any other big concerns I missed?

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