D&D 5E litRPG Meta Portal Fantasy Game

Reynard

Legend
Every year at this time, I have to put together my pitch for games I will run at a convention in mid to late February (TotalCon in Marlborough, Mass; it's awesome, go). I have been toying witha few ideas and I think I am finally settling on one. Here is my first draft of the convention book blurb:

"You were kids, and it was a game -- until it wasn't, until you were dragged into a world of dungeons and dragons and forced to fight for your lives and the life of the whole world. But you succeeded and your reward was to go home, to grow up, to live normal, mundane lives. But something has changed and the game is drawing you back. Roll initiative."

Essentially, it isn't specifically a game about playing the D&D cartoon kids or the Narnia kids or the Guardians of the Flame characters, but it is in that vein: as adolescents or young adults, the PCs were drawn into a fantasy realm on which their favorite RPG was based. They had many, often terrifying adventures, before saving the day and being allowed to return home -- where they were normal kids again, and grew up to be normal adults, living normal lives. Not just normal, but mundane and boring and tedious. But then, now, when they are pushing 50 or so, they have been called back to that world to finish what they started and maybe even right some wrongs they committed because, you know, they were kids.

I am starting this thread because I would like the fine folks of EN World to help be brainstorm ideas. Because all that stuff I wrote: as of this posting, that is ALL I've got. Luckily, all I need in the next week or so is a solid blurb for the event. But I still need to fill out the idea and try some things out and test some stuff, etc, before February.

Oh, I should not: the way I run these games at cons is I usually run three or 4 4-hour sessions that are episodic but connected. I usually have at least two and sometimes more people that play every session, and one or two that only sign up for a single session (and sometimes regret it). So the "story" of this game is like 12 hours of table time, not just 4.

Thanks, and I look forward the hearing your thoughts and ideas.
 

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TheDelphian

Explorer
I mean obviously the D&D cartoon could be a basis but with all the teenager/preteens as adults.

You would have pregens people are familiar with and a structure that is built to be episodic.

Maybe a three part story that lets the accomplish a task and free themselves. but written so you don't have to play all three parts.

Just an idea. you would have to be very familiar with the series I would think though :)
 



Reynard

Legend
I mean obviously the D&D cartoon could be a basis but with all the teenager/preteens as adults.

You would have pregens people are familiar with and a structure that is built to be episodic.

Maybe a three part story that lets the accomplish a task and free themselves. but written so you don't have to play all three parts.

Just an idea. you would have to be very familiar with the series I would think though :)
I definitely do not the PCs to actually be the D&D cartoon characters, mostly because I don't want to use that world.

One thing I do like about the D&D cartoon that I think will translate well, tho, is that the PCs class/powers is essentially conferred through the artifact gear they have. This supports the theme that they are just normal people in our world and when they return they go back to being (capability wise) just like they were during their young adventures (but they are still middle aged).

I want it to be fairly impressive so I am going to aim for maybe 8th or 9th level?
 

So same characters across four short story arcs at different levels and time periods.

Episode 1 arrival and introduce the problem
Episode 2 some happens to allow the problem to be solved but with consequences
Episode 3 solve the problem and return home
Episode 4 return to deal with the consequences

I guess first thing is to establish the nature of the problem. That’s gonna define the world to some extent, at least the scope of play.

I’d tie it in to something generational. Maybe the kids parents were the first portal hoppers and one stayed behind when they returned home.

The one that stayed behind is both the cause of the problem and the reason the kids are drawn in to the world. They act as the quest giver for episode 1 because there’s something he needs but can’t get himself. Maybe something he lost when he first arrive or that was take. That kept him in the fantasy world. So in episode 1 our portal hopping party gets the bad guy the thing he needs to escape and carry his power into the real world.

I’ve got nothing for episode 2. I feel like the underpants gnomes. If your only running three seasons skip to 3.

In episode 3 the party stops the bad guy from escaping. I’d run the whole thing as a time sensitive stop the ritual kind of thing. I’d try and run it in real time if I could, at least as much as possible. I’m stopping the bad guy from escaping one of them gets left behind or is left for dead.

Episode 4 draws the grown adults back to save their friend who manages to send them a message in their dreams.

That’s all I got right now. Also excuse spelling and grammar. I’m on a phone.
 
Last edited:

Reynard

Legend
So same characters across four short story arcs at different levels and time periods.

Episode 1 arrival and introduce the problem
Episode 2 some happens to allow the problem to be solved but with consequences
Episode 3 solve the problem and return home
Episode 4 return to deal with the consequences

I guess first thing is to establish the nature of the problem. That’s gonna define the world to some extent, at least the scope of play.

I’d tie it in to something generational. Maybe the kids parents were the first portal hoppers and one stayed behind when they returned home.

The one that stayed behind is both the cause of the problem and the reason the kids are drawn in to the world. They act as the quest giver for episode 1 because there’s something he needs but can’t get himself. Maybe something he lost when he first arrive or that was take. That kept him in the fantasy world. So in episode 1 our portal hopping party gets the bad guy the thing he needs to escape and carry his power into the real world.

I’ve got nothing for episode 2. I feel like the underpants gnomes. If your only running three seasons skip to 3.

In episode 3 the party stops the bad guy from escaping. I’d run the whole thing as a time sensitive stop the ritual kind of thing. I’d try and run it in real time if I could, at least as much as possible. I’m stopping the bad guy from escaping one of them gets left behind or is left for dead.

Episode 4 draws the grown adults back to save their friend who manages to send them a message in their dreams.

That’s all I got right now. Also excuse spelling and grammar. I’m on a phone.
Those are all good ideas but a little more scripted than I tend to aim for. I usually create a broad outline for the whole thing and a more specific outline for session 1. Then I see what the players end up focusing on and do my between session prep to make more of that happen. Sometimes my broad outline survives, and sometimes it doesn't.

That said, I do like the idea of the big bad being someone that got left behind or presumed dead in the original adventures. That is something i think i will incorporate. Thanks.
 

Reynard

Legend
One thing I am considering doing to handing out (probably randomized) Past Events that tie the PCs to the childhood quest and its locations and NPCs, which of course will show up in the game. I am thinking that rather than making Inspiration based on bonds, flaws, etc... it will be based on leaning into those elements that link you to the adventures of your youth (that the player never actually played).
 


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