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What's the most you've done for a game, above and beyond the usual?

Kid Socrates

First Post
Horribly clunky title, I know. Okay, to give some background for the question, so it makes sense.

I ran a game that recently came to a premature end -- my attempt at a homebrew from almost the ground up. I had the idea in my head to create a Final Fantasy d20 game, and I couldn't find one online that I wanted. Both "The Returners" and the project linked off EN World were based in fantasy times, and I wanted a world like VII or VIII's with materia and all that stuff. The game itself was pretty high-power, for just two people, so I built the game completely around them, and spent about a year figuring all the specifics out. I've got pages and pages of things I wrote (at work) for it.

One of my players moved back east for reasons of his own, and so the game (designed for 28 sessions, most likely) ended at 10 sessons, on a major cliffhanger. It depressed me for a good month -- I sank so much work and energy into the Final Fantasy: Apotheosis campaign, only to have it end, and the game couldn't be run as a solo for the remaining player; there was too much for both of them, and it was designed as a teamwork thing. So the other player and I decided just to let it die. Then his work schedule changed, so I pretty much had every evening free while he was at work, so we couldn't do another solo campaign, and I don't know anyone here in Overland Park, so I don't know where or how to find another game to join and test out.

Whenever I planned a session, I printed out 9-10 pages of plot stuff (half of which wasn't touched, as they'd skip this but then go do that), pages for the villains/NPCs/what-have-you, and then I'd spend an hour getting music set up. We gamed next to my computer for the music, because, well, music is important in Final Fantasy. They picked out themes for their characters, I picked out themes for everything else (all instrumentals), and I'd switch from one to the other while gaming. I had a folder on my desktop that had all the mp3s in it, named appropriately.

When my player left, I decided to do one last Apotheosis project as far as the game itself went, and I basically got pretty silly with it. I took some of the songs, and arranged them in a playlist, to commemorate the game. But I couldn't decide which ones to do, so I kept trying to fit more in, until I finally decided to just create the Final Fantasy: Apotheosis Official Soundtrack. 4 CDs, 65 tracks, with each CD having a name. Disc One was "A Sword and A Staff," Disc Two was "Prisoners of Fate," Disc Three "Into A Time of Disorder," and Disc Four "The Omega Sessions," with music from how I estimated the game would end with them on their current path. The music's pretty varied -- Linkin Park to Trigun to Cowboy Bebop to Final Fantasy to Chrono Cross to even Riverdance. I decided to send the soundtrack to both of my players -- the one that's here already knows about it, and even though things are tense with the old player, he's still my friend, and I plan on sending it to him, too.

It wasn't until I finished the CDs that I realized I made a 4-CD set OST to a freakin' tabletop game. And it didn't feel that weird to me.

So my question -- what has anyone else done like this for a game? What level of obscene preparation have other DMs gone to? This works for players, too -- what have you done for a game, for your character, to really set him apart, or contribute to the game?

This is Matt, who still can't figure out how Riverdance wound up on his CD.
 

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pennywiz

First Post
Kid Socrates said:
What's the most you've done for a game, above and beyond the usual?

First of all, it was my DM's idea and I was new to the group.

I won't go into too much detail but let's just say that it involved three live chickens, a wicker chair on a bungee cord suspended from a ceiling fan, and some (unfortunately rushed) scrotal-piercing.

I, primarily, blame the new spikey-artwork because pointing the finger elsewhere might lead to embarassment.
 

Henry

Autoexreginated
I have a 40-page Campaign Guide to a homebrew world that may never see play again. Does that count? I'm pretty sure there are others on these forums who have homebrew campaign guides in the hundreds of pages.

As far as non-written prep, I've created a set-piece for a Star Wars game out of styrofoam, an X-Acto Knife, and some silver spray paint. We restaged the New Jedi Order's Battle of Coruscant, where the Vong took over, and the players had to fight Vong Troops in order to get to a ship and escape. Pretty neat, and well worth doing, according to my players in the end.
 

WanderingMonster

First Post
So far my campaign handbook is 16+ pages long. I work hard chasing ideas that will never see the light of day. I shouldn't even tally the $$ spent on gaming materials. I guess when I'm doing it, it doesn't seem that odd. It's like the car hobbyist who spends all his free time and money rebuilding a classic car—or in the extreme—flying out of state to pick up that car he bought on eBay. Same thing.
 

MarauderX

First Post
hmmm... not sure if this counts, but at during my last job (veeery boring :\ ) I had enough time to do a map of my homebrew in AutoCAD (complex drafting program). It includes a few plans of castles and towns (to scale) as well as large overland hatching for forests, plains, plateaus, tundra, mountains, etc. just for the lay of the land. All of it has a 12 mile hex grid behind it, but that wasn't enough - I added in a 1 mile hex grid then a 5' square grid behind it all just so I could zoom in and move the individual NPCs around for a battle. Then came the RBDM layers and items, including critter bases, monsters and such, and I realized that when my single AutoCAD file reached 100 meg I had to stop. Wow, I was bored at my last job.
 

Jolly Giant

First Post
My current campaign has now reached level 30(-ish) and occupies four full binders of paper...

These include some 100-odd unique monsters and roughly 1200 NPCs, all statted out in equisite detail!

The PCs have a flying, planeshifting pirateship they use as mobile base of operations, with a crew of 135 kobolds, goblins, hobgoblins, bugbears, ogres, minotaurs, khaasta and lizardfolk. These crewmembers all each have 8-15 class levels, many are multiclassed, and most of them have PrC or two. The crew even has it's own PrC (":):):):)" = Crew of Captain Karu ;) ), which grants the crewmembers a rather unique blend of abilities; harvested from each of the five PCs. Some of them are experts or commoners, hired on as craftmen, but are now taking :):):):)-levels. Every single one is statted out in full detail.

In one battle, 48 powerfull (level 11-19) NPCs had joined forces to destroy the PCs once and for all. Obviously I had them all statted to the smallest detail. Not only that, but I made two sets of stats for each of them! One straight up, and one where the NPCs had all their buff-spells up and running. The idea was that NPCs would buff up and then ambush the PCs through a gate spell, but since I knew the wizards favorite spells included Mordecainens Disjunction I figured I had to know what the NPCs would be like both with and without their buffs.

I could go on like this for many pages, but I guess you all get the idea, right? I tend to put a lot of work, possibly too much, into NPCs, even the ones I know the party will hack through in the first round...
 

LoneWolf23

First Post
I am personally obsessed with building a big-ass campaign setting nearly equal to the likes of Forgotten Realms or Rokugan, with whomping huge complex religious, cultural and political challenges, it's own unique creatures to set it apart from classic D&D, that breaths with it's own life and impresses everyone...

...But I'm lazy, busy with a dayjob, have chronic problems with number-crunching, and like WanderingMonster, have more ideas then I'll ever use and more books then I seriously need...

And as if I didn't have enough grief, my Players are nearly furries like myself who insist on making furry characters (except for one who plays an Orc female Cleric), yet they hate the Savage Species rules for anthropomorphic animal characters with a passion; so far I've all but improvised my way through PC creation, and I'm slowly warming up to a system introduced by a player, even though it's veering more and more into "Completly retooling D&D into a system I can't figure out" for my tastes.

All in all, this campaign's stressing me more and more, and yet my Players are loving every session of it. :confused: Although I am calling for a Hiatus to retool the setting and rules to make my workload easier..
 

Nine Hands

Explorer
I have done some crazy stuff for games....

As a player in our weekly Robotech game I have

  • Created a Standard operating Procedures Document for the Valkyrie Pilots in the game. It's like 2 pages, not much.
  • Created flight formation for said Valkyrie pilots. 12 pages in Visio.
  • Created a variant of the USAF Brevity code for said pilots. A whopping 10 pages or maybe more
  • Written up a 2 page description of my character's quarters which is updated every couple of months
  • Found a Christmas Card that someone had drawn using the same anime character I use for my Robotech character, customized it, and have printed them out to give everyone a card in game this week.
  • Brought barf bags to the game (real ones) because we were all getting space qualified. The GM's said we needed to make a check (Concentration), those that failed threw up because of space sickness but got 10 free XP to spend on what they wanted. Those that did not, got the Null-G Training talent for free (its normally 10 XP). My character, who had no chance to make the check (needed a 9 on 2d6) was the only one who did. Watching the big burly dude who had to roll like a 5 on 2d6 to make the check fail and blow chunks all over the shuttle's cabin was pretty funny. Anyone who hurled got a barf bag :)
  • Design my own Valkyrie variants for the game, which is a fair amount of work since we use Mekton Zeta for the mecha designs.

As a GM

I have taken the SRD and adjusted anything I felt like changing in it. Then have taken all of the spells in most of the D&D books I own and created this massive spells document. I keep track of everything that happens in game, posting it out the gaming mail list weekly so everyone has a clue as to what happened. Oh I did the same for feats. Did I mention the work I did on skills, I have one or two more skills and lots of additional options for craft and stuff (thanks to Bad Axe Games!!!)
 
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Cymex666

First Post
In one game I was in, a fellow player ate a bug off of the garage floor for 1,500 xp. He was either very hungry or very desperate for xp, it's kind of hard to tell with him :p
 


Jeph

First Post
Hmm. I've gotten so used to designing a new game system every time I start a new campaign (or hell, even one-shot half the time) that I barely consider it "much" anymore. But then again, they're usually relatively lite systems...

Pagoda's getting professionally published. That might count.

I have a feeling that Exemplar is going to be the real biggie though. I'm really getting into it. Right now it's 32 pages of rules, with another 32 page supplement detailing the setting coming along. But it is, as usual, a short and sweet system, so the prepwork doesn't really take all that long.

--Jeff
 

barsoomcore

Unattainable Ideal
I spent more than $100 having character portraits done as a surprise for all my players. Claudio Pozas and Doctor Midnight were the artists and they did a GREAT job. Thanks, guys!

I've written some very long poems.

Lots of what people are talking about here I consider pretty meat and potatoes GMing tasks. Soundtrack CDs are cool, though.
 

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