View Full Version : The Most Encompassing Game Ever (Players & GM(S)wanted)

12-22-2010, 02:16 PM
This thread is a mass call to both players and game masters on mass. Read on and comment. If you do have an interest, than please elaborate on it. I will leave a short questionnaire at the end of this post for you to answer.
Take a long breath...

Think of Living Greyhawk/Eberron/Forgotten Realms but with a big twist. This game is going to cater for two different gaming styles, that will overlap from time to time. The first game style is our traditional D&D game: player parties are formed, hear the call to destiny, and off they go in pursuit of adventure, wealth and experience (not necessarily in that order). The rest of this lengthy post really relates to the second game style. Here it comes...

The characters in this game were all members of adventuring parties who did well for themselves. Throughout their careers, they gained a heroic reputation, experience, and of course wealth. They have now decided to return to their separate respective homelands and carve a niche for themselves on land that has been granted to them by the their countryís liege in recognition of their services and reputation.

Each one has arrived in their designated realm and must tame the wild, subdue or kill those who refuse to acknowledge their right to rule, and build their own settlement and dwelling. Each must plan his/her own base of operation and mold it to his/her liking. It could be a dwarven mountain mining for precious metals and gems, an elven forest abode, a halfling shire, uniting the tribal barbarian steps into a powerful plundering horde, a rogue establishing his guild in a busy metropolis etc. The lifestyle, economy and ambitions of your realm are left to you.

World Setting
I would prefer a world that already exists instead of a home-brewed setting for the following reasons:

The players & GMís have common literature to rely on. This game assumes that the players know a lot about their homelands and the world at large. A lot of (re)inventions can be avoided and the game can start sooner.
The worldís maps already depict population groups, resources, natural geographical barriers, etc. The work is done in a more professional and artistic way than we can afford to do ourselves. Why not use it if itís better?
The tone of the world, itís history and current events are all in motion (and in print). Again saving us much time and effort, and we can just start playing.
Players (and even GMs) have a nostalgic affinity to certain campaign settings. Even though a GMís home-brew world could potentially be awesome (could), it might not strike the same chord the player has for his favorite campaign. To many, the first campaign world we played in, is like first love. You get the drift.

Recommendations: Greyhawk, Faerun, Eberron are all popular settings. So is Gorelion. Players and GM(s) will need to decide on their preference.

Modus Operandi (fancy-shmancy Latin right?)
The game will mostly be done via PbP where each player will have their own thread and sub threads detailing what they are busy with. Turns will be seasonal (see exceptions below). Hereís an example for the thread structure for each PC:

[Main Thread] The name of the realm, e.g. The Barony of Edmark
1. Geography (giving a brief description of what someone with Knowledge (geography) might know about your realm. Where the realm is on the map including its defined borders, resources, main trade, inhabitants.)
2. Chronicles
2.1. The diary of lord Edmark (the PCís summary in story format to all that has transpired to date.)
2.2. The journal of Harbei the lordís steward (monetary & trade details)
3. Important Personas
3.1. PC Sheet.
3.2. Hirelings, followers and cohort (if any).
3.3. Important NPCs living within your borders.
4. Sub Plots (small scale encounters are resolved here, for example:
4.1. The Orcs of Skulcreek (details of an in game combat session)
4.2. The Trade Treaty with Count Rafius (for establishing exchange of supplies)
All of these subplots will appear as a brief summary in the diary - ďWe managed to decisively shatter the orc tribes after an intense battle in Skulcreek. One hundred and fourteen good soldiers were laid to rest; a small yet heavy price to pay for the safety of my people.Ē
5. Discussions (OOG)
5.1. Season 1: Spring of 5621
PC: I wish to clear 20 acres of land for wheat farming in the northern area surrounding the town. I will recruit 80 men for this task. I will also offer a sacrifice to the goddess of fertility after reaping the first harvest and invite the townsfolk to partake in the celebration....
DM: The area you wish to clear is pretty rocky and will require more men. You can send the rocks to be quarried and use the materials on the paved road you are building between so and so. The harvest celebrations (cost you 1000gp) and have the townís people join in unity and thanksgiving. However the following morning, a drunken middle aged man stands before you for judgement. He has been accused of assaulting a young girl while intoxicated. Eye witnesses describe the horrid scene...
5.2. Season 2: Summer of 5621

On occasion a player might request the help other players (this is where the overlap happens) to tackle a problem beyond his/her means (defeating a foe too powerful to for him alone, or maybe he just doesnít have the time). If thatís the case than a live game session could be scheduled to be played on Maptools and Skype to handle the combat.

Players and GM could also arrange a special private chat session amongst themselves to handle a particular scene if they do not wish to do it via PbP. The frequency is left to the players and GM to decide. For this there will be another thread below all the other threads titled ďGroup DiscussionsĒ.

The GMís Role
The nature of this game will challenge both the players and the GMs in a very holistic manner. The GM is supposed to be familiar with other sources that deal with the building of keeps, feudal or fantasy societies, handling of large scale battles, etc, besides for the usual GM skills needed to run the typical small encounter. A sense of fairness is a must as well the ability to generate realistic challenges to the players. If a PC has overcome a challenge and decided to invest money and efforts in a good method of overcoming the same obstacle in the future, than it should be unlikely to repeat itself (or at least not to be worthy of mention). For example, say the barony of Edmark is bordered by a forest thatís used as a bandit hideout and these bandits have been disrupting the baronyís trade routes. If the baron combs these woods and drives out the bandits and afterwards invests well in mercenaries who will patrol his lands better, and maybe even hires a bunch of scouts to constantly report on any activities in these woods, than the realm should be considered safer in this regard (as long as the plan is maintained of course). It doesnít mean that a bandit or two will not slip through the system, but it might not be an event worth mentioning. The GM can decide that the realm is secure from large scale banditry, and will move to the next more likely challenge. The PCís should not have to face every challenge in existence, and could even run smoothly for a while, but things do come up - the neighboring lands are envious of your success, the new king is demanding more taxes, the druids insist that further foraging is sacrilegious, rumors of an emerging thievesí guild, etc etc. There could always be good events such as peace, prosperity and plenty to counterbalance famine, plague, fire, war, crime, etc. The ideas are limitless but should always be balanced and fair.
The game take a focus on the players in a different way to traditional gaming. The players will not be taking on random quests as they will have their hands full in managing their own realms. They are only likely to adventure for the sake of their realm or for a threat of their country (if they are indeed absolutely needed).

PC Roles
Unlike traditional adventures, the players are responsible for being the primary initiates in this game. It is also their responsibility to update the story threads that relate to their realms. Donít expect the GM to post more frequently than you do. If you post once a week, you should expect the same from your GM. If you post 40 times a day, well, GMís have a life too, not to mention other players to write to. You will initiate every seasonís plan of activities, the GM will referee, and throw you curve balls from time to time.
An important rule to remember: this is not an adventure made out to your level, itís like the real world. If you choose to bite more than you can chew, youíre likely to get chewed in the process. A plot foiled to depose the ruling monarch, will have your lands invaded and probably your head on a spike. You will deal with many NPCs and if you push your might too often and abuse them, there will be repercussions. The merchants guild have reported dismal profits and hence taxes received have been greatly disappointing. The villages whoís rulers you have beheaded for defying your rule are rising against you. An assassination attempt on your life, etc, etc.
Diplomacy might be a more valuable asset in this game than your AC or the Finger of Death spell you have at your disposal. If you plan to play a tyrant, than at least make sure your Stalin and not Bin Ladin, cause you might end up hiding in a cave if things go sour.

Measuring Success & Development (i.e. XP & GP)
In a game such as this, XP should especially be awarded for the success of therealm. The easiest way to do this is to award the PCís XP based on how much net profit (measured in gold pieces) their pursuits yield. The ratio between gold and XP is to be determined. Perhaps 10 to 1 ratio. So if the PC managed to rule his realm and gather 20,000gp from their business ventures (or plunders) and taxes (aka plunders) during the spring season, he/she would be awarded 2,000XP. If a loss was incurred, no XP will be received for his reign.

Due to the large monetary values used, a new term will be used: the Talent (T) which is equivalent to 1,000gp. A seasonís revenue and expenses will be measured in talents. So in the previous example, 50 golden talents were raised. The PC can use the profit on personal use (magical items, a keep) or reinvest it into the realm - build a bridge or a well paved road to enhance trade (which should increase his profits in the future). Discuss with the GM what you want to invest in and what you expect to get in return.
Two important factors dampen your profits: taxes & maintenance.
Taxes are paid to the kingís treasury on a seasonal basis. Your profits will be taxed according to the landís tax rate. You could always neglect to pay and see what happens (probably worse than having your head on a spike though).
Maintenance: besides for paying for your retainers and employees, you will also need to pay for the upkeep of any structural program that you have built. Bridges, buildings, wells, roads, etc. About 5% of any money invested into such enhancements should be spent annually to maintain them (unless you can come up with a plan otherwise). Failure to maintain them and neglect will eventually see to their eventual destruction. Every year that maintenance is not paid for (in full) will have a cumulative 10% chance that the structure is ruined. Also, if you decide to maintain a structure after a period of absence, the cost of doing so will be double the original cost. Example: letís say a bridge that cost you 10,000gp (1T) to build has not been maintained for three years. You now decide itís time to make amends. The yearly cost of maintenance is 500gp. Three years of restorations will cost you 2x 3x 500gp = 3,000gp (instead of 1,500gp had it been done on a yearly basis).

Cost of Hirelings
A special chapter that needs to be addressed is the cost of hirelings (followers and cohorts too if you have the leadership feat). There are two ways to employ someone: on a permanent basis or on a temporary contractual basis. The DMís guide really features the latter, hence their payment is given by day instead of by month, they come fully equipped and so on. Most of the players will be hiring employees on a permanent basis and certain changes need to be catered for.
Consider for example a carpenter with craft(carpentry) skill total of 10, and taking 10 will earn (10+10)/2 = 10gp per week or 40gp per month. This carpenter has his own workshop and tools, does not necessarily have work lined up to fill his entire month, has the expenses of paying to maintain and repair his tools and workshop, will not be paid by dissatisfied customers. He might also have an assistant that he has to pay for. He might also have the pleasure of also paying guild levies and other miscellaneous fees. All of these factors are considered when he puts a price on his services.
A full time employee on the hand is exempt from all of the above as the responsibility of the above falls upon the shoulders of his employer. As such, it is highly recommended that the cost of full time employees should be halved. The carpenter above will earn 20gp per month (or as a basic rule twice his skill rank in gold pieces). However, a suitable workshop, tools and materials are now to be paid in full by the employing PC prior to any work being done. Also, the 5% maintenance to the tools and workshop will also be incurred annually.
Mercenary hirelings are a little different as they both the temporary and full time cases will cost the PC the same. The PC has to weigh the pros and cons of each type. The regular mercenary (temp) comes fully equipped and takes care of his own needs (maintenance, food). His loyalty is only to his wages. The full time soldier of the realm has more loyalty to his king and country but is trained, equipped, fed & assured of a decent retirement package and compensation for his loved ones if he falls in battle or is disabled during his term of service. While his pay might be less, in the long run all the other expenses, pension packs & disability costs are borne on his employer, not to mention his gear and training costs. Whatever the PC might be saving on his monthly wages, he/she will end up paying for the extra costs mentioned. The PC is only gaining more loyalty by taking a full time soldier instead of a mercenary for hire, at a much greater initial cost. One point worthy of mentioning: the mercenary hirelings mentioned in the DMís Guide are all members of the warrior class. If the PC was to hire fighters, barbarians or ranges the fees would double as the classes are more powerful and need to be paid accordingly.
Spellcasters employed on a full time basis, like the court magician, are employed to do basic non strenuous functions that only magic can do. Maintaining protection wards, doing routine scrying, casting know alignment, and maybe the odd lightning bolt if the opportunity presents itself are part of the deal. But anything that requires extensive time consuming or expensive material costs are to be paid in full. A job that requires the caster to sacrifice a fraction of his time and maybe half his spells on a daily basis is a great boon for any academic or priest as a safe and prestigious position in his lordís realm, giving him much free time (and money) to pursue other interests he might have. The cost of hiring such an individual is 100gp per level per month. If any expensive materials are needed for his duties, they are to be paid too.

Character Creation
I prefer to keep things simple and keep a standard fantasy flavor (think AD&D for those of you who where there). As such, new space-age races and classes that belong in a Star Wars game should be avoided (half dragons, half ogres, psionic knights (just call them freaking Jediís)!!! etc). Pathfinder is a natural improvement to 3.5, and itís rules would be preferable for class and race options. However, due to the long rich nature of 3.5, perhaps some of the books can be used for extra items or feats. If itís not in PFís core system, than the GMís and the players should reach a consensus amongst themselves whether to allow the desired material or not.
I also feel that allowing for uber-super powerful PCís tends to break the realism of the world, and the GM is constantly caught up with making more and more powerful monsters to counter balance this. Itís a never ending cycle.
Even though not all players will start at the same level, it is vital that all players be given the same options, especially as they will interact or maybe even challenge each other. As such, we will have to adhere strict rules that will apply to all. As such the following builds & rules would be advised -

Stats: 25 point build (epic fantasy)
Hit Points: Max first, average thereafter (e.g. a d6 class gains: 3, 4, 3, 4, etc).
Classes: Core & APG only. Variants are allowed (e.g. urban ranger, paladin of freedom).
Traits: 2 (no flaws allowed)
Races: Human, Dwarf, Elf, Halfling, Half Elf, Gnome
Feats: Any found on the SRD.
Items: Any found in PF core source.

Specific to the traditional adventuring PC
Level: Anywhere between 1st through to 7th.
Staring Age: Minimum age for 1st level PC of that class plus 1 year per level after 1st.
Starting Wealth: As per rules for the particular level.

The realm builder PC:
Stats: 25 point build (epic fantasy)
Level: 11
Staring Age: Minimum of 1st level starting age plus 10 years.
Starting Wealth: 82,000gp
Extra Wealth: 75,000gp to be used on building the realm only (hirelings, materials, etc). May not be used for personal items.
Wizards: start out with a spell book containing all known spells available for their level of casting.

Beyond that, you are free to do whatever is in the rules. If you become super rich and you could afford to buy that +5 flaming, speed, holy sword, than good on you mate, you earned it. If you can create items, and donít mind spending 100,00gp and a year making that +10 sword, than go for it. Donít forget, there might be better things to do with your time and money though.

Please send your responses to my forum on Myth Weaver, as I have posted this on several forums. Myth Weaver link here (http://www.myth-weavers.com/showthread.php?t=118138).
Are you interested in being a GM or a player or both?
Which campaign world holds your fancy the most?
Anything you wish to add/change/contribute...