I ran a co-DM'd world, it worked well. I came up with the world and separated out the different races into different parts of a mega continent. I then gave one DM responsibility for the elves and the other guy had the dwarves whilst I took humans and goblinoids (gnomes and haflings were endangered due to a magical apocoplyse that turned their land into a giant magical desert).
We were looking for the regalia of good, one piece was in each of the lands so I just let the other DMs come up with the plot with the only caveat being that it had to include a piece of the regalia.
The problem we ran up against was that the third DM (elves) ran out of steam and the campaign stalled. Still I think that it was a success, just need DMs that are willing to see it through to the end.
That is a good way of Co-DM'ing. As long as everyone agrees on the rules ahead of time there is no reason why that wouldn't work.
Assistant DM's who share duties on an active game are awesome. Especially for larger games.
Multiple DM's using the same setting and sharing characters? I've never seen it work well. Each DM has a different set of 'things allowed and prohibited' and preferred balance/power levels.
What I've always seen happen is that characters leave one DM's story, spend time in another's, and when they come back they have items/power that blow the DM's work to splinters.
That customization is the best thing about RPG's, and the worst when it comes to sharing.
Heard a story about this just the other night.
Genre: Star Wars
GM#1 got bored and wanted to be a player. Thus handing the game off to GM#2
GM#2 gave the players millions in credits. Thus pissing off GM#1. Still not wanting to run the game, GM#1 handed the game off to GM#3 on one condition, that all the credits were counterfeit.
Although I've never done co-gm'ing myself, I've seen it done to great effect by a pair of guys that I like to call the John Entity. The things they came up with were just amazing. The sum in that case was clearly more than it's parts.
Years ago my group ran a Superworld game with multiple GMs. Each GM had a region of influence and it worked well.
Currently, we just started another multiple GM Supers campaign using d20 Deeds Not Words. It is set during World War II. We agreed upon general rules that will be used and not used before the campaign began, and agreed to vote on any issue that comes up with majority deciding said issue. Each GM has a region/theater of the world as their playpen, although this is merely a guideline and not carved in stone.
We agreed to start the campaign in the fall of 1936 and move forward from there. No GM can advance the timeline by leaps and bounds, usually only several months after the previous adventure. Currently, we are in Sept. of 1938 and on the eve of world war.
We agreed that each adventure had to be completed in one session so that it could be kept modular. While a GM is running an adventure, his PC is on some kind of supporting role to the mission and not with the main group of PCs. The GM's PC gets the benefits from the session (i.e. experience, bonus enhancement points, etc.) so that his PC isn't left in the dust.
Thus far it has worked extremely well. We have a closed forum for write-ups and mission briefings, which helps greatly since we play via skype and not in person.
Many, many moons ago my group played RQ3 extensively. We had extremely large groups most of the time (up to 15 players), and had to use two co-GMs just to keep things in order. The main GM had a co-GM for the actual campaign world and storyline, and then a co-GM just to run through the mechanics of combat. It was necessary since we played a gritty-and-grim style and had many combat encounters which were deadly and precise. It worked well since everyone was onboard and understood their relationship the campaign and main GM.
I had one player in my former regular game, try to "co-dm" then transistion to fully DM, and he would be taking over my game at that point (he would be using some of my original plot lines, but he would be planning the games) We never made it to the "co-dm" part because of a difference of opinion.
At first, I said that I didn't plan the game to go very far, as one of the players was in the process of moving, and I started working 10 hour shifts (it's great when you're in the wardrobe department right before a casino opens, no really it is..), so I didn't have much time to plan DnD games too far in advance.
So anyway, this player offered to take over, which was ok, as long as he use the same "themes" (such as the players allegence to the Dwarf Queen, several evil NPCs that they killed off via evil Queen's Raise Dead spell,etc).
Then he wanted to use my campaign as a segway to his space adventure. So I said, it's going to stay DnD, and if you want to do an entirely different campaign that involves space do that one seperate of the DnD one.
He had created a Spartan class; and I told him I'd use that since I would like to play, since I didn't have the time to DM, and use a half-elf, and maybe multiclass into something (I was thinking maybe a level or 2 in fighter or something). He complained about the character being half-elven (he told me to just do elf or nothing, as half-elves aren't "kosher" in his game; he never brought up any race restrictions before hand); and also complained that I was also thinking of multiclassing. He told me that "It would make much more trouble for you later on in the game." When I asked how does multiclass hurt me, he didn't really answer my question.
I have seen, on another forum (can't remember where) where each week there is another DM for this one Play-by-post campaign. Gotta be confusing.
Last edited by Anaesthesia; 12-22-2007 at 02:35 PM.
My home group...
...back in NY, have developed two long term (decades of material) homebrew worlds, and ALL of us have written material for/DM'd...
When we ALL (10 - 12 of us) get together, I'm usually the co-DM, as I am nicknamed Book, keeper of lore (I, for some reason, retain extensive knowledge of the rules); so I run the combats and other rules heavy scenarios.
The main DM keeps the story arc running and provides personality for the NPC's and such.
As far as 'trade' secrets, some of us have been writing the worlds for 18 years, as far as player knowledge there isn't much we don't know; but for specific encounters, we either refer to our cannon (think how the Star Wars expanded universe has a file that outlines what actually is within the parameters of happening), or have the DM who is most knowledgeable guest star as NPC X or co-DM the relevant sessions. What can I say we avoid metagame knowledge, because it isn't fun... although in my home parties, knowledge history is taken by almost everyone so we can tap some of our player knowledge.
I've done it three times.
Three times it's sucked worse than... nothing I can describe. It was horrible.
There won't be a fourth time.
I was a player in a game of VtM, and after the original ST was finished up with his storyline a second ST took the reigns with her own storyline. After hers the Original ST took the reigns again for another plot arc and finally a third ST took over for the end. As I never STed I kept my same character throughout the games, whereas the other players characters would become NPCs during their stint as ST.
My old group and I had also had plans to run World's Largest Dungeon and alternating DMing responsibilities for the different sections of the dungeon. But we didn't get around to it before I moved.