Yesterday while we were waiting for some of the usual gang to arrive at The Dungeon Tower FLGS it occurred to me that we were trying to run a long-run campaign in the game store. It’s something that one would run at home with a solid regular group, not a place where people come and go from one week to the next. Or where new gamers just want to sit in for a couple of hours.
I recalled Gary Gygax’s Tomb of Horrors. It’s less an out-right campaign adventure and more of a “See how long you can last” challenge. There were a few other stories I heard from Ernie about the Dungeon Hobby Shop where people would drop in and just want a quick game for various reasons. We needed a solution that let us drop in, game, and if others were an hour late or didn’t come, we could still have a game.
In 1925 Yves Tanguy, Jacques Prévert, André Breton and Marcel Duchamp created an art exercise called “The Exquisite Corpse”. A paper is folded into thirds. The first artist draws on the top, folds it to hide the section leaving only small hints to end lines for the next artist, and likewise for the third. The end creation is a surreal and abstract whole creation. I knew Herman wanted to get a break from GMing and I was getting my fill of waiting for people to maybe or maybe not arrive.
We threw most ideas of an on-going campaign out the window. We also threw large portions of organized adventure out the window. It was decided that we’d have a blank slate world with just some core elements. Similar to my Lands of Lunacy setting, we’d embrace the chaos void. Characters would be allowed to drop in and out without story-logic explanation. If nothing else, a chaos shadow would sweep away the character.
Game Masters can rotate at any time or at any natural pause. The GM (previously a player or guest) after the first one has the little story threads left to pull and create a game in an improv fashion. The world as a whole gets built one hex a time as each GM establishes new things. GMs can even rotate mid-dungeon if they like. The end larger creation ends up being an adventure and campaign. Even if it’s a bit ‘abstract’ it still creates the game world.
We are keeping a stack of Pre-Gens available. Players can also generate one on site, but the game continues while they work. Generally speaking, the party has an “adventurer level” as we move along and each GM picks up the torch. As players drop in and out some level adjustments need to be made.
Running an improv adventure is a real challenge, but in the Exquisite Dungeon a GM can run as few as a handful of encounters or as many as a few sessions. The GM can run off-the-cuff, a portion of a module, or something they googled during the break. In some way it should make sense according to the story threads of the previous GM.
This removes a lot of GM pressure and allows us to game with new visitors to the shop and regulars. We also get to keep our gaming muscles active and ideas flowing. One of the core reasons for us playing more is to become more familiar with the 5E system and its nuances. If your group tries the Exquisite Dungeon approach, I’d be interested in hearing about it below.
A few weeks ago Raven and I decided we wanted and needed to learn 5E better so that we could better understand the newest edition of the game for better or worse. We both love and play the 0E through 2E versions and enjoy them. It was just time to set things aside and dig in to try 5e in earnest without insisting it be an older edition. Here’s my take on how things are going…
The twelfth (12) kickstarter from Fail Squad Games has just launched. Brindlemarsh is the continuation of the Brindle series of adventures. Bogey of Brindle (BR-1) is alaso available through the project or on the website. We’ve added some unique magic items, cool collectibles and an exciting adventure for your heroes!
Written by Lloyd Metcalf and Ric Martens, edited by G.Scott Swift, this new adventure will be a great addition to your tavern tales of adventure.
Dwarfhome stones (created from cockatrice eggs) are one of the new magic items in Brnidlemarsh. The basic module adventure is just $10 to support FSG and help us to go print. $5 for PDF!! Get in now many limited levels.
BACK Brindlemarsh NOW
This adventure picks up in the mines of “The Bogey of Brindle” and transports our heroes to the hidden caves of Brindlemarsh. Trogs, Dragons, and more… what have they got themselves into? Sensible folk would run back home and hang up their armor for good, but adventurers are never “Sensible folk”.
This Kickstarter is launching soon. the writing is complete, most of the map work done, edits finished and more than half the illustrations are in place. We need to complete the 5E conversion and layout before we launch. That’s right, as with all Fail Squad Games Kickstarters almost all the work is done at launch, we just need to support of backers to go to print.
Coming to a table near you…. Brindlemarsh!!! (Nagareth the Terrible)
The OSR (Old School Renaissance or Revival) community is comprised heavily of small indie publishers working multiple jobs, solo entrepreneurs who LOVE games, small companies scraping to get by, or giant companies with very deep pockets. WOTC and Paizo haven’t ignored the OSR as they release and re-hash old titles, so they are included. Of course Paizo had a major hand in making the OSR possible with Pathfinder’s divergence from D&D 3.0 pushing the limits of the Open Gaming License.