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Author Topic: running an adventure for 50 players  (Read 572 times)

S'mon

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Re: running an adventure for 50 players
« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2021, 02:42:00 PM »
Last night I was reading the original D&D rules and laughed when I read the advice that a "referee" can handle up to *50* players (though it does say ideally you'd want a 1:20 ref:player ratio).  Can you imagine?!

Actually, there is one game where 50 players might be great - Dungeon Crawl Classics!  You could run an extremely brutal, trap-laden dungeon and let each person run a single 0-level character, and when they're dead, they're out.

At the reverse end of the extreme, I've been struggling to adjust an adventure to 2 players.  I end up having to pull a lot of punches.  At least with 50, I wouldn't feel bad dishing out consequences.

It's 20-50 in the *campaign*, which does not mean they're all sitting round the same table at the same time!

In my FR sandbox game I have 16 players with 20 PCs across three different PC groups, their activites affect each other but I'm not GMing for more than 8 players at any one time.
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S'mon

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Re: running an adventure for 50 players
« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2021, 02:47:36 PM »
I like the "West Marches" concept a lot but scheduling seems like it would be a huge challenge.

In my game one group plays Saturday, one group plays Monday, and the third group is play-by-post throughout the week. We chose days & times to suit the players, then we stick with those & they either can play or can't, but usually everyone can (I have adjusted start times a bit if someone will be late). With 8 players & 8 PCs per live group it's fine if one or two are away. There are often NPCs with the parties too.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2021, 02:56:42 PM by S'mon »
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critical_fumble

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Re: running an adventure for 50 players
« Reply #17 on: February 18, 2021, 05:30:26 PM »
I'm loving the types of campaign models you're all talking about! It seems much more like a good fantasy novel where you would get a cliffhanger with a group or character at the end of the chapter, and then you'd have to wait a while to pick back up with the action, with the separate arcs/timelines all converging at one or more points. Fantastic!

It makes for a great novel, but somehow, as a failing of my own, I've just never thought of ttrpgs as being able to run this way. Of course, this sort of campaign requires a lot of scheduling, responsibility, and...well, friends that play rpgs. So, I couldn't do it right now even if I wanted to. Drats!

Perhaps I could have my current 2 players start a group of pcs in a different location and then tie them together later? Not sure if they'd be down for it, but I'd like to give it a shot.

S'mon

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Re: running an adventure for 50 players
« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2021, 06:39:16 PM »
Of course, this sort of campaign requires a lot of scheduling, responsibility, and...well, friends that play rpgs.

I find it's far less arduous than running an Adventure Path. So much material is reusable, & so little gets wasted. I just need the sandbox set up with a decent selection of adventures scattered across it - mostly published ones, though I do do my own.

All my players except my son were either recruited as players, or brought in by current players (spouse, child, etc). If I wanted more players I'd just advertise the game on Roll20, since that's where I run it. Most new recruits flake off, but you just ignore those and enjoy the ones who stay.
My 5e and Mini Six Primeval Thule games blog:
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soundchaser

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Re: running an adventure for 50 players
« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2021, 12:30:21 AM »
From 1977-1980 I played a weekly game at Chimera Books in Rockville, Maryland. The savvy GM was Kerry Lloyd (RIP+). I was always blown away at how he would handle game night, when there were typically 30-40 players. The campaign was such a blast.

Samsquantch

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Re: running an adventure for 50 players
« Reply #20 on: February 19, 2021, 12:34:24 AM »
I'm loving the types of campaign models you're all talking about! It seems much more like a good fantasy novel where you would get a cliffhanger with a group or character at the end of the chapter, and then you'd have to wait a while to pick back up with the action, with the separate arcs/timelines all converging at one or more points. Fantastic!

It makes for a great novel, but somehow, as a failing of my own, I've just never thought of ttrpgs as being able to run this way. Of course, this sort of campaign requires a lot of scheduling, responsibility, and...well, friends that play rpgs. So, I couldn't do it right now even if I wanted to. Drats!

Perhaps I could have my current 2 players start a group of pcs in a different location and then tie them together later? Not sure if they'd be down for it, but I'd like to give it a shot.


My current group has this going on.  One party is still in the the lost mine of phandelver and another is in the 5e version of the keep on the borderlands.

Samsquantch

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Re: running an adventure for 50 players
« Reply #21 on: February 19, 2021, 12:36:58 AM »
From 1977-1980 I played a weekly game at Chimera Books in Rockville, Maryland. The savvy GM was Kerry Lloyd (RIP+). I was always blown away at how he would handle game night, when there were typically 30-40 players. The campaign was such a blast.

That sounds like some pretty good memories.

Zalman

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Re: running an adventure for 50 players
« Reply #22 on: February 19, 2021, 12:40:55 PM »
A good solution to that problem is to have everyone have two or more characters so while Jim's paladin is still stuck in the dungeon because they didn't make it back to town Jim can still play next time he's available if the rest of his paladin's dungeon team as still stuck in the field on exercise and some of the other players are ready and available.

This definitely helps, but in my experience is only a part-time solution. That is, it works sometimes.

What has happened more than once in my campaigns is that the exact original of group of players never gets together again, and Group B becomes the "default" adventuring party. Eventually, Group B gets stuck in a dungeon, and the next group of players moves on to Group C. None of the stuck parties ever get out, because those particular groups of players don't repeat (even though the players repeat, in different configurations).

I can't find it now, but somewhere I read a blog post from a DM who uses a random "get out of the dungeon" roll, for parties that don't make it out by the end of the gaming session. Every party gets back -- just with possibly some random consequences (including injury, equipment loss, and even character death).

Edit: Here it is, from Justin Alexander: https://thealexandrian.net/wordpress/2149/roleplaying-games/escaping-the-dungeon
« Last Edit: February 19, 2021, 03:03:53 PM by Zalman »
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mAcular Chaotic

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Re: running an adventure for 50 players
« Reply #23 on: February 19, 2021, 08:32:23 PM »
I love the concepts of big games, having multiple players and groups wandering a living world.

I've been running a game like that in 5e, heavily edited with house rules to be more like OD&D. It's been working out great so far.

The only limit on play so far has been my own ability to DM -- the players are numerous enough to play multiple nights a week, but I can only run so many games back to back. The next step would be to have more than one GM involved to cover other days.
Battle doesn't need a purpose; the battle is its own purpose. You don't ask why a plague spreads or a field burns. Don't ask why I fight.

BedrockBrendan

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Re: running an adventure for 50 players
« Reply #24 on: February 20, 2021, 07:20:36 PM »
Last night I was reading the original D&D rules and laughed when I read the advice that a "referee" can handle up to *50* players (though it does say ideally you'd want a 1:20 ref:player ratio).  Can you imagine?!

Actually, there is one game where 50 players might be great - Dungeon Crawl Classics!  You could run an extremely brutal, trap-laden dungeon and let each person run a single 0-level character, and when they're dead, they're out.

At the reverse end of the extreme, I've been struggling to adjust an adventure to 2 players.  I end up having to pull a lot of punches.  At least with 50, I wouldn't feel bad dishing out consequences.

most I ever saw was a guy in high school who was very good at recruiting players, who had two tables worth of people a session for a while (he was the type of person who made D&D appealing to people who weren't gamers by nature). I don't know what the total number was but definitely not close to 50 (maybe 12? possibly a little more). It was pandemonium, but controlled chaos, and it worked well for the type of campaign it became (which was mostly a back-stabby, internal fighting type of party). It wasn't quite my cup of tea though as it got a little too cut throat and I mainly just wanted to go on adventures.

Samsquantch

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Re: running an adventure for 50 players
« Reply #25 on: February 20, 2021, 10:32:52 PM »
A good solution to that problem is to have everyone have two or more characters so while Jim's paladin is still stuck in the dungeon because they didn't make it back to town Jim can still play next time he's available if the rest of his paladin's dungeon team as still stuck in the field on exercise and some of the other players are ready and available.

This definitely helps, but in my experience is only a part-time solution. That is, it works sometimes.

What has happened more than once in my campaigns is that the exact original of group of players never gets together again, and Group B becomes the "default" adventuring party. Eventually, Group B gets stuck in a dungeon, and the next group of players moves on to Group C. None of the stuck parties ever get out, because those particular groups of players don't repeat (even though the players repeat, in different configurations).

I can't find it now, but somewhere I read a blog post from a DM who uses a random "get out of the dungeon" roll, for parties that don't make it out by the end of the gaming session. Every party gets back -- just with possibly some random consequences (including injury, equipment loss, and even character death).

Edit: Here it is, from Justin Alexander: https://thealexandrian.net/wordpress/2149/roleplaying-games/escaping-the-dungeon

Thanks, I'll give that a read.

mAcular Chaotic

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Re: running an adventure for 50 players
« Reply #26 on: February 21, 2021, 03:15:44 AM »
I just ran a session tonight, open table style. I was expecting 5 players, but instead 8 showed up.

I was going to cut it down to 5, but I ended up just running 7.
Battle doesn't need a purpose; the battle is its own purpose. You don't ask why a plague spreads or a field burns. Don't ask why I fight.

Brad

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Re: running an adventure for 50 players
« Reply #27 on: February 21, 2021, 09:10:01 PM »
I ran AD&D nearly every night for like two months when I was in undergrad. It was in the dorm and everyone who found out about it wanted to play, ended up being something like 15 people. I started them off in the sample dungeon from the DMG, they made it in a few rooms before factions formed and the in-fighting began. After maybe three sessions it was literally 4 or 5 hours every night of PC vs. PC, so there were lots of private meetings in the hallway. Eventually Spring Break occurred and the game ended abruptly. Still one of the most fun times I ever had running a game, even if it was pure chaos at times.

The oddest thing was that only one of the players had even played any sort of RPG before, and from top to bottom the group actually stuck to role playing their characters to a degree I haven’t seen since. The were an evil party, and the fighting started because a cleric of Bael got into a beef with a cleric of Asmodeus I think and it all went downhill from there.