26 July 2012

Flailsnails Realms: Where PCs go to die

You and your party of PCs fight have fought through countless dank dungeons, mysterious mazes and creepy castles. Every time, you fought against NPCs controlled by the DM. Perhaps you had some inter-party dust-ups, but generally, your DM enforced a peace for the sake of gameplay.

But two inventions present an opportunity to marry the hard work of building a PC with the fun of killing another PC in a SAFE environment.

Flailsnails, that anything-goes style of RPG adventuring in which players from different RPG system co-exist is a great way to spice up your tabletop and get more play time in with different groups of people.

Google Hangouts and the web in-general, allow instant and free teleconferencing and information sharing.

Combine this two with a bit of custom glue I'll describe in a bit and you get Flailsnails Realms, in which guilds of PCs battle each for ranking and in-world booty.

It's a kind of megadungeon where YOU are the monster.

Imagine conducting raids on rival guilds, battling *real* PCs under the watchful eye of a human DM. The prize? Rankings, gold and other in-world booty that can help fortify your own guild keep. And XP that travels with you to your other games.

The trick to making the work is to crack a few technical problems:

  • a fair and distributed mechanism of ranking DMs
  • a fair policy for handling combat for players who aren't available
  • thinking through both the in-world rewards and allowable PC takeaways

The first problem is perhaps the most interesting to me. Online communities often have trouble with this. Tracking player victories and defeats is straight-forward as these can be recorded by the DM (who is then rated by the players).

The key mechanic is that PCs don't actually die in the realm. That would be too cruel. But being defeated does have consequences (i.e. PC can't raid for awhile, guild ranking is dropped, etc.).

I am only getting started with this idea.

Does this sound interesting to you? Have you already seen this done?