With shockingly little consideration, I just spent an indefensible amount of money (over $100) on a single role-playing game supplement. I’m not sure what I was thinking, but I’m now the proud owner of the world’s largest dungeon. Let me see if I can convey the size of this thing: there is a map measuring 17″ x 22″ with 114 rooms. This map is described by 45 pages of very small text. This is “part A”. The dungeon goes to “part O”, each with a similarly sized map and usually larger text section, all bound into an 840 page hardback book.
Initially, I was interested in the gimmick of it, kind of a “just to say I have it” sort of a purchase. Surprisingly, though, the whole thing is bound together by a fairly decent story. It’s also pretty well organized and is thought out to run a party from low to high levels. It’s good enough to make me want to run it (or, at least, in it), but at the rate I play, it would take a really long time. I could never, I thought to myself, “do it right”.
Then I got to thinking about what “doing it right” might entail. Since I was in an extravagant mood, why not really go for broke? I think I could do it right if I could throw away no more than $250,000.
The basic idea would be to rent a house for a month to six weeks somewhere remote, but still cool, like Turks and Caicos. A group of five to seven players and a DM would live in the house and game starting at noon every weekday, usually until late in the evening. This group would probably be recruited somehow, possibly over the net, then weeded down to an interview and so on. Players would be given:
- Travel to and from the location
- Lodging and food
- $2500/week salary
- A 12″ PowerBook to keep
The DM would receive a similar package, but would be paid $3500/week and given a 17″ PowerBook. A minivan or similar vehicle would be made available for the duration for the group.
The computers are crucial for two reasons. First, in exchange for the salary, the players and DM would each be expected to blog about the experience each day. They could do this in their own voice or in character. For best effect, the members of the group would not be permitted to see each other’s blogs (probably just by using the honor system but perhaps through firewall rules, though these can be dodged).
More importantly, all the machines would be networked to a LAN while playing. Some of this might require some custom software, but the basic idea would be that nearly all of the events of the game (like die rolls, awarding and spending experience, etc.) would be done with the laptops (rather than pen, paper and dice) and it would all be logged automatically. In particular:
- All dice rolling would be handled by software. (If necessary, cheating could be avoided by hosting a dice server on the DMs machine.)
- Players could send secret messages to the DM or other players.
- Players could track all aspects of their characters (including expendable equipment like torches, which is more important in this dungeon than others).
- The DM could get a summary view of all the characters and make changes to them that cascade to the player’s machines (things like reducing hit points or increasing experience).
- The DM could send images to individual players or the whole group.
Audio of the sessions would be recorded (either by the DM’s machine or by another on site machine). Video might be taken, though it would probably need to be more of the “one image every few seconds” kind. Everything (including the logs) would be made available online, so anyone crazy enough could reconstruct it if they wanted. The group would be incommunicado with the internet (and vice versa) while in session.
Now I just need someone to fund it. Maybe I could pitch it to the Sci-Fi Network as a reality show.