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No, this is not about picking a date for next year. At least not yet.

As we all know, the previous Dorkfest campaign came to an end. May it be the first of many. What I want to do for now is sort of think out loud and discuss the future. First I'll just put down some thoughts and considerations, but I would welcome any ideas from you as well. Perhaps there's some setting idea you've always wanted to play in but never had a chance to. Or you have some clever insight. Whatever it is, share it here.

But first my own thoughts.

It's a safe idea that D&D 4e is not an option for next year. Or at the very least, not the way we did it. All the options and the party size are just too much for one single group.

Handling 10 players is, of course, difficult for any system. But we'll need something that can provide meaningful distinction between 10 characters, so either a game with classes or which lets you construct from a wide variety of options. I think classes would have a slight preference, as point-buy construction games might be unfamiliar to some and prone to being slow again during character creation and updating.

For setting I don't really know yet. Fantasy is easiest use, but I'd rather not go through the standard dungeon crawls all over again we've seen a hundred times before. I'd like something a little bit new or different. Perhaps an unusual setting we haven't done much yet. And of course, the PC activities need to support the idea of such a large group.

Much food for thought. Let me know what your own ideas and preferences are. Even if it's just a couple of things you don't want to do in Dorkfest, that can also help to narrow down the options.
I don't want to eat winegums with mustard, if at possible.

Could a tenth year of Reapers reaping still be on the table for discussion? Just so that we know we explored all our options?

With perhaps a DM team or other crazy goofball setup which would allow Arik to have, say, fun?
I have fun simply being there. And I don't mind the pressures of being a DM. It's just that a group of this size, this level, and with all the options available is too much for the system. Maybe I could make the math itself work if I gave everything a +10 bonus to all things and infinite range heal-for-only-half auras. In other words, something that's contrived, cheating, and basically not much fun for anybody. Math might work, everything else wouldn't.

I discussed this earlier with Jasper, but 4e has a lot of "all allies gain XYZ" powers. Which works well enough when there's four of them. But when you've got 10 of them and they each bring more powers like that to the table, well... the sum is much greater than its parts.

I bet that even if I replace your D20's with D10's, you'd still steamroll over a normal encounter.

Another thing that works in terms of maths is aggressively un-leveling and curating the Reapers' powers and items, so that they become manageable again. But that strikes me as a horrible idea. You'd basically play a lobotomized version of the campaign, achievements and identities sacrificed on the altar of game balance.

It's nice to hear that the campaign is so popular that people want to give it another shot. I just don't see it working out.

I think we can do the winegum thing though.
That's a 'Maybe' at best for not having winegum/mustard.

As much fun as it would be to destroy another weekend full of encounters and sap Arik's will to live just a little more, I think we have to accept that we got the most we could get out of 4th.

If we are going to do something new next year, I'm partial to the steampunk/fantasy combo. (Like Iron Kingdoms.)
"....Frantick Garrison-Fairgrey is a troubled young lad, destined to fill the shoes of both his parents and grandparents to save Corvis from the witches, undead hordes and evil wizards.. again. "

Yeah I'd totally go for that. Grin
I would like to make sure we don't get into something referencing something not everybody is in on. Basically, I want Dorkfest to be equally accessible to everyone.

Something to keep in mind Smile
I don't think the witchfire trilogy will be taken under serious consideration. Smile
Story-wise it will probably need to be on a pretty big scale. That's what worked very well for the reapers. We could be out for a year, have 'this happened in down time' introduction and be good to go.

Iron kingdoms or similar large scale conflict setup might work well for that. Planescape setup works brilliantly for big scale stories, but we've already been there done that.
No, the Witchfire Trilogy is not really what I plan to run for 10 people. Wink

Iron Kingdoms in general is possible but risky. I wouldn't want to connect it to our own "home canon" because that would make it fondly familiar to some and alien to others. I'd also have to consider which system, because I don't think either D&D or their own home system really work all that well for it. I can think of a few that might but those work poorly for such large groups.

Ah the joys of game logistics...

If fantasy/steampunk is desired then Eberron is also an option. Lots of big scale stuff to do in a fantasy world made for D&D. Not as familiar to most people but if everybody is sketchy on the details then everybody can ease into it at the same rate.

I'll keep the fantasy-punk under consideration. Other suggestions of course still welcome.
We could go for LARP. those usually have rules for lots of players LOL
As I go through all the options (and there's a lot of those), a question occurs:

Do we necessarily want fantasy? And why do you think so?

I mean, it's fine if we do. It's just if I know the answers it'll help with narrowing things down. Especially the "why" is important to me, because that gives me the most insight into people's wishes.
For me, fantasy and dorkfest is a good combination because the tropes are known so well. It's also the 'classic' game I know and that always matched up well with the dungeon crawling (classic!). I don't *need* fantasy, but when I think Dorkfest, I think dwarves and elves and foresty areas and dungeons Grin
I'm not as hung up on fantasy as I used to be. I'm up for anything, really.
We started Dorkfest to benchmark test 4th, right? I think it held up pretty great, all things considered. How about we try 5th. Arik said he'd have fun just being there, so I'm not expecting any protest from his general direction. LOL
So what about D&D in space? Like a reverse transformers, the PCs wander into a dungeon that turns out to be a space ship the suddenly fucking takes off and we're battling aliens and robots.

Laser swords.
Vibro axes.
Reel to reel magnetic tape computers.
Power armor.
Bards with keytars.
Awesome neon lights on everything.
Bitchin' soundtrack.
Gay marry me, Ben.
That's an option. I do like some of the visuals, in a retro-future-80's-Adventure Time kind of way.

Alternative idea we discussed on Monday (me, Ben, Robin, and Jeroen): a world where technology is magic, advanced to roughly cyberpunk-ish levels of "tech".

In this world you normally wouldn't cast Fireballs, just as we in the real world don't become mutant heroes after being bitten by a radioactive spider. But you would have terrorist cells trying to get their hands on pyronuclear warheads and necrotic dirty bombs. Golems were once lumbering men of clay with a magic word etched on their foreheads. Now they are basically robots with adaptive AI, based on self-rewriting ferrofluid cores. Orcs are not some "always chaotic evil" humanoid species, they are tank-bred super soldiers based on Cold War technology.

Swords are molecular blades. Longbows are sniper rifles. A single "hit point" represents enough damage to take out an ordinary, un-augmented adult. So yes, your body is cybernatically enhanced and magically infused, and you can literally take a couple of rockets to the face at some point.

In this video, a man pretending to be Vegeta plays a videogame with a cyborg. But if you read between the lines... it looks an awful lot like a Fighter hired to protect a caravan, when bandits attack with their pet dragon.

The PCs would be a 10-man elite squad of counter-terrorism agents, or something like that. Similar to Ghost in the Shell or Deus Ex. Except with more swords. Lots more swords.

This is either the best or the dumbest idea I've had in a while. Possibly both.
Another alternative idea:

Shining Force

For those who don't know: It's a video game some of us have fond memories of. But more importantly, it's a fantasy game which involved very large groups of characters going on very big epic quests and facing very big enemy hordes.
For a quick impression:

Only two problems with this option I can see:
1. Jeroen will keep trying to egress and repeat battles to claim more xp.
2. We need two more players.

I'm in. IN I TELL YOU!!!

If you're doing shining force, players should be able to discover new heros and swap-out their current characters for them. You'd probably need more than one dm to run the hordes and manage 10 PC's.
Some people have asked, so here's a bit of clarification as to what I mean with "Shining Force."

A fantasy RPG set in medieval-ish times, though with anachronisms like the occasional steam-powered gizmo. In ancient times people were even more advanced and there's relics from those bygone ages left to be found in the world. There's elves, dwarves, centaurs, and beastmen around. (Also bird-people and much weirder stuff but those won't be PC options.)

Basically a JRPG-type world. Besides SF you could also compare it to the Legend of Heroes games, Chrono Trigger (or at least the starting time period), Skies of Arcadia, Fire Emblem, Golden Sun, the Tales series, and so forth.

We don't seriously need more people. That was a joke.

You would start off as a group of youngsters of the same generation, classmates and trained in the arts of combat. It's a dangerous world out there. And then shit hits the fan and it's up to you to save the village/kingdom/princess/whatever.
On to Runefaust!
Race and class list is coming along nicely.

Available races will be human, elf, dwarf, centaur, and beastman (a catch-all group of various subraces thrown together). To preserve the flavor of the setting there will be race/class limitations. As such the races and their available classes are;

Human: Fighter, Monk, Priest, Rogue, Summoner, Wizard
Dwarf: Fighter
Elf: Archer, Monk, Priest, Rogue, Summoner, Wizard
Centaur: Archer, Fighter
Beastman: Berserker (wolf people), Monk (panda people) Priest (fox people), Rogue (rat people and a tiny minority of wolf people), Wizard (fox people).

Or put another way:

Archer: Centaur, Elf
Berserker: Beastman (wolf)
Fighter: Human, Centaur, Dwarf
Monk: Human, Beastman (panda), Elf
Priest: Human, Beastman (fox), Elf
Rogue: Human, Beastman (mostly rat), Elf
Summoner: Human, Elf
Wizard: Human, Beastman (fox), Elf

Astute readers may notice that there are only 8 classes for a group of 10 players. That is intentional. The classes are expanded and revised to the point that with some coordination between players they can comfortably be included multiple times without overlap. For example, you could include three Fighters (one of each available race) and have no game mechanic overlap between them whatsoever, save for the formula how to calculate hit points.
I like this Grin
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