Wednesday, 12 February 2020

The Fling

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there's those campaigns where everyone is fired up to try a new system or setting or someone wants to be the DUNGEON MASTER

but for whatever reason , 2-4 sessions later it just sorta ends.

But What If when we did such undertakings we framed it as limited run, to have something to finish with rather than just moving on?  Both an ending to aim for and an ending to happen if you just stop playing

Please consider the following and note I've included a possible angle to turn each into an ongoing campaign:
(fuck knows why I've listed them in a table)

1. A elritch alien warship, pride of a degenerate alien empire, has been struck by a vast void beast mid void-warp, and crashed back into real space, now warped and crippled, the alien crew dying and maddened from the ruptured void shields, and is now in a decaying orbit towards a blackhole.
You and your fellow players have broken free of your containment  and search desperately for escape among the cruel amusements , maddened guards, and fiendish security systems
You are: captives used as the payload on psychic cannons, genetically engineered geisha, P.O.W, malfunctioning robots, pragmatic alien serfs
The Aim: Get to an escape pod with enough supplies to make the characters future lives comfortable
The Default: You all are crushed beyond all understandings of the term crushed
The Over-achiever: You get the ship going and start your own LEXX-life

Murder Mystery Mansion Time Machine::
 A smug despot of a time-lord has thrown a dinner party for his peers , and further more as a delightful touch , he plucked "guests" from out time and space to join their esteemed ranks.
But he turns out MURDERED and now his mansion/time mansion is freaking out. BUT THE MURDER IS NOT YET DONE. The Mansion itself it not without its dangers, escaped terrors, bizarre traps et cetera  et cetera

You Are: Elites of an advanced and apathetic society, fellows plucked from time for their wit or lack of it
The Aim: To not get murdered, to get back to their own time, to discover Murderer
The Default: forced to live in wrong time line and wonder WHO WAS THE MAKER OF MURDER?
The Over-achiever: The murder is solved , the mansion mastered and now the fabric of space and time is yours to saunter forth upon

A mysterious mist has surrounded a village, everyone but you is got a fish plague and increasing waves of fishy monsters are coming for you
You Are: Simple practical folk , travelers, tourists, fly-by-night grifters
The Aim: To get out
The Default: you got dead or barely got out and are crazed beggar with 'Oribble tale
The Over-achiever: the secret of the Curse is uncovered plus riches too. But is it but one pebble fore-towing a occult landslide?

you are all convicts given a car and some weapons and sent across the Cursed Earth to try and win years off your sentence , battle other HARDENED KILL CRAZED CRIMINALS and the MUTANT HORRORS and CANNIBAL YUPPIE GANGS of the Cursed Earth, all before the drone eyes of a jaded and cruel LIVE AUDIENCE
You Are: Convicted criminals from a variety of backgrounds with a range of skillsets
The Aim: To make it to the finish or remove your bomb collars and commit to life in the cursed earth
The Default: assumed MIA and eaten or back in the slammer
The Over-Achiever: rebel and build a bandit kingdom and lay siege to a mega-city

5.Babes in the woods:
Lost in the faery woods! Will you make it home? Will you find what you seekth here?
You Are: Lost children, questing knights, talking animals
The Aim: make it out
The Default: Lost forever, as animals, fey servants , or living wood
The Over-Achiever : Riches! An Elf Bride! The Favour of the Seelie Court! Human Form! Further intrigues and quests? Maybe!

Post-Adventurer Fun-House Dungeon:
They've come , solved or brutalized puzzle and trap, slain many, found the cackling undead wizard and took from him his undead continence and his tome of big man spells. But what now for those of rooms not visited as his spells twist and die and the less bold crawl in for the scraps left behind?
Factions are unbalanced and guardians amok!
You Are:  Monsters, Undead, Abandoned Henchmen, Former Servants, Escaped Captives, representatives of underworld tribes or dungeon factions
The Aim: To get out without being immediately hunted down due to the dungeons nearest to civilization.  To have a means of survival.
The Default: you get adventured or are still there preying on treasure seekers
The Over-Achiever : you are now the lord of this sinister peak, you have ravaged the nearby out-crop of civilization forcing it back away from the free wilderness, you have got out with a means of power and agency . OR SUCH LIKE


A fling-campaign like any of these could have a table and/or conditions to determine the fates of characters if the campaign just ends.
So for Deathrace if the character has a bomb collar at the end of the session sequence , they are assumed back in slammer, if they are sans-collar there's a table to determine their fate, if they have earned the respect of cannibal gang then they assumed a member .
You could get involved as you like here with tables and sub-tables. I'm sure the above example is already suggestive of more elaboration.



  1. Westward, ho!
    You have to leave your old home because of 1: Disease 2: War 3: Famine 4: Religious Something
    You are: An ethnic/ideological/economic minority. You have d10 x 10 fellow pilgrims to pull from when you need retainers or when you die. You have d4 x 5000 gp worth of standard equipment in your boat/wagons/caravan, which has d10 x 10,000cn of load. (Don't figure all that out first, just do it as needed and subtract from the original amounts.)
    The Aim: Find a new land, provide for your people, and build a Keep before 1 year and 1 day of game time expires. (Needless to say, you cannot have a meaningful campaign if strict every damn thing records are not kept.)
    The Default: You die of dysentery, you starve, you are eaten by native fauna, you freeze to death, THE GREAT CURSE takes effect 366 days after you start if you are Keep-less.
    The Over-Achiever: You get enough resources to not only set up your Keep in time but also to gather enough warriors to your cause to RETURN HOME AND WREAK VENGEANCE.

  2. > 5.Babes in the woods:

    reverse it and you've got Jim Henson's (er David Bowie's) Labyrinth! Get to the middle of the maze to "win".

  3. COMPLETELY agree with your ideas here.

    I've always felt one of the big deficiencies in a lot of adventures is the 'clear goal'. Eg kill the Wizard, escape the prison.

    Even for Dungeons I like to give the players a goal such as find a specific treasure. It helps so much as it gives the players something to aim for and the DM something to build around.

    I even use this for longer campaigns, particularly if there is a destination involved (eg go to mountain in the North and kill the Necromancer). That way the PCs can travel and have adventures on the way while still having a clear end place in mind.