The Steamdragon Acquisitions Company
Game Structure and System
For character creation we will be using 3.5E with some tweaks mentioned in Special and House Rules. The campaign itself will be a hybrid of play by post and in-person sessions, and is designed to be played casually with roughly 10 hours commitment per month. The layout and themes of the games leave the world “open” for any of us to DM live sessions or forum posts, and any modifications that need to occur to the system to make it easier for that objective to be met will be implemented.
“Who Is Dungeon Master?”
Everyone, No One, little of both. All 3 of us are rolling characters, but someone is going to spend that session behind a screen while two others are rolling for their lives. My intent is to make it so if 1 session I DM a game, next time it could just as easily be David or Jodi who pop in and run a game. The way the forums will work, hopefully we will each get a heavy hand in the world-building, and get to have our fun playing quirky and crazy NPCs. My goal is to look at this campaign a year from now, seeing “that crazy town Jodi made where they tried to kill the menfolk”, “that session where David threw us against an Ice Dragon…at level 2”, and “the forum post that somehow led into a not so safe for work thread between David and Jodi”, just as much as “The session where you finally learned it was the butler all along”. The world is set up in such a way that if you want to run something in the desert, we are in the desert that week, ocean, go for it, medieval Greyhawk, it’s there too, Steampunk London, sure. The constant is our characters, and the friends behind the sheets.l
Forum “sessions” will run between Live Sessions, and will entail “downtime” for the characters. We post threads on Our Forum and keep an eye on them a few times a week (about 2 posts a week from players, maybe more for the DM). Each “session” will be a thread in the forum which will resolve before our next in person game. If the party is camping in the woods, this may end up just being posts in that session’s thread on how we spend our time, and what conversations we have with our companions.
The real fun is when we are in a town. Towns are designed and thus DM’d by one of the players. Using Agartaas an example, this is a city I created. I would make a sticky thread and a copy-paste of the info into it’s wiki page detailing what is available in Agarta, what shops, resources, and taverns are around, and what Gladium (henchmen) are available for renting for our next live session. In our “session” thread the players discuss what they are doing in the town, and the DM provides feedback based on the town.
Example: you make a post saying you want to sell all your junk (include list), buy some copper, and make yourself a new breastplate, I respond with: “You want to sell your old armor at the blacksmith for between 15s and 45s, buy some copper for between 80c and 1s10c, and use his forge for between 0c and 25c a session. You barter with him (roll me a diplomacy/intimidate/bluff of your choosing and throw in some fluff) for your transaction and for if he will charge you for using the forge. As for the making of the breastplate, follow standard rules.” Then you would make a post with your rolls (Diplomacy: [ROLL=“1d20+12”][/ROLL], not to get ahead of myself with formatting, the forum is a whole different beast), what you said, and any rolls for your item creation, and I would follow up with your bill.
It does go back and forth quite a bit per person, especially when renting henchmen, but over the course of a week or two it doesn’t add up to that much of a time commitment, and if it isn’t anything game-vital I will usually forgo social rolls and rely solely on our skills at expressing ourselves. I, as well as any of you running a town, reserve the right to say “no, the party needs to talk to X guy in a live session” if I know there is significantly more to that interaction than “here is your information and a beer”, but in theory the forums will accomplish a lot of the more peaceful portions of the game in a setting we arn’t all watching the clock. The forums get the groundwork laid between sessions so when we play a live session everyone is geared up, informed from tavern discussions, bags cleared, and Gladium hired for the live session.
These are your standard D&D games, we get together and describe what we are doing, making rolls as the DM requires. This is what we will use for dungeons, travel, quests, and other general “lots of rolling dice and back-and-forth conversations”. We all work the dreaded “retail”, and as a result these will be more sporadic than we all hope, but with a lot of the legwork accomplished in the forums, we can get right to the meat. One of us will be DM, obviously, and their player will be handled however they decide for the session. For games I run, my character will be mostly silent unless directly conversed with, and act each round in the same manner as Gladium. David may decide to fully act out his character when he DMs, and run his turns like normal, and Jodi might decide her character is “ill at the inn” for the entirety of her session, it is entirely up to the DM. For these sessions I will try to keep things compartmentalized, the end of 1 session being a good jumping off place for another DM next session if need be. I do understand sometimes we are on the second to last level of the “Tomb of Infinite Traps..I mean Treasure” and it hits midnight, so we have to head out, but the design is for that to be rare, that MOST of the time the DM is prepared for a compartmentalized 3 to 4 hour session with time for a few pee and smoke breaks. I have an overarching loose campaign in mind for the world, some going on behind the scenes while we play, but it’s more like the Main Story quests of Dragon Age, short compartmentalized bites that don’t have to be done one right after another.
“I’m sorry guys, I can’t make it today.”
There is 3 of us, if we start picking up more players I may change my view on this, but as of right now if David finds out he has to work the night we were going to do a session, or one of us is just plain not available, it is rescheduling the session.
First and Foremost, have Fun!
If anything above, or in practice becomes tedious, painful, or just plain “not fun”, we will scratch it, this is at the very least my “recreation”, and I know I don’t want to spend it doing something I hate. Communicate with each other, and we will make this as fun as we possibly can.