Monday, March 26, 2012

Adventure Idea -- The Hunger Games

My daughter has been begging my wife and I to read Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games for a long time now. She was excited about the movie coming out and was disappointed that I wouldn't be in town to see it with her opening weekend. To make up for my absence, I borrowed her copy of the book for my business trip and promised to read it.

I finished tonight and found it an enjoyable read; however, this isn't a review. From the get go, I was reminded of a Dungeons & Dragons session I ran when I was in the seventh or eighth grade that had a strikingly similar set up.

I was twelve when I first started out as a dungeon master, and I quickly earned a reputation for killing characters. It was a badge of honor for me at the time. I strove to come up with novel ways of pitting my players characters against great odds. I didn't kill them all, but most. To this day, I've never actually killed a player, just their characters.

In the session I ran, I had my five players start out as convicted prisoners that were sentenced to death. Their captors gave them one chance at life. They were set loose in the dungeon via magic portals. The dungeon belonged to a powerful wizard. They were told that only one of them was allowed to make it out alive, but that person would not only earn his freedom, he would also be allowed to keep whatever he recovered in the dungeon. Of course the dungeon was stocked full of nasty monsters and even nastier traps. I had decided that whichever character made it to the end of the dungeon would be faced by the wizard and a small army of minions. The wizard would demand whatever valuables the character had recovered. If he cooperated, he would be allowed to live and leave naked. Yeah, I was not a nice DM, and I'm not sure why anyone ever wanted to play with me, young bastard that I was.

The five of them were not alone. I set loose ten NPC's with them, each of which had the same deal as they. All of the fifteen were set loose at different points in the dungeon. As I remember it, one of them was quickly attacked by a group of three NPC's that had decided to join forces. Witnessing this, the remaining four decided to gang together and started NPC hunting. This lasted for a bit, until one of them, a thief, back stabbed a fellow player character.

At that point, all hell broke loose. In the end, none of them survived as I cheated. One of the NPCs was actually a devil polymorphed into the form of a human. When he was encountered, well, it didn't end well for the remaining two players that met up with him.

In retrospect, it was a juvenile concept, but sometimes juvenile is good, dirty fun.

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