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I've been mulling over ideas for team vs. team D&D campaigns (or any system really), where two or more teams of PCs compete for a particular prize and PvP combat is allowed.

All players would build characters at the same level & own the same amount of gold to spend on equipment, but otherwise could choose classes as they see fit. Perhaps players could hire NPCs and even field small armies.

A "scavenger hunt" campaign might be fun, where teams compete to bring back the most gold from several locations (dungeons, tombs, etc.), and no holds barred on attacking other PCs and stealing their loot. Or win the campaign if your team is first to grab the flag from a rival's fort and successfully bring it back to your own castle.

I'm imagining this would work best in a play be email campaign so that the DM can track the location of each team at every instant in game time (especially important if one team is laying an ambush!). Otherwise multiple DMs would be necessary.

Theoretically it sounds like fun . . . Has anyone tried this? Was it a logistics nightmare? Were players too cutthroat competitive?

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closed as too broad by SevenSidedDie, BESW, Oblivious Sage, Wibbs, Alex P Nov 13 '13 at 4:12

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

You might look into fourthcore team deathmatch. Fourthcore is a flavor of 4e that has a no holds barred, high lethality theme to it. Some folks took that concept and made it into a deathmatch tournament style for L1 PCs. – wax eagle Nov 12 '13 at 19:43
Do you really mean to tag this with "every edition of D&D", or did you mean to tag this with a specific edition? (This will not work the same in every edition.) – SevenSidedDie Nov 12 '13 at 21:21
Relevant: the Head of Vecna – doppelgreener Nov 12 '13 at 21:37
@RobertF The problem is that most RPGs are nothing like D&D. Tremulus is about investigation, Microscope is about world creation, Dogs in the Vineyard is made to confront deep and scary parts of your mind, Paranoia is all about working as a team you may betray or be betrayed by, and Fiasco is about, well, everything going to hell. This is not a System Agnostic issue. In addition, it would work very differently between 4e and OD&D, such that how well one worked would be irrelevant to the other. – doppelgreener Nov 12 '13 at 22:44
@RobertF Ah. Part of trouble then is that this isn't a discussion site. We do Q&A: someone asks a complete question, individual complete answers are given in response. There's no back-and-forth, no discussion, no figuring things out. That's what forums are for, and that's great, but StackExchange was created to serve a different purpose than forums. – SevenSidedDie Nov 12 '13 at 22:51
up vote 4 down vote accepted

I've seen a D&D game run like this at a convention, although I admit I did not participate myself. (I was too busy running my own game to partake, but I did watch the game as it progressed.)

As far as logistics and presentation goes:

  • They used two DMs, so that one person could be entirely focused on one PC party.
  • The dungeon was very large, and built with HeroScape (or at least something similar) pieces, giving an extra dimension to the game, at least visually. I don't recall whether they used actual elevated terrain for this particular game, but HeroScape pieces would give them the option.
  • Two PC teams, each starting in an adjacent corner of the dungeon, with the target at the opposite side.
  • Black felt was draped over the dungeon's rooms as "Fog of War," which was removed as the PCs advanced.

The PCs began separated, but they could meet up in the dungeon before hitting the target room, depending on the routes they took. They were permitted to engage in PvP, but they were also permitted to help each other out... but only one team could come out a winner, so the cooperation could only last for so long.

At this particular convention, this multi-team D&D game was iterated several times, tournament-style. Eliminating the other team was not a requirement to win, but the opposing team would do what they could to stop your team from grabbing the MacGuffin first. There were a couple iterations where one team managed to breeze through the encounters (lucky rolls or better strategy, who knows?) and get to the MacGuffin before their opponents were even in sight, and win the game without even seeing each other.

On the other side of the coin, a 4e campaign I just finished was apparently being run with two groups. The DM would play with one PC group one day of the week, and another group on a different day, their actions ostensibly affecting the world in the other game. Unfortunately, we didn't notice the effects of the other PCs at all, but that may have simply been poor delivery on the part of the DM.

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Thanks Brian - this is helpful. Players have to be encouraged to interact, easy in the dungeon w/ the MacGuffin but more difficult in a big sandbox environment. – RobertF Nov 12 '13 at 23:12
+1 for running two separate groups on different days. Not quite the same thing, but I have run several campaigns with good and evil parties competing for some nasty magic item(s) and control of some land. The opposing parties actions were always directly incorporated into the opposite parties storyline for the next session. The parties could play other forces against each other, or explore the same areas, but the final confrontation was the only time the two groups met face to face (with myself as referee and each player group controlling their own side/forces). – Anaksunaman Nov 14 '13 at 3:56

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