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Trask
2018-04-24, 03:34 PM
I have an idea for a fun game which involves the players starting out as normal people from our world, but then getting involved in a pseudo historical fantasy D&D world. I like this setup for many reasons, but one flaw I see is that the character pool is essentially "limited" in the sense that the more players die, the more they will have to be replaced with natives from the fantasy world and the setup is negated.

Any ways to circumvent this? I was thinking perhaps make it a relatively large group of people that got lost and came to the fantasy world and they are sort of holed up somewhere and can be brought in as replacements?

Mark Hall
2018-04-24, 04:26 PM
A large pool of people, a recurrent event, or adding natives who adapt to the subculture created by the real-world people. I can think of two series of novels that would work as inspiration.

First, on the "large group of people", there "Island in the Sea of Time" by SM Stirling. The island of Nantucket and a Coast Guard training ship get thrown 5000 years in the past. While there's a lot of main characters, there's also a lot of people to draw from... and there's elements of the people of the past adapting to the culture of the modern folks, marrying and integrating (and vice versa).

Secondly, the Guardians of the Flame series by Joel Rosenberg (RIP). A not!D&D group gets sent to their game world. While several characters die or fall out of the group, they add others to their abolitionist crusade as the series goes on... and generate a few of their own protagonists, through reproduction and adoption.

Honest Tiefling
2018-04-24, 04:28 PM
Perhaps the BBEG or a side villain are also from the real world? That way even if the entire party got replaced the NPCs themselves are also adding to the set up. Might work well with a large group of people, as not everyone would react the same...

Pelle
2018-04-24, 04:33 PM
You can institute house rules that makes character death less likely, if that would mess up the campaign. Like rolling for permanent injuries instead of dying.

DeTess
2018-04-24, 04:41 PM
Depending on the reasons for people getting sent to the fantasy world, it might not at all be problematic to have it be a recurring or ongoing event, though if you do go that way make sure the players encounter others from their won world as NPC's as well, instead of them only turning up whenever the party needs a new member. I've played in a LARP that had a setup like that , with many of the characters originally coming from 8-14th century earth.

Anonymouswizard
2018-04-24, 04:50 PM
If you go with a recurring event it could be something like the Banestorms in the GURPS setting, uh, Banestorm. Things agent brought from just our world, but other worlds as well, resulting in a mishmash.

It's kind of how my setting works, which is a 'museum dimension' housing the natives of various realities. Although there arrivals practically stopped hundreds of years ago and everything has settled down (which has caused technology to advance again, humanity raced from early metallurgy to the printing press once they got the peace and quiet to actually use the technological knowledge that came with then).

Or look at Fifty Fathoms. New people are arriving from Earth all the time, part of the major idea is that ships come through the portal often enough that the refugees have formed several dominant factions. A character from earth dies and a new one could be in the next pub (or it might be a native).

Goaty14
2018-04-24, 05:17 PM
Maybe the way they got to the fantasy world never closes? Like an oasis in a forest that, whenever somebody looks at it, is immediately compelled to jump in and get transported to the new world.

Downside: The whole "oh god where am I!?" shock has to be repeated each time a new character is made.

Trask
2018-04-24, 06:05 PM
You can institute house rules that makes character death less likely, if that would mess up the campaign. Like rolling for permanent injuries instead of dying.

I tend to disfavor things like this because Im not a fan of the cripple party it inevitably creates.

Trask
2018-04-24, 06:08 PM
Maybe the way they got to the fantasy world never closes? Like an oasis in a forest that, whenever somebody looks at it, is immediately compelled to jump in and get transported to the new world.

Downside: The whole "oh god where am I!?" shock has to be repeated each time a new character is made.

That works, my idea was people packpacking through the thick forests of the baltic/eastern europe area and just finding themselves suddenly in a strange and fantastical land.

More people could come through, but i think id have them be people who have been here for a bit already to explain the levels and fantasy powers theyve gained

Anonymouswizard
2018-04-25, 04:27 AM
That works, my idea was people packpacking through the thick forests of the baltic/eastern europe area and just finding themselves suddenly in a strange and fantastical land.

More people could come through, but i think id have them be people who have been here for a bit already to explain the levels and fantasy powers theyve gained

This is essentially what 50 Fathoms does, except the only requirement for the thing to trigger is 'at sea'. Although it doesn't nab modern sailors for aesthetics reasons, just people from the golden age of piracy (PCs are assumed to have been around long enough to pick up a functional understanding of the trade tongue).

Pelle
2018-04-25, 04:55 AM
I tend to disfavor things like this because Im not a fan of the cripple party it inevitably creates.

YMMV, but it has worked great for my current campaign at least, running for 40+ sessions now. It depends on how often you have to roll (I think on average my players have rolled about once each), and how severe the injuires are. They should be severe enough to make it suck to get one, giving motivation to keep out of and tension in combats, but not severe enough to start a downward spiral where injured characters get more injured.

It's working nice for campaigns that are structered such that character death is inconvenient/disruptive, and where the image of scarred heroes who have paid dearly for their success is a plus.

Jay R
2018-04-25, 12:20 PM
Depending on the reasons for people getting sent to the fantasy world, it might not at all be problematic to have it be a recurring or ongoing event, ...

This creates a potential new strategy for the players.

"Hey, we need a mechanic. Anybody here have mechanical skills?"
"Nope. Let's kill off Joe and try again. Maybe we'll get a mechanic next time."

Lvl 2 Expert
2018-04-25, 01:43 PM
The all guardsmen party (http://www.theallguardsmenparty.com/) has a setup like this. All PC's are survivors of a single regiment of soldiers. So what they did is just have 30-40 survivors. Those people were even all sort of rolled up already, the players have a list of all the characters there were, because they played all of them during a first weekend long session. When a character dies or is temporarily out of action another one of the guys will be folded into the team. When they're not needed they're all just off somewhere else, running their own missions or stuff. A few die every now and then of course, but you don't really need to specify which ones, so there are still plenty of options whenever one is needed. It works pretty well for them.

So you could just send a whole high school year or a small village or a military base or an RPG tournament or whatever into the fantasy world. You establish most people build a a cozy little village for themselves somewhere, or find a place to live in the king's capital, or establish a secure base using the little modern technology that came with them, and only the PCs really venture out for some reason. You can establish a bunch as NPCs. A car mechanic turned blacksmith, a teenager finding a teacher to become a herb collector, someone picking up a job as a horseback messenger, a radio hobbyist trying to recreate electronic devices. When you need a new PC you can pick one of those NPCs or just create an entirely new character that is then assumed to always have been part of the group.

FreddyNoNose
2018-04-25, 01:47 PM
I have an idea for a fun game which involves the players starting out as normal people from our world, but then getting involved in a pseudo historical fantasy D&D world. I like this setup for many reasons, but one flaw I see is that the character pool is essentially "limited" in the sense that the more players die, the more they will have to be replaced with natives from the fantasy world and the setup is negated.

Any ways to circumvent this? I was thinking perhaps make it a relatively large group of people that got lost and came to the fantasy world and they are sort of holed up somewhere and can be brought in as replacements?

Perhaps someone in this fantasy world is summoning PCs there? Not just one person doing the summoning btw.

I ran a game once where players were summoned. There was a "base" where they would get queue up to be summoned. The summoning source could be mages or even something similar to a horn of Valhalla. BTW, when they "died" they appear base at the base.

Telonius
2018-04-30, 11:42 AM
It kind of depends on how the group gets transported to the setting, but - maybe whatever it is that brought them there, has been set so that X number of people must be in the D&D world at a time. So if one dies, another one (plucked from the "real world" in whatever way) appears. Maybe have a reverse thing going in the other direction, so that 5 D&D people are wandering around the real world.

oxybe
2018-05-01, 01:22 AM
One option would be to create a sort of "troupe" style of play.

Have the setup be that a large group of people, let's say Central Station on a Saturday afternoon, be transported to this other world. You'd already have some pre-made groups to determine how some of the characters know each other: high schoolers hanging out, coworkers heading off or coming from work, station staff members, a tourist family on an outing, etc... in addition to the random collection of folks that would be there for their own reasons: workers, commuters, homeless people, thieves, etc...

Each player creates a handful of characters and at any given time they're all together a player can swap out one PC for another in his stable.

So Jimmy creates Kevin the IT wizard, Mike the salaryman cleric, and Jake the bouncer gone barbarian. If something happens to Kevin, he still has Mike & Jake to play with and creates Sue, a HR rep turned bard, and if a session requires a skillset Kevin or any other PCs don't have, like tracking or wilderness survival, Jimmy can swap Kevin for Jake back at camp.

While Kevin is out adventuring, Mike and Jake are staying at the group's site helping build shelters or getting food.

The exact nature of the summoning could be one of many different things: a king who heard of a single hero being summoned so he tried to amass an army of heroes via a group summon, a deity calling upon a group of people to save their world, a deity who by accident causes them all to die in our world and reincarnates them in another as an "apology".

Or just Truck-sama's best day ever. (https://imgur.com/gallery/7r4U8)Dude loves to take souls to other worlds.

Doorhandle
2018-05-02, 02:57 AM
.

Or just Truck-sama's best day ever. (https://imgur.com/gallery/7r4U8)Dude loves to take souls to other worlds.

I was about to suggest the Isekai model: AKA, "You got killedTrucked, sorry 'bout that, have a consolation prize of life in a dangerous fantasy universe." So whenever a PC dies in game, have another random post-mortem refugee discover their secret and join their group.

Better yet, work this into the greater plot. Perhaps one of the PC's compatriots has gone mad with power. Perhaps another desires to return to his former life, despite the potential costs. Perhaps the forces of "good," desperate for reinforcements, have started to kill off worthy people from our world to save theirs...

SpoonR
2018-05-02, 12:07 PM
Steal from the classics:

Andre Norton's Witchworld: When you are completely down on your luck and being hunted, or when for whatever reason you feel there is nothing left for you in this world, someone will find you. If you accept, you go through a portal into the place you really belong (Siege Perilous, Cahokia Mound, temple hidden in a jungle, etc etc). Heinlein's Glory Road is similar but more voluntary & two-way.

River World, Philip Jose Farmer: You're from earth. You go to sleep. When you wake up, you are somewhere else, with a bunch of other earthlings you've never met. Hopefully y'all speak a common language. When someone dies, the next day someone else shows up. It's like there is a database of everyone from earth, popping out to maintain a constant 5-person population.

Neil Stephenson Anathem &/or Close Encounters of the third kind: Somehow, you get a message/have a vision. Someplace that needs your help, and a rough idea of what to do & where to go to dimension travel there.

Zelazny Madwand: Humans were nearly extinct when they found the magic. On this world, they made a spell so when someone dies here, their dead mass trades places with an approx equal mass live person from another world. If that person then dies, the yo-yo-switch repeats, ad infinitum. So the population is at least constant, and can grow if folks have kids.

JAL_1138
2018-05-02, 09:11 PM
There's always the "Heroes Never Die" option from Savage Worlds (or an equivalent). When death seems likely, there's always some escape. Character is "left for dead" but pulls through via heroic willpower, or lands in a convenient snowbank when they fall down the icy cliff, or there was a convenient boulder to hide behind or ditch to dive into to avoid the dragon's fire breath, or the PCs get captured instead of killed, or what-have-you. It does lower the stakes and can get completely implausible (and sometimes can feel unsatisfactory or cheap to the players), but your characters stick around.

There are setbacks other than PC death--villain plans progress further, lose gear, need to escape or otherwise find a way to get back to the action, NPCs die, ships sink, villages/cities get destroyed, etc.

(I'd personally suggest actually going with the option mentioned in the OP and expanded on by others in the thread so far--start with a large-ish group of people transported in, and thus keep character death a possibility. But even so, just outright negating the potential for PC death is an option.)