You will remember some gaming experiences for the rest of your life. Whether it’s the the gripping story, the epic battles, or the fact that you’re playing with 20 people and 4 other DMs, some campaigns just really stick.
Vault of the Dracolich is an adventure for Dungeons & Dragons unlike any other. The game unites 20 players in one massive assault against an undead dragon’s lair. Thwart the wretch’s plans and save the world. Fail, and it becomes a god. (You can read Geek & Sundry’s initial take on the adventure here.)
During this past International TableTop Day, I, along with RPG Superstar Clinton J. Boomer, writer Rob Wieland, Ryan Smith, and Dave Bendit ran the adventure in the geekiest city in the world, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Needless to say, the event was highly anticipated, with players driving in from as far away as Ohio to participate. One of the players from Ohio, who had to drive seven hours through a “torrential downpour” in the middle of the night, credited the event as “one of the coolest and most interesting road trips I’ll never be able to explain to my wife.”
DM and designer Clinton J. Boomer said of the event, “No prepared adventure ever survives direct contact with the PCs; now, multiply that by four parties. Running a full five-DM session of Vault of the Dracolich is a cacophonous whirlwind thrill-ride in the best possible sense of the term, a high-speed collision of thirty-plus active storytellers in a single cooperative, anarchic quest for fun & glory.”
Would you like to host an adventure worth driving to another time zone for? Read on!
How to Host a Dracolich
The key to successfully pulling off Vault of the Dracolich is organization, organization, and more organization. This is not an adventure where you can call 24 people, have them show up at your house and expect things to go well. And to pull of Dracolich, the first thing you have to organize is people.
5 Dungeon Masters
First, you’ll need five Dungeon Masters. Getting one Dungeon Master to run D&D on a Saturday afternoon can be a chore, so getting five can be a Herculean task.
If you know five DMs, superb. Forward them these articles about Dracolich and promise to be their friend forever if they run it. Hopefully that takes care of the heavy work of getting them interested.
Don’t know five DMs? Don’t worry, G&S is here to help. We’ve set up a thread on our forums to help DMs find each other. Even if there are only five DMs in North Dakota, you can come to our forums and find each other.
Once you have your five DMs, they should meet at least once to plan the adventure, and then coordinate virtually. Having 20 players running an adventure that can be as lethal as the Battle of Stalingrad means that you’ll need a lot of pregenerated characters (I used Hero Lab to make mine), maps, and props to make the adventure memorable. For example, fake gold coins can be found at the dollar store, souvenirs from Egypt make fantastic props, a horned hat makes it clear when the dracolich is talking, etc. You’ll also need to decide who will be doing what during the campaign.
The Dungeon Masters are the most crucial component to the success of the adventure. When five DMs put their minds together, what can’t the accomplish?
Players are always easier to find because it takes so much less work to be a player than to be a DM. That said, 20 players is a ton of gamers. And I do mean that literally, by weight. And that can be a chore.
Again, Geek & Sundry is here to help! Hie thee to our forums players, to find Dungeon Masters in your area who want to run this adventure.
Twenty players and five Dungeon Masters will not fit at your kitchen table.
If you are going to run Dracolich, you need the space for it. A game could be coordinated online obviously, but one of the features of Dracolich is the number of players it has united in common purpose. It’s something you can feel if you’re all in the same room, and it’s killed by making the game virtual.
So where is this going to go down?
42 Lounge in Milwaukee was kind enough to host our game of Dracolich as part of International TableTop Day. You should talk to game stores, geek bars, libraries, or the like in your area. If you are in charge of a public space that could accommodate a full platoon of gamers and you’d like to do so, again, head to our forums to hook up.
What Else Are You Doing Any Given Saturday?
Gaming can be work, but it’s worth remembering that when gaming is good, it makes the rest of life better. It certainly was for the DMs and players at 42’s Dracolich event. Player Brian Klinger said, “The ONLY regret I had [was the game] couldn’t last longer.”
Life is short. Game more. And when you do, game with excellence.
Feature image courtesy Wizards of the Coast.
Other images courtesy Bokeh Effect, Ben Riggs, Ryan Smith, and 42 Lounge.