I’m expelling something from my RPG brain so as to not let the mindleeches of forgetfulness get me.
I was entertaining the idea of an open table game online. Then I started encountering problems and finding solutions. It was a quick exercise in game management.
Oh, I also found a way to do “XP for Treasure” in a way that seemed fair and made sense to me.
How I would run a virtual open table game in a way that wouldn’t crush a GM or burn them out
- Select your rules. Make sure they do well without a tabletop if you only want to use a voice call. I’m going with Maze Rats.
- Make a pool of 8 to 12 players (or more, your call).
- GM declares when the next session is going to be. Could be on a schedule, but doesn’t have to. This gives you plenty of time to prep.
- Up to four players announce they are coming to that session (or more, again, your call).
- GM makes one or more one-page adventures using their awesome collection of tables of choice (Maze Rats, Tome of Adventure Design, you name it).
- Each adventure is given a Danger Rating of one to five. This number corresponds to how many Treasures the GM placed there but also how challenging that adventure is (one being easy, five being monstrously difficult).
- Players choose which adventure to go on if there is more than one available.
- Play that adventure!
- At the end of the session, each player in the party gets XP equal to how many Treasures they secure as a group, regardless of who keeps the Treasure. Each instance of “Treasure” could be anything from a single magic item to a hoard of gold. The amount total doesn’t matter (turn off that silly accountant, number-crunching side of your brain). The fact that the group found something worth keeping does.
With this, all of the Treasure is self-contained in the adventure, players more-or-less “choose” the difficulty, and players still get roughly 1 to 3 XP per session (or 5 if they’re totally crushing it). You as the GM can easily make a one-page adventure in 20-30 minutes, which could last for an hour to two hours of playtime. Let’s be honest, no one wants to be in any call longer than that. Done and done.
Happy gaming in these uncertain times!