Well, continuing my posts regarding my long worked on 30 Day Game, mostly in light of the fact that others have come to notice it through Greywulf's Lair, here is the second installment of my many-parted series regarding 30 levels of play in a month(ish) of game sessions.
The 30 day game’s mechanics
The Point of the 30 day game
The point of the game is to get a character from level 1 to level 30 in thirty days. The reason to conduct a game in this way is mainly due to a time crunch in terms of actual play days afforded to the players involved. Perhaps you play this game every day as the name of the campaign insinuates, or perhaps you play one, two, or three times a week, but the players involved desire to get there characters as far as they can in the time that they have and to experience as much growth in their characters as they are able.
Make no mistake, this is a combat based campaign experience, however there will be chances for players to make use of numerous skill challenges which may help to reduce the difficulty of certain combat challenges.
The ultimate campaign experience would then mean that the players are able to reach level 30 in 30 sessions. This is the ideal and perfect reward for the campaign – seeing your character to the completion of his epic destiny.
Each day, the players face a variety of encounters. During the heroic tier, when combat is less complicated, each day the players will face between 3 and 5 encounters. The first encounter of the day is always the easiest, it gives the players a chance to get used to their new gear from the day before and test out their new abilities. It also helps the players get back into the game, remember what they were doing, remember their tactics and their powers. It also helps the DM judge whether or not it is going to be a good or a bad game day based on the mood of the players involved.
During the paragon tier, there will be fewer encounters and the first encounter of the day will not be quite as easy as during the heroic tier, but will still give the characters a chance to try out new tactics based on the new gear they received and the new powers they gained from the day before.
During the epic tier, the players should have a pretty good idea of how their characters work and how the game works as well. Players who are new to the game when the campaign began should have a pretty good understanding of how the game works by this point and should therefore not need as much time to grasp their powers or the other players with whom they are playing. The further they get into the epic tier, the harder the encounters get. The last few days of the campaign will be single encounter games which will severely test the tactics, cooperation, and ability of the players. The final day is a massive boss battle which may or may not find the characters saving the world. If they get to this point, there aren’t any do-overs.
A level every day
If you’re going to play a game in 30 days and go from level 1 to level 30 that means one level a day. The condition to gain this level a day feat is by living through each day. If a player dies during a session, he is brought back to life at the beginning of the next session, but didn’t gain the level from the last session. If the other player’s were able to complete the days encounter without that individual they all advance a level while the other person lags behind. In addition to not gaining a level that day, the individual also doesn’t receive a magic item of his level per the experience requirement for gaining a magic item.
As mentioned previously, the players are allowed to pick an item they might desire at every level or exchange an item they have received at a previous level for one of that level’s equivalence. In order to better facilitate the speed of this item acquisition, each player should put together an item wish list for their character divided by level before they begin the campaign. Should they want to amend this list, they are able to at the DM’s discretion.
The total party kill
Each of the following encounters has varying means of increasing or decreasing the difficulty level as need be for less or more experienced players. If everyone dies, the players get another chance, actually they may get many as long as they don’t screw it up too badly (beyond the point of beating the encounters of the day). If they all die, chances are their tactics were grossly misguided, their luck was bad, or the DM did something wrong. If everyone dies and it’s the fault of the DM, the players are all saved by the gnome who immediately heals them and sends them back in to where they were with all of their daily powers refreshed and the players get to keep the magic item they earn if they beat the encounter. If they player’s luck ran bad or they used their tactics poorly, they come back into play, but may or may not get their dailies back and or they don’t get the item for the day that would have been gained for beating the encounter. If the players can’t beat the day’s encounter more than two times, it is left up to the DM’s judgment as to what to do…