Sunday, July 17, 2016

Dungeons & Stranger Things

Watching Stranger Things the very 80s horror/sci-fi Netflix series last night gave me an idea. I won't be discussing a lot of plot detials here, but I will mention some setting/situation stuff, so the absolutely spoiler averse should beware...

So strange things are afoot in a small town, that seem to involve another dimension/universe whose walls have been breached by a nefarious research organization and D&D-playing kids investigating these goings. What if the other world was something more like a "realm of Dungeons & Dragons," as the Dungeon Master in the old cartoon used to say?

Somehow (psychic powers, I'm guessing, but maybe a device), a gaming group gets transported to this parallel realm that is a distorted mirror or their home town, filled with the trapping and set-dressing of setting-nebulous D&D. Like, geographically, where the nefarious corporations facility is, there's a mountain where evil creatures dwell. The sublevels beneath the facility are (of course) dungeons. The corporations video archive room might be a forbidden library, etc. The kids aren't transported into this realm to stay, like the D&D cartoon or Joel Rosenberg's Guardians of the Flame novels, but instead visit there in sessions and return to the regular mundane world at other times.

The kids are trying to solve a mystery of some sort in the real world. The forays into D&D fantasyland would need to serve this mystery somehow, allowing them to gain information or get access to places that they couldn't get to "in the real world." While the presentation would be different things would work pretty much the same as the Matrix/real world divide in the Matrix films.

You could run a campaign with two systems (or at least two settings) in tandem. The players would play kids in the real world 80s small town, but also kids playing D&D characters in a more conventional D&D game. The goal of adventuring in the D&D world would be to ultimately solve the mystery in the real world. Both worlds would be essentially mystery sandboxes.

7 comments:

Jim Shelley said...

Are you looking stranger things?

Trey said...

Am I watching it? Yeah, I'm about halfway done.

Stu Rat said...

So they can transition between realms anywhere?

i.e.They penetrate to the third level of the dungeon and then transition to the (co-located) secure server room of EvilCorp, LLC?

Trey said...

I would say not directly. The things they do may parallel, i.e. have a real world effect, but the kids as characters could journey to level three dungeon and then boom appear in the secret lab. Rather, they could journey to level three dungeon and find information with real world signifcant, like passcodes or even few secret files and the like.

JB said...

This setting sounds like an excellent one for use with Venger Satanis's "Crimson Dragon Slayer" game.
; )

http://bxblackrazor.blogspot.com/2015/05/the-ridiculous-and-sublime.html

Booberry said...

I had a somewhat related idea, though I'd probably use the fantasy elements as metaphoric to the real world plot. I even paused the series halfway through to purchase Bubblegumshoe :-)

I like the idea of two systems. Clearly, Mentzer's red box D&D would be my choice for the fantasy side. It would likely require cloning myself to have players but I love the idea.

Trey said...

I know what you mean. If you run it online, I'd play. :) Those were the two systems I thought about as well, though I don't have Bubblegumshoe yet, either.