Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Crisis in Multiple Games

Back in 1985, the comic book crossover wasn’t the perfunctory non-event it is today, but instead something exciting and new. We had had Marvel’s Secret Wars (1984) and Contest of Champions (1983), but then there was DC's twelve-issue “maxi-series” Crisis on Infinite Earths. Even though I was primarily a Marvel fan at the time, Crisis was out “epic-ing” everything that had come before.

In this environment, my cousin and I hit upon the idea of doing a multi-game crossover campaign. At the time, our repertoire included AD&D, Gamma World, and Villains and Vigilantes. We planned to include them all, with one of the two of us on DM/GM duties.

Unlike comic book crossovers, I don’t think it was our plan to have characters meet up--we weren’t interested in that conversion task. Instead, there would be some threat affecting the “multiverse” we took for granted that all our game world’s inhabited. I think the basic idea was borrowed from the plot of Crisis--there would be some sort of device (like the Monitor’s pylons in the early issues) that the characters had to defend to keep their world safe. Or maybe, there was some item they had to find first. Maybe we talked about different ideas at different times, I don’t fully recall.

In any case, we never did it. Maybe just because we never got around to it, or maybe we decided it would be more fun to plan than to play.  I think I did run an AD&D game once were the character's glimpsed their other character's in different game-worlds in the mirrors of an evil sorcerer's sanctum, so I didn't entirely give up on the multiverse idea.

Anybody else every attempted a cross-game crossover, or at least thought about it?


Scott said...

We generally had one "game" at any given time, so we never did anything like this, but it sounds like something we really would have grooved on if it had occurred to us.

Gothridge Manor said...

Sounds interesting and difficult. The one 'crossover' campaign I tried and I'm not sure how much it counts since I was using GURPS, but it would have been a low tech fantasy/western/steampunk. But like your game it never got off the ground. I thought they all sorta related in a way, but different enough to add another wrinkle to plots and the world. And I think there was going to be some alternative history involved.

Anonymous said...

We did it one time with our Champions game and D&D game. Our champions games was run in that every player had their own "comic" with their own characters. So we could rotate GM's and so forth. We also rotated a D&D game in there for fun.

We did an large arch with The Shadow trying to do some bad stuff to all the campaigns. It was fun little thing.

Siskoid said...

Short answer with attendent link: YES!

But STILL haven't managed to implement it.

Jay said...

This sounds really cool. If I had a regular group I'd definitely be stealing this idea!

Unknown said...

Yes, many times. Back in the 90's, a friend of mine masterminded a shared-worlds dimension-hopping game. The conceit that all of our campaigns (indeed, all of genre fiction) existed somewhere in that multiverse. The dimension-hopping game was mostly good for short adventures between regular campaigns, though it did produce one of my favorite player characters of all time.

Our regular games only touched on the cross-over aspect, usually with a dimension-hopping NPC showing up with a wink and a nod (the PCs didn't necessarily know the character was from another reality but the players are all got the reference).

Even though we don't play that same dimension-hopping game anymore, the cameos and references to that game still continue to the present day. And now I'm running a different cross-dimensional game, though this one seems to be less about mixing characters from different campaigns and more about sampling different genres.

Trey said...

@Tim - Yeah, if I was ever going to actually attempt something like this I'd probably go with GURPS or HERO System.

@Wallys - Sounds interesting. That's a novel way to run a Champions game in and of itself.

@Siskoid - Thanks for the link. Great minds think alike.

@jay - If you ever do, you gotta blog about the result.

@Risus - Sounds cool. What game system did you use for that?

Unknown said...

"What game system did you use for that?"

For most of the 90's it was Gurps. Recently, we've been bringing in the cross-campaign referenced to our Buffy and Risus games as well. No D&D character has crossed the system boundary as of yet, but events in the D&D games have been referenced elsewhere.