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CAMPAIGN RETCON: Have you done this?

Captain_CommandoCaptain_Commando Registered User regular
edited April 2009 in Critical Failures
I originally posted this on RPG.net. I think It's a good subject of discussion especially because of the events of the past year.

This particularly disturbing thread about Pokémon (don't read it if you're a fan) got me thinking about story retcons.

http://www.pokezam.com/forums/showthread.php?p=82138

In the last campaign that I ran (DnD), I retconned the story to transition from 3rd edition to 4th edition.

The PCs awake covered in a sticky, slimy substance. Their true memories begin to return. Not all of them are the same as they were.

Imagine thinking you're human all your life and suddenly waking up to find out you're a dragonborn. Same class, same ideology, but different race.

Everyone was apparently the victim of a giant fungal creature the size of new jersey. The previous adventures were all a mushroom-induced hallucination. Later the PCs realize they're still trapped in the mushroom's thrall and must fight their way to freedom.

The players were spooked when I had the townspeople start talking jibberish all of a sudden and it dawned on them that they were still being "digested" by a giant mushroom.

I was inspired by an episode of the X-Files for this.

Have any of you ever done a retcon of the campaign story?

What did you do for it?

How did the players react? What did they say or do?

Captain_Commando on

Posts

  • tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Yes. I do it all the time...

    I restructure story events, organization structures, and character descriptions subtly a lot. Mostly when I think something is stupid, or a game/show gets realized that I think seems too close to what I'm doing.

    As long as apples don't suddenly become oranges, I'd imagine that they're okay with it? I haven't had anybody complain about it yet? maybe I should ask sometime? OH GOD.

    tastydonuts on
    “I used to draw, hard to admit that I used to draw...”
  • robotsunshinerobotsunshine regular
    edited April 2009
    Yeah, but ours happen between players, not in-fiction. Like, "I don't know, that just didn't work. Let's do it over," and such.

    robotsunshine on
  • Xenogears of BoreXenogears of Bore Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    True story: I once changed a game mid sentence from 2nd Edition D&D to Star Wars 2nd Edition, and nearly seemlessly to boot!

    Xenogears of Bore on
    3DS CODE: 3093-7068-3576
  • UEAKCrashUEAKCrash heh Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    My planned switch for our main campaign we played in 3.5, once we get all of our characters re-made (one was a psionic, so we have a bit of a wait), is this (it's important to note that we all took turns DMing this game, so no one person had to bear the load all the time. We were all pretty good DMs so it made sense.):

    I'll keep this basic. In the campaign, we were sent on a divine mission to retrieve these artifacts that were somehow tied to us specifically. We had managed to get about 4 of them so far(there was one for each group member in the world, for a total of 6) before our group ended up taking a longer than expected break due to a few people moving (out of game I mean). Now these items were pretty powerful, I forget the stats, but they were nuts. So I talked to everyone and asked if they had a problem with going with a story I had an idea of.

    The planned story is that the members of the group who got there items, ended up getting drunk with power. We have a story for each character, but I'll spare you the details. Anyway, a year passes without us actively doing much towards getting the other artifacts, our group sort of disbands. Finally the temple priests who sent us on this mission decide enough is enough and summon us all. They get us there and explain to us that we don't have a choice in their decision. That we were not allowed to fail our destiny (to retrieve all these items) and that they were sending us to a less powerful dimension (not plane, dimension) where we can hopefully stay on task and get the items we need. They explain to us that there will be a lot of changes, and that when we get there, we will be different people, but similar to what we are there. They have no way of telling exactly what will change. Then in a big epic scene, they teleport (probably rather forcibly for some of the characters) us to the other dimension.

    Switch to 4e.

    When we get there, we all find ourselves pretty drastically different, unable to do the same powers, and the artifacts we do have are far less powerful than they were. I figure it'll take up a few sessions just getting our characters used to there new selves. Some people are going to be pretty different, considering not all the classes have been transfered over. Hell, my main in the game was a War Mage, so I still am not sure what I'm going to end up doing.

    I figure that is a good explanation of why we are different and the magic of the world seems so drastically changed.

    edit: thinking about it, this probably isn't what you had in mind for the thread, but it seemed to fit the conversation anyway. Too early.

    UEAKCrash on
  • Kay2Kay2 Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Oh my god, the sheer SIZE of the signatures on that forum!

    Anyhow. I've rebooted campaigns and settings a few times, but I've only transitioned from one edition/system to another once, and that was more a re-imagining of old 2nd Ed D&D characters into 3.0.

    The other reboots have all been complete changes, as in, nuke EVERYTHING and redo the setting. Usually for live games at University where about 30 people play and things were just getting silly. Usually because they were tied to a sanctioned game, and 5 year 'veterans' with oodles of power/xp just waltzed in and did everything while the local players, especially the newer ones, just stood around with D: looks on their faces.

    Kay2 on
  • Captain_CommandoCaptain_Commando Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    UEAKCrash wrote: »
    Finally the temple priests who sent us on this mission decide enough is enough and summon us all. They get us there and explain to us that we don't have a choice in their decision. That we were not allowed to fail our destiny (to retrieve all these items) and that they were sending us to a less powerful dimension (not plane, dimension) where we can hopefully stay on task and get the items we need.

    I'm thinking that it would be funny if the party decided "Screw it." and started new lives without looking for the artifacts. :lol:

    In this case I think a world-disrupting event should occur on failure, something to bring the heroes back together for another adventure. 8-)

    Captain_Commando on
  • robotsunshinerobotsunshine regular
    edited April 2009
    True story: I once changed a game mid sentence from 2nd Edition D&D to Star Wars 2nd Edition, and nearly seemlessly to boot!

    I would love to hear that sentence.

    robotsunshine on
  • Xenogears of BoreXenogears of Bore Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    True story: I once changed a game mid sentence from 2nd Edition D&D to Star Wars 2nd Edition, and nearly seemlessly to boot!

    I would love to hear that sentence.

    This was years ago when I was in highschool, but maybe talking about the gist of it will jog my memory.

    Basically, this was a wee bit after 3rd had been released, so all the crazy 2.5 ish books were going on sale at ridiculous markdowns. So we basically end up with every fluff and expanded rule book from that era, and I decide to run a game with everything turned on. Yeah, Skills and Powers ALONE was enough to break the game, as this was before we used point buys and we were used to overpowering stats to keep 2nd Edition guys alive, (4D6, keep all, no higher than 18) which works great if you're running a game just with the three core books. Skills and Powers though splits the six cardinal stats into two sections and allows you to subtract up to two points in one half and add it to the other.

    What did this mean? Level one 2nd edition characters had a few 19-20 stats. Each. With ridiculous spells and weapons from fluff books. Took down three ogres and a bunch of orcs and goblins in the first encounter. Easily.

    This game was broken. Probably not beyond the point of fixing it but seriously, the encounters were taking a long ass time and I'd have to do some serious gruntwork to fix the rest of the adventure, so I weighed my options. I wasn't going to be the one who would DM the 3rd Edition game either, so I couldn't pull that trick. Whitewolf would have been a decent possibility but I hate running that. It was then that I noticed a blue book at the bottom of the pile, someone in our bargin bin hunting had picked up another 2nd Edition SW handbook, Vader cover. I had both at home somewhere and had run this group through about three successful games of that in the year previous. So I quickly came up with a plan.

    I had the group fight a relatively weak looking patrol of goblins, lead by two scrawny bitches in the back, A Chronomancer and a Wild Mage. The party foolishy decided to get close to these fluff book clowns and suddenly a conflux of wild and time magic comes together and blamo, they are on some shithole planet in a galaxy far, far away. Presumably a long time ago.

    The sentence involved Wild/Time magic, shiny white helmet dudes on banthas, and a long time ago/far far away joke.

    I had the five character sheets converted within three minutes of that sentence. Pretty well balanced if I may say so. Shocked Stormtroopers versus buffed out 2nd edition Level 2 party is an interesting fight to be sure. I made the inability to speak the languages a hilarious roleplaying issue of course. Luckily they kidnapped a Protocol droid pretty quickly. The game ran for a further three sessions of much hilarity.

    Xenogears of Bore on
    3DS CODE: 3093-7068-3576
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