When one party isn’t enough…
If a party of adventurers can achieve more than a lone hero, how powerful could they become if a whole collection of parties started working together?
This is essentially the premise of epic, multi-table RPG experiences being run at the UK Games Expo – one by the Pathfinder Society and the other by the D&D Adventurers’ League. Eachsaw dozens of players work together to achieve a single goal, while also attempting to score some nice loot for themselves along the way too…
Both games run on the same Saturday night slot so there we had to roll off to see which one the dice gods favoured, and ended up siding with D&D. Once we arrived we were directed to a table filled with fellow adventurers, handed a stack of pre-gen character sheets and briefed on the upcoming challenge – the Relics of Khundrukar!
The almost 100 heroes assembled in the room were to act as scouts and lead the vanguard of dwarven forces as they looked to reclaim treasures stolen by the long-dead master smith Durgeddin. Along the way we confronted various horrors of the underdark, ranging from giant spiders (naturally) to flame-wreathed duergar, as well as an encounter with a purple worm or two.
The adventure was enjoyable, with a focus on combat and direct problem-solving. The difficulty was perhaps tuned to the frustrating end of challenging for a party with mostly first-level characters – not to mention a DM with lava-hot dice rolls! – but this seems to be a natural consequence of trying to accommodate first- and fourth-level characters in a single game.
The DMing duties for out table were carried out by the impeccable Shane Leahy, who not only ran an enjoyable game but also spoiled us with some truly incredible Dwarven Forge terrain and a huge array of miniatures. I’m not normally a big follower of terrain, but in this case it helped the battles feel that much more epic and action-packed.
The idea of coming together with a veritable army of heroes is a truly exciting one, and the Relics of Khundrukar definitely achieved its goal of an epic feel. The feeling of pressure as we struggled to tear down our foes was boosted by the knowledge that if we failed it wouldn’t just mean getting thrown in a prison cell until next session’s escape attempt, but actually impact the mission as a whole kept us all on the edge of our seats.
All five of the players in our party were waiting with bated breath as the dice rolled and bursting into cheers when it came up on a 20.
In the end, we won out the day and reclaimed the treasures. The event organisers say they’re aiming to reach as many as 150 players next year. I’ll definitely be one of them.