Just Curious: Campaign Sharing?

Show of hands here…..how many folks game in groups that share a campaign together?

I’ve been in many groups where we alternated GM’ing responsibilities, but usually that entailed that each person running had their own campaigns with separate PC’s and everything.

Lately, the two most active groups I’ve been playing in — my monthly AD&D group and my weekly D&D Redbox/Rules Cyclopedia group — continue running the same party of characters regardless who’s running. In both of these groups, the DM’s roll up player characters that continue to receive loot and XP as we go. It also seems in both groups, whoever is DM’ing does a good job of keeping their characters in the back burner but still keeping them around when the extra hand is needed.

In the case of our AD&D group, we’ve just established a mutual understanding that our campaign world is like an odd mutation of Forgotten Realms and Greyhawk…..mostly as an excuse for us to run a mixed bag of published modules and adventures in old stacks of Dragon magazines one of the DM’s keeps around. In our basic D&D group, the amigo who’s been running for the past month set up a campaign world that involves a strange, supernatural chain of islands that appear to change locations every night. Having  just escaped the central island, he now hands the mantle over to another player who will run a few sessions on his strange “island world” with its own plots, cultures and histories. Once he’s done, I get a turn, so on and so forth.

I think both of these setups are interesting, especially since aside from the base concepts we’ve agreed on….there really hasn’t been any other collaboration for the game worlds. We don’t have a defined “bible” or lore or meta plot…the only thing tying all of our adventures together is the characters who play in them. This has its pros and cons…..the pros being that the campaigns are always diverse, you never know what to expect and the burden of running doesn’t fall on a single person. The cons, of course, is that some plans or story arcs may step on the toes of others running in the future. In one case: I had to miss a month for our AD&D group, midway through a module. They played a side adventure, but wound up leveling up a bit more and skirting them on the higher end of the module’s difficulty

Anyone else play in groups like this? Any cool stories (or horror filled ones) about how these played out? Are there reasons anyone is vehemently against such a campaign style?


3 thoughts on “Just Curious: Campaign Sharing?”

  1. That supernatural island chain is some awesome sauce right there.

    I’ve attempted the multi dms under one setting thing, but because we had various newb dms, each with their own rules set of choice, and wildly different ideas, it hasn’t reached fruition yet. But the more we all game together, the closer these fictional worlds and different rules sets have been merging.

    Having a compatible rules set is the deciding factor I think.

  2. We did a semi integrated story in Vampire once; One world storyline, two groups running on two separate nights, one Camarilla, the other Black Hand. With only one person except the GM playing in both games, we where able to play a game of ‘Counter Operations’ against each other.

    One would have a grand plan to screw the world, with the Black Hand twisting the plot in the background to throw it back in their faces. Didn’t work 100%, we had to fudge it a bit to make it work in the end. Worse thing is the feedback delay on games, some times you needed both groups available to make decisions.

  3. We used to run a shared Shadowrun campaign with whoever had a good idea go a game stepping up to GM and us all having a pool of characters and NPCs that floated from session to session. It was pretty neat and kept people from getting burned out and suited the modular nature of Shadowrunning teams.

    Also have played two ‘shared world’ D&D campaigns where the DM changed as we moved to their part of the world (and their character was NPCed during that time). That was quite interesting and fun.

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