This past weekend, I attended Awesome Games Done Eventually 2015 (recently rebranded as FAST Faire for the coming years.) This event is a yearly celebration of gaming, where friends get together to “speedrun” video games – completing them as quickly as humanly possible, usually through densely-plotted strategies or game-breaking glitches, and often both – with all of the games broadcast onto Twitch.tv, where viewers could tune in and donate to the Child’s Play charity during the event.
This is the first year I attended as a “speedrunner,” and as someone who’s legendarily bad at video games, I decided to run something I was a little bit more familiar with – Dungeons & Dragons! I put together a ruleset based on the most recent Dungeons & Dragons rules that allowed for fast encounters, super-deadly results, and incredibly quick character generation, and I got my regular group of D&D players to sign on to play the game with me at the event.
We did a couple of test-runs of the system to work out the kinks and get everyone in the right mindset for the “run.” I was determined to get the game moving at such a pace that we could complete an ENTIRE dungeon in 3 and a half hours. Furthermore, I had decided to showcase classic 1970s D&D adventures as the settings for these ridiculous dungeon crawls, and I chose one of the most notorious of them all for the actual event – Gary Gygax’s own TOMB OF HORRORS.
This would be unlike our usual D&D in that characters were encouraged to take insane risks, throw caution to the wind, and trust in the capricious whims of fortune. If their characters won, they’d get magical items that would help them in the next fight. If they threw their lives away but the monster was slain, they could rest assured of joining the action with an all-new random character in the next room!
Viewers could not only tune in to watch the action on Twitch, but their donations actually affected gameplay, causing the villain – the jeweled floating skull Acererack, a malevolent, capricious sorcerer who had built the Tomb of Horrors in the first place – to appear before the group, creating random magical effects (ranging from beneficial to very silly) or forcing them to draw from the dastardly Deck of Many Things (which caused other random magical effects, ranging from miraculous to catastrophic.)
The run was a huge success – the players had a ton of fun, the audience seemed to love every minute of it, and we raised nearly $1000 towards the weekend’s goal of $10K – a goal which was exceeded before the event was over!
You can see all of the speedrun of TOMB OF HORRORS below! I had a great time and I hope to do it again at FAST Faire 2016!