We discussed doing this a couple years ago and went with a 12 hour event. This year we started with two tables running a 24 hour marathon of Tomb of Annihilation. It stretched out to 5 tables when I ran out of Dungeon Masters to staff the tables. It was thus that our team of Dungeon Masters (Zombie Joe, Nick “Moonbeam”, Doc, Terese and Caleb) prepared to run characters starting at levels 1-3 (depending on their donations earned) through Tomb of Annihilation from start to finish.
To be fair, none of us expected that we would make it through to the end in 24 hours. That is a lot of time, to be sure, but this is a full book adventure. (We only made it to chapter 3 at any table… though I believe all tables made it into chapter 3.)
During the course of the night, we allowed for table donations at each of the tables. You wanted inspiration? The DM would negotiate what that donation would be. Want a boost to your healing, same thing. During the course of the night, we took in $528 in table donations across all of them. I know this as I was the one making the deposit and getting it up to Extra Life on the donation page. I had taken and announced our final tally (minus some donations that went through Facebook) to be $8766.00 for the team. I have since found at least one player that didn’t join the Dungeons and Dragons team which brings our final up to $8861.00.
That is an amazing amount of money to be raised, and we all had an awesome time playing. Even those of us that were having problems staying awake at the end. (I was oddly included in that as I didn’t take my own advice in some instances… like staying up past midnight the night before doing the printing for the event.) One of our other coordinators (the one that didn’t think that many people would jump in on this event) send me a message of “Did you mean $876.00?”
Magic items were collected, experience was earned and all players in question ended the night with Tier 2 characters (at least level 6, if not higher). Everyone was on the path, having a general location of the Soulmonger, and searching the city it was located in. Team Demon Koala (my table), I believe was first to find the location of the Soulmonger thanks to a spell earned (with nearly $10 in donations on the rerolls) from a holy statue of Ubtao and some quick thinking from my players. Team Batiri Goblins (Doc’s table) earned the first death of the team paladin at the teeth of a zombie t-rex. (And the player opted to start a new character as opposed to a surrogate.) Team Zombie Rex (Moonbeam’s table) had the most amusing death of “Death by Nanny PuPu making sandcastles”. (She buried the character alive in a shallow grave.) And Team Veggiepygmy (Terese’s table) had the first marriage between two characters. (Thank you Xanathar’s Guide to Everything.)
There are a number of folks that I need to offer some special thanks to for the event as a whole. It came together pretty quick, and being so soon after Gamehole Con, was a task to pull off.
Not only did they agree to keep the Playground open all night for us, but they offered a Pega-Minion for one of the tables. I took donations to make the Pega-Minion “it” during one or more of the encounters that night. This was done in two shifts, with Geoffrey taking the first 12 hours and James (one of the store managers) taking the second 12 hours. Geoffrey decided since the other players had been doing the donating, that they could name their character. Thus Peggy the Pirate was born. Peggy was male, and though a sailor… not a pirate. He was never one to let the truth get in the way of a good tale, so never let on to his true nature.
Dr. Hillbert from Odana Hills Dental
At the last minute this local businessman came in and donated pizza and soda for 40 players and DMs running in this event. He stopped in for a head count that night, went to get pizza, and came back to drop it off. He then escaped without even accepting credit or thanks from tired, hungry gamers. But that definitely helped to keep us all going. And left some extra bills in the pockets of the players for more table donations.
Chris Lindsey and Bill Benham with Adventurers League
They provided us with the reward cert for anyone who made it through the whole 24 hours of the event. And there were a few that almost didn’t make it. But we all hobbled through to the end. Each person crossing the finish line was granted the Extra Life from Pegasus Games cert that granted them a junior triceratops (using the rhino stats) as a mount. It is an awesome piece, to be sure. It will make for crowded streets when the parties want to finish the adventure with their same parties and DM.
Each and Every Dungeon Master
They prepped most of the book and ran a 24 hour game. Without all of them, I couldn’t have set things up for 35 players to run through the game and collect donations for the charity.
All the Players
Some of these people raised truly staggering amounts of money for the charity. Each and every one of them made the games memorable and worth completing. Most have chosen to set this up to happen in the future, with other players tagging in where other players were not able to complete the adventure.
One of our players donated dice sets to be given out as prizes. This was back when we were three tables instead of five, so I did a series of roll offs for sets of dice at some time past midnight. I believe for each table I gave away 2-3 sets for high dice rolls and one set to whomever rolled the worst. (“You clearly need new dice.”)
The game started on Veteran’s Day. It ended on Sunday, but we started on the 11th. So we asked each of our vets in our AL community to stand up and tell us their branch of service. All four of them at our event were sitting at our marathon tables. There is no better way to spend Veteran’s Day than playing 24 hours of D&D with one of those fine folks.
“We thank you for your service” didn’t seem quite enough, so we provided each of them with a tangible (and AL related) gift to commemorate the day and thank them for playing with us.
My condo is still not back in order from the chaos. My puppy gave me some epic side eye for not coming home that night (she had to sleep on my recliner, but my wife was prepared for that one). And most of the players are planning the finale for the event (completing the module). But most of all, I was hearing, “Count me in for next year!”
Check out below for a short video of the event. (This was nearing the 12 hour mark.) Given a year to plan, next year we may offer a stream of at least one table.