My Campaign Idea - it's crazy


This may contain SPOILERS for non-GMs. I thought I'd write out my campaign plan and see what people think.  I've been planning this for a long time and it looks like we may be able to get a new group started online playing Pathfinder using Fantasy Grounds.  This campaign is based in part on the book Critical Failures by Robert Bevan, so it may contain spoilers for that too.


The premise is that the players are playing themselves, rather than PCs.  They are playing themselves playing Pathfinder.  Before you roll your eyes, there is a point.  It's a group of mid-30's people who are having trouble continuing to play due to life and no one wants to GM.  So, they put out an ad for a GM on craigslist and some guy with the handle Elminster responds from about 3 hours away and agrees to meet at a fast food restaurant owned by one player to GM their group.  When he arrives, the players are getting ready with beer and tables and stuff.  He is a stereotypical 40-something weirdo, live in a basement nerd RPGer, with a patchy beard, wearing a full-on wizards robe, carrying a wand and hat straight out of Harry Potter.  I'm going to over-nerd him to the point that the players will make fun of him.  He'll insist on speaking only in character, get irritated at jokes, be overly serious, you name it.  At some point, knowing my group, they will upset him too much and he'll pull out special black dice and ask them all to roll a save vs magic.  They will all roll 1 and pass out.  When they awake they will be in their characters' bodies inside the game and Elminster will be the GM that can do anything and be anything, etc.  I'll play that out for about 1 session and then mysteriously Elminster will disappear.  Off-stage, he dies in a car accident.  So, they are stuck in the game.

The adventure that Elminster is going to send them on in the restaurant is The Lost City of Barakus, so they will be in Akados when they get inserted in the game.  Depending on how long it took them to upset Elminster to the point of his nasty trick, they may already be onto one or more adventure trails.  So, the first choices they will be making will be to continue adventuring or to figure out how to get out of the world and back home to their wives, kids, houses, dogs, jobs, etc.  They will be in Endhome.  I'll let it play however it goes.  Now, since they aren't actually from Akados, they will talk strangely about stats and hit points and things that don't make sense to NPCs.  At some point this will land them in trouble.  By then they will have several hints to adventures and things in Bard's Gate and someone will point out that weirdos of their magnitude may be better suited to that larger city.  I expect they will make it to Bard's Gate eventually.

When they get to Bard's Gate, they will eventually overhear a comment about hit points or "plus 1" equipment, or something else.  They will find that Elminster has actually sent dozens of people to Akados this way and they are all living in the a warehouse they purchased near the docks and licensed it in the city as a Tavern/Inn.  Since they are so weird, no one but the Earthlings go there.  The players find that these people have been there for different amounts of time, some months, some years.  They are all interested in news from the real world.  But, they are forlorn and complacent...mostly from fear.  Most have watched someone from their party die to a monster or trap.  They are all scared to death to go adventuring to gain levels, but they can't starve.  So, they all use their craft skills or other marketable skills to make trinkets or potions or peform for a few coins and collectively live day-by-day with no hope in a shabby warehouse.  Now it's not just the players who need to get out of the game.

Since the players will likely need wizardly or divine help to figure out their predicament, they will need money.  Plus, I'll play it so they feel a responsibility to the other Earthlings, so they will need to go adventuring.  They are probably still low level, so I'll throw tons of clues out for site-based adventures from Sword of Air and Stoneheart Valley.  It is also possible that they stayed in Endhome to complete Barakus...I'll deal with that if it happens.  If they left Endhome, they may want to go back to Barakus.  They will hear rumors of Tsar, Tsen, and Rappan Athuk.  The rest of the next long period will be them adventuring around, trying to deal with their predicament and searching for answers with wizards.  That will give them a reason to seek out Kayden.  Or, if they complete Tomb of Abysthor, I'll have Dispater take notice via the imp from the Wizard's Amulet and offer them an ethically interesting source of information about how to get back to Earth.  I've already told the players no chaotic, no evil. 

They may end up going to Tsar or on quests for Kayden and workng along Sword of Air.  Eventually, I'm going to work in a heavily modified version of For Duty and Deity.  That's a Forgotten Realms adventure that revolves around the commerce goddess being "lost" during the Time of Troubles.  I'm going to modify it to have a long forgotten goddess of commerce that was involved in the events in Tsen and dissappeared during the Great Darkness.  Her divinity was handed to the current god of Commerce, who I will modify to also be the god of travelors or something as well.  The lost goddess was actually captured by a demon lord and held captive for centuries and has finally found a way to get a message out.  Through their church connections, the players get hints of this.  If they rescue the goddess, then she will provide divine assistence in helping them figure out how to get back to Earth.  This involves making deals with Oghma, who I am also making the god of knowledge.  He will require some quest to help.  I haven't decided that yet.  

After the players complete the quest for Oghma, he will research and decide they need to bring the dice back to him, because he can't find any connection to any plane with an "Earth" on it.  The players will need to have someone modify a plane shift spell after reading their minds for the knowledge of Earth.  Then they will be transported there only to find they are in their characters bodies still.  They will have to use magic to find the black dice and return to Oghma.  When they do that, He'll be appalled at the dice because they are somehow outside of the "natural" multiverse.  Several dieties will convein and study the dice.  They will all agree the dice should be destroyed so nothing else can control them.  If the players have grabbed the attention of Dispater, then that will probably come out in discourse and it will be suggested that Asmodeus will be disgusted by the presence of these dice that allow some mortal from beyond "reality" to control every aspect of the multiverse and he will offer a price.  

Oghma and others will figure out that it may be possible to harness the power of a few artifacts to destroy the dice and create a discontinuity in reality that will self-heal by removing all external other words, send the players back to Earth along with all their friends at the warehouse.  Furthermore, though they aren't sure, they think that since the dice will cause a discontinuity in that multiverse, it may do the same in Earth's universe and the self-healing on that side may return the people to the instance they were inserted into the dice, so no time was lost and all those who died are returned to live on Earth.  So, the players need to get a few artifacts to destroy.  Furthermore, some beings with strong ties to the multiverse, and not just a diety, must weild the powers from the artifacts.  Oghma finds that if too much good or evil or chaos or law is represented by the power being weilded, things could go wrong, balance is required in the weilders and the artifacts.  Asmodeus being integral to the very fabric of the multiverse as being the creator and eternal ruler of Hell is one such being.  Asmodeus's price is he wants Orcus dead.  It is "convenient" that they need a powerful artifact as destroying the Wand of Orcus is the only way to truly kill him.  

I will need a second and maybe third artifact of good and law to destroy for balance and a chaotic good being to weild the power.  I was thinking Correlon Larethain as he is typically the god of elves in most worlds, though he may go by a different name.  I'm not sure how they gain his help, yet. For the artifact, I was thinking about having Nimrod in Tsar have carried the Bastard of Exalted Heroism at the time he was captured.  Though, he can't touch it now, it is a powerful artifact of Good and Law.  Problem is, to destroy that, an evil epic-level blackguard has to commit suicide with it...that's a problem for the players to figure out.  If not that, then the Rod of Seven Parts could be used for Law and I'd need a different artifact of Good.  It's quite difficult to find artifacts of good in the literature...everything is very evil or neutral.  According to Throne of Bloodstone, the Wand of Orcus must be steeped in the blood of Tiamat.  So the players will need to seek out Tiamat and kill her avatar.

That will give the PCs the opportunity for Sword of Air, Rappan Athuk, Slumbering Tsar, Stoneheart Valley, Barakus, and more.  The group of Earthlings will need to be taken care of, which takes money, but they can serve as henchmen and store managers, salesmen, information gatherers, etc.  Problem with that is, if the players are level 20 and they need a bard, a 3rd level bard isn't going to cut it.  They will have to figure out they need to take the other Earthlings out farming for levels if they are to be useful to them.  Then they will have an equipment shortage problem...more adventuring.  It will also be likely that the players play other Earthlings characters to go on lower-level adventures to level them up.  That can lead to lots of cross-polintated fun without losing site of the big picture campaign.  If they decide to set up a store in Bard's Gate selling their adventure treasure, they will attract political attention, especially if the treasures are from Tsar or Tsen.  That will provide roleplaying opportunities which distract them from the goal of getting back to Earth.

There is also the possibility that the players never catch onto the path back home and simply end up trying to take care of these people and look for an answer with no end.  If that's the case, then I'll deal with that via more adventures.

One thing to note, I'm letting the players play as themselves to basically avoid the need to mitigate metagaming.  It will be hard enough for the players to all be remote/online, so playing this way will allow them to discuss saving throws, hit points, skills, why they have penalties/bonuses, etc, without losing immersion.

I know this is complex and kind of goofy.  But, I'm interested in thoughts and advice.