I’ve been DMing the Mearls crowd-sourced D&D game for a week, and one thing is clear: the PC, whose every turn is controlled by a committee of up to 50 or so players, has that elusive quality “player skill”.
The communal player avoided a trap; killed two and charmed one orc without ever hazarding personal combat; and has been steadily pilfering everything of value, despite the watchful eye of the orc ally. The player has been creative, greedy, and hasn’t made a single rash decision. It would be interesting to run a Mearls through a true Tomb of Horrors-style deathtrap dungeon or an old tournament module. I have a feeling that we’d do better than most human parties.
Watching the votes come in has been fun. While the first-offered alternative has a slight edge in the voting, it’s been interesting to see that a late-suggested, but clever, option frequently wins the voting.
There’s accepted wisdom about committees making bad decisions. On the other hand, there’s a famous story about the “wisdom of the crowd”. In a contest to guess the weight of a bull, the average of all the guesses was within .1% of the true weight.
It’s been fun to run this D&D game: there are plenty of mindless little CRPG games you can use to waste the odd ten minutes at work, but nothing’s quite like reacting to a real person (or real people) in a true RPG. I’d judge the experiment a success, and I’m thinking of keeping it going.
Here’s what I propose:
If you haven’t joined the game yet, jump in! Right now we’re at a crucial decision point: should the PC fight four ghosts, or try to teach them about the evils of sexual harrassment?