Okay this isn't about an alternate reality game or even any specific game or rpg at all. This is just an idea inspired by the awesomeness of suspended orders at coffee but it is a biggy.
What if we could each go on a real life rpg adventure?
Not that original I know but I'm a scifi writer, I try to explain away magic in terms of science so here are the details. I'm not saying this idea is without faults or immediately ready for testing but it's a step in the right direction.
What is your definition of a real life rpg adventure?
After preparing a few months and years in advance you take off to a new town or country armed with nothing more than an identity card, a back pack and the relevant paper work. You turn up at the local tourist information center and your papers are verified. If everything's in order you're given an app for your smart phone/tablet that will let you instantly get hold of a fellow participants contact details by scanning the qr code on their identity card so you can keep in touch with any new friends you make.
You are then shown to a hostel, inn or hotel where you will receive bed and board in return for a days work experience wherever you're staying. After that initial night you can either either pay to stay more nights for convenience and peace of mind or head to the local tavern for a quest. Otherwise known as a short term job that pays currency only participating premises will accept to stop you from using it to buy items which would lessen the experience, that or buying too many sweets.
Experience points will be rewarded along with currency, with a bonus modifier applied for the diversity of your quests. That way you could keep applying for the same job time after time if you really like working there but you're also encouraged to try new things and add more to your resume.
Aside from quests you'll also be able to take part in side-quests. Otherwise known as guided tours of beauty spots that'll push your body to its limits.
After earning a certain amount of experience points you'll be able to spend skill points and partake in short classes that teach you various basic skills.
There'll also be many competitions where you can use your favourite subjects from school, college, university or work to earn currency and experience points.
When would it happen?
Probably in the summer and certainly that's when the most RPG like aspects would take place but if it gets big enough it might become a new kind of gap year.
What would be the point of it?
Meet new people from all walks in life who have something huge in common with you. Since all participants are screened before they get their identity card, it provides a safe environment to interact in. It will give students a way past the first hurdle of getting a job, that to have one you must have already had one, since this provides many short term low paid jobs with the express purpose of giving those fresh out of university or about to enter a job. The variety of experiences involved would also add to ones CV and vastly enrich the new generation of first world children.
Why would someone want to partake in what is effectively a dressed up gap year?
It would be fun, hopefully with all the community spirit of a convention like Gallifrey One but for a wider demographic, catering to a much larger audience and providing them with new experiences, skills and chances to travel safely, cheaply and comfortably as they're encouraged to be the kind of person who always orders twice as many suspended coffees as they buy actual coffees.
Think this idea has already been met or want to help make this a reality? Let me know in the comments below.
I am Gordon Jones, a writer more usually found at farsh-nuke.deviantart.com or youtube.com/user/farshnuke and I am currently in production of a review series on the Virgin New Adventures of Doctor Who and scripting a scifi urban fantasy web series called Green Eyed Nothing in association with landapictures.co.uk Please check out those links as that would make me very happy.