This idea just popped into my head as a scenario. So this post is 2 parts brainstorming and 1 part idea sharing, so please bare with me.
Something has happened at the local Loop, and all the parents are in an exceptionally foul mood this evening. There are conflicting conversations going on in each “Everyday Event.’ One kids parent is talking about job cuts, another about a surprise government audit, another about an accident and so on (depending on the number of kids in the group). All the kids get short shrift as a result and retire to their den to escape the tense home atmosphere. As it’s a Friday, they tell their respective parents that they’re away camping(?), so their sudden absence isn’t noticed.
One of the kids (the more geeky type) brings their D&D gear with them and strikes up the idea of having a game to pass the time. The others agree (some reluctantly, ie the Jock perhaps) and they’re mid session when a flash and a thunderclap rings through the area. Something has happened and the kids find themselves in the land they live in, but it’s now part of their D&D game. In this game they don’t die, but return as under levelled “replacement” characters. The reluctant “players” may bring up that they’d didn’t want to play “this stupid game” frequently but ultimately they must work together to figure out what is going on.
I was thinking something a bit like the old Dungeons and Dragons cartoon but rolled into a pocket adventure. Once they complete the main quest/retrieve the McGuffin then there’s another flash and thunderclap signifying a return to normality. I’m thinking all the adults appear as game NPCs and are actually inhabiting the game but when it’s all restored they won’t remember any of it.
The event that propelled their town into the D&D game was due to a reality distortion experiment that went awry and fixed its parameters on the strongest imaginations in the area. In this instance, the kids playing their game. The places the kids visit have a real world counterpart and the McGuffin could be part of the faulty experiment which reverts the town back to reality.
This only an initial pass, but I’d be keen to hear your thoughts.