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Planning A Campaign

Thu 22 Feb 2018, 23:10

I am still working my way through the book, but right now I've started plotting out the general shape I want my game to take.
  • Setting Connections
    One angle I want to hit is having the characters already tied into the world, with parents and siblings and family names. To that end, I'm going to be putting together some tables for the players to roll on to determine their general background, which will point to a few more (depending on if they are Firstcome or Zenithian), and have their grand-parents & parents having been on different sides of several moments in the timeline. Nothing super detailed, just a rough outline that they can flesh out.
  • Reputation
    I'm going to keep track of the group's sum Reputation, and also throw together a small Faction table so I can keep track of how each feels about them as a group, and (if anything at all) as individuals. The latter will take the form of a +2 or -2 to appropriate Manipulation rolls, when dealing with a member of the Faction who might have heard of them. The Patron and Nemesis will also play into this.
  • The Ship as Household
    The ship's crew may or may not feel like family, but as a unit they are a House/Company/Gang all their own. A tiny faction. This ties in to the above, but basically I want the connections they forge and deals they make and lives they save/take to link them truly to the world. Bookkeeping shouldn't be overwhelming here, like when I ran Darkening of Mirkwood and one character had 7 siblings that I was keeping track of (like, does she get a letter from home saying there's a new niece or nephew, or does her aging father have to stop running the family farm?), but enough that as their skills & reputation & history grow they have a real sense of that weight.
  • TV Season Structure
    Each session will be an "episode," with A and B plots: one will be a job or hook or outside threat, the other will be personal to the PCs or tied into an ongoing concern. I picture each "Season" as being 8-10 episodes (each episode a session or two) with two 4-5 episode arcs (which tie together somehow, leading to a nice climax). My style is very much to plan out immediate possible motivations and goals, and an outline of how they fit together... but to let the player choices and reactions determine how it all gets filled in.
The details will, indeed, have to wait until I'm done reading, but I'm excited enough about running a game that working all this out is great fun.

Hopefully, and I can be bad about updating things like this, I'll have more to add before long.
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Re: Planning A Campaign

Fri 23 Feb 2018, 10:22

I like your ideas.

I have an online group I'm running and I am trying to do the same things myself. I think adding family ties and other connections will be a big part of what makes the universe feel more like home for the players.

Keeping a record of their interactions with the different factions and their standing with each is a good idea too, so they can feel the consequences of their dealings with each group as they make their way through the Third Horizon. If they ripped off a Syndicate family back in Ep 1, when they meet another affiliated group in Ep 4 they should have to deal with the fallout. Nice idea.

The ship should always be an important part of the group, for the most part it will be their home and they depend on it for safety and as an escape from whatever bad stuff happens on-world. As you say, the crew (including players and any NPCS) act as their own mini-faction with a relationships will all of the other factions and groups they interact with. The sight of their ship entering a (star)port could trigger very different feelings dependant on their reputation at that port.

I like the idea of the TV series format too, with an overall story arc connected by episodic sub-plots.. 

If you get around to doing the family tables I'd love to see them if you're okay to share.
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Re: Planning A Campaign

Fri 02 Mar 2018, 00:01

Still working on reading the book and hashing out a campaign, but I did finish this: Family Snapshot Generator

Originally I was going to do something where you'd know exactly how old both grandparents were, what their career was, what year they died in, what their Origin was, etc. etc. etc.

I spent several hours coming up with tables that would give you most of that... and I hadn't even gotten to the Firstcome stuff.

Or the parents' generation.

And then I was listening to The Coriolis Effect, which got me considering that the Coriolis character creation system packs alot of RP & setting hooks in a small space. I wanted this to do something more fitting for that system, rather than bolting on something from Pendragon or Game of Thrones outright.

Thus, the snapshot (as opposed to a complete "Family Picture").

Hopefully someone other than me can get some use from it! 
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Re: Planning A Campaign

Fri 02 Mar 2018, 03:08

It should make new rolls to populate the tables when you reload the page, or press Ctrl+R. If it doesn't, you may have to copy the file for yourself.
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Re: Planning A Campaign

Wed 07 Mar 2018, 05:17

Minor Update:

I have decided that the driver of the behind the scenes tensions & ambitions for various factions will be three things:
• The Zenithian Hegemony’s obsession with their bloodlines, and the growing folklore about a mythical pre-arrival Nadir/Zenithian-Related Colony.
• The Nomad Federation’s various families with their own lore and trade secrets and conflicts with other factions (like Order, the Legion, etc).
• A new setting element. A place spoken of only in old tales. Karabakh. The star at the center of one of the smaller systems (I am still deciding which) has a wide binary sibling, around which floats a ship almost as large as Coriolis and a number of impressive but entirely silent colonies. It comes close enough for a long-distance journey once every few decades, and now rumors of its existence have reached far enough that it is kicking a few hornets’ nests.

I don’t plan on the PCs being sent off on a crazy expedition into the dark anytime soon, but to have this struggle for information & information control going on while conspiracy theories & cultural obsessions spark off of the faintest wisps of it.

Now I just need to nail down what happened there, what the different factions know/want/plan to do/will use to get what they want, and I can generate jobs and hooks enough to have this link in to the episodic nature I am planning.

Whether it is the mid-season reveal or the season finale cliffhanger will determine how things shape up as I go (and the players, once the players get doing their own thing).
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Re: Planning A Campaign

Tue 27 Mar 2018, 20:17

Ok, things got a bit delayed last week.

This is what my "Behind the Scenes" outline looks like, laying out the moving parts that will go into motion once the game starts. Before I mentioned writing up the factions, and right now I only have the Legion and Ahlam's Temple left.

I've also written up the "truths" of the setting that will (or may) impact the game as it goes on.
  1. The Nomad Federation has member families that, contrary to popular belief, never stopped plying space for their survival and never lost the secrets of using the Portals.
  2. There are a number of “hidden” system bodies and colonies in many systems, some that are actively isolationist and others that are merely small & isolated. Member families of the Nomad Federation may know about many. This feeds all sorts of rumors, conspiracy theories, explorations, treasure hunts, and confidence scams.
  3. The Dome City of Xhi has been confirmed a Zenithian colony almost entirely due to the “blood cult” aspect of the Hegemony’s culture. Though there is some chance that their claim to be descended from the ancestors of the Zenithians has weight, that is almost beside the point for those in charge.
  4. The Draconites got much of their technology from a group of individuals known only as The Clasp, who were operating out of a small abandoned mining colony with a fleet of six ships. They gave the Draconites a ship, complete with a full armory of technology and an engineer to maintain it, in exchange for information about the Third Horizon, resources for hiding themselves, and an oath to warn them of anyone searching for them or their home system. The members of The Clasp are from Karabakh.
  5. In the dark of space, hanging a distance that would be long for even the fastest ships, is the system of Karabakh. Whispered of among some explorers and nomads, the “Black Gardens” have gone from myth to fact among a handful of high-level Faction members. 
    • Of particular note is the remains of a massive arkship, smaller than the Zenith was: The Rook.
    • The system is also home to a highly developed planet that seems to have no human life and a number of far-flung dead colonies & silent space stations. 
    • It is a wide binary to one of the known stars and is only reasonably accessible for a few years every two decades.
    • Potential Partner Star: Erequ, Hamura, Odacon, Altai, Rigel.
I've also decided on my take on the true nature of the Icons & the Dark, but I feel like that's not super relevant to much; I only wrote it in my own notes on the off chances I need to have a solid perspective in certain situations.

My next step is the hash out the details of Karabakh's origins, what happened there, what exact threats it contains, and what treasures await anyone who braves all of that.

At that point, I am going to maybe write up a few hooks for the different types of group concepts and consider it primed to be set off and/or wrecked by the PCs.

I'll probably take a bunch of the random generators and put together spreadsheets for them, and finish my campaign tracking spreadsheet... which is a different sort of work.
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Re: Planning A Campaign

Wed 04 Apr 2018, 08:01

Sounds great so far!

I that a third ark ship? it did not ocurr to me. In fact I am more of the REMOVAL of the ark ships from the setting since it irks me that a ship several millenia old is more advanced technologically than the people that have NOT been sleeping, so I was planning on having Coriolis be the remains of a first or second horizon fleet that got stranded in the third horizon as the war ended and the portals were destroyed. But your idea of a previous ark sounds really nifty :) 

You know you will have players embark in a year-long voyage just to explore that, right? So you will need to wholly develop the idea. :)

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