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Deep_Impact
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Campaign Mode... some thoughts

Fri 08 Nov 2019, 09:29

I looked at the campaign system yesterday. And you can't help but to say that it seems a bit flanged. Literally, it's the last chapter and comes after the space fight and the aliens.

With about 40 pages it makes up about 10% of the book and consists mainly of random tables for jobs, planets or events. The three group concepts are presented on half a text page each. And as a central starting point the Novgrod Station follows, not unlike the Coriolis.

In short, the Game Mother is left a bit alone here, take the available pieces and make something out of it. I'm assuming that such games will lead to quite generic SciFi, in which well-known names like Weyland, the Colonial Marines or rumors about Hadley's Hope on LV-426 will be dropped on a regular basis. That won´t make it a bad game, but I guess my players could expect something else. It could feel like Coriolis with a replaces push mechanic. (A better one!)

Thanks to the available information* this is not that bad, but I hope that the upcoming publications will help the GM a little bit more.

*
~20 pages governments and corporations
~30 Pages Planets and Systems
~40 pages Xenos
 
Pily
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun 14 Jul 2019, 09:16

Re: Campaign Mode... some thoughts

Fri 08 Nov 2019, 10:03

I looked at the campaign system yesterday. And you can't help but to say that it seems a bit flanged. Literally, it's the last chapter and comes after the space fight and the aliens.

With about 40 pages it makes up about 10% of the book and consists mainly of random tables for jobs, planets or events. The three group concepts are presented on half a text page each. And as a central starting point the Novgrod Station follows, not unlike the Coriolis.

In short, the Game Mother is left a bit alone here, take the available pieces and make something out of it. I'm assuming that such games will lead to quite generic SciFi, in which well-known names like Weyland, the Colonial Marines or rumors about Hadley's Hope on LV-426 will be dropped on a regular basis. That won´t make it a bad game, but I guess my players could expect something else. It could feel like Coriolis with a replaces push mechanic. (A better one!)

Thanks to the available information* this is not that bad, but I hope that the upcoming publications will help the GM a little bit more.

*
~20 pages governments and corporations
~30 Pages Planets and Systems
~40 pages Xenos
I would think it's all down to the GM to create something with what they have within the core book for Players to enjoy but this would mean a lot of work being put into it. I myself started making things for the campaign system back in July I.E ship layouts /Acts if needed /characters/back story/planet surface with ships or bases on them.
 
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aramis
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Re: Campaign Mode... some thoughts

Fri 08 Nov 2019, 10:26

Have you looked at MYZ or Coriolis?

Random tables for kicking the GM's mind off onto ideas which can be fleshed out.

It reminds me an awful lot of Classic Traveller's tables in The Traveller Book... random patrons (d66 in TTB), random ship encounters (a 2d6 throw in TTB)...

A very nifty mix of old-school sandboxing-supported-by-tables, and new school dicepools and unified test mechanic.
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Smith & Wesson: the original point and click interface...
 
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Deep_Impact
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Re: Campaign Mode... some thoughts

Fri 08 Nov 2019, 11:22

Have you looked at MYZ or Coriolis?
Yes, MYZ, Coriolis, Forbidden Lands and Tales from the Loop...

Actually I would compare the campaign mode to campaigns in TftL - possible, but one shots, few shots or interconnected scenarios suits to original theme best.

Don´t get me wrong, I´m far from not liking this RPG! It´s just the feeling, that Cinematics will get the most out of it.
 
Spiraller
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Re: Campaign Mode... some thoughts

Fri 08 Nov 2019, 12:12

Page 326: "Three suggested campaign frameworks—
Space Truckers, Colonial Marines, and Frontier
Colonists—are described below, and later in
this chapter you’ll find mission generators
for each of them. In the future, Free League
Publishing will release a series of campaign
modules that delve deeper into each of the
three frameworks above"

Not sure how in-depth they will be though. But a full-fledged pre-written adventure for each framework would be awesome.
 
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Deep_Impact
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Re: Campaign Mode... some thoughts

Fri 08 Nov 2019, 12:24

Not sure how in-depth they will be though. But a full-fledged pre-written adventure for each framework would be awesome.
We will get a complete book each! :)
 
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aramis
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Re: Campaign Mode... some thoughts

Sat 09 Nov 2019, 04:10

Not sure how in-depth they will be though. But a full-fledged pre-written adventure for each framework would be awesome.
We will get a complete book each! :)
I hope so. But I'd also find a single 300+ pp book expanding all three with an adventure each and more material for GMs....
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Smith & Wesson: the original point and click interface...
 
Bengt Petter
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Re: Campaign Mode... some thoughts

Sat 16 Nov 2019, 23:56

Of couse, a quite experienced GM can create an Alien campaign from the stuff that is in game. Still, what you get in campaign chapter isn’t that helpful. I think the focus should have been quite different. You don’t really get what I want in a chapter like this: a good structure for building a campaign specific for Alien. You only get some very general guidelines and lists. Here are some some thoughts that I would have liked to see in the campaign chapter:

1. What is the big picture or metaplot in an Alien campaign? Well, we kind of know that already, but still it’s good to make it clear: the Alien setting is about a greedy corporation that finds a previously unknown and very dangerous xenomorph. The corporation tries to hide this discovery. It’s probably one of many dark secrets of the corporation. Other, rival corporations try to steal the xenomorph. It’s a world of dystopian capitalism where humans and androids are willing to do anything to be in power. The people in power don’t care if the people on the ground die while working. Somewhere out there there are more alien things to discover that is more terrible and fascinating things to discover, probably dark secrets that can be revealed in several layers. Of course, you can get into further details, but this is the big picture, typical for this specific setting. An Alien campaign should fit this bigger picture or metaplot in some way. If it doesn’t, there should be good reasons for ignoring or twisting the big picture.

2. Where is the sandbox? The question might seem stupid, but I see the word sandbox mentioned on the back cover. Still, I didn’t really find anything about sandboxes in the campaign chapter (maybe I missed it). I get that a sandbox in this setting might be both something large - maybe a trail stretching through several star systems - but I prefer smaller and more distinct locations like asteroids (or a larger asteroid belt), space colonies, a pirate fleet, a drifting derilict, a prison facility etc. Of course, I noticed the Novgorod Station, but I have would have liked more ideas on how to create different sandbox locations. And how to connect them to what I call the bigger picture. Without this, it’s hard to create a campaign.

3. Who are the main antagonists and protagonists in the campaign? I get that you could find some clues and inspiration in several chapters, but I would have liked to see some ideas on which types of NPC:s that are useful in an Alien campaign. They could come from several levels of power - everything from rival crews on the ground to powerful politicians, generals or corporate board members. There should be some kind of conflict that the PC should be able to have an impact on. And this conflict should have some connection to the big picture. I know several large corporations are described in the book, but I would have liked to see how they can be used in a campaign, together with more or less powerful NPCs.

4. Who are the PCs and what motivates them to do stuff? Obviously, there are three suggested campaign frameworks, but I think they could have been fleshed out more. The jobs, missions and complications suggested in the book can for sure be useful, but not without a lot of additional work. At least some of it feels like things the PCs would do beside the real campaign drama. I actually don’t think that most of the information in the campaign chapter is that useful for an actual campaign - it’s more guidelines for creating the most basic environment surrounding the sandbox. Speaking of campaign feameworks (I prefer group concepts), I think there should have been more than just three, for example a crime syndicate, a spy ring, a billionaire crew, and a crew of space pieates. I’m aware that the three mentioned campaign frameworks will be more described in detail later, but that doesn’t mean that there can’t be other campaign frameworks that isn’t just as interesting. It should be possible to do a lot with this game. I would have liked to see that in this chapter.


So, do I think the campaign chapter is crap? Well, not really. Most of the stuff is useful, but it’s not the most important stuff you need for creating Alien campaigns. If there will be a second edition of this game (very possible, I guess), I suggest a rewritten campaign chapter with more written guidelines than just lists of ideas.
 
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Diego
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Re: Campaign Mode... some thoughts

Sun 17 Nov 2019, 01:08

They quite possible was hit by the page count limit. I mean, the game is already well sized and chunky and I would not consider any of the chapter superfluous. I mean, I'm already wishing there was more in the world setting chapter other than the three big nations and a few corp entries.
 
Bengt Petter
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Re: Campaign Mode... some thoughts

Sun 17 Nov 2019, 01:21

It’s both a matter of graphic design and what could have been put in additional PDFs online. If you compare to Mutant Year Zero, the first game with the Year Zero engine, the campaign is presented in another way, without a lot of long lists. In that game, there was also a part about how to create new metaplots, specific for that setting (I wrote that part, and many other things for that game). I would actually say that there is a kind of metaplot also in Alien. It could be a great campaign tool, actually a lot better than long lists. I want to know what a campaign in Alien could be about. I don’t think the game answers that question well enough.
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