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Rawhead
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Campaign Starts - Getting the Party Together

Tue 09 Jan 2024, 14:59

So i've been pondering a while on how to get the players together for the beginning of a campaign. Given that there may be a mix of civilians, and soldiers potentially of multiple nationalities (and even sides) it can be somewhat tricky.

The Two Past Midnight guys came up with a great opener, with the players starting in a prisoner of war camp.

I think the best one i've come up with so far is either a convoy of vehicles hit by an IED and then mortar or artillery fire, or a transport helicopter crashing (something like a Chinook).

Anyone else got a good opener that could handle a vriety of character backgrounds ?
Last edited by Rawhead on Tue 09 Jan 2024, 15:49, edited 1 time in total.
 
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ExileInParadise
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Re: Campaign Starts - Getting the Party Together

Tue 09 Jan 2024, 15:26

I tend to make this a session zero topic.

After explaining the setting (if needed) and character archetypes, I leave it to the players to work out their stories of how they each met and why they adventure together now.

This can help give me a lot of mine-able backstory details for later use.

I also ask for them to agree on an initial goal for their characters individually - what do they want from the world - and as a group - what is their team striving for?

This can help me tailor the rewards from various adventures to the characters individually and the group as a whole.

Fundamentally, I am there to provide the sets, props, and background ... its up to the players to provide the main actors and drive their stories.
We live, as we dream -- alone. ~ Joseph Conrad
 
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Rawhead
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Re: Campaign Starts - Getting the Party Together

Tue 09 Jan 2024, 17:00

I like to do both. During character gen i'll encourage the characters who could have met before the cmapaign starts to establish bonds, and i'll also dig into their backgrounds regarding drives and goals. But then for Session 1 i'd like to start with a big bang set piece - get them on the run together with limited resources and everything expoding behind them :lol:
 
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FatherJ_ct
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Re: Campaign Starts - Getting the Party Together

Wed 10 Jan 2024, 04:01

I think the method I most would encourage is ExileInParadise's "session zero topic". The players workshop how they are together. Obviously the GM can present the scenario of who/how/where they are starting (like the TwoPastMidnight starting in prison).

In the traditional 5th ID getting overrun, players mil and civ can end up finding cover/hiding in the same location as a starting point.

I played in one recently that was the 2nd Armored fighting, causing our mil characters to be scurrying for cover/away from artillery strikes and running into the Civ player defending themselves against soviets in the nearby forest. So similar to the 5th ID.

A less action start would be the players having attached themselves to a town/village. The protection for food and board.
 
paladin2019
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Re: Campaign Starts - Getting the Party Together

Wed 10 Jan 2024, 10:50

Assumptions of the setting include that civilians aren't really civilians anymore and units are inherently multinational due to the vagaries of war. The question is how the "outsiders" joined the unit and in what capacity before the events of Session 1. Having Session 1 be the equivalent of "meeting in a tavern" plays against the assumptions but is in no way invalid.

Note that units aren't pure anything.
  • Support MOSs in combat units are the norm, whether as organic positions, habitual attachments like medics, or other attachments based on mission.
  • Likewise, combat units habitually leave at least one member or even a crew with major combat equipment that has to be evacuated to support units for more significant repairs, both to assist with any repairs and to repatriate the system when repairs are complete.
  • Civilians can have all manner of reasons for being with the unit, from being locally hired laborers, militia absorbed by unit, or the kid they adopted.

The POW thing is a horrible idea if the players haven't affirmatively bought in outside of the game. Hearing this with no context angers me and makes me question the GM's motives and the kind of game they want to run.
 
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Rawhead
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Re: Campaign Starts - Getting the Party Together

Wed 10 Jan 2024, 11:58

The POW thing is a horrible idea if the players haven't affirmatively bought in outside of the game. Hearing this with no context angers me and makes me question the GM's motives and the kind of game they want to run.
Just to be clear, the players spent about 15 minutes as POWs - it was just used as a mechanism to gather the party together.

I understand giving the players the option to form their party in Session 0, but i like the idea of throwing them together in a more uncertain manner. I've gone the other way and started off with an established base - I ran a Mutant Year Zero game where they had an established camp in a school with multiple NPC factions the players were involved in.

A bit of initial friction amongst the party can lead to some great roleplaying and should (If i run it right) be overcome by the struggle to survive meaning they have to pull together.
 
welsh
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Re: Campaign Starts - Getting the Party Together

Wed 10 Jan 2024, 17:03

In the traditional 5th ID getting overrun, players mil and civ can end up finding cover/hiding in the same location as a starting point.
This is what I have always done, whether it's the classic 5th ID or whatever: you're starting in the aftermath of a disaster (which conveniently cuts soldiers loose from their chain of command and lets the players have absolute agency).

For civilians mixed into military groups ... interpreters, cooks, mechanics, etc. A lot of logistics roles may be filled by local labour now, because it's the logistics hubs and supply routes that got nuked and gassed. Trained soldiers in logistics MOS's might find themselves put into combat units as infantry to replace losses. Front-line soldiers might find themselves assigned to rear-area roles because they needed a break. And so on.

And if you have some inexplicable civilian ... well, as the disaster unfolded, someone just grabbed them and shouted, "come on!" In that classic Escape from Kalisz scenario, the characters don't even have to have met before they all end up hiding in the same basement.
 
ckosacranoid
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Re: Campaign Starts - Getting the Party Together

Wed 24 Jan 2024, 08:21

I have two games, one was the Poland start and they where started the day after the last fight in a camp and went from there. It was all military game for that one.

The other one was a red dawn style game where the group had some mixed military from different branch's and a kid with them and the where o. The run in a state side based game.

The game I am playing in right now was a group of us troops that picked up a little kid near lots when the crap hit the fan and I am playing the little kid sniper who was a member of a trading group that got hit with bandits and as the group was being looted they in turn got over run by Russian troops and that was when the kid got away before being picked up by the group.
 
Mahatatain
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Re: Campaign Starts - Getting the Party Together

Mon 10 Jun 2024, 12:30

Another alternative solution for getting the party together is for the GM to decide on the starting situation and to then brief the players on it so that the players create characters that fit with that situation.

For example I've streamed a game where the PCs are members of a Cavalry unit who where scouting ahead of the bulk to the 5th ID when everything collapsed and I've just started a PbP game where the PCs are members of a newly formed Commando unit in the Caribbean.

Both of those campaign set up briefings have allowed the players to create characters that make sense to fit together and start with knowing each other, which is important for selecting Buddies.

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