Sunday, May 12, 2013

RPG Blog Carnival May 2013: Campaigns I’d Like to Run

Okay, so I'm jumping into this month's RPG Blog Carnival, hosted this time over at Age of Ravens with the theme "Campaigns I'd Like to Run".  Recently I've been exploring some new campaign ideas and I think that right now I have three main ideas in development.

The first and most recent is a game based on WWI, but set in an alternate universe with some steampunk and supernatural elements.  Mostly it would be a series of "dungeon" crawls in huge fortress complexes.  But there would also be outdoor travel to new unexplored fortresses and friendly bases, as well as other types of missions to mix in other adventures besides just straight dungeon crawls.  I would do the outdoor adventuring as a hex crawl, where the squad makes its way across a vast shattered landscape laced with trenches and struggles to stay alive.  But I do worry that the WWI genre, even an alternate steampunk/supernatural version, is limited in scope.  So maybe it would be best as a mini-campaign with the overall goal being to clear a certain set of fortresses in order to make a difference in the overall war (or perhaps to discover that ultimately nothing makes any difference and the slaughter will continue regardless).  There are a number of rules sets which could be used for this game.  My immediate go-to rules would be d20 Modern, perhaps with d20 Past (which I don't actually own yet).  I know d20 Modern isn't popular but I find it easy to run: I ran a couple Warhammer 40,000 scenarios with it using just the core book.

Another game which I've been thinking over for a very long time is a mecha game.  Now, for me "mecha" really means the flying/transforming kind as in RoboTech and Gundam.  RoboTech was my introduction to mecha and that concept has stuck with me ever since.  When  it comes to developing a campaign framework, however, there are several things which I'm having a struggle working out to my satisfaction.  One is that it is a military setting.  That limits the players' ability to make decisions (well, without getting in trouble with command).  Thus it could devolve into the GM (me) just running them through a series of combat missions in very railroady fashion.  In proper anime style I would balance the combat missions with plenty of drama back at the base ship.  There would be rival squadrons, difficult and quirky individuals in the crew, romance, food fights in the mess hall, uncooperative robot vending machines, etc.  Another problem area is a more crunchy one: how to model very high-speed, three dimensional aerial combat.  I've worked some ideas already on how to handle a dogfight abstractly, but I feel it falls apart a bit in modeling several separate simultaneous dogfights dispersed over a large area.  There is also the question of how crunchy to get with the combat rules.  In any game based around a combat vehicle, such as mecha, pirate ships, or Mad Max cars, the cool technology involved a huge part of the action.  The players will probably want to wallow in all the technical bits, particularly those into optimizing their play.  That's all fine, but I worry that the combat may come to resemble a stodgy miniatures game rather than the sort of fluid, cinematic, high-voltage sort of action I want. Hmm, must think more on this aspect.

And that leads into the third campaign idea: CthulhuTech.  This could merge in with the mecha campaign idea because CthulhuTech has mecha.  Using the CthulhuTech campaign world would lead to a game which is Cthulhu mythos flavored rather than anime.  I love the whole idea behind CthulhuTech but it contains so many different campaign concepts that I want to try them all out.  Actually, probably the first game I'll run is a survival horror one set in the aftermath of destruction by an army of cultists and creatures.  I already wrote this one up for Gnome Stew's New Year, New Game Carnival for 2013.  You can read about it here.

So there they are, the Campaigns I'd Like to Run (at the moment).

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