Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Gaming: Campaign Skeletons



 After my 'favourite games' post I started to think about the various things I could run and, more importantly, what I wanted to run. These are my initial 'sketches' where I start working out what I could do with the games I've chosen, potential problems and flavours. 

I've no idea which of them will fly, but intend to work the ideas a little bit before settling on one to 'push' to see if I can find another group. They're a bit rough and ready at the moment but I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Gaming Stuff

Notes on Terminology

Mode – the setup of the campaign overall, which I divide into three categories.
Epic – one long story
Chronicle – short stories that build into a single story
Mission – single stories

Campaign Ideas

Victoriana: Small Shadows

Mode: Mission/Chronicle
Location: London initially, thereafter travelling; I especially want the characters to travel to India
Tone: Mystery, slight tinges of horror

What it is: Working in association with Ms Scarlet Pevensie, a consulting detective, the PCs initially undertake work from her, as she recovers from a riding accident. They discover crimes, intrigues and conspiracies woven into the otherwise respectable world of London society before their work takes them elsewhere; first out into the country and then out into the wide world.

Heavy emphasis on investigations, on the nature of the world as strange and upon the various moving parts of Empire.

Possible Plots:
·         A serial killer in the East End, who is really hunting a demon possessed girl.
·         A spy who is stealing state secrets to sell to the Prussian Confederacy
·         An auction where a rare grimoire is up for sale – PCs must verify its existence and recover it for the Guild.
·         A ghost at the Opera, can the PCs exorcise it in time for the first performance to go on?
·         A werewolf is on the run in Cannock Chase, the PCs are brought in to hunt it down.

Potential Issues: Mission based play is ‘bitty’ and so there would need to be a focus for each arc and lots of linking back to the other adventures in order to build a narrative. Also, want to avoid it getting too ‘shadowrunny’ and allow the game to have its own, distinct identity.

Key Terms: Detectives, Scandal, Conspiracy, Crime, Espionage

Leagues of Adventure: Brave New World

Mode: Epic/Chronicle
Location: Paris initially, thereafter worldwide
Tone: Larger than Life/ steampulp

What it is: Beginning in Paris during the World’s Science Fair the PCs are drawn into a web of intrigue and mad science that threatens to topple the world’s order. The focus here is global, after the initial parts in Paris, fighting science masterminds with an agenda for the future; though there will be diversions into smaller areas to deal with the PCs own obligations and the clubs that they’re members of.

Lots of travel, lots of club related stuff and exploration, discovery and peril

Potential Issues: The tone might start to grate if it becomes too ‘jolly hockey sticks’. Also it might collapse under its own weight so that would have to be handled carefully.

Possible Plots:
·         Spies working at the Fair, who are kidnapping scientists
·         A globe map with strange sites marked, allowing the players to guide play.
·         The city of Ayesha in Africa
·         A friend asks the PCs to find a friend, a military officer whose gone native in the Hindu Kush… one Colonel Moran.

Key Terms: Mad Science, Conspiracy, Strange Locales, Espionage

Werewolf the Forsaken: Concrete Jungle

Mode: Chronicle/Mission
Location: Paris
Tone: Low Down Urban Fantasy with horror tinges

What it is: The great beast (Idigam) that coiled in the heart of Paris has fallen, defeated in a rare alliance between the Uratha tribes. In the wake of their victory, old rivalries and feuds are beginning to rear their heads as the city is carved up into territories. The PCs are part of a small pack, who have claimed a chunk of the city (allowing the players to pick) and who have to tame their new territory, reclaiming it from the spirits that have run amok for too long. They must deal with the threats within and without and make their turf a better place.

A war against the spirits, against the Pure, against each other.

Possible Plots:
·         The rats – Beshilu gnawing at the Gauntlet
·         A serial killer who’s urged by spirits
·         A spirit market where the spirits of commerce buy and sell anything that comes their way. They steal something from the PCs to sell
·         Lost treasure – the Pure are hunting for an heirloom, something they lost before the Idigam moved in.

Potential Issues: The game might be limited – being territory bound, it relies on buy in at the start in the form of players picking/defining their territory.

Key Terms: Reclamation, Territory, Taming the Spirits,

Vampire the Requiem: Bloody Crowns

Mode: Chronicle/Mission
Location: Paris
Tone: Gothic

What it is: In the wake of a strange event, wherein all the members of the Lancea et Sanctum disappeared from the city (including the Prince), Paris has been left in disarray. The old territories have been broken as vampires seek to grab new lands left open by the sudden evacuation. Politically the city has fractured into two courts, one ruled by a Nosferatu Prince the other by a Council of Elders. Elsewhere, something stalks the streets, and unwary vampires die in mysterious circumstances, and echoes of the past stir, ready to step into the night once more.

It’s a game of blood, chance and death on Paris’ streets.

Possible Plots:
·         Theatre des Vampires – the PCs uncover an old group of vampires, bound in torpor – they’re monsters who, if woken, will delight in running rampage (perhaps a more grown up version of a Belial’s Brood coterie?)
·         The mystery of what the thing killing vampires actually is
·         Turf dispute, neighbouring coterie decides that they want the PCs patch.

Potential Issues: Selling ‘Gothic’ as a style/thing. Might be too adult in content and I need to check if the ideas presented here would work within Requiem.

Key Terms: Territory, History, Mystery, Memory,

Yggdrasil: Long Winter

Mode: Epic
Location: Scandia, generally
Tone: Fantasy history, played straight.

What it is: Spring has come to Scandia and the PCs are on one of the first ships out of the port of Klepp, travelling north in search of work and trade. What they find instead is blood, death and stories of raiders. What is the source of the attacks, what does it have to do with the Jotun and their prophecy? Where will the PCs discover the truth about the Daughter of the Norns? What secrets does their home community hold and where can they go to learn the truth?

And will they ever learn to like fermented herring?

Possible Plots:
·         Searching for a lost child
·         Winter Wolves – hanging around too long and needing to be slain for the good of the city.
·         The city watch/guards have turned to extortion to ensure protection – the PCs must help the local artisans.
·         The local Skald has annoyed the Jarl, how can he get back into his good books?
·         The Jarl’s uncle has arranged for his nephew’s wife to be given a ‘medicinal tonic’, it actually

Potential Issues: Selling the ‘historical’ nature of the game and creating that atmosphere, combat (as this looks to be the only game with a serious focus there).

Key Terms: Norns, Nine Worlds, Shadows, Intrigue, Honour, Monsters

The Strange: Strange Horizons

Mode: All three, for preference
Location; Earth, the Strange Network
Tone: Mixed, but with a core of modern day SF

What it is: A strange drug has started to appear on the streets of L.A., a narcotic that seems to originate from somewhere other than Earth. The Estate scramble a team to investigate, little knowing that they will discover something dark and dangerous; something that comes from the Dark Energy Network. Sooner or later the PCs have to leave Earth and head out into the worlds out in the Strange…

·         Possible Plots:
·         The drug bust
·         A creature from between worlds breaks in – bug hunt through a crowded area (shopping mall?)
·         Into another world – pursuing a fugitive scientist
·         The Quiet Cabal start to pry into a biotech company’s findings, as they’re on the verge of finding something interesting and dangerous.

Potential Issues: Potential to be too weird?

Key Terms: Exploration, Peril, Lost, Honour, Monsters

Mage the Ascension 20th Anniversary: City of Eyes

Mode: All Three
Location: London
Tone: Urban Fantasy/Horror

What it is: Set in the dirty streets of London, as the city undergoes a transformation. The streets are being taken away from the people, rising costs and greedy oligarchs force the people out. The Syndicate and New World Order plot from their lairs in Canary Wharf and Whitehall, building their shining city where everything is measured, everything is watched. The other Conventions are dragged along in their wake, their science yoked to the dreams of money and politics. In the shadows, the Traditions still fight, but do they have a foothold in a city that is increasingly one of mirrors and measurements?

Possible Plots:
·         The pupils at a school on special measures are behaving oddly, they don’t play, they don’t gossip. They’re polite and respectful… an adult’s idea of what model children should be, in fact. What’s caused the change?
·         A local mage has gone off the map, and the Chantry is getting worried – PCs are tasked to investigate but can they handle the rigours of another mage’s descent into Twilight?
·         Something is stalking women on the Underground, using its knowledge of the Tube as a weapon to avoid detection. When a dead woman’s body turns up with a sigil carved into her forehead the mages have to do something or risk their world becoming a little too sharply into focus.
·         The PCs are approached by a Man in Black who wants their aid in stopping something the Technocracy is doing; can they trust him, or is he leading them into a trap?
·         A haunting turns into something far more sinister as an Umbrood starts to build a group of puppeted humans to further its own agenda.

Potential Issues: Magic system, might be a bit bleak, selling the world.

Key Terms: Ascension, Mystery, Struggle

Rocket Age: Ignition

Mode: Epic/Chronicle (long story but with clearly defined arcs)
Location: Solar System/Mars
Tone: Exploration/wonder/classic slipstream

What it is: A new figure has emerged on Mars, a prophet, a rebel leader. Styling himself ‘the Speaker’ (and rather akin to Muad’ib from Dune – which I imagine I’ve mispelt) he is uniting the various kinds of Martian into a force that aims to overthrow the ruling elite and throw the ‘outlanders’ off world. As revolution spreads across the planet, and the system, what can be done to stop it and will it affect Earth?

Possible Plots:
·         A Europan Ambassador is assassinated, can the murder be solved and the killer brought to justice before the Europans react?
·         A group of smugglers are transporting weapons for the Speaker’s soldiers when the PCs stumble onto them, what do they do?
·         An Earthling agent contacts the party, asking for passage off world, when they’re safely in space, one of the party notices something about him; a strange mark on his body… which supposedly only the Speaker has. Has the rebellion and the overthrow been nothing more than an Earthling attempt to stage a coup on Mars?

Potential Issues: Keeping the tone right, keeping the players interested, making the arcs interesting without letting them drag, allowing the scope for lots of exploration of the solar system without losing focus. I think this might need another long term plot too, to give players choice.

Key Terms: Revolution, Disguises