View Full Version : Mercenery campaign - I feel like I`m missing a drawback

2011-01-05, 03:12 PM
I thought of an idea for a campaign in which the player characters are not adventures, but merceneries working for an evil orginization. Some could be spies working to destroy the organization, and to find out who leads it.
Money will be the constant motive to go to adventures, they could get magic items thru the organization, etc, but I feel like there is some kind of drawback to such campaign that I`m missing.

2011-01-05, 03:15 PM
...a drawback in what sense? :smallconfused:

2011-01-05, 03:16 PM
If the PCs are working together only for the money, sooner or later one of them will notice that with less partners the paycheck gets bigger.

2011-01-05, 03:26 PM
The players might feel like they don't really have that much motivation.

2011-01-05, 03:28 PM
Eventually they'll get considered a threat or good enough at their jobs that they're too expensive and thus should be eliminated? If that's the direction you wanna go.

Really, it depends on where you're going with drawbacks.

2011-01-05, 03:31 PM
If the PCs are working together only for the money, sooner or later one of them will notice that with less partners the paycheck gets bigger.

See, no. That's not really true, for a couple reasons:

1.They're working as part of a command structure, which means that betrayal within the party would risk the betrayer's connection with his paycheck(companies tend to be displeased with those that kill off their assets).

2.Gestalt. The sum of a group is more powerful than any individual member, and alignments aren't blind to this truth.

Now, if there's some "grand haul" that's worth 100x or more what all the PCs together are worth, *THEN* I could see a betrayal, but not over a 9-5 paycheck.

Zen Monkey
2011-01-05, 03:35 PM
a lack of heroic purpose?

Really, why are they adventuring? Eventually money isn't going to be all that motivating when they're drowning in treasure. Unless maybe they eventually want land and a personal army and all that castle-sim stuff, that could be a good direction. Maybe the quest is to go from nobodies to major political powers, otherwise stuff-questing for it's own sake is going to get old.

As for tangible drawbacks, I've always seen the good/evil pc split as this: The advantage of being a bad guy is doing whatever you want. The advantage of being a good guy is the support of other good guys. People are less likely to help the cause of the greedy mercenary, and grow more distrustful of them as they become more powerful.

2011-01-05, 03:37 PM
It's a fun start. However, you'll want to tie in the characters to other things early in the campaign. Get the caring about the world they live in.

Then, eventually have the hiring type or types threaten those things. Nice, long creepy slide to evil. Thus, about the time they are bored of the whole "you get a mission, you do mission" style, they have great reasons to go wildly off the rails.

Grelna the Blue
2011-01-05, 03:40 PM
Drawback? They'd be playing mercs working for an evil organization. That is the drawback. They could at times be tasked to do things they simply will not want to do. Unless they are playing psychopaths or people who are completely dead inside, committing atrocities on demand and in cold blood is no fun whatsoever. That's true even for evil characters, much less neutral or good ones. If you saw the movie Avatar (and we should probably skip debate on the merits of the movie), you'll recall that when the big tree was ordered destroyed, it had an impact even on the guy who ordered it.

The more successful they are, the more likely it is that they'd be given tasks other mercs might not be trusted with.

2011-01-05, 03:59 PM
Of course, merc campaigns don't have to be evil. Rent-a-cops, SeeDs, superheroes, the "adventurers" of FF11 -- other settings have successfully created a valid reason for mercs, removing the "mercs are bad dudes" connotation.

We did one. A Persian-esque campaign where the city controlled the only major waterway, as well as being a crossroads for all land-based caravan routes. These things, as well as a cunning "magocracy", made for a very prosperous city lacking manpower (or, at least, native manpower). So they set up a very capitalist approach with posted jobs. Just get the right paperwork and you're a contract soldier/cop/detective. Find allies, register them as part of your team, grow into a full-fledged guild. Building up enough prestige gets its own perks, such as higher likelihood your bid will be chosen for a job, or offers for more important work -- getting in bed with top officials and such. As you can imagine, that has its own advantages. When we got here, we ran into a lot of political intrigue, betrayal, and eventually a brooding civil war.

2011-01-05, 04:28 PM
Considering many adventurers take contracts in much the same way as mercenaries anyway...

An interesting thing could involve them trying to get paid multiple times (http://www.schlockmercenary.com/2005-01-16)for the same job or to complete competing contracts (http://www.schlockmercenary.com/2007-07-15)or side contracts (http://www.schlockmercenary.com/2007-07-18) while also completing their main contract and preventing suspicion from being laid upon them. And even negotiations that go like this. (http://www.schlockmercenary.com/2007-06-06)

Heck, just read through schlock mercenary and that'll both amuse you and provide potential fodder for yer ideas.

2011-01-05, 08:45 PM
In my opinion, if I were you, I would throw in some heart string pullers. One that I thought of is that the group has to hit where one of their group (or their whole group) has a connection...ie a loved hometown, a family member. Another is that once they are mid-campaign, have their organization try to kill them and have the rest of that campaign ran to get revenge or to be on the run. I like the whole idea, and I have thought about running a campaign with a similar merc feel, but I have never been able to get the cogs and gears meshing all together.

2011-01-05, 09:01 PM
committing atrocities on demand and in cold blood is no fun whatsoeverSpeak for yourself. :smallwink: