View Full Version : [D20 Modern] Campaign help

2011-03-22, 08:50 AM
I've tabled my 3.5 campaign for awhile because I was getting bored with it and the quality was dropping. I've switched to a alternate-history Cold War game (inspired by a number of old conspiracy theories) in which the US and USSR fight a "shadow war" after the Soviet bombing of the Challenger.
While the players (and I) love the idea, there is one minor detail. In our first session, a KGB hit squad killed the team's co (an NPC) and nearly pulled a tpk due to me underestimating burst fire (I expected the -4 to hit would keep the PCs safe. I was mistaken.)
This works well for the campaign, but it leaves me with a question. Should I add in an NPC "mission control," or leave the party to wing it? (The party is supposed to be a semi-autonomous CIA strike team dedicated to nullifying KGB hit teams in-country, and launching retaliatory strikes By Order of the President.)

2011-03-22, 09:08 AM
Well, eventually they should reastablish contact with the headquarters and ask for further instructions. But depending on where they are and what they are currently doing, this might not be that easy. If in enemy territory, they have to decide if they try to get out without any support, or continue with the mission as planned.

2011-03-22, 09:12 AM
Ok, a little more information seems to be in order. They currently have no safehouse, as theirs was just shot up and the enemy knows where it is, but they have current orders, nearly all of their starting wealth because I gave them free weapons, and they are in friendly territory. What I'm debating is whether I should give them a support team, or take advantage of the botched hit to drive them under the radar.

2011-03-22, 12:24 PM
I would actually leave that descision up to the players. Make sure they understand that they can chose to abbort the mission or improvise and continue.
It increases the GM workload, but I think it will make the rest of the adventure much more interesting for the players when they understand that they are not railroaded but really have to consider the consequences of the options they have.

If they abort the mission and get back in contact with the headquarters, they will probably use valuable time, possibly several days. And since the enemy already killed their handler, they know that the protagonists are planning something and can use the time to prepare for the next attempt.
But if they proceed as planned, they have to work without any support or reinforcements and when things don't go as planned, which they already do, they won't be able to check with their superiors what they are going to do in an unexpected situation.
If they improvise and botch it, they can make things a lot worse. But if they retreat and do nothing for now, it will be much harder to achieve their objective at a later point.

I think it's a brilliant setup for a very memorable adventure, whichever option they chose. Retreating is the more safe route, but even than the players will always have doubts that things would have been different if they had been more daring. In that case make sure to drop some hints that certain obstacles they encounter are only there because they lost too much time.

2011-03-22, 01:23 PM
I suspect that I will end up doing that. However, posts like yours illustrate the wisdom of asking. A most concise breakdown of the options available.

2011-03-24, 07:20 AM
Ok, I was planning out a few of the KGB cells for the players to hunt down, bucause I dumped a lot of leats on them in the first session and don't know who they're going to look for first, and I'm having trouble determing the wealth level of the different groups.

Specifically, I'm trying to figure out how much wealth a cell that focuses on smuggling drugs, guns, and people into the country should have one hand (revenue from the smuggling operations is used to help fund the KGB's North American operations.) Placing a value on the black market price of the guns is easy, and the drugs aren't too difficult, even if I might have to google 1980's prices, but I'm finding the people part difficult.

The idea is to guesstimate how much money that operation takes in and use a percentage of that to determine how well the opposition is equipped, and how much Wealth is available as "treasure." Any suggestions?

2011-03-24, 01:41 PM
The Mod They Call Me: This belongs in Other Systems.

2011-03-24, 03:47 PM
Very nice assesment and analysis Yora!

Ok My $2 opinion, hey inflation dude.
In the very first session the players have their first assumption (of leadership) yanked right out from them by natural combat. There was no GM railroading involved! This can lead to all kinds of awesome gaming for them and you.

First the group has been made and attacked. Their lines of communication is going to get dropped immediately so that no one else is affected. And the "support team" can not be comprimised by association with the group. Or the support team is now assigned to deliver a chastizement for the death of your leader.
You want to give them a sense of chaos and apprehension so that they are on edge. Not too much that they give up though, just enough to make it very challenging, difficult and engaging. Basically it is up to them to succeed on their own.
Let them take control of what they do and how they go about it, maybe sometimes throw in a hook or two when they get stuck. Also they have to face alot of difficulties, nothing overcomable nor anything that kills anyone else, but give them the feeling of having to struggle.
Now here's the key. Eventually they must succeed! Make it difficult, nail biting suspense but no matter what let them take out the KGB group and achieve their goals, thus get back into the fold.

Yes this breaks an idea of story realism or whatever some may call it. But afterwards your players (and you) will look back as it being a very memorable campaign. "Remember when everything went haywire in the first session but we still came back and kicked butt!" This could also bring the players just a little closer during play and a sense of comradery that may last into other campaigns.