View Full Version : Special Campaign Idea; thoughts?

2008-12-16, 07:32 AM
It's possible I'll be able to DM a 6/7 session game in a few months from now, and I had an idea that would make it different from 'normal' campaigns. I thought maybe some of you would have experience with related matters or possibly foresee problems with the concept.

Minor rundown: Eberron game. The three PCs will be a dispatch from House Deneith (hirelings) to a town where there's something amiss. The town is being attacked from the outside?, but by what is unclear. There is political/religious turmoil in the city council, and there's enough going on for side-quests. Think Saltmarsh from PHBII.

The thing is, all three PCs are squad captains. That means that all three will have three cohorts they can use/dispatch into the city, put on lookout duty, etc. The players will only have to roleplay the PCs themselves; the cohorts should be described in a single line (Kita Darkwood, quiet Rogue, smokes a lot) and will be tied to more severe limitations than the PCs themselves.

The PCs will be level 6, can only be LA0 or LA+1 races and must be Lawful in order to work as a squad captain for House Deneith.

The three cohorts are all level 2, have no Action Points (though the Heroic Companion or Heroic Spirit Feats can be used to grant them APs), cannot take racial substitution levels or alternate class features, can be single-classed only and must be Lawful to work as a team player in House Deneith.
They are, in short, not PCs. In addition, they cannot use class features that grant combat bonuses to allies (Dragon Shaman, Bard and Marshal, if I remember correctly); this mainly to prevent the possible cheese of +9 on attack and damage rolls to the three PCs and all that jazz. The team of four must serve a specific purpose or have a specific specialty, so the four characters in a team must have a certain logical reason they were assembled in such a manner.

Should one of the PCs/squad captains die, the player can take on the role of one of the cohorts, who promptly increases to level 4 and gains Action Points. This is a likely scenario, as at least some of the challenges in the town are higher ECL than they should be able to easily handle. Everything is still doable, though.

What do you guys think? Fun, strategic game? Too much paperwork?

2008-12-16, 07:42 AM
Are the cohorts going to specifically participate in combat with the players? I would recommend against it; combat is gonna get messy when there are 12 PC/NPCs on one side.

That being said, if the NPCs don't participate in combat, you should probably assemble the 3 man teams for the players. This will give you the chance to plot their roles in the world. That is, let's say you have a quest where one of the players is going to send his team off to take care of some task for them. You can plan in advance that if team 1 goes, it will be X outcome, but if team 2 or 3 go, you'll get Y outcome.

Totally Guy
2008-12-16, 07:47 AM
I think the challenge here will be for you to create enough challenges in different places at the same time to split the commanders away from the cohorts.

I once ran a game where there was a dungeon with nothing inside except for a prophecised doom. I had about 8 plot hooks for this session all outside the dungeon. But the PC's latched onto the dungeon and refused to leave until they'd found that hidden doom. And it was boring. I know now that I'd made a mistake in making something dramatic a priority to the exclusion of everything else.

There was one campaign I played in where there was an army coming from the south and we had to contact help in the north and every session we managed to ignore every plot hook in favour of going north.

2008-12-16, 07:55 AM
@Hal: The campaign in general will probably be combat-light, but yeah. I agree that 12 PCs, most of which won't be able to contribute meaningfully, would be bad. What I imagine is attacking lone cohorts when it's appropriate, or attacking single teams.

What's important, I guess, is steering the PCs in situations where they feel they must split up and use the resources of their cohorts all over town without railroading.

I'm not decided on how to form the teams; let the players create the characters and rely on their logic or give them something they're not necessarily too enthused about.

@Glug: It's a big city, and the main issue (the attacks) can only be directly confronted/interacted with during the night. This'll give them oodles of time during the day. Due to the political/religious intrigue mentioned earlier, these other problems will probably come looking for them rather than the other way around.