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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Titan in the Playground
     
    PirateCaptain

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    Default Campaign Idea: You Can't Smite City Hall

    This is an idea for a campaign that I had a while back. I lack both the group and skill needed to run it, but I figured I would post it here anyway to flesh it out.
    Spoiler: Background
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    The Campaign is set in the prosperous City-State of Kaven. For centuries Kaven has been ruled by a hereditary line of Dukes and Duchesses. While the Ducal Court handled the general affairs of state, it had no time for the day to day minutia of running small towns, not to mention managing the city of Kaven itself.

    And so, While the Dukes ruled from their palaces, the city of Kaven itself was a republic. Citizens elected a council of aldermen and a mayor, all of whom served at the Duke's pleasure of course.

    Until recently. Last year, a group of heroic adventurers, investigating a string of mysterious disappearances, stormed the Duke's palace. They exposed that the Duke, as well as much of his court, were secretly worshippers of the Demon Lord of Greed, and that they had been sacrificing their own citizens in exchange for power and favors from their diabolical master. With these revelations, the citizens rose up against the Duke. Answering the Citizens's cries for help, an order of Paladins from the nearby Sacred Isles sailed into the city to drive out the cultists. The Ducal Court was destroyed, the palace was looted, the duke was killed, and the surviving cultists, once privileged aristocrats and major officials, were either killed, captured, or driven into hiding.

    The Paladins then set about the work of rebuilding Kaven, seeking to create a blessed society like the Sacred Isles. However, they encountered a problem. The Ducal Court had been controlled by the Cult, and so its authority was illegitimate according to the Paladin Oath. However, the Cult had never spread beyond the Court. While the Municipal government flagrantly accepted bribes, rigged elections, and carried out shady backroom deals, they were NOT worshipers of the demon prince. The Paladins had to respect their authority.

    And so, they called for a vote. In one year's time, the people would choose, either construct a government from their own, or accept the Paladin's stewardship.


    The Current Situation
    Spoiler
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    The campaign opens about two months after the Duke's fall, one year before the Referendum. The Barricades have come down, the Citizens are trying to get back to their lives, the Military had been controlled by the Duke, and with nobody to pay them have been disbanded. The City Guard is a sliver of it's former self, and so the Paladins are serving both to keep the peace, and deter foreign enemies from attacking.

    Because of their role in defeating the duke, and keeping the current peace, the Paladins are quite popular in the city. Meanwhile, the old City Council is the closest thing to a government left, and the Paladins are oath-bound to obey the Council's decrees.


    The PCs
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    For this campaign, the PC's will be playing as a city alderman and his staff. In six month's time, the Alderman will be up for re-election. In one year's time, the city will vote on the Referendum.

    The PC's job, keep the Alderman in office, stop the Paladins from generating enough goodwill to win the Referendum, serve their constituents, blackmail/scandalize their political rivals, keep their own dirt from being revealed, accept enough bribes to finance their lifestyle/campaign, but don't LOOK like your accepting bribes, rebuild the city, and get yourself in a good position to take over the nation if the Paladins lose the referendum.


    Their Tools: Wits, cunning, diplomacy, subterfuge, Bribes (Both accepting and giving), a complete and utter lack of scruples, and the fact that the Paladins must obey any laws the City Council passes.


    While this would certainly take place in a DnD-esque Setting, I'm not convinced that D&D would be the best system to run it. Plus, even with the skeleton I've outlined above, there is still a LOT of work to be done before this is playable.

    So many political campaigns focus on courtly intrigue, but scheming viziers would be useless in the world of street-level bareknuckle democracy.
    Last edited by BRC; 2015-12-19 at 01:47 AM.
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    My Homebrew:Synchronized Swordsmen,Dual Daggers,The Doctor,The Preacher,The Brawler
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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    JNAProductions's Avatar

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    Default Re: Campaign Idea: You Can't Smite City Hall

    Oooooooooh! That. Sounds. AWESOME!

    I would play the bejeebus out of it!
    I have a LOT of Homebrew!

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  3. - Top - End - #3
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Campaign Idea: You Can't Smite City Hall

    Quote Originally Posted by BRC View Post
    While this would certainly take place in a DnD-esque Setting, I'm not convinced that D&D would be the best system to run it. Plus, even with the skeleton I've outlined above, there is still a LOT of work to be done before this is playable.
    D&D has had practically no rules besides those for combat, fewer still for social interaction, and nothing for large-scale politics. Just about anything beyond killing people and taking their stuff requires houseruling.

    You'd be essentially playing freeform political intrigue with vestigial, overcomplicated combat and magic systems glued onto it. Nearly any system you can think of would be better-suited for it than D&D. Even an empire-building retroclone like ACKS would do a better job, since it at least has rules for realm management and henchman loyalty.
    Last edited by Slipperychicken; 2015-12-18 at 11:21 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Campaign Idea: You Can't Smite City Hall

    This does sound like a lot of fun, and the name is perfect. I love the name. Unfortunately, I don't know that many systems, so I can't recommend a good one. I do know that back in college, one of my friends ran a Pathfinder game where all of the PCs were rebuilding a city they conquered, and were essentially the town council. Apparently it went really well, but they could only run it on the one night I had class, so I can't tell you anything about how they ran it.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Campaign Idea: You Can't Smite City Hall

    If you want to use D&D for this I'd seriously recommend the birthright setting as a base. Adapt manors to streets and counties to Wards, and Nations to Districts all with the aim to reunite the city/empire.

    Or switch to any more social based system. Most would be better. L5R, WoD, or Shadowrun (with the correct picks of the rules) would both probably work pretty easily.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Campaign Idea: You Can't Smite City Hall

    Quote Originally Posted by BRC View Post
    The PCs
    Spoiler
    Show

    For this campaign, the PC's will be playing as a city alderman and his staff. In six month's time, the Alderman will be up for re-election. In one year's time, the city will vote on the Referendum.

    The PC's job, keep the Alderman in office, stop the Paladins from generating enough goodwill to win the Referendum, serve their constituents, blackmail/scandalize their political rivals, keep their own dirt from being revealed, accept enough bribes to finance their lifestyle/campaign, but don't LOOK like your accepting bribes, rebuild the city, and get yourself in a good position to take over the nation if the Paladins lose the referendum.


    Their Tools: Wits, cunning, diplomacy, subterfuge, Bribes (Both accepting and giving), a complete and utter lack of scruples, and the fact that the Paladins must obey any laws the City Council passes.
    I marked one thing above. This could be a point of contention. ANY law? Or any reasonably just law? I'd personally have a hard time seeing Paladins obeying/enforcing a law that required the execution of any person who didn't pay 100gp in taxes every month, or lashing a person for failing to bow to an alderman.

    I bring this up because I see the need for some clarification. Either the players have a good understanding of the paladin code and the LG alignment (so they have an idea of what they might/might not get away with), or else it is stressed up from that these characters at least have not had much interaction with this group of paladins and don't know how they'll react to potentially unjust laws.

    The point is, don't assume your players won't pass laws that paladins would find outright objectionable. It certainly seems like a possibility, especially since your PCs seem neutral at best. And if they do, you need to be prepared for how the paladins will react. Unless you really meant they'll follow any law.
    "That's a horrible idea! What time?"

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Titan in the Playground
     
    PirateCaptain

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    Default Re: Campaign Idea: You Can't Smite City Hall

    Quote Originally Posted by tomandtish View Post
    I marked one thing above. This could be a point of contention. ANY law? Or any reasonably just law? I'd personally have a hard time seeing Paladins obeying/enforcing a law that required the execution of any person who didn't pay 100gp in taxes every month, or lashing a person for failing to bow to an alderman.

    I bring this up because I see the need for some clarification. Either the players have a good understanding of the paladin code and the LG alignment (so they have an idea of what they might/might not get away with), or else it is stressed up from that these characters at least have not had much interaction with this group of paladins and don't know how they'll react to potentially unjust laws.

    The point is, don't assume your players won't pass laws that paladins would find outright objectionable. It certainly seems like a possibility, especially since your PCs seem neutral at best. And if they do, you need to be prepared for how the paladins will react. Unless you really meant they'll follow any law.
    No, that's a good point.

    There are checks on the PC's power. They are just one Alderman (of, lets say, nine). So any laws that they pass they need to get through the city council. But, even then, the Paladins ARE looking for excuses to declare the government Evil (which would give them the right to take over immediately).

    The only reason the Paladins have not yet taken over is that they are forced to recognize the legitimacy of the city council and mayor. Since the Council and Mayor are elected, that legitimacy comes from the will of the people, hence the referendum.

    But, if the PC's ever do anything so big that it causes The People to immediately and publicly turn against them, that gives the Paladins the right to arrest the city council and turn the city into a giant experiment in lawful-good theocratic Utopianism.

    And even beyond that, flagrantly Evil laws, even if it does not cause an uprising in the streets, WILL cause the Paladins to declare the city council Evil.
    Last edited by BRC; 2015-12-19 at 01:47 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dsurion View Post
    I don't know if you've noticed, but pretty much everything BRC posts is full of awesome.
    Quote Originally Posted by chiasaur11 View Post
    So, Astronaut, War Hero, or hideous Mantis Man, hop to it! The future of humanity is in your capable hands and or terrifying organic scythes.
    My Homebrew:Synchronized Swordsmen,Dual Daggers,The Doctor,The Preacher,The Brawler
    [/Center]

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Campaign Idea: You Can't Smite City Hall

    Hmmm, a variant that could be fun for slightly more idealistic PC's the entire government of the city-state was corrupt and brought down by the Paladins. But, the Paladins themselves have no idea how to run a city. Realizing this they hire a bunch of outside bureaucrats (the PC's among them) to help run things. The PC's have to balance the Paladin's idealism with the harsh logistical realities of running a large city and keep the whole thing from imploding. Meanwhile the other evils of the region that the Paladin Order kept in check realize that the city's situation has basically the entire Order locked down to one location for the foreseeable future and have a vested interest in mucking things up to keep them pinned there as long as possible.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Orc in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: Campaign Idea: You Can't Smite City Hall

    Fate would be great for this. I think one of the new worlds of adventure (House of Bards) has in depth rules and advice for and intrigue game.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Campaign Idea: You Can't Smite City Hall

    It might be interesting to make the paladins another group of PC's, or at least have PC's among them. You'd probably want 2 separate groups, but it would throw a lot of unpredictability into the system.

    Failing that, make sure to stat up some individual paladins with personalities etc. As has been pointed out, this may be less about combat stats and more the Art of the Possible.

    D&D is maybe not the best approach, but I can't think of a better rules-heavy system off-hand. Maybe GURPS, if you're already familiar with it. Wuthering Heights would be amusing, but possibly too rules-light to allow for determining if complex plans work. And the focus is a bit off.
    Last edited by Glimbur; 2015-12-19 at 09:42 PM. Reason: More wuthering heights

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Campaign Idea: You Can't Smite City Hall

    You could try SIFRP. It is not too big, has as much intrigue and holding management as combat. And it is still more traditional with player/GM roles than Fate. It's not the best sytem there is, but a reasonable fit for that campaign. Magic is pretty much missing though.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Campaign Idea: You Can't Smite City Hall

    This sounds like a cool idea. Something that occurs to me is what if the PCs decide switch to the Paladin side to get a cushier position under a new system instead of maintaining the old city council?

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Troll in the Playground
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    Protecting my Horde (yes, I mean that kind)

    Default Re: Campaign Idea: You Can't Smite City Hall

    FATE is a great game for this kind of thing.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Titan in the Playground
     
    PirateCaptain

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    Default Re: Campaign Idea: You Can't Smite City Hall

    Hrmm, I hadn't considered PC Paladins. Although, that could be an interesting Angle. Paladins, bound by their oaths and idealism, having to face off against the cunning local politicians. That could be an interesting concept, but if there are PC Paladins, I would either need to fracture the Paladins into different factions (So that it's "A small group of reasonable Paladins trying to lead their Order to electoral victory vs A small group of crooked politicos trying to outwit their opponents").

    A big part of Can't Smite City Hall, as I originally imagined it, was that the PC's were just one group among many. Some Alderman may be siding with the paladins (Either to get a cushy position in the paladin-controlled government, or because they honestly want the Paladins to take over), others may be doing the same things the PCs are trying to do. Meanwhile, the Paladins would largely be united, with a few paladins smart and clever enough to actually play politics, rather than run around, counting on indiscriminate do-gooding to win the day.

    Any Ideas for specific NPCs? Paladins, community leaders, ect?
    Quote Originally Posted by Dsurion View Post
    I don't know if you've noticed, but pretty much everything BRC posts is full of awesome.
    Quote Originally Posted by chiasaur11 View Post
    So, Astronaut, War Hero, or hideous Mantis Man, hop to it! The future of humanity is in your capable hands and or terrifying organic scythes.
    My Homebrew:Synchronized Swordsmen,Dual Daggers,The Doctor,The Preacher,The Brawler
    [/Center]

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: Campaign Idea: You Can't Smite City Hall

    I would vote Dungeon World or a simple Reskinning of Apocalypse World would be the best for this.

    DW and AW are ALL ABOUT social networking and things slowly deteriorating over time and characters working together.

    Rename the Hardholder to Aldman and make the Citizens of the Hold into Employees of the District and whamo, you're pretty close. A reskinning of Apocalypse World may be REALLY REALLY awesome for this. And I'm sure there are AW hacks that can run this better than AW or DW.

    Just my 2cp

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