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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default A sudden interest in Campaign-Level Mechanics

    So I have seen several systems for organizing campaigns over the years. And until recently I never paid them much attention. I mean shouldn't it be obvious what happens next? Well on a certain level yes. But on the other hand pretty much every argument for having rules at all over free form could be applied at the campaign level as well.

    Communication; suddenly parts of the campaign are embedded into stats and rules. Consistency; well it should still be flexible, but if you get a 2-support token now you can check the rules to see what sort of impact that should have. Tension; the BBEG's army approaching is one thing, but if the army is size-5 support-2 and the resistance is size-2, that might be a problem, better get recruiting. Ease of use/tools; sufficiently skilled improvisation could always get you a good story, but its not easy, what if you always had a few options to fallback onto, in any role around the table.

    And that is where my sudden interest in campaign-level mechanics comes from, because I haven't really paid much attention to them in the past and now suddenly I wonder if I should have. So really this is a very broad topic because I have a lot over very broad questions. Have people tried campaign-level mechanics? How did it would? Any systems you know that have them baked in? If not how did you build your add on? Just anything above the action- or scene-levels really.

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    Default Re: A sudden interest in Campaign-Level Mechanics

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    Have people tried campaign-level mechanics? How did it would? Any systems you know that have them baked in? If not how did you build your add on? Just anything above the action- or scene-levels really.
    I have never bothered with them much. Campaign mechanics are a huge waste of time. The big problem here is a campaign is a big fictional living thing, but the mechanics reduce everything to a couple rolls on a couple tables. Even worse is most tables only have the handful of things the writer could think of, and often no more then twenty or so. Play the game for a while and you will often roll the same result or just pick one that has not been done yet. Worse a game can get lock into the idea that only things listed on the table can ever happen in the game. And worst of all, so many of these tables have the dreaded "DM Choice", were they are just saying don't use the table and make it up on your own.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: A sudden interest in Campaign-Level Mechanics

    Campaign mechanics cover a lot of different possibilities, both in scope and detail, and are therefore interesting for a lot of different possible reasons. Just as some people enjoy moving their personal Fighting Man around and having him beat up a bunch of orcs, some people enjoy having their kingdom fight off the orcish invasion. More firmly defined mechanics can also provide a greater sense of achievement. Just as "we killed a Balor" can feel like a more meaningful boast than "we killed a monster our DM made up" (because it's something that's externally meaningfully), saying that you have a "development 5 empire" or a "tier 9 Holy site".

    That said, I've never been particularly satisfied with any set of campaign-level mechanics. They tend to show up most often in OSR-style games, and those games tend to be hamstrung by the poor design choices of that movement. Overall, I think there are a couple of things that a good set of campaign-level mechanics would hit. I'm assuming something that is broadly "like D&D" for the adventure-level mechanics: fantasy setting, relatively rules-heavy, focus on combat in the adventure-level mechanics. Non-D&D examples would include things like Exalted or the various Conan/LotR/GoT RPGs out there. With that in place, I would consider the following to be essential:

    1. Campaign-level mechanics should interface with adventure-level mechanics. Whatever mechanics you have for the strategic layer should be able to generate adventure hooks, and to incorporate the results of successful adventures. That can be as simple as "the evil Baron has invested a bunch in mercenaries, so he can overtax and brutally repress the peasants" or as complicated as "the Lich King needs a bunch of elemental gems and ritual sites to summon his demon army, so he's sending groups of minions out to various adventure sites". On the other end, the campaign-level rules need to be able to respond to things like "the PCs killed the Dragon their enemies had convinced to join their army" or "the PCs captured a bunch of farmable land from the orcs".
    2. PC's choices should be meaningful. If the players choose to recruit the Dwarves instead of the Elves, or deploy a pincer maneuver, or invest in irrigation, that should have a concrete effect on the campaign-level mechanics. That means the rules need to have some complexity.
    3. PC's abilities should be meaningful. This could also be phrased as "PCs should have unique abilities that interact with campaign-level rules, just as they have unique abilities that interact with adventure-level rules". So if you're doing low-level hex crawling, it should matter that you have a Cleric who can create food, or a Ranger who can navigate in the wilderness, or a Rogue who can procure supplies. And if you're doing high-level kingdom conquering, it should matter if you have a Storm Mage who can shatter the enemies armies with hurricanes, or a Lich Lord who can raise armies of the dead, or a Blessed Emperor who gives your empire the Mandate of Heaven.
    4. The rules should be easy for a DM to use. This means that you need some way of rapidly (and probably randomly) generating content. It's fine if the PCs spend hours writing up how their four-hex barony works, but asking the DM to do the same thing for everything they interact with is intractable. So you need some way to go from "there are badlands over there, what's in them" to an action sequence without the game grinding to a halt.
    5. The rules should support different levels of engagement. There's often going to be someone who views their kingdom as an accessory, or who just doesn't care very much about about how many cobblers and corn farmers there are, and that person needs something to do while the rest of the group is setting monetary policy. It's tempting to just have that player check out entirely, but that's not really a good idea. There need to be abilities that are simple to use, and there needs to be a cap on complexity -- in the vast majority of cases, campaign mechanics are not going to be the focus of the game.

    Those guidelines are actually probably somewhat broader than the constraints I initially set out, but the particular game you're working with is going to dictate a lot. A D&D-ish game is going to want rules for hex-crawling, kingdom-building, and armies. A Shadowrun-ish game is probably going to be more concerned with managing news cycles, law enforcement attention, or personal contacts.

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    Default Re: A sudden interest in Campaign-Level Mechanics

    From D&D:
    - BECMI has war machine and domain rules. Both were very abstract.
    - Birthright had domain-level campaign rules, including a turn based system, different holding types (law, guild, temple, source), specific actions, regency points, gold bars for wealth. Also a card-based battle resolution method.

    I played the former many times, but have only read the latter. Despite being abstract, BECMi's rules are quite fun. Probably because they're designed to be quick and easy to use.

    Edit: I suppose The Grind and associated mechanics from Torchbearer could be considered a different kind of campaign level mechanics. Or maybe not. Depends what you're envisioning.

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    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: A sudden interest in Campaign-Level Mechanics

    I'm confused. In RPGs, a "campaign" typically means a string of scenarios unified by setting or plot, but so far your talk seems restricted to mechanics governing military campaigns within RPG campaigns. Those two are pretty different animals.

    EDIT: to give an example, in terms of an RPG campaign, the most basic mechanic you can have that goes beyond individual scenes and actions, is to have an actual in-setting calendar and keeping track of seasons, holidays, ages of people etc.. Climate is related and equally important. For example, Lamentations of the Flame Princess module Weird New World has a table for deciding severity of climate for each year, influencing stuff like how much of the sea is frozen over, what kind of random encounters are possible, etc.
    Last edited by Vahnavoi; 2020-05-28 at 12:59 AM.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: A sudden interest in Campaign-Level Mechanics

    To NigelWalmsley: Not a bad list, although on some level 2-5 feel like they apply to pretty much every rule in some way. 1 though definitely feels like a necessary, building up between the three levels/scales (I just made this system up). For instance your drive skill is used in action resolution which effects the chase which is scene resolution and if you catch the traitor you get information which feeds into campaign resolution. The trick now is to figure out what that campaign resolution rules actually look like.

    I think giving stats to things that are bigger than the players would be a good starting point. Describe this city, that organization, the wilderness regions around them and whatever feels important to deciding how the campaign progressed. Then you need to figure out ways to use them, both within a level (If a city with 5 industry wants to improve its culture value, what happens?) and between them (If the heroes win a trial against the school of sneaky magic, what effect does that have?). I think I should work out some more definite examples at some point.

    To Tanarii: Are there any quick resources I could use to get a feel for any of the systems you mentioned? Or any further detail on BECMI's systems that you enjoyed? Sorry this is all very open ended, I'm just getting started at this point.

    To Vahnavoi: I mean my one example referred to armies. But the one I was actually considering using was based around provisions. I run a system with some survival aspects to it and I was wondering if I could encode how much longer you can go before you have to find another food source. Also it is a particular use case (and game system) that I can design for.

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    Default Re: A sudden interest in Campaign-Level Mechanics

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    I'm confused. In RPGs, a "campaign" typically means a string of scenarios unified by setting or plot, but so far your talk seems restricted to mechanics governing military campaigns within RPG campaigns. Those two are pretty different animals.
    Campaign originally meant a string of mass battles unified by setting and era. Roughly.

    Then it meant adventures in a persistent world with many players doing pick up games run by a given gaming club.

    Eventually as the hobby grew to include small groups of people playing at home, it eventually came to mean following roughly the same group of characters played by roughly the same group of players across multiple adventures. With exceptions.

    Rulership and military were pretty much the assumed end game in RPGs because of their origins.

    ------------

    This reminds me, another campaign level rule set was AD&Ds Battlesystem. And The Castle Guide for settlement building.

    As far as campaign rules for actual adventuring, there was The Wilderness Survival Guide and The Dungeoneering Survival Guide, but they weren't a unified flow of rules like Torchbearers The Grind.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    To Tanarii: Are there any quick resources I could use to get a feel for any of the systems you mentioned? Or any further detail on BECMI's systems that you enjoyed? Sorry this is all very open ended, I'm just getting started at this point.
    They were in the Companion rules set, and later reprinted in the RC. I don't know if those are open domain PDFs yet or not. If not they're probably cheap to pick up at drive thru or wotc website.

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    Default Re: A sudden interest in Campaign-Level Mechanics

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    - BECMI has war machine and domain rules.
    I'm a fan of these rules and still use them today. The core rules are nice, lite, fun and easy to use. They do exactly what they are made to do: give the game some vague campaign level mechanics, but keep the primary focus of the game on the PCs personal adventures.

    Also the core BECMI domain rules got lots of updates in Dragon over the years that add a lot more detail to the system.

    The only online source is http://pandius.com/

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    Default Re: A sudden interest in Campaign-Level Mechanics

    Sine Nomine's An Echo, Resounding is an excellent resource for domain-level play. Pretty much anything he does is excellent, actually.
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    Default Re: A sudden interest in Campaign-Level Mechanics

    Quote Originally Posted by thirdkingdom View Post
    Sine Nomine's An Echo, Resounding is an excellent resource for domain-level play. Pretty much anything he does is excellent, actually.
    Seconding. Or thirding. Or whatever. It's a solid resource with good ideas - the system looks simple to grasp and deep enough for me - and it's adaptable (mechanically) to other systems.

    The only thing I had to tinker a lot is the resource mechanics: D&D and its family is firmly lodged in the "resources = gp" mindset, while my current preference is for "wealth as attribute". It's quite hard to actually pull of wealth as attribute well - it has to be consistent and logical - but my players' preference is to simplify the tracking (it's enough if they know "you have a purse full of silver" if they know what they can afford with it - they do not wish to track it by coins).

    I'm currently using An Echo Resounding ruleset for my current project (a location-centric RPG with focus on a single manor and its surroundings, most players are members of a single family; will be running first game by the end of this week).

    HarnManor is also a nice book to read through to get an idea of relatively-realistic settlements.

    Also, would recommend either checking Riddle of Steel: Flower of Battle combat system for mass combats. It's a good resource for GMs that wish to put the characters into limelight while running most of the combat as background - the PCs are still quite central and will be a decisive factor of the campaign due to the Heroic Action system. The system does not need miniatures or maps, runs well with a single spreadsheet and checklist, and provides players with a lot of agency.

    Chris Kutalik's By the Axe took those and adapted them to OSR quite well. Worth checking out.
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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: A sudden interest in Campaign-Level Mechanics

    Sorry for the delay, I brought up the project before I had time to work on it. But I have a bit more time now and have started to look into this again.

    I tried looking into the suggested systems. To a degree I did but I didn't buy any of them. Mostly because my faviourite system I was considering modifying to play with these rules and the system I was considering building around them are both post-apocalyptic. So the campaign level mechanics I am looking for are things like "How do you feed 2 dozen survivors?" or "how does a cross wasteland trip go?". Neither of these are actually interesting questions in and of themselves, but they can push you to take risks that would make an otherwise boring part of the campaign, usually glossed over, more interesting. Also I think they are relatively simple which makes them a good starting point.

    Anyone know systems that cover those types of things? - Also yes I do just make my own rules for a lot of things, it is how I operate.
    Last edited by Cluedrew; 2020-07-04 at 10:10 AM. Reason: I ment to click "Preview Post"

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    Default Re: A sudden interest in Campaign-Level Mechanics

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: A sudden interest in Campaign-Level Mechanics

    To Tanarii: That's a good one, I just got the free quick-start rules and they have some stuff for random area generation which is not something I thought about. Thank-you. The rest of this is just me pitching some ideas.

    The one thing I don't like about there generation system is that after your initial trip through a zone it is "cleared" and uninteresting. I think it would be more interesting if they left behind some modifiers that you could use on future trips through the area, or if you wanted to make it significant on your own. Thinks like how bountiful the area is so how much food you can get from it. How dangerous the area is so you have a check threshold for when you travel through it again later and that sort of thing.

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    Eldritch Horror in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: A sudden interest in Campaign-Level Mechanics

    I'm running a game right now - Rogue Trader, in the Warhammer 40K setting, that has a full set of homebrewed campaign-level mechanics grafted on. After a fair bit of growing pains, it's working out quite well in depicting the rise to power of a noble Trader House while pacifying unexplored space. Since I was also experimenting with adding a hexcrawl-inspired map exploration element at the same time, the tactical/adventure-scale elements of going out and exploring new territory tied in well with the strategic-scale elements of settling and exploiting that territory.
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel, on quest rewards View Post
    "Is a stack of ten pancakes too many pancakes to give to the party, even if most of them fell on the floor and one or two were stepped on? I wanted to give my party pancakes as a reward but I'm unsure if it's too much. The pancakes are also laced with blowfish poison so the party would have to get an antitoxin before they could eat the ones which weren't pulverized by shoes."

    I don't think anyone would want those pancakes even if you paid them to eat them.

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    Default Re: A sudden interest in Campaign-Level Mechanics

    On a structural level I really like Save The Universe's campaign generation. It's a space opera game where you're members of some sort of marginal group that is opposed to some sort of hegemonic power. The specifics of both vary significantly - "marginal group" could mean your typical Star Wars resistance movement, a small political entity of some sort next to a much bigger one, a network of freedom fighter cells, whatever. Hegemonic power also varies a bit; last time I ran a game in this we ended up titling it "The Gulags of Cthulhu" which nicely encapsulated the nature of that hegemony. Still, you've got options.

    One of the steps involved in generation is setting up the specific assets the enemy uses to maintain power; this then segues into a campaign structure where destroying, subverting, taking, or otherwise denying those specific assets to the enemy is the focus on how to bring them down. This also provides an easy way to modulate target campaign length, in terms of both how many and how large in scope these assets are.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

    I'm not joking one bit. I would buy the hell out of that.
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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: A sudden interest in Campaign-Level Mechanics

    I was going to say this to say this after The Glyphstone's post (but I forgot and then started working on the homebrew rules) but Knaight's touches on some similar ideas. I would sum it up as "if the players are going to meaningfully interact with it, it has have to have rules". Both of the given examples had the PC effecting things really far out from them. I have made attempts at this before but even if other people were on-board with the idea of my social bard without any system to push off of, making friends, keeping an ear to the ground and currying up favour were all just flavour text.

    Which in a weird way means in games like D&D the PCs are completely incapable of saving the world. They just have to kill the enemies in front of them and hope that leads to the world being saved. Now because this happens at a level that is easy to deal with, the level of detail that would show up in a book, it rarely actually becomes a problem.

    The other thing Knaight mentioned was high level mechanics as a pacing tool. Which is actually what part of what led me to all of this when one player's side-quest short circuited the campaign. And that is sort of my "justification" for putting time and energy into this. It builds tools for pacing and world building, faction management and others right into the rule set.

    So now I just have to work out what those rules are. I'm not done that part yet.Not even the first draft.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: A sudden interest in Campaign-Level Mechanics

    I've had a similar surge in interest for this kind of thing myself. You may know of it already, but Blades of the Dark is a fairly structured game in which you play as a gang of criminals who do heists and other shifty jobs in a vaguely premodern low-fantasy city. It's a PbtA adjacent deal with a narrative focus and is basically hardwired to produce heist movies and similar kinds of missions. But it also has a mechanised downtime system for between jobs that includes a whole faction management system for your gang, from hiring goons to building up your HQ to getting cool gear like vehicles. The game's well regarded, though I can't vouch for it myself.

    Fellowship is another focused game that outright frames the GM as the BBEG or "Overlord" who the players must band together to overcome, Lord of the Rings style. It gives mechanics for things like Overlord weaknesses and sources of power and gives rules for when the GM should make certain moves and what resources they have to throw against players. But again, I've not played this game myself. Nobody actually ever plays games, right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    One of the steps involved in generation is setting up the specific assets the enemy uses to maintain power; this then segues into a campaign structure where destroying, subverting, taking, or otherwise denying those specific assets to the enemy is the focus on how to bring them down. This also provides an easy way to modulate target campaign length, in terms of both how many and how large in scope these assets are.
    It seems obvious in hindsight but this is good stuff. It gives me something to think about in my own designs.
    Last edited by Hytheter; 2020-07-07 at 07:43 AM.

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    Default Re: A sudden interest in Campaign-Level Mechanics

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    Sorry for the delay, I brought up the project before I had time to work on it. But I have a bit more time now and have started to look into this again.

    I tried looking into the suggested systems. To a degree I did but I didn't buy any of them. Mostly because my faviourite system I was considering modifying to play with these rules and the system I was considering building around them are both post-apocalyptic. So the campaign level mechanics I am looking for are things like "How do you feed 2 dozen survivors?" or "how does a cross wasteland trip go?". Neither of these are actually interesting questions in and of themselves, but they can push you to take risks that would make an otherwise boring part of the campaign, usually glossed over, more interesting. Also I think they are relatively simple which makes them a good starting point.

    Anyone know systems that cover those types of things? - Also yes I do just make my own rules for a lot of things, it is how I operate.
    For the "how does a cross-wasteland trip go", I'd look into The One Ring - it handles travel in an interesting way.

    Not that I played it

    For "how do you feed 2 dozen survivors", maybe Twilight series (not the movie, but the RPG) could be of assistance, but as I've seen from your previous posts, you are not looking for sim/mechanical heavy games - you'd have to strip away a lot of stuff, but I think you'd get a lot of interesting stuff out of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hytheter View Post
    But again, I've not played this game myself. Nobody actually ever plays games, right?

    It seems obvious in hindsight but this is good stuff. It gives me something to think about in my own designs.
    Mechanised downtime? Well, that's something I need to read up on.
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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: A sudden interest in Campaign-Level Mechanics

    Well I looked up Blades in the Dark. Definitely has some structural similarities to Powered by the Apocalypse. The playbooks are playbooks and not character sheets. The party getting a playbook is an interesting twist which... most Apocalypse systems don't assume everyone is on the same side but as long as there that is the premise than why not? The lair thing is interesting as it has an abstract map you fill you with upgrades. I'd have to try it to be sure how it all works but they certainly know what they are going for. The faction bit, with reputations, standing and so on, is probably the bit I would mine for ideas the most. I wonder if I could pull something like reputation/standing to characters? Probably.

    The others (Fellowship, The One Ring & Twilight) I took a brief look around for but couldn't find as much on.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hytheter View Post
    Nobody actually ever plays games, right?
    Does play testing my own homebrew rules count?

    Quote Originally Posted by lacco36 View Post
    For "how do you feed 2 dozen survivors", maybe Twilight series (not the movie, but the RPG) could be of assistance, but as I've seen from your previous posts, you are not looking for sim/mechanical heavy games - you'd have to strip away a lot of stuff, but I think you'd get a lot of interesting stuff out of it.
    Again, I wasn't able to find much on Twilight (I'm assuming it is a rules heavy game) but because rules-weight came up I thought I would mention my thoughts on that: As light as possible for what you are trying to do. Which can get pretty heavy, I have shelved a few ideas because the minimum "weight" is actually more than I can do, or more than I can do right now. So for instance one of the fighter-types in* the system has a combat style that defines their unique approach. These vary a lot, some bring in other skills, others provide special maneuvers and one I think I can get down to the description, the weapons you can use it with and a single static modifier. If it works that is where I will leave it because I feel adding anything more would be useless cruft.

    On the other hand this is almost the center-piece of the "class" so maybe it will need more than that.

    * That I have considered adding to the system, none of this exists yet.



    And then I actually have to make those travel rules. I am planning on starting with the travel rules because those are relatively simple and straight forward. I don't have a ton of ideas just that I think provisions (food and water) might be a big part of the system. If you have a lot of food you can keep going quickly, if you are running low you should forage as you go and if you run out you might have to do something desperate.

    Any then there has to be things for everyone. So if you aren't the tracker/guide who is making all the navigation roles what are you doing? Just mindlessly following or can you use other skills to contribute? I definitely want the latter so there should be chances for other people to contribute but I don't know how yet. Something that is linear with the group size - say everyone except the one guiding the trek - could get unwieldy with large groups... except I'm not going to have large groups in the early playtests. OK that is a small step forward.

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    Default Re: A sudden interest in Campaign-Level Mechanics

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    The others (Fellowship, The One Ring & Twilight) I took a brief look around for but couldn't find as much on.
    One Ring:
    Set a route (players agree on preferred route)
    Determine roles (guide, scout, huntsman, look-out; each have their own roll)
    GM determines distance (by hex) modified by difficulty divided into days by speed. Longer travels should be divided into separate legs.
    Then you test fatigue per x days (x depending on season), difficulty of the roll is determined by danger level (dark lands being the worst)
    Every time you fail, you get fatigue (modified by your gear).

    If you fail fatigue test and produces a "Sauron's eye" icon on die, you get a Hazard - e.g. lost direction, monsters, or you just get corrupted by shadow.

    Twilight has no specific travelling rules (at least the 2013 version), but it contains a plethora of ideas for post-apocalyptic modern game.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    And then I actually have to make those travel rules. I am planning on starting with the travel rules because those are relatively simple and straight forward. I don't have a ton of ideas just that I think provisions (food and water) might be a big part of the system. If you have a lot of food you can keep going quickly, if you are running low you should forage as you go and if you run out you might have to do something desperate.

    Any then there has to be things for everyone. So if you aren't the tracker/guide who is making all the navigation roles what are you doing? Just mindlessly following or can you use other skills to contribute? I definitely want the latter so there should be chances for other people to contribute but I don't know how yet. Something that is linear with the group size - say everyone except the one guiding the trek - could get unwieldy with large groups... except I'm not going to have large groups in the early playtests. OK that is a small step forward.
    For this, I'd check the Torchbearer and it's Grind. At least the first part sounds very similar to what you wrote.

    One Ring provides Guide (decides where to go, which way to take - think Gandalf), Scout (pathfinder, actually finds the way according to Guide), Huntsman (finds food, forages or hunts), and look-out (looks out for the enemy). You could also have a leader or combat leader - someone who makes decisions and gives orders (either during combat or during walk).

    So basically, one guy with a map who checks which way they have to go. The other tries to find a suitable path that goes the correct way. Another tries to find some food along the way and the others are looking out for the enemy.

    To give motivation to spread the fun around, you could rule that if you have more than one role, you get fatigued more quickly (Guide & Scout go well together, but if you are a huntsman and guide, it will burn you down fast or you have to slow down) or go much slower.

    If you have few more people, you actually can take a break and rest a bit, but cooking/provisioning and organizing them becomes an issue on itself. Here I'd look into Torchbearer.
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    Default Re: A sudden interest in Campaign-Level Mechanics

    Ars Magica most definitely has a system for your down time and your shared resources. If you want a game with that, it's worth a look. If you want to read it for ideas its probably pretty niche but not a waste of time. I don't recommend trying to graft it on to a different style of game though

    Green Ronan's Song of Ice and Fire game has a less medieval set of source books as well so the rules can run a renaissance era game. They have rules around armies and buildings and social systems and stuff to run a barony size realm. I ran a campaign of it over a few years and put together about 10 pages of house rules, only 5 of which were needed to actually cover problems and gaps in the rules. So there's rules about what you need to do to have a trading inn in your domain and how it helps you.
    I'd give is a solid 8/10 for the character's actions and abilities being relevant and probably 6/10 for generating adventures.

    But the game system I only give 4/10. The rules have a lot of situations they don't cover (like no limit on how long a bowshot can be), they have advantages that are objectively worse than other advantages (give a smaller bonus on the same roll) and other balance issues, and there's a very steep power curve where a specialist can crush enemies which are really hard for the merely very good to survive. A well constructed knight is untouchable by the palace guards no matter their numbers, while the very skilled guards (who will happily wade through normal guards) have only the slimmest chance of landing a blade on him, while social combat among skilled talkers comes down to initiative.

    If you want a system to yoink for your own, it could work, if you want inspiration for your homebrew its well worth reading. If your players are not going to be too annoyed by the flaws in the crunch of the system it's also fun to play
    I love playing in a party with a couple of power-gamers, it frees me up to be Elan!


  22. - Top - End - #22
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Join Date
    May 2018

    Default Re: A sudden interest in Campaign-Level Mechanics

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    Have people tried campaign-level mechanics? How did it would? Any systems you know that have them baked in? If not how did you build your add on? Just anything above the action- or scene-levels really.
    Things we tried as "above the action" mechanics:

    1) Literal side quests. There was the main plot with a secret cult trying to take over the kingdom, and there was this shady guy that was essentially the chief of mafia and had a list of weird unique magical objects and said to us: if you feel like you want one of those objects, I have few tasks I'd want you to do for me.
    => Works quite well if some players are really tempted by shiny and uniquely powerful artefact. Works quite well for slow paced campaign (one long rest every week or month), as it put the player in the situation "now that we dealt with the main problems of the week, do we have enough remaining resources to make a side quest or not?"

    1bis) Literal side quests bis. Later in the campaign, whenever we discovered an info that could led to further investigation (for a side quest or a main quest), this was added into the "TODO list" with the certain number of check boxes chosen by the DM, and at every long rest (every month), we would each work on two of those items, making a skill check we argued was relevant, and checking a box in case of success.

    2) Global relation counters. During "act two" of the campaign, we had some approval values from different factions, and our actions had effect on them. After reaching a certain positive level (like "+3"), we knew the faction was likely to accept an alliance (possibly in exchange of a quest or something. After reaching a certain negative level (like "+3"), the faction would effectively try to get rid of us. But the most important part of that was "Once the situation degenerate into an open war (act 3), which side chose each faction?". It also heavily help the DM to understand which were the factions we didn't care about, and which were the factions we found interesting to interact with (in positive or negative ways).
    => Worked very well as a temporary mechanics. If the DM had kept it for longer, it would quickly have been made gamey or useless. But as a one-off at the middle of the campaign to give us a vision of how our actions had consequences on other faction's opinions, that was great.

    3) City management. We had the capital of the kingdom to manage, choosing some building to build or not in order to increase or decrease the economy, the stability and the defence against aggressor. Buildings also had RP effects, obviously.
    => It was fine. Don't overdo it if you want to try something like that, because creating an interesting boardgame is actually difficult, so try to have something small and discrete. This subsystem still led to one of the most fun discussion: the moment where one players tried to argue for creating a temple for Asmodeus because "It gives Economy+2 at the cost of one point of Stability, and we have enough stability!" while the others were saying "He is literally our enemy. We literally tracked its cultists and killed them during most of this campaign!". In general, choosing which temples to build in the city was the fumiest part of this subsystem, especially since building a temple in the capital gave a "one-of favour to use at any moment in the remaining of the campaign" (which was a miracle-like effect depending on the god. Like "stop any single attack or spell", "go back in time one round" or "teleport the team back to the base")

    4) Army management. We had some armies with Attack/Defence/Moral plus few abilities. We were training them, adding the equipment, and managing some battles with small subsystem.
    => I have mixed feelings about this submodule. On one hand, having an army that you then upgrade with techno-magical features is cool. In the end of the campaign at epic levels, we had a troup of elite Hobgoblins that were essentially X-COM snipers, or Mecarchon the power-rangers-like Meca in form of an big Archon, and a lot of other ones. The fact that we had to find a RP justification each time we upgraded our troops forced us to come up with interesting ideas. On the other hand the technical subsystem battle resolution was too complex for the enjoyment of playing with it (and the DM never re-used it ever again).

    5) Skill challenge. We had a whole homebrew system for skill challenges 4e-like, including movement actions, using allies, etc. Apart from the facts that the rules essentially changed from one session to another (and are still in the working), that was great for investigations and other "encounters" that are not discussions but are not combat either.

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