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Hello again, Ludophilus!

In my last post I was talking about putting together ideas for a roleplaying game campaign. Before I get on any further, I should make it clear that one can only have a campaign with a successful series of games. My goal, therefore, is to put together a series of game sessions, three or four, and see if they turn out well enough to have the players want more. With a few tweaks, perhaps, an entertaining campaign will result.

Where We Left Off Last Time

In the last post—which, I want the reader to notice, was not six months ago—I set out a list of things I thought might be fun in a campaign. Looking for those Special Effects I’ve been talking about. This is my list; it is by no means complete and is completely subject to change. This project is still in the brainstorming stage. Here are the ideas, copy-and-pasted from the last post:

  • Detailed combat with hit locations and specific damage, not just point erosion
  • Dramatic, swashbuckling combat
  • Firearms of limited power–black powder or some equivalent
  • Swordplay would still be a very important skill
  • Characters can lead troops in battle on land or sea or air and make a difference
  • A dramatic and not particularly safe method of air travel
  • Different intelligent species and not just re-skinned elves, dwarves, and orcs
  • Magic, but it is hard to come by and rather dangerous
  • Remnants of older, mysterious cultures
  • Some over-arching major danger that has no apparent solution and that few people understand
  • A light tone with occasional peeks of darkness

Well, that gives us something to work with! Okay, let’s see what comes out of that.

Thinking About A Game System

First, the rather dramatic and detailed combat idea suggests certain game systems that might be appropriate. The first I think of are Runequest, Basic Roleplaying, or Legend. The most recent iteration of Runequest has more D&D-like combat, with a general pool of hit points to erode. There’s nothing wrong with that, but a relatively mild blow that still puts one’s better arm out of use for a while-that is more what I am looking for. So it makes me think of older versions of Runequest. Basic Roleplaying has optional rules for hit locations. Actually, it has all kinds of optional rules, and I am used to the Call of Cthulhu and Runequest systems that it is related to, so it should be pretty easy for me to get good at running it. Another system I am familiar with and like is GURPS, but that is a very complex system and is probably more than the potential players I can think of may want to take on. It may be more than I want to deal with. But GURPS is not entirely of the table.
Conclusion: I will probably use one of the Chaosium-style systems, either Legend or BRP, which is easily customizable. Legend may have the edge here, as the price is hard to beat, as you can see here.

How About These Things?

  • Firearms of limited power–black powder or some equivalent
  • Swordplay would still be a very important skill
  • Characters can lead troops in battle on land or sea or air and make a difference

There should be no problem with these. There are rules or systems in all of the above game systems to cover those.

These Should Require Some Work

  • A dramatic and not particularly safe method of air travel
  • Different intelligent species and not just re-skinned elves, dwarves, and orcs
Featured image

Perhaps safer than this…

The first idea just screams “Airships!” to me. But there should also be ornithopters. And weird planes maybe. Which makes me think of another campaign idea that has been bouncing around my brain.  

The second point is the one that is going to require some thought. But I am suddenly remembering how clever and friendly my pet rats were. Rats? Giant rats? How about regular-sized rats who are intelligent and have opposable thumbs? Rats who are crafters and rogues? There several ideas I have for other sentient races. All in good time.

Matters of Style

  • Magic is hard to come by and rather dangerous
  • Remnants of older, mysterious cultures
  • Some over-arching major danger that has no apparent solution and that few people understand
  • A light tone with occasional peeks of darkness

These are not difficult—mostly a matter of style. Of course, the players will have as much—or more—influence on that than I will.

Which brings us to the question of who our players might be. Which question we will tackle in the next post.

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