Campaign


Campaign Planning Grids for Plot Components

I have been playing around with ways to make my planning easier, more dynamic, and more focused.  The idea I've hit upon is mainly inspired by Technoir's "Transmissions" and the sheets I had made to track the Enemies, Friends, Complications, Things and Places for each system in my Stars Without Number campaign.Image (cc) Sheam BoI was using a 5x3 grid for SWN - one for each category for each tag I used, including the Trade tags from Suns of Gold, and it worked well.  However it didn't feel like there was much continuity in terms of the plot, and I was keeping notes elsewhere on what was happening on and off screen. Given that the system is designed for sandbox games that's fine, but in retrospect I think I overplanned here for my needs and should only really have had one of each category for background, side plots, and local colour - but that's for another article...Somehow I stumbled upon Technoir - I do love cyberpunk - and while I wasn't a massive fan of the narrative system I was impressed by th

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Drawing in the outposts - Pearl of the Antilles Campaign.

The summer months are always a testing time with campaigns as the lag between games can kill off peoples interests or the gap between games is extended the Pearl of Antilles campaign in Haiti is no different. There is also the risk that as the action hots up that the number of games makes the gap between moves to long to combat this the plan was to dice for some of the smaller games.Within the Dawn and Departure campaign rules I adopted the simple dice mechanism with a couple of tweaks.When attacked, an Outpost may elect to stand and fight, or may choose to retire.If an Outpost elects to simply withdraw, it rolls 1D6.  On a roll of 1 or 2, the troops from the Outpost will simply disperse and play no more part in the campaign. On a roll of 3 to 

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Campaign Planning, Reusability, and Separation of Concern

Some important concepts from my work in computer software can definitely be applied to campaign planning. Let's talk about two of them.Image (cc) Tim ProbertSeparation of ConcernThink of any dungeon* you've seen - or have written - with a map of the layout, lists of encounters for each room, key items and notes on where they are hidden.  How many times have you, as GM, had to skip, rearrange, shuffle or rebuild parts in response to the party's actions? Exactly.Separating the elements means more flexibility.  Generally, the dungeon map doesn't care what monsters lie within and the monsters don't care what important treasures they guard. So if we plan loosely we can make it easier to change or add things on the fly.Let's say instead we have:a handful of dungeon* maps, with or without notes about key featuresa page of magical or plot related items and a list of - or means to generate - treasurea page for each faction/threat with a few common monsters, and some sketches of common encounters at various l

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Campaign for the Kingdom: The Center Can't Hold

Last night we played one of our group's favorite games, our Campaign for the Kingdom. WE've been playing the rules for about 20 years, with lead just as old. This is a mapless campaign. The player with the most points, accrued by victories, is the Claimant. The player with the next highest, is the Pretender. First player to agreed upon total wins. In this case 12 points.In the this battle, the Earl Rutiger was defending his claim to the throne from Ulric, Duke of the Black Isles. I played Rutiger, in absence of the real player.The first few turns saw a cautious advance on both sides, players trying to hold their lines together. But, of course, there were a few commanders who got jumpy and the lines surged forward.This game is a delicate dance of controlling your force's Battlelust. For the most part they will follow your orders, but different factors and terrible dice may send them charging forward, or cooling their heels. Too much aggression, they get tired. Too little they start thinking about those crops a

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Bolt Action Campaign D-Day: Overlord

In the year of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day it makes more than sense, to (re-)visit one of the most infamous operations of the second world war - Operation Overlord. Warlord covered the battles in North-Western Europe with the very first campaign supplement, Battleground Europe, and now comes with a strong focus on Campaign […]

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The Pearl of the Antilles. - The Haiti Campaign - Day Ten - 10th August 1791

Day 10 and with a fresh player taking control of Henri Christophe in the south of the island things are starting to hot up.The forces of General Jean-Jacques Dessalines (Gold) continue their expansion through out the region with another village - St Louis du Sud falling under his control.The British hold firm at Pestel as the South West of the island starts to become somewhat crowded.The Republicans continue to hold rallies and petition the people to show free will, but take no aggressive actions whilst on the other side of the mountain Rigaud's forces can be seen marching West along the coast from Jacmal.Our new player Henri Christophe has sent out a flurry of orders, his men set about their new orders with great vigour with troops scurrying here and there.In the North of the island Gen Louverture continues his advance into the territory of Georges Biassou, his skirmish troops push him hard. Louverture pushes his skirmishers forward keeping the pressure on Biassou. Biassou throws a shielding force to halt th

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Dodgson's World: The Hellfire Campaign (Part 4)

D-Day+2, afternoonChastity GHQ"Sir, we've caught the rebels just south-east of Salvation. Looks like we have them outnumbered. Reports suggest it is their Liberty Battalion without any support.""Tell the men to hit them hard, Lieutenant."The Company concentrated its forces in the Salvation area. 26T Infantry Battalion formed an improvised brigade with the Spaceport Defence Company, the remnants of 36R Airmobile and the remnants of the Salvation Gendarmerie.Part-way through the battle (rebels at bottom of photo)The battle saw the rebels advance on a small village outside Salvation. Their vehicles tried to stand off and use their superior range to slowly destroy the enemy forces. They quickly took out the Spaceport Defence Vehicle and the transport vehicles of 36R Airmobile were soon knocked out. The infantry proved a tougher nut to crack and it was necessary to dismount the Liberty Battalion's infantry companies. They pressed forward against heavy fire.The assault was not without cost. Liberty Battalion 2nd Ar

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Bolt Action Campaign Fortress Budapest

With the campaign Fortress Budapest supplement Bolt Action opens up a new theatre of war on the southern area of the Eastern Front. And unlike some of the other campaign supplements, it wasn't already covered in one of the broader books. Fortress Budapest covers the late war Budapest Offensive of the Soviet and Romanian armies […]

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The Pearl of the Antilles. - The Haiti Campaign - The Battle of the Sugar Field - 9th August 1791

Jean - Charles a name given to him by his plantation owner peered out from the sugar field looking across the estate, an estate that had for so long been his home if you can call 25 years of slavery and imprisonment home. But free he was now and he was not going to let the Spaniards return him to a life of slavery.Having been beaten a few days before the next engagement in the Pearl of Antilles Campaign is a further engagement between the Spanish and the slave army of Princess Amethyste in the north of the Island.The battle is a fighting withdrawal with the Slave forces seeking to delay the Spanish by giving them a bloody nose before falling back.The Spanish had learned much since their last encounter with Jean - Charles one of Princesses Amethyste's most trusted lieutenants. They knew the freed slaves would be waiting for them anywhere on the table, with numerous plantation houses and slave quarters. The enemy could ambush them from anywhere, but the Spanish had a one advantage they had recruited a local man

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Encounter in the Hinterland - 9th August 1791

Try as he might Georges Biassou could not shake off Louverture and his forces, they were better organised, armed and trained after yesterdays initial Biassou's slave forces had been forced back. But before they could reorganise the lead elements of Louverture were amongst his pickets.George Biassou called his men out it was an all out attack...He would be defending the left hand side of the table while the General would come on from the right.So the scene is set. Biassou knew where the loyalists would be advancing from so rallied his men seeking the best ground he could in the limited time available to him.He had high ground to his right and a small orchard to his left. The battlefield was littered with slave shacks and small plots of merger crops. Biassou ordered his men forward.Biassou ordered his men up to the wooded ridge but the going was tough and despite his urging his men struggled to make progress up the steep incline.On the far right his skirmish troops grabbed cover in a small plot of crops and awa

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Campaign Planning and Management - 2019 Project

Image (cc) paganjesus on DeviantArtI'm the kind of person who likes to have a project, so I'm setting myself one right here.For years I've been looking for a way to weave the player characters into engaging plots while still keeping prep low and flexibility high, and it finally feels like things are falling into place. My hobby project for the rest of this year is going to be formalising my ideas and getting them down on paper. Electrons. Like so:On DMing, or How I Learned to Let Go and Embrace the Chaos (May)Railroad / Sandbox / Other (June)Reusability and Separation of Concern (July)Using a Grid for Plot Components (August)Populating the Grid (September)Using the Grid for Planning (October)Reshuffling Items in the Grid (November)Example Campaign (December)Sounds manageable, and by the end I'll know if it works or not. Hope you'll follow along. I'll be using this post as an index as I go and post a retrospective at the end, wish me luck!

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The Pearl of the Antilles. - The Haiti Campaign - Day Nine - 9th August 1791

The orders are in and after a lull to reinforce. The fight for control of the Pearl of the Antilles is underway once more.Across the island the various protagonists make their moves.The British under Thomas Maitland continue their onward march along the peninsula knowing that the day will soon come that they will have to engage the defenders of the island. Meanwhile the Republicans and Free Mulattos under Andre Rigaud continue to view each other with suspicion waiting for each other to make a mistake or show their hand.To the North the French Planters ready themselves for future engagements. After the attack by rebellious slaves at Bahon, they scout the surrounding area for the enemy to establish their number and directions of potential attack. Dutty Boukman and his forces bloodied but unbowed spread around the surrounding high ground and cut the routes back to the regional capital. If the Planters are to receive future reinforcements they are going to have to force their way through the slave lines

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