Ramblings about epic Storytelling Campaigns

The avid reader will by now see the story unfold, as more and more games are played, more and more posts are written, and more background information on the characters is being revealed. Sometime soon we intend to post a map of Rausina for every one’s orientation, we keep up with posting short descriptions of our most prominent characters and so on.

Actually, the story develops on many levels in our games, we play DarkHeresy-like RPG games nestled around our main characters, we play Warhammer40k, of course, and we also play BattlefleetGothic. I bet it will not be long until we also unpack our EpicArmageddon armies, or start collecting AeronauticaImperialis things… We even successfully incorporated our SpaceHulk equipment, and had loads of fun (only there were no Termies… so go figure!). And, not to forget, we are also painting new models to join in the fracas all the while, mostly during the week, while our great gaming days are Fridays or Saturdays, when the kids are in bed. (this weekend though I had loads of time on my hands since TWA got his sinuses virus bombed 🙂 )

This has been going on for almost twelve month now, involving as many as four players now and then. So, you may ask, how do you plan your campaign then? What are your campaign rules? Who gets what and when and why?

The short answer is, there are none. Early on (I think it was the second game) we realised that any games played to win were only half as much fun than just playing for the sake of, well, playing! The competition just destroyed the comraderie we shared with our “foes”. So, after playing the opening game for fun, and the second game to win (after all, now it counted for the campaign, no?!), we decided that the results of the games played would only ever influence the story line, but not the players’ point numbers or anything like that. Besides, we have more than one army per person around, so now and then we switch armies around according to the scenario.

Let me give you an example: When TWA and I played the scenario with the downed GravTank and the five Marines with their Eldar surrounded by Imperial Guards, we both started with even point values, and agreed that the outcome would influence the developing story roughly as follows: The Marines win, i.e. get the Eldar out alive, they walk back to base camp and have a nice story to tell, reenforcing the lesson that the Imperials on Rausina are not to be taken lightly. If the Imperials win, they will capture some or all of the heroes, taking them back to their base camp for interrogation and other more sinister things. Sure none of our heroes is dead just for loosing his last hitpoint, that is an all-important assumption. Only the player himself may decide that a character (not any model, mind!) is truly mortally wounded, and if and how he dies.

As it turned out in our example, the Imperials won, and took all the Marines and the Eldar with them after giving them a sound beating. Ergo the next scenarios would center around freeing the captives and rescuing them from the Imperial detention block they were kept in, so the story got a spin in this direction, giving the Impies the upper hand for now.

In one of the next games (springing the captives from their cells and getting them out), actually played on SpaceHulk floor tiles, TWA played the Space Marines and our special guest Afbeer chose the Eldar rescue party, while I played the Imperial personnel, which was kind of weird watching your beloved models being played by somebody else and yourself actually opposing them!

I guess by now you have grabbed the concept. You may say “This is boring!” because in the end, there will be no winner. Well, not really, anyway. Maybe the Tau get the planet, maybe the Imperials do, maybe the Eldar will not manage to get to the artefacts in time to seal the tear opening in the fabric of reality and the planet (sector) will be lost to Chaos. No point score, no player statistics, no winner.
BUT we will have played a great story together, which developed as we played, and have had tons of fun, roleplaying and gaming, enjoyable evenings full of corps starch crackers and strong coffee, and relaxed hours of painting and planning. So we will all have won!

It’s up to you to decide if this style of campaign suits you, all you need is an idea to start you off, and players that are wise enough not to haggle about advantages and dice roll results, but are ready to interpret the moves on the tabletop with sound common sense. On you go and have fun!


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