Persistent campaign rules?

Got a campaign? Kick tail-rudder scenario? Let us see it.
Kaffis
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Persistent campaign rules?

Postby Kaffis » Fri Dec 04, 2009 4:40 am

Has anybody here played with an ongoing campaign involving a group of players as one faction, with an eye towards logistically supporting themselves and managing resources?

Any tips to offer? Anything I should be sure to cover?

Right now, I'm working on setting up a game in a play by post format on another message board community I frequent. I'll be introducing the game to most of the players, and I've recruited two friends who have prior experience to help me run the "opposition" for missions. The notion is, I want to get 3-5 players to create lead/wingman PC pairs that will advance, improve, and upgrade over the course of several missions, and I and my two cohorts will run pilots that don't carry over from one mission to the next as the PCs choose different targets to raid, plunder, and whatnot.

I'll be tracking resource useage like repair costs, ammunition, and plane upgrades, as well as some devoted towards maintaining a base of operations, using Behind the Crimson Veil as a baseline. I hope to, over the course of several missions, offer opportunities for players to do things such as steal supplies, hijack a plane shipment or two, and perhaps cap the campaign with a chance to steal a zeppelin. Right now, I'm going through the books and creating lists of thematically appropriate planes to be readily available for purchase as their starting rides, as well as to be able to create thematic opponents based on the region (e.g., not having Peacemakers flying in the Empire State militia).

If things go well, and I figure out a good way to do it, I'd like the results of some of the missions to carry over into opportunities for subsequent ones; Yahzuk's Hellhounds of Mexico campaign structure really inspired me in this regard. I think one of the keys will be to pick good, exciting, and varied victory conditions for my players; an example that I'd like to use in an early mission is to let my players stage a train robbery from the air using harpoon rockets. The train would be moving, so the target's hex will move across the board steadily, and if the train has an escort flight, or a flight patrolling nearby (perhaps arriving on turn 3 or 4 or something), it could be exciting trying to line up a run on the train in the middle of a dogfight. Such a scenario also appeals to me in this context because it provides a clear "loss" condition for my players that *doesn't* necessarily end up with a bunch of dead pilots, since they're supposed to be carrying these over and growing fond of them.

So what other kinds of things should I consider?

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Thom
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Re: Persistent campaign rules?

Postby Thom » Fri Dec 04, 2009 6:19 am

For years thats the way we played our BattleTech campaigns, I always thought it's the way that Crimson Skies should be played!
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Grant
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Re: Persistent campaign rules?

Postby Grant » Sat Dec 05, 2009 6:19 pm

I always liked campaigns. SOrta fun and make you careful how much you do ;)

However with CS I've only played single, sometimes 2-3 connected rounds. Campaigns become a drag when you do the work for both sides :roll:

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Thom
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Re: Persistent campaign rules?

Postby Thom » Sat Dec 05, 2009 10:38 pm

With BattleTech we combined Role Play (MechWarrior rules) with BT Campaign rules using a GM and several players. My ideal version of Crimson Skies would work much the same way, combining Role Play, Personal, Ground and Air Combat into one seamless game. Just as in BT where the MechWariors can't spend EVERY minute in the cockpit, neither can pilots in CS. . . There has to be more to the game and the world it is in!
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yahzuk
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Re: Persistent campaign rules?

Postby yahzuk » Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:51 am

I've tried a few different versions of money based campaigns for PBEMs in the past. (I'm hoping to give it another shot post THOM).

The biggest problem, I've hit is balancing the sides. They start out even, but then the winning team earns more money and gets better planes/pilots, while the losing team is scrapping the bottom of the barrel to replace their lost planes/pilots with the little money they earned. So the winners go into each game with a larger and larger advantage.

I think the ideal way to do it is to have more than 2 teams so it isn't always the same two going head-to-head, but thats difficult to do in PBEM. I have tried a 3 team PBEM, but the missions start to get pretty contrieved - how many circumstances can you set up in a row where the same 3 teams keep showing up at the same target at the same time?

Your idea to only have one side fixed is a good one so you can keep varying the opposition. The risk I think you need to watch out for is setting up mission where the fixed team is "supposed to win". At the very least you need to make sure the fixed team doesn't get decimated if they lose, so you probably need a strong incentive for them to retreat once they can't meet their primary mission objectives.

Good luck - eager to see what you come up with!

Kaffis
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Re: Persistent campaign rules?

Postby Kaffis » Sun Dec 06, 2009 2:53 pm

That's precisely why I rejected the notion of running two ongoing teams pretty early on in the process, Yahzuk.

Running more than two might work, but I think the key there would be to "go big or go home" -- three isn't enough, but five or six might be. That way, you don't have to keep contriving 3-way scenarios to keep everybody playing; you can do multiple parallel games per "round," and mix up opponents each round to prevent serious disadvantages from hindering the underdogs.

Thanks for the warning about biasing the scenarios; that's certainly something I've thought of, but I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that essentially participating in a non-fixed team every time, coupled with my core belief that the fun in gaming comes from the challenge and competition, will ground my scenario balance to a fun level for everybody.

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Thom
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Re: Persistent campaign rules?

Postby Thom » Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:28 am

I prefer the idea of keeping all the "Players" on the same side/team flying together against NPCs.
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GalagaGalaxian
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Re: Persistent campaign rules?

Postby GalagaGalaxian » Tue Dec 08, 2009 8:15 pm

Yeah, if/when I was ever going to do a CS campaign it would've been keeping players/PCs to one faction up against various NPC/GM controlled (perhaps with assistants) enemies each time, kind of PnP RPGish format.

The money part is what I have had trouble with. How much to reward the players? Enough to easily keep them in parts and ammo sure, but should it be enough that they can afford new planes commonly?

I can think of all sorts of adventures/jobs from gun running to war-torn China whilst evading IJN patrols (gotta including a barbrawl in and a dogfight over Club Obi-Wan in Shanghai) to coming across the crashed Bloodhawk II prototype and Howard Huges sticking out a thumb for a ride (Why was he flying alone, and why is he so desperate to get somewhere he's offering a squadron of bloodhawks as payment to get him there?), plus some good old-fashioned raids, etc etc.

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Thom
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Re: Persistent campaign rules?

Postby Thom » Wed Dec 09, 2009 2:10 am

I would tailor the loot to allow them to keep up but not get too far ahead, nothing worse than having a party get powerful enough to take over small nations! If they get a huge windfall (Black Beards gold?) then it could be followed up by a run of bad luck which eats up their reserves! A new plane now and then, or perhaps an opportunity to steal one to replace lost or damaged planes should keep their interest up without letting them feel they aren't getting anywhere.
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Kaffis
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Re: Persistent campaign rules?

Postby Kaffis » Wed Dec 09, 2009 2:24 am

Yep. I plan on having most of the upgrade opportunities to the exotic (very limited, geographically or on the market, like Defenders, Zions, etc.) or cutting edge (Bloodhawks, Defiants) be either opportunities as part of payment deals (mercenary quest rewards) or thefts, both to limit the quantity and presence of what should be "rare" planes, and to make them seem more significant from a narrative perspective.


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