Saturday, November 12, 2011

Orion Time Frame

Jason, Bob, Marlon and I were talking a little about when Andrew's Kings of Orion game should start.  I think we all want to see the Badlands campaign continue.  But, I know that the winter months are just the worst for me wanting to do gaming "homework," while the summer months are when I'm really in to doing game work.

It seemed to me that if Andrew wants to start Kings of Orion,  it would be best if he started in January and ran into June.   I'd make that out as about 10-13 sessions which seems about normal for a Savage Worlds game, and then in June or July we'd take up the Badlands again, allowing either continuation with old characters or a new start with new ones (either way we'd start with mid-level characters).

I for one am really starting to see the long-range effects of building lairs, networks of henchmen etc., and would like to start expanding the vibe with NPC contacts more and more with Badlands.   The time-frame, maintenance, henchmen, hireling, randon event draw, nexus is all developing in a most satisfactory manner, and I'd like to see that continue longer-term than previously.  So, when we are done with Kings, I think that going back to Badlands has a lot of appeal to several of us.

Nevertheless, I do get the itch to actually play a character more and more, so I'd welcome the Kings after Christmas.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


While we are talking about resources for the KoO game, let me ask you guys what you think about ammunition. In our previous game, only the wild card PCs ever kept track of ammo. I didn't keep track of bad guy ammo at all, and I'm fairly sure that we barely kept track of our henchmen's ammo use.

I'm kind of on the fence about normal ammo (as opposed to grenade-like ammo where the ammo IS the weapon -- there it should be counted). I want to say that every weapon more or less has "unlimited" ammo, and leave it at that. However, then we can't do cool things like three-round-bursts and double-tap shots. It would unbalance things because you would do those shots ALL THE TIME with unlimited ammo.

What do you guys think? Should we count ammo or not? Or maybe only count ammo for wild cards, allowing only them to do 3RB & DTs? Maybe we use a different mechanic where a roll of a one indicates that you have to reload?

Wealth Mechanism

If you're using Savage Worlds, why not use a Savage Worlds style mechanism for wealth.   Have each character have an extra Ability Score:  Wealth.    To buy something you'd make a normal ability check to see if you could afford it.    Perhaps saying that ordinary gear is free, and only extrordinary items require a roll.   You could impose a -2 or -4 for really big ticket item.  Your "richies" could be one-time bonuses or re-rolls to a wealth roll.

I'd probably disallow the "Wild Die" for wealth rolls.

Everyone would start with a d4 in wealth.  So, if you wanted to buy a car or a motor boat, or something like that, you'd need to roll a 4 to do so.   If you took the "Poor" flaw, you'd have a d4-2 on rolls.   If you took the "Rich" advantage, you'd start with a d8 in wealth (and so forth with super-rich and noble advantages).    You could increase your wealth by spending an advance (once per tier).    If you got money somehow and didn't spend advances, you obviously didn't invest your money properly and wasted it on liquor and blow.  

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Campaign Questions - What Behaviors Does My Campaign Reward and Punish?

What Behaviors Does My Campaign Reward and Punish?
  • The campaign is about action. Standing around planning and/or searching for traps is frowned upon and wandering monsters will result. Narrating the action is rewarded with "spiffs". This should help players remember that rather than saying "I shoot at this guy", he can narrate his action with something more evocative like "I draw a bead on the Grundorian, hoping to put the laser bolt squarely through his chest".
  • The campaign features subtle player conflict through the "Knightly Motivations", but in the context that their overarching motivations are the same -- the commitment to the Knights of Orion.
  • The campaign also features huge player conflicts hidden as "time bombs" within the campaign in the form of the "Dark Secrets". If these conflicts run the campaign off the rails, I'm okay with that and there will be no punishment. We'll just reboot the campaign.
  • The campaign is kind of an open sandbox in terms of plot since there is no single antagonist, and no single king. The aim of the Knights is to re-unite the kingdom under a single new king, but who that king is, and how unification will be achieved is truly in the hands of the PCs alone.
  • Loot will either be specific items or artifacts, or else just "richies" that represent wealth that player characters collect in-game. I want to get away from looting weak weapons off of mooks, and move toward a game economy where loot is more abstract and meaningful. Basically, anyone with at least one "richie" in their hand should can assume that they may buy one or a few of anything that costs under a richie for free. Only when the player character wants to feed or outfit and army would low-cost items actually cost the player anything.
  • Campaign Questions - How Does the "Kings" Campaign Do That?

    How Does the "Kings" Campaign Do That?
  • Rather than using coinage, player characters will be rewarded with "richie" chips that will take the place of cash/credits/gold. These "richies" can be cashed in to purchase henchmen, equipment, vehicles, etc. These chips will be the basis for the campaign's economy. Players will also be given a single "richie" at the start of each game session.
  • Players start with three "bennies" a game as well as a spread of hero cards in order to allow the players to exercise some narrative control over the game.
  • Players may earn "spiffs" for narrating what their characters do in a particularly illustrative or entertaining way. In this way, we can stay away from lazy, basic commands and force the players to actively participate in the narration of what is going on. "Spiffs" can be used to increase damage, and four "spiffs" can be traded in for a "bennie".
  • The campaign hinges on all the player characters joining forces into a force of knights dedicated to the preservation of the King and Kingdom. In order to encourage this play, as well as to provide different angles for doing so, each player character must choose a Knightly Motivation to follow.
  • Players must also choose a Dark Secret for each of their characters that is essentially a really big secret about that character which will add further intrigue to the mix for the party of PCs.
  • Players will be rewarded experience not only for participation, but also for role playing their "Knightly Motivation"as well as for dropping a subtle hint and/or roleplaying their "Dark Secret". That way a player could gain 1-3 experience points per session.
  • Campaign Questions - What is the Campaign About?

    As promised, here is my treatment of the campaign questions from earlier. Please let me know your thoughts.

    What is the "Kings" Campaign About?
  • The new Kings of Orion is an echo of Dave's original Knights of Orion project. The original campaign was essentially a series of pulpy adventures strung together by the conceit that the player characters were all in the service of the King of Orion in order to protect and serve the people of the kingdom. I would like to continue in that tradition.
  • The Knights of Orion are still beloved and admired despite being outlawed over the past twenty years or so. They are a combination of special forces and rock stars.
  • Action will lead the plot in every game. I would like the players' trust to allow the game to start In Medias Res on nearly every session. By starting at the middle of the story rather than at the beginning, we can get through more and have more fun. If that becomes a problem, we'll make the appropriate changes.
  • Each session will feature steadily increasing stakes. As the PCs get stronger and have more to loose from failure, the more that they will be squeezed for resources.
  • The arc of each session will feature steadily increasing stakes as well. I like to call this the "out of the frying pan into the fire" principle.
  • I hope that this campaign will feature more shades of grey than Dave's previous "Knights of Orion" project. There is no single clear cut "king" for the player characters to serve. Those PCs who lust for power need only reach for it. Although the motivations of the PCs are straightforward and free for all players at the table to see, each and every character will have to choose a "dark secret" that could potentially unravel the entire campaign. The characters' "dark secret" will also be kept from all the other players at the table. If the "dark secrets" run the entire campaign off the rails, so be it. That could be pretty entertaining as a matter of fact.
  • Despite being a sci-fi campaign, hand to hand combat will remain very important since I've scaled the weapon tables so that only melee weapons have armor piercing values needed to reliably crack open powered armor. Powered armor will also be rare enough that it is only worn by wild cards.
  • Tuesday, November 1, 2011

    Next Session

    Our next D&D game will be this, Sunday, November 6, 2011, 4pm. Let's all see what Dave has cooked up in the lab for us this game.