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View Full Version : DM Help Does this sound like a good idea for a campaign?



rs2excelsior
2014-09-28, 09:14 PM
Hello all! I've recently (about half a year ago) gotten into roleplaying games, and I've played some D&D/Pathfinder, as well as GMing for another system a bit (only a couple of sessions so far). I've had an idea bouncing around in my head for a while now, and I want to run it by the Playground to see if you all think it's workable or not.

Before I was introduced to roleplaying games, I was a wargamer. Have been for years. I've even designed a few systems, to greater or lesser degrees of completion. I've been working on a fairly (hopefully) realistic but reasonably (again, hopefully) simple fantasy wargame--and yes, I know, "realistic" fantasy is in many ways an oxymoron, but I want it to look pretty much like historical medieval combat if you take out all the magic and non-humans and such. So then I had an idea--why couldn't you combine the two?

Here's the basic idea: each of the players is the captain of a mercenary company of 1500-3000 men (roughly, the units in the game are about 500 strong each). They design their character, who would have both personal combat statistics, as well as other things pertinent to battlefield leadership. Individual combat could be done, but it's simpler and not really the focus of the game. Most of what the players do is based around their forces--they start with a certain amount of gold, with which they hire and train soldiers, and buy equipment and supplies. So with a given amount of gold you can have a horde of poorly trained and equipped peasants, a small band of elite, well-equipped veterans, or something in between--even a few of both. Most of the combat, then, uses the wargame rules, focusing around army combat.

I decided to do mercenary groups because it'd give players a bit more free reign outside of a strict military hierarchy. Units would have a purchase and an upkeep cost--the former representing buying the equipment and training the men, the latter including things like pay, supplies, and replacement gear. That way we avoid tracking every arrow and sack of grain.

I think the biggest hurdle would be balancing everything. Trying to come up with costs such that forces bought with a certain amount of gold are roughly equal is a bit daunting, and frankly something I'm bad at.

So I'm sure this idea has been had before (or at least something along these lines), but how does this sound? Is it something I should go forward with?

Curbstomp
2014-09-28, 11:22 PM
I would make that one of three major elements in a campaign rather than the sole focus.

Firest Kathon
2014-09-29, 04:18 AM
I think the biggest hurdle would be balancing everything. Trying to come up with costs such that forces bought with a certain amount of gold are roughly equal is a bit daunting, and frankly something I'm bad at.

I feel the even more important balance is between the power of the character and their company. On the one hand, the character should stand out from the troops (otherwise, no point on playing a roleplaying game, you could just play a wargame and be done with it). On the other hand, you should avoid the situation that the character alone is more powerful than the whole company and can do all the work themselves.

Ettina
2014-09-29, 08:46 AM
D&D as a Real-Time Strategy game? I suppose, but make sure your players know this game will be very different from a typical D&D game.

rs2excelsior
2014-09-29, 11:56 AM
D&D as a Real-Time Strategy game? I suppose, but make sure your players know this game will be very different from a typical D&D game.

To be clear here, I'm not really talking about a D&D game. It'd be low-magic and not set in the D&D universe (though it would be a similar Tolkien-esque fantasy universe).


I would make that one of three major elements in a campaign rather than the sole focus.

What would the other two be, perhaps?


I feel the even more important balance is between the power of the character and their company. On the one hand, the character should stand out from the troops (otherwise, no point on playing a roleplaying game, you could just play a wargame and be done with it). On the other hand, you should avoid the situation that the character alone is more powerful than the whole company and can do all the work themselves.

The character will have real leadership and combat abilities, the game has rules for that. However, it's more on the level of tipping the balance between two even units (or turning a slight disadvantage to a slight advantage) for the combat capability of any one individual. Most of the characters' role will be leadership of troops. A good leader can get his troops to go where he wants them, steady a wavering battalion, or rally troops that have been routed so that they can once again take to the field. The main reason I'm trying to do a RPG-Wargame blend rather than a straight wargame is that I want the greater player decision-making capability and continuity of a RPG campaign, rather than the set-up-two-armies-and-duke-it-out feel of a wargame. The combats will be more similar to the latter than the former, however.

Curbstomp
2014-09-29, 10:44 PM
The other two areas of focus might be:

Espionage and political intrigue
Think Game of Thrones.
Religious conflict
Crusades for example in which there were multiple sides and betrayal was shockingly common. Like the sack of Constantinople by their "allies"
Personal involvement in the prosecution of a war
Doing the scouting yourself, taking out the enemy leader via 1v1 combat, etcetera. This could also be done as a group of players playing as NCO's under their regular character's command for a particular adventure or attempt to seize an objective
Backstory shenanigans
Lost love, sick parents, relatives who get into trouble or actually help the PC's, mentors, etcetera

Dysart
2014-10-01, 05:49 PM
My suggestions would be to thoroughly simplify your idea entirely.

Go with an existing system of wargaming that you know, like you mentioned Tolkien-esq so if you know the LoTR Wargaming system then us the points system in that. Just straight up copy paste it and negate any factions or units you don't want in the game and away you go.

Once you've got that done all you really need to do is build a reward system for the PCs to work from.
Charismatic Leaders:
- Bonus if they socialise with their troops
- Bonus for rousing speaches (must be RP'd)

Intimidating Leaders:
- Rally troops if you take out a unit worth X amount of points personally.
- Push troops to perform well out of fear by sacrificing a unit

Things like that which reward players who will roleplay with you what they do with their army.

As for the heroes themselves? I'd say do the same as with the units and use an existing point system in the war game but then have a secondary skill tree or stat choice with defines them as a specific type of leader. The types I can think of off the top of my head would be Charismatic, Intimidating, Cunning (aka makes alliances with other heroes), Tactical (mainly a battle planner) and Royal/Religious (aka leads by being worshipped and having those believe in him).

A good roleplaying game doesn't get too bogged down in rules this and rules that but also isn't too funky with the rules that players can abuse them.
Lay down the law in the first session and say your decision is final but you're open to discussions before the final decision is made. Let them argue their point but keep to a strict + and - system for good RPing and bad decisions.

TandemChelipeds
2014-10-02, 11:51 AM
I don't really have anything to add, but this sounds cool as hell and reminds me of the Golden Age arc in Berserk.

Vindcara
2014-10-04, 10:00 PM
this sounds like a lot of fun! and i have a few suggestions
1: have your players be in alliances. (1-4 alliances, minimum of 2 players per alliance)
2: make sure that you have pre established rules for building things. how much time does it take to erect a wall? build a moat? is their a gold cost involved with erecting a fort or just a time cost?
3:have some sort of morality system. if the players protect the local villages then perhaps some of the villagers join the army free of charge, while if the players have their armys loot the local villages then have some of the refuges join the opposing players group free(assuming the opposing group isn't ransacking villages as well)
4: be prepared for things to take completely unexpected turns, if you put them in a forest setting expecting them to use the forest to hide their movements they very well may just burn down the forest

BrokenChord
2014-10-06, 10:03 AM
Just out of curiosity, have you looked at Ars Magica and its Lords of Men supplement? That seems like almost exactly what you're going for so you'd probably get a lot of inspiration out of it, aside from main characters probably being a little stronger than you'd like.