I have begun planning my next campaign to replace my present Delta Green-campaign, that is entering its endgame. The Fading Suns-campaign will be The Leminkainen Crisis.
The Basics: Emissaries for a bishop on the capitol world of Byzantium Secundus become involved in a campaign to regain territories lost on Leminkainen to the barbarian Vuldroks, and soon the emissaries find themselves deeply involved in a series of crises that originates from the campaign. The players’ main role are the emissaries, and they have to deal with crises, that are based on inspiration from social conflicts from the Middle Ages. The players will also play a secondary character and a faction leader.
The players will playing three different characters. The primary and the secondary character, and a faction leader.
The Main Character – this is more a or less a basic character from the FS-setting. The campaign will be structured around these characters, and they will be the classic nobles, priests and guildsmen from the major houses, orders and guilds. They will begin the campaign on Byzantium Secundus, either born there or travelled from some other part. None will be natives of Leminkainen.
The Secondary Character – this is a supporting role, that in part will reflect the hierarchic, feudal elements of the setting by being followers or assistants to the main character. They are loyal henchmen played by the players themselves. In part it is also to give the players access to resources (types of skills etc.), that are outside the reach of their main characters, and it allows us to split up the party, as the players can use their secondary characters in situations, where their primary cannot go.
The Faction Leader – Several factions are involved in the campaign on Leminkainen, and even though they are allied, they may not agree on goals and methods. As I present a crisis for the players’ characters to deal with, I also involve some of the factions. After the first couple of sessions, the players will also be given a faction leader, whose interests they will be handling as a part of the crisis. The faction leaders may either oppose og support the PCs as the situation dictate. In other words the players get to complicate the situation for themselves as part of the game, in a sense they co-GM some parts of the game.
The campaign will be structured around a series of crises, that will last 1-3 sessions to solve. Each crisis represents some sort of political situation that occurs, and that the PCs will have to solve. There is correct way of solving the crisis, and it mainly depends on the PCs choices: Which solutions and which methods will be acceptable for the PCs (and thus indirectly the players) in solving the crisis?
The structure can be described as the difference between Dogs in the Vineyard and a D&D-campaign. In a D&D-campaign is not uncommon, that when a crisis occurs, the local lord summons the adventurers and sends them to the local dungeon to defeat the orgin of the crisis: The harvest fails and the king hires an adventuring party to find the source. They go to the local dungeon, defeats the orcs and finds clues, that reveal the curse of a lich to be the cause. The adventurers goes to the next dungeon to find a way to lift the curse and then they go to a dungeon to defeat the lich. The crisis creates a series of tasks to be solved by looting a series of dungeons. In Dogs in the Vineyard the PCs are sent to a town in trouble due moral or ethical transgressions. The PCs have find a fitting solution to the ethical dilemma.
So in this campaign a crisis may be a failed harvest, and the players will have to deal with starving peasants. Where will food be gained from? By raiding neighbors, by asking the church to abstain from receiving its tithe, by negotiating a deal with the freigther’s guild? Is the failed harvest due to the peasants behaving in a immoral manner, and should they be brought to repent, before any assistance is given? Or is the failed harvest caused by demons?
The point is to investigate how the characters will solve the crisis, and which methods they will find acceptable. The frame will be historical situations/elements, such the use of sacred bones to support the mission, that I will deal with in a later post.
Sounds like an excellent framework for a campaign.
Out of curiosity, how many players do you have?
I have four or five players – it is a little dependent on the season, as one the players is studying abroad most of the time, so usually it is a four player group.
Fascinating. Will you be using the native Victory Point system for Fading Suns?
Nope, I have tried it a few times and never found it satisfying. It is good for creating characters covering all the aspects of the setting, but it does not really work (as the many house rules – official and unofficial – reveals). The third edition may have solved some of this, but I have decided to go for one the never “indie”-systems, though have not really decided which one yet (a hybrid of Mouse Guard and Burning Empires is one, another is The Shadow of Yesterday/Solar System).