Friday, 18 March 2011

Plot a course for adventure

OK, so a little while ago I had the idea of creating a Starblazer Adventures plot point campaign. Now a plot point campaign is a Savage Worlds idea, which is basically that you provide a series of adventures that can be completed in almost any order as the player's wish, usually each tied to a specific or type of location.

For example an adventure could be that some information the player's need is to found on a rundown space station, but details beyond that are sketchy, or while on a jungle moon orbiting a gas giant there is some equipment that will prove invaluable to the coming mission.

These adventures can be dropped in as the players move around the galaxy, indeed some can be relocated so that they occur wherever the players happen to be. This avoids the common 'railroading' complaint of many published adventures, and a clever Story Teller with a few helpful Aspects can pull the characters around the known galaxy to places they need to be and for it not to feel like a heavy handed technique (or the players will hopefully just decide to follow the clues!).

So what is needed for a plot point campaign of your own? Well here are some guidelines, which I hope to follow as I create a plot point campaign of my own.

An ultimate goal
This is the thing which will drive the campaign, if it is interesting enough the players will want to pursue it and will chase around the galaxy to unravel the mystery or defeat the evil villain or organisation.

An introductry adventure
Sounds a bit obvious really, but you need to use the introductory adventure to bring the players together (again in SBA) and reveal a tantilising amount of the overall campaign peril so that the player's start to chase after it. Ideally you want the players together by choice or duty, heavy handed pushing is to be avoided if at all possible!

Planetary Gazette
Details of all the known planets in the galaxy (however vague at first), these will provide the locations for your adventures, it is up to you if the location or the adventure comes first, but there are merits in both and sometimes one automatically begats the other.

Some unconnected adventures
These are adventures that do not drive the campaign plot forward but give a side track that enriches the players experience or lengthens the campaign so that it is not complete within a few short weeks.

For example:
The characters are all members of the Galactic Patrol (or on assignment from somewhere else) onboard a smallish patrol craft. They receive a signal to investigate a distress call received from a diplomatic vessel close to minor planet.

Once they arrive they find the ship inoperable and deserted, any traces of recent warp ship activity are negative. A wider search reveals a ship landed on a nearby moon, which then contacts them (or contacts them should they think of slipping the system).

The other ship is a diplomatic ship from a rival alliance, which informs them that the ship was attacked by an unknown enemy and that they have some survivors aboard their ship. They say that they arrived a short while after the attack and found the ship almost destroyed, they immediately sent out a team to get survivors from the wreckage. They did however pick up a warp signature and will provide the co-ordinates to the Patrol.
The mission was to be a diplomatic mission to discuss the current cold war between the two galactic alliances, things have been escalating recently and it was hoped a peaceful resolution could be negotiated.
That hope is somewhat lost now as the main negotiating team appears to have been lost.

I think I'll stop there, hopefully this provides a number of avenues for enquiry, namely the attacker's identity, the survivors of the attack, the wrecked ship etc. If I ever get the time I may well finish this mini adventure but feel free to take it whereever you please.

Until next time Steve

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