Pitches for an Upcoming RPG Campaign

A Preponderance of Options

I’m spinning down the The Mistimed Scroll campaign; we had about 15 sessions and while we enjoyed it, we were losing steam.

In part we started seeing cracks in Burning Wheel and didn’t feel the desire to “fix it”. I also found that as Game Master (GM 📖) I was missing the guide rails of a published campaign.

So we started talking about game systems. As a group we talked and wanted to move towards using a free and open source system.

Previously, I wrote Gearing up to Run Creative Options Role-Playing Engine (CORE), which has me thinking about possible campaign pitches to make for a Creative Options Role-Playing Engine (CORE RPG) game.

We have 4 people: myself and 3 other players. And I’ve been thinking through the following constraints.

we met over Discord and I pitched the following campaigns:

The Enemy Within
A Warhammer Fantasy RPG campaign.
Eyes of the Lich Queen
An Eberron campaign.
The Red Hand of Doom
A D&D campaign.
Dwimmermount
newish mega-delve D&D campaign.
Bloodstone
An old D&D campaign.
Pirates of Drinax
A Traveller campaign.
DayTrippers
Use the adventure building tools.
Masks of Nyarlathotep
A Cthulhu campaign.

Two stood out as most interesting: The Enemy Within and Pirates of Drinax.

After a bit of conversation, we settled on Pirates of Drinax for a few reasons:

  1. Sid Meier’s Pirates being one of the player’s favorite games.
  2. A meta-attempt to raise the “profile” of piracy to encourage the renewal of Our Flag Means Death.
  3. Traveller has an open-source analogue in the Cepheus Engine.
  4. There’s a conversion document for Traveller to CORE.

We also decided we would make our characters using the Cepheus Engine and then translate that to CORE.

Why not stay in Cepheus? Two-fold: we like the resolution mechanics that determine who has narrative control; and the Character Development Scenes.

Character Creation

This is a provisional proposal for character creation.

We’ll use the Character Creation checklist to create the initial character, with the following adjustments:

Characters that fail their Survival test (in step 5) die. We agreed as a group that this would be interesting, and each character would “be part of the backstory” (a dead relative or what have you). After each Survival step, each character will roll on an events table. These can be found in the Cepheus Deluxe Reference or Traveller Core Rulebook. I feel these events are what bring the real spark to character creation. Once every character has mustered out, each character should finalize a connection with each other character; this could be in the form of “being part of” a character’s rolled event, or some other connection. Each connection allows you to gain one level in any skill.

Finally, as a group pick one of the packages:

Traveller Skill Package
Pilot (any) 1, Sensors 1, Comms 1, Gunner (any) 1, Gun Combat (any) 1, Persuade 1, Stealth 1, Medic 1.
Mercenary Skill Package
Sensors 1, Comms 1, Medic 1, Leadership 1, Heavy Weapons (any) 1, Gun Combat (any) 1, Gun Combat (any) 1, Stealth 1.
Trader Skill Package
Pilot (any) 1, Sensors 1, Medic 1, Streetwise 1, Broker 1, Advocate 1, Diplomat 1, Astrogation 1.
Starship Skills Package
Pilot (any) 1, Gunner (any) 1, Engineer (any) 1, Mechanic 1, Sensors 1, Medic 1, Comms 1, Astrogation 1.
Explorer Skills Package
Pilot (any) 1, Astrogation 1, Sensors 1, Survival 1, Recon 1, Gun Combat (any) 1, Stealth 1, Medic 1
Diplomat Skill Package
Advocate 1, Diplomat 1, Persuade 1, Stealth 1, Streetwise 1, Deception 1, Computers 1, Comms 1.
Investigator Skill Package
Advocate 1, Admin 1, Investigate 1, Persuade 1, Stealth 1, Streetwise 1, Computers 1, Sensors 1, Gun Combat (any) 1
Criminal Skill Package
Pilot (any) 1, Sensors 1, Stealth 1, Deception 1, Persuade 1, Streetwise 1, Broker 1, Medic 1.

Then go around the table and pick a skill to remove from the list and add to your character sheet at the given rank.

With that done, we’ll convert from Traveller to CORE. Remember skill with 0 points will be dropped.

But what about the Jack-of-all-Trades skill? Record that on your character sheet, and you can use a Character Development Scenes to reduce your “Jack” skill by 1 and gain a rank in a previously untrained skill.

Conclusion

This should be enough to get us going; but I’m also exploring another character creation option that could be quite interesting; I just don’t think I’ll have enough hours in the day to flesh it out. But that is entirely another blog post.