Memo to self
1 Update the blog on a more regular basis
2 Once a year is not regular
Work on the not so snappily titled "Modern Imagi-Nation Project" has been proceeding apace, albeit a lot slower than I'd hoped. To recap, a couple of months back we looked at that table full of Plasticville buildings, picked out about a dozen of them, picked out a handful of figures for each of three factions (motorcycle gangers, "hip-hop" gangstas and police) and decided to prepare these for a smallish skirmish scenario to act as a starting point for San Paradiso.
To be fair, Mi Hermano Constructor, Jonesy has been joining me pretty much every Sunday for a few hours crafting session and while he's been doing the bulk of the work on most of the Plasticville buildings, I've found myself distractedly working on a hundred and one other minor terrain details, such as palm trees, scatter terrain and signage. This could be why progress has been slower than anticipated, however I think we are going to wind up with a more attractive scenery when the buildings are completed. We've even had one visit from our friend Crazy Eddy, who started painting all of the bikers and gangstas (thus making finishing them his job)
We've also discovered another source for a couple of small but interesting buildings. In Japan, the "Tomica City" range of toys allows you to create a very impressive cityscape of buildings, roads and railways in 1/64 scale. While only a very limited subset of the range is available in the UK, several useful items have been on sale recently on Amazon..
Anyway outside of the project's assigned Sunday sessions, I've taken to painting figures while (half-)watching films and TV shows in the evenings. I've found I can get through quite a lot of figures this way (not to mention quite a lot of video). For highly individual figures, like the gangers, I can easily manage between six and ten figures in an evening. For more uniform figures, like soldiers or boiler-suited minion guards, the bulk of the figures' paint job comes from the Army Painter colour primer and all I need to do is pick out necessary details (flesh, boots, weapon, belts and any other details that are appropriate). These I've found I can rattle through at an alarming rate - one evening I think I managed over forty such figures in one, admittedly long sitting.
As a result, when the original planned project terrain and figures are completed, we'll immediately have a wide selection of other figures ready to play out a range of conflict types, from further urban gang violence on the streets of Port-au-Nice, to rebel farmers in armed revolt in San Paradiso's interior, all the way up to an outbreak of hostilities with Paradiso's belligerent neighbour (whose troops' uniform and equipment may or may not bear an uncanny resemblance to the Iraqi Army.)
At the moment though, the project is all about the journey, not the destination. I'm hoping we'll be past that stage and in a place to roll dice and play with all these new toys before the end of the year.
While the overall plan is for San Paradiso to be a campaign backdrop for an ongoing narrative, I was thinking it would be nice to have some form of campaign mechanics, if only to give some structure to any sub-campaigns that might arise. Take the farmers' revolt mentioned above. We could simply play out a number of skirmish games, arbitrarily evaluating how individual game results affect the overall flow of the conflict.
But one night of insomnia-driven web surfing later, and I think I've found the perfect Universal Mapless Campaign system. It's a synthesis of Rick Priestly's Warmaster Ancients campaign system, and the political system used by Kaptain Kobold in his Alto Peru campaign rules. Having shamelessly stolen, mangled, mutilated, folded and regurgitated these ideas, I present them below for your amusement and edification.
Dr V's Slightly Derivative Universal Mapless Campaign Rules.
Each battle in the campaign is fought between full "armies" balanced according to the scenario (so for an encounter battle, the forces should be roughly even, for an attack/defence the points/numbers might go up to 2:1 or even 3:1)
Success or failure in the campaign is measured by the acquisition and loss of Resources. A Resource can be absolutely anything, appropriate to the scale of the campaign. It could be something substantial like control of a territorial region or access to a supply of some commodity, or it could be an entirely abstract thing, like political support from a particular group, or entirely nebulous like "The Goodwill Of The People". The campaign mechanics can work with entirely generic, unnamed Resources, but naming them does add considerable colour and will help build the campaign's narrative.
Each force in the campaign starts with a number (suggested 3) Resources. In addition, a pool of resources start's the campaign Uncontrolled.
After every game where there is a clear winner, they may do one of the following.
1) Take control of an Uncontrolled Resource. This is automatically successful.
2) Attempt to steal control of a Resource controlled by the defeated enemy. This is successful on a roll of 5+ on D6
3) Undermine the enemy's control of one of their Resources, making it Uncontrolled. This is successful on a roll of 3+ on D6
The campaign continues until...
a) one side is left with no controlled resources
b) one side has three times the number of resources held by their opponent
c) an agreed number of games have been played
d) everyone involved is bored.
The winner is the side holding the most resources at the end of the campaign.
Using this system, you have complete freedom when it comes to the individual battles. One game might be a 28mm skirmish using Flying Lead or Chain Reaction, another might be a larger scale operation played in 6mm using micro-armour rules. Yet another might be an air-to-air battle using C21 or Check Your Six. Whatever games the participants feel like playing and can be worked into the campaign narrative.
Example setup - Farmers' Revolt
A small number of landholders in the Western Foothills region of San Paradiso have been protesting against what they say are unfairly high levies against their crop production. What began as a civil disobedience campaign has escalated into a minor insurrection, with bands of armed farmers clashing with patrols from the San Paradiso Army sent to maintain the peace.
Farmers - Control of the Foothills of Monto Blanko, The Bridge at El Humber, Support from the Church
Army - Secure base of operations at Verdaville. Secure supply of food and supplies, The Airfield at Los Anillcamino
Uncontrolled - Foreign media interest. The fertile Piso River valley. The Goodwill Of The People. The Sunrise Corp Processing Plant.
As you can see, that's quite a mix of traditional territories and abstract concepts, all of which can be seen as contributing to victory or defeat by either side. For an urban street-crime mini-campaign, Resources might be control of individual streets or buildings, support from a corrupt cop or a supplier of contraband goods. For a galaxy-spanning sci-fi campaign, Resources might be whole worlds, Support from an Alien Race, or The Force.
The rules would work exactly the same if you simply said
Farmers - 2 Resources
Army - 2 Resources
Uncontrolled - 4 Resources
... but actually giving each resource point an in-world identifier is much more colourful.
There you have it. Not entirely original, but an amalgamation of a couple of good ideas by clever people that I think would work quite well. |I can already think of some variations and optional rules that would add variety at the cost of the system's current extreme simplicity, but this is where the idea stands for now.