Help Pick Our Next Campaign

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paladintodd
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Help Pick Our Next Campaign

#1 Postby paladintodd » Tue May 06, 2014 10:04 am

So far, I'm really loving running Savage Worlds. Quick, clear rules, and fun. What I'm NOT enjoying so far are the campaigns we've picked and could use some help in picking where we go next.

For comparison, I'm fond of Paizo Adventure Paths. Great art, good maps, strong story, take-the-GM-by-the-hand adventures.

We've played some Daring Tales of Adventure and Daring Tales of the Sprawl. Decent little adventures, but they lack a strong story. They are more episodic than campaign. We want a little more than that.

We tried Blood Drive (with someone else GMing). If there was a story or point to that, we completely missed it.

Right now we're playing Rippers. The Savage Tales in that are just too bare bones. For example: When the players reach NYC, they find the lodge their is battling a mutant alligator. No explanation why, no map, no art, no suggestions on game rules on how to track it down, no consequences for not tracking, no suggestions on how to make the battle interesting. Just a very plain "go fight this monster".

What could we play next that -
A) Has a strong story to it and a "campaign" feel?
B) Gives the GM plenty to work with instead of just nuggets of ideas I have to flesh out myself.

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#2 Postby Fairman Rogers » Tue May 06, 2014 10:18 am

Steamscapes has been releasing chapters in an ongoing story that has more of an adventure-path feel to it. We have made them available for free download at Studio 2 and DriveThru.

(Our publisher's page at DTRPG is http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/browse.ph ... s_id=6245& )

The first chapter and the extensive historical background is in the Steamscapes: North America book, of course, but you can at least take a look at a few chapters and see if this is the sort of thing you're looking for.
Eric Simon (aka Fairman Rogers)
Steamscapes Lead Developer (steamscapes.com)
Four-in-Hand Games

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#3 Postby chugosh » Tue May 06, 2014 10:40 am

I do not know of anything that is going to really hold you hand and lead you along like the Pathfinder stuff does. Those products allow for very little leeway on the other hand. Most savage worlds settings I have seen leave a lot to the GM and players so each table would be a different experience. I can see where that could be problematic. You could try one of the older books, like 50 fathoms. Or you could try out Space 1889: Red Sands as there is a lot of non SW background stuff available for it. I found Slipstream to be pretty good. I do not know if you will ever really find the droids you're looking for. Keep on trying new things or just commit to making it work with what you have.

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#4 Postby amerigoV » Tue May 06, 2014 10:41 am

Based on what you have posted before, any reason not to just run Paizo's APs using SW?

I have not read much of it, but I believe the War of the Dead (modern zombie apocalypse) is more in the AP design.

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#5 Postby Darq666 » Tue May 06, 2014 10:55 am

War of the Dead is presented in four chapters, each chapter contains 13 weeks (designed to be played weekly) all in a cohesive storyline (52 sessions).

There is also an alternative beginning available. If you search RPG Now for "War of the Dead" you will also find a set of fan produced (Free) support materials including a free players guide.

And if you finish that World of the Dead takes place 4 years later.
Last edited by Darq666 on Tue May 06, 2014 12:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#6 Postby JamesG » Tue May 06, 2014 11:19 am

I don't have them, but from what I have read about them Evernight and Necessary Evil have a very structured/scripted plotline to follow. But I don't know if the individual adventures that make up the plot are fleshed out enough for you. Perhaps someone who owns those can chime in on that point.

I do have 50 Fathoms, though I have not run it yet. It does look very good, but I'm not sure the adventures are detailed enough for you. They are not as bare bones as what you describe in Rippers, but they do require a fair amount of GM improvising. For instance, few of them have maps.

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#7 Postby ValhallaGH » Wed May 07, 2014 9:08 am

Evernight.
War of the Dead.
Convert one of Paizo's adventure paths.
Copy Zadmar's War of the Burning Skies conversion.

Savage Worlds products favor the "nuggets of ideas I have to flesh out myself" approach. Which is great if you enjoy fleshing them out, or are tired of having to completely revise them to fit what your players actually did instead of what the author assumed.
However, you don't want that approach.

Good luck!

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#8 Postby sablemage » Thu May 08, 2014 4:55 pm

I have Evernight. By comparison to the Plot Points which came later, it's a bit of a railroad; five acts, each with 3-8 scenes.

Each scene is 1-4 pages containing a scenario, usually a small map (1/4 page or so), and often a couple of new monsters. They're about the same sort of size and complexity as a typical D&D encounter, with maps having maybe half a dozen locations apiece.

The assumption is that the PCs work through each scene in turn, there isn't much in the way of side quests or options for switching scenes around.

That's not a criticism, it's a stylistic choice - sandbox vs story arc. Evernight is much closer to the story arc approach than is usual for SW these days; not as close to it as a Paizo AP, though.

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#9 Postby paladintodd » Thu May 08, 2014 5:39 pm

Thanks for the advice so far. I don't have an issue with sandbox versus more scripted. My problem comes when the majority of Plot Points is just a paragraph or two - Here's a monster, go fight it.

We could just go adapt Paizo, but we've been playing D&D for 30 years now - enjoying the other settings that SW makes possible.

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#10 Postby Zadmar » Thu May 08, 2014 6:30 pm

paladintodd wrote:Thanks for the advice so far. I don't have an issue with sandbox versus more scripted. My problem comes when the majority of Plot Points is just a paragraph or two - Here's a monster, go fight it.

Most of them have more than a paragraph, but I know the sort of adventures you're talking about.

War of the Dead has been mentioned a few times already, and I'm going to suggest it as well. It's pretty railroady, but the story is excellent, and it has very much an adventure path feel to it. If you and your players like the Walking Dead, you'll definitely like War of the Dead.

Sadly my players aren't zombie fans, and they wanted to switch back to medieval fantasy after the first chapter (13 adventures). But I really enjoyed running such a detailed pre-written campaign, and it was one of the main reasons why I eventually decided to convert War of the Burning Sky.

Another option you could look at is Hellfrost. It's a bit pricy, but it has a wealth of information and a load of adventures.

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#11 Postby Darq666 » Thu May 08, 2014 9:50 pm

I ran War of the Dead - It has a full railroad set up, but you can easily move parts around, or ignore them - to Zadmar's point its a great storyline - it makes good reading just as a story.

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#12 Postby TheLoremaster » Fri May 09, 2014 5:51 am

paladintodd wrote:Thanks for the advice so far. I don't have an issue with sandbox versus more scripted. My problem comes when the majority of Plot Points is just a paragraph or two - Here's a monster, go fight it.

That's rather the point, IMO. Savage Tales, in most cases, are just story seeds, the grain of a scenario where the GM can take the idea and expand upon it. Yeah, if you're short for time, you can just run it as a quick combat, or you can expand on the material, flesh it out a bit, and make it something really special. This is especially important since the author has no way of knowing what the make-up of your party is; it's not like the various F20 games where you know there's gonna be a fighter, a mage, a thief, etc. Keeping it light lets you use the material in more ways.

That being said, I can't recommend 50 Fathoms enough. It's the best written Plot Point campaign, and has great material. And even though you might not believe it, the Low Life Plot Point is also really well done. Go check those out.
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#13 Postby Kristian Serrano » Fri May 09, 2014 9:14 am

I think I know where the OP is coming from. It was a dramatic shift for me as well when I switched from D&D v3.5 adventure modules to Savage Worlds Plot Points and Savage Tales.

I was taken aback at first by the lack of detail in the latter. Where were the details of what happens next if the players fail? Where is the script for skill checks to track down that monster? Where is subsystem for tracking how quickly the lightning rail is accelerating each round? Where's the map that shows each NPC/monster's location during the encounter?

But then I came to the realization that I don't need those things. They just added stress as something additional I had to read, prep, track, and execute for each encounter. All I needed was a sense of the cinematic and dramatic elements that really made those things exciting. In all honest, players never saw those details in print anyway. To them, it was just something to react to.

That's when I realized how liberating Plot Points and Savage Tales were. I could make those scenes, challenges, and encounters as dramatic as I'd like them to be. If I want to have the encounter take place on a rooftop instead of a library or basement, I can do that. I don't have to follow the encounter script put in place by someone who isn't running my game.

Additionally, Savage Worlds has a lot of subsystems in place for things like tracking, chasing, etc. Want to do a chase through the streets of the city? Chase rules. Want to have a ticking time element in your skill challenge? Dramatic Tasks. Want to track the monster? Notice rolls as a Dramatic Task.

Truthfully, I see Savage Worlds adventures to be more like a pile of Legos with a picture on the box versus the prebuilt playsets that were traditional adventure modules. I can take the pieces (rules) and assemble my version of the encounter based on the idea presented in the Plot Point or Savage Tale rather than being given a playset that has specific functionality (e.g. - push this lever, the door swings open).

In summary, I think it's a matter of being comfortable with the freedom it gives you rather than fearing it and depending on a script.

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#14 Postby Zadmar » Fri May 09, 2014 9:56 am

Kristian Serrano wrote:In summary, I think it's a matter of being comfortable with the freedom it gives you rather than fearing it and depending on a script.

I don't think it's that simple. I've run all sorts of campaign types, ranging from old school linear modules at one extreme, to completely improvised adventures (made up on the fly using the Mythic GM Emulator - i.e., I literally did no preparation before the game) at the other. PPCs and Savage Tales fall somewhere between those two extremes, and I've run them too. It's all good.

But after a few years of making up the campaign as I go along, I'm simply burnt out. I need a change of pace, otherwise the adventures suffer, and the players don't have fun. Switching to a scripted (yet flexible) adventure path has revitalised my flagging interest, I can still improvise when I wish but I'm no longer under pressure to do so.

Maybe I'll go back to an improvised campaign next, or maybe I'll do some one-shots, or perhaps I'll run another PPC. I guess it'll depend what I feel like once my current campaign has finished.

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#15 Postby paladintodd » Fri May 09, 2014 11:37 am

I get that it's supposed to be a bit more free-form and open ended (for lack of a better term), but there's a lot of ground between "fight this monster in a sewer" and (let's say) Paizo's over-description railroady-ness.

I do have the first three weeks of War of Dead. For me, those work a lot better (though an occasional map would still be nice).

I guess my question was is the Rippers PPC indicative of most PPCs? It sounds like it is. War of Dead, Evernight, and maybe Necessary Evil might be things I should look at instead.

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#16 Postby Wibbs » Fri May 09, 2014 12:09 pm

How long a campaign are you looking to run out of interest?

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#17 Postby Kristian Serrano » Fri May 09, 2014 12:13 pm

paladintodd wrote:I get that it's supposed to be a bit more free-form and open ended (for lack of a better term), but there's a lot of ground between "fight this monster in a sewer" and (let's say) Paizo's over-description railroady-ness.

I do have the first three weeks of War of Dead. For me, those work a lot better (though an occasional map would still be nice).

I guess my question was is the Rippers PPC indicative of most PPCs? It sounds like it is. War of Dead, Evernight, and maybe Necessary Evil might be things I should look at instead.
Honestly 50 Fathoms is the gold standard. Runepunk is another good example.

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#18 Postby Jackson » Fri May 09, 2014 12:21 pm

Go get Bloodlines by 12 to Midnight. Great story, plenty of handouts and clues, mystery, ghosts, cults, conspiracies....one of my favorites. Good for 3 to 4 sessions.

It was written by Preston Dubose and I have run it three times and played in it once. Just a lot of fun.

Ed
(I am an owner of 12 to Midnight, but I really do think this is a great adventure!)
Keep it coming...

East Texas University....enroll for the Fall Semester Now!

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#19 Postby Zadmar » Fri May 09, 2014 1:02 pm

paladintodd wrote:I guess my question was is the Rippers PPC indicative of most PPCs? It sounds like it is.

They're each a bit different, but here's a quick breakdown:

Rippers has 39 Savage Tales (41 pages).

Necessary Evil has 11 Plot Point Episodes (25 pages) and 25 Savage Tales (45 pages).

50 Fathoms has 89 Savage Tales (72 pages)

Evernight has a linear adventure split into acts and scenes (78 pages)

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#20 Postby TheLoremaster » Fri May 09, 2014 1:34 pm

paladintodd wrote:I guess my question was is the Rippers PPC indicative of most PPCs?

IME, yes. Some are better, some are worse, but that model is used for most of the other Plot Point Campaigns.

They're Fake Books, not full scores. :) If you're not comfortable with that, I'm not sure which way to steer you, but personally, I prefer that model. I don't have to worry about forgetting or tracking minor details, since it's all up to me how things progress. YMMV.
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