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My friends and I have found our way back to Warhammer 40.000 and reactivated our armies, discovering that there's been a new edition released in the meantime. It took a couple of weeks for us to get up to date, buy and read the new material, order new models, and do all that which has to be done.
At last, after we had finally digested the 5th edition rules, we could start to get some games in. And because we are actually roleplayers we care a lot for the background of our battles and the storytelling effect of them - this is why we run a campain. It's name isn't very interesting, it's just another "battle for ...", "the battle for Duglum XIII" to be exact.
I am posting about this here because there has been some interest in our campaign's rules and I was inquired to share them, which I will gladly do. But let me explain why it's all the way it is and what it's all about...
When we came up with the mechanics for our homegrown campaign we had certain requirements in mind that were to be fulfilled.
1. First off, because we are roleplayers, telling a story is very and most important to us.
2. Moreover the campaign needs flexible time management and some feature that allows for participation in between the games, since we don't live near to each other and there has to be something to keep things interesting and keep you involved even if you don't get to play any battles.
3. We want victories to count for something and have an impact on future games, all the while still rewarding players that lose but at least try and get a lot of games played (losers should be better off than someone not playing at all) and all the while still making sure that single victories don't determine the course of the whole campaign (i.e. the impact of one victory should not be so great as to make it nigh impossible for the others to prevail against the victor in future games).
We came up with a whole lot of stuff in order to meet our requirements. I shall introduce them to you one at a time, elaborate enough to understand but keeping it as brief as possible.
The storytelling part is - fortunately - running by its very self in our gaming group. Some players choose not to participate in this part very much. This is somewhat sad, but in the end it doesn't matter because the majority plays along.
We agreed on a general background for our campaign together and the majority of players chipped in some work so that the system of Duglum (located in the Scarus sector of Segmentum Obsurum, by the way) has come to life with a description of its suns (yes, the system has twin suns as actually the majority of systems in the milky way do), planets and planetoids, its history, its resources and a lot of other general details.
Because our Chaos player (Chaos Space Marines and Lost and Damned) takes a liking towards being - oddly enough - in the role of the defender, we came up with a story of how the system turned to the powers of the warp and is now in the hands of Chaos and how all the other armies fit in. The Necrons for example have awakened due to the doings of the Lost and Damned who aren't yet aware that Duglum XIII actually is an ancient tomb world. My Space Marine chapter (its home world was destroyed and it has a flying fortress monastery in a Ramilies space station - so they are practically nomads) passed by more or less by chance and is trying to put a stop to the rebellion and save as many souls as possible while any loyal Imperial forces are still months away. And so on...
Since the majority of players also has their army's background worked out we have a lot of insight into our enemies which is kind of satisfying. We also put a lot of effort into inventing mission objectives for ourselves and our enemies. For example: the Chaos player ruled that in one of the cities there's a sealed titan hangar with an ancient warlord titan and that his traitors are trying to breach it and will succeed within a given time limit if he is not stopped before. I have thus dedicated my first missions against him to install a beachhead from where I can ground-assault the titan hangar as it is heavily protected against orbital strikes. The Necrons' awakening and their appearance on the surface was so sudden that the traitor forces had to immediately surrender a city to them leaving all the innocent inhabitants helpless. My Space Marines have thus dropped in to evacuate as many untainted souls as possible, playing a relief force city mission in which my forces guarded a medical center. Stuff like that, I'm sure you get the idea.
Since we also write battle reports and short stories or just come up with short quotes on certain events by our armies' characters the story really evolves all by itself and comes to life pretty vividly. We are sharing all this on an internet forum I have installed for our campaign for all the communication between battles to take place.
To keep the campaign running even if there are no actual games being played we have come up with "sector sovereignty". It is the strategic phase of the campaign, based on a battle map of a part of the planet that is fought over the hardest and therefore is representative for the war as a whole. Here is what the map looks like:
Every army has 3 attacks per week that can be used on hexes adjacent to ones your army holds. Attacks are successful on a 4+. You can also combine them onto single hexes, lowering the required die roll by one for each assisting attack (surplus of the first). Attacks against hexes held by an opponent you won a battle against in the past week have a higher chance of success: the required die roll is reduced by one for each victory against that opponent within the past week. (If you manage to get better than a 2+ from your victories each surplus victory gains you a free additional 2+ attack on a hex of that opponent instead. This may seem harsh, but you'd have to lose quite a lot of games to the same player within a single week for that to happen.) Obviously, successful attacks put the target hex under your army's control.
Controlling entire sectors uncontested is a greatly benefit. Not only does every sector you hold in its entirety give you a free tactical options point (see below) in every game (you can not stack these, though - if you don't use them in that game they are lost), all but the smallest sectors provide even greater advantages. Sectors A, B, J and K offer the option of upgrading one of your troops choices (per sector) with any one veteran skill of the experience table (page 263, main rulebook) for +3 points per model. Sectors C and L drastically reduce the cost of the "superiority" tactical option (see below). Sectors F, G, H and I drastically reduce the cost of the "preliminary bombardment" tactical option (see below). There's a small background for each of these rules too, but my fingers are tired and I am reluctant to translate all of it into English. Of course all these sector regions also have names and descriptions and so on...
[There is also some special rules to cope with the fact that all players but me play two armies combined in one faction (for example Chaos Marines and Lost and Damned, or Necrons and Tyranids - yes, there is a good explanation for the latter two working together, it's nothing like an alliance anyhow but more of a mutual and temporary non-aggression pact). I get to play the remaining loyal parts of the Imperial Guard in our sector sovereignty strategy phase, but since I can't actually use the advantages of any sector they hold in games we have also ruled that the Guard's attacks only succeed on a 5+ and mine on a 3+ and that I can strike anywhere on the battlemap and not just adjacent hexes because I am actually attacking from orbit. This doesn't help in holding sectors of your own, but it helps a lot in preventing others from holding any sector, who can combine their two armies' strength to hold sectors.]
Fruits of victory
In order to provide the victor of a battle with some advantage we have come up with the "tactical options points" system. You gain points for games (5 for every victory, 2 for every draw, 1 for every defeat) and spend them on tactical options. Fortunately I wrote the rules for them in English, so I can just quote them from our forum:Originally Posted by Tactical Options
I have to conclude now as it is very late and I need to get some sleep. I hope this is an inspiration to some of you to maybe come up with your own campaigns and campaign systems and make Warhammer 40.000 battles more interesting and the hobby all the more rewarding!
Let's hope my English is good enough to actually be understood. Feel free - more than that: obliged! - to ask questions if there's something you didn't understand.
Best regards to all of you reading this.
I think this is a good system. It encourages people to play often and rewards aggressive campaign play.
Watch out for one Tacopt being used too often by players which suggests it may be overpowered. None of them seem that powerful actually and that is a good thing. I have seen one campaign where a shield generator asset gave evrything in a players deployment zone a 4+ invulnerable save. Such a game would be not worth playing so the asset was too powerful. Your tacpoints will add flavour to a scenario but still give only a 55% chance of victory etc.
One change may be to put a flat cost of 4 points per tacopt but roll on a small table to see which one you get. This could force more variation in scenarios.
Quorn! - Protein for the Protein God.
I'm going to have to give this a full read when I have more time, but just in skimming it I can promise that some if not all of your ideas are going to be cribbed! Cheers!
Thanks for your comment and opinion, Mad Cat!
We are actually still in the act of balancing the costs.
We didn't - for example - predict that the terrain mod tactical option bears such great potential. But depending on what terrain features are available this can be game deciding. That's why we are currently very cautious with that option and are working out how expensive it should be.
It's not too much of a problem though, as the opponent can always (as long as he has the points) buy you out of your terrain mod and cancel it off.
Thanks for the idea of random tacopts. Some players in my gaming group (actually particularly me) dislike unpredictable, random events, and since we already have a random campaign event every week (you could, for example, run short on ammo, forcing a 3+ on a D6 every time a unit attempts to shoot, or else it is out of shots) that would be too much for me.
But I could incorporate a RANDOM tacopt that actually is just what its name says: you pay 4 points - to stick with your suggestion - and get to roll on a table which tacopt you actually get. If you feel lucky you could try that and maybe even get a tacopt you otherwise couldn't have afforded, etc...
I'll give that some thought.
That's really cool- your group is doing the exact same thing that my group did. I few weeks ago I was on the forums asking how to enjoy my 40k games again, and it has since been decided that a massive, multi-game-system campaign would be run. Currently we use Battlefleet Gothic, Aeronautica Imperialis, Epic, and the Warhammer 40k games like Planetstrike and Apocalypse.
Your system looks awewsome though, and I might actually be stealing some of those ideas for my Fantasy games.
(and yes, cribbing does mean stealing, haha)
Please, go ahead and take whatever parts you like to incorporate them in your own campaign.
We will also be playing some battlefleet gothic games, but we do none of the others, except some of the W40k-"addons" like cities of death, combat patrol, kill team, etc... But the vast majority of our games still are standard Warhammer 40.000 battles.
Wow Red, it looks like our 2 gaming groups are in very similiar situations. Between this and your TACOPTS post I just replied to I think its exactly what I've been looking for. I can even salvage my Map-based campaign map and website and simply adapt it to this!
How is this campaign working out for you guys? Any further details you can provide would be great as I work on revamping my campaign, provided you don't mind me stealing your ideas and incorporating them into my stuff!
Does your gaming group have a name and/or a website? If I do revamp my campaign with your idesas I'd like to note it and give you guys credit!
thanks for your reply! I am glad you are interested in my campaign's rules and like them. I'd be honored if you "copied" my ideas - I would not have introduced them here, had I not been willing to share them.
The campaign is working out great for us. It has led to increase in the number of games that are being played and in the consistency of us meeting. Every one of us now spends more time on the hobby and feels that the time spent has become more worthwhile. We have even been able to increase the number of players in our regular gaming group.
I continually comment on the progress of our campaign in my blog, if you are really interested.
I will gladly share more details with you at your request. Just tell me what you want to know about.
If you were referring to the campaign events that I mentioned but did not elaborate on: we dropped these temporarily, because most campaign events we had come up with before we started the campaign turned out to be too imbalanced.
Because none have spent time coming up with other events ever since, the only three we have at our disposal are a short-lived Ork Waaaagh (which strips a certain amount of random territories of their affiliation to any owner so that they need to be conquered anew - this was conceived before we actually had an Ork army join the campaign), Eldar Intrigues (which makes all attacks on the campaign map +1 because the Eldar assist every faction in the hope that they eliminate each other - again this was conceived before we actually had an Eldar army join the campaign), and Tau Invasion (which makes all attacks on the campaign map -1 because the Tau are trying to capture their share of the planet and everyone is busy defending his territory, having fewer forces available for attacks).
But three items does not exactly make for a good table. We would like to have something like 2D6 on "2: event A, 3: event B, 4-5: event C, 6-8: nothing, 9-10: event D, 11: event E, 12: event F", but as I said: nobody has come up with enough ideas. I had experimented with events like "heavy storms: all units must pass a 2+ roll at the beginning of the owning player's turn or be pinned, night fighting rules are used to assess spotting distance", but these game-effecting events are easily avoided by those who suffer a lot from them (by not playing any games in that week) if they are determined at the beginning of the campaign week. So I figured random campaign events should probably only have influence on the strategical part of the campaign, not on the matches themselves.
If you want to give me credit for my campaign ideas I am -of course- very grateful. My gaming group does not have a website, though I have set up a non-public, German forum for us to communicate. This is probably not a good way to contact us, better would be providing my mail address which is Nebula-Raiders (at) gmx (dot) net.
Good luck with your campaign! Keep me posted on how it works out.
Great, thanks Red!
Its quite ironic, cause I intially created my campaign to inspire my group to play more, but once we started the campaign we all quickly took a hiatus from 40k as we started getting into board games. But now the itch is back for a few of us and I wanted to revive and revamp the campaign. Here's my current campaign, but like you guys its tough having forced battles and I love the idea of just playing whomever-whenever and have the results affect the strategic part of the campaign.
Here's a question, what is the phase order of your campaign? I assume phase 1 is to battle and play games of 40k, and those results transfer into phase 2, which is the strategic part of attacks on the map. I'm going to be rewriting my campaign using your mechanic, though may make some changes in the strategic part, we'll see. I'll post my stuff once I get further along.
If you have time you may be interested in the "Sector Bonuses" and "Fortifications" part of the rules on my campaign. There MIGHT be some items you could add to TACOPTS.
I really like the idea of the events! Will definately brainstorm and try and come up with a good chart, and I agree that it should only affect the strategic part of the game. At what point would you roll for these? Before Phase 1 or Phase 2? Could make a difference, since if the roll is before phase 1 I may look at my battles differently and spend less (or more) TACOPTS pending if I need the win or not.
Your campaign sounds really interesting too! Great effort on the website you made for it. I skimmed through everything and had a look at your "fortifications" in detail, I will ask my gaming group whether we want a "vital objective"-TACOPT, that one really struck me as a cool idea.
The phases of my campaign are like you said: we play battles on weekends, then on Monday evening the attacks on the campaign map are declared and rolled for. Our campaign events -when we still used them- were determined on that same Monday evening, after all attacks on the campaign map had been worked out and the new week / turn began. So people know about the event before any games are played and can act accordingly.