Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pondering Post-Battle Resources in Chaos in Carpathia

Now that our Chaos in Carpathia campaign is off the ground, it is time to start thinking about some of the post-game mechanics that play such an important part in campaign-style games.  Obviously, the collective story-telling is one very satisfying aspect of long-term adventure gaming.  However, the other rewarding part of such games is the post-game sequence.  For those who haven't played such rule-sets, the post-battle game in most skirmish-style adventure games consists of the following activities; tracking wounds & deaths, recording and spending experience points to improve warband members, and calculating a warband's earnings and spending profits on new equipment and members.

Most CinC character models start-off as very effective units.
Unlike some other games, rapid advancement isn't necessary.
Our group cut our adventure-gaming teeth (so to speak) during our old west campaign using Warhammer Historical's Legends of the Old West rules.  Although we had a barrel of fun playing that campaign, we encountered a couple of problems as it developed.  First of all, characters developed a little too quickly.  Therefore, when people in the group weren't playing equal numbers of games, a large gap developed between warband ability levels.  Secondly, it was a little too easy to earn money between games.  So again, those who played the most earned lots of money, and before long, were hiring more new blood for their posses and leaving other members of the group in the dust. Now that I (supposedly) know better, I've come up with some simple ideas to help prevent this from happening during our Gothic Horror campaign.

Longer Experience Track

The first one is the simplest - double the standard increase-level from 5 to 10.  In other words, during our campaign, a character will have to gain twice as much experience to earn a roll on one of the advance tables. It still allows for character advancement, but it really gives players something to aim for.  During an average successful game, one character model might count on earning one experience for surviving and another for KO-ing an enemy character for a total of 2 xp earned.  At that rate, a character could expect an advance every five games.  Those characters that excel during the battle would, of course, advance more rapidly.

Base all income on MIND

As an Adventurous Scholar, Ms. Poundwood would be very 
valuable to the warband during the post-battle phase, even 
when the scenario at hand doesn't allow her to use her 
scholarly skills to their full advantage.
The standard rules allow the player to use each character model's highest attribute as a basis for earnings.    So, a human monster hunter with a STRENGTH of 4 could roll 4 dice during the post-battle resource phase, with each goal earning 2 GBP.  Then I got to thinking, why not have all character models in the game us their MIND attribute instead.  The most obvious effect of this method is that most warbands will earn a little less, which is a good thing.  I think that, on average, a warband should have to work hard and save their pennies in order to hire new members.  Furthermore, this method has the added advantage of making scholarly types very valuable, even in scenarios where their special skills aren't so important.  So for example, in a Battle in the Wilderness scenario (which is pretty much a slugfest, with no objectives to find or puzzles to solve), Prof. Richard Alcock still serves a purpose; namely, to stay standing so that he can earn a tidy sum for the warband.

Destiny Points

This idea is the one I like the best.  I'm thinking of developing a system whereby players can take their earnings as cash (for hiring new members and buying equipment) or as Destiny Points (which I'll call DP from here on in).  The concept hasn't been tested yet, but I'm thinking something like trade-in 5 GBP for 1 DP (Or maybe more?)  Whereas Fate Points are designed to help individual character models curb events to their favour, Destiny Points would allow the player to do the same for the warband as a whole.  Here are a few samples off the top of my head:

Spend 1 DP = Re-roll the Special Event for the next scenario

Spend 2 DP = Choose the Special Event for the next scenario

Spend 2 DP = Re-deploy one model after all deployment is finished.

Spend 5 DP = Re-roll an Injury Table result for one model (even death)

I'm thinking that for those that take place during play (i.e. the first three), a player would announce his intentions (i.e. "I'm spending 2 DP to choose the Special Event this scenario") and his opponent would have the opportunity to spend the same amount to counter  (i.e. cancel) the effect.  For example, as a werewolf player, I might notice that there are three possible Special Events for the scenario we are about to play; Rare Book, Ghostly Voices, and Stygian Darkness.  I might decide to spend 2 DP so that I could choose Stygian Darkness rather than risking either of the other two from coming up.  Or perhaps a human player, if Stygian Darkness was rolled, might spend 1 DP to re-roll, hoping for an event that doesn't hamper his long-range shooters so badly.

All of these ideas may be morphed and changed as we experiment, or might be discarded entirely.  Whichever way things develop, we will certainly come up with a way to make the post-battle sequence enticing, rewarding, and subtle enough support a long and balanced campaign.

Thanks for reading,


CWT said...


I've never considered skirmish or adventure wargaming before, but your excellent photographs and enthusiastic discussion on the possibilities has proved quite inspiring. Thanks for the posts, and keep up the good work!


JET (aka Jason) said...

Hi Craig,

No need to thank for the posts. I enjoy turning our games into stories almost as much as I enjoy playing them. And really, I can't say enough good about Chaos In Carpathia (and Chaos In Cairo). Round up a couple of friends, get a copy of the rules, and give them a try.

Brendan Mayhugh said...

I've noticed that some games allow for rampant character increases which is great if as you said everyone plays the same number of games (All people want to see their bands improve).

Some of GW games were really bad at this. After a couple of weeks into the game, we had people that had 150 to 200% the point cost of some warbands. Not a fun league...

Good luck and keep us posted...