Thursday, October 14, 2010

How to create a swashbuckling campaign in no time at all

This is one post players in my present 7th Sea game might want to avoid. I don't say that because I'm going to spoil any important parts of the plot, but because I will come across as disorganized and confused.

Many bloggers have posted about how to set up "sandbox" campaigns. Personally I'm not yet a convert to that style, so I will post something different. I'm not sure what can be learnt from my experiences, but if my suggestions are not good advice I at least hope some of it might be amusing.

So. This time I had gotten a request for a game of pirates and swashbuckling. I own 7th Sea, so I suggested that. Now it was time to think of some way to start it off. Since the theme didn't fit very well with meeting in a tavern to go off and fight monsters I decided to start everything on a ship.

Now what?

Swashbuckling means a merry chase round and round and breathtaking escapes and chases, right? Ok. Then I'll start with a fight, and let them get hold of a treasure map. Either they grab it from the villain when winning the fight, or they get hold of it because he drops it. Yeah, I know. But, I figured it kind of fit the style of story. Then they might go off and try to find the treasure and I can have someone mysteriously trying to stop them, or if the go ashore to find out more I can have people chasing them and trying to get the map back.

As you might note I had no master plan. I kind of figured they would meet the villain whose map they had gotten in the end at the treasure site, but that was it.

So what you need for a campaign are three things

1. a location that reinforce the theme, a ship.
2. a villain
3. a MacGuffin, the map and the treasure

Then it might help to have a few outs for the likely roads taken, like "Somebody chasing them if they go to A and somebody chasing them if they go to B."

After this I had no idea. I did buy a pile of adventures for Flashing Blades when they were on sale at DrivethruRPG, so I figured I could somehow contrive to place them in front of the players if they went off in unexpected directions.

Now we have just began to entangle us in a few of those adventures and I have introduced a whole crowd of conspiracies and secret societies. I have a strong suspicion it will become more and more twisted, and considering I have no idea how it fits together I wonder what will happen?

What amazes me most of all is that they still haven't tried to get hold of that treasure from the map.
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