View Full Version : What's your campaign style of play?

July 10th, 2021, 17:08
Just curious as to if other GMs are doing a campaign or just running cinematics?

I love the cinematics, but my players were tired of feeling like they were investing time into characters that they'd never see again after they finished a module. So we started up a campaign, and have been playing it regularly for a few months.

I was really hoping the group would want to play a Marine campaign with the release of CMOM, but they wanted to go with Space Truckers. Creating jobs and whatnot to keep em moving hasn't really been an issue. They all love roleplaying more than rolling dice, so they practically build the adventures for me which lessens my load. They tend to go more towards Firefly than Alien with the roleplaying, which isn't a problem. I just try to keep em busy with the evil megacorps. I've also started introducing other film critters into the campaign...last week it was Yautja (predators).

But, since it is campaign play and I want them to enjoy building their characters, I've had to really control my own bloodlust the cinematics provided. As a GM, nothing is funner for me than to watch the panic rolls cascade and things go south, and that's mainly due to the way my players roleplay the mass panic.

So to satiate my love for the combat/panic aspect, I've started running "cutscenes". The group takes a trucking job and I try to figure out a way to involve the xenos, predators, whatever, into the plot. Then I'll create a short cinematic scene, complete with pregens. It tells the story of "What happened before" instead of writing up a preamble/monologue to read to the players. The cutscenes required more work than the actual campaign play since it wasn't built by the actions of the players, but it was worth it. We quickly learned that the group really enjoyed that approach since it gave them an opportunity to act out the "What's the story, Mother?"

Later on down the road, they will have a chance to meet any pregens that lived in the cutscenes. Those can be added to the ship roster. If at any time one of the players wants a break from their character, they can play the new character. They can even spend xp on those characters if they want. And those pregens aren't assigned to a single person, they're playable by anyone in the group. Helps fill any skill/talent gaps that might be needed for a specific mission.

As for xp, with campaign play we learned early on that if we followed the guidelines in the book, everyone was going to be capped out on skills and talents pretty quick. So we did a little modifying to the rules. At the end of the night, they only get a single point for playing, and they can only choose 1 of the questions to answer for xp. Once they choose that question, they can't choose it again until after they finish their current mission. The group also votes for 2 players that they think did the best job at roleplaying for that session, and those 2 players get an extra point of xp. This cut the xp rate from 6-7 points per session, down to 1-3 points per session. We also don't allow xp hoarding. Once you have 10xp, you can't gain any more xp until you spend some. Some people might think those are a little harsh, but it's honestly helped with the long term playability of the characters.

What kind of homebrew rules are you using?

July 11th, 2021, 01:18
I started with a long cinematic centering on a system bordering the UPP(Kapteyn’s Star). A Marshal, her deputy and two roughnecks who join her posse to get out of loading dock duty and the promise of ‘future considerations’, all went out to track down the badguys.

The Marshal had discovered a smuggling operation on her moon, basically I stole the premise from the movie Outland, so she and her deputy, along with a few ‘voluntolds’, go looking and find more than just bad-guys! This opening story culminates in what the characters THINK is a case of human trafficking (the players are pretty sure the bodies they found have ‘busters’ ready to pop…but I can neither confirm nor deny that).

The story bounces back and forth over a couple of sessions between the lawpeeps and a second group, space truckers, that are hauling a ‘very special cargo’ to an undisclosed moon(the very one where the Marshal is). The containers are guarded by several hard hitting types…again, took my inspiration for this from the Abyss, even calling the leader “Coffey”. These are the folks that the Marshal will have to deal with at the end of the first chapter.

Finally, the Marshal called for help and this will result in a team of Colonial Marines being dispatched…remember the Sulaco? The players are Marine characters who are members of the OTHER squads from the USCM 2nd Battalion Bravo Team…the new book will probably make me have to rewrite this part BUT, the old Colonial Marine Tech Manual detailed the size of the units, and the one the Sulaco delivered to LV-426 was half strength. SO, I came up with this story to ‘fill-in’ the rest. I know it’s a stretch but my people dig the idea. This unit of Bravo split off, responding to orders by command to investigate the moon where the Marshal and company are fighting for their lives. This all takes place about a week after contact was lost with LV-426…

For fun I plan on running a quick cinematic with the four FNGs (the characters) during a training exercise, a flashback, with all the Marines from Aliens. I think it will be very memorable and should set up the final part of the story.

For the campaign finale, I plan to use the discarded script for Aliens 3…this group of Marines would be the ones that board the Sulaco after it drifted into UPP space. The saboteurs’/infiltrators will still be on board along with something much more dangerous…

I think it will be epic!

July 11th, 2021, 17:32
Nice! For what it's worth, the new CMOM does have a breakdown of unit sizes.

We were initially going to go with an Outland scenario for a kickoff to the campaign, but then they created completely new characters when they realized they could have a ship.

I'm letting my players decide what kind of jobs they want to pick up with their truckers, and then I build the adventure around it. I have scenarios that I'll use depending on what kind of mission they pick. I bounce ideas off the group leader in private, and he gives me ideas on what he thinks the group would like as well as okaying some of his crazier ideas (Monday night's session should be amazing fun).

I also like to let reintroduce things from the cinematic modules that they've played. For instance, right now they're doing a salvage/delivery job for a WY agent. The agent wanted to recover some data from a crashed WY shuttle on Tanaka 5. I used the shuttle from Hadley's Hope and the only 2 survivors from when we played the module...Sigg and Holroyd. Sigg's been marooned on the planet for a decade. An ovamorph from the shuttle infected the scorpions (stole the xenoscorp idea from the comics). We used a cinematic cutscene to tell that part of the story (marines rescuing Sigg, small colony getting overran by xenos). They're almost finished with their mission, so I can't say too much since some of them read the forums.

When we played through DOW, they were trying to escort a bunch of refugees off. The refugees scattered once the xenos came out inside Ft Nebraska. Group leader suggested having the trucker group running a rescue mission for the refugees that were left behind.

I plan on running em through a haunted derelict at some point, an AVP pyramid, an army of malfunctioning working Joes, "zombies", unknowingly helping the J'Har, possibly saving the monks on Arceon, etc. And all of it leads back to WY. Just a wealth of material out there to source from, so it's easy to keep a long term trucker campaign going. It also helps that they get so involved with the RP aspect that they drag the missions out longer than I ever imagined possible. Think we're already on week 7 or 8 of their current mission lol.

July 13th, 2021, 15:07
On Alien Mobius (https://www.alienmobius.com/main) there's a described campaign being written where both styles are used in one story-arc. The Campaign deals with character advancement, ect - and the cinematic adventures fill in gaps of player knowledge; lore; or simply fun scenarios cursory to the PC's plot.

I hadn't thought of running anything in this style, but now I think it's a really strong way to bring the Alien RPG out. So far though, I've only ran Cinematic adventures, but I know most groups I've ran for would eventually want characters that were 'theirs'.