We’re entering the final stages of layout for The Day After Ragnarok: Fate Core Edition, and it’s time for yet another preview! Today we offer a look at one of the campaign frameworks available for adventuring in the world after Serpentfall.
Servants of the Crown
The central question you need to answer for your Day After Ragnarok campaign is:
The world as you know it has ended. What do you do?
This campaign answers the central question with: “Go back to the War.”
If the heroes start (or start out) consistently taking one side or helping one employer—MI5, Free China, or the great State of Texas—then the campaign is a “mission-driven” campaign. Someone gives the heroes orders, suggestions, or a good hard shove in the back; they then go in the indicated direction and do damage to the enemies of their patrons. It’s most likely that the “someone” is, at one or another remove, an agency of the British Empire: the SIS, the Royal Navy, MI5, Rhodes University, and so forth. The heroes might be contract employees of a deniable sort, or fully enlisted fighting men; they might be SAS, RRAF, or even Easy Company or the Fightin’ Roughnecks.
This sort of structure also works if the heroes are Texas Rangers, Foreign Legionnaires, U.S. Marine Raiders, a mercenary company in the Midwest or South America, or members of any other military/paramilitary outfit. Similarly, the SIS version of the campaign applies (with a few fillips) to the American ONI or OSS, some other mostly-secret service, or even to geological prospectors and troubleshooters for Royal Dutch-Shell Oil! The heroes’ employer might be on the up-and-up, or the campaign might be a long story arc of betrayal… and revenge!
What you need to bring to a “Servants of the Crown” campaign is a good variety of missions, an interesting cast of “headquarters types” (think M, Moneypenny, and Q from the Bond movies), and a few nice recurring villains. The headquarters should be an important location in the game: feel free to give it its own issues and change them over time as the PCs advance (or fail to) the goals of their patron.
The keys to this sort of campaign are structure and predictability; make those its strengths, not its weaknesses.
- Current Issue: The War Continues. The Serpentfall may have changed most everything, but it did not change the pull of patriotism on the human heart. The War has not ended, but merely changed shape. Use this aspect to push antagonism between factions in the world, and to justify the demands of the PCs’ patron on their time and resources.
- Impending Issue: A Siege Unending. The PCs’ patron is under attack. Its adversaries come from before and after Serpentfall. Use this aspect to represent whatever threat is most worthy of the patron’s attention, and bring their influence in at dramatically appropriate times. Can the PCs protect their patron from the ravages of this new world?
- Typical Heroes: Soldiers, secret agents, sailors, aviators, grease monkeys, scientists, rocketeers, detectives, holy warriors, assassins, oilmen, chaplains, mercenaries, diplomats, lawmen, speleo-herpetologists, Texas Rangers, Mounties, Rhodes Scholars, archaeologists, mentalists, professors.
- Well-Suited Locations: The borders of the British Empire, Kansas and Arkansas, the Philippines, the Congo, the Mayoralties, the Oil States, behind the Serpent Curtain, enemy territory however defined.
- Likely Settings: Enemy airbases, hidden fortresses, illicit laboratories, the edge of space, a good spot for an ambush, island battle-stations, the belly of the beast, storm-wracked battlefields, huge gun emplacements, radar stations, bandit camps, Serpent cult compounds.
- Probable Opponents: The NKVD and Commies in general, the Kempeitai and the Japanese military in general, the Grand Kounty of Birmingham, goons and cannon fodder, strategic geniuses, “the player on the other side,” Serpent cults, a bald man with a scar and a monocle, bandit chiefs, warlords, rogue ophiurgists, rebels, fugitive Nazis, jerks and traitors on your own side, mad scientists, man-apes, demons, Djehuti-Yamun.
- Welcome Rewards: Promotion, access to cutting-edge black ophi-tech, battlefield honors, saving lives (your comrades or innocent civilians), “all found,” hazard pay, not getting shipped back to Robben Island, another dose of the experimental drug you need to keep your powers under control, bigger guns.