Campaign of the Month: December 2013
Fate: Warhammer 40,000
1. Each player and GM rolls (or selects traits) up 1-2 systems using the Planetary Classification Tables.
2. Designate a system or two as the primary stage for the campaign.
3. A subsector full of strife: For each system, define a theme or threat. Define 1-3 for the primary stage.
4. Someone has a stake in things: For each threat or theme, define a faction. These are representative of the primary movers in the system. Who is invested in the status quo? Who wants to rock the boat?
4. Focus on the primary stage. Define several important or cinematic locations. These may be landmarks, cornerstone facilities, scenic locations, or neighborhoods representative of the people on the planet.
5. Add some colour to these locations by defining some threats and themes for them.
6. Populate the world with additional faces, relating to the established themes, threats, factions, and locations.
7. Convert your threats and themes into aspects.
Themes and Threats
Themes are problems that have been around for a long time, long enough that people almost take them for granted. Threats, on the other hand, are problems new to the location — sometimes so new that hardly anyone knows about them.
- Some themes are general, things everyone talks about (even if not everyone is directly affected). A system known for corrupt politicians might have a theme like “If he’s a politician, he’s tied up with the mob.”
- Some themes are more specific to a group in the system. A system with particularly obnoxious nobility might have “If His Highness wants it, he gets it.”
- Some themes are about cautionary tales people tell each other. Imagine a death world with “If eyes watch you in the night, don’t stare back.”
There are two general types of locations: neighborhoods and points of interest. Neighborhoods are where people live or work, and points of interest are where people go to do or experience something specific. When coming up with these locations, here are some bits of advice to keep in mind:
- Pick locations that seem to have their own story or character. People might talk about the seedy happenings down at the Underhive, making that a prime location.
- Pick locations that have a little action or conflict built in, so that something’s always going on even when the PCs aren’t there.
- Pick locations that tie in with the planet’s themes and threats. Not all of them need a direct link, but most of them should have an arguable connection to at least one.
- Pick locations emblematic of the factions and organizations you enumerated in the previous section.
In some cases, there might be a concept for your planet that needs representation—it’s probable that such a concept was called out in your city sketch. A conceptual location may represent the planet’s trade guild or noble court, for example.
Faces should have a high concept, and a motivation. A high concept is an aspect that defines the rough idea of who that person is. The face’s motivation should be a goal that they aspire toward but cannot currently accomplish. This goal may be well known to the public, or it may be a secret motive different from their public agenda. Establish the connections between the faces, themes, threats and locations. Try to connect each face with a number of different ideas, and find ties between them as they well may have had previous run-ins with each other.
This guide is based on the sector generation rules in Diaspora and the city generation rules in Dresden Files .