Friday, September 12, 2014

Assembly Required: Development Step Six - Campaign Goals

And we're back, today I'm going to talk about campaign goals, what they are, how I define them, and how they can steer the narrative of any campaign by merely being written down. First, it's probably best to decide the primary goal of the campaign, this is likely to be just one, but more are possible. In fact, you may have already answered this question when you decided on your campaign foundation. Once you've figured out what you primary goal is move onto your secondary goals. These often include specific problems that one or more of your players have to deal with. Finally, the tertiary goals. These are usually specific to one player and are often a driving aspect of the character's back-story or narrative. Keep in mind that just because they pertain to only one person they are no less important! Once you've got your campaign goals listed think about what they really mean, what they can mean, and in what way they could be expanded. Keep in mind that sometimes your goals can change between now and actually running the campaign (or rarely, sometimes in it). This is okay! A campaign is a organic thing, it grows in the way it wants and those ways might not necessarily be the ways you expected. Sometimes when combining multiple ingredients you get unexpected combinations that turn out to be better than the base materials. Again, this is good. So if I haven't mentioned it before you should probably keep all these musings in a single file or in a physical notebook. I love using Evernote myself - that software is just too damn useful to writers and gamers alike.If you don't have a copy, go grab one, it's free and works across multiple platforms.
This will be the last of the Assembly Requires posts until I can decide if it's popular enough to continue (which it seems to be) - if you like it and want to see more plus share it, +1 it, and so on.

The Worked Example: Something, Something Kill Monsters Urban Fantasy Secret Magic
Using the above guidelines I get the following:

Campaign Foundation Statement:
"A group of characters who know/don't know about the supernatural world come to grips with it in their home city and get involved in the power plays between multiple races of paranormal beings."

Primary Campaign Goal:
  • Create a believable environment for the players to interact with (reoccurring people, places, or things).

Secondary Campaign Goals:
  • Prevent the campaign's main villain from summoning her master (a demon) to earth.
  • Survive the onslaught of the main villain as she allies herself with other forces to try and take over Seattle.

Tertiary Campaign Goals:
  • Troythulu's character will explore the other world and become familiar with it.
  • C.J.'s character will try to figure out who's targeting his family and stop them.
  • C.'s character will try to atone for his crimes through his wife's actions and become a teacher to the others.
  • L.A.'s character will find out that the main villain was in fact her (evil) step-mother and do her best to teach Troythulu's character the ins and outs of the other side

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