Making a Compelling Campaign

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You've got a GM and players. You're relatively comfortable with the basic mechanics, and you are ready to play Charge.


Now comes the important question that will affect everyone for the weeks/months to come: what should the story be about, and how should it be played out?

In the next chapter, we will go over how to find a good setting to play in, how to organize the campaign, and how to play it out.

These are merely suggestions and can be taken with a pinch of salt.

Whether this is your first rodeo or not, we think those are good starting points to enjoy a good campaign in general.

This exercise should be done as a group, though some steps could be done solely by the GM, depending on what kind of game you want to have.

So first, you need to pick a setting.

Finding a Setting

Charge is a generic game, so it doesn't come with a default world for you to play in. That means that we leave you the pleasure of talking with the rest of your group to find a setting that makes everyone at the table excited.

A good way to start the conversation is by asking the group to talk about their favourite media, e.g. books, video games, movies, TV shows, etc. If they can't think of anything, ask them what they watched/read/played recently.

For every media that is brought up, try to discuss what made it interesting. Was it the setting, the characters, the magic, the politics?

From there, take a piece of paper and list everything that is discussed. You might start to see a trend, like a specific genre that seems to interest most of the group.

Once people at the table run out of ideas, you can go over the list of all the suggestions and see if everyone can align on a specific existing setting.

Establish the World

When the group is aligned on which setting they want to play in, it is important to do a quick refresher on the facts of this setting.

This is how we establish the world.

To do so, look at what makes this world unique and fire off questions around the table to make sure everyone is aligned on the answers.

If there's magic in the world: who can do it? what do you need to do it? what are the limitations? ...etc. If you are in space: which galaxy are you in? are most planets terraformed? ...etc.

Not everything needs to be factualized. Otherwise, you would end up talking about lots of finicky little details for hours. This isn't the goal.

What isn't covered here will be covered later during a game session. The goal is mostly to get a general understanding of what is accessible and possible.

This exercise could prove to be a little bit more work if the group decided to make a brand new setting that isn't directly taken from existing media, but it can be very rewarding nonetheless.

Add Trouble to the World

So, we now have all the main ingredients to make a great campaign, but we are missing one crucial thing: the spices.

We need to add some trouble in our world so that the campaign evolves interestingly overtime. Whether the player characters interact with those events is another subject, but what we want to do is make the world feel real.

This can be done as a group, but could also be done by the GM alone.

It really depends on what type of game you want to play. Do you want everything about the story to be transparent to everyone, or do you prefer that the GM think of these things on their side and keep some surprises for the group?

Your table, your call.

So, to make the world feel real, we define 1-3 World Forces.

A Force is something or someone with goals looking to change the status quo in significant and narratively interesting ways.

We are using the term Force here instead of enemy, foe, or big bad, because a force isn't necessarily a person.

That's why you shouldn't always think of a force as something that will go toe-to-toe against the PCs.

It is entirely up to the PCs how they want to interact with the World Forces. The group could be opposed to some, allied with others, and neutral about the rest.

A Force could be a Person, but it could also be an Organization, a Country, a Planet, Mother Nature, or the Space-Time Continuum!

Once you have found one or two interesting World Forces, you need to think about their Goal.

Their goal defines the impact the force will have on the world. A goal isn't necessarily good or bad— it is merely what the force wants to accomplish. It can also be considered as "good" by the Force itself, but others might have different view on the subject.

A Goal could be to take back the throne, protect the galaxy from thieves and thugs, or to open a portal that connects to another world.

Now that we have a Force, and that force has a Goal, let's find out how they interact with the world to achieve said goal. We do this by defining their Methods.

A Force's Methods represents what they do to get closer to their goal. Each Force has around 2-3 Methods.

Methods could be things like trying to recruit people in an army, trying to corrupt government officials, or increasing the military surveillance over a certain artifact.

You can repeat this exercise as many times as you want depending on how many starting forces you want to have in your world.

Each Force will then live inside your world, and as the players interact with the world, the forces do too.

As time advances, they will act with their Methods, which will get them closer or further away from their Goals.

Force Example

The Rebel Forces want to get rid of the usurper that sits on the throne by:

  • Finding dirt on the government to expose corruption.
  • Convincing the real king to take back what is theirs.
  • Finding money to hire mercenaries to fight an eventual war.

Define the Group as a Force

Now that we've added more life into our world, we can determine what the group is all about.

Doing this is pretty straightforward. Simply do the exact same exercise we did above, but now the Force we are creating represents the group of player characters.

To define the group as a Force, all the players need to align on what they are about. To do this, they should look back at the World Forces and decide how they feel about them. Are they aligned, neutral, or against the different Goals of those Forces?

That's why we defined the World Forces before the Player Force.

Once the players have a general idea of what their group is about, write a Force, a Goal, and 2-3 Methods that represent them.

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