Friday, January 2, 2009

Trigger Discipline: 5 Campaign Ideas

As mentioned in the last post, I'm hoping to run an online playtest for Trigger Discipline. Here are the different campaign ideas I'm mulling over; as I intend to see how the system handles attempts to pursue a serious plot, the premises won't be quite as wacky as they could be.

Idea #1: Millenium Hand and Shrimp
Say that two years back you were a cyberpunk spec ops team, like in Deus Ex or Ghost in the Shell- but intended espionage and foreign black ops rather than public security. Facilities that officially don't exist, experimental tech that won't be out for years, so highly classified that you operate autonomously from the main body of the government. It's that last bit which gave you the chance to realize that something bad was going on.

Something was happening to the government, a highly covert and fast-acting operation that seemed to involve mind hacks and duplicate replacement- those were your early theories, but the more evidence you acquired the more things defied rational explanation. Then the smaller limbs of the government that couldn't get taken over started getting taken out. When contact broadcast a live video feed of he and his team getting torn apart by three men who shrugged off bullets as their arms transformed into organic-looking bladed limbs, you decided to get the hell out. Forget civilian cover identities- in the modern day the only way to be off the grid is a full removal from society.

And THAT is why you're all hobos who are secretly cyborg black op agents.

If nothing else, at least there's no hassle when you mutter to each other about government conspiracies all day. Some of your equipment is offline or only has the juice left for a few more uses; the rest you maintain through black-market deals with criminal elements and junkheap scavengers, plus the occasional heist; sometimes you kill terrorists and take their stuff. Other times you give them your number; after all, your main objective is still to take down the Conspiracy, and while you can't trust anyone you'll need all the help you can get just to figure out whether or not you're dealing with something human.

Idea #2: Warlock Highschool
The "school fighting" genre has some interesting hallmarks, such as delinquent protagonists vs. Lawful Jackass authority figures and the involvement of curiously big-league organizations like corporations and yakuza. So what if you took that genre and set it in a wizard's academy- Hogwarts if it was an underfunded public school in a bad part of town?

Martial arts would be replaced with magic, though brawling is hardly out of the question. Pick a fight with a fourth-year, then interrupt his advanced-level bowel-shriveling spell with a flying tackle; it's all good. You can side with a house/gang/faction and battle rivals for supremacy, or try and chart your own road.

Idea #3: Super Kaiju Defense Girls
It starts with a fairly simple premise: when Godzilla and company attack, the military's best hope is a defense force of test-tube children infused with DNA from different monsters. The teenage protagonists, all female (because of science), are seven-foot tall superhumans who can leap twenty stories in the air and punch a monster hard enough to send them crashing into a building and make it collapse. Characters can fight with things like handheld missile batteries, eight-foot swords made from experimental alloys, and their own inborn monster powers.

For those of you who know your anime, a friend describes this concept as a cross between Godzilla, Blood+ and Tokyo Mew Mew. I don't want to give much away as to how the story would develop, but the underlying theme is a blend of elements from the sentai, magic girl, and "our monster who fights the other monsters" concepts.

Idea #4: Colossus Masters
This war-torn fantasy setting used to be a fairly low-key medieval fairytale realm. Then people started to realize that a certain kind of magic- Kinesis, focusing the mind to move objects as extensions of your own body- had potential far beyond just oversized gauntlets. Make a man-shaped objects with a few joints and a hole for the user and the sky's the limit. You have colossi made of metal, living trees that plant themselves between battles, even experimental "elemental" models that can compact into a pond/rockslide/bonfire when not in use (Air Colossi were scrapped after the prototypes kept getting lost).

Players can fight in this war-ravaged land for a cause, a side, or just large amounts of gold. The starting circumstances are fairly open-ended, since the story is a flexible one.

Idea #5: Bugging Out

This one would be straight sci-fi, on the more realistic side of the mecha genre. The setting is a mining colony that's had a few centuries to grow into a profitable settlement. Conditions on the surface are venus-like, too harsh to support life; but underground there are now several cities as well as underground tunnels to connect most larger outposts. Mining and a variety of other tasks are performed with the aid of sealed powered exoskeletons.

The game start with a previously unheard-of phenomenon for the planet: Seismic activity, in the form of a large earthquake. In its wake, players find a host of Starship Troopers-style monsters crawling up out of the depths. The closest thing to a combat mech on this planet is a law enforcement model designed for riot suppression, so the players (largely blue collar mechanic types) will have to modify and outfit their vehicles with weapons improvised from power tools and so on. That, or just get good at smashing bugs to a pulp with their bare hands.

Known Art Credits: Warlock Highschool's attached art is from Paizo Publishing's Pathfinder line, I'm not sure which artist. The colossus (Idea #4) is by Noxypia.

1 comment:

Clarence_Mage said...

What, no stereotypical "A group of plucky individuals in a base in the middle of the desert with super robots fight against raiders and those who stand against love and justice"? I'm shattered.

Colossus masters does seem rather interesting if it were to have a rather rich setting; which shouldn't prove very difficult to muster.