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Old 04-27-2022, 02:50 PM   #1
Spencer
 
Join Date: Apr 2022
Default World-Building, Campaigns, and Scenarios

I like running a game that has a world framing it. It makes campaigns easier to organize for me, which likewise makes finding the best scenarios for game sessions easier.
Car Wars wasn't exactly built for this, originally. During the Pocketbox Era, Car Wars was more of a tabletop board game that happened to have flexible tokens and a flexible board. A lot of supplemental material was crated and sold simply because some players wanted more than just a 6-way arena fight (not that there's anything wrong with a good, old-fashioned arena bash).
What kind of game do you like to play/run? Do you like campaigns and running characters, or do you prefer Bullet Bob versus Roy the Ram on a deserted stretch of highway, with nothing more complex than "the survivor gets the salvage, see you next week with your new vehicle designs"?
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Old 04-28-2022, 05:52 AM   #2
swordtart
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Default Re: World-Building, Campaigns, and Scenarios

I prefer campaign games, gritty realism (as far as you can with cars with guns on), long running characters.

I based my game out of Florida (I am UK based, but CW doesn't really fit with the British driving experience), I often use google street map to generate realistic road environments for the combats and real world information to flesh out the campaign (tweaked to reflect the recovering post apocalyptic vibe). This is both educational and allows underlying consistency and credibility without having to put too much work into the foundations.

Different states have slightly different flavours, some are more cyberpunk, some mad-max and a very few atomic-horror. This influences the commonly encountered technology. Florida for example has a higher density of gas/alcohol vehicles than other areas. The RASG books are used, and the one that is missing (desert west) is where the mad-max and atomic horror are based since we can go completely off-piste without contradicting any published material.

I usually short-cut NPCs and use TV or Film characters transplanted outside their genre and sometimes species swapped (if SF was the donor) and gender swapped to mask who they are. This often allows me instinctively to know how they would react to a specific situation and they often come with an extensive back-story. Only one player has twigged for a single group of NPCs the other seem unware of who their alter-egos are. This is probably because I was a bit lazier than I would normally be and chose very similar names. For other groups I have started using a combination of characters first name and actors second name to help obscure them without making it hard to remember who is who.

90% of the campaign happens in my head, 5% makes into documentation and 5% is actually encountered by the players. This may seem wasteful, but it means that if the characters ever deviate from the main plot, I know all about where they randomly take me without having to stop the session and go and work it all out.

It also means everyone has a plausible motivation and thus clever players can work out what is going on without masses of exposition. As soon as I ask who are these bandits, I know what they are trying to achieve, how far they are willing to go and what tactics will be successful against them. Some will negotiate, some will accept surrender, others will fight to the death.

Players also now know that the Florida Juicers are lazy and just trying to make a living stealing small quantities of fruit from the local growers, the Mulberry Dregs are struggling to survive and will fight to the death as they have little to lose (contaminated water means they die young anyway), the Ft Meade Militia is trying to undermine the authority of the Arcadia local government but will try to avoid harming civilians (and even allow you to walk away from your wreck with whatever you can carry) and that Sazz's Gals are a wholly mercenary band who service corporate warfare and judge every combat decision on it's profitability and are quite happy to take a bribe and honour surrenders.

Now of course we have the Balloonatics based out of Bradenton ruins who are a fast moving wrecker gang that have been cutting out large vehicles on the I75 night convoys. When the contract recovery crews show up a few hours later, entire vehicles have been inexplicably spirited away.

Brandon truckstop already has a large complement of transport choppers and they can recover (at a price) even a rig that has come to grief West of the south county line road. South of Ft. Meade on the I17 the Triangle salvage company also has a heavy lift chopper that will recover most vehicles back to Zolpho Springs where, if not claimed within 1 month with proof of ownership or other approved authority, it will be sold for salvage.

Last edited by swordtart; 04-28-2022 at 05:56 AM.
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Old 04-28-2022, 06:44 AM   #3
Spencer
 
Join Date: Apr 2022
Default Re: World-Building, Campaigns, and Scenarios

How do you plan for emergency response? I use a formula set to determine police presence, fire and rescue resources, and ambulance response. I find it a nice tool for prompting players not to linger too long somewhere, since police in my world respond to duelling incidents that are called in and citizens normally don't like it when their property is damaged by a running fight, especially in town. I also assume that truckers would call the cops if a gang hits them, and that response times and units will vary.
This formula set includes a few lines to determine 1. how many National Guard and active duty military personnel are present, 2. what kind of assets they have, 3. where the armories are located, and 4. when they are called up by the governor to quell general unrest, i.e. a major attack on a trade route.
This also provides a way to keep the size of criminal elements down, as a gang of 50+ cycles and trikes will attract a lot of attention rolling out together.
I also assume that the average citizens are not interested in constant road duels and will respond based on their desire to live peacefully, insofar as they can in a dystopian future.
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"Bob knew that he was in trouble the instant that he lined up the sidecar rig in his sights and heard a 'click' when he pulled the trigger. Based on the sized of the dust cloud following that sidecar rig, it was big trouble, too."
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Old 04-28-2022, 10:08 AM   #4
swordtart
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Default Re: World-Building, Campaigns, and Scenarios

Each settlement has a few stats (culled from another RPG originally - can't recall what and later uplifted as things occurred to me). One of these determines the likely hood of response. This is down modified by a multiple of the patrol range of the settlement, and often the road type (highways usually being the highest priority, through state roads and down to county roads etc.) Thus an attack on a highway is more likely to get a response than if you got into trouble on back roads (but a backroad a mile away will probably get priority over a state road 25 miles away)

Within patrol range it might be 7+ on 2d6 for a settlement that is well policed. At range x2 it increases to 8+ and each range band out from that until there is no chance of a response. The range band is set based on the cruising speed of the patrol vehicle.

For example - Brandon with its Helo force has a range band of 10 miles but Homeland militia infantry, whilst very well equipped, has a range band of only 1/4 mile as it doesn't like sending out foot patrols too far, it has a few off-road cars and they have a range band of 2 miles. Brandon is only really interested in protecting its supply routes and so for anything other than a state road it takes a -2 on it's response roll, trucks get a +1. The exception is attack by dregs, as they are poorly equipped Brandon often sends in some air cavalry on a turkey hunt (+4 to chance of response) and is fairly indiscriminate who it kills (so it seldom has to do it more than once). Homeland on the other hand takes a +1 vs bike gangs and a +2 if the attack is called in by a lone vehicle or someone they know. They don't care where the attack happens (they will be in the scrub anyway) so there is no modifier for the road type.

The level of response will be proportional to the level of threat (if the patrol base doesn't have the resources to send a proportionate response they simply won't go) and the response time is calculated by distance from the nearest patrol base at the patrols cruising speed. Patrol bases are often checkpoints on the bridging points within the patrol range of the settlement, but for Brandon it is the Helo base. Brandon also has ground cars and the have their own priorities that affect how they respond.

It sounds more complicated than it actually is. Its basically add a few numbers together and roll a dice - just like combat. Usually the "police" will be first responders and only when the area is secure will other emergency teams attend. Police therefore are usually trained and equipped as first responders (paramedic, fire fighting and combat- often as specialised team members).

Of course the plot may require or enable exceptions. For example one of the characters took on the job of delivering a mail package to an out of the way location. The players didn't know it but that meant they became a priority for help from Homeland (+2) as the Post Master there was very serious about US mail carriers being impeded in their duty. The designation of mail carrier was worth infinitely more than the $20 they were paid to perform the delivery had they only known.

In addition my first responders differentiate between rescue and recovery. In a rescue they will risk their lives, in a recovery they will not. They have clear guidelines that if they won't get to an incident before it is all over it will be a recovery operation and they will take the time to go fully prepared and with escorts (and allow the instigators to get away if necessary to protect their own crews). In CW, combats are finished in under a minute so almost all incidents are recovery unless there is a long stern chase happening and the responders are converging.

Last edited by swordtart; 04-28-2022 at 10:14 AM.
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Old 04-28-2022, 11:42 AM   #5
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Default Re: World-Building, Campaigns, and Scenarios

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spencer View Post
What kind of game do you like to play/run?
Bit of both -- random arena smashes are nice, but get a little monotonous after a while; and when I started, I didn't have that many friends (at all), hence the solitaire TS campaign which had the used-car business, the small hospital, the police station (including Wagon versions of the Ambunought and Police Car), the cargo-hauling service (including airlift :) ), and so forth.

Later, I ended up in NOVA's campaign, where they learned in the worst of ways: The only comic books *I* read as a kid were the old EC imprints -- _Tales from the Crypt_, _Vault of Horror_, _Haunt of Fear_.... (They're still looking for some of the characters *I* made vanish. >:) ) I don't do the Four-Color-Ethos.

The general attitude for my campaign is: If there's any humor, it's usually _JAWS_-style gallows-humor -- "He didn't eat a car, did he!?", and such-like. That said: The idea is for the PCs to be making the world a better place, rather than wallowing in the Grimdark. It's just going to take a while, and a *lot* of hard work, to make the world a better place.
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Old 04-28-2022, 02:42 PM   #6
Spencer
 
Join Date: Apr 2022
Default Re: World-Building, Campaigns, and Scenarios

Swordtart: seems a good approach. I like to have details hammered out as soon as they occur to me, even if it's something unlikely to happen like a militant merc group lighting a school on fire specifically to draw out emergency services, and then hitting them after they respond...or, for that matter, a running battle between the Brotherhood and a powerful raider gang that gets big enough to draw a National Guard unit in response.
43: Sounds like fun! Wonder if you'd enjoy a campaign centered around a small arena located in a remote area rumored to offer big prizes...but with a reputation of not having a lot of duellists who make it out.
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"Bob knew that he was in trouble the instant that he lined up the sidecar rig in his sights and heard a 'click' when he pulled the trigger. Based on the sized of the dust cloud following that sidecar rig, it was big trouble, too."
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Old 04-29-2022, 10:49 AM   #7
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Default Re: World-Building, Campaigns, and Scenarios

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spencer View Post
43: Sounds like fun! Wonder if you'd enjoy a campaign centered around a small arena located in a remote area rumored to offer big prizes...but with a reputation of not having a lot of duellists who make it out.
I *already have* My Arena -- it's in _Car Wars Arenas_.... >:)
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Old 04-29-2022, 12:23 PM   #8
Spencer
 
Join Date: Apr 2022
Default Re: World-Building, Campaigns, and Scenarios

"Hotel California Autoduel Arena! You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave."
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"Bob knew that he was in trouble the instant that he lined up the sidecar rig in his sights and heard a 'click' when he pulled the trigger. Based on the sized of the dust cloud following that sidecar rig, it was big trouble, too."
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Old 04-29-2022, 01:33 PM   #9
juris
 
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Location: CA
Default Re: World-Building, Campaigns, and Scenarios

Florida - sorry can't suspend disbelief that anything crazy could happen there ;)

We just made up our own series of fortress towns connected by roads of varying quality. Some mountains, some desert, some forest. We had different road sections for different kinds of terrain, and most cities had their own arena. We came up with rules for pay for delivering cargo and passengers. Everyone started in Amateur night. Eventually one player ran a convoy company, the other a biker gang (taking out several big rigs)

Quote:
Originally Posted by swordtart View Post
I prefer campaign games, gritty realism (as far as you can with cars with guns on), long running characters.

I based my game out of Florida (I am UK based, but CW doesn't really fit with the British driving experience), I often use google street map to generate realistic road environments for the combats and real world information to flesh out the campaign (tweaked to reflect the recovering post apocalyptic vibe). This is both educational and allows underlying consistency and credibility without having to put too much work into the foundations.

.
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Old 04-29-2022, 09:58 PM   #10
DarkPumpkin
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Cidri (exact location withheld)
Default Re: World-Building, Campaigns, and Scenarios

I always preferred the approach of treating car wars as a pseudo-RPG and having short campaigns. They usually turn out to be a series of linked encounters and scenarios rather than an epic. Keep it fun, keep it moving and combat-focused but have some continuity and background.
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