Wednesday, May 10, 2017

My Life as a Gamer: The Idea as Framework

Following my post on Monday, here's one way to make use of that idea.

What you do with this is use the idea as a campaign--indeed, a meta-campaign--framework. You have the Lensman stand in as the Big Good, and the Big Bad be the antithesis of Civilization as Boskone was formerly. At this level, the campaign is a galaxy-wide proxy war--not Chess, but rather Go--run through agents and cutouts. It's The Great Game IN SPACE!

The galaxy is big, so using this idea as a campaign structure necessitates a fast-paced Space Opera game, and while that's good fun in its own right the real riches come from using this as a meta-frame. That's right, a framework for campaign frameworks.

Genre is not immediately relevant. (Remember, I got this idea after diving into a genre mashup game; this should be expected.) The thing to remember is that every campaign within the meta-framework is a point in the Civilization vs. Empire conflict, and yes that does include your I Can't Believe It's Not Cthulhu stories with cosmic horror and such. (Why? Because "Civilization" is Order under Natural Law, and Empire is Chaos under Arbitrary Whim, with the latter always seeking to impose asymmetrical conditions via information (and thus perception) manipulation).)

Neither does the ruleset, not right away. Hell, not for some time. Early on, each campaign will be separate and distinct. The connecting elements will be the top-level ones; the Lensman and his enemy counterpart will have direct contact with the local boss (literal or otherwise) for their cause as they seek out, recruit (literally or otherwise), and develop local assets for their network. If the (meta-)framework is The Great Game, then a specific campaign is how a local situation becomes a turn in the Great Game; the outcome of that campaign influences the Game going forward, thus influencing the overall situation.

And that is why this is a campaign framework; each play instance has consequences on future play instances, leading to an endgame state where one side or the other cannot recover and either quits or gets destroyed. Given that this is a Lensman-inspired campaign framework, quitting isn't a viable option outside of some outlier scenarios.

(Aside: This is hardly an original thought of mine. One of the ambitious failures of tabletop RPGs built an entire product line around this meta-framework example: Aria: Canticle of the Monomyth. Yes, using Joseph Campbell as inspiration.)

I'll get into some sample executions of the concept in a later post.

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