Frequently asked questions
- Can you describe the base elements, i.e. the “aces and spades” of the campaign system?
- Why would I pick one campaign, over another?
- Why would I pick a more difficult campaign? Or a longer one?
- Can you describe the victory condition rules for a given campaign?
- Ok, so I get the goal. but how do we earn victory points?
- Can you give me an example of this, in action?
- Why did you design the bloodstone ruleset?
- Will there be other campaign types?
Can you describe the base elements, i.e. the “aces and spades” of the campaign system?
First, let’s start with the MAP. Each Campaign takes place on a self-contained, seamless World. The map is generated procedurally. Think of the map the same way you think of a world map at the beginning of a game of Civilization – unique, unknown and filled with features of strategic importance.
Additionally, remember that these worlds are dynamic; players can BUILD and DESTROY features ON, and the features OF, the Worlds themselves. Find an old castle ruins, clear it out, and rebuild it into a fortress. Gather stone and build a stronghold at the mouth of a river. Collapse a mine to deny someone the production of Iron. Drop a forge to garrison your army, then build a wall around it to defend it from attackers.
POINTS of INTEREST are the resources of strategic importance, which are scattered all over the map. Some of these have direct game impart (like a Quarry that produces Stone, which you need to build structures), others have indirect influence (like a giant lake or a mountain range that hinders travel.)
The TEAM RULES determine how the players are divided up, on entry to the game. Faction based Campaigns divide players into three group (Order, Balance and Chaos). God-War based Campaigns divide players up into 12 teams, one for each of the Elder Gods. Guild-based Campaigns allow players to self-organize into groups.
Next is the VICTORY CONDITION (or end-game condition, if you prefer). What causes this Campaign to end? Some Campaigns will have a FIXED duration (i.e. the Campaign will last 3 months, and the victor is “whichever team holds the most terrain at the end.” Other Campaigns can have a triggering event, “the first team to capture all twelve flags.”)
IMPORT and EXPORT rules are used to determine what items and resources can be brought in and taken out of the Campaign World.
Import rules are common to all players: i.e. “you can bring in exactly 10 items” or “you have to arrive naked (i.e. Terminator rules.)”
Export rules are different for the winner and loser(s) of the Campaign: winners get more, losers get less. Some Campaigns also have a third category, in which losing guilds can “kneel” to the winner – gaining a slight increase in rewards, if you swallow your pride and admit defeat.
The generic Victory Condition for each Campaign involves amassing VICTORY POINTS. This are basically an in-Campaign scoring mechanism that can be tied to various actions in the Campaign; the general rule is “the Team that amasses the most Victory Points will win” – however, that rule is incredibly generic, by design.
How those VPs are amassed in a given Campaign depends on the STRATEGIC RULES: what, exactly, are we supposed to do on this World? We’ll describe some of how those rules work in detail, below.
Why would I pick one campaign, over another?
To some degree, it’s going to be a matter of: risk/reward, personal taste and social bonds. Do you want to be placed in a pre-made team, or self-organize? How do you feel about friendly fire? How do you feel about item looting on death? How long are you willing to commit to this Campaign?
Couple this with social considerations: friends (and guilds) will likely pick and choose which Campaign(s) they want to participate in based on relationships -- both cooperative and competitive. Some of these friendships and rivalries go back decades.
Our goal is to support and foster those existing relationships, as well as to provide a foundation for players to forge new ones.
Why would I pick a more difficult campaign? Or a longer one?
The general rule is: greater risk = greater reward.
We’re going to balance the rewards so that the best rewards come from the Campaigns that are the most deadly, and we’re going to scale up the potential rewards for committing to Campaigns that are longer.
Building and Crafting materials increase in quality and quantity as you get closer to the Hunger. The most rare reagents can only be found in the Shadow, and the Dregs.
Can you describe the victory condition rules for a given campaign?
Sure. Let’s assume that we join a Campaign on the “Infected” Worlds. That means this is a Faction-based Campaign; i.e. the players are broken up into three teams: Order, Balance and Chaos.
Each Campaign has a duration, let’s say its 3 months.
The goal of the ORDER faction is to amass the most Victory Points before the World expires.
The goal of the CHAOS faction is the same.
BALANCE doesn’t gain victory points in this system, however. The goal of the BALANCE faction is to try and end the Campaign with ORDER and CHAOS having roughly the same number of Victory Points; i.e. no clear winner between the other two.
In other words:
If Order ends the game with 400 points and Chaos with 100, Order wins.
If Chaos ends the game with 400 points and Order with 100, Chaos wins.
If Order ends the game with 270 points and Chaos with 230 points – i.e. Order was ahead, but it wasn’t a decisive victory – then Balance wins.
In other words, to win this Campaign, the players in the Balance Faction will have to be alternately changing sides, to try and keep either of the other two Factions from pulling too far ahead. If the difference between Order and Chaos at the end of the match is less than 30% of the total, Balance wins.
In this rule set, there is only one winner – there is no second place.
Ok, so I get the goal. but how do we earn victory points?
The Strategy Rules determine how Victory Points are earned.
This is a BLOODSTONE Campaign. This ruleset was created to give smaller groups -- like a band of outlaws hiding in a forest -- the possibility of competing with large, more organized groups.
Players collect unique reagents to create BLOODSTONE TREES. A Bloodstone Tree, once planted, cannot be moved – it can only be destroyed. And these areas are distinct – the area around two Trees cannot overlap.
You can build defenses (and structures) around your Bloodstone Tree. At the time of planting, you set a cycle timer for that tree (X hours PROTECTED, followed by Y hours UNPROTECTED). This cycle will be continued until the Campaign ends or the Tree is destroyed.
When the Tree is PROTECTED, the city is safe. The tree will magically protect all of the structures within a radius, protecting them from harm. During this time, however, the tree does not produce many BLOODSTONES.
When the Tree is in an UNPROTECTED state, the magic protection of the Tree falls – and the City is subject to sieging by other players. It is during this period, however, that it becomes highly likely that the Tree will randomly spawn Bloodstones.
Each Bloodstone that is produced has a randomized TARGET DESTINATION. The only way to gain Victory Points in this Campaign is for players to transport the Bloodstone to the Target Destination and perform a ritual to sacrifice it to the Gods.
The Bloodstone must be sacrificed before it decays (i.e. in less an hour.) The Bloodstone cannot be teleported, it must be escorted by hand.
If the Bloodstone is captured by other players during this window, the Bloodstone will pick a new TARGET DESTINATION. If an opponent can transport the Bloodstone to the new Target Destination, they can redeem it for Victory Points for THEIR team.
It is worth noting that Bloodstones are not removed from the World (via logout or any other means) nor easily hidden (though some Classes and Disciplines may have powers that specifically revolve around Bloodstones: finding them, hiding them, slowing the decay timer, etc.)
If a Bloodstone Tree is destroyed during the Activation window, it will drop a number of Bloodstones instantly, giving the attacker a potential reward (which still have to be taken to the Target Location, to be redeemed!)
Can you give me an example of this, in action?
Sure. Let’s call the “Sons of Dawn” Guild 1. They have a Bloodstone Tree in the City of Festroon, which they have surrounded with fortifications. They are aligned with the ORDER Faction.
On a Thursday evening, the City of Festroon Bloodstone Tree cycles, changing to a state of UNPROTECTED. For the next two hours, the city can be attacked.
A Bloodstone spawns on the Tree. It has a target location that is relatively close, near a local quarry.
The defenders have a choice: deliver this Bloodstone to the target destination, to collect Victory Points for ORDER, or stay and protect the City?
They opt to send a small party to sacrifice the Bloodstone for ORDER points.
On the way, they are ambushed by “Kane’s Fist”, a Chaos-aligned group that we’ll call Guild 2.
The ambush works. Guild 2 kills them all, and takes the Bloodstone. The stone points them to a new location, and the Guild 2 players head off in that direction to try and sacrifice it for CHAOS Victory Points.
Guild 1 regroups, and decides to go after the Bloodstone. They get reinforcements from Festroon and ambush the Party from Guild 2 to retrieve the Bloodstone.
The Party from Guild 2 drops the stone and flees. It was a trap.
Guild 1 returns to find the City of Festroon has been destroyed by the rest of Guild 2. Guild 1 didn’t leave enough defenders to protect it.
The Tree is destroyed, the buildings are on fire, and Guild 2 is now on the way to cash in the 3 new Bloodstones that just spawned when the Festroon tree was destroyed.
Why did you design the bloodstone ruleset?
We created this ruleset because we thought it would be interesting to create a strategy game that allowed a mobile group of players – like a mercenary band that moves around the map constantly, hiding in one forest or another – a ruleset in which they could potentially be successful against larger, more entrenched groups of players.
Also, because it sounded fun.
Will there be other campaign types?
Absolutely. That’s the point. Our intention is to be constantly brainstorming new game rules – and not just us, we will be taking ideas from the community, too – to see what works.
We’ll try out new rulesets as we (and you!) think of them, and the ones that are the most fun / most popular will be mixed into the normal rotation of new Campaigns.
It’s like a “genetic algorithm” for design ideas. The good ideas will rise to the top, where we’ll replicate them and riff on them (“mutate” them, technically) and hopefully find even better ideas. The bad ideas will be less popular, and we’ll retire them.
Not only will this keep the game constantly fresh – it also means that the rulesets should get more interesting and fun over the life of the game.