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RogalDorn01

Overall Jericho Reach Campaign

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Alright this one might be a big post, but I wanted to flesh out my plan for my campaign mechanics and could use a sounding board.  First off, let me be clear that I am a lunatic who loves Excel and my hobby is creating overwhelming amounts of collated systems and information about things that are not real.  There is a reason I played a Navigator Senechal hybrid in Rogue Trader...all the starmaps and databases...mmmmmmm  With that aside, I assume that I am not only totally comfortable with, but excited about the amount of work that this will require on my part...

 

So my players have started in the Orpheus Salient and thus far the missions we have done have been in the Castobel system.  We are almost wrapped up here and they are ready to move onto the proper campaign.  To borrow from videogame parlance, I have been using Castobel as a training area for the new players to get into character and learn their abilities.  The way I broke it down is that after the initial Extraction mission right out the main book.  I gave them three printed dossiers (maps, orbital scans, publisher mission briefing) for missions that the Inquisitor in the area had noted would be solid targets for the Deathwatch to intervene with.  Then they had to pick the order they did the missions.  They could have also just said screw this place and left, but go figure they wanted to do it up.  One of those missions had a bonus mission that would be unlocked if they accomplished one of the secondary objectives, which they did.  That mission was done, but there was an opportunity for one more before they left (due to RL timing) so I gave them one more mission.

 

So I am quite comfortable with the amount of choice to give them within a system.  But the Jericho reach is a big place....so here is how I am rolling it out.

 

I compiled a list of every single system presented in the Deathwatch books.  All told that is around 130 Star Systems.  I broke them down by Salient and the other regions that are present such as the Slinnar Drift, the Outer Reaches, ect...

 

I assigned each world a crusade strength based on the fluff for each world ranging from Zero for no forces all the way to 100 for the Iron Collar type fortress worlds.

 

Each time the players Leave a star system I will essentially roll a dice and on a 1-2 the enemies of mankind will make some ground.  On a 9-10 the Crusade will achieve some victories.  The Crusade will adjust d10 strength up or down based on what side is winning.  I can adjust the scaling of the crusade based on the idea that most of the crusade is currently a meat-grinder with little real progress being made anywhere.  With the exception of the Orpheus Salient, which is an Emperor Forsaken Mess.  The other exception to this is that there are several rival groups that are actively operating within the reach.  And when they are in a system, it will be changed to a 1 - 6 going the way of the enemy, and a 10 giving the imperials a win.  Also when the enemies make progress on those worlds it will be d10+5.  The first time I change a system score by more than ten I expect that one or two of my crazy crazy players will notice immediately, even when presented with so many systems...If the PC's every run across one of these kill teams directly and try to engage them they will be running across the most Elite Strikeforce their respective race can muster, they will be more than equals to the kill team and they will have to fight smart and tenaciously if they hope to come out on top.

 

Every time the Kill team engages in a mission within a salient system that involves them actively working against the enemies of mankind they will tip the balance of the conflict d10 in favor of the Crusade forces that are there.  Obviously since I am the one creating these missions and enemies, I can feel free to use my best judgement in adjusting this where necessary.

 

I am trying to give the players REAL agency when dealing with how to choose their missions and where they go.  But the question becomes, how many choices do I offer them for systems to go to?  Bear in mind that these are simply hotspots, the players can say...screw your missions!  I want to go try and raid Samech...and probably be Party Wiped in the process...

 

As far as presenting this information, every time the players jump systems I will simply update the laminated maps I have made of the various parts of the Reach with updated numbers to show them where things are at.  They will only have intelligence about worlds that either have a Watch Station OR where the Imperial Forces are actively engages in Crusading.

 

As far as System selection I am going to do a Two Tiered approach.

 

Tier One

Pick a Region

 

- Acheros

- Orpheus

- Canis

- Outer Reaches (Treated different than the crusade salients)

 

Tier Two

Pick a System

 

At this point I am thinking of offering up 1-3 hotspots within the region that could be interesting to go to.  I am thinking one that could put them on the trail of a rival team in that area of space.  A second one to actually assist crusade forces directly.  And potentially a third one to be something unusual and awesome.

 

I don't want to just say...here you go players...here are ten places that I have missions and plots ready to go for.  But If I break it into two systems I am essentially saying the same thing...but breaking it into smaller bites.  I realize that by doing this I am essentially guaranteeing that the players will probably never actually encounter most of the work I've done.  But it somehow makes me feel better knowing it's there for them just in case.

 

I guess since I am laying all this out I might as well also breakdown something else I did for the campaign.

 

I redid the reputation system with regards to calling in reinforcements using your requisition.  Each Salient has it's own separate and distinctive forces that are operating there.  So I track reputation with each organization.  For instance, Currently my players have done a bunch of stuff supporting the imperial guard on Castobel.  Consequently, the have a Respected reputation with the Imperial Guard Commanders of the Orpheus Salient.  However if they go to the Canis Salient, they will have no reputation at all there as they have never done anything in support of them.  There are a few organizations that transcend a specific salient.

 

- The Inquisition - Which just uses the standard RAW reputation system

- Ad Mech - Which is everywhere and are (Slightly) more coherrant than the individual guard       commanders

- Adeptus Astartes - I really wanted to break this down by chapter, but I just can't think of a good way to do this.  The team is currently respected by the Howling Griffons, because they helped turn the tide of a desperate battle they were facing, and they went in and rescued a few of their scouts that had gotten stranded near a budding capillary tower.

 

 

Anyway, what difficulties do you foresee with this.  Keep in mind my group has been gaming together for years every week, and everyone in the group is a highly experience player AND GM.  Any thoughts or improvements would be welcome!

 

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Sounds cool. I like a campaign where stuff is going on 'over the horizon' - I tended to give the players battle reports from elsewhere in the reach as part of their briefings.

 

Note that it won't only be the players involved, other Kill-teams may get involved too. It helps build up a sense of scale when they keep hearing about the achievements of two or three other kill teams in the area, and it really lent a sense of "oh ****" to the final mission when they realised all four of them were in the same briefing chapel.

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I love your idea. Could you give me your list?

I think it would be cool to know wich planets for example the orks have conquered at the moment.

And also don't forget places like the space hulks. And planets wich ocour only in official Adventures but not in the rule books.

Edited by Sanjy

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For sure!  I went through all the books and went that way.  Things like space hulks I was going to drop in seperately under the category of mysteries or unsual happenings when they are picking thier missions.  I LOVE the Space hulk source book and I DEFINITELY plan on encorporating it.

 

I love the idea of having other kill teams operating.  The only other kill team that I have shown so far is the second team that is on thier ship with them at the moment.  I was planning on setting them up as almost rivals for lack of a better term.  But I will certainly use have the occasional mission that they don't have a chance to do end up with a report as to the fate of a kill team that attempted it.

 

Sometimes that will end in failure, other times success or costly success.  For instance a mission to assassinate an Ork Warboss could end up where the kill team that went in was wiped to a man.  Then the players will feel bad because they knew they could have done it better, but at the same time they will have the knowledge that other stuff in happenning all over the Jericho Reach with or without them and they can only be in so many places at a given time!

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Sometimes that will end in failure, other times success or costly success.  For instance a mission to assassinate an Ork Warboss could end up where the kill team that went in was wiped to a man.  Then the players will feel bad because they knew they could have done it better, but at the same time they will have the knowledge that other stuff in happenning all over the Jericho Reach with or without them and they can only be in so many places at a given time!

 

Exactly. I would suggest three other kill teams is 'about right' to keep track of - two that are slightly less awesome/about equal to the players and one that is somewhat more so (that the Kill-Team's Watch-Captain will use or take to the field with in extreme cases). That way they have a goal to aim at - "we want to be as good as Kill-Team [insert Name Here]".

 

In our campaign based on Castobel, we had Scimitar (the players), Broadsword, Rapier and Gladius (a Terminator Kill-Team).

 

Every kill team had wounded every so often, and even casualties, but they got to meet the kill-team members and/or operate alongside them in a couple of missions (one mission, for example, Scimitar went forward to secure the evacuees whilst Rapier held the skyshield pad with the Thunderhawk).

 

It also led to a bit of roleplayed friction - Scimitar's normal team leader was a Space Wolf, whilst the NPC team leader of Broadsword was a Dark Angel, leading to a "Lion and the Wolf" duel with unpowered weapons to establish seniority of command when both of them were sent on a boarding action.

 

Finally, one of the missions was a part punitive strike/part rescue operation several missions in where Rapier Squad was missing presumed lost in a massive swarm led by a Dagon Overlord-strain Tyrant. This was their first mission operating alongside Gladius Squad, and it was gratifying to see the players (a) actually give a **** about the Rapier NPCs by this point, and (b) have a "Holy *!"$!!$!@#!!!!!!" moment after Gladius teleported in and opened fire (their first exposure to the ridiculous horde-killing power of Stormbolters loaded with Metal Storm shells).

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That's awesome actually.  Right now I have only fully designed "Crusaders Wrath" which is the one they met on the ship.  But I am thinking of killing them off early in the campaign to establish the suicidal nature of some of these missions.  How do you deal with a terminator kill team without it feeling like Deus Ex Machina every time they show up?

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They kind of are, but they know said kill-team is on standby, and have a teleport homer to call them in with - they don't just solve the problem for them - their mission is to get said teleport homer into position; the actual slapping down of the big bad is the terminator veteran's job.

 

Key points:

  • Don't use them often
  • Don't pull them out of your hat when the players aren't expecting them.
  • Build the mission around them. If tactical dreadnought plate is being deployed, it's ultimately their mission, you're the one supporting them.
  • Nevertheless, make sure you have something critical for the 'regular' kill-team to do; holding an evac point, getting a homer into position, disabling a void shield to allow them to teleport in, or in some cases acting as the ambush to the highly visible terminator's 'beaters' or the 'bait' to a terminator strike.
  • Depending on the size of the kill-team, acting as vehicle crew is quite possible; manning a land raider or storm raven.
  • Remember that terminators are limited in their choice of armament - critically, no lascannons, meltaguns or similar, and will struggle to engage heavy armour except at close quarters.

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A terminator is just another tool, a means to an end. The scout marines are the scalpel, the space marines are the knife and the terminator is a massive sledgehammer. They need to therefore be used as such. I do not believe that there is any situation which cannot be properly got out of and where you need to use a terminator squad and they are by no means a be-all end all.

 

As per above, they should not be the players emergency call. The deployment of a terminator is for a truly severe situation, arming them up takes time, far more than the rites of armament for a marine and therefore they should be used sparingly. If they call them out every time they get into even the slightest amount of trouble then frankly they are not doing their job. A marine should be expected to deal with all manner of horrors and grim situations. At your discretion consider penalising them renown if they keep calling the cavalry rather than fighting their own ways out.

 

They are not infiltrators by any means. They are slow, loud and clunking things and as a result a regular kill team will easily be able to run rings around them, go places they are not able to do so (due to size/weight etc) and take full advantage of being lighter on their feet. Your regular marines are also far more flexible in possible tactics as they can carry all manner of gear and equipment, if anything can probably put out more varied and tactically viable firepower than the termies. Even better your marines can dodge into cover and avoid shots, let the wall take the blow. Termies though...well that invun save won't keep forever!

 

However if one of these shows up, most sensible armies will easily change target priorities accordingly, Orks think "big shiny humie, frag 'im to zog!", Tyranid logic would be "strong threat to hive, prioritise and consume", Tau would also think "heavy weapons, reacquire targets." Basically terminator teams might as well forgo their colours and just wear a big red bullseye on their plate because most things will want to wipe them out. Their appearance will instead be something which could allow the KT to escape in safety or cover while they leg it.

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