The new campaign is entitled "The Land Clipper," and follows the adventures of a group of PCs who travel the American countryside in a fantastic train looking for adventure during the darkest days of the Civil War.
As with London before, the Apocalyptus version of America doesn't exactly adhere to history. The Civil War is being fought by two factions of Affected who have been turned against each other through the masterful strategy of the Trueborn president Lincoln. Deadly Affected Folk Heroes like Paul Bunyan and John Henry walk the earth, looking for adventurers to fight. The empire of California is its own nation, ruled over by Emperor Norton.
Glendon Aldridge, tycoon of Aldridge Rail has recently died. He has left a substantial wage, and a remarkable prototype for an experimental train called The Land Clipper to the PCs, on the condition that they live out his lifelong dream of traveling America looking for people to help with their skills in adventuring.
There are dual "Big Bad" villains. Affected Uncle Sam, who rules the Affected of the North, and Affected Jefferson Davis (who I might replace with someone more interesting), who rules the Affected of the south. The Affected Wright Brothers fly all over the continent causing trouble in their massive experimental flying machine. Affected Northern giants such as Paul Bunyan remain neutral, killing everything they see.
I plan to include every possible event from American history in this campaign, even if it isn't historically accurate. The Great Chicago Fire? In the campaign. Custer's last stand? Definitely. The California Gold Rush? You know it. It's a Uranium rush this time, though.
Anyway, I think that this setting will be really fun to play in, and I think that it will be really educational for me to research all the stuff I'm going to need to know for this.
I'm hoping not to get bogged down by the same problems that I had last campaign. Here are some things that I'm going to make myself do to avoid making the same mistakes.
- Do character creation as a group to ensure that every character fills a unique role, and there are player-generated plot hooks to build off from.
- Keep a hard-and-fast limit on the number of players per session. Probably eight. Some players are of the type that mostly sit back and watch the other players. They don't need to have characters in order to do this. Some players don't attend reliably. They don't need to play, or perhaps they can play another character's cohort when they are in attendance.
- Appoint a well-liked fair-minded player as a permanent party leader who can curtail problem players in-game.
- Do not allow characters to take oddball feats from splatbooks, or at least limit the practice.
- Look over character sheets every week to make sure that I know how characters are coming along.
- Do multi-session adventures rather than one-shot sessions every week. Even if players can't commit to coming to every session, they should be able to handle three weeks in a row now and then.
- Use smaller numbers of stronger monsters, so that combats will go faster.
- Designate one player as the chronicler, to help keep track of story.
- Designate one player the damage-tracker. I'm bad at keeping track of which enemies have how much damage, and which ones are under special conditions. I don't want to bog things down further by writing it all down myself.
- Give every planned combat encounter an interesting hook, such as an environmental hazard, a special weapon carried by one of the monsters, or a goal other than just killing everything.
- Use my laptop less. A lot less.