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[EABA] WarpWorld playtesting note

Started by btrc, January 30, 2008, 06:56:54 AM

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Not so much an opportunity, but a report on the campaign structure. The WarpWorld post-ruin fantasy background has a lot of potential, but the problem was that the most interesting bits were not closely spaced in time. The gameworld itself rapidly changes from where the characters start and does not stabilize until a few generations later, far longer (in play time) than a typical group is going to have.

So, what I did in the way of timeline and pacing was to set up an exponential adventure structure. Each interval was three times further down the line than the last, and each one lasts several times as long. So, we get the introduction to the gameworld at day 1, and it lasts for a few gameworld hours. We then jump to day 3, and start to put in some threads for plots to come. You then jump to day 10, day 30, day 100, year 1, year 3, year 10 and year 30, each one having longer and longer "in game" action. For instance, the day 30 session is about a week of game time, while the year 10 session is about a year of game time.

This means that adventurers are not adventuring 24/7/365. They can have mundane lives while long-term plots unfold in the background, and they have increasing amounts of downtime to add new skills or abilities (which the GM can give hints about). And a nice thing from a number of dramatic standpoints is that everyone knows the end of the year 30 session is not only the end of that part of the campaign, but where the adventurers are themselves getting old(er) and this is their last hurrah. So, if you're going to go out heroically or for a greater cause, this is the time. The campaign actually can continue past this point, but generations later, in a gameworld that has been further modified by the actions of the PC's (did they make the world a better place?).

In playtest, it worked out really well, immersing the PC's in the chaotic and dangerous gameworld at the start, and letting them be part of the changing and unfolding game history without having to live out the grubby details on a day by day basis. If you have a project in development that has a built-in epic timescale or a gameworld that is supposed to change substantially over the course of the adventurer's careers, it's an idea worth trying out.

You can see WarpWorld and download the demo file at, and if you want more detail on the campaign structure, email me privately and I can send you an extracted bit from the campaigning chapter.

Greg Porter


That's really interesting.  You mention the in game time scales for the intervals, how does that translate into real time sessions.  If we're on the day 30 interval, playing through a week of game time...would you expect that to be wrapped up in one 4 hour session of play? 3 sessions? 9?  How many sessions from intro to old-and-retired?


Depends on players and GM, I suppose. The Day 1 and Day 3 intervals typically were wrapped up in one play session. The Day 10 interval was one session that moved into the Day 30 session, which took another session or two. Of course, getting into a serious fight can be a time sink that adds a session. After that, it is sort of up to how fast the players wanted time to progress. In one group, the Day 30 interval (which is supposed to be a few weeks of game time), stretched out to a few months, mostly because the PC's had so many hooks into a particular plot element that they couldn't let go. That is, "Interesting stuff is going on! If we go to the next interval it will be over!" (unspoken: "and we won't have been able to profit from it!"). The Year 1 interval is supposed to be a few months of game time and that is several sessions, probably with a few plots brewing in the foreground and background, and by the time you get to Year 3, you're supposed to be looking at a plotline that will take up to a year of game time to resolve, and that can be quite a few game sessions.

The shorter answer is that it could easily take you a couple years of real time to work your way through the first 30 years of the campaign arc. The rules also have the option of a short Year 20 interlude based on a potentially catastrophic event beyond the PC's control, just to gum up the works. We haven't actually run it out that far yet...