Campaign: Frontline – Prologue – Part 1 – The Game

Like many of us, I often find myself trawling through the internet looking for a new RPG to grip my imagination/interest. Not that anything I currently have has grown stale, but rather to see something new, a new idea or concept or such like to inspire my other games.

The ChromeStrike Rulebook

The ChromeStrike Rulebook

And the result of my search? ChromeStrike, a free mecha RPG spawned by 4chan, developed by DukeFluffy Productions. Now I know what some of you are thinking, but having read the rules for FATAL I figured things couldn’t get worse. I was pleasantly surprised by what I found. A rules-lite RPG that evokes the sense of fun that the battles in Mechwarrior did, and easily adapted to a tabletop wargame, yet still easy to pick up and play.

In any case, this isn’t a review (that will wait for another day) but my attempts at putting together a campaign for the game and having some of my friends wreck play through it. Following a read through the rules, the machines on offer, the games master advice and the setting, I quickly jotted down a few ideas:

1) Original Setting – There is nothing wrong with the setting in the book, being rather standard/traditional fare. Megacorporations rule the world thanks to their mecha forces, and often skirmish against one another in the name of corporate greed or nationalism. However, I personally had no real interest in that world, so instead chose to set it on an alternate Earth, where nations still ruled and the almost dystopian future of corporate nations was still a dark dream. I also enjoy crafting new settings, especially since often my players are welcome to add their own touches and influences through the use of their characters and their back-stories. As well as this, one of my major influences for this campaign was the Ace Combat series of games from Namco, as will become readily apparent as this log goes on…

2) Players as Mercenaries – Whilst I could have easily stuck my players in as a regular military unit, that would have curbed their options somewhat when it came to making choices and decisions. Mercenaries on the other hand have greater freedom in choosing their missions, as well as technically having no true loyalty to any side, and as such not forcing any characterization on the creations of my players. Having the players as self-equipped mercenaries would also explain away why the characters are permitted to loot and salvage enemy mechs from the battlefield, a major source of income for the party in ChromeStrike, and why their own mechas would more than likely be Frankensteins of mismatched parts.

3) A Single Story Arc – In the past, I have had difficulties running and ending campaigns, mostly due to my own inexperience as a games master. Games rarely had a satisfying conclusion, and there were always loose or forgotten plot threads dangling, or games would go on for so long players would inevitably drop out. This time, I aimed for a relatively short and unambitious campaign, and so structured the game as if it were a video game (again, Ace Combat influences!)

4) Fun – This is not a game of philosophical debates or moral choices (though those may well crop up during gameplay), but rather a game of action, with robots shooting and ripping one another apart, with great glory and renown to be earned by those willing to seize it. As always, a major factor in a game is making sure everyone taking part is having fun, and knowing what each player enjoys and trying to cater for that.

With those points clearly in mind I set out to crafting my world, and gathering up a bunch of ne’er-do-wells to be the heroes (or maybe villains) in this little tale of mine…

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