Sorry for the long post in advance. (Fronts at the end for reference)

Sorry for the long post in advance. (Fronts at the end for reference)

Sorry for the long post in advance. (Fronts at the end for reference)

Hello! Newbie here. I’ve played a couple of sessions and I’m already loving this game, specially taking into account that I came here looking for a lighter and more narrative system. That being said, I hope you can help me with a small issue for my prep.

Note: I’m sure there are a lot of things I’m not understanding or looking from the wrong angle I write what I got from what I read so you can tell me where I got confused.

At the first session, the game turned into a zombie apocalypse pretty fast, ending in a cliffhanger with the PCs garrisoned in the local tavern surrounded by zombies. The city is like a massive metropolis with different districts divided by walls and a citadel in the middle. I want to take advantage of that focusing the action there, also I want to make the zombie apocalypse last more than one session. At the time, the city guard has closed all the doors around the merchant district containing the zombies there and locking the the PCs and survivors inside. I thought of having a necromancer hiding in the sewers of the city but I put it aside in favor of leaving gaps, also it wasn’t immediately relevant. I decided to make two Dangers, one for the zombies (horde, pestilence) and one for the city guard to represent the extreme measures to contain the zombies ending with a “nuclear solution” (there’s some high fantasy elements) type of ending if nothing gets done (ambitious organization, destruction). After that, it’s where my doubts started.

The examples from the rule book and the guide seem like Campaign Fronts to me, are they? I’m not familiar with how much progress can players make but after playing for about an hour during the first session, it was amazing how much stuff happened. Maybe they are Adventure Fronts, however they seem very large scale for me to be the prep for one or two sessions. For example, I want the next session to involve surviving in the tavern, maybe saving survivors, dealing with the city guard, gathering resources, at best, escaping the district, maybe if they fail to save most of the people, the massive number of zombies will destroy the doors from the district walls and advance the Campaign Front. I thought of having the city guard killing anyone who tries to escape and sending execution teams to kill survivors and zombies alike to prevent the growth of the disease. Here’s where things get confusing for me: I have the same Cast and Dangers for both the Campaign and Adventure Fronts (which makes sense) and I feel that the Grim Portents from the Campaign Front are basically the Impending Dooms from my Adventure Front (which doesn’t seem too crazy) but the problem I’m worried about is when I look at the two possible outcomes at the end of the session or resolution of the Adventure Front:

1) (Less likely) If the players solve the Dangers form the Adventure Front (AKA succeed during the session?), the campaign would end in the first session.

2) (Most likely) The characters fail and the Adventure Front reaches it’s Impending Doom, for the tension to grow, I find interesting and fictionally reasonable for the Campaign Front to advance but I feel I wouldn’t give the players any chance. If the players fail regularly I see it being frustrating to them but If they succeed dealing with the Adventure Dangers, the Campaign Front will never advance. Can the Campaign Front advance regardless what the PCs do? I feel that’s what I’m dealing with here. I know that with playing I’ll get more experience but I’m sure I’m missing something here. Maybe I have problems designing the Adventure’s Dangers.

Campaign Front

Danger 1: Zombies

Grim Portents

– The zombies take over the district

– The zombies expand to nearby districts

– The zombies consume everything and the citadel is the last bastion

– The zombies consume everything in the city

Impending Doom: Pestilence

Danger 2: City Guard

Grim Portents

– Execution teams start killing zombies and survivors alike. Guards in the walls kill survivors trying to escape.

– The mages of the citadel build the eye of amonkhet and start firing it against everyone

– The grand alchemists and the mages close the eye of amonkhet (destroy the city)

Impending Doom: Destruction

Adventure Front

This is where I don’t know how to do it. Previously I explained my ideas for it.

Thanks a lot, hope you can provide some insight. I’ve read a lot of forums but I haven’t found any answer.

5 thoughts on “Sorry for the long post in advance. (Fronts at the end for reference)”

  1. Yeah, adventure fronts are the trickier one for me, as well. Try to think in terms of smaller dramas that would unfold at the direct, interpersonal scale. For instance, maybe there is a family trapped in a nearby building and the party can hear their screams as one of the grim portents. This works better if they actually know this family for some reason already (if not, you can induce this by saying something like ‘Bard, you know the family that lives there; when did you meet them?’) If they don’t save the family, they could wind up having to face them as zombies later.

    Or maybe a particular execution team is encountered that has some connection to the group or someone they care about. Or the execution team is put in a position where they threaten someone/something the party cares about.

    Basically, you can take campaign-level dangers and turn them into more concrete examples that are presented to the party in a way that creates more immediate stakes, encouraging player involvement. Give them something to care about and react to.

    This works especially well when you can present the fronts in a way that they can’t readily pursue both at the same time, so they have to make hard choices. Maybe they find out about a treasure in a nearby guild hall that could help in their fight (it has anti-undead properties), but they have a limited window of opportunity to get there before the undead overrun the surrounding area, so there’s probably no time to save the family if they want to go there.

  2. To clarify a bit further, if you’ve ever watched The Walking Dead, the overall campaign fronts are about ‘Survival’, as well as ‘How did this happen?’ (in the earlier seasons) and ‘Rebuild Civilization?’ (in later seasons.) The adventure fronts are the driving plots of individual episodes or short episode arcs. A disease strikes, someone attacks, the person they killed recently shows up again as a zombie, they finally arrive at the lab only to discover it wasn’t quite what it appeared to be. These are events with directly applicable stakes that can be resolved in a few hours of (on-screen) action, likely with lingering consequences that are the catalyst for later adventure fronts.

    From what I’ve observed, the group usually doesn’t ‘fail’ adventure fronts, except in those cases where they have to choose which to ‘resolve’. After all, this is a story about heroism and adventure in the face of great dangers. What’s interesting, though, is exactly how they resolved the front and what portents came to pass in the process, since those portents change the world/story in some way.

  3. Some more concrete ideas (sorry about all the words 🙂

    Adventure Front: The Fall of the District

    Danger 1: Zombies (Ate My Neighbors)

    – You hear the screams of your neighbors as they board up in the house and see zombies around their building

    – The zombies break in through a window they didn’t board up properly

    – You hear final screams from inside, as their last line of defense is breached

    Impending Doom: Your neighbors will probably come back later to try to eat you.

    Danger 2: Opportunistic Looters

    – Signs of looting are observed

    – Party encounters looters directly, perhaps in a situation where they kill an innocent (depends on how ‘evil’ you want the looters to be)

    – Looters take an important item that could be critical to the city’s defense

    Impending Doom: The lack of the important item makes it easier for the zombies to escape the district.

    Danger 3: Execution Team

    – Party observes directly/indirectly an execution team killing innocents (perhaps including someone they care about)

    – Execution team encounters the party directly

    – Someone from the team escapes and reports back to the mages

    Impending Doom: Mages become aware that people inside are meddling with the cleanup and advance their plan for more direct action.

    Just spitballing here. You can ask the players during play, too, to create stakes on the fly and learn about new possible dangers that you hadn’t anticipated. The basic adventure dangers you outline just give you some fodder to tap into when you’re not sure what should happen to encourage player action. It could be that some of these never actually get started and you just discard them later, in favor of some other danger that the party discovers.

  4. I agree with Dan Bryant that these appear to be adventure fronts rather than campaign fronts. I think the scope of the impending doom needs to be world shattering to be a campaign front.

    One thing you are missing is an ‘impulse’ for each danger. I think having one will help keep you focused on the dangers objectives if you have to improvise more than expected.

    One change I would make is to Dan’s list of Grim Portents. They sound more like GM moves then how Grim Portents are described in the rules. Still great to have a list of these to draw from, but Grim Portents are designed to still happen ‘off screen’ if the characters ignore the danger or take time focusing on other issues. The PCs being pushed in different directions and suffering the consequences for those hard decisions helps portray a fantastic and living world. I just wouldn’t want you to fall into a checklist of GM moves because then you risk not playing to find out what happens. I prefer to keep them more like the way you originally wrote them.

    Hope it helps!

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