The Benefits of War
Good day, potential and existing backers. I am the Warden, one of the many hard working people involved in the Twilight Continuum project and the author for Books 2 and 5 of the series. And today, I'm here to talk to you about war. More importantly, I'm here to tell why war is good.
There is no greater motivator than the threat of war. Even a hushed rumour is enough to silence a crowded room and send a chill up any hardened spine because it is the ultimate form of destruction and chaos known to mankind. Since our early days as struggling survivors living off the land, gathering together to form tribes and work as a community to strengthen and grow our way of life, we have faced the dangers of invasion, banditry, and genocide from outside forces once separated by great distances. To the spoils of war go the victors; to the ashes go the victims. War is an absolute of consequences, a firm reminder of the ultimate stakes in life.
From a storytelling point of view, there's nothing better than war. Especially in a roleplaying game. As soon as your players hear the word “war,” it all falls into perspective. War is black and white and your players' first questions will be “Who is our enemy and how do we destroy them?” It's almost operatic in scale and impact and that's what makes war perfect for a space opera like Twilight Continuum.
The challenge of placing your players in the midst of a war is tenfold and carries with it the weight of many factors, each as important as the first. Running a war campaign offers unique and incredible challenges for a Gamemaster and that's exactly what you're going to get with the Twilight Continuum campaign.
Maintaining the Balance: Keeping the Players In the Spotlight
There's one key guideline of running a war campaign we've taken to heart: the players must always be the central characters of this story. Yes, there is a war going on all around them and numerous events will always occur beyond their reach and control, making it impossible for the players to deal with everything everywhere. When they are involved, those events must sway on the actions and reactions of the players through their characters.
Once again, we return to how a war campaign serves the best tool for maintaining that urgent sense of action and purpose without upsetting the overall storyline and ending the war. Battles are the chapters of a war campaign, its dungeons, and its kingdoms. Every battle takes place in a given area for the purpose of gaining ground against your enemy's defences and inch closer to your final objective. In Twilight Continuum, the early battles of the war take place in the outer reaches of our universe and move closer and closer to their destination: Earth. As the war closes in on our home planet, so will the impact of the players' actions until there is only one last battle remaining in Earth's atmosphere.
Battles present a massive canvas of opportunity and plot points and they become truly universal in size when those battles take place in space. Countless counter-offences and missions operate in the sidelines and behind the curtain of laser fire, dying soldiers, and exploding starships. The oxygen generator for the ship's sick bay has been disabled and someone needs to get past the blast doors to re-engage it before the medical staff and hundreds of wounded suffocate. Something is jamming the ship-to-ship communications of every fighter in the battle; you need to find that something and destroy it before your forces are overrun. Or the shield generator for the enemy cruiser’s launch doors can be breached by a small boarding party, one small and effective enough to disable the shields altogether and provide an opening to blow that sucker back to kingdom come.
Each mission on its own can adjust significant factors in the battle's outcome in ways players may never have expected. By saving all those patients, there may be enough crew capable of returning to home base for repairs. Destroying the jamming beacon aboard a rogue satellite allows the fighters to unite in a combined assault on the enemy cruiser and destroy it. And disabling the shield generator makes that final explosion all the more sweeter as the aliens are scattered back in retreat. Every mission has a part to play on the road to victory.
Between these sweeping battles and desperate missions, there are other forces in conflict that could threaten the outcome of the war. This is the first union between the Co-Prosperity Sphere and the Western Nations Alliance, for starters, and tempers remain high between these once bitter enemies. How the players respond and account for the setbacks and emotions threatening to wipe out the human race against an overpowering alien force remains to be seen. They will need a sign of clear leadership and example to inspire their fellows and threaten their enemies.
Without the players' help, humanity will lose. I can guarantee you that right now. The question remains who will be the best of the best to tilt the war in Earth's favour. Will it be you?
Broken Ruler Games