Last time we talked about Arks of Omen and Boarding Actions games in the Vadinax Campaign. Today we’re going to talk about what may be the most important part of this whole thing: How players can build a narrative in the campaign, both on their own, and as part of a larger group.
At the core of the campaign is the Planetary Conquest mechanic. When the campaign begins, players will be able to allocate their wins to specific planets and locations in the Vadinax Sector or the planet their local campaign takes place on. Each time a player does this, it can shift control of the planet, helping their faction in its path to conquest. Get enough players together winning enough games and it’ll be enough to completely conquer a world. Conquering worlds can have positive effects for a faction, such as giving rewards or affecting other nearby worlds in a system.
Generally speaking, this is the core narrative of Vadinax: Who’s going to control the sector at the end of the campaign? And more specifically, who’s going to control specific planets within the sector? Will some fall to chaos? Will the T’au Empire expand under the watchful eye of its sixth sphere Shas’O commanders? Will the Tyranids just completely consume every planet in the sector for its biomass?
No Factions, No Masters
Whenever you run a campaign like this, where the factions are tied to the lore, you have to reckon with one major problem: Most players are Imperial players. They make up about 60% of the game’s players, and we expect that to be in full swing thanks to the latest balance dataslate and points adjustments, which make marines a damn sight more attractive as a faction. As a result, the Imperium tends to have a pure numbers advantage over other factions – even Chaos, who tend to sit at about 25% of the field, will struggle to put up huge win totals over imperial forces in the long run, and this can make it difficult for players in those non-Imperium factions to actually generate results.
We went back and forth on this one a lot but in the end we decided not to group players up into three teams and instead leave them with their larger factions – Imperium, Chaos, Aeldari, Orks, Tau, Necrons, Tyranids, and Votann. This was done mostly because it’s really pretty lame to get grouped in with one big “Xenos” box if you’re playing one of those factions.
This means two things:
1. Players will have some limited ability to work out alliances – there’s no reason Ork and Chaos players couldn’t agree to only fight imperium targets, for example – which are beneficial for multiple factions and help mitigate the size disparity.
2. Absent the ability to realistically dominate and control the whole sector thanks to a size advantage on the Imperium’s side, other faction players will need to figure out what their story looks like if they can’t win outright and how they can tell it. “What can I accomplish?” is a more worthwhile question here than “How do I win?”
So while the broader narrative of Vadinax is one of planetary, system, and sector control, it’s also about your army’s specific narrative and the story you’re telling. But to help you out, we’ve built out some mechanics for pursuing and telling your stories.
Of course, there’s more to this than the dogged determination to conquer every inch of ground in the sector – in addition to the domination mechanic, players will also be able to pursue a series of narratives, both at the individual player level and at the faction and campaign levels. Generally these work on a mechanic we’ve dubbed Fate Points, which we’ll talk about in a future article. As players win games, they can spend these points to advance or explore certain narratives, or combine points with other players to pursue shared goals.
Here are just a few examples of some narratives we’ve got planned for the campaign:
- The Mendel – We mentioned this ancient barge rumored to have untainted gene-seed samples that predate the heresy. Players pursuing this goal send out exploratory forces, hoping to find the space hulk that’s rumored to house the ancient ship. Find its location and you can delve into its depths via Boarding Action missions for a chance to recover some of its ancient cargo.
- The Election on Siasa – mentioned in our review of the sector’s planets, Siasa stands on the bring of massive political change as it looks to hold its first democratic elections for planetary governor in over three millennia. But there are many different groups hoping to control the outcome of that election, from Genestealer Cults looking to embed one of their own to Imperial assassins looking to remove dissident competitors to T’au forces looking to install a sympathetic leader. Players pursue this goal in tandem, attempting to maneuver their forces and steer the results right up until the election, using fate points to create opportunities to influence the electorate or sabotage/assassinate the competition.
- The Slumbering Gotep Dynasty – Necron players in the system can attempt to locate the planets that formed the core of the ancient Gotep Dynasty, which was rumored to control a powerful C’Tan shard. Waking the sleeping tomb worlds in the sector can bring rewards such as being able to field powerful units from the Dynasty’s elite ranks.
- The Ravenous Void – This dread Ark of Omen is under the command of Shanker Gord of the Scourged traitor chapter, tasked with recovering a powerful artefact for the Warmaster. Help him succeed and the Warmaster’s favor could follow. Or hinder him by boarding the Ark and destroying it before it can reach its unholy goal.
- The Polar Krakens of Skaadthi – This frozen world on the edge of the Xenfar system is rumored to be home to massive Ice Krakens, monsters of prodigious size and strength, capable of swallowing tanks whole. These beasts are formidable foes, and slaying one a feat worthy of song. Use your fate points to track one down and destroy it to create a saga worthy of praise/an offering to the dark gods/proof to mork and/or gork that you’re rad as hell.
Finally there are events. At both the global and local levels we’ll be looking to periodically run events that have major outcomes for the campaign. This might be a weekend where players are given a bonus for allocating their wins to a specific planet, a local event where a store hosts a mega battle to determine ownership of a piece of terrain, or a special game we run for players invested in specific narratives when they’ve reached a certain point. There are lots of ways we’re planning to have these.
What’s Next: Let’s Get Mechanical
That wraps up our look at some of the narrative aspects of the campaign but come back tomorrow when we talk about some of the mechanics we’re working on and dive deeper into Fate points. Until then, if you have any questions or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.