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What is a Narrative Campaign?

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What is a Narrative Campaign?

Postby chilledmonkeybrains » 18 Apr 2014, 18:13

What is a narrative campaign?

So, who enjoys a good Black Library book? Or an action movie, first-person shooter or video games with intense strategies and engrossing storylines, for that matter? I think it’s pretty safe to say that we all love a good story and, as gamers of Warhammer 40,000, we all love big stories of epic conflict, dramatic battlescapes and heroic characters. Now, if only we could re-enact or even create our own epic campaigns set in the war torn galaxy of the 41st millennium…

Well, with narrative campaigns you can!

Rare is the war that is won with but a single battle - most become gruelling, brutal campaigns fought over weeks, months, years or even lifetimes. Heroes are made and legends born in these epic crusades. A narrative campaign is both an exciting and immersive way for players to engage in a series of linked games where the narrative steers the course of events. Whereas a single game provides a tactical challenge, a series of games – where victory and defeat affects each subsequent game in positive and sometimes catastrophic ways - brings the gaming experience to a whole new level.

A narrative campaign can be very simple, or it can be incredibly involved, depending upon how the players and organisers want to play it. There are many ways that it can be run and organised; it's all down to how you want to play it and what you want to get out of it. Organised events can include detailed background stories, unique characters, rules, maps, charts and more. A couple of friends wanting to add a new dimension to their regular games might write short, simple narrative campaigns that can be played over an evening or two.

Depending on how you want to do it, organisation of such a campaign can be extremely loose, relying purely on the results and the players creating much of the narrative as they go along. Others might want to spend weeks or months carefully planning the campaign in meticulous detail, so as to ensure that they leave no stone unturned; no eventuality unforeseen.

There are several different types of campaign system that can be incorporated into a narrative campaign, using ‘tree’ or ‘ladder’ sequences that form a structure for your games. It is important to mention that there are no set rules in how you design your own campaigns, but there will be rules to adhere to if you are playing in a narrative event organised by others.

There are a multitude of different possibilities in narrative campaigns. Whether you want a quick ladder campaign for two players, or an ongoing intergalactic event involving dozens of players, with narrative campaigns you can design and play an enjoyable series of linked games with evolving storylines that will hopefully live long in the players’ memories.

When all is said and done, it’s all about creating an enjoyable and memorable experience for everyone. It’s all about having fun!
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