Friday, December 3, 2010

Preparing for a First Crusades Campaign

Church history brings me back to my High School days, in my Opus Dei background. When I was young and naive and admiring the idea for killing for the sake of an Ideology.

After a lot of History research, Theological studies, Philosophy, Cognitive Studies and Science Books later I've come around a lot. Of course, nostalgia is that irrational programing that makes stuff that is, rationally, not-that-great unusually pleasurable.

There is no harm pretending to be a crusader and rationalizing killing innocent people for the sake of self-interested biased goals. Its kinda true that the most capable of the crusaders was the one which had no illusions of what they really were, Bohemmond.

GURPS crusades review.
My only critique about GURPS crusades was that it didn't have the BEST and most critically acclaimed sources on the matter, like Professor Harl and Zoe Oldenburg. So there is a slight cultural bias in the writing, unlike the two stated influences that have a journalistic approach. note that Professor Harl does both Archeological, Economic and Accounting Forensics to his approach. I find that his multiple points of evidence and proof gathering less theoretic and more factual. If you want to wash off the cultural bias I recommend purchasing his lectures in the teaching company (wait for their frequent sales).

What is the challenges going to be like?

Diplomatic/"Social Engineering" - In order to do this effectively, it should be easier to put faces to names. So I'll have to research all the named people (Zoe Oldenburg's Crusades has a entire Appendix dedicated to everyone every mentioned in all the accounts) and give them faces and their own CCG card (3.5"x2.5"). If I want the players to really RP interactions, I have to do this, and practice on some accents (and note them down on the Character Cards). No Stats, just general descriptors - if I made stats I'll be stuck forever... anyway its not like I'm being paid for this.

Mass Combat and City Stats. GURPS crusades gives me a working list. Zoe Oldenburgs book has a LONGER list, so I'll, obviously, defer to the one that requires less time. I'll have to use GURPS City stats for towns (which means having to purchase it... I'm having problems justifying its usefulness since it seems only the Military Resources have any use). Good thing I've made some Army Templates before, it's somewhere here. GURPS mass combat will minimize the wargaming aspect (which is slower resolving). Because an Army is a "crocodile farm" (I guess this is a philippine metaphor for a high overhead asset) it will add some needed dimension and motivation (an army creates a Sunk Cost effect). Hopefully the PCs will "least likely" min/max their melee abilities when it quickly meets diminishing returns in their ability to win mass combat, and Cities/Towns/Fiefs are tangible assets PCs can view as worth winning.

Character Creation. I've deviated from the GURPS concepts when I got into my studies, I have to address my perceived faults in the system without going too far and quiet that nagging voice in my head. I plan to make Character Creation a Path based system (with random elements) instead of Character Points. If I can only make it a program, I would (but I'm not that skilled in Spreadsheet). The idea is to remove as much of the "game" concepts as possible and inject more of story elements and personal motivations.

Between two blogs. MyByzantine Blog and Game in the Brain... meta game rants will be in GitB while the material will have to go to My Byzant.

Things to Do.
  • Make the CCG cards templates for NPCs and Cities
  • Post the list of cast in the Byzantine Blog
  • Post the List of places starting from the GURPS Crusades
  • Find a way to organize the Armies. I guess Each Card is a basic group element (10 person squad) and I can borrow some art from Deviant for my personal game (I can do the myself but who's paying me to?). Try to keep them generic and details on equipment only show up in small skirmishes. I think the Details/Differences are minute to reflect only the favored Strategies (Decisive Shock and Force for the Franks, Endurance and Shadowing warfare for the Levantines, none for the Greeks since they depend on mercenaries)
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