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Mortal Realms of Chaos: Lost and the Damned Narrative Campaigns for the Modern Enthusiast

I am hoping to revisit some of the Realm of Chaos scenarios that inspired me as a kid, but this time with the benefit of cutting edge 2018 playing card technology.

This autumns plan is to have a new force ready to play a short Age of Sigmar: Path to Glory campaign, using Firestorm to add another layer of story to the games.  This will be, without any doubt, the cats pyjamas.

My gaming buddies and I have lots of plans and ideas for how to approach the campaign, which I hope to share here in future.  For now however, this post is about only a small part of the plan.  A brain fart, if you will.

I really enjoy the early part of a new miniatures project, the research stage.  Looking at new material on the subject and re-examining old material is very pleasant.  While digging around I re-visited some Realm of Chaos: The Lost and the Damned scenario previews in White Dwarf #113 (1989).

The Narrative Campaign scenario tables fired up my thirteen year old imagination back then an awful lot.  I decided to look at those elements again, with a view to adapting the scenarios so that I could play them with more appealing ruleset.

The Realms of Chaos books are fantastic things, full of all sorts of ideas and amazing concepts to fire the imagination. They are however, more like a coffee table books on a narrow aspect of miniature wargaming, than actual working rulebooks.  Great books, but not a great ruleset to play.

The LatD: Narrative Campaign scenarios were designed to be more of an inspiration than actually played as written, as stated in the book.  Regardless, those specific scenarios have a definite nostalgic appeal to me, so I want to play games fairly true to those scenarios as written.

While I could rewrite each scenario, adding mechanical gaming information that was not originally included and converting the rules that were provided to AoS, it would be a lot of work.  The scenarios would also be untested.

Similarly, while it isn’t beyond my abilities to write a gaming scenario from scratch that is thematic, enjoyable and well defined, it takes significant time and effort.

Reinventing the wheel is daft.  A modular solution is better.

The best ideas are often things that look like they should have been invented decades earlier.  The Open War deck for AoS is that sort of idea.

Watch this four and a half minute video if you want to see how the deck works normally (it’s a video for the 40k version of Open War rather than the AoS version, but the decks are close to identical).

What the Open War deck provides in addition to the use illustrated in the video, is a modular set of conditions that can be superimposed on many narrative scenarios, easily and consistently.

Combining the Open War cards with the scene setting Narrative Campaign text from The Lost and the Damned  *should*  provide an easily referenced, roughly balanced scenario (or as close as is desirable in this context) quickly and straightforwardly, in addition to keeping the flavour of the lovely old descriptions.

Still reading?  Well done.

Here is the first example of what I mean, thrown together on my desk at work at 0755hrs this morning:

The scenario as it appears in The Lost and the Damned.

Open War Cards.
Deployment, Objective (The Prize), Ruse (one per player, Outflank, Inspiring Speech) and Twist (Dead of Night) cards.

I used some artistic licence.  I didn’t include a Sudden Death card as I didn’t think that it was necessary, but other scenarios will likely use them as appropriate.  But its as simple as that.  I think that it will work with limited fuss

I plan to try this out reasonably soon, but in the meantime I might map out some other scenarios that appeal.

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21 Responses

  1. Oh this looks pretty cool. I’ll be following this project with interest. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do think that its something that might appeal to you in particular airbornegrove26. Campaigns are always where the best hobby meat is.

      Like

  2. Good thinking mate, should make for a tidy set of games with minimum faff – let us know how it goes!

    Liked by 1 person

    • As hobbies go, this one can feature a *lot* of faff. No harm in trimming some out where possible.

      Updates on this sort of thing wont be blow by blow, but I will note progress here.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The old RoC books aren’t really THAT unworkable or broken in my opinion. There were only two main issues that we had with the mechanics:

    One was that you could end up with wildly unbalanced warbands right from the start, making for a pretty straightforward turkey shoot for the more powerful player.

    Two, during the campaign the balance would shift starkly in one or two players favour. Either by the other players having their champions crippled with shitty “gifts” or by too many casualties.

    Admittedly that doesn’t make for a long or enjoyable campaign. But the first issue was easily fixed with a bit of common sense between the players. We would just make sure that after we’d finished rolling up our warbands that they looked kinda equal in strength. If not and we’d allow the weaker players to have another roll on the chart or if there was one player that was too powerful they’d remove something.

    This was kinda normal for us, coz nobody wants to play in a game, let alone a campaign, where you have no chance of winning right from the get go. We all wanted the opponents warband to be worthy adversary as well.

    The second problem with the mechanics would end up taking care of itself. Because we’d all started off with fairly equally warbands we were assured a good amount of battles before it became obvious that someone was the winner. Sometimes we’d all agree that X player won that campaign. Other times we’d keep playing coz it was funny to see all of our crippled warbands trying to duke it out.

    Just realised that I’ve written a massive reply, which is more of a rant against your idea 😀 Sorry for hijacking your post Paul. I’d be keen to hear your thoughts on the points that I made though.

    Cheers mate 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Its on topic Mr P, definitely. Massive replies are welcome too, if you want 🙂

      One) The rules that we plan to use are more balanced with regard to force generation/selection than RoC. It allows us to plan our forces without fuss and get on with painting them in advance of the games, knowing that they will be approximately equal in power level. That removes all of that faffing around that you guys did before you even started back in the day.

      Two) That’s less about the system involved than how long players want the campaign to last. We will be setting a limit on the number of games that we think is appropriate. It is always better to finish a short campaign than to let a longer one fizzle out.

      There are many, many obstacles in the way of getting miniature games played. Finances, geography, work, families, health, and time all kick in before you roll a dice or pick up a brush. The fewer impediments between the images of fantasy campaigns in my head and the day when I actually play those games with painted miniatures with mates, the better.

      Third edition WHFB is cumbersome mechanically. Add the beautifully themed but poorly designed shenanigans in RoC to that and the unwieldy mess left is nothing like the sort of game that I want to play. Game design has improved since 1990.

      Will my upcoming campaign be mechanically perfect? No.

      Will there be far fewer obstructions between the idea and the execution of the idea? You bet.

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  4. I love it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Stu’s pleasant demeanor combined with his smart watch matching the color of his stylish glasses really makes me want to buy those cards.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha ha!

      Stu is the “Face Man” of the GW A-Team. He can sell refrigerators to eskimos.

      That said, the cards are a decent investment regardless.

      Like

  6. Following this with a lot of interest as I’m a huge fan of narrative gaming. You’ve been super productive on the posting front lately, really nice to catch up on your hobby goings-on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m trying to integrate blogging back into the process Mikko. It had slipped to the side in favour of painting and gaming for a while, which, as far as reasons not to blog about painting and gaming go, are pretty good reasons.

      I had a think about what the blog is actually for, nine years since I started it. I decided that in order to make a clear decision on it and its future, it needs to be at a decent output level, comparable to it’s average.

      The recent push has been to get it cranked up again. I have no shortage of painted things to post either, I just need to make the time to photograph them and write posts about them…

      The Autumn campaign will be fun. I’m really looking forward to it.

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  7. I agree with you and think the AoS rules are a great fit for the LaTD vibe. Looking forward to seeing more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The loose formation style of AoS immediately majes more visual sense to me. Four beastmen or the like forming a rank looks ridiculous.

      My Nurgle warband will be using modern rules and a mix of old and new models. The idea of era purity in terms of models doesn’t interest me much (assuming that the design/scale doesn’t clash too much).

      Similarly, I want the rules that I use to be the ones that I think work the best.

      It’s good see a sensible approach from the more level headed types like yourself Riot. There are a lot of people out there carrying some serious baggage around with them, about Warhammer for crying out loud 😀
      I try to keep my toy soldiers about having fun.

      Like

  8. You had me at “Narrative Campaign”. I think it’s bizarre that the GW 40k fols were so reluctant to push the use of the Open War cards. Most Local Tourneys use them exclusively now because of the ease of setup and simpler victory conditions. (I am NOT a Tourney player, and I don’t play one on TV) But just like you point out, they really sing when you use them to codify a narrative scenario.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As you know, narrative elements in tabletop gaming are critical for my enjoyment Guiscard. There is often a misconception that having consistent rules for for facilitating narrative gaming somehow has less merit than making things up on the fly. Which is, obviously, poppycock.

      Having consistent, modular rule elements do the opposite in fact. Puklp Alley is a good example of a ruleset that standardises concepts like that. The standardisation allows the mechanical aspect of the rules to fade into the background, while players can focus on telling the story and making each other laugh.

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  9. I’ll be following this with interest. I too spent many long teenaged hours rolling on the many Realms of Chaos tables and then seeing our hopelessly unbalanced warbands mangle each other.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I never played a warband campaign based on the original RoC rules Argentbadger, but the appeal of the concept was (and is) huge. It’s why I’m still interested in it thirty years later I suppose.

      Fingers crossed that this works out feeling like the original concept, but actually playing a little more smoothly.

      Like

  10. That is an interesting product that should prove pretty useful. It had occurred to me to make cards from the Rogue Trader scenario lists. I also just recently found some Necromunda Event cards that I had forgotten about. Much to ponder, I’ll be keeping an eye out for how this progresses.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Rogue Trader scenario lists are in a very similar vein to the LatD Narrative Scenario lists Sean. The Open War cards would work very well for those too I think.

      I can think of a few extra, slightly more specific cards that could be added to the Open War deck, but in some ways I think that might actually be counterproductive: the cards are likely best kept generic and the “-1 Movement” or similar explained away by the scenario text and players themselves to suit the game.

      I printed out a set of the Necro Event cards when they were first printed, but I don’t think that I ever used them. Lots of plans, but not nearly enough time. The Necro Events cards are similar in some respects though: a nicely codified way to add theme to the game with minimum hassle.

      Like

  11. Well looking forward to seeing this develop mate.

    Liked by 1 person

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