As I wrote yesterday for the past few months or so I’ve been running a D&D 4e campaign. I haven’t been as thrilled with it as I had initially hoped for. The fault ultimately lies with myself. One of the things that made my previous Cthulhu campaign so much fun was the interactions that the PC’s had with the world and NPC’s they met along the way. You just don’t get that many meaningful interactions in a dungeon crawl, and thus far it’s been a real crawl. Pace wise it’s taking forever to complete the mission the group was hired to accomplish. Like I said my fault as I should have done things differently and have been more focused in my design. But lets face it, the game is called Dungeons & Dragons after all!
As I began to consider aborting this cluster fuck of a campaign I went back through my old notebooks for ideas on running my next great campaign. One of my unrealized rpg dreams has been to run a campaign with major cyberpunk themes running through it. So when I came across an entry I had scribbled about an elite police force called P.A.L.A.D.I.N. my imagination went into over drive. The idea was basically inspired by anime shows like Ghost in the Shell, Appleseed, A.D. Police, and Bubblegum Crisis. The thinking being that the PC’s would play what boils down to modern day knights in shining mecha armor.
My concept revolved around the idea of the PC’s taking on the role of an elite mechanized swat team. The over arching plot would be to confront the escalating threat of the drug cartels in a city rotting from crime and corruption. I really like the implications of running a police drama campaign. For instance I like the police station as an easy way of handing out missions. Yet at the same time having lots of potential for numerous conflicts outside of investigating and combating crime. There are all sorts of other personal and political conflicts that could engage the PC’s attention. Best of all in my opinion is that by having all the PC’s beginning as members of a team you don’t have any of that awkward, how did you all meet, or motivation for going on an assignment business to worry about. Presumably the teams collective goals will coincide most of the time, thus having less reasons for the team to split up as well.
It’s said that when your trying to sell a TV series one of the best things you can do is come up with a compelling logline to capture the essence of what your series will be about. This is the logline I might use to sell this campaign idea to my current group:
From the cockpits of armored fighting machines, an elite police task force fights a desperate war against pervasive and bloodthirsty drug cartels in a bid to reclaim a city gripped by crime and corruption.
The more I think about it the more I dig it. It might even be interesting to explore doing some kind of a D&D 4e rules hack that could make for some intense mech combat.