Wednesday, 24 May 2017

A rather spiffing idea...

It suddenly struck me today that I might be a lot closer to achieving the objective of combining wargaming and roleplaying than I initially thought. It occurred to me that it is possible to offer a tiered campaign that uses an RPG setting and adventures to also generate tabletop wargame scenarios...

Such a combination is not all that outlandish. After all, the original Dungeons and Dragons grew out of a miniatures campaign, and a read through of the original World of Greyhawk boxed set will yield plenty of data on the armies of Greyhawk which would seem of little use of a dungeon master, but of interest to someone running a Greyhawk wargames campaign.

So my idea - to run a Middle-earth campaign using The One Ring system from Cubicle 7. However, the larger fights in the campaign would not be resolved using the TOR rules, but rather with the Lord of the Rings rules from Games Workshop. I'd just need to work out a formula for porting characters from TOR to the LotR Strategy Battle Game.

Plus, another consideration. Characters taking part in a tabletop skirmish would also have to acquire experience from their feats, hence there needs to be some way of translating events in the skirmish game into experience in the RPG. LotR as a game simulates the exploits of heroic individuals very well, and can also help ensure that player characters are less likely to get hewn down in the affray.

Finally, we also have the War of the Ring rules for any particularly large battles. By this I mean battles bigger than the skirmish game could handle in a few hours; again, WotR seems to be a good way to streamline a larger battle so that it can still be completed in an evening. A campaign would feature one or two of these at most.

If you go down to the woods today...

Initially I considered just dropping skirmish and battle scenarios in as events unrelated to the main plot, but then I realised that the detailed Wilderlands setting that Cubicle 7 has been describing has so much in-depth background, that any RPG campaign will easily toss up opportunities for bigger engagements. This gives the battles a little more context within the campaign - they are happening for a reason, player characters have a personal stake in their outcome, and the miniatures game will have a bearing on the wider conflict.

One of the things RPGs have never been very good at is the simulation of mass battles, and generally rules writers are tempted to wing them via abstractions that focus on the behaviour of the heroes while the rest of the battle rushes past in a blur. Having an action on the tabletop that could go either way and that will have an impact on the larger plot seems so much more interesting, and becomes a sub-game within the campaign as well.

Finally, The One Ring has the additional attraction of its sophisticated downtime system - characters have scope to develop important relations with the communities of the Mirkwood region over a period of years, and again, miniatures battles will fit seamlessly into this saga of their ongoing story.

I will need to devote some more thought to this, particularly to how characters in the RPG port into the miniatures game(s); an easy formula will be required, but we'll get there.


  1. Yup. Sounds good. All for it! I would have done the same for 5e vikings but don't have the wargaming resources you have to make it work. I look forward to reading your conversion notes!

  2. I want to play The One Ring again, this time with a more competent GM!

    I quite like GW's LotR wargame, so consider me signed up for this.