What is a Warhammer 40,000 campaign? If you want a proper definition, a campaign is a linked series of games to achieve a final victory which is more important than victory in the single battles (you know, if you lose some battles it doesn’t mean that you are going to lose the war). If you want to hear my opinion, instead, a campaign is the most exciting and fun way of playing that could ever be devised.
We cannot make further generalizations, however, for beyond this family resemblance (so the philosopher Wittgenstein would have called it) there is an endless ocean of possible declinations. There are at least as many campaign types as there are people running a campaign, and surely even more, for most of us find it impossible to stuff all their ideas and themes in a single campaign. So, my posts on the subject will not try to give a proper, rational and schematic set of rules or suggestions, but rather offer an open toolbox from which to freely choose any element you like to modify and integrate it in your campaign.
Almost every campaign, be it node- or map-based, decision tree-like or narrative, has some degree of underlying story in it. I usually like campaigns where the players have a certain degree of freedom and can shape the events to come with their choices and actions, actually creating a narrative during the games and between them. No war story, however, is complete without a list of heroes, warriors who distinguished themselves for their actions, or from whom great deeds were expected. And no hero is truly an hero if he ends the story without struggling, growing and changing to achieve his objectives. In the last campaign I run, we used some set of rules to represent these basic archetypes. As their combined length would be way too much for a single post, I will split them in three. Today I’ll begin with the basic rules for heroes, while in the following posts of this series I will expand upon them with the rules for gaining experience and for serious injuries.