Battlestations is great for one-off missions. You can advance your characters and have a great time with a minimum of bother between sessions. The stars really sparkle when you create a campaign. This runs exactly the same as for one-off missions with a little extra story arc helping to drive the drama. Other Battlestations books have great campaign systems built in.
The campaign system here assumes a galactic civil war between factions within the Universal Republic. The heroes choose one side (rebel or republic) and the other side is run by the Enemy. There are four campaign indicators indicating the progress of each side in advancing their agenda toward an eventual victory. The indicators are affected by the mission results that in turn modify future missions and ultimately allow for victory for either side. If the heroes win a victory mission, the campaign is a success. If they fail an enemy victory mission, the campaign is a failure.
Each campaign turn will have some added complexity but it will add texture to the campaign that is well worth a modicum of bookkeeping. The heroes choose from two available missions each campaign turn. Each one will affect a different campaign indicator.
The Enemy selects two missions by choice or at random (see the chart on page 299). To each mission you will assign an indicator by rolling a die.
Randomly determine the indicator for one mission first and then randomly determine the indicator for the second mission.
If the same indicator is randomly chosen for the second mission, the enemy gets their choice of which indicator to make it (different from the first).
Each time a side succeeds at a mission, they advance that indicator by one.
The mission that the heroes do not choose counts as an automatic loss for them. The enemies advance the indicator of missions that the heroes fail. Thus, if the heroes choose mission A (that happens to be Scientific) and eschew mission B (Political), the enemies will advance Political immediately and also advance their Scientific indicator if the heroes fail their mission.
These represent the far-reaching effects of the individual missions that the heroes attempt.
Note that there is not a specific indicator for each mission. Instead, apply indicators by die roll after you determine the mission. Tailor the mission briefing to make the random campaign indicator make sense. Rescuing scientists is likely to advance your science indicator. Destroying enemy military bases should raise your military indicator. If the mission is supposed to be political, make the rescued scientists into dignitaries. Those military bases might just be factories instead if the indicator is economic.
Raising a campaign indicator grants the heroes' side a benefit based on the indicator as follows:
|INDICATOR||HEROES BENEFIT PER LEVEL (CUMULATIVE)|
|Military||+1 on all requisitions|
|Science||+1 on all upgrade attempts|
Thus if the heroes raise their science indicator to 3 and economic to 2, they will get +3 on upgrade attempts and +20% pay.
Similarly, the enemy gets a bonus when they get their indicators up.
|INDICATOR||ENEMY BENEFIT PER LEVEL|
|Economic||Number of enemy modules upgraded|
|Military||Number of enemy characters with all equipment upgraded|
|Political||All enemies are 1 Rank higher/2 levels (round up)|
|Science||Add this number of bonus Plot Twist cards|
When either side has an indicator up to a level of 5, they are eligible for a victory mission.
The heroes may choose to take a victory mission when they have an indicator up to level 5. In this case, they declare the first mission option is a victory mission in the category they qualify for. The other mission is of the enemies choice and of course, the enemies win at it.
Don't go for your victory mission too soon, though. The heroes will be at a penalty based on the indicators they have not brought up to at least level 2 according to the following chart. This chart applies only for the heroes' victory mission.
|INDICATOR||LEVEL 0 PENALTY||LEVEL 1 PENALTY|
|Economic||+8 bonus enemies aboard an enemy vessel||+4 bonus enemies aboard an enemy vessel|
|Military||+2 size enemy ship||+1 size enemy ship|
|Political||All enemies are 2 Ranks higher||All enemies are 1 Rank higher|
|Science||+2 MD||+1 MD|
If a victory mission for the heroes ends in success, the campaign is successful. Award each hero double experience, prestige and pay for the final mission.
Use the ledger below to track the indicators for both heroes and enemies. Add the unchosen indicator to the enemy indicators. Add the chosen indicator to the enemy indicators if the heroes fail the chosen mission.
As soon as the enemies qualify for a victory mission, they will attempt it. If they fail, they will attempt one every other campaign turn until the end of the campaign. When the enemy is attempting a victory mission, there is no “other” mission that the heroes fail.
Each time the enemy victory is thwarted, the MD for their future victory missions goes up by one. That's right, the heroes can't just wait around until they get all their ducks in a row before going for their own victory mission.
If the heroes fail at an enemy victory mission, the campaign ends in failure for the heroes.
If both the heroes and the Enemy qualify for a victory mission, the heroes may opt first to select it unless they attempted a victory mission on the previous campaign turn.
Assuming the heroes are successful, big rewards, smiles and medals for the heroes. If the campaign was a failure, the heroes might become rebels against the new order.
Either way, you should consider another campaign or a campaign book for them to move onto either continuing the same or new characters.
During playtesting we generally don't get characters above Rank 9 but that doesn't need to stop you.