A new narrative campaign is taking place at Stormcrow Games in Lubbock TX, USA, from May 10th to June 20th, and it is a hybrid event where folks online can contribute to the outcome of the event!
Curse of the Fell Dragon is a Path to Glory campaign where armies are vying for control of an underworld in Shyish called Drakengrad, and align with one of two alliances: the Free City of Drakheim or the Cult of the Fell Dragon itself.
“Lying just beyond the Prime Innerlands of Shyish, Drakengrad used to be home to great and terrible draconic godbeasts. Despite the creatures’ extermination in The Age of Chaos, the peoples of Drakengrad still wander under their influence. With the dawning of the Era of Beasts, one of these monstrous dragons is poised to rise again… While forces mortal and Stormcast scour the Realms in search of a weapon which might spare them the wrath of the vengeful Fell Dragon, the Cult now seeks to amass the last resources it needs to summon forth an avatar of their god from their stores of Ghurish amberstone.”
To play the campaign, players both local and online choose Path to Glory Quests to fulfill, each of which counts as tipping the scales of the conflict toward a particular faction. The Quests can be fulfilled by playing Path to Glory games and making a battle report, or by submitting short stories or model photography with narrative storytelling (a format popularized by Animosity Campaigns), so everyone can participate even if they can’t make a game that week.
All the campaign content, Quests and player participation is managed through The Great Weave, which acts as a platform where everyone can read the background lore and see everyone else’s submissions.
We chatted with the lead NEO for the event, Kenzie McKeever (Keza#2929 on Discord), about what players can expect from it.
Q: Please summarize the event for us, and what players can expect.
A: In this event, players will play Path to Glory games (or submit short narratives if they can’t play that week) over six weeks, in each week choosing which side they want to support—The Free City, the Cult of The Fell Dragon, or go unaligned. They’ll let me know what happens, I’ll come up with a summary of what all happens, and we’ll move into the next week.
Nothing super complex when it comes to custom mechanics; just a lot of lore to try and motivate players to interact with the broad narratives of the campaign and develop their own stories. I’m hoping it ends up being accessible to newcomers to the hobby and narrative gaming, since that part of the wargaming community’s been dormant for some time.
Q: Tell us a bit about how the players’ experience with Path to Glory is going, and how the system helps facilitate the campaign.
A: The campaign uses pretty much the basic rules for 3rd Edition’s Path to Glory and its expansions, to try and make it as easy for people to play out as possible, without also having to remember a bunch of extra stuff. The one thing I added was something called “Campaign Quests”, which you can take in addition to your Quest for Path to Glory. Involvement with Campaign Quests tells me whose side you’re on this week in the narrative, making it (in theory) easier for me to track.
We’ve only been going for two weeks, but I’m pleased with the engagement from members of my local community. The simple narrative framework of the two major sides in the conflict (as well as the option to go unaligned) seems to have done its work in giving players a point of reference in coming up with the narrative for their own games and armies. Path to Glory, I think, is a fun system to manage week-to-week, and it doesn’t seem to have been too much trouble for people to figure out.
Q: Players are split between two alliances in this campaign, both locally and for online participation. How do players in the same team interact with each other (especially with the online component), and how do you balance the number of players/participation in each team to make sure they both have a fair chance of winning?
A: Unlike a bigger, more formalized event like Animosity Campaigns, players on the online side aren’t in a shared space (ie. a Discord server) where they can communicate with fellow members. It’s not a “team” campaign, and in this small-scale instance, I think that’s for the better, as it lets players feel more comfortable playing with whoever’s available rather than having to manage who all’s on what team. The sort of on-the-fly storytelling that emerges when two players are across the table and sort of have to spontaneously create an idea for what’s happening in-narrative I also think is a way more fun way to go about it, rather than it all being part of a meticulous plan cooked up in an allegiance’s chat earlier that week.
I, uh, don’t really have a complex mathematical algorithm that crunches the numbers to tell me who wins that week and I’m not sure this campaign’s competitive enough to the point where who “wins” and “loses” matters much in the same way. Again, the broad narrative of Drakengrad serves as a framework for players to do their own thing within; I think I’ll just take stock of what all stories and summaries I’m given and sort of creatively synthesize a way for all the conflicts to resolve that make sense and leave room for future conflict. Is it the best and most fair system for determining outcomes? No, and I know that, but what matters most to me is not crafting the most robust campaign system, or the best story, but rather making sure people are having a good time playing within that story, win or lose. I want to react to what players give me.
Q: Are you introducing any narrative special rules now and again, in battleplans and such, connecting to the environment of Drakengrad or and plot elements?
A: The biggest thing I’ve added, as stated before, are the “Campaign Quests” which mostly exist to give me a way to track who’s on what side, and give a little bit of extra Glory and Renown for those who engage with the story.
I’ve considered going back through 2E supplements which heavily featured Shyish and Realmscape Rules for all sorts of locations to adapt to create the feeling of being in Drakengrad or having specific battleplans, but as of the second week, my foremost goal is just making sure people understand how the bare bones of the campaign and its story work, and judge how receptive my group might be to additional layers like Realmscape Rules or a special battleplan.
This is my first time organizing an event, and my local AoS’s community first time being part of a narrative event, so I’m trying to keep it simple for people new to the game as a whole and new to Narrative Play. I do, however, think I will see about digging out a thematic battleplan as the campaign gets closer to the end, just to create more of a connection on the tabletop with the “main” plot, and of course, I really want to end the whole thing with a Gathering of Might game, but a lot of that will come down to what the community feels they’re ready to handle. Age of Sigmar’s a complex game; if I can limit the amount of additional stuff for people to remember, but still create a fun, fluffy experience, then I think I’ve done my job well enough for this first outing.
Q: How has been your experience using the Great Weave to power your campaign, as a repository for information and lore as well as being a platform for players to submit content?
A: For me, functioning as a GM, I’m not sure what I’d do without it. Having the Discord as a well of other NEOs to draw on, as well as an example of what to do in The Hungering Steppe campaign hosted on the site, is what motivated me to think I could handle organizing Curse of The Fell Dragon in the first place. In terms of serving as a repository for all the lore for the campaign, it’s a bit of a godsend, providing already established categories for me to put my things into, which really helps my occasional paralysis when it comes to organizing my stuff.
For my players, it’s been moderately successful? Most, if not all, the players got me something in the first the week, but I’ve heard the website for them has not been super easy to navigate and figure out. I’ve been helping and encouraging all I can, but I leave the option open to have ‘em just DM me on Discord with a short little write-up of whatever their army did this week. I am hoping, though, that I can motivate some of the local crowd to post their write-ups to the site, and perhaps use The Great Weave in organizing future events.
Q: What would you like to say to players out there, to motivate them to join you in more narrative play in West Texas?
A: For as new as narrative play is to the scene here in Lubbock and I am to properly organizing it, it’s something I’m super passionate about and want to work to provide to the community. So far, the impromptu storytelling experiences I’ve had at the table have been some of the most fun I’ve had playing Warhammer period, so even if you’re new, been out of the game since Fantasy, or been playing since launch, I recommend coming out or contacting me. We’ve got a great good of people already more than willing to help you out, and I’m usually around to talk all things lore—canon or custom.
Thank you, Kenzie!
We will be following the campaign online, so please post lots of pictures on social media!
You can find the Campaign Rules page here for more details.
You can participate and engage with the other players in the campaign even if you live far away, or are still in lockdown!
What do you think about this event?
Do you have any questions for the NEO, especially how to set up a hybrid local/online campaign?
Leave your comments below!