The basic idea behind a Frankenstein Crisis campaign is that the main force of the campaign is the Frankenstein Crisis. While that campaign world might have a lot to it, chances are, it’s not going to go on forever. Eventually, characters either want to beat the robot hordes, be beaten by the robot hordes, watch the galaxy burn or whatever.
That being said, a Frankenstein Crisis campaign is set up to run 4 adventures long. That’s it. 4. The scope might be huge. It could take characters from one edge of the system to the other. It doesn’t matter: Four is it.
That being said, it’s possible to play multiple Frankenstein Crisis campaigns, but here’s the catch. There is no obligation to keep anything the same from campaign world to campaign world. Each Frankenstein Crisis campaign is its own game universe. So that, if the characters uncover that Dr. Utopia, the once great Archon gone rogue, is behind the entire Crisis, and the characters beat Utopia in the final battle, thereby freeing all of Prometheus from the tragedy of Zombie robots….well, on the reboot, there’s no obligation to believe that Dr. Utopia is still around or that he ever even existed. Maybe something else entirely is the reason for the Frankenstein Crisis this time. Maybe Dr. Utopia’s a good guy this go round.
So, that’s the first rule: 4.
Here are some example structures:
Low Competitive Structure
First adventure: what’s the problem? Characters encounter a challenge (Villain A), and through it, learn that there is a dilemma and that they have to get help, find out more, build something, go somewhere, whatever to deal with it.
Second adventure: En Route, the characters deal with a problem not directly related to the original dilemma, but in doing so, they make the wrong factions aware that something is happening. Let’s call these guys villain B.
Third adventure: Characters deal with solving the problem offered in the first adventure by contending with a new problem villain C. The trouble is mostly over, there’s just one last little thing that needs to be done.
Fourth adventure: Villain B swoops in to prevent the characters from doing the one little thing and to stir the trouble up again for their own benefit resulting in the boss fight/finale.
High Competitive Structure
First Adventure: Characters need something and so does villain A. The two compete to get through villain B.
Second Adventure: Characters learn that while characters are reaping the benefit of defeating villain B, villain A has found a way to be two steps ahead of the characters. Characters must do something to take away villain B’s advantage.
Third Adventure: In taking away villain B’s advantage, villain B has found away to take whatever benefit the characters got in the first adventure. Characters have to figure out how they did it and track them down.
Fourth Adventure: Characters find B in the midst of using whatever it is they gained. This results in a boss fight/finale for control.
Last Hopes and Rotten Backstabbers
Each campaign has one character who qualifies as a “last hope”—someone who has the power, by some fluke of fate, genetics, or whatever, to save the day. Each adventure has a particular goal for the Last Hope to accomplish. Often, the Last Hope character isn’t known at the beginning of the campaign.
At the same time, each campaign has a Rotten Backstabber—someone who is, by design or due to a character flaw, likely to screw everything up for the group. He’s not exactly a villain, but he is a fly in the ointment. Each adventure presents a single goal for the Rotten Backstabber to complete.
Because campaigns are limited, the game is not built around waiting to get 100s of XP. Each play session, yields 1-2 experience points. Each adventure yields 5-8.
Session: Everyone gets one. One person, determined by player vote, gets 2.
Adventure: Base 5. +1 if you are the Rotten Backstabber/Last Hope and you accomplish your goal. +1 if you are not the Rotten Backstabber but you determine who the Rotten Backstabber is. +1 if Challenges were difficult or required a whole bunch of non-combat that you helped with overwhelmingly (this can only go to half the party, determined by player vote). One person, determined by player vote, gets +1 as MVP.