The Red Box Blog

Ramblings about D&D.

5 Reasons Why I Love War Campaigns

Maybe its just that I’m trying to fill the void left from having abandon rpgs that were built around wars – I was once a huge WEG Star Wars gamer, and an avid player of Robotech – or maybe its just that my love of war games finally spilled over into D&D, but more and more I seem driven to make campaigns that center around war.

I have made campaigns that take place during the build up to a war, campaigns that take place during a war, campaigns that take place in the after math of a war, and campaigns that center around investigating an ancient war. Why do I seem to play to that more and more? Well, here’s my short list.

1. Wars are Big

The smallest wars might involve two city states, while the largest might engulf a planet (or a galaxy in sci-fi games). But even the smallest of wars are really big relative to the scale of rpgs. A party of adventurers cannot hope to stop an enemy force with brute force alone. This difference in scale can drive the story forward as the PCs search for a way to stop the enemy.

"Death! Ride, ride to ruin and the world's ending!"

2. Wars are Understood

Everybody knows what wars are. Everybody understands what was horrors wars bring with them. While having a villain using an ancient artifact to open interdimensional portals as the center piece of your campaign requires explanations – war is self explanatory.

3. Wars are Very Compatible

One of the great things about a war based campaign is that they lend themselves to almost any kind of adventure; just about any plot you can imagine can be somehow tied to a war.

4. The Military

Whether the PCs are in the military or not, all the benefits of a military campaign can be reaped in a war based campaign because the military will be omnipresent. Stories and information can very fluidly be brought to the players with nary a raised eyebrow; for some reason milking the cliche starts to military adventures is not frowned upon in the same way milking the cliche starts to mercenary adventures are.

5. Wars are Scalable

One of the best things about wars is they offer adventures to low level and high level adventurers alike; story arcs can begin and end where it seems best with no concern for the party becoming too high a level for that arc – there is no such thing as too high a level in a war campaign.

Have an opinion about this article? I love comments. Please feel welcome to leave your thoughts.


November 12, 2010 - Posted by | RPGs | , ,


  1. Howdy Red DM! I dig war settings as well, and I really think that 4e could use a battle system. I just found your blog and read through a few posts and plan to read a lot more. I like that you’re blog is much more conversational about D&D rather than being another advice blog.

    Comment by Todd E. Grady | November 12, 2010 | Reply

    • Thanks, I hope you enjoy.

      Comment by The Red DM | November 12, 2010 | Reply

  2. […] realised that there is one very important and pervasive aspect of war that I have never seen in a war campaign – an arms […]

    Pingback by A Fantasy Arms Race « The Red Box Blog | December 8, 2010 | Reply

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