By Ivan Sorensen
Welcome to the second of a series of essays discussing the how and the why of Five Parsecs From Home. The aim of this series is to help shed more light into the design decisions that went into the game, both so people will understand them better but also to make it easier to make your own adjustments, house rules and hacks.
In this second installment, I am going to talk about the structure of the campaign and why it works the way it does.
The basic model of the campaign is very much based on long-running television and anime shows, particularly older shows before the season-long story-arc became the norm.
Each episode features roughly the same characters but sees them in a new adventure, dealing with the alien monster of the week or solving some sort of mission or problem.
Occasionally you get story arcs that last for several episodes before they are resolved and you resume the usual state of things.
This maps very well to the gameplay of Five Parsecs where each tabletop battle is another episode and we’re seeing what the crew are getting up to this week. The campaign and character tables fit into this as well, adding the “slice of life” events that usually surround the main action of the episode.
A fairly common question is why the encounters don’t link together more, to create a stronger narrative. In part it is because of the above reason, but part of it is also that Five Parsecs is at its heart a miniatures game and painting up strange creatures to fight for an encounter is part of the enjoyment as well.
There is of course no reason you can’t change up encounters to link together more strongly or create your own story tracks with predetermined foes, but from a miniatures gaming perspective, fighting a variety of foes is simply more interesting and fun.
So there you have it. Agree? Disagree? Do you want more randomness or more story? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org