5 – Thematic Campaign Aspects (optional)3 min read

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About Thematic Campaign Aspects

Some groups may do this in addition to the Campaign Issues as aspects. You will only want to use Thematic Campaign Aspects if there is an aspect that truly saturates your campaign (over more than one arc) and that you would really like to reinforce it. Create no more that 2 aspects which help to reinforce the mood or thematic elements of the setting. Because they are aspects they may be invoked by the players or by the GM in an appropriate way.

A few ways to do this is:

  • talk about the campaign as a group and pick them
  • have the GM pick one that reinforces the campaign’s theme then the players pick one
  • allow the GM to pick both during the Storytelling and Campaign Planning proces

At some point you may change one as a major arc is completed in such as way that there is a fundamental change to the world – ritual stopped, the dark lord is defeated, the tainted artifact has been destroyed. These may be changed as apart of milestone advancement process. 

Sources For You Thematic Aspects

Thematic Aspects from Genre

You can use thematic aspects to reinforce your genre and to help bring it alive. The following examples may be more appropriate for a Cthuluesque campaign (suspense or horror) or other campaign with an atmosphere which is tainted by something not altogether friendly or of this world.

  • Terror Around Every Corner
  • Horror’s Wounds
  • Inky Shadows
  • The Elder Evils Call
  • They All Die in the End
  • Impish Sights

For a Space Opera campaign perhaps ‘Aliens are everywhere‘ to reinforce the unlimited plethora of aliens.

For a postapocalytic sand world like Mad Max you could use ‘Unrelenting Desert‘ or ‘Today is a good day to die.

Campaign Specific Themes

Some campaigns may have other themes which are appropriate to reinforce so that the mood and flavor is appropriate to the sort of game that they want to run.

  • Everyone is Replaceable
  • Dragonic Superiority
  • Lies Become Truth
  • Warp Fester
  • Magic Gone Wild
  • Survival at All Costs

Perhaps you were going to do a Michael Bay themed campaign, then perhaps you could use ‘All the things explode‘.

Fatesville Gaming Group

After some discussion, the group settled on two opposing Thematic Aspects. The first thematic aspect would empasize the dominance and the power of their draconic overlords and to help keep them in power. The opposing theme was to emphasize that the characters are trying to survive the tyranny no matter what.

  • Draconic Superiority
  • Survive at All Costs

Jeff was the one who suggested and leaned heavily on Draconic Superiority which would make it a stronger challenge for his magical dice, plus it reinforced that the dragons were really in charge not just by luck. Dan suggested the Survive At All Costs aspect which, to him, sort of suggested that living conditions for the non-dragons were really bad and to reinforce a level of desperation. He wanted to evoke a sort of not-quiet-concentration camp vibe. Tess was able to interrupt Sarah’s writing long enough to get her to print out a Campaign Creation Primer Worksheet so she could write all this down so she would have the tools be able to plan the game.