The Awesome of Campaign Coins
You know about Campaign Coins, right? Those sweet metal coins that are all the rage. Back in 2007 or 2008, I bought a set of them — not sure what I’d do with them, but they looked cool. Here, let me show you.
Apologies for the quality — that’s taken with an iPhone camera in mediocre kitchen lighting. Still, they look pretty sweet, right?
When I got them, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with them. After all, they’re in different monetary denominations and in different styles. But then I worked on this little game called Mythender, which started to need a crapton of components. And the great thing about Campaign Coins: they have heft, they clink, and because they’re all differently shaped, you really notice that there’s a quantity in your hand or on the table. There’s an interesting psychological effect I’ve found on stackable items — how we’ll sort of lose track of how many is in a given stack — which you don’t have here because they don’t stack well. In short: they’re amazing for Might tokens.
If you’ve ever played in my Mythender games at a convention, you recognize the coins in the photo above — as well as the awesome ritual I do where I bring out coins by the handful and drop them onto one another, letting their clinking fill the room.
These are also great for Fate games. I remember one particular time when running a Dresden Files convention game that one player said “These are great! It’s like you’re handing me a Denarian coin!” I hadn’t clicked on that connection before, but once I did, my bag of coins took on an even grander life in my Fate games.
So, they’re awesome, and you should get them. Whenever I check out a new game store, I see if they have any coins I don’t have yet. But maybe you’re reading this and thinking “Ryan, you sold me on these years ago.” Fine, fine, let me drop something new for you. Like a new way to use them, boyo.
Random Encounter Generator, Campaign Coins Style
You’ll need an assortment of Campaign Coins and a bag of some sort to put them in that you can use for randomly drawing. Since there are so many different ones and could be for any sort of campaign or system, I’m going to just use some of the ones in my collection, and trust y’all to be smart. And I’ll make this for a Norden World-esque game.
[Update: I turned this into a one-page PDF.]
|The 1000 Sword coin represents a moment when the characters are tested by Mythic Norden’s alien sense of morality: one rare surviving mortal who has obtained a scrap of Mythic power will challenge the PCs rather than see them as allies in this hostile world. At first there’s talking — mainly posturing — but perhaps the moment can be solved peacefully. If not, though, this being is no minor threat.There are three such coins.|
|The 100 Demon coin represents a moment when the hordes of Mythic Norden make themselves known, either as the PCs happen upon a group of them or they happen upon the PCs while on march. Beware! There are so many that even if the characters are victorious in slaughtering many of them, some will run of to warn their vile brethren.There are two such coins.|
|The 10 Hammer coin represents a momentary windfall: a breather, a warm and sheltered place to rest. But that respite won’t last; if the PCs stay for too long, calamity will ensue.There are two such coins.|
|The 100 Axe coin represents a place of respite that is not unoccupied: another traveler is camping there, or one of Norden’s gentler spirits makes its home there. Taking time to rest and supply may require a bargain, or possibly even violence to ensure their safety.There are three such coins.|
|The Pirate coin represents a strange boon or bargain. The Mythic World could reveal what seems to be a shortcut, or some weaponry desperately needed, or even just food and water to sate the biting hunger and thirst. But there is always a catch, always a cost. Always.There are two such coins.|
|The 5 Anvil coin (the coin’s other face) represents a curious portent or premonition, one that surely will come to pass rather soon. The PCs have little time to prepare — what do they do?There is one such coin. (And yes, it’s more easily distinguishable than the others.)|
|The Skull coin represents utter doom, where a grave threat confronts the PCs on their quest to thaw Thor’s heart. But the other side of the coin is one of power; if they are victorious, the gains are vast and they make significant progress on their quest.There are two such coins.|
Alright, you put all of those into a bag, making a bag of 15 coins. You blindly then shake out around five coins into a box and close it, so you don’t know which coins aren’t in the bag. And then once you have a moment of story indecision, where the cold whim of chance dares to touch the faces of our heroes, one of the players draws from the bag, and the GM interprets that as needed.
It’s important that the players draw, not the GM. Maybe they can hope or feel around for a coin they want, but in the end whatever they pull is their own doing, not that of some random die roll or GM whim. They are the forgers of their own hell.
You always restart the bag on a new session, and if you play long enough to run out during a session, that’s a signal to bring the game to a momentary halt — end that session, or get a meal, or whatever. Let everyone process they story they’ve just played out.
Of course, you can do a lot with this dynamic. Here’s just one little implementation of the idea.
Enjoy! And seriously, check out Campaign Coins. They’re way awesome — the artifacts and the humans.