JP On Gaming

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Writing the NeoExodus Adventure for PaizoCon

As of yesterday, I officially started to work on another painting and writing project. Recently I’ve been neglecting my painting (as proof, I offer the 4 dried paint pots I opened first, grumbled, then moved on to the next). While I had a few characters to paint, including female pirates, samurais, pathfinder goblins and the Plains Indians drying for months there already.

On Tuesday night, I was talking with Louis Porter. Louis had just secured his PaizoCon table and rooms. He was all excited about setting up a table and running a NeoExodus adventure. Of course, by the time Louis talked to me, his mind was already made up that I would run and write the adventure in question! I wonder why I was not surprised! As soon as I read his email that he would have a table to run things there, I knew, just KNEW, that he would ask me to run a NeoExodus adventure.

His initial thought was to run the yet-unpublished “Origin of Man” adventure I wrote for him a while ago. Although “Origin of Man” is a great introduction to NeoExodus, the adventure was definitely written to be played as a long, unfolding story, really a home-game adventure. Not great for convention play. So I had to go back to my drawing board.

I’ll admit I drew a blank.

An annoying blank.

I mean NeoExodus has SO many good plot elements. So many cool things to introduce. So many unique villains. So many great locations. I was the victim of too many good choices! I needed to narrow down my choices.

So I wrote the constraints and goals that I had:

  • It was to be run as a Convention adventure, so it had to fit into a 4-hour time slot.

  • It had to be an introduction to NeoExodus. Therefore I really should focus on 2.5-3 hours to allow me time to present the world, the particularity and the characters.

  • The adventure has to showcase how NeoExodus should be played (in our common vision).

  • I want the adventure to contain some action, but also some more story elements. I mean, the adventure has to showcase enough elements that make the setting unique without drowning a newcomer under a thousand pages of background and history.

  • Visual presentation is important. Having well-painted miniatures really add to the visual draw. How many times have you walked around a con and stop to look at a game/ book just because they had a cool piece of art OR they had a unique display OR a smoking-hot booth girl? I stopped. I looked. I asked questions. I even bought things I was not interested in! I can’t do art (to the level of a good artist). I am not a smoking-hot girl (only in my dreams). But I can write and paint minis.

  • Although the adventure is really targeted to be run at PaizoCon, the adventure will also be run other places. So it needs to be well-written. In other words, I don’t plan to simply put a few notes down on a sheet of paper and run the adventure off-the-cuff with just that.

  • With that in mind I am putting together some elements I think are particularly cool about the setting.

    Location: Find a location that is suitably interesting. After much thought, I went with the Protectorate/Janus Horde border. It’s got a lot of adventure potential and presents two very unique cultures of NeoExodus: the Vikings-turned-construct builders Armans and the civilization-rejecting Sametian. Two populations that had an opposite evolutions and who are currently in direct conflict with each other.

    Conflict: As if the location did not already put a lot of adventure potential, I had to think of a conflict that would get new players immediately involved.

    The new NeoExodus Campaign setting expands upon this location by introducing a new faction active in the area, the followers of the Emissary and an elite group known as the Phoenix Guard. Will the Guard appear? I don’t know yet, but their existence should be something that lurks just outside the adventure – if they are not directly involved in the adventure that is.

    NPCs: I love to see recurring NPCs. NeoExodus has few of them thus far… though Origin of Man has one or two I may use. I’ll have to research that.

    Miniatures: After a few trips to Ebay later and I became the proud owner of a collection of War Machine war jacks. Since I did not plan to use them for WM, I did not really care which faction they were. War jacks are, let’s be honest, the thing that first brought people to War Machine… Those big dreadnought-like things rumbling around the battle field just look good.

    Buy-in: The buy-in is what brings the PCs into the adventure, why they agree to put their lives on the line. That part I have not yet figure out.

    So this is what I now have to work with. This is a “total hobby project”. I have minis to paint. I have an adventure to write. A lot of work, but work I like doing, pressure is good. Since I have a few months, I can start at a slow pace and gather steam as work ramps up.



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