JP On Gaming

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Talking Interactives: The making of Opening Moves

I have been working on "Opening Moves", the NeoExodus interactive for Genghis Con. The original idea I've been toying with for a while, but the format and the details only took shape in late October. D'Anne, Linda and I got on a skype call and began talking about what we'd like to do.

I teased you with a few posts before here, here, and here. But today I won't be doing that. I'll talk about the way the adventure was developed and how we went from an idea to the final product.

First, "what are we doing"? I gave the ladies my first thoughts on what and how we would do it. This was a very high level overview "The Caneus Empire launches its Crusade against the Janus Horde." And go from there. War is something that is both a curse and a bane for authors. There is a LOT of adventure potential, assuming one does focus on the military aspect: seek and destroy missions, intelligence gathering, offensives, counter attacks, covert operation, etc. However, it can become stale. That is the danger we wanted to avoid.

Avoid having only combat encounters.

Avoid having too many role-play heavy encounters.

Find a balance for the event and make it exciting and new. So how to do it?

We discussed a number of things but eventually settled on a format that would allow the PCs to evolve through a complex adventure, make it multi-table (so the players can feel they are part of something bigger). How can we make this a trek into the lands of the Janus Horde that is both new and typical? So far, we've have a few adventures set in the lands of the Horde or that deals with them: Encounter at Ramat Bridge, Ruins of Trovaska, the PaizoCon 2012 Interactive Battle of Trovaska, and Shattered Peace... So there is a baggage of encounters there. The Horde's method of operation are known by players and GMs alike by now.

So we pitched a number of ideas, mixed typical encounters and new stuff we thought would make it interesting. The Horde got a number of write-ups in the Usual Suspect book so we shamelessly took opponents from that. I also went through books I currently have in production: The NeoExodus Players' Guide, a monster book whose WIP title is "Scions of the First Ones", and a book filled with GM resources and unique environments of Exodus (WIP title is bad but it's Magic of the First Ones).

With a list of combats, mini-encounters, RP encounters and yes, even foreshadowing of future adventures, I now had the task of finding a way to present this to the players in a coherent manner.

For the past week or so I've been hard at work trying to complete the adventure. It's coming along real well... and quickly too - always a plus for enthousiasm.

So, what do you, as players, have to look forward to?

Well first off throughout the interactive there are encounters, events, meetings, combats and locations we want to see what you will do? Will you ally with such-and-such? Will you let these people free? Will you fight that person? Will you listen to what NPC-A has to say? We won't tell you what these are, but by playing you will influence more than you might think.

Right now, we have split our encounters into 3 types:

The first is the "Super-Shorts". These encounters are small encounters requiring no more than a few minutes to set up and complete. They could be witnessing something, finding something, talking to someone, or a number of other events which are usually of a non-combat nature.

The second are the "Shorts". These encounters are mostly a straight combat encounter. The interactive is after all, a war. We have put a number of monsters in there, not just wave after wave of Hordesmen. I'll admit I was tempted to do so, but Sametia is wide and is home to many more things than just raging barbarians.

The third group of encounters are the "Longs". These encounters are likely to take longer to play. They could be larger fights, more involved role-play encounters, or even a two part encounter (if you do this then that). Long encounters may not be very long actually.

Also, we will have a few special Legacy Records (LRs) to reward some players who will do special things. We did that in LG and really liked being able to ask "did anyone slay the Troll General?" or "does anyone carry Lord Duncombe's banner?" These bits allowed for unique character stories, usually leading to additional information in adventures and sometimes recognition. One character really liked being the bannerman as he could wave the banner in any war scenario to give people bonuses. I still have to detail what these will be for the interactive. Okay I'm totally lying I know what I want to give out but I still have a few I am working on...

Looking at the almost 30 pages of material for the interactive (there is still a fair amount to polish), I believe this will really kick off the campaign in a positive way.

I think I already said too much...


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