Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Day 27: Plot Hooks

Here we are; Day 27. We're at another point in the exercise where sharing the development publicly is going to be tricky, or at least "spoilery" for anyone who would be PCing this campaign. It's also another day where the difference between "novel" and "campaign setting" are apparent.


If you don't have an outline, look at your plot hooks and see if you can group them together ("well, these all have something to do with goats...."). If you can, cluster them together and talk about the most interesting cluster when you start the novel on Monday. You may end up changing that beginning, but if those are the plot hooks that interest you the most, then those plot hooks are your plot. Surprise!
Well, the good news is I've got a pretty good idea on the first story arc of the campaign setting. A few things are going to be happening, and a lot is going to be going on concurrently to each other.  Here's a premise of events that will take place during...well, let's call it "Season One".
  • Blood Pirate attacks - sets tone for game
  • Drachon clan raids - sets tone for Drachon
  • Union does yet another sketchy thing - establishes that the Union is tainted at best, corrupt at worst.
  • New Danal Resistance gains momentum - PC action to determine if they're freedom fighters or a terrorist cell
  • Psychic PCs deal with "Psychic Council" - sets tone for psychics in the Stellar Garden (note to self - come up with cooler name than "Psychic Council")
  • Bathal Host arrives in the Stellar Garden - power shift and chaos introduced
  • PCs encounter prominent NPC that knows about the Bathal Host and their objective
  • PCs learn about magic from mysterious NPC - cornerstone for the campaign setting
  • Bathal Host Secret #1 revealed
  • Benefactor NPC Secret #1 revealed
  • Climax
  • Aftermath/End Season 1
Where Season 2 goes will depend greatly on where Season 1 ends, and the PCs actions there in.

I should start to consider how I'm going to run this game. I've got a few important points to consider.
  • The Rules - What system I use to tell this story is a huge factor. It will color how the story is told, and what the most important aspect to the PCs will be. Too tactical and it turns into a war game with plot. Too narrative and it turns into a "choose your own adventure" story. 
    • Settings I am interested in using; these are systems that I think could handle the game well for one reason or another. Nothing at this time screams out "USE ME!" as a catch-all/perfect-system, though.
      • Savage Worlds; open ended advancement, solid basic rules set, never run anything in it previously, odd combat/damage system (to my history of playing)
      • Starfinder; quite literally "Pathfinder In Space", it's the main reason I want to get out to GenCon 2017, as they'll have copies of it for sale there first. With it's integration of sci-fi and magical fantasy, this might be the perfect blending of what I need.  Uses a modified version of yee olde classic D20 rules, so comparable hit-points and skill check/armor class system I suppose. Limited advancement is likely, and probably has the same problems post level 10 as every other d20 system out there. GM Prep Time is likely to be high out of necessity.
      • Star Wars RPG (FFG); the system I am currently most familiar with. It's a solid system, but would require a lot of re-skinning and fudging to cover a few details. I've already played around with using the Star Wars systems for other settings (Fallout 4), and it seems to translate well. Using the Force Powers as a basis for Magic and Psionics actually could fit pretty well, too. It forces players to focus on a few tricks to be really good at or be broadly experienced with a bunch of minor abilities.  The open ended advancement system is appealing. Space and vehicle combat is incredibly deadly as written, though, and I'm not sure how well power armor and mecha would work in such a format.
      • Star Wars Saga Edition (WotC); Suggested by GM Chris while talking about it on the Order 66 Podcast, it's got potential. Another system I'm familiar with, I've got all the books for it, the Magic and Psionics system would translate fairly well with my ideas for magic and psychic powers. Familiar d20 system and a very free-form advancement path up to level 20. Space combat is decent, and regular combat is survivable.  I remember hours and hours of prep time for character groups over level 11, though, and it feels like a step backwards to me.  Then again, that might simply be because it's a D20 system.
    • Systems I have zero interest in using;
      • FATE; don't like it, can't stand it. It's too narrative for my tastes, too much hangs off your ability to shoe-horn in key words and troubles into your rolls. The dice annoy me the most, probably because of a nigh-flawless track record of being able to roll anything positive on them (usually end up rolling a wash, or worse). I know folks like it, and enjoy it, but that's not me.
      • GURPS; a classic game system, but one I'm not familiar with. I've also heard about an impressive amount of min-maxing is possible within the system, which is a turn off.
Sorry, that last one just slipped out there...
  • "Living World" - the idea that spawned this whole thing was "can I make a campaign setting interesting enough for others to use?" Which leads to the follow up question; would anyone want to use this setting? I've got a few friends in "the industry", and I've got something of an idea on how much work goes into creating a campaign setting. It's a lot, especially for a Party-of-One to tackle. 
    • If I was going something with as much background and history as Battletech or Forgotten Realms, I'd be in trouble. If I set it up to read more like what I've seen for FATE campaign settings, I may not need to be as thorough in the details, especially up-front. 
    • This leads to writing up "modules" for the setting, or at least writing up a lot of one-page "Adventure shorts"; modules with the gist of the adventure and what is happening in the Stellar Garden, but up to the GM to fill out the details and fit in their PCs.
    • This would make it somewhat difficult to plan for massive, setting altering events unless I decide they're going to happen anyway. I know a couple folks who did a lot of Living Star Wars, maybe I should talk to them about how they wrote the adventure campaign...
There are other points to consider, but this is starting to become a long post. Tomorrow looks like a fun day of brainstorming some of the left-out details about the setting. I could use that break from posts like today.

3 days left!

No comments:

Post a Comment