Saturday, 17 October 2009

Dealing With The Details. (The Writer's Plight.)

So, another week goes past and the module advancement counter hardly moves. What's going on you may ask? Well, the answer is that I am working on the module (when my health permits), and I am still making progress. However, with every step I make, I am also making sure it does not break something I have already done ... or ... I am making sure there are no errors in what I have already done. Therefore, while it may appear I am taking some time over this project, the good news is that the degree of testing required in the end, should hopefully be minimal. :) Here is an example of the kind of thing I am talking about:

A Simple Conversation?

While working on a conversation the player will have with an NPC, I had the need to check into a crafting option they might need to make. This led to finding an error in a 2da table where the same item could be crafted with a choice of two spells. This led me to discover I had not updated a second version of a 2da line when a choice of spells was involved. Now fixed! Then, when checking a crafting recipe, I discover extra considerations are required to work with the new stolen item & laundry system I have developed, which in turn, also meant adding the game rule to the in game Campaign Rules system for player's easy access.

Working on this conversation reminded me that I still had to finish one of the large crafting tomes that a player can find and must acquire if they want to craft with the greater essences. So, I spent some time adding more recipes/pages to that tome. (Still requires about another 13 pages.) Getting the layout correct for a Readable Book is important to me. This also reminded me to consider what creatures needed to be available to the player to acquire the distillable creature items to, in turn, gain access to critical recipe components. I had to carefully consider the ecology of when and where such creatures could be encountered. (Work in progress.)

Furthermore, this conversation also had an opening change in description according to the state of play that altered a custom token. So, more checks and token definitions had to be made, as well as the normal journal entries and checks.

That was just the thinking and work process behind one conversation, which I am still writing! Hopefully, this was one of the more complex ones, meaning other conversations won't require as much work. However, I can think of about a dozen that may still require as much work, unless I have a design change.

World Map Encounters

I also spent a little time ironing out the last of the overland map issues dealing with encounters. The system now works as I originally planned with one alteration: I have decided to not have limited encounters, due to discovering another aspect of the original system, which I have now altered to work in a way that complements the original idea. Let me explain ...

After examining the original encounter code and conversations, I discovered there was code already in place that allowed for a morale check for monsters and had them run away from the PCs if the fight was going to be too tough for them. However, due to the way the CR ratings are set on the original encounter, the creatures do not run away as often as I thought they would. So, I decided to amend the setting to one that seemed to me more appropriate for the encounter, which now means there is more chance of the creature avoiding the PCs if they consider the PCs too challenging. Couple this to my overland Party Skill Check system, and it means that while there are "unlimited" encounters, there comes a time when the PCs will simply be able to easily avoid them, or the creatures will choose to ignore the PCs altogether. (Player's who want to have the encounter can obviously still do so if they can catch them.)

The new overland map system works well, but I am now left with the more laborious task of creating the 2da tables that provide the creature encounters and the goodies that can be found. The former will definitely be needed to be done from scratch due to obviously different encounters for my world, but the latter may only require minor alterations due to the material being fairly generic. However, this could all change on closer inspection and when I once again start .... dealing with the details.


E.C.Patterson said...

I hear you! Convos can get very complex when you introduce new elements and stray away from the "I lost my dog, will you help me find him? -Yes/No".

Lance Botelle (Bard of Althéa) said...

Hi E.C. Patterson,

You can say that again. ;)

And when you add all the new "system" considerations I want to implement, the difficult almost becomes absurd!

What I can say is that once the player has been introduced to the campaign, conversations should become a *lot* easier. At the moment, I am writing for two potential background starts and various PC/companion intros.

I amso looking forward to the merging of them.