Choose Your Language

Thursday, 29 March 2012

What's In A Name?

I have been giving the name of the modules for the campaign some thought in the last two weeks and, to date, I am preferring "The Scroll!". But, why am I mentioning this now? Well, the "Better The Demon" name has always been (and will remain) the module's working title. However, as I am beginning to bring the story arc together and think about the different backgrounds from which the player can start, I wanted to have a story name that fulfilled the overall reason for the module's existence. As time has gone by and I have given this campaign more thought, I have swayed one way and another, and even now I am not 100% certain. But, what this also means is that the module is coming closer to completion because of the naming. It's strange how someone can work on a project for a number of years, know the story, and yet not know why it exists! OK, let me stop there before I get too philosophical. The bottom line is, I believe my reaching the end of this module is becoming more of a reality every day. That's why I felt it important to let you know that the module has finally yielded its name to me ... or is very close at any rate. For if I do not receive any more inspiration regarding the title, it will remain "The Scroll!" (Part 1 for the first module).

Poll Results: Lighting

The results of the last poll for lighting preferences are shown in the image below. There was a clear 3 to 1 preference for the lighting to remain true to the environment rather than fiddle with the lighting to allow the player to see regardless. The two "other" comments touched on something which I also agree with though, which is to sometimes adjust lighting from what would be a completely dark environment (in reality) to one filled with some unusual light settings for a fantasy environment.

So, the bottom line here is that a player will have to ensure their PCs have some means of lighting some environments where it is otherwise completely dark. Of course, PCs with Darkvision will be OK, but other PCs may require torches, lanterns, light spells, or magik items with light to be able to make any progress in a dark area.

General Progress

This post is more straightforward than usual because I have not been doing much more than filling in blanks and empty templates of sections that needed doing. That has included writing some conversations, doing a little scripting, and thinking about the module in general. I have also sent some area information to Eguintir Eligard, who has generously offered to help design it for me, and save me from a task I am not very good at at the best of times.

I will keep plugging away at this all the while my health permits, and will, of course, keep you updated here in future posts.


Kamal said...

Careful Bethesda doesn't sue you! :-)

I've thought some about my campaign name as well. First it was "Shadow Thief", then "Shadow Thief: Crimmor", now I mostly refer to it as "Crimmor"

Frank Perez said...

I don't know. "Scrolls!" doesn't have much flavor to it. I would prefer a tweak on your original working title -- "Better the Devil" instead of "Better the Demon." Just a suggestion of course. You are the ultimate judge on what to call your baby.

Regarding Kamal's comment, I feel that these trademark wars get ridiculous sometimes, and the whole issue with "Scrolls" is a perfect example. I hope no one has trademarked the word "The" yet. :P

Lance Botelle (Bard of Althéa) said...

Hi Kamal,

LOL! Well, there is a little difference ... mine is "The Scroll!", whereas theirs is simply "Scrolls". Maybe they copied me! ;)

Hi Frank,

I believe my title of "The Scroll!" sounds better than just "Scrolls", because it is a definitive case, rather than a general one. In other words, there is something special about the singular Scroll in my game, as opposed to just a bunch of Scrolls ... if you see what I mean?

The reason I cannot use my working title is because it does not sum up the focus and spirit of the entire game, but is a plot reference only. And that plot reference would only make sense to players of my D&D paper days that goes back to the 1980's. The title would eventually bear some reference to new players as well, but as the wording "Better The Demon" was already a play on the phrase "Better The Devil You Know", then you can see that new players to the campaign (which this module also caters for) would not make sense of "knowing" something that they have not yet adventured in.

Furthermore, the working title reference that gives the module drive is not the the main goal of the story, which remains secret until played, but which the title "The Scroll" does have more reasonance with.

Basically, the title I end up using will (in my mind) have to sum up the reason for making and playing the modules in the first place, over and above the general story arc. Hopefully, I will be able to make this work as I have in mind. Time will tell.


Master Changer said...

Hi Lance,

I definitely liked your old title as well. My preference in story-telling is always for something that has a surface meaning but is a reference to a larger theme. "Better the Demon/Devil" seemed to hint at larger issues of facing difficult choices, which I find make adventures really interesting and complex.

If you do want to use something like a scroll as the plot device and metaphor for the whole adventure, I'd recommend making it a little less...accessible. Again, this is probably my preference for not coming right out and saying something in a story, but a name like "Vellum" might evoke feelings on more levels for the player. Is it the material that the scroll is made from that is relevant, or the process of making it, or the scribing? With a name like this, it leaves you a little more room for subtlety.

This is all due to my preference for names that tell you what the story is about thematically rather than literally. Your preference may be the opposite!

Lance Botelle (Bard of Althéa) said...

Hi MC,

This was/is a hard decision for me, as the name can make or break someone's interest in a module ... possibly.

However, the decision to call it "The Scroll" came about because I wanted to portray an idea that underlies something I have often thought about, and can be quite well explored in a fantasy environment, while hinting at aspects of "my" reality.

The idea has never changed, but the title "Better The Demon" did not (in my opinion) offer enough scope to cover the depth of the story idea. That said, I need to ensure the 3 modules are completed (hopefully the next two will be much quicker to build to do due to campaign code being complete) to ensure the final story involving "The Scroll" comes to a conclusion. i.e. The first module does not answer the questions with respect to "The Scroll" which is introduced in the first part.

The player will know of and be aware of this plot device, but not know anything more until the very final part of module 3.

Actually, the working title (Better The Demon) makes less sense in module one than "The Scroll", because when I first decided on the working title, it's main reference does not appear more obvious until either module 2 or 3. At least the new name "The Scroll" has more bearing from the start ... and hopefully (when first played) will provide a good enough hook to keep the player interested and wanting to know more.

Many thanks for your input as always ... it is all very important to me to help get this right.