Friday, August 31, 2012

Savage Odyssey Prime, Sandbox-Style...

Good Afternoon, All:

The verdict is in, and by majority vote, the gamers want to play Odyssey Prime, Savaged, of course. I've done a lot of the preliminary rules work for the game when I prepped for my Gen Con event (which they helped playtest), so now it's time for building on the setting, or settings as the case may be.

The core of my Savage Odyssey Prime campaign will likely lie in two dual story lines: one for Odyssey Team characters (who are searching through the gates for a new home for a selected group of Americans) and Damage Control characters (who are protecting the secret of the gates from the general public). One of the core conceits for the D20 Modern setup of the game is that the player will create two characters, one for each team. That way, you can have espionage or monster hunting on Earth, and explore all kinds of genres beyond the Sherman Ring. I intend to follow the same concept here. I already have a rough plot idea for the Damage Control characters. The Odyssey Team, however, is a bit more difficult to plan out.

Obviously, the authors of the original book had a plan for implementing a solution over the course of six years of releases, in which they would eventually provide high level characters with a means of saving the Earth. Unfortunately, they never got the chance to release more than the main book and a sample adventure, and that's it. With no news and no details, I doubt I can follow the path they had envisioned, unless I accidentally come up with the same basic plot line that they had in mind. But in many ways, that's a very liberating situation.

Going back to some old posts of mine, I could try to outline a series of plots using the 5X5 Method. Alternately, I could try the challenge of creating this game in a sandbox manner, akin to what I did for the Isles of the Saharan Sea campaign setting I designed earlier. At first, creating this as a sandbox seemed impractical, if not impossible to me, but now that I've taken a few minutes to contemplate the challenge, I think I can probably do something about it.

In order to have a sandbox campaign, the first thing you need is a map relating locations to one another. In the case of a Savage Odyssey Prime campaign, that can't be a normal kind of map, but really, what you are looking for are locations and how to get there. A "gate map" could provide that same functionality. That's essentially what Stargate SG-1 did in its first episode, with the catalog of gate addresses carved into the walls of the secondary location that Daniel Jackson had discovered during his time spent there.

Next thing you need for a sandbox setting is a list of locations. Using the sandbox building methods suggested in An Echo Resounding, it's easy to get a basic list of location types:
  • 2 Cities, 8 Towns (locations for Urban adventures)
  • 10 Ruins (locations for Dungeon adventures)
  • 8 Resources (locations for Wilderness adventures)
  • 10-15 Lairs (locations for Bad Guy Bases)
In essence, you could simplify that by assuming you need a minimum of 10 locations each for Urban, Dungeon, Wilderness and Bad Guy Bases. Each location is not so much a place as a world and the environment immediately about the gate. (Immediate is all in the perception of the characters. Teleportation and starships give a much greater range to immediate than walking on foot.)

Once you have those determined, you can build a Hall of Infamy filled with villains whose influence extends beyond their home dimension. That's one near legendary villain, two major ones, and four minor ones. Given that this is a more modern game, these are likely leaders of their own organizations or groups, and these groups are the source of the "mooks" that the PCs encounter.

Finally, you would have to develop the first adventure, where the gate map is introduced, as well as one or more of the Hall of Infamy villains.

Yes, the more I think about it, the more I think I can handle this new setting as a sandbox, which is ultimately my preferred gaming style. This effort is going to make for a very fun challenge for me. Yay!

With Regards,


Stan Shinn said...

What is a 'Sherman Ring'? I'm interested in your Odyssey campaign structure but I'm curious to know more :-)

Flynn said...

The Sherman Ring is the equivalent of the Stargate. An anthropologist named Sherman stumbled on it while seeking evidence of the existence of Avalon. Thus, it has become called the Sherman Ring.

Hope This Helps,

Stan Shinn said...

Awesome! Thanks. I see this is a d20 settings as well. I might check it out.