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,

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Stock NPCs for Modern/Futuristic Games...

Good Afternoon, All:

In looking forward, I am trying to identify what would best help me in terms of prepping for the next campaign, whether it's a modern setting or a fantasy-based one. (And of course, they may totally change directions on me and go with steampunk or post-apocalyptic, for all I know.) Until I have a strong sense of direction from them now that we're at this point, my prep work will likely be generic.

One of the things I know I'm going to need is a set of Stock NPCs. Having stock NPC stats is always helpful. I have a basic list for fantasy, but I feel I should consider expanding on it, building up modern concepts that can easily be ported into futuristic games as needed. With that in mind, the Stock NPCs list may look something like this:
  • Aristocrat/High Society
  • Assassin/Sniper
  • Beggar/Homeless
  • Big Game Hunter/Survivalist
  • Bureaucrat/Clerk
  • Citizen
  • Courtesan/Escort
  • Cultist
  • Dock Worker/Laborer
  • Doctor/Medic/Nurse
  • Diplomat/Liaison
  • Gang Member
  • Hacker/Programmer
  • Mechanic/Engineer
  • Merchant/Trader
  • Military Commander
  • Mystic/Psion
  • Pilot (water or aerospace)
  • Reporter
  • Scientist
  • Security Guard/Police
  • Soldier/Mercenary
  • Spy
  • Thief
What other major concepts am I missing from a modern/futuristic campaign?

With Regards,

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Current Campaign Is Winding Down...

Good Afternoon, All:

Over the last six or seven weeks, my personal life has been quite demanding. Between getting a divorce, moving into a new place and preparing the old house for sale, I have been quite swamped with Real Life™ stuff and I've been unable to focus on this blog at all. For those who are regular readers, I most humbly apologize for dropping the ball here.

My players are winding down on the Madlands Campaign I've been running for the last two-plus years. It is likely that, after a few more adventures, probably two months or so, at most, I'll be bringing that campaign to a close. After a brief respite, we'll be diving into another campaign. Of the two options, I think we're either going to do the Isles of the Saharan Sea campaign or a more modern Odyssey Prime cross-genre world-hopping campaign. I'm definitely prepared for the first. The second will take some work, but I've already got some notes on campaign details I want to make sure I include.

Starting next week, I'll start a new series of posts as I start exploring other campaign options. Also, I'm slowly working on building a new website. Once it's up, all of my future game-related blogging will be done there. I can't wait to show it off, once it's ready, of course.

More Later,