Greg's Design Blog

A collection of posts by game designer Gregory Carslaw, including mirrors of all of his blogs maintained for particular projects. A complete index of posts can be found here:
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Story Based Building

United Kingdom
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Context: Dauntless Hunters

Following a suggestion from last week's post I'm radically redesigning how a hunter group is selected. The design goals are as follows:
* Building the warband shouldn't be tedious (or should even be interetesting!)* There should be a room for characters that are characterful, rather than optimised along a single dimension.* There should be meaningful decisions.

The approach that I'm now looking at is to choose a leader, who in turn has a number of upgrades that they can apply to their followers. For instance the zombiemaster might be able to apply "Runemaster" (prevent zombies eating allies) to two of his followers and "Runelinked" (give zombies bonus actions) to another three.

Then you roll up five "recruiting encounters" which throw you into a mini choose-your-own-adventure story to pick the individuals who make up your band.

Thus it's no longer Katie "Chainsaw" Price the zombie hunter, any group could recruit Katie and she'd get an appropriate modifier for being a part of that group - now she can be one of the elite warrior-philosophers or even trained as a wizard.

The encounters themselves give some indication of what you might be likely to get:

"Resupplying at one of the few large survivor settlements left, you find a mob gathered in the town square. One of them has been found to be stealing supplies, he seems like a rough customer, but you’ve seen him fight and he’s pretty good. If you saved him from the rapidly forming lynch mob then maybe he’d be grateful enough to join you.

Try to talk down the mob … 192
Throw him a weapon and fight your way out of town … 108
Screw that, he’s guilty. Help the mob lynch him … 160"

One of those options is quite likely to get you a tough but potentially criminal ally, another someone who's inclined to lynching and the third presumably carries some level of risk to your leader (who can have their stats altered by the recruiting events)

This system allows characters to be fully formed, so there's a place for strengths and weaknesses that are balanced to each other but wouldn't necessarily fit into a points buy system. If it's implemented right it'll hopefully enable players to get more into the game - thinking about the personality of their leader and the people who've chosen to follow them. It also doubles up as a development mechanic in which successful hunts can be rewarded with extra shots at the recruiting system.

In terms of weaknesses: It's got a limited lifespan before players start coming across options they've seen before. A person could try to game the system by memorising the results (though it's kind of pointless since a better group will just face a bigger monster - each battle should be independently balanced). The story may fall flat for some people.

There aren't enough entries yet for it to be properly developed, but in a week or two it'd be good to have some people try it out and build their hunting party - to see if it generates interesting parties and is engaging on the level it sets out to be
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Subscribe sub options Fri Oct 7, 2016 2:21 pm
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