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Subject: Map movement in Solo RPG rss

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Luke Brown
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A little preamble before my actual question:
I am not sure if this is the right forum for this, as this is my first post on this site. But this is not for the development of a commercial/for profit/published game, but rather for a game designed for personal use similar to PnP. Onwards....

Main Question: In a dungeon crawl game using a grid for a map, what is the best way to end the level or progress to another level?

Some explanation of my game idea below:



I have been trying to develop a solo rpg/adventure game of my own ever since I played Runebound solo for the first time. The problem with Runebound for me though is the set up time, especially for just a solo game. I sought to remedy this for my own personal uses (and obviously others on this site and others once it is completed) by designing a solo game that is somewhat quicker to set-up and play, but not a 10 minute affair such as Zombies in My Pocket. I also play Magic: The gathering, and have well over 2000 cards, most of which are sitting neglected in boxes. So I decided to utilize those cards in a pen and paper solo adventure game. The basic idea is to have Creature cards represent monsters and use only the information found on the cards (ie No charts to look up values). Other spells and artifacts represent skills/spells/abilities that are gained or bought throughout the course of the game (essentially "leveling up").

So onto explaining my main question:
I've decided to use an 20x20 grid for my map. This is done on graph paper and movement is marked on the grid, creating a road. To determine movement I am rolling 2 d6, 1 for the x-axis and one for the y-axis. At the end of movement I draw a land card (island, swamp, mountain, forest, plains) to determine what that space is. (Everything inbetween movement steps is just a road connecting spaces) Each of these land cards represent things like inns, markets, random monsters, etc... which I then mark on the map and follow the appropriate action.

I am really stuck on how to end the current map. Options I was thinking about:

1. When you start a new map, roll 2 d20 z times to create "quest points" that must be visited and defeated/completed to advance to the next map

2. put certain special cards (like doors) in the land deck, that when they are drawn: end the level or initiate a boss fight

3. Base the end level on something like exploration, ie you have 50 spaces of roads = advance to level 2.

4. Do not use the leveling up = new map, but start with a much larger map that encompasses 1 game session

This different ideas also beg the question: What is the end game?

1. Defeat all quest points
2. Pre-set # of bosses to defeat
3. Get to level x or map x
4. doom track

Sorry if this is incoherent, but please ask me questions if you don't understand something as written or if'd you like me to elaborate further on certain aspects or mechanics. Or if you're intrigued by using magic cards as a tool for an adventure game and you have some ideas on how to implement them.
Thanks
 
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Darrell Pavitt
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If you want to put special cards in your "land" deck, how about "staging" the cards, so that initially you have only one such card, once played you add the next stage to the deck and so on. That way, you won't get the boss fight on the very first turn, and lets you develop a chain of quests to get to th final fight.

You could also have a series of separate land decks, each of which is triggered by a card in the previous deck.
 
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Andrew Eveninger
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End of game came from game scenario that you need to write.

You can develop a game system for which players can create scenarios with different endings. But if you want to develop complete game you must decide what to include

In old DeathMaze dungeon was generated randomly with tiles-placement. When tile with stairs was pulled out of bag players started to explore (place tiles) deeper level of dungeon. Objective of game was to destroy "Black gates" (or something like this) and when that tile was pulled and placed as end tile.

I think also that first solution (randomly placed objectives over a board) is quite nice but there's also need to be logic in it (avoid situations when player need to run from one edge of board to another with some "key" which should be no further than 5 fields from "door").

Show some sketches of map you are developing with your generation system (step by step) if you can

Quote:
You could also have a series of separate land decks, each of which is triggered by a card in the previous deck.

Darrell give you nice idea
 
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Luke Brown
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Thanks for the input, I'm a little late to respond since I've been so busy as of late. Anyways here is what I've developed so far:

In a ~70 card encounter (land) deck I put 2 "end level" cards.
There are also about 8 cards that create a fork in the road.
When you draw a fork you split the encounter deck in half and choose a path, only drawing cards from the corresponding split. If it's a dead end you have to go back to another fork in the road and try that path. I've also included experience points based on the number of cards drawn, so if you draw the "end level" card early it isn't really a punishment per se, as it will take you longer to level up but the enemies won't necessarily be harder to fight.
I really want to incorporate the stacked deck idea for quests.
As in: When you get to level x, put 1 of y in the deck. When you get to level z put 2 of y in the deck, etc...
Any other ideas of how to incorporate "quests" (as in a specific goal, not just leveling up over and over again) into the design?
I am also looking for a way to scale enemies possibly based on my level. I want to do this so I don't have to have 50 different monster decks, but around 2-3 that are scaled to my current level. Any ideas in that direction as well?
 
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Byron Grimes
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A few ideas/questions...

1. Why roll for movement? You could use a "speed" based movement instead, which would allow you to move up to a certain distance. Most RPG's do this, and Mystery of the Abbey also does something like this. Which would allow...

2. Quest locations. Prevent a specific thing happening, save the girl, get the scroll/book for the wizard, etc. Most of these would involve 2 or more locations, and could be added based on what you want to do each game. This kind of thing also might allow a session to be larger/longer or smaller/shorter. As in, it provides an end, so it's more scaleable. Finish A quest, and you're done. If you like. Or one quest could lead to another. ad infinitum.

3. 8 forks might be about right, but are they just 2 way forks? You could have from a split to a full four way intersection very easily. Mix it up.

4. Scaling monsters. a. different numbers based on your level b. additional abilities with level c. add "follower" creatures by level
These ideas would be similar to what Spycraft does.

Ooh, have you looked at Airborne in my Pocket? It stared as a ZimP mod, and grew bigger.
 
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Luke Brown
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Thanks for the ideas. I forgot to mention that I am not using dice for movement, I switched to movement points. I really like the idea of different types of forks, very easy to implement as well. Thanks.

Quest locations: I want to use them, but how? Do you just walk to it immediately, do you go when you are leveled up enough to win, Is there some inevitability drawing you there? I considered creating a quest booklet with different quests depending on where your locations are. For example Quest 1 is spaces x1-4 and y1-4, Quest 2 is in spaces x5-8 and y1-4, etc...
 
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Byron Grimes
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For the quest locations, throw like a wizard's tower in the deck, as well as a location for the quest item. Shuffle like you normally would, and your item and fulfillment spot should not be next to each other.
Hope that clarifies my thought, but I'm not entirely clear on yours.

Leveling up is really more a product of RPGs than a reflection of reality. Gaining items makes sense, as would gaining benefits in certain areas. It depends on how rules intensive you want the game to be. Levels make for more complexity, period. Save the peasant's daughter from bandits is a bit less.

I'm not saying complexity is bad, I just want to get a feel for how much you have/desire, and to point out that there are other ways to do quests. Please ignore MMORPG's for quests, they don't tell a real story. This type of game, your adventurer should have adventures.

Other questions: Are there hazards/obstacles on the roads to make things difficult? Are hunger/dehydration real issues between locations? Other complexity issues.
 
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Luke Brown
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Thanks again for the ideas. Okay I think I see what you're thinking. I think one could incorporate both an end level, like stairs or a door, and quests in the same deck. If you find the door it's up to you to end the level or you could go back and complete the quests to get spoils or xp or bragging rights (to yourself?).
As per your other questions:
Yes, there are obstacles on the road, wandering monsters/bandits (encountered through die rolls). Health is also an issue, you can only heal at certain locations, this works for spells as well. Once you exhaust a spell you need to camp/sleep/heal to refresh it (or your mana, I'm still working on this aspect. I just know I don't want infinite spell casting abilities). So there is impetus to travel back to known locations, to heal, recharge spells, and buy items from shops.
I hope this clarifies some of my thoughts.
 
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Richard Ross
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Start the map with a known goal for the ending, ie, reach a remote mountain pass, find a hidden monestary, etc. Include a card randomly placed near the end of the deck which could either represent the actual goal reached or could start a turn countdown to the big finale. You could even start a deck of mission cards, generic quest cards that illustrate the overarching story for the map, you could add cards to this deck to your hearts content including a myriad of stories and/or themes.
 
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