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A few questions about making a scenario...


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I'm starting to regain interest in this game, and I have decided to finally write a scenario.

Now that I have a brand new computer (well, it's actually about six months old, but that's not important), I am no longer limited by the slowness of my old computer.

I took a long break from this game, as well as the rest of SpiderWeb's games, and I think it's about time I come back.

And what better way to come back then making a scenario?

 

Now, on my old computer, I'd made several attempts at authoring a scenario. I got discouraged repeatedly and eventually just gave up. However, I did decide on a plot, and I'm going to stick with it. I'm not going to post the plot here, because it seems pointless to post it when it could change a lot.

Anyways, I am about ready to start my pre-scenario work. However, I have a few questions that I'd like to have answered:

 

1) Is it better to have a huge map (By map, I am referring to the outdoors) with lots of towns, or a smaller map with fewer towns? I'd prefer to make a smaller map, to save time and to maintain my interest, but, if it makes the scenario better, I'm fine with a big map. The scenario is generally going to take place on an island, and the size of the map will not affect the plot at all. A bigger map would make for a bigger and more complex scenario, but does that really matter?

 

2) Generally, to begin creating scenarios, I would start by drawing a grid of the outdoor sections and drawing my outdoors on paper. I then added in towns and everything to get an idea of how the scenario would look. Then I quickly made the outdoors. Next I made the towns and characters that have no role whatsoever in the plot. Last, I filled in all parts of the plot; that is, the crucial aspects that make the scenario what it is.

Now, is there an easier way to start working on a scenario? Is there a system that works well for you?

 

3) About how hard should I make my scenario? Should I make the monsters really strong and just give out the password so that people can play it in Debug mode if it's too hard? Or should I just make it for lower level parties (say, level 20 or lower?)?

 

4) Is it good to have a lot of plot twists, or just a few? My scenario is going to be based almost fully on plot, with little on fighting.

 

Thank you very much for any feedback, and I hope to, fairly soon, join the ranks of BoE scenario authors!

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1) You can fit up to 8 town entrances on any outdoor section. In the editor, feel free to make a scenario with many outdoor sections, but use them only as you need them. A crowded outdoors section is good- nobody likes wandering.

 

2) Think of what you want the story to say first. Then, think about how you want to say it. Then, think of the easiest way to do all of this within some degree of technical competence while keeping gameplay at a reasonable level at all times (preferably more than that, though).

 

3) Difficulty doesn't matter. At worst, the player can enter the scenario with a party of a higher level than you prescribe- scenario levels are only an estimate. Although a warning: You will WANT to set your scenario to Very High difficulty in the Basic Scenario Details, or else monster hitpoints will double for each level rating the party is above the rating you give it by.

 

4) It's totally up to you.

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1) Small map is generally better. Unless there's something really special about your outdoors. Keep a few sections spare, though - you can't add new ones later.

 

2) Personally, I build all the sequences individually and then join them up. (Sequences being when a whole bunch of stuff happens quickly - I build my scenarios mostly out of these) But it's probably not the best method to copy. Maybe do all the plot stuff first - get the core of the scenario done, and then add however many details you think the scenario needs.

 

3) I like hard battles, but only if they're clever. Tougher monsters and more monsters are two things that should probably be avoided when designing combat. Do something else to stretch the party - like let the bad guys get the first hit.

 

4) A lot of twists is a good thing, as long as they aren't forced or implausible. Generally, if it takes a big chunk of text to explain a twist, it's not so hot. But everyone loves a good story-scenario.

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1. I don't mind exploring the outdoors as long as there are things to find. Never make a large outdoors with no specials, it gets really boring really fast. If you do make a large outdoors try to have pleanty of landmarks so players don't get lost.

 

2. I don't know 'cause I've only just begun my first scenario but your way sounds good. Just remember to give those unimportant people something to say too.

 

3. It's better to make a scenario too easy then to make it too hard. I personally hate it when I die (especially if I forgot to save) so, create a medium, say it's hard and most will be happy with it.

 

4. While I like plot twists, I also like things to be obvious. Make sure the player knows where s/he is supposed to go next or give them a couple options of where to go next. Aimless wandering is almost worse then searching an empty outdoors. I'll give 'A Small Rebellion' as an example. It's a lot of players' favorite scenario(of the original three). There were plot twists but the player knew where to go next and then got to choose where to go next.

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Quote:
Maybe do all the plot stuff first - get the core of the scenario done, and then add however many details you think the scenario needs.
The only thing with that is I'll lose interest eventually. The plot is the fun part to make, whereas building towns is rather tedious and boring.

Thank you all for your input!
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Unfortunately, good town design takes a lot of work, but if you want your scenario to be interesting, you have to spend a lot of time on them. Consequently, if the plot you choose for your scenario is interesting to you, it should make designing even the "dirty work" such as town at least a bit interesting. If designing your scenario bores you to death, chances are it will bore the people that play it, also.

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Originally written by The Great 4808:
Unfortunately, good town design takes a lot of work, but if you want your scenario to be interesting, you have to spend a lot of time on them.
Says the person with no scenarios to his name.

I'll put it bluntly- towns aren't necessary. A passable town will function just as well or almost unnoticably poorer than a well-designed town would. If a town isn't heinously ugly, it should take two hours at most to churn out. I don't play for towns, and I don't feel that anyone else does either.
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Originally written by Kurojutsu:
Quote:
Originally written by The Great 4808:
Unfortunately, good town design takes a lot of work, but if you want your scenario to be interesting, you have to spend a lot of time on them.
Says the person with no scenarios to his name.

I'll put it bluntly- towns aren't necessary. A passable town will function just as well or almost unnoticably poorer than a well-designed town would. If a town isn't heinously ugly, it should take two hours at most to churn out. I don't play for towns, and I don't feel that anyone else does either.
Actually, I agree with Ben. Well-drawn towns ARE essential to scenarios, as are plot, interesting characters, and well both -thought and -written dialogue.

Sure, it doesn't matter if some backwater villages (the generic ones ^^) are just bundles of houses built close to each other, but try to do that same with a hi-populated capitol.. Towns are important. Not the most important part of design, but important, nevertheless. At least for people like me who ENJOY exploring interesting places. ^^
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To me it doesn't really matter what the towns look like. It's what you find in them that makes them enjoyable. Plesant conversation, a little of the plot, maybe a side plot, and a few surprises. That's what I think make a good town.(as a player anyway)

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It really depends on what kind of a scen you are trying to make and the impression that you are trying to give. I have been working on my own scens for quite a while now and I can tell you that if it is done right, with love and care, a could town can take days to get right. However, it is ultimetly worth every second when the end result is a place that looks and feels real. There is nothing that kills my pleasure more than a lack-luster town that was just slapped together to provide a place for the characters to rest and buy weapons.

 

When I work on a town here are a few things that I think about, in case anyone is interested or looking for advice.

 

1, why is the town there? It is good farmland? Is it in the middle of an important trade rout? Is it an important defensive or offensive postion?

 

The answer to this question is very important, but not nearly important as the next one.

 

2, where is this town built? On a river, in the middle of grassland? Built upon the ruins of some older structure?

 

3, What is this town's history? This town was around a long time before the characters came around. I would say that at least three very important events happened in this town, no matter the size, before the character's arrived. What were these events and how did they affect the town? Are their any signs of these effects anymore?

 

These three questions are very important, and should seriously affect how you paint your town. Basicly, any town, no matter what it's purpose in your mind, should be built with the same care as any important NPC, because in a way that is what a true town is, for each town is alive and has a history of it's own, and will continue to tell its' own story long after the scen is over. If the player can't get a sense of that from the towns that they visit then the reason to visit towns goes away and it gets boring really fast.

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