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Homeland progress report

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Digging into Chapter 3 now. It is definitely true that finishing and extensively testing Chapters 1 and 2 made designing Chapter 3 easier. Chapter 3 has a lot of combat, and I have a pretty good sense of how to make the elaborately scripted combat that I had only conceptually mapped out before. And I also have a much better idea of what dialogue to write at different points.


But Chapter 3 is very incomplete. I left a lot to be done when I skipped over most of Chapter 3 to get to some pieces of Chapter 4 and Chapter 5, and Chapter 3 is the longest chapter in the scenario. It's going to take a lot of work to get Chapter 3 anywhere near playable.


As I've mentioned earlier in this thread, there are essentially three parts to Chapter 3. For those who've played Chapters 1 and 2, it's probably not a surprise that those parts center on, in this order, Kathda, Pohsa, and Ihrghthen. The Kathda sequence is the most complete, and even that still has a lot left to go (and desperately needs some rewriting at points). The Pohsa sequence is barely designed at all. The ending of the Ihrghthen sequence is designed — that's perhaps the most important scene in the whole scenario — but essentially no other part of it is.


So there is a long way to go.


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Given the recent level of activity in the BoA forums, I thought now might be a good time to announce that I am in the early stages of designing Homeland, the follow-up to Bahssikava and Exodus!  

So... the bad news first. I basically stopped designing for a year because it was hard to find the time to do it. But the good news: I've resumed, and I'm making significant progress. My goal now is t

I'm way ahead of you.   EDIT: To be a little less flippant, as the other posts earlier in the thread say, Homeland involves a complete combat rebalance. Every monster has been modified in at

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One thing I'm noticing is that I'm going to have to add a lot of towns in Chapters 3 and 4. Part 1 (Prologue + Chapter 1 + Chapter 2) was 49 towns. I had only about 22 towns for all of Chapter 3 (of which only 15 had any substantial designing), but that's clearly not right. I've already added 7 more, and there's a pretty good chance I'll be adding a few more on top of that. Chapter 3 will be about 30-35 towns. The upshot of this is that Chapter 3 was maybe 20-25% designed when I picked it back up about a week ago.


The same is true of Chapter 4, which had 17 towns as originally set up, but there's no way that's going to stick. I'd bet Chapter 4 will end up with more like 25 towns. Chapter 5 was 16 towns as originally written, and it may end up close to that number (though I've added a 1-town Epilogue).


I think we're looking at a 120-130 town scenario, at the end of the day. That feels about right. Part 1 felt like about 40% of the scenario. Part 2 (which is just Chapter 3) will be about 25-30% of the scenario. Part 3 (Chapter 4 + Chapter 5 + Epilogue) will be another 30-35% of the scenario.

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As I keep going through Chapter 3, I'm thinking that Homeland is a scenario that rewards people who don't just want an interesting story and some challenging combat, but want to go all the way down the rabbit hole. I just did some preliminary work on an outdoor section that is basically a sidequest off a sidequest—you get to the access point by taking a sidequest in Chapter 4, but you have to complete a sidequest in Chapter 3, and accept another one in Chapter 3, to be able to pass through the access point. This bonus area connects to hints dropped in every other chapter in the scenario, which are never really a major part of any chapter or the main plot (at least until Chapter 5). It's not really for the casual player. But there is at least one friendly town and at least one dungeon—probably a lengthy one—in this area. It's a lot of stuff.


I'm tempted to make more of the sidequests mandatory, just so that people don't miss a huge volume of content. (For reference, of the 49 towns in Chapters 1-2, at least 11 of them are only in sidequests. The percentage is significantly higher in Chapter 3, I think.) On the other hand, many of the sidequests are pretty deep into secondary plots—should I really force the player to track down the details of Kanthen and Ithela?


At the moment, I'm inclined to keep things pretty open, but I'll be tracking this as more beta reports come in.

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Today, I started to redesign the second major city in Chapter 3. The initial design (which I did ages ago) doesn't really work, and I basically have to throw it out and start from scratch. I'm going to have to do this with almost every major city in Chapter 4 (of which there are seven) and one major city in Chapter 5, too, but I'm trying not to think about that right now.


I was a bit worried that the end of the Trump presidency would reduce the relevance of an anti-far right story like Homeland, but there's no shortage of material to work with even now.


EDIT: The complete redesign was much easier than expected. This works much better, and I'm making good progress.

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