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Homeland progress report


Kelandon
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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.

Spoiler

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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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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  • 1 month later...

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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  • 4 weeks later...

The current town count is 114. Still working on Chapter 3. And there is some crazy **** in Chapter 3.

Spoiler

At the end of Chapter 2, you see a part of barbarian lands in western Khitaloss Province. This is actually a huge stretch of territory, spanning three outdoor sections that appear in the scenario and a bunch of space in between that you can't see. You can actually go to one of these barbarian outdoor sections in Chapter 3—an area in the homeland that has never been part of the Empire of Khalthas. As you can imagine, the lands are pretty wild.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

It feels like I've been moving painfully slowly, but here's what I've actually gotten done in the past three months since I turned to Chapter 3 in earnest.

 

In Chapter 3, there are three parts, centering on Kathda, Pohsa, and Ihrghthen. The Kathda sequence has three subparts. Three months ago, the first was scripted, the second was not, and the third was partially scripted but needed to be completely rewritten. I've scripted the second—which is the longest—almost entirely, though the end needs a bit more work. I still need to rewrite the third subpart.

 

The Pohsa sequence was essentially not designed at all. What little there was needed to be completely redone. It also has three subparts. In the past three months, I've essentially designed the first subpart, though again the end needs a bit more work. I still need to write the second and third subparts.

 

The Ihrghthen sequence was not designed at all, except the ending. I still need to design essentially all of it.

 

I've also mostly drawn (though not completely scripted) about 10 of the sidequest towns and added a bunch to at least four of the core towns—one in Kathda and three in Pohsa. There are about 4 more sidequest towns, and about 4 more core towns (mostly in the Ihrghthen sequence), that haven't been designed at all. Realistically, I may add another 2 towns to the core Pohsa sequence and maybe 1-2 more sidequest towns, though I haven't decided exactly how that will work yet.

 

In the past three months, I also drew (but did not completely script) three outdoor sections, one in Chapter 3 and two in Chapter 4.

 

There's quite a long way to go, but it's coming along. I still hope to finish an alpha version of Chapter 3 before the end of the year, but a beta version this year may be a little out of reach unless things go faster than I expect. The through-Chapter-3 version will have roughly 85-90 towns.

 

EDIT: I hope to come back to this in 2-3 months and be able to note how much progress I've made! At least that's the goal.

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  • 5 months later...

The Pohsa sequence will be the death of me. I wasn't able to work on it for a few months, and then I came back to it. I'm now in the middle of third subpart of the Pohsa sequence. Ihrghthen is up next.

 

On the bright side, I wrote the end of the Ihrghthen sequence a long time ago. But there's quite a bit of other stuff in the Ihrghthen sequence that I still have to make. I have a pretty good idea about what I want the Ihrghthen sequence to be about, though, which I didn't before.

 

Tentatively, the plan is to create a finishable version of Chapter 3, and then start alpha testing as I fill in the rest of it. I guess, technically, there's one more dungeon after Ihrghthen in Chapter 3, but I suspect I will make that at the very end.

 

EDIT: I've still received only a few beta reports on Part 1. So anyone who has some time is encouraged to play and provide comments.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I just wrote the ending of the Pohsa sequence. It did not write well the first time and will need significant revision. But at least there's a draft of it that I can come back to and fix later. Frankly, most of the main quest line in Chapter 3 is in the same condition, but I am not worrying about that right now.

 

On to Ihrghthen.

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On 8/23/2021 at 8:15 PM, Kelandon said:

 

EDIT: I've still received only a few beta reports on Part 1. So anyone who has some time is encouraged to play and provide comments.

I'd very much like to test play it, but I can't provide any insight into technical stuff. But I'm happy to look for bugs and inconsistencies and such!

Since it's an incomplete scenario, are there any technicalities involved in making it work (be playable)? 

 

EDIT

Just saw there is actually a beta testing thread 🤦 

 

Edited by Mr.TiC
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