15 January, 2015

Developing a GCR story (Part 2)

The idea of campaign stories in Ghost City Raiders was directly inspired by a similar concept in the miniatures game "Confrontation". In that game a number of "character" figures had collections of three to five cards, each of which detailed a mini game that could be used as an "act" in a tale featuring that character as a hero. The same thing basically applies here, except that some of the tales I'd like to create might be playable by a range of different characters (perhaps granting some special bonus if the the is completed). This particular tale, "The Cryptid's Tale", allows a very unstable character type to be played temporarily, and if the tale is completely, it makes the unstable character more viable in the long term (or provides some kind of special bonus to another character if the Cryptid successfully wanders back off into the mystical "dreaming").

But now I'm thinking about the specific events that make up the story. I've already decided that there will be five distinct parts to the tale, each feeding into one another depending on how successful the primary character has been. Confrontation has a concept called the "nemesis", which is a character normally unplayable, but who comes into events when the hero character is pursuing their story goal.

The Cryptid's tale probably needs something like this, hunters who go out of their way to kill quasi-supernatral beings, or people who offer bounties on the body parts of Cryptids to use in mystic rituals. Either way, the player who is not playing the Cryptid needs to accept that they will be undertaking an antagonistic role in this story. They might take on a hunter's role, or might play their regular character, but for this particular story they'll be the enemy (and if they're taken out, they'll take on another enemy role). If there are more than two players, one would continually play the role of the Cryptid, while other players might alternate in the antagonist role.

Other stories might be more co-operative, but not this one.

That sets the tone for individual events within the story, they'll be antagonistic. But not necessarily violently so.

So, what sort of confrontations and event goals might we consider?

I've got a few miniature wargames that have started using "victory points" for event goals rather than just "kill points", common ways to acquire these points include:

  • Crossing the conflict zone in a certain time limit
  • Preventing an enemy from crossing the board in a certain time limit
  • Having the highest number of troops in a certain location
  • Successfully holding a location for a specific time frame
  • Having a certain troop in a location to complete a task in that location
  • Finding objects around the conflict zone
  • Protecting a fragile non-combatant
  • Activating checkpoints around the conflict zone

There are more, but in most of the games I've played, these options are commonly found.

Some of these options aren't really appropriate for a game where a player takes on the role of single participant in the conflict zone, and I'm trying to make sure that there are non-combat options available in most of the events. I think I'll be tending toward more of the options where a character needs to be in a specific location (but maybe they need to find that location first), options where they need to find and collect things, and options where they need to cross the conflict zone. There are a few game scenarios like this in the existing Ghost City Raiders set, so I'll make sure to throw a couple of twists in these new scenarios compared to the current ones.

Given our current five scenario framework, here's where I think I'll be focusing each scenario.

  1. A Strange Land - Finding objects around the conflict zone 
  2. Weakness - Find the location and hold it while a ritual is conducted.
  3. Quantum Echo - Activating checkpoints around the conflict zone  
  4. Predator and Prey - The prey needs to successfully cross the combat zone
  5. The Return - Activating checkpoints then holding a central location for a time 

In most of these cases, the Cryptid character could be distracted or neutralised by the hunter/enemy character. A third character might play a wild-card with the option to help either side if the payment is right.
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