Thursday, 21 March 2013

Using My Big Boy Words

I am the Warden!!

You'd think by my blog alone that there's very little action going on right now, but that's so far from the truth. Aside from the official announcement of Killshot Reloaded (see the BRG site for details) and the progression of development in the new edition, I've also been plugging away on a new Kickstarter video for the upcoming Shaintar campaign by Sean Patrick Fannon, finishing up the final piece for Killshot Files #2, putting the next instalment of High Plains Samurai together, and working on a silent project on the side. If I haven't been posting enough, it's because I'm writing too much.

And that's the irony of today's post. It came to me last month that perhaps I haven't been writing enough, particularly when it comes to adventure design. When I'm running a game, I'm a massive fan of improvising. I'll detail a basic plot, flesh and stat out characters, establish locations, and run with everything as it plays out to provide players with a rich and reactive setting.

The problem is the contradiction with what I really need for adventure design and publication. It's something discovered during the past couple of Killshot or Optional Core sessions that must be seriously and correctly addressed in the new edition. When you don't write down the entire adventure and plan out your fight scenes in advance, you tend to take liberties with your text. For example, it never occurred to me during any of the various drafts for the three jobs published in Killshot: Direction to include a sidebar or any relevant information on how to set up a Tracker for a given scene. There were rules for determining all the chips needed on the board and that seemed good enough. What I've noticed is that without having a solid foundation to set up a scene through the game's mechanics, there's no telling how good or poor the scene will play out. So much information is missing from the text that Directors will have to embellish as they see fit and that can cause serious problems in game satisfaction.

Perhaps no other evidence is required than the outcome of the first session for High Plains Samurai. While the YouTube broadcast was cut out early and remains unavailable to those outside of the Development Team sitting at the table, the last fight scene went horribly awry. Everything went wrong and the fact that I never bothered to write down a set-up for the fight scene contributed to that problem. And it didn't help that my qi points mechanic was totally screwed up.

For tomorrow's game, I've made adjustments and wrote out every fight scene (all five of them) in complete detail, from how many Teams are provided in what order to a list of pre-existing triggers and outcomes for the fight using the new fight management system undergoing construction for Reloaded. How will it turn out? You can find out tomorrow as we stream a live broadcast of the game through the Optional Core community on G+.