Monday, August 11, 2008

WoAdWriMo adventures finally available

The adventures that were written for WoAdWriMo (at least most of them) are finally available for download. They haven't been added to the main page of the site yet, but there is a thread on WoAdWriMo the forums where one of the organisers has posted links to the PDFs. There are apparently still another four adventures that he needs to convert to PDFs, plus several people said they would be getting their adventures in late, so the list is sure to grow.

I haven't really had a chance to read the other adventures yet, but from a quick glance at all the files ZOMG! (Zombies, Oh My God!) certainly looks very nice!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Power Groups within The Forgotten

With Obliviscence finally out, I’ve turned my mind to detailing more of the setting for The Forgotten. And as I’ve been thinking about it more, I’m beginning to come to the conclusion that I need to change it up a bit.

The setting as presented in Obliviscence is one where, in general, Forgotten life is ok. While it’s only hinted at in the NPC descriptions, my original idea was that the “good guys” (lead by Laura) have managed to deal with the old situation in the city that had three rival gangs controlling the city (and the Forgotten within it). Laura and her followers overthrew the old gangs several years ago, and are now attempting to create a peaceful society as best they can.

(Of course, one of her former supporters is attempting to carve out his own power niche, but you get that :-) )

However now I’m thinking that I need to step it back a bit. The idea I'm currently considering is that Laura and her people have managed to overthrow one of the gangs (presumably the most powerful), but the other two are still a significant threat within the city.

On the plus side, this is an obvious source of conflict (and hence adventures) within the game. It means that the setting isn’t safe and happy, and that everyone still needs to be somewhat careful when moving around. And if I assume that the other two gangs have lost a lot of their previous power (even though they still control some territory), it means that things like the Exchange can still exist within the setting.

The negative side is I’m not too sure I like adding such potentially large “militant” slant on the setting. Players who like killing lots of things would probably like it, but others who are more interested in exploring where they are (and trying to find a way home) probably wouldn’t find it appealing.

Much more thought is required I think!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

WoAdWriMo On Reflection

So, one month later and WoAdWriMo is finally over. Now that Obliviscence is out I can finally sit back and reflect on how it went.

First off, the main reason I decided to do this was to get me focused on my roleplay writing again. Polgarus Games has been on hiatus for almost 18 months now – and that has been mainly because I've been too unfocused. I'll play around with ideas for a while then jump to another, or allow myself to get easily distracted, and before I know it months have passed and nothing has been done! Doing WoAdWriMo was a good wake-up call... set a goal, set a deadline, and then sit down and just do it.

Secondly, going through the discipline of actually plotting out an adventure was a positive process. Don't tell my players this, but when I run an adventure I usually wing 90-95% of what I'm doing. I might have a few names, maybe a couple of scenes and an idea or two of what's going to kick things off, but most of the time I'm making it up as I go along. WoAdWriMo made me sit down and, for once, actually figure out everything ahead of time.

(I'm not saying I'm actually going to plot things out in the future – but at least I've had a chance to try it. :-) )

I did end up writing a lot more than I intended. Originally I thought I'd only end up writing a 15-20 page adventure... it ended up being 32 pages long (and this is the version without the maps and possibly a few images). It's a good wake-up call for some things I plan to write shortly – cut the waffle, and get down to business straight away.

So what do I think about my finished result?

On the plus side, I'm happy with the cover I created and the layout I used. Neither of them will win any awards, but I think they are good, neat and professional in appearance. I lost track of how many pages I printed out trying to find a font I was happy with for the main text – it was at least 20 pages.

On the downside, I think the adventure itself suffers from two problems. The first is that it is fairly linear. While I wrote in various suggestions on what to do if the PCs wanted to do something else (and encouraged the GM to run with the players instead of trying to force them to follow a set path), there is still an expected order that for the PCs to follow. They will go to the Exchange, they will be ambushed, they will meet Leopoldo, they will look for a new spare part, etc. Unfortunately I'm not too sure how the adventure could be changed to overcome that given its setup as a once-off taster for The Forgotten.

The second problem I think the adventure has is that there's way too much boxed text (at least early on - which could tie in strongly with the first problem). I think I got better the further I got into the adventure, as there is less text towards the end (although that was partly because I was running out of time). I'll have to try and limit the amount of boxed text I include in the future so it doesn't overwhelm the adventure I'm writing.

Overall I think WoAdWriMo has been a fantastic experience, and I look forward to participating again next year!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Obliviscence is complete!

Phew! It was a lot of work, but Obliviscence (at least v1) is finally done. You can download it from here (direct link to PDF).