Tuesday, July 15, 2008

1.69

"I try to get out, but they keep pulling me back in!"

11 comments:

Don Jason said...

Shield Lands 1.69? Persistent server . . .

Please!

Mr. Alex said...

How about "Raven's Hold" Persistent server which starts as a large collection of poorly designed areas, 4 completely undeveloped towns, combined with Pete's MPOP system and with The Story and The Role playing to be patched in later and absolutely NO ELVES (if Pete will give me scripting help/refrence, of course). I started building core areas last night, I drew a map on my lunch brake, etc. I am a man-child...

Don Jason said...

I have been playing on "Silver Spire" because I know someone in Berlin that has played on that server for years.

It is geared towards epic level characters, so being a puny low level character that can barely explore anywhere is a formality to be quickly blown through by following around dark and brooding super-hero Drow elves.

The areas are designed well (outside of some absurdly placed monster spawns) but there is absolutely no scripting. Unless other people are playing at the same time it gets boring because there is little to interact with that does not involve killing.

It is interesting and a bit silly what kind of economy the NWN treasure system yields when left unaltered.

Don Jason said...

In other role-playing game news I have started to test 4th Edition D&D a little.

Alex will be happy to hear that the standard races include no Gnomes or Orcs but THREE different kinds of Elves.

Mr. Alex said...

"...but THREE different kinds of Elves."

Moody, Weepy, and Fabulous?

Pete said...

Alex, I'd be very pleased to spend several weekends coding & developing for such a board, with you as the creative lead. I can't work on it before the beginning of October, because of the mosque presentation.

I think my best contribution would be a revised MPOP system, a Legendary Monster system, a brand new treasure system (w/ lots of custom-scripted magic items) and building mobs of monsters. I might also be able to do some custom tiles with NeverBlender.

This would free you up to develop the civilized areas and characters, which is what we sorely need.
I kind of have the monster infested wilderness/dungeon thing perfected; it was developed at the expense of developing the towns and characters. My aptitude isn't with characterization and narrative, it is with systems. You could stick to generic monsters and encounters while painting areas and I could come through later and add the mobs, MPOP and treasure.

For starters, I suggest using Neshke's Extensible Spawn System (NESS) and Jasperre's AI.

NESS has timed spawns, as well as scripted waypoints. Which would be perfect for setting up Ultima-style NPC scheduling. It's what MPOP currently uses, too. (link ignore NWN2 stuff) (link to what I think is the correct file)

Jasperre's AI (link) simply makes for a more fun game. It also allows you to really get into the brain of each NPC, if you want: Having them yell different things in combat, fine tuning their morale, and assignig leadership roles, etc.

My #1 design suggestion is to do monster and NPC statistics by-the-book. If ability scores, hit points, feats, powers, spells, skills, wealth and challenge rating are unbalanced; it is truly problematic. This is more important for mobs of monsters than it is for friendlies. And I will gladly proof read your work if you wish.

In terms of area design, the only two things I'd warn against are dead end distance, and railroading. You'll find that parties won't enter branches where they have to back track more than a full area. Some dead ends are preferable, as pocket dungeons, etc. Just be aware that they will not be heavily trafficked. But definitely avoid chains of areas that don't loop back to somewhere. In terms of railroading, don't have spans more than an area-or-two long without having a branch. You didn't play Nordock too much, but Jason knows what I am talking about.

If I recall correctly, most Shield Lands areas were 256 tiles big, some maybe 10-20% larger.

Jason and I had the following idea about board structure: Have the higher level areas quarantined, presumably in a dungeon or two, but it could be a mountain, or the elemental plane of fire, or whatever. A sealed portal, or magic gate, keeps the dungeon's occupants from overrunning the countryside. When the PCs breach each dungeon, a link is made in the MPOP system, and the dungeon's ecology gets linked into the world-at-large, letting it's much stronger inhabitants run amok. Fun for everybody! "Ok, who let G'Zhorb the All seeing Eye out? Because he's in the tavern."

Mr. Alex said...

"When the PCs breach each dungeon, a link is made in the MPOP system, and the dungeon's ecology gets linked into the world-at-large"

LOL! This is a grad idea! Thanks for all the tips. What you've offered in terms of scripting help sounds well targeted and is much appreciated. More later. Now sleep...

Don Jason said...

So when do I get to start play testing?

Mr. Alex said...

Hopefully in a few weeks. Development will probably be a bit slow until my Wedding happens on Aug 30th. I'll keep you posted...

Ryan said...

wedding??
babies??
why am i the last to know this stuff. i really need to check in more often. oh yeah and i'm definitely anxious to play the new shield lands campaign if i can be a playtester.

otherwise no news here in chicago. all is calm on the midwestern front.

Ryan said...

congrats alex on tying the knot! best wishes!