Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Creating a Narrative Campaign Part 1: Dissecting Deception's Edge

Chad McMann was a founding member and regular participant in Nerd Night, the Chicago gaming club that separately spawned both 2ndCityWarzone and Hyacinth Games and his early 40K background pieces can be found in the earliest 2ndCityWarzone posts.
One of the key elements that differentiates Wreck-Age from other game systems is that it is intended to universally act as both an RPG and a skirmish level miniature wargame. We've been discussing ways to heighten this appeal and that led to the idea of supplements that contained all of the necessary elements to do either. Every module, packet, or whatever they eventually will be termed would come with all of the narrative, background, NPCs, adventure locations, etc that you would expect from a RPG supplement, and at the same time have all of the key encounters broken down into a scenario format more familiar to table top wargame players. The ultimate goal being that you could take or leave whatever you wanted so that you could play it out entirely table top style, or you could play it out entirely as a pen and paper RPG, or if you love both elements you could do a hybrid of the two. This will hopefully create crossover appeal for a variety of gamers and allow people to tailor their gaming experience to their own predilections.

If you've been to the Wreck-Age website you may have noticed there are 6 short stories for download for a mere $.49 each (or you can download them for free if you like). While we were gearing up for Adepticon it was discussed that it would be cool to put one or all of these short stories in an anthology for sale at the event. It never came together, but while discussing how to make such an anthology more enticing to gamers, it was suggested that we possibly include narrative scenarios and RPG material so that someone who read the story could then play out the events if they so chose.

Today I downloaded Deception's Edge by Chad McMann, a great little story that gives you some insight into how the faction known as Stitcher's function and maintain themselves. I've been well familiar with the Stitchmen for some time now and even I felt like I learned something from the story. It was a quick read, and I highly recommend taking the time to do so yourself.

As I read the story I took notes. Who would the major NPCs be? What are the key locations? How large were the forces involved and what were they equipped with? How many encounters took place that could be represented by scenarios and what would the goal of each scenario be?

Its actually a really exciting exercise. I don't want to give away the story right away, but I will say that the as you read along the narrative can be broken into four action sequences that would become scenarios. It is obvious that Newmark, Dr. Mordan, and Arthur would be the NPCs (possibly Larsen as well just because he's named), And the Stitchers appear to number about 10-14 including Golems. The Stakers would number about 20-30. I think for purposes of play-ability we'd keep the Stitchers to a maximum of 12 on the field and Stakers around 20-25.

With my framework in hand I'm now going to set about drafting up formatted scenarios and pulling text from the story to describe the principal NPCs.

Have you read Deception's Edge? What did you think?


PS. If you're curious about how the game plays, why not download the Quick Start Rules for free?

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