Posted by Rampant Coyote on October 3, 2013
With this installment, we now come to the end of my “general guidelines” for designing adventure areas for Frayed Knights. After this, we move onto specifics, like “dungeons should have at least X of Y” and stuff like that. For those who may not recall, this series is expanded excerpts from the design document for Frayed Knights 2: The Khan of Wrath. I drew upon my experience as a gamer, a dice-and-paper GM, and from my experience making Frayed Knights 1: The Skull of S’makh-Daon and put some of these guidelines and thoughts on (virtual) paper for my own benefit (in the stress of development, it’s easy to forget things), and for those who are assisting me in level design. You can read part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here, part 4 here, and part 5 here.
#14 – Post-Choice Chatter
For meaningful decisions (#13) or alternative approaches to challenges (#3), there’s nothing cooler than having party and NPC dialog later reflecting the choice the player made. If the player defeated the boss by dropping a boat on his head instead of fighting him (when both were legitimate options), it’s awesome when an NPC later asks, “Hey, is it true you dropped a BOAT ON HIS HEAD?!?!?!” This can also be done in little text descriptions – like the boss’s bedroom having a description pop-up when the players enter saying, “Unless suffering from a permanent waterborne-vessel-induced headache, the boss likes to come here and relax post-battle.”
Yes, these can be time-consuming, as they require branched triggers. And maybe some players will never notice. But it’s part of the whole “making meaningful decisions” thing – your choice has to have an impact. Recognition (through dialog or whatnot) is part of that impact.
#15 – Jargon
I made a big deal about “Adventurer Jargon” in the last game, but still didn’t use it as much as I’d like. Remember to use adventurer jargon where appropriate in dialogs. It’s part of the world design, to give it a unique flavor.
One thing to bear in mind is that while the jargon is normally applied to adventuring-related activities, these professional treasure hunters will tend to use the same words for more mundane situations (like calling any death a “mort”, even when that is more particularly used to describe someone who was killed on an adventure by enemies or traps).
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