Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

My Philosophy of Quest Design

Posted by Rampant Coyote on December 16, 2013

… Maybe I need an intervention.

“But there was no other way…”


“… As epically awesome!”

Seriously, it sometimes feels like half my writing & design efforts (in the content phase) are focused on justifying just why the player has to do things in such a convoluted manner. But then I volunteered for that when I opted to make a game series that directly deals with the often weird, illogical tropes of fantasy RPGs.

Filed Under: General - Comments: 5 Comments to Read

  • McTeddy said,

    That’s why I like Job Boards, Secret Agencies and Criminal organizations to be my quest givers.

    “My client wishes for you to deliver this [Insert Random Item] to [Insert Random Location]. No questions asked, Need to know, etc”

    Even when developers write a novel to explain a quest… my brain only reads “Enter dungeon… kill bad wizard… collect reward… buy bigger sword”.

    Heck, this same effect was done in old games by abstracting the quest conversation’s rather than writing every line of dialogue. “After me few minutes of small talk, the suspicious man asks for you to retrieve a bag of STOLEN MONEY from the BANK. Do you accept the quest?”

    My imagination works just fine for filling in the details of that conversation.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    What you are describing may be the “exposition dump” thing, which I try to avoid. What I try to do is have little suggestions or bits of info along the way explaining why there isn’t such a straight course from Point A to Point B. Why won’t just any sword do? Why are there THREE of this thing scattered all over? Why can’t the quest-giver just do it on their own? Why is the bad guy trying to do X, anyway?

    Of course, as it’s Frayed Knights, I can get away with some semi-silly answers so long as they are plausible.

  • ShadowTiger said,

    I think my focus going forward is going to be on inter-connectivity. It doesn’t matter what they do or why as long as later on they unravel the plot and something interesting is going on.

    Collect 10 wolf pelts, go kill these 3 people usually found at a pub, bring me 2 dead snakes from the marsh. Great, now put on this wolf pelt and some body paint, sneak into the mansion that had 3 of its guards killed recently, and go steal all the stuff the trophy room. Btw, that food you just ate had the the snake’s poison and without the antidote you will die a painful death in one hour.

    Generally you don’t want to force people into quests too often but I do think its good to challenge people’s “gamer” assumptions that quests are always good and NPCs are either trustworthy or easy to bully into submission. When in doubt, send assassins!

  • Anon said,

    Personally, the more integrated a quest is into the story, the better – by which I don’t mean optional side quests.

    It’s not important, what type of quest it is – main quests or subquests, from fetch & deliver to kill or escort – anything works if there is enough reason(ing) behind it.

  • Darklord said,

    Well that was funny!