Monday, April 20, 2015

Making Mine Scenery XIII

Mine section by Robh from Kickstarter/Lead Adventure

Its been a while since I did a hobby post. The Kickstarter had me furiously painting models, but I didn't really touch any of the scenery during the last month or so. Today I wanted to shake the dust off and get back into the terrain mindset.

Now before I talk about my own FerrumSky mine and some theory, I want to take a moment to showcase the work of Robh. During the Kickstarter I got a message from Rob telling me that they had worked on some mines of their own, inspired by the game. I was ecstatic and pleaded to see pics. They happily obliged. Featured here are two of their sections. They deviated from my own straight lines and went for something more winding. The game play options for their sections are excellent. There are obstacles to fight around and jump over, and spots to get out of line of sight.

"T" section by Robh.

Rob actually goes into detail on how these sections and others were made on their blog, El Brazo de Nelson and particularly in this thread on Lead Adventure. Expect to see more of Rob's work here in the coming weeks. If you have also started work on some mine sections of your own, I would love to see them. Drop a note in the comments or on the Broken Contract FB Page or the Broken Contract Playtest Group.

Narrative Campaign Structures.

Now that we've all marveled at Rob's beautiful terrain, let's talk theory. When making terrain and when making scenarios, players want options. They want to feel a sense of control over their destiny. Occasionally you want or need the players to be forced along a linear track or what I refer to as a Straight Sequence, but if you want the players to feel invested, you might want to give them a more "Choose Your Own Adventure" campaign structure. I sketched out 3 simple structures to help those who want to create their own mini campaigns:

Straight Sequence - In a Straight Sequence campaign the players have a direct narrative. If the Characters survive Act 1, they proceed to Act 2. If they survive Act 2, they proceed to Act 3. There might be all sorts of cool objectives to achieve in the mission, but most likely they enter through Opening A and exit through Opening B, or might even work through multiple scenarios locked in one section of area until they complete a series of goals. In a Straight Sequence Campaign  the narrative always proceeds in a strict order with no deviation.

Alternate Body - The Alternate Body campaign allows the characters more options. At the conclusion of Act 1 they are faced with Door #1, Door #2, or Door #3. This can take the form of multiple exits or it can take the form of varied scenarios based upon which objectives the Characters accomplish. These options allow the story to vary based upon the actions of the players. For simplicity's sake, these scenarios in the middle of the story all lead back to the same grand conclusion for the 3rd and final scenario.

Alternate Ending - The Alternate Ending campaign keeps Act 1 and Act 2 linked in a Straight Sequence. Act 2 ends with multiple exits or objectives that trigger different possible scenarios going into Act 3. This might actually create the greatest sense of carving one's own future.

By adhering to these Campaign Structures you can plan out an entire campaign in advance without going crazy trying to map out all of the possible futures. You'll notice that the Straight Sequence campaign can be executed with only 3 Scenarios, and the Alternate Body and Alternate Ending can each be constructed with 4 or 5 Scenarios planned out in advance, which is still quite manageable. Now how does this all relate to Making Mine Scenery?

It is much easier to plan out your scenarios when you can visualize, "If the Characters exit through this corridor, where does it lead?" Thinking in those terms, you can plan out your maps for your scenarios both to give the players tactical options during the game, but also options for how the story might continue. Does this exit lead to a tool shed to acquire equipment out of? Does it lead to an infirmary to pull an injured friend out of? Does it lead to a secret unused tunnel to avoid a guard station? There are a ton of cool action movie scenarios you can work into the setting.

Two new sections roughed out today. 

In that spirit, I roughed out a 4-way intersection piece and a 3-way. These will make my scenery collection less linear, and when combined with my existing collection will give me the ability to allow the Breakers and Prods to maneuver around each other in the process of pursuing their objectives.

My current collection is too linear so it needs to be expanded.

Thanks for reading!
-Nick

PS. You can see how all of those board sections and more were made in these fine articles:

Making Mine Scenery Part I
Making Mine Scenery Part II
Making Mine Scenery Part III
Making Mine Scenery Part IV
Making Mine Scenery Part V
Making Mine Scenery Part VI
Making Mine Scenery Part VII
Making Mine Scenery Part VIII
Making Mine Scenery Part IX
Making Mine Scenery Part X

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