Friday, April 4, 2014

Current Solo Module Plot Paths

This will likely mean nothing to you, unless you're interested in the way the design process is turning out for my DCC solo module.

Art is chugging along - you've seen the cover illo and a couple of my own inside monster portraits.

You saw the nodes for the random encounters of a previous iteration of the monster set (updated, I think, a couple of times since then)

I could show you the map - loosely based on a somewhat famous castle from a pretty famous movie - but I won't.  That'd spoil some stuff.  I think I will make a regular low-level DCC module out of the materials I have and release the monsters for freebies to the community (after I finish THIS project).  Maybe some of the gods and patrons, also.  I have 3 0-level spells that are good intros into working magic for untrained schmucks, at least where the ley lines intersect and the barriers between dimensions are thinning.

However, I can show you the current-a-couple-of-hours-ago node-map of the entries in which the PC runs around the keep all desperate n' stuff.  It's about maybe half finished and written, and when the last entry is done I can practically plug the text into InDesign, plug the graphical elements to fill in the gaps, twerk the layout, and submit to the authorities in this matter.  I think it will come to about 180 entries in which the player is trusted to play by the rules as well as possible.  At times, it is cruel and unforgiving and seems impossibly hard.  I don't know if that is a plus or a minus.  It seems to fit with my memories of the CYOA books and especially the Fighting Fantasy series.  I think it will make, at two or three columns with facing pages, a pretty nice and hefty module when printed in the old TSR style.  I'm trying to figure out a way to export the whole thing to kindle format but that might need to wait a while.

Here, try this:

It's not evident, but the little watermark at the bottom is for the program's author and website.  I'm not afraid to say anymore, since I am within striking distance of submitting the thing within the next month, that I'm using The Gamebook Authoring Tool by Crumbly Head Games.  For what I set out to do, it's perfect and frankly indispensable.  I may have mentioned I tried to start this project off with Twine, but it proved unsuitable for what I wanted.  There was TXT2CYOA but that wasn't right, either.

This thing is exactly what I needed and wanted and perfect in every way.  I feel like I have jilted the author so far, since I wrote about 40 or 50 entries for the Wandering Monster section.  I tried to base it loosely on the flow of the basic and expert solo modules by Merle Rasmussen, you see.  Wander around, mark the entry on the character sheet, and resolve your combat, go back, wash - rinse - repeat until dead or victorious.  I don't know how he could have done something like this project without the aid of this software or something like it - but I imagine about a million million index cards and a giant corkboard.

I'm coming up pretty quickly on the 100 entry maximum for the main keep entries so a full sale is coming for Crumbly Head Games, soon.  And they deserve it!  As I said, it's right as rain and does what it advertises smoothly and elegantly.

I'm looking at about 6 weeks out and I am happy with the way it's going at the moment.  I'll lose about a week between now and then for vacation, but we'll see.

I think I might like to get in touch with Merle and nostalgia-fanboy vomit all over him and Ian Livingstone and rejoice in the memories of hours of my whiled-away youth


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