Article - Beginner Scenarios

AuthorTopic: Article - Beginner Scenarios
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Beginner Scenarios

The desire to make a scenario is understandable. Unfortunately, the desire to start with a large and/or complex scenario is even more so; perhaps you should start with a morceaux. What am I saying? Essentially, start small in more words than necessary.

Start very, very small. Not only that, but start off very simply. Reduce your idea until making it any simpler would be boring. For instance, let's say that you want to have demons summoned by Garzahd enslave nephils to attack some rebels on the surface, and the Haakai raises one of the nephils into a giant demon who you have to defeat by retrieving and using Catslayer, the magic greatsword enchanted by the mystic Belthazar et cetera. Too complex. But the nephils idea doesn't sound bad- let's go with that. In my scenario for BoE called Bandits, I start off with an idea of the same idea- Bandits.

Give your scenario one unique idea that makes it more interesting and realistic. Perhaps these nephils are very organized, and they have an educated leader who used to be the adopted son of a noble. In Bandits, the leader of the rogues had his wife stolen away by the leader of the town he's harassing. Neither of these ideas are too complex or fantastic, and both create relatively enticing plots.

Don't make your ideas overly cliched or incomprehensible. In Bahssikava, you have heaps of Exile/Avernum overused ideas- Undead, demons, golems, Vahnatai machinery, etc., and not a single inspiring villain. Its plotline was very boring as a result of this. On the other end of the spectrum is Echoes (a series of scenarios for BoE), whose plotline was filled with characters who had ample motivations that weren't telegraphed to the player. At least 10 major NPCs were in each scenario, and the party learned a name, picture, and nothing more. Its plotline was very confusing as a result of this. When thinking about how to make your scenario interesting, don't fall into either of these two pitfalls.

Then, plan where your party will go in this adventure. Usually, this is the given enemy's lair. You don't have to force the party to go to the lair or not, but it's usually assumed that in a small scenario, there won't be many other places to go. In Ambitious Nephil, the party goes to the Nephilim Fort. In Bandits, the party went to the Bandits' Lair. You can make this more exotic if you want, but for a beginning scenario, I wouldn't.

Once you know where the party will go, think about what they will have to do when they get there. In the Nephilim Fort, the party will probably find a locked gate. Fortunately, the party purchased some explosives from the General Store in the nearby city.

(NOTICE! Locked gates are often a convenient way to keep a party out of a fort, but the most often-used remedy for this is a secret passage or crumbling wall. Try to avoid that, and go with something more interesting instead, such as using rope to climb onto an unoccupied ledge or explosives to blow into the fort.)

Then, think about what else would be in the fort- usually, this involves whoever is in the fort and isn't on a patrol. On the other hand, it might not have to stop there- you could have the fort's denizens run towards the opening the party has just created, pitting the party against more enemies than the party might be able to handle. So tell the party to retreat, and then set a timer for when the guards in the fort stop huddling around the new entrance. Then, the party will be able to enter the fort and sneak around!

The general trend is to make everything at least somewhat interesting. For instance, when the party re-enters the fort, think about how the party will get to the educated nephil. Will the nephil flee? If so, what will the party be able to do? Design each encounter accordingly. Furthermore, it helps to think about how each plot nuance will be conveyed- perhaps the nephil leader's extensive library will hint to the party that the nephil is an anomaly. Or perhaps the nephil will speak in perfect English/Imperial- let the party know this! And then, think about how you can communicate the falling-out between the nephil and her/his parents to the party. At that point, the party will not be gunning down random stacks of HP; they will have wandered through a real, vibrant fort, and they will have slain the nephil, or perhaps will have let her/him flee! Now just imagine how much superior the scenario Ambitious Nephil is in comparison to "Demon Nephil Invasion," and it only required a fraction of the effort!

A few general warnings to top this article off:
1. Do not use Warrior's Grove.
2. Remember the use of the spray can and frill terrain tools.
3. Custom graphics are easy to implement.
4. Bad custom graphics are easy to implement.
5. Incidental noises can enhance an area's mood.
6. Learning scripting really does help!
7. Custom NPC scripts make for interesting encounters.
8. Never hesitate to ask how to do something.

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Posts: 6936 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Warrior
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well there goes my whole futuristic 4-way world war idea lol. Seriously though, thanks for the article. I was planning on doing this huge scenario before, but when i started making maps, and dialogue, and step by step plot, i decided it was too long, and time consuming, etc... Now i'll probably just try to make a small, simple, but intresting scenario.

[ Sunday, March 20, 2005 12:45: Message edited by: aliklik ]
Posts: 59 | Registered: Wednesday, January 5 2005 08:00
Guardian
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Question: is having a stealth segment feasible? I've been toying with the idea, but I'm not sure I like how it might work with this... well... game.

Obviously I'd have some item you use/equip and you are put in 'stealth mode', allowing you to sneak around and cause all sorts of mischief.

Right now I see no way to allow backstabbing or something. Unless of course I ditch any detection by the NPCs.

Yay, nay?

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DEMON PLAY,
DEMON OUT!
Posts: 1582 | Registered: Wednesday, November 13 2002 08:00
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Hm. You can edit creature scripts to drop you as a target while in 'stealth' mode correct?

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My ego is bigger than yours.
Posts: 480 | Registered: Thursday, October 11 2001 07:00
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There's a million ways to go about this- the way I'd use is I'd pool together each PC's Dex, Gymnastics and Quick Action skills, and turn them into an invisible "Stealth" skill. For each 4 ranks, you'd gain another space within its line of sight where it would not be able to attack you. (Essentially, it would technically be able to hit you with an arrow or something, but the script would tell it, "no! You don't see this person.") This bonus of not being seen would obviously not work at point-blank range (ie. 2 spaces or fewer). A creature on guard would get back some of those lost spaces. Hitting a creature lets it and the creatures around it know that you are there.

On the other hand, killing a creature before it has the time to react would go unnoticed by the people around it if the creature is not seen by other creatures.

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Posts: 6936 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
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This is my first attempt at posting, so here goes:
Yes it is quite possible to make the party invisible, in the scenario I'm building I have made an 'Orb of Invisibility'. The key to it is substituting an altered 'basicnpc' script, so that all non custom monsters will automatically be affected. I've tested it, and it seems to work quite well. One could expand on it by giving, say, powerful wizards a script that allows them to spot invisible people trying to sneak by etc. You could also make certain events make a 'noise' which makes gaurds suspicious; send a message that makes them come looking around. One thing I can't deal with is the fact that if you step next to an npc and then step away, it hits you. This could make sense though; the player brushed agaist the gaurd, who lashed out.

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Überraschung des Dosenöffners!
"On guard, you musty sofa!"
Posts: 627 | Registered: Monday, March 7 2005 08:00
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You could just have the guards set to being neutral, being set to hostile whenever the party is visible. Guards who know that the party can turn invisible would have a variable flipped that causes them to lash out whenever they hear a sound. However, even guards who know where the party is should lose sight of the party if it does nothing for a single round. Also, they should take TREMENDOUS negative penalties to their chances of hitting. (This should be added moreso by Parry and Defense skills.)

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Posts: 6936 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Warrior
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on a diffrent note... Can u cause an item (namely a sword or pole etc...) to break or become cursed upon impact with a certain creature. I'm not talking about making the item so that its breakable, i'm talking about making a creature that can break/curse swords.
Posts: 59 | Registered: Wednesday, January 5 2005 08:00
...b10010b...
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Nope. There is absolutely no way to have a weapon call any sort of script on hitting a target. (A list of things BoA can't do ought to be put into the Designers' FAQ, methinks.)

You COULD have a monster that had an *attack* that destroyed certain types of equipped item, though. There are certain limitations to this, but you could still do a fair bit with it.

[ Sunday, March 20, 2005 21:48: Message edited by: Thuryl ]

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The Empire Always Loses: This Time For Sure!
Posts: 9973 | Registered: Saturday, March 30 2002 08:00
Off With Their Heads
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List of things it can't do... other than a weapon calling a state upon hitting a creature, what else?

I can just put that in by itself if there's nothing else that jumps out immediately.

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
Smoo: Get ready to face the walls!
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

Kelandon's Pink and Pretty Page!!: the authorized location for all things by me
The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
...b10010b...
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Adding new spells and skills seem like other obvious examples.

Maybe we should start a topic on the BoA Editor forum.

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The Empire Always Loses: This Time For Sure!
Posts: 9973 | Registered: Saturday, March 30 2002 08:00
Off With Their Heads
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Eh, I'll go with that for the time being and add new ones if anything comes up.

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
Smoo: Get ready to face the walls!
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

Kelandon's Pink and Pretty Page!!: the authorized location for all things by me
The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
...b10010b...
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Ooh, another one. There are no calls to change lighting in a town.

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The Empire Always Loses: This Time For Sure!
Posts: 9973 | Registered: Saturday, March 30 2002 08:00
Law Bringer
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*bump* To preserve material
Posts: 4643 | Registered: Friday, February 10 2006 08:00