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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

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RPG Developers Discuss Setting, Story, And Characters
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Iron Tower Studio recently published a lengthy roundtable interview with role playing game developers. The three part Q&A covered a range of issues within the range of setting, story, and character development. Participants in the discussion included Spiderweb's Jeff Vogel, Basilisk Games' Thomas Riegsecker, and Planewalker Games' Jason Compton.

What are your preferences and thoughts in regard to storylines? Linear or non-linear? Epic or low-key? Formulaic or "chaotic"? Taking control from the player for extra drama (i.e. you fell asleep, was captured, and thrown in jail. Surprise!) or leaving the player completely in charge? What are your storytelling trademarks (or what storytelling aspects would you like to develop into your own trademarks)?

Jason Compton: Everybody wants to rule the world, so the song tells us, but first they must save it. It turns out that "saving the world as I know it", aside from providing a very clear and present danger for the player to tackle, is something which many, many different personality concepts for a player character can get behind. "Well, *my* guy doesn't want to play *your* game" is an objection a CRPG plotter has to get past, so threatening the Imminent Destruction Of All is one handy way to get past that issue and get on with the individual plot lines which make up the whole.

I would actually very much like to do CRPGs at some point which are more condensed and personal in scope. These concepts would have far less at stake, where the final outcome may only truly matter to a few of the participants and their victims and/or beneficiaries. The tongue-in-cheek code name for one such game is "Alassa's Big Night Out", and I've scribbled down notes for a small game which would extend the story of one of our serial stories as well, from the point of view of one or more of the central characters. And I don't mean a game which starts out sending you on a flower-picking quest when you then *discover* that you must save the world, I mean one with no swerves, no mysterious conspiracies revealed in chapter 3 that you stumble into—just one with personal stakes.

With The Broken Hourglass we decided to go with a game that would allow more flexibility and freedom in the personal definition of the player character—who, by the way, is threatened with the Imminent Destruction Of All. Just in case you were thinking that your character would prefer to stay in bed and not play the game after all.
To read the full Q&A click on the link provided below.

Iron Tower Studio: RPG Roundtable - Setting
Iron Tower Studio: RPG Roundtable - Story
Iron Tower Studio: RPG Roundtable - Characters
The Broken Hourglass

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Archives  News  RPG Developers Discuss Setting, Story, And Characters