Monday, 13 May 2013

Even More On: Into the Expanse!

Ok, so I lied. From Monday onwards. I felt like a bit of a break after Qantm, but that break has now been had, so I will go back to posting.

Even More On: Into the Expanse!

That's right, we're back with more information on my new campaign, Into the ExpanseLast time I spoke about how the general game will work, but this time I am here to talk about how it will feel and various design choices I have made to bolster that and to increase the effect of the game.

Time is Thrones Gelt...

In Into the Expanse, I will be using an egg timer to plot our rounds of combat. At the beginning of each player's turn, they have until the end of the egg timer to tell me what they want to do. This will encourage players to think ahead and constantly be strategising, but it will also increase tension.

I want Into the Expanse to be tense. Basically.
Hehe, I couldn't resist.
I want players to be making snap decisions, and to see the effects of those decisions played out in front of them (usually resulting in further chaos). The purpose of this is to achieve the effect that, in a fire fight, or when controlling an empire, you really don't have time to sit back and think things through.

In Space, No One Can Hear You Scream...

(Though, they can hear awesome ambient music.)

For Into the Expanse, I plan to have background music set to several playlists - General, Battle, Scary, and Good.
  1. General will contain all music that relates to travel, general ambience, "in-town" music, and anything that could feasibly be played behind any scene that doesn't itself contain much stress.
  2. Battle will contain heavier/faster music that relates to combat, action and tense situations.
  3. Scary will contain softer/darker music that relates to tension, suspense, horror and the like, which will be used when forging through the Warp, or investigating hidden tunnels, etc.
  4. And Good will contain lighter/happier music that relates to brighter horizons and more grandiose themes, which will be used when in friendly locations, during a great victory, or within the grander symbols of the Imperium's power - such as a Cathedral.
The Emperor gave rock and roll to you...
This music will be set up on my laptop and played via a stereo that will sit behind me and face the players. It will be on low volume so as to not drown out the discussion of play, but loud enough to not fade completely into the background. This step will require a lot of testing before it is implemented.

Bring Your Bones and Your Models, Boyz!

I will be running almost all combats with miniatures for this campaign - be they stand-ins or legitimate representations (as it is Warhammer 40k, there are plenty of ready made models to purchase from Games Workshop, though these are very expensive!), but I will require all players to own a model of their character.
Most of the campaign will revolve around the logistics of Space Marine toilet requirements.
Furthermore, as I am testing this out with my current campaign, I will be making NPC cards for my players to keep. These will be small pieces of cardboard which have the NPC's name, description, and affiliations listed on them. Further, there is room for the players to input notes about the NPCs on the back.

The purpose of these two points is to foster player involvement - personally I feel when you're playing with your own miniature, you're much more invested in them doing well, for some reason (perhaps visually seeing "yourself" lose is a greater blow than merely hearing about it). Further, the cards will enable the players to grasp the NPCs and to ingrain them further in the players' minds.

Alternate Reward Systems

Finally, I am looking into new ways of rewarding, and encouraging player involvement within the game. Previously I have used things I call "Lucky Charms", which act as additional re-rolls, etc, but to little success.
Well done on that character journal. Here, have a tour through a chocolate factory of death!
As such, I will be attaching levels of intrinsic rewards and elements of my games design training to the campaign. I have no definitive ideas yet, but I definitely believe that some form of "Wishlist" is perhaps the best suited thus far.

But more on this later...

Conclusion: One Awesome Campaign!

I really want Into the Expanse to shine as a great campaign, and to stand as something I've not done before, or as a beacon for ideas I've had which haven't quite worked out previously but can be altered and made better.

Hopefully I can get this all up and flying properly.