Bengt Petter
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Re: Campaign Mode Examples

Fri 10 Jan 2020, 16:39

I’m sure what you mention can be created from the basic rule set. But is it really a sandbox? I would rather say it’s a trip to only one adventure site. That’s a railroaded scenario, not a sandbox campaign. I’d say a sandbox has to contain more - both in terms of locations and possible events. You can’t play Grand Theft Auto with only one possible destination.

Alien RPG is like Grand Theft Auto with the entire world as a sandbox. You can go to Africa or South America, but what it means to be there is very vague. The locations in the game world are more generic than specific. Of course you can create your own Africa or your own South America, but there aren’t much conceptual support, just generic ”world” tables.
Last edited by Bengt Petter on Fri 10 Jan 2020, 18:02, edited 1 time in total.
 
Riggswolfe
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Re: Campaign Mode Examples

Fri 10 Jan 2020, 18:01

I think we have different definitions of sandbox honestly. 

The adventure sites from other Year Zero games are just premade sites in a sandbox. That's all. They're not required for a sandbox. In general for a sandbox you need some world descriptions and ways to make content to plop down in it. That's what we have with Alien.

And of course my example of the Alien movie was an adventure site and not a campaign because that movie would clearly not be a campaign. It's a single adventure, that's all. The point of my example was to show that with the sandbox we've been given you could set up the basic plot hooks to get the start of the first Alien with a few dice rolls. You have to fill in the details but that's how a sandbox works. It gives you some basics to get out exploring and the GM fleshes it out. 

I'm going to relate this to video games.

What you seem to want is the Witcher 3. It's a large open world with predefined adventure sites you can stumble upon and explore.

What we got was Minecraft. We're given the tools and the world to build our own adventure sites. It's more work but there is a ton more freedom.
 
Bengt Petter
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Re: Campaign Mode Examples

Fri 10 Jan 2020, 19:27

Is the sandbox concept really that open for different interpretations? I would say no. It’s a quite obvious metaphor: it’s a framed area. You can’t miss what’s inside and what’s outside. That’s the main idea. Maybe you can go outside, perhaps to other sandboxes, but then you are somewhere else, outside the box you know or at least have an idea of. This is not just my personal view - you can see Grand Theft Auto and Sim City as quite typical sandbox games. Their boundaries are square and obvious. Of course the shape isn’t the important thing here, but the spatial limitations are. The sandbox isn’t infinite, like the universe seen to be. A sandbox is rather defined by it’s limitations. It isn’t just sand, it’s also box.

There is another aspect of the metaphore too: it’s an area for play. You need toys, maybe tools and in most cases other kids to play with. If it’s not going to be boring you need interesting toys and something to do, perhaps building a sand castle or visiting sand castles built by others. Just sittning in the sandbox is possible, but probably boring.

Of course, if we return to the Year Zero concept, a sandbox without adventure sites is still a sandbox. But you need tools, toys and some kind of idea if what to do.
 
Riggswolfe
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Re: Campaign Mode Examples

Fri 10 Jan 2020, 22:29


Of course, if we return to the Year Zero concept, a sandbox without adventure sites is still a sandbox. But you need tools, toys and some kind of idea if what to do.
We have those. We have the fluff about some worlds, companies and political powers. We have the Xenomorphs. We have standard NPCs. We have tables to roll up basic adventure ideas. We also have Novogrod Station which is basically an adventure site when you get down to it as it has like 3-4 plot hooks imbedded in it. 

I've got more than enough to build a campaign on personally. Do I want more? Yes, of course I do. More ships. More premade locations. Etc. But I don't need them to play in this sandbox. Going with the analogy I have the sand, a shovel and a bucket to make little castles out of as well as 3-4 friends to play with. I can keep myself busy for quite some time.
 
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aramis
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Re: Campaign Mode Examples

Tue 14 Jan 2020, 21:20

Is the sandbox concept really that open for different interpretations? I would say no. It’s a quite obvious metaphor: it’s a framed area. You can’t miss what’s inside and what’s outside. That’s the main idea. 
This implies to me that you really do not fundamentally understand the concept.
The point of a sandbox is not the boundaries, but the lack of GM driven plot. The plot, if there is one, is baked into the tables and prepared settings, not GM-presented directly. 
Likewise, as to bounds, again, you've missed the point.  You lightly prep the starting area, place some hooks, and maybe some prepared places. You start them off, and then, as they move, expand to keep at least one session travel around them. As you go, you add more places and more hooks and see if they bite.
There is a concept, elucidated by Marc Miller (Traveller's designer): Map only as really necessary. But it's not just the map. It's also the setting, the tables. Change as you need, but not until you need. Marc explains it better. still...
Sandbox is about letting players experience the world in a way they choose, enabled by a GM who makes many interesting places, and makes players always feel they're only able to experience some of the wonders. They should always be choosing which adventure they're going to pursue.
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Diego
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Re: Campaign Mode Examples

Wed 22 Jan 2020, 13:58

To answer the OP.

I'm running a campaign game (Alien: Wanderer, it's in my sig, we play once a month but our sessions are about 9 hours). The plot I've set is a mystery set within corporate intrigue. They are the child survivors of a colony disaster and now have come of age and tried to get off world. Now exposed an unknown Corp has tried to get them. Under the protection of the ICA they are living as space truckers just to hide from the people after them.

The setup has worked well for me. We are getting to play the space truckers game (as they pretend to be a crew and turn a profit) but there is a big metaplot that directly affects them. Why are the survivors of site D so important.

I always think the main metaplot should involve the players. Behind this is the backdrop of the nations gearing up for war. That is a plot to itself, but the players can't do much against that, it's more an obstacle to be navigated.

I'm also running a side plot around the people of the frontier turning separatist. I have a lot of love for the expanse so have put in my own version of the OPA.

So yeah, game book doesn't spell out a campaign arc, but does give the tools and inspiration for something involved.
Alien: Wanderer
https://alienwanderer.obsidianportal.com/
Session 3 now up
 
Bengt Petter
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Re: Campaign Mode Examples

Wed 22 Jan 2020, 18:29

Is the sandbox concept really that open for different interpretations? I would say no. It’s a quite obvious metaphor: it’s a framed area. You can’t miss what’s inside and what’s outside. That’s the main idea. 
This implies to me that you really do not fundamentally understand the concept.
The point of a sandbox is not the boundaries, but the lack of GM driven plot. The plot, if there is one, is baked into the tables and prepared settings, not GM-presented directly. 
Likewise, as to bounds, again, you've missed the point.  You lightly prep the starting area, place some hooks, and maybe some prepared places. You start them off, and then, as they move, expand to keep at least one session travel around them. As you go, you add more places and more hooks and see if they bite.
There is a concept, elucidated by Marc Miller (Traveller's designer): Map only as really necessary. But it's not just the map. It's also the setting, the tables. Change as you need, but not until you need. Marc explains it better. still...
Sandbox is about letting players experience the world in a way they choose, enabled by a GM who makes many interesting places, and makes players always feel they're only able to experience some of the wonders. They should always be choosing which adventure they're going to pursue.
Ok, just to make it clear: have you read any of the other Year Zero games? There (and in many other games) a sandbox is A LIMITED area. And it makes sense: what’s the point of the metaphor if it’s something unlimited? A real sandbox has frames. You put something in it. Do whatever you like within that frame. That’s it.

And since Alien RPG is a part of the Year Zero line it’s relevant what a sandbox is in the other games. How hard can it be?

Of course, as a creator of a new RPG, you are free to change or twist any concept, but it helps if you show your customers what you are doing. In the other Year Zero games, the sandbox concept is very obvious. Here it isn’t. It’s never explained. If course, I see all the tables and I get why they are there, but I still think it’s not specific and useful enough.

I liked the sandbox in for example Tales from the Loop. There you can play in an 1980s version your own hometown. That’s the sandbox (or maybe it’s called adventure landscape in the English version). You can put what ever you like in it. If the entire world would have been the sandbox, it would have been to vague. For the same reason, I would have prefered more limited sandboxes also for Alien - for example a large space station, a Lunar colony or maybe an asteroid belt with several adventure sites.
It’s also a matter of how locations, more or less close to each other, are linked to each other. And you can get an idea of what you see through a map - like the Zone in Mutant Year Zero.

So this isn’t just about how to use a word, it’s also about framing in what you want to tell. If it’s framed in, it’s more of a story. The TV series Dallas is called Dallas for a reason. The city is both the frame and it’s content.

You have a Traveller background, right? I don’t. I played a lot of old school (BRP mostly) Swedish games back in the 1980s, but the past ten years or so, I’ve been more into indie or indie twisted games. Year Zero is basically an indie line with old school elements. So for me, this isn’t just Traveller with xenomorphs. It’s rather Apocalypse World with xenomorphs (that game was an important inspiration for Mutant Year Zero). I think that’s partly why you don’t get what I’m saying. Maybe this will help YOU understand concepts better, although I have my doubts...

Having all this said, it’s relevant to discus what you expect from a game and it’s concepts. I know for sure that I don’t think the Alien ”sandbox” framework is useful enough. That doesn’t mean that I don’t understand it. It’s very simple.
 
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aramis
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Re: Campaign Mode Examples

Thu 23 Jan 2020, 12:56

Yes, I've read several of the others. (TFTL, MYZ, Væssen alpha, Coriolis, Forbidden Lands)

But I've also run a lot of sandbox not by FL. The playstyle is pretty laid back-  see where the players are going, and prep only that far out. I've done it in D&D, Hero System, Traveller, Starships & Spacemen, WFRP1, Even in L5R.

I can't think of any time that a group didn't either mistake coincidence for causality, or genuinely create a plot out of thin air based upon random events

And by the same token, I don't see why a group in MYZ can't relocate themselves if they decide life at the Arc is bad... Even, possibly, off the map... (Making me think of "A Boy and His Dog.")
Likewise, I seen no reason not to let them wander off map in FL, either. 
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Bengt Petter
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Re: Campaign Mode Examples

Thu 23 Jan 2020, 13:22

Ok, it’s good that you have read Mutant Year Zero. That’s most relevant to this discussion. What would say the point is with the Zone concept in that game? Why do you think it’s a limited area? How does that concept affect the design of the game?

Of course, you can leave the Zone, but then you will just end up in another Zone (and, if you explore it enough, probably another map). The same goes for the Land in FL, although I think each new Land is a new supplement. And if you leave The Paradise Valley (I wrote that part) in Mutant Genlab Alpha, you are entering a Zone...
 
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aramis
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Re: Campaign Mode Examples

Sun 26 Jan 2020, 01:07

You're still fixated on story and boundaries...
ANd still missing the point.

The starting zone is a requirement only in that it's someplace to start from. Nothing else at all needs be created until the players can perceive it,  are heading into it, or are heading through it. Moving to the opposite side is mechanically of limited relevance; there's no mechanical need for the PC's to operate out of the Ark. (There are story, setting, and character reasons.) But one need not have any GM/player determined plotline for it to  feel like there is one; random events will almost always trigger pareidolia...

In ALIEN, there's no need for the PC's to be targeted by the corps... the random systems will provide enough to cause players to feel persecuted by one or more... Again, pareidolia  will create the belief.

More importantly, the GM's own pareidolia will often cause such to arise in his own later interpretations of the random input.

Illusionism aimed at pareidolia as a GM may be looked down upon, but it's a strongly useful tool.
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