Bengt Petter
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Re: Campaign Mode... some thoughts

Mon 02 Dec 2019, 19:23

It’s both a matter of graphic design and what could have been put in additional PDFs online. If you compare to Mutant Year Zero, the first game with the Year Zero engine, the campaign there was presented in another way, without a lot of long lists. In that game, there was also a part about how to create new metaplots, specific for that setting (I wrote that part, and many other things for that game). I would actually say that there is a kind of metaplot also in Alien. It could be a great campaign tool, actually a lot better than long lists. I want to know what a campaign in Alien could be about. I don’t think the game answers that question well enough.
 
Bengt Petter
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Re: Campaign Mode... some thoughts

Mon 02 Dec 2019, 19:27

Sorry, I quoted myself unintentionally. Never mind, maybe someone else will enter this discussion. I think it is quite cruisal anyway.
 
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lupex
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Re: Campaign Mode... some thoughts

Mon 02 Dec 2019, 19:31

Isn’t that what the campaign books will be about - Colonial Marines, Space Truckers and Colonists?
 
Bengt Petter
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Re: Campaign Mode... some thoughts

Mon 02 Dec 2019, 19:56

Isn’t that what the campaign books will be about - Colonial Marines, Space Truckers and Colonists?
Sure. But that will be specific campaigns. I think it should be possible to say something general (or create some more tools than just long lists) about what a campaign in Alien CAN be about. I would say that there are certain stories or scenarios that are essential Alien. As a customer, I want to know what a campaign in Alien is meant to be, not just ”you recieve signals from a remote asteroid”.
 
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aramis
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Re: Campaign Mode... some thoughts

Mon 02 Dec 2019, 20:10

Of couse, a quite experienced GM can create an Alien campaign from the stuff that is in game. Still, what you get in campaign chapter isn’t that helpful. I think the focus should have been quite different. You don’t really get what I want in a chapter like this: a good structure for building a campaign specific for Alien. You only get some very general guidelines and lists.
Isn't that helpful? The existing is VERY helpful. It doesn't go quite far enough for the Space Truckers mode, but the lack is pretty low: 
  • how much cargo tonnage does a "standard"  mission take (and no, Diego, references to Traveller are NOT helpful for this.)
  • more exact locations than the map is gridded at. (The map scale is funky as printed - neither nicely metric nor nicely ETM/US-Imperial, nor even a nice multiple of 3.26 of either... a list to 0.1 Pc accuracy of the locations would be spiff.)
  • Fuel and maintenance costs. (Food and LS can be implied from cost of living.)
Metaplots are overrated. The metaplot, if you really need one, is simple: Keep flying. Keep fed. Don't get dead when you eventually encounter the alien. Don't draw corporate ire.
Sandbox? The map and system gen are the sandbox. It's a big setting. over 100 systems to explore and detail... and different from GM to GM, and even potentially campaign to campaign. The mission system drives travel, and the lack of clear
Main antagonists? whomever the PCs make annoyed in the course of staying flying. If you're running a USCMC game,  the UPP are  default enemies, but you're more likely to be quelling uprisings and "bug stomping"  than actually fighting the USCMC. 
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Bengt Petter
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Re: Campaign Mode... some thoughts

Mon 02 Dec 2019, 22:44

Aramis, it’s your OPINION that metaplots are overrated. I’d rather say that it depends on how they are written. To me the metaplot is a genre based story, where the PCs should be able to make a difference. It usually has some kind of time line - a final destination, en final enemy or maybe a final reveal. As I said earlier, I would say that Alien a quite specific metaplot that could be designed in many ways, but I guess it more or less has include corporate secrets, some kind of discovery, and alien life in some form. The mix can be atletered in many ways. Just going further in space isn’t really a story.

Of course, I get that the sandbox here is supposed to be really big, more or less unlimited. I think that’s a part of the problem. The sandbox metaphore tells us that it is something limited, something with a frame - a sandbox. You can fill it with what ever you like. But it’s not everything. It’s limited, like a stage.
 
Riggswolfe
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Re: Campaign Mode... some thoughts

Mon 02 Dec 2019, 23:49

I think you're misunderstanding what a sandbox is in an RPG. It's basically "here's a world, here's some tools to kick off adventures, now go play."

That's it. A sandbox doesn't have a metaplot and I'm glad Alien doesn't. I want to have freedom to do whatever I want without worrying that a player will go "But the metaplot says in 3 years Weyland Yutani starts making hybrid Xenomorph soldiers."

What we have now is pretty much the definition of a sandbox. "Here's a map. Here's some setting information. Here's some random tables if you need some ideas for an adventure. Now, go play."

I'd like more stuff. In particular I want a system to build colonies like we have in Mutant Year Zero for Arks or in Forbidden Lands with strongholds. I think my players would dig being colony architects or whatever. I figure that'll be in the colony book which may or may not come out in the next 2 years or so.
 
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Diego
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Re: Campaign Mode... some thoughts

Tue 03 Dec 2019, 02:40

Aramis, it’s your OPINION that metaplots are overrated. I’d rather say that it depends on how they are written.
Couldn't agree with you more Bengt. Also for reference Aramis, given that we have nothing else to go by, something like Traveller for a lot of people will be VERY helpful.

But back on topic. I agree with you Riggs mate, it is at the moment a big sandbox, which for the moment means we have to put together our own ongoing stories. I personally don't mind doing that, but other people aren't going to have the time or the inclination to do that. I hope that after we see the three campaign books for the styles of play, we afterwards see actual put together scenarios and not just one meant for cinematic play but ones that could be used in campaign play (i.e. ones where it's not expected for half the party to die).
 
Bengt Petter
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Re: Campaign Mode... some thoughts

Tue 03 Dec 2019, 07:55

Riggswolfe, I’m very well aware of what an RPG sandbox is. I’ve written a lot of official RPG stuff in Swedish, for example a lot of stuff in Mutant Year Zero, the first game in the Year Zero line that the Alien RPG is a part of. And if you READ what I actually wrote in my post above, I’m NOT saying that a metaplot is included in a sandbox. Those are two SEPARATE things that can be COMBINED, as in Mutant Year Zero. To build CAMPAIGNS in the Alien universe I would like TOOLS to create metaplots, specific for Alien. Did I make myself clear?
 
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aramis
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Re: Campaign Mode... some thoughts

Tue 03 Dec 2019, 08:31

Aramis, it’s your OPINION that metaplots are overrated. I’d rather say that it depends on how they are written.
Couldn't agree with you more Bengt. Also for reference Aramis, given that we have nothing else to go by, something like Traveller for a lot of people will be VERY helpful.
Well, let me put it another way: if you're answering questions about what the devs intend with references to a series of games by another company, and you're not the devs, you're not actually answering the question, but a related question of your own strawman construction.
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