Sunday, April 7, 2013

Design Diary: Every Army Needs Officers...

I grew up playing the Wing Commander series, and one of the things I hated most were escort missions. Babysit the corvette, fend off two or three attempts on it before finally getting to the final way point. I lost count how many times I replayed certain missions in WC I and II, until I finally managed to get ol’ Blue Hair back on the winning path.
I hated those missions mainly because they were so hard — just me and my wingman, no reinforcements. There was no going back to the carrier to rearm.
Hey, wait a minute — limited resources against seemingly overwhelming odds… where have I encountered that formula before…?
“Rescue the damsel” missions usually mean slaying the dragon and walking away with the fair maiden and living happily ever after, right?
 But what if the heroes go in looking for the dragon’s gold, and should stumble across the maiden by accident? Or they find the maiden, but no dragon… only to encounter the dragon waiting as heroes-- maiden in tow-- are about to reach the cave’s mouth?
It’s enough of a challenge keeping one’s own hide intact in the dungeon, but now the heroes also have the well-being of the no-armor-low-hp NPC to worry about.
Escort mission. Babysitting.
Silva’s Army began as sort of a collective NPC. At the time of their initial writing, I hadn’t really cemented fixed faces, or even names. It was a lot like my senior year of high school, when I spent time as a teacher’s aide: before there were students, there was “the class.”
Gradually, several distinct voices and personalities emerged. Katarin was the first, and became the daughter of Eltan’s Spring’s Wisdom.
Brynne was next, and her bond with Katarin probably began in the ogre attack scene.
Jasna was the last, but oh, what an entrance she made. 
Thorn and company certainly had their hands full keeping the pack of girls in line and safe from the kobolds, spiders and ogres of Bargle’s dungeons beneath Mistamere. 

Those who’ve played through TC1, what have your groups’ experiences been?

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