Changes. Implemented and Planned

After another review of my game (and more importantly its UI layout) a few things were found to change. Some of these are a result of recent changes, some were ideas I had before but either never implemented or changed to something else.

First Change

The first change I made which led to some of the other changes was actually a programming change. In the play scene for pre-made levels there is a level select element. The up and down options could be held down to cycle through the levels without constantly clicking/tapping. But it only went at one speed. I changed that so that it sped up as time progressed. Took a bit of coding to get all the proper flags in place, but now you can get much farther much faster than the old version, without sacrificing accuracy for short jumps.

Knock on Changes

The first big change that the improved level select caused was to the “Next Level” and “Previous Level” buttons. Previously I had those two buttons in the lower corners of the screen so you could jump to new levels freely. But back then the level select was… clunky. Now that level select is more smooth those buttons don’t need to be available all the time. But I did still have a use for a “Next Level” button. It now shows up during the “Level Complete” state of the game, around the center of the screen. This is to give the player a direction to go after they complete a level.

Planned Changes

A few other minor changes have also been made, but two major changes/reversions are also being considered. First is one likely to happen and stick around: auto level changes from the level select. Right now, after navigating to the desired level number the player must press another button to actually go to that level. The proposed change will cause the level change to occur as soon as the level up/down button is not being pressed. The second change is a bit less likely, removing the Main Menu level select.

Right now I have a level select screen in the main menu before starting pre-made levels proper. But that screen also has some useful info about uncompleted levels that can guide the player on what level they want to do. So I am very reluctant to remove it. More likely is that I will change the select method to match the one in the play area scene.

Creating a One Shot

Ahead of my campaign starting, our group is going to have a session with about half the members missing. The three options for this day are as follows. Don’t meet up, play a different board game, or let me run a one-shot adventure as practice for my campaign. I would prefer to go with the last option, but what should I do for it?

First and foremost, for those that don’t know, a one-shot adventure is a game of D&D designed to be done in a single session. No or limited ongoing implications, fast and fun, wrapped up in a bow in one sitting. It allows for players to try out new characters and for DMs to try out new… anything they want really. No long lasting consequences mean if things go pear shaped everyone can laugh it off.

So What About My One Shot?

There are several paths that can be taken when sitting down for a one-shot. The first, very common, option is to find a pre-written one. Plenty of them exist online, just a matter of finding the one you like. The other much more difficult option is to design your own. Lots can go wrong with this approach, but that is half the point of a one-shot. Of course you can also hybridize these approaches. Find an existing one-shot and edit it to your liking. But I am going with the “design your own” method.

The primary reason for this is that for my eventual campaign I am using my own setting, and I want a practice run in that setting. But also, I want the challenge and freedom that comes with making my own one-shot.

The Nitty Gritty

After some thought, I have broken the one shot down into something of a 3 act structure. I didn’t realize it was a 3 act structure until I was writing this, but it works out to that. Each of the “acts” will see the party faced with an entirely different set of problems to solve and decisions to make.

act 1

The first act sees my players on a ship heading to the new uncharted island. let my players introduce themselves and get their bearings. Meet the crew, see the other adventuring party, notice those clouds on the horizon… wait. A squall suddenly hits the ship. Now for the first bit of “conflict” each of the players will take turns describing how they use their skills to try and help the situation. This is something I am stealing from a D&D twitch stream I am watching. But it does not matter how well the players do, the ship is going to run aground on a deserted part of the island.

So what is the point if the players can’t effect the outcome? Based on how well they do they may get certain perks in the rest of the adventure. Maybe they did enough that the captain gives them each a healing potion, or maybe less of the crew is injured and can be more helpful latter on. I won’t punish my players for messing upĀ this part, but I will reward them for doing well.

act 2

This act is fairly short. Ship is a wreck and most of the crew isn’t going anywhere for a while. So they need to make contact with the main settlement on the island for aid. That means someone needs to go and get the help. There are two adventuring groups, my players and a more seasoned and of higher level NPC adventurers. My group now has a choice, either go for help or stay and keep the sailors safe. Whatever they don’t do the more seasoned adventures will do (and probably better). This is a branching path and determines which of two third acts I use.

act 3

If the players decide to go for help, I will have them do some survival based checks to navigate the island (if they did well enough in act 1 a map may have survived). But the culmination will be a big fight with something nasty before they can get to the aid they need. weather they ambush it or it ambushes them will be determined by how they proceeded to this point.

If the players decide to play bodyguard they will have to post a watch. Over the course of several “days” they will have chances of seeing what is about to happen coming, or losing supplies if they fail too badly. With all of this culminating in a Goblin raid. However, if they players did well enough in act 1 (or helped enough in the “downtime” days) the sailors won’t just be dead weight. They did have a ship after all, and ships have cannons.