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Myth: A New Age CYOA

Discussion in 'Choose Your Own Adventure Land' started by Fangshi, Jan 15, 2014.

  1. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
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    About 2-4 hrs all told, I usually have a rough idea of what each option will do so it is just a matter of putting it to paper for a 4-5 page update, a little more time if it is longer, then I give it a quick pass and post it. I usually give it one or two more passes once it is out looking for things that do not make sense or spelling errors/incorrect auto-corrections and the like. If you have a careful eye for the errors I make you will see some of them disappear over time as I find them (esp. incorrect/duplicate prepositions which I am often not as careful with as I should be).

    When I began to think that this could work as a CYOA I took the time to figure out what the local factions would be and how they would interact. Actually a dungeon dive was not going to be the first adventure for your character, it was going to involve that army of ghôls that you just missed. But the plot hook put forward in the background proposed by Esquilax was too good to turn down so out went the old plot when it won and I started from scratch. All of the events that were going to happen still happened, they just got shifted to the background in favour of this expedition.
     
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  2. Grimgravy Augur Patron

    Grimgravy
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire
    No complaints here. I am enjoying everything so far.
     
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  3. Jester Arbiter

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    Like it I. Black Company way is a good way.
     
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  4. Storyfag Perfidious Pole Patron

    Storyfag
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    I have but one request: grant us a bit more time for each vote. Being busier than usual, I missed much more than I would have liked.
     
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  5. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
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    Sounds reasonable, everyone that wants to vote should be given the opportunity after all, I had been going with one a day/24hr intervals, I could go with something like 48hrs in between votes maybe?

    Updates on Mon/Wed/Fri (CST) sort of thing? (time and schedule permitting of course)
     
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  6. Nevill Arcane

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    The update speed sounds more important to me. 24hr interval is a good compromise - it is not that I want to deprive Storyfag of his vote, but no matter how busy I may be, I usually can afford myself to spend extra 10 minutes once a day on my hobbies. :)

    None of the votes so far were that close to be changed by a single decision anyway.

    As for the CYOA itself, I myself enjoy character interaction the most, and so far there was enough to keep me interested. I have no idea of what the plot is or how deep C&C are; however, the setting is very promising, so I have high hopes. :)
     
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  7. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
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    Some are very deep right from the get go (the backgrounds/choice of allies changed things dramatically) while others may only come into play when combined with other choices (who you decided to visit/choice of equipment/route). Some of the choices you lot have made have even adjusted some of the hidden stats in the game. For example Derryth, and every other character, has a SAN (sanity) value which I am tracking, some things will drop it (and a few things can raise it) but you will never get to see it, if I do my job correctly though you will see it reflected in her thought process.
     
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  8. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    MWAHAHAHA.

    You'll wish you didn't tell me that. :lol:

    I love reading stories about people descending into the depths of madness.
     
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  9. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
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    Low SAN has its advantages sure enough, you will wind up like the Deciever, moving at odd angles unseen by all... still, don't forget that he lost everything and in the end he also lost his life, there won't be many "happy" low SAN scenarios to be sure... one could just as easily create a great story in the footsteps of Alric, great power, great knowledge, something to ground you, and in the end victory.
     
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  10. Esquilax Arcane

    Esquilax
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    Does Derryth's high WIS score allow her to maintain an even keel better than the rest of the party? I would assume that the control that it grants her allows her to maintain her sanity more than it would someone else.
     
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  11. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
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    Yes WIS ties into willpower, she knows herself and others better than most, if she gets glimpses of the impossible that lies behind everyday existence she has the willpower to better resist it. A low WIS character would give into despair and enter a downward SAN spiral (I see a lot of Lovecraft's characters as being very high INT but fairly low WIS for example), she would treat it as something that exists for a reason, that can be understood (at least in theory) and can be beaten and the higher her WIS goes the more mentally tough she becomes.
     
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  12. Smashing Axe Arcane Patron

    Smashing Axe
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    Divinity: Original Sin
    Our goal should be to become something like a female Doom
    Show Spoiler


    [​IMG]
     
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  13. Jester Arbiter

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    Nice thing Axe.
     
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  14. Anabanana Augur

    Anabanana
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    Interesting, is this part of the Myth game as well? Or something you made up for this CYOA? Is a SAN stat fairly common in boardgames? (Sorry, boardgame noob here.)
     
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  15. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
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    Not part of the Myth games no, really there would not be much point to have it there since most people lose half of their squads every mission (especially on the highest difficulty), your soldiers do gain experience in the game if you keep them alive for multiple missions and I remember getting fairly close to a casualty-less run on the higher difficulties but they are not easy games by any stretch (actually one of the reasons why I liked them so much).

    So the SAN stat is something I am importing from other PnP systems since it is something I have always liked, CoC (Call of Cthulhu) and WFRP (Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay) which are two of the systems I use most make use of sanity mechanics and I quite like the result. Actually speaking of board games WFRP 3rd ed ;) makes use of nicely randomized mechanics for insanity, disease, and wounds using card decks which I may use to resolve any penalties you pick up since it is a fairly simple and elegant way to introduce a random element into the narrative.

    A lot of the mage stuff I have introduced is equal parts background inspired, Black Company inspired, and the product of my own fevered mind but I will get into that a bit more in the next update when I go over some of the aspects of the Prologue for the behind-the-scenes look.


    Edit:
    Oh, now this may be putting the cart before the horse here (since you could get everyone killed horribly) but it might be good if you all start thinking about names you would like for any organization you may form or any alias you may need.

    For example:

    Most powerful archmages use an alias similar to the Black Company setting, you do not have to though. Alric does not, but he was a member of the royal family of Province before becoming an archmage so he has always been a public figure.

    If you do decide to form your own Circle it will need a sufficiently cool name, so that is something to think about.

    If you use any loot you find to form a guild or merc. company then you will also need a cool name so again may want to start thinking about it now.

    No need to rush though, you still have the whole dungeon ahead of you but I figured I would let you know that I will be asking for names provided you survive.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2014
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  16. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    We can go with 'The Mariage Sorciere' and have two Umineko fanfics running simultaneously! ITZ HEAVAN!
    It even fits.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2014
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  17. Anabanana Augur

    Anabanana
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    Count me in with another vote for Mariage Sorciere. Our emblem can be the golden butterfly. Dual Umineko fic gogogo
     
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  18. Azira Arcane Patron

    Azira
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    I have no idea what you're on about, but I feel dirty just reading this..
     
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  19. Smashing Axe Arcane Patron

    Smashing Axe
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    Shouldn't we be using a pseudonym, since true names have power or something? Something like Scavenger. Or Vulture. Or Trailblazer. If we're aiming for archmagedom, it seems prudent to limit knowledge of our true self before we have even begun to emerge as a power.
     
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  20. Storyfag Perfidious Pole Patron

    Storyfag
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    None of the Nine Avatara who were mentioned by name was using an alias. Only the Fallen Lords did. But, of course, I'm all for becoming one of *them*. I want to be a Watcher :smug:
     
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  21. Jester Arbiter

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    hmmm can we go with "Fluffy" alias? If we ever get to master league.......
    "'Fluffy The devourer of order, nightmare bringer and many others. "

    "Death Devourer" could be good to. We kinda use belongings of long gone for our gain.

    Edit
    Circle name "Unknown ones" , "Ravens"
    Mercenary "Problem Solvers"
     
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  22. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
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    Ok, this turned out to be much longer and less focused than I intended so I hope none of you mind, if you are curious about anything I did not discuss just ask and I will see what I can do.


    Behind the Scene 1: The Prologue


    Alright so the idea to do this CYOA sprung out of my desire to dive into the Myth setting a little and to challenge myself to do something I had never done before in all my years DMing, namely try and write an actual story. It is a setting that I have always liked as it takes what would normally be a fairly predictable story of good versus evil and it turns everything on its head while injecting a good dose of wierd into the mix. This was back when Bungie could do no wrong for me and I was looking forward to a long series of games and spin off materials. Instead we wound up with a rushed third game that did not really do justice to the series and Bungie went on to do fifty odd Halo games, but enough ranting from me...


    Now this is still not something I am terribly comfortable with, the whole writing CYOAs thing that is, which is why I am bringing in all of these random elements, it makes it feel more like a PnP session and helps my confidence a little. Also I must confess that I didn't actually know where the story would go but I will get a bit more into that when discussing the actual updates, anyway here goes.


    A New Age:

    This update was just to test the waters and establish a few things, one that the CYOA is set one year after the second game and two that the character is a victim of the times, old bonds and way of life broken by the wars. A lot of the inspiration for the current setting comes from post world war Europe, large scale destruction of urban centers, large displaced populations crowded in tent camps, governments attempting to re-establish order with mixed results... that sort of thing. It seemed like a compelling concept on which to hang an adventure.


    Now as I have already mentioned the original intention was not to have you do a dungeon dive as your very first adventure. Instead you would soak in the atmosphere of the city a bit more, maybe work for a guild or prepare for the Heron Guard's tournament or seek work or membership from one of the city's Circles. Each background I presented leaned towards certain outcomes but ultimately you could have tried any of them (with different levels of success), as a general rule I do not tell my players no, I simply tell them what consequences their actions have so you can try anything which is why the freeform choice is always an option.


    Designing a System:

    From a stat perspective I figured I would go with something simple, so stealing the traditional dnd stats seemed like a fine idea at that moment. I then gradually added meaning to the stats as it became clear people where leaning towards magic users so if you had gone with a melee character Int/Wis probably would not be as fleshed out as they are now.


    A SAN stat was something I knew I wanted to better track the mental state of characters, a lot of the mages in Myth are not particularly well grounded, some are completely mad and I wanted that to be a risk for your character and the mages you know. I also find that sanity is a good way to avoid binary succeed/fail conditions (along with wounds and diseases), I use this "holy trinity" of debuffs on my pnp groups all of the time in WFRP, rather than outright killing them they begin to pick up permanent wounds, diseases, insanities which provide disadvantages but also serve to give the PC's "character" and can actually help with roleplaying. Killing is often a last resort or the result of doing something that well will get you killed, I am not vengeful but sometimes a character has to die so to speak. So that is the stance I will also take with this CYOA, if you get killed well it is because you really deserved it.


    The traits system is borrowed from a lot of skirmish wargames I play, where they are used to denote the abilities of each unit. I was drawn to such a system primarily to allow endless variation to character builds. Looking at the flat numbers for example a character with 9 DEX should be faster than one with 8 DEX, but if I give the 8 DEX character some modifiers (quick on his feet, fast sprinter, master scout, that sort of thing) then I can justify the lower stated character beating the more gifted one, he is simply better trained but less gifted. By avoiding a set number of ranked skills I also open up the system to an endless number of such modifiers (a sort of built in escape hatch if I ever screw up and paint myself into a corner).


    Spells have been very much an improvised construction, I knew that I wanted a wide variety of "utility spells" (of which Derryth only knows a few) because I wanted magic to feel like it had a use outside of combat. There is not a lot of actual background on magic in Myth, as I will touch upon in the look at the bazaar update, but there are a few things that I am really trying to drive home. Magic is dangerous (hence risky), magic is very useful (making up for the risk with reward), there are a variety of ways to master magic (Int based, Wis based, even skill based), and so on. Hopefully that is coming across in the updates.


    The "Kid" choice:

    Originally I drew up about 20 different backgrounds but cut it down to those that you were presented with since there seemed to be a lot of overlap to them, generally speaking though I do not like creating characters for my players (NPCs are always fun but not PCs) since I prefer for them to play what they like. As such I really wanted to leave the option open to create your own backgrounds and I am quite happy with the result, the Scavenger background winning provided a drive for the narrative and changed everything while the inclusion of the prodigy, courtesan and witch background open up a variety of further possibilities, so thanks for the participation as it has definitely improved the narrative.


    The Scavenger:

    This update attempted to establish the motivation of the character while also giving a brief overview of events for those not familiar with the setting, originally I was going to do up a full history/geography of Myth but honestly I find that players tend to ignore those, so instead I am attempting to work the lore into the updates as things come up. I figure you don't need to know every nuance of the setting, for the moment Fallen Lords = bad, Alric = good, mages = paranoid sadists, seems sufficient. But I am so familiar with the setting that sometimes I assume things that I really should not. If anything is ever confusing, feel free to ask and I will try to clarify (in some cases though I can't tell you a lot because your character simply would not know).


    The Scavenger had such a clear motive, find the Halcyon stone, that the entire plot shifted, the circles, the Heron's challenge, the ghôl army; all of it simply is a means to an end for this character and so the old plot got shifted to the background in favour of preparation for the expedition. She has to gather allies, equipment and plan her angle of attack and then she has to act so a bunch of side-quests really were out of the question. Honestly I prefer the new plot to the old one, it is more narrow, tight, and focused and gave the Prologue greater consistency then it would have otherwise had, I think. With the new plot for the Prologue in place the rest of the updates were actually fairly easy, you had to prepare for the expedition and I spent the time introducing new characters to fill out Derryth's world.


    This update also dangles a plot hook in front of you all, if you had taken Brigit up on her offer then you would have had to do a small side-quest for her guild dealing with the ghôls that attack the guild in the final chapter of the prologue. The rewards for that quest will be explained when I discuss the impact your allies have on things.


    Also Derryth's master is a clear nod to the Indiana Jones franchise, and well she is already an improvement of Shia LaBoeuf so there we go.


    The Temple of Truth and Lies and The Canvas City:

    This one was a lot of fun and this was really the point at which the world around Derryth began to solidify. If you had picked different allies this would have been a very different story. If you had gone legit your expedition would have consisted of about forty people, including warriors, Berserk scouts, Bowmen, and a couple Heron Guards. There was even a chance to run into and recruit Serpent and/or the inventor as they were both in the area that day. The tone of the expedition would have been more formal and you would have to decide whether you would play nice in hopes of getting a government job or attempt to steal the stone and find your own way out. You would have used to entrance closest to the target and you would have brought a proper wagon train with you as well but your potential cut of the treasure would have been much smaller.


    The Thieves guild option would have sent you on a short mission that night to try and track the ghôls, if you succeeded the guild would have lent you the services of Brigit, the two archers that died in chapter six, about a half dozen toughs/sell-swords, and a crazy dwarf that does explosive work for them (the explosion you heard four blocks over in chapter six was that dwarf blowing himself up).


    The Mercs. option would have provided you with another choice of which company to hire, some would have better equipment but demand greater pay than others, you could have wound up with Warriors, Berserks, Bowmen, Dwarves, or Sell-swords in different amounts depending on your choices, they would have added about 20-30 people to the expedition.


    The Warlocks would have resulted in recruiting a pair of bickering initiates (lets be honest a full Warlock would have just betrayed you and killed you to get the stone) hard to say what the initiates would have done, you may have been able to play them against each other or they may have joined forces against you they would have been useful but also a definite threat.


    As for the choices you picked and the actual update, I wanted to demonstrate how the relative stats of characters interacted and I hope I got that across. Derryth has very little luck convincing people in this update, she almost fails to get the help of the Children, Tyrvard considers her a threat at first and Serpent refuses her offers the first two times before caving in, impressed by her persistence. However the scene with Thaïs demonstrates her ability to quickly grasp a situation and her magnificent improvisational skills. I really have been trying to model her on Indy, most people do not actually like Jones when he meets them but are impressed by his ability to survive and generally kick-ass and it's that vibe I was going for with Derryth.


    Concerning the other characters, Thaïs attempts to use her CHA first, then falls back on her INT to try a browbeat her unhappy customer, her inability to successful see the outcome of that action while in the heat of the moment reflects her rather average WIS. Gareth and Tyrvard show their characters through combat as that is where they really shine. Tyrvard's natural talent comes through in the way he completely overpowers his opponents, while Gareth demonstrates the importance of skills in modifying stats. His stats are not exceptional (most are just above average) but he has the combat skill to elevate himself above the competition and in a first might even hold his own against the superhuman Tyrvard.


    Finally Serpent's scene is meant to emphasize his analytical nature and knowledge of medicine while underscoring his complete lack of connections, most of his stats are just below average but his extraordinary Int and decent Wis give him a strength of purpose, he is not the most forceful individual but when the thinks he is right he will not give ground, as shown in his negotiation


    The Bazaar:


    This could have been a fairly small update all things considered and I may have gotten a bit indulgent with it. All Derryth had to do was pick up some equipment but I wanted to give the shopkeepers and the city a bit more personality. Muirthemne, I have always thought, has the visual feel of a great fortress city somewhere in the Eastern Mediterranean. This is actually one of the reasons I chose to start you in the east, the Kingdom of Province is very Western European in flavour and I felt something a bit different would be more enjoyable. Given the small size of your party it seemed reasonable to make sure you got good quality supplies to start you off but given your low CHA Derryth could not actually succeed in negotiating for them. So I gave you a history with two of the shopkeepers which I think worked out quite well. Old Ren stands in contrast to the other two as someone that does not hate Derryth but still reacts to her low CHA, the fact that she is probably insane further compounds the issue.


    With the magical section of the Bazaar I wanted to really drive home how weird magic and mages can be. To the best of my knowledge that whole section has absolutely no basis in the background at all. I wanted an amusing way to underscore just how paranoid and unusual mages are and so you got that scene which I am fairly proud of, I was channelling Sean Andrew Murray amongst others for that scene.


    An Evening with the Courtesan:


    Thinking of things to hang this update on I figured it would be a good opportunity to dive a bit more into the actual working of magic and the ways in which it is taught. Thaïs and Derryth have fairly similar mental stats so they can act as good counterpoints to one another to show the differences between INT and WIS, both in how they attempt to teach one another and in the success of their methods. It also let me give a bit more info on how group spells can work and how a mage experiences different spells.


    From a mechanical perspective whoever you spent time with would have a higher affinity for you so the biggest increase from this update was to Thaïs opinion of you.


    If you had gone with Tyrvard and Gareth then their opinion of you would have increased and you would have learnt a bit of brawling as the three of you trashed the Hanged Man (probably would have had to find a new bar after that).


    If you went with Serpent then you would have increased his opinion of you while learning a bit about his past. You also would have gone with him to harvest Mandrake roots and may have improved your herbalism skill.


    The walk under the stars was the wild card option, you may have run into the Doctor and had a chance to talk to him, or you may have come across some sell-swords that would try and rob you, alternatively you may have been able to divine some of the secrets of the universe by studying the stars though it may have drawn the attention of dark powers from beyond space and time... Essentially I would have drawn up a list of 8-10 options and rolled for it.


    The trip into Darkness


    This update was completely randomized, as I mentioned you could have gotten a good result or a bad one. For example in a bad outcome Tyrvard could have caught the dead rot from a corpse and Serpent would have had to nurse him back to health. Other good examples included finding the Heron Guard Serpent was looking for, he would offer to accompany you, he would be a very powerful asset but you would have to figure out a way to keep the stone from him. More neutral possibilities included finding a stash of dwarven explosives or basic magical items.


    The army of ghôls however would always have attacked as it was meant to be the climax of the Prologue, you would have fought off the ghôls and Alric would have battled the Shade to demonstrate what it is like when archmages fight, now Alric is much more powerful than the Shade so it would have been fairly quick but enough to get the idea I think. Brigit's guild may not have been attacked though if you completed that side-quest the ghôls responsible would be dead.


    Unfortunately I can't really go into the impact of the route, transportation, Tyrvard/Serpent conflict choices as they will bear fruit in the next act.


    Chapter 1: Through the dark city will start in the next day or two and expect it to take up almost all of the first act as it is one big dungeon. Hopefully you will make it through the dungeon if you keep your head on your shoulders and play to your strengths.


    One quick poll on updates, I have been doing them about every 24hrs but I want everyone to have time to vote so I put the question to you all, do you want a 24hr update schedule or a 48 hr one.


    A) 24 hrs

    B) 48 hrs


    Thank you for reading, any questions feel free to ask...
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2014
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  23. treave Arcane Patron

    treave
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    I think you shouldn't tie yourself to a strict update schedule. Pick what you prefer, what is comfortable for you. As long as it isn't something ludicrously quick like a 6 hour cycle, most people will be able to get in and vote, and you can always extend voting time for choices that you think would require more deep DISCUSS.
     
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  24. Smashing Axe Arcane Patron

    Smashing Axe
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    Yeah, I worry you might burnout if you confine yourself to a strict schedule. But, if given the option, I prefer more updates.

    A
     
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  25. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
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    Sound advice, thanks.

    I will still attempt to update every few days as a little pressure tends to be the only thing that actually keeps me motivated but if people are fine with something less structured that works well for me.
     
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