Sunday, 10 August 2014

First Law: Override - Story Progression System

Greetings friends!

So today I would like to talk to you about First Law: Override and how the missions will take place.

This is something that has come about after a long discussion that I had with a good friend of mine. The system being used is what I am calling the Story Progression System.

Keeping it quite simply, the idea is to follow the concepts set down by such classics as the 'choose your own adventure' books as seen in series such as Fighting Fantasy by the great Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson.

For those not familiar with these games; they are books where your decisions and actions detail how the story progresses. For example you might have the following:

You stand in a dark moss covered dungeon, water drips down the walls and pools on the floor. Before you is a crossing junction with paths leading north, west and east. If you head north turn to page 269, if you choose west turn to page 142 or if you would rather go easy turn to page 94.

The idea is that you as the player are in control of what happens. If you die it is because you failed at combat or you made a bad decision, but you rarely did something that was not suitable for your character or your situation.

This is the type of situation I want to introduce here in FL:O.

Of course introducing a choose your own adventure (CYOA) system into a table top scenario is hardly easy, or even really done before outside the limits of a DnD style game, so how do I hope to achieve this?

This is where the Story Progression System or SPS comes in.

The idea is that you have a series of missions. All of these missions detail the type of NPCs you have to face, where the NPCs and you as the players spawn, what key items of terrain or interface tech need to be placed and where they need to be placed (an example can be; each player takes it in turn to place an item of terrain, the player placing the first item must choose a structure categorised as a building and it must be placed in the centre of the board. Within this structure on the ground north wall in the central point place an Interface Tech piece).

Ie enough info will be given according to the mission at hand, however the theme of the mission will be left open beyond remaining generic. The specifics is determined by the Story Pack.


So far in previous posts I have talked at length about a Pirate theme using the hijacking of a space ship as the story. This would be an example of a Story Pack.

A story pack will give enough specific story data for you the players to use in our games, such as 'You are thing to steal a spaceship, but first you need to get X amount of data from the system's data vault'.

You will then be given a mission number to play, for example: 'Commence with Mission Number 142'.

Now, each mission will have a different mission number, the number will be a random series of digits that by themselves mean nothing. In otherwords, without learning what the numbers relate to, you don't know what the mission is until you begin playing it.

Now, we have assigned a mission and the mission itself will have a series of objectives and a central objective determined by the Story Pack. For example the mission may be "Get inside the central building and download the data from the data vault".

But beyond that how you do it is up to you, and this is where the SPS comes in as choices are given including:

If you complete this mission by force, commence Mission 562
If you complete this mission by stealth, commence Mission 931
If you complete this mission via disabling but not killing the enemies, commence mission 102.
If you fail to complete this mission, commence Mission 91.

This way, if you did the mission via Force, then the following mission will be in response to this, for example the enemy may respond in the next one by setting down a giant mech you need to kill.

If you did it via stealth then it means the enemy are unaware of your situation and you will get a follow on mission, possibly deep within enemy territory, but they do not know you are there.

If you did it via disabling he enemy but not killing them, then they will probably know you are there and the following mission will take this into account, but they will be using units to take your situation into account.

If you failed to complete the mission you will almost certainly have to get away from the enemy, possibly by escaping from a prison or similar.

As you can see, by using a system like this with numerous tiers of completion it means that when you play through a story one way, it is not always going to be the same next time if you complete it via different methods, and by having some Stories containing anywhere between three and five missions, the chances for variety are great.

What this also means is that failure does not mean game over, only that how the story plays out will be different. So in our previous example; if you fail you almost certainly won't be stealing your intended ship, but you might get an opportunity to get into the enemy's weapon stash and make off with some high powered guns, or maybe as part of your escape you get to make off with one of their single crewed gunships!

Another benefit of this system, numerous Story Packs and use similar missions, just in different numbers, so rather than needing to come up with 200+ missions, instead the mission pack would house maybe 10+ missions! and the Story Packs would also house maybe 10+ Stories giving a huge amount of combinations.


I think we can all agree, this is not a light undertaking and I will almost certainly need a lot of help along the way, but I have faith that this could be a truly amazing game system if it works!

Until next time, stay safe and I'll see you in the Outer Fringe!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

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