God Box Review - FULL OF SPOILERS

Fuzzy
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God Box Review - FULL OF SPOILERS

Postby Fuzzy » Sun Dec 30, 2018 10:39 pm

Just in case the title wasn't clear, this entire thread is full of spoilers... so, you've been warned.

Stop now.

Here be dragons.

.
.
.
.
.

Rather than walk through the plot, I will break this down into three basic sections: The Good, The Not So Good, and the I Don't Know. Obviously these are just opinions, and nothing herein should be construed as negative given the fantastic work the designers have put in to our beloved game. Please view these comments as constructive feedback (from an admittedly cranky misfit of a player).

The Good

1) They didn't pull punches with the enemies. This was AWESOME!!!! This is really important, because otherwise it creates a situation where there is no real danger, no real threat of failure, and thus no real meaning. Examples include the lava god (seriously? half damage?). In almost every game we play (we play TORG intermittently), whoever runs the game has to significantly up the power level of villains because game designers typically build encounters to not be too deadly (the PCs are supposed to win, right?). I hate this - if my character does something stupid, I expect to be punished severely for it. If I do something creative and cool, I expect to be rewarded. If my choices don't matter, then why bother? So when our attacks did half damage and we accused the GM of going overboard, we were shocked to learn that he was actually just using the creature out of the book... which he SHOULD have used, because we challenged an AVATAR of a god.

2) The story was cool, and added some depth to the Living Land. The use of factions of Eidonos reminded us that there's some diversity there, even with a social of 7.

3) There was plenty of Living Land pulpy goofiness. It was fun for the first 2 or 3 sessions. (more on this later)

4) There were some parts that were legitimately creepy, which is hard to pull off with a group of gamers that have pretty much seen everything.

5) The story aimed big... it was ambitious, and there was a lot to say for that. I hope future adventures continue to strive for this level of ambition.


The Bad

1) The basic narrative of the adventure was extremely linear. In fact, You pretty much HAD to go through the adventure from one Act to another in order, ending each act in exactly one way and starting in exactly one way. Within each act, there were some different ways to solve puzzles, but the path of the adventure as a whole was strictly dictated. Thus, it was mostly puzzle solving, some interaction, and combat - but it was not the open-ended WORLD that allows Torg to be so much richer than other games. Thus, it struck me as a missed opportunity.

2) The battle at the end uh... didn't make sense. I mean, not even a little bit. The notion of a small convoy of lightly armed militia attacking a massive bloodthirsty army of eidonos, priests, and dinosaurs in the jungle... approaching via a narrow highway in a convoy... and having any chance whatsoever was, well, yeah... I get the vibe (let's bring together the rebel factions and lead them to revolt!), but it just stretches credulity far too much. In fact, we briefly considered the idea, looked at the resources, then laughed it off as ridiculous. Instead, we called up the Delphi Council, and gloried a requisition roll to launch a full helicopter sortie from the Palmerola Air Base in Honduras (which houses a 2 dozen blackhawks and other support craft, that launched with heavy ordinance configurations). We "purchased" the eternity shard from the local crime boss, loaded it on a C-130, and launched a night attack against Chichen Itza. [This was facilitated by the fact that one character was an active duty Army Ranger.]

Then we played Ride of the Valkyries (from Apocalypse Now) while the helicopters attacked from one side and the Storm Knights wingsuited to the top of the pyramid from the other (note, if you ever wingsuit in a tech 7 cosm, keep plenty of Second Chance cards handy - there's a reason wingsuiting is the most dangerous sport in the world). We gloried during the main event as well.

Altogether, very satisfying.

It wasn't till afterwards, while were were discussing how the module expected us to defeat Kaah's plan, that our DM indicated it was by uniting the local militias. We were incredulous.

What we would hope to see from the adventure designer in such a situation would be a discussion of several possible ways the characters MIGHT try to complete the mission, including some information on various local resources they could tap.



The I Don't Know

1) I don't know if I like single cosm super-adventures. One of the coolest things about TORG is playing in multiple cosms, and this was a LOT of living land. Just, a lot. I mean... it felt like it would never end. OTOH, that's how LL is supposed to feel, right?

It's unfortunate that the release schedule dictates that super-adventures primarily focus on a single cosm. it misses half the fun of the game. Then again, it really forced you to come to grips with the limitations of operating in the Living Land, far from support.

2) There was a lot that was stuffed into the adventure. It was, as advertised, a tour de force of the Living Land. The problem is, it tried so hard to hit all the key areas that it really felt forced. Indeed, the entire story (passing through dimthread trees) seemed like a kludge just to provide a mechanism to showcase all the parts of giant invading cosm while dealing with the fact that in a low tech world it would normally take MONTHS to get from one place to another. So, yes, it felt really really forced, and I think this was driven by the objective to do everything in one adventure. I think this is the underlying factor that contributed to my major critique (i.e. the story was extremely linear).

3) A lot of avatars... like, wow. Do any boss villains actually use possibilities anymore? Then again, this IS the Living Land, and it certainly underscores the fact that the LL isn't a pushover.

4) Another variant on "a lot of Living Land" - some of the intra-act events started to become tedious, like getting from point A to point B and fighting some minor tribesolk or plants or dinos... you name it. At several points, the players looked at each other and basically said: "OK, we get that the game designer thinks that slogging through urban jungles is really fun and cool and noir, but it's getting old..." And then we figured ways to bypass whole chunks of action in the middle of certain Acts (like, Chicago). So, there were large chunks of content that we skipped over (with great sighs of relief). Then again, I can't criticize, because maybe some people like playing through that content? My only regret was that all the content we skipped COULD have been filled with other content to make the world richer and deeper. (Yeah, I'm just being greedy.)

Overall, it was a fun adventure. As our gaming group looks at the Nile releases, we're actually looking forward more to the single-act micro-adventures that can be dropped into existing storylines or strung together (with components from other cosms). I'm actually slightly terrified of a SEVEN act adventure in a single cosm - worried that the story will (again) be extremely linear, leave little to the players to go in different directions, and try overly much to showcase everything in the cosm (rather than letting those aspects of the cosm surface in future games when it's appropriate for them to show up). Given the immense effort in developing such an adventure, I have to question whether it might be better to invest that effort into (for example) one 3 or 4 act adventure, and then a separate book with a rogues gallery and enemies folio (something the game very desperately needs). Probably the hardest thing about running TORG right now is the lack of an equivalent source book to the Monster Manual (one of the 3 core books for DND5e).

So those are my thoughts... In summary, God Box was a very ambitious adventure with some really cool moments and high points, but which perhaps tried a bit too hard to fit too much into its pages and thus led the players along a forced narrative through a fairly contrived mechanism. It's definitely worth playing, but I would encourage any GM to pay close attention to their players, and consider adapting the adventure to keep them fully engaged and encourage any opportunities that let them (even partially) chart their own path.

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Re: God Box Review - FULL OF SPOILERS

Postby hawaiianbrian » Sun Dec 30, 2018 11:02 pm

Well, yes, Fires of Ra is linear; there’s an expected plot progression, though we tried to anticipate ways people might get off track, and offer guidance to the GM for how to deal with that. But one thing I learned when running Pathfinder Adventure Paths is that there’s no way to fully anticipate what players might do. The Aysle mega-adventure isn’t being written that way, though — more info to follow in due course!

As for the “showcase” aspect: that is the design intention of these adventures, so for the foreseeable future, they will continue to be written that way. We can’t cover everything, but we want to give the characters a “tour” of sorts. I honestly could have made Fires of Ra a 10-Act adventure! But we knew 5 wouldn’t suffice for the Nile. :)

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Re: God Box Review - FULL OF SPOILERS

Postby hawaiianbrian » Sun Dec 30, 2018 11:32 pm

Although I should point out: It would be really easy to use different parts of Fires of Ra as separate adventures.

Act 1 has several scenes which could make for short one-shots, either as-is or expanded a bit.

All the other acts could make for longer, multi-scene adventures. Act 7 would be the hardest but the rest would be pretty easy, really. The GM would just need to change up the setup a bit, that’s all.

I feel like portions of The God Box could be done the same way.

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Re: God Box Review - FULL OF SPOILERS

Postby fougerec » Mon Dec 31, 2018 8:09 am

For me the epic single cosm adventure is ideal as our regular sessions (22 so far) have visited everywhere, although Orrorsh was a brief stop over. I view it as after many sessions of a more "problem/cosm of the week" style this is our "sweeps" time big budget epic. Once we're done then it will be back to some cosm hopping until the Fires of Ra.

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Re: God Box Review - FULL OF SPOILERS

Postby ZorValachan » Mon Dec 31, 2018 9:29 am

This is on topic (God Box), but off setting.

One interesting thing is that when converted to my setting, it takes place in 3 cosms. Living Land, Lost Land (Land Below/Above) and Azteca. So it's more Cross-realm.

One tiny detail i noticed was that in the Living Land the dugout canoes should have decayed and not been available. In the Lost Land, it made more sense.

Also, while we haven't got there, the whole last battle gets significantly changed. The God Box isn't to hold Lanala, but Huitzilopochtli, the Atecan darkness device that thinks it is a god. This makes it a moral delemma of helping Quetzalcoatl so that Baruk Kaah doesn't take the entire realm of Azteca. The Aztecans and edeinos will be fighting each other in Chichzen Itza, allowing the storm knights to slide in.
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Infiniverse Exchange author:

The Paraverse: An entire alternate Cosmverse
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Re: God Box Review - FULL OF SPOILERS

Postby TorgHacker » Mon Dec 31, 2018 9:55 am

Fuzzy wrote:Just in case the title wasn't clear, this entire thread is full of spoilers... so, you've been warned.

Stop now.

Here be dragons.

.
.
.
.
.

Rather than walk through the plot, I will break this down into three basic sections: The Good, The Not So Good, and the I Don't Know. Obviously these are just opinions, and nothing herein should be construed as negative given the fantastic work the designers have put in to our beloved game. Please view these comments as constructive feedback (from an admittedly cranky misfit of a player).

The Good

1) They didn't pull punches with the enemies. This was AWESOME!!!! This is really important, because otherwise it creates a situation where there is no real danger, no real threat of failure, and thus no real meaning. Examples include the lava god (seriously? half damage?). In almost every game we play (we play TORG intermittently), whoever runs the game has to significantly up the power level of villains because game designers typically build encounters to not be too deadly (the PCs are supposed to win, right?). I hate this - if my character does something stupid, I expect to be punished severely for it. If I do something creative and cool, I expect to be rewarded. If my choices don't matter, then why bother? So when our attacks did half damage and we accused the GM of going overboard, we were shocked to learn that he was actually just using the creature out of the book... which he SHOULD have used, because we challenged an AVATAR of a god.



Standard scenes the heroes are supposed to win. It's entirely expected. It's the Dramatic scenes where the players should go through the wringer.



1) The basic narrative of the adventure was extremely linear. In fact, You pretty much HAD to go through the adventure from one Act to another in order, ending each act in exactly one way and starting in exactly one way. Within each act, there were some different ways to solve puzzles, but the path of the adventure as a whole was strictly dictated. Thus, it was mostly puzzle solving, some interaction, and combat - but it was not the open-ended WORLD that allows Torg to be so much richer than other games. Thus, it struck me as a missed opportunity.



Any good examples of published adventures like this? I'm not being facetious. Having a non-linear adventure that is actually published publicly that's intended for a large audience is...not straightforward. (ha!)

Additionally, sandbox games I don't think are in Torg's wheelhouse. I'd be glad to be proved wrong and love to see someone try to do one well, but I think its like fitting a square peg into a round hole.


What we would hope to see from the adventure designer in such a situation would be a discussion of several possible ways the characters MIGHT try to complete the mission, including some information on various local resources they could tap.



Again, I'm not saying you're wrong, but if you've got examples of adventures that actually do this, I'd love to see them.


The I Don't Know

1) I don't know if I like single cosm super-adventures. One of the coolest things about TORG is playing in multiple cosms, and this was a LOT of living land. Just, a lot. I mean... it felt like it would never end. OTOH, that's how LL is supposed to feel, right?



They're not going to be for everyone. However, something to consider is that doing cosm hopping adventures is going to be a bit tough, especially early on, when most of the cosms haven't been fleshed out too much. It's getting much easier now, because not only do we have the Nile and Living Land complete, but Aysle is well on the way, a good chunk of the Cyberpapacy is done, and at least some concept work for Tharkold, Pan-Pacifica, and Orrorsh are finished.

That's how you end up with the main villain of a vampire in the Forever City being a pushover compared to the horrors that came later.

Additionally, these Kickstarters are thematic and...this probably is the only way these kinds of adventures get done at all. I don't see us ever doing single cosm super-adventures once we get to Year 2.


relief). Then again, I can't criticize, because maybe some people like playing through that content? My only regret was that all the content we skipped COULD have been filled with other content to make the world richer and deeper. (Yeah, I'm just being greedy.)



That's something to always remember when reviewing adventures. The audience is not just your group, but many groups. YMMV in a lot of cases, and there will be lots of people who do like what happens in Chicago.

But additionally, I need to point out that you can either have a non-linear adventure, or you experience all the content, but you really don't get to have both. Almost certainly that's the case for published adventures...home brew adventures are (well, they should at least) tailored for a single group, so it's much easier to have an idea of what the group will do. That way an adventure can appear to be non-linear when it really wasn't.

Unless all you're asking for is to be able to go through A-B-D-C-E rather than A-B-C-D-E...but I'm not sure I'd call that a non-linear adventure.


Overall, it was a fun adventure. As our gaming group looks at the Nile releases, we're actually looking forward more to the single-act micro-adventures that can be dropped into existing storylines or strung together (with components from other cosms). I'm actually slightly terrified of a SEVEN act adventure in a single cosm - worried that the story will (again) be extremely linear, leave little to the players to go in different directions, and try overly much to showcase everything in the cosm (rather than letting those aspects of the cosm surface in future games when it's appropriate for them to show up). Given the immense effort in developing such an adventure, I have to question whether it might be better to invest that effort



Well, if it's showcasing you don't want, I'm sorry that's just not going to be in the cards for these kinds of adventures. But that said, there's so much stuff in the Nile, we did end up leaving something out (you don't go to Iraq or Saudi Arabia).


into (for example) one 3 or 4 act adventure, and then a separate book with a rogues gallery and enemies folio (something the game very desperately needs). Probably the hardest thing about running TORG right now is the lack of an equivalent source book to the Monster Manual (one of the 3 core books for DND5e).



You know, that's kinda what the God Box was. It was a 5 Act adventure with and enemies folio and feature on Merretika. Over a quarter of the page count was content other than the adventure.

As for enemies and creatures...there is the Infiniverse Exchange for now.

Something people have to realize is that there is a business plan in play here, and beyond being a setting and a game this is a business. And I'd argue...the business plan seems to be working pretty well.

I acknowledge that it doesn't work for everyone.

And we _are_ developing multi-cosm adventures now. But because of realities of production, you'd either have to wait a good year before seeing anything, or you see them piecemeal.

Same thing with the Core Earth cosm book. It doesn't really fit into any other Kickstarter as is. So we can't focus on it until Year 2, or we build the cosm book slowly.

We've been saddled with production issues but by the end of 2019 we'll have, at least digitally (to the tune of Twelve Days of Christmas)

5 cosm books
5 single-cosm super adventures
1 cosm-hopping super adventure
7 single act adventure compilations
most of the Core Earth cosm book

That's pretty incredible for a company whose name isn't Wizards of the Coast or Paizo, and it's as much as Wizards has published for D&D in 4 years.

But as I said online at the start of D&D 5e, when people were complaining about having the three core books published in separate months rather than all at once, there are business realities that have to be dealt with, and while yes, content is a bit sparse at the start, once it's all out, there'll be lots of choice.

Again, I'm certainly not saying your feelings and opinions are wrong. You like what you like. I'm just saying there's a reality (sorry) that drives many of the decisions.
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Re: God Box Review - FULL OF SPOILERS

Postby Shayd3000 » Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:00 am

That is amazing.

As for my group - we are loving the current approach. The big book adventures are exactly what was missing from oTorg. I can't say often enough how many times during play of oTorg I had to stop and explain the Cosms and varying reality during Relics of Power. The players were thrown into the deep end with no context for their characters realities or the realities they were visiting.

The big book adventures are giving us that. Not only that, but so far, God Box has been a huge hit with my (admittedly small) group. In these big book single cosm adventures we are getting to learn the Cosm, getting peaks at what is in store for the future (nightmare trees anyone?), and getting a roller coaster of a ride adventure! I am convinced once we are done with these, and move on to the multi cosm adventures with mixed groups of characters (mixed realities that is) those things will mean more to the players and make the story even deeper going forward.

I also think this approach eliminates the power creep we say in oTorg. By establishing all the cosms solidly first, each as a completely playable game in its own right, everything will be on more of an even keel when the XXXX really hits the fan starting in year 2.

Plus, with this foundation, if there are groups that want to focus on the war in one or two or whatever cosms, they will have the depth avilable to them to do so. With Torg its like getting 8 RPG's in one! One for each cosm, and one for the mashup.

I know I sound like a huge fanboy, and maybe sadly that is what I've become, but so far I have to say, somehow, someway, Ulisses has really nailed it for me on this one, checking off most if not all of the right boxes in the right order. When you consider that at the rate we've been going on KS to get the boxes I'm going to have more dollars invested in this game than any other game ever, it's critical that it hist all the right notes for me.

George
I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with his freedom.
--Bob Dylan

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Re: God Box Review - FULL OF SPOILERS

Postby Fuzzy » Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:02 pm

Any good examples of published adventures like this? I'm not being facetious. Having a non-linear adventure that is actually published publicly that's intended for a large audience is...not straightforward. (ha!)


Sandbox adventures are hard to write, and especially hard to write well. One of the reasons I love TORG is that it lends itself to such type of play (i.e. Google maps, wikipedia histories, etc.).

Having said that, there's been a lot of bytes spilled over whether sandboxes actually play well.

http://dmdavid.com/tag/why-dungeons-dra ... hey-think/

The best quote I would pull from this article is: "Mike “Sly Flourish” Shea recommends that giving players three plus infinite choices. DMs should offer three known options that take characters closer to their goal, while being open to anything players want to try."

For example, in the last big battle in Chichen Itza, it would have been helpful to have that laid out:

Here are three ways the heroes might try to engage:

1) Sneak in (maybe get some invisibility ointment flasks or use another mechanism? disguise themselves as eidonos by magic? other?). Wingsuit in under cover of night.

2) Convince locals to help (why it might work, how it might work, what the issues are). Create a distraction.

3) Find some friendly Eidonos, get them to take you to Chichen Itza as sacrifices then break free. (far fetched, but if some characters have super skill persuasion or mind control, might just work)

4) Call for military backup - if they do so, here are some possible sources of support (i.e. military bases, marine craft, etc.), and the rolls or personalities who might be involved. At one point, we seriously considered asking Delphi Council to clear a nuclear attack. I mean, seriously. If you loaded a couple low yield nuclear warheads on a B-2, with the eternity shard projecting a Core Earth zone in a radius and dropped them from 50,000 feet (roughly ten miles), it would work... It's also kind of a cool idea, because this one one of the only situations in the Living Land that this will realistically be an option. We figured the radiation would get eliminated in a few days after the LL axioms took hold (leaving behind some really cool mutant dinosaurs vis-a-vis the Law of Life). Ultimately, we decided NOT to do this because Chichen Itza was a cultural landmark.

But, imagine how this might go down in a movie:

SK1: Yes ma'am, please find our encrypted report attached. We anticipated by 0-800 hours tomorrow, Enemy One will unleash a ritual that will essentially give him godlike powers. Location details are enclosed. Request: can you provide support to engage?

<Long Pause>

Delphi Command: Thank you SK1, your performance is commendable. Please return to base. SOCOM will take it from here.

<Storm knights look at each other>

SK1: Ma'am, can you repeat that order?

Delphi Command: Returns to base, SK1. We are sending transport from Honduras. We expect you on the ground at Kirtland AFB in 12 hours for debriefing. Excellent job.

SK1: Ma'am, sorry, but we need to do something about Kaah. Did you read the report?

Delphi Command: Yes, SK1. And we are doing something. We'll be retrieving the statue and addressing the situation. But your orders are to return to base. This is no longer a Delphi Council mission.

SK1: What the H3ll does that mean?

Delphi Command: Exactly what I said it means. This matter is now under the jurisdiction of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Now get your asses over here before I have to initiate disciplinary action.

<Storm knights look at each other>

Storm Knight: Holy Sh!t, they're going nuke it.

Naive Storm Knight from Low Tech Cosm: Nuke it?

Storm Knight: yah, blow it all up - mushroom cloud explosion in a 2 mile radius. It'll wipe out everything. Chichen Itza will be a crater.

Storm Knight Scholar: Oh my! They have no idea what the consequences will be! Do they know what's UNDER Chichen Itza?

Storm Knight: No, they don't... OK, I have an idea.

SK1: Copy Delphi Command, this is SK1. The connection is breaking up. We didn't get that last order, can you repeat?

Delphi Command: SK1, deliver the statue to the transport and return to base immediately.

SK1: Sorry Delphi Command, you're still breaking up. Please repeat.

Delphi Command: Damnit SK1! Don't play games here, this is over your pay grade. Do as you are ordered.

SK1: I'm sorry Delphi Command, we still can't copy. The reality storms here are intense. If you can hear us, please send support. We need to engage Enemy One before 0-800 tomorrow, or the shit seriously hits the fan. Wish us luck.

Delphi Council: BullSh!t, don't you dare disconnect! SK1! SK1, do you copy?

<hang up... long pause>

Storm Knight Scholar: They're going to send an entire Batallion of marines to bring us and that statue in. You know that, right?

Storm Knight: Yes, I do. In fact, I'm counting on it.

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Re: God Box Review - FULL OF SPOILERS

Postby Fuzzy » Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:14 pm

Separately, two followup points:

1) Examples of good open sandbox adventures... I'd suggest Waterdeep.

http://www.enworld.org/forum/content.ph ... eep&page=2

There are discussions about choosing the villain, altering the plot, and different ways of engaging (while still forcing action).

Having said this, I think it's especially hard to run this kind of campaign in LL. NE would make a much better setting. Aysle too, and definitely Pan Pacifica.

I appreciate H Brian's observation that Fires of Ra could be broken up a bit. Some suggestions on how to do so would be welcome.


2) Running a business - absolutely. I noted I'm an outlier. We do buy lots of Infiniverse stuff (it's cheap), but actually publishing? OMG, so much work... So, my posts are partially suggestions/requests for some other creative, motivated author to jump in (so we don't have to do the work ourselves),

In terms of running a business, though, I do think that TE definitely needs a villains/rogues/monsters book. It's something you could almost completely outsource to a good contractor and deliver through a kickstarter at a modest price, and I don't think it would threaten the other delivery schedules at all. Yes, there's the Infiniverse, but I would note that your audience is older, wealthier, and more willing to pay for quality (and official sanction) than oTorg's audience from 25 years ago.

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Re: God Box Review - FULL OF SPOILERS

Postby TorgHacker » Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:42 pm

Fuzzy wrote:
Any good examples of published adventures like this? I'm not being facetious. Having a non-linear adventure that is actually published publicly that's intended for a large audience is...not straightforward. (ha!)


Sandbox adventures are hard to write, and especially hard to write well. One of the reasons I love TORG is that it lends itself to such type of play (i.e. Google maps, wikipedia histories, etc.).

Having said that, there's been a lot of bytes spilled over whether sandboxes actually play well.

http://dmdavid.com/tag/why-dungeons-dra ... hey-think/

The best quote I would pull from this article is: "Mike “Sly Flourish” Shea recommends that giving players three plus infinite choices. DMs should offer three known options that take characters closer to their goal, while being open to anything players want to try."

For example, in the last big battle in Chichen Itza, it would have been helpful to have that laid out:

Here are three ways the heroes might try to engage:

1) Sneak in (maybe get some invisibility ointment flasks or use another mechanism? disguise themselves as eidonos by magic? other?). Wingsuit in under cover of night.

2) Convince locals to help (why it might work, how it might work, what the issues are). Create a distraction.

3) Find some friendly Eidonos, get them to take you to Chichen Itza as sacrifices then break free. (far fetched, but if some characters have super skill persuasion or mind control, might just work)

4) Call for military backup - if they do so, here are some possible sources of support (i.e. military bases, marine craft, etc.), and the rolls or personalities who might be involved. At one point, we seriously considered asking Delphi Council to clear a nuclear attack. I mean, seriously. If you loaded a couple low yield nuclear warheads on a B-2, with the eternity shard projecting a Core Earth zone in a radius and dropped them from 50,000 feet (roughly ten miles), it would work... It's also kind of a cool idea, because this one one of the only situations in the Living Land that this will realistically be an option. We figured the radiation would get eliminated in a few days after the LL axioms took hold (leaving behind some really cool mutant dinosaurs vis-a-vis the Law of Life). Ultimately, we decided NOT to do this because Chichen Itza was a cultural landmark.




Okay, so it's not so much 'non-linear adventures' but 'non-linear scenes'? Because that theoretically is more doable...but...

Let's get into the weeds a bit and give a timely example. I'm finishing up the first Act of the Relics of Power adventure. As it stands, it is 1,000 words more than the longest Act by page count of any adventure we've published. I probably actually need to pare it down. But there really isn't much I _can_ pare down.

And that's with one general way to go about the act. I do mention possible options a later scene since it's possible it gets done out of order, but I still have to actually write a fair bit of text, like tests and DNs and future impacts (remember folks want that too!) and if it includes opposition, I need to include _that_ if it's going to involve other threats.

Somewhere I'm going to have to make a choice and leave _something_ up to the GM.

Page count has a huge huge huge HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE impact on what published adventures can and can't do. I've got to fit the entire Relics of Power adventure in 110 pages...and that's going to involve 7 acts. Maaaaaaaaaybe we can get away with making the book bigger, but for a variety of reasons my understanding is we don't want to do that. It's not going to enough to do 220 pages though, so we can't split it into two books.

And then you get into cost issues...all that content has to be paid for in additional writing, editing, printing...so the question is, do you spend resources on something that's not going to get used? Or do you go with what the author thinks is a likely way to go and leave it up to the GM if the players go off script?

I think one of the features of a true sandbox type game is that it all takes place in one location. So you can set out the setting, and the location, and then get into the weeds of who's there and who does what and what impacts this and that.

But Torg isn't really like that. Even within realms, Storm Knights are hopping all over the place. You might have an act where the scenes go out of order, and maybe a scene gets skipped because of something...but you don't generally have an adventure that takes place in one location.

Anyway, it's just not a simple case of 'give more options'. It's 'give more options + take away content'. You have to make choices on what goes in.
Deanna Gilbert
Torg Eternity designer
Ulisses North America


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