Saturday, March 22, 2014

Struggling with Tranquility

I'd wanted to be done with writing the first draft of *everything* Hot Springs Island related by yesterday (03/21/14), but I didn't make it. I'm insanely close to the end (literally about 11 sections of stuff to finish, most of which are going to be quite short), but still kinda bummed I didn't make it. Oh well. At least I'm not having to write this as a Kickstarter backer update. ^_^

There are three dungeons left to write up, and for two of them "write up" is closer to "format existing notes and writings into a coherent whole". The third dungeon, the Temple of Tranquility, has been giving me problems, but today I think I figured out the problem with my approach. Instead of being a "dungeon" with various entries, exits, lairs, factional "territories" and what have you, Tranquility's three and a half levels are best thought of as a village stacked atop an arena, stacked atop another arena.

To explain using pictures:

Originally the temple was four floors of polished rock and flowing water, carved down into a hill, and elves came here to meditate.

Then, the popularity of meditation waned and the temple were converted into an aquarium.

Cataclysm by Zueuk
Then the island blew up and shit fell apart.

So now, the top floor has been taken over by Steam Imps and converted into a gambling den. They're the "driving force" of what happens here for the most part and the first floor is neutral/safe (assuming you don't try 'n skip on a bet). In many ways this gambling den is very much like a small village, or perhaps a large tavern in the wilderness.

The second floor, and the remains of the third floor are the home of the Albino Centipede.

Note the tiny person, and yeah, I just found the dirty scan on the quick search.
The centipede was there before the island broke apart and the cataclysm effectively trapped it on floors 2 and 3. There isn't really anything there but it, and whatever the steam imps have dropped into the holes or sent down to collect a centipede leg. This is arena 1: Party vs Big Thing. Big thing is "total focus" of area. Much of my struggle with making it "dungeony" was that on the one hand the area felt so empty and relatively big, but adding more kept feeling forced. I think hitting it from the point of view of an arena will lock down the elements of the area I need to include. It doesn't *need* other living things to be interesting. The big living thing and the things that fall into it provide that sort of interest, and in this situation they need places to hide, useful environmental structures, and just enough room to run so they start to think they're safe. ^_^

Much of the third floor and fourth floor collapsed and fell into a natural cavern below the temple complex and are effectively one big pit obstacle, or connecting shaft. The cavern below is arena 2: Party vs swarm. Like the big thing, the swarm is the total focus of the area.

We'll see how it goes.


Post a Comment