Mythology Research and Development

I'm still stuck on this plot turn that's eben plaguing me. I spent some more time brainstorming various scenarios, but still feel like they're a bit empty or contrived. They feel like they would be unsatisfying or too forced, so I've left them as brief notes for reference.

I did, however, manage to develop some interesting plot for what comes after this stage. There are some interesting choices and mythologies to establish, and I'm pretty excited about those. I spent quite a bit of time researching various cultural mythologies, and I see some interesting parallels that I can make. They also helped put some of my overall world mythology into perspective, basically by showing that real-world mythology could line up fairly well with what's going on in NEO Scavenger's mythology.

So it seems I've got a pretty good outline for 0-70% of the story, and probably a loose 85-100% of the story. But the portion around 70-85% still feels "off" to me. I need some way to make that section feel both plausible and satisfying in the context I've written (or maybe rewrite the rest to make that section easier to write). I guess that shouldn't be too surprising, as that potion of a story (late Act II, or the pre-climax) is often a critical piece, and should be hardest to write.

Coincidentally, I also stumbled upon some ancient literary passages that would be really fun to use, if I can find the occasion. Stuff that sounds like the way one would call forth ancient powers, for players who appreciate the occult/supernatural elements in NEO Scavenger. It might end up just being a sacred cow that only sounds cool right now, but I made a note of it just the same.

Still making progress. Just looking for that "right" missing puzzle piece!


Scavenger's picture

Don't worry too much about the scenario - as I've said, sometimes very open phases of gameplay, with roughly sketched goal and means left to the player are enough.

As for mythology, remember we don't need just urban legends and references - you can at times get even more fear out of a player who will just wonder what the hell was it - if it was anything at all - that his character just have seen, half-hidden in the shadows.

Lastly, when it comes to occult - remember there is plenty of material in regards to that subject IRL, made by the people who treat such seriously. Personal beliefs on whether supernatural exists IRL is not important here - what's important is that lots of those materials (including passages, quotes, formulas and the like) existing in many esoteric traditions, like Hermeticism or Kabbalah are both quite interesting and often in in public domain/free to use.

And you don't need to use it just for characters, quests, skills etc - at times just a mention of some term or idea or a sketch on the wall of some alley in the area where supposedly some cult operates would be sufficient to build plenty of additional atmosphere. Especially for those who had some education touching upon such subjects (for example, those who study theology often stumble upon info about such things, even if Judaism with it's esoteric schools of thought, different tribal belief systems and so on aren't their primary subject)

Anyway, thanks for the update. Keep up the good work!

Maklak's picture

> you can at times get even more fear out of a player who will just wonder what the hell was it - if it was anything at all - that his character just have seen, half-hidden in the shadows.
Slightly off-topic, but when looking for towns to scavenge, I've run into something that looked like a child with brain tumor. I think those were called "melon head" or some such. I think I managed to kill one, but there was a whole multi-tile swarm of them. So I ran away, holed up and never saw them again. It was a good gaming moment. Part creepy, part mystery, part danger.

Kaaven's picture

Yeah, "open phases of gameplay", mentioned by Scavenger, are really important in the games like this. In fact, the greatest (semi-)open-worlded, story driven games ever made, namely Baldur's Gate 1 and Fallout 2, were actually mostly composed of open segments, allowing player to dip into their rich worlds and prepare for shorter, more intensive main-story moments waiting ahead.

What also was characteristic to both of those titles was that their main storyline was somewhat secondary to their world's story. What they did great, in my opinion, was the fact they were exactly opposite to movie screenplays - move creates world as a background for a story, while those great games created stories as a background and motivation to explore the worlds.

NS has this interesting world brewing to be explored and so far it does great job at showing it by small bits only, letting it unfold instead of giving a rolling wall of exposition text, like so many games like to do - please keep it this way. I don't want to sound demanding here, but as a long-time GM of many pen'n'paper RPG I know how easy is to put the game's world behind perusing your well-planed main story :D

<--Mighty (mini)Mod of Doom-->
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dcfedor's picture

These are good points. I, too, am interested in making NEO Scavenger a game where the plot isn't a prescribed path that one follows, but rather a series of dots one connects as they wish. As well, I hope that I can find the right distance between these dots such that players can interpret these dots in different ways.

I was approaching the story as a screenplay because I figured I could make one path that seemed logical and satisfying, and then start adding tributaries/tangents that also worked. There is a danger, though, that the main path becomes dominant. So you're right to caution me about that.

Ultimately, NEO Scavenger is meant to introduce players to a world, much like an RPG setting. I want to create a space within which many stories can unfold, both official and fan-created (someday). So while NEO Scavenger may have plot elements that set a tone, I also want players to feel encouraged to explore ideas like the "Detroit Cyberpunk Gumshoe" or "Caravans of the Great American Wastes." I'm merely showing what is possible, and suggesting a style.

I'm glad to hear that you guys think much of the existing lore is presented in a way that allows self-directed exploration. I'll do my best to keep it that way, as that's the kind of game I like, too!

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games