Monday, September 15, 2008

Putting Points of Light through the creative meatgrinder

This past weekend, I went ahead and put Goodman GamesPoints of Light through the ringer. I gutted the setting, redrew the map, discarded a quarter of the content, reworked another quarter, inserted my own goodies — and had an absolute blast in the process. In retrospect, I think the Goodman team would be proud of my efforts. After all, Points of Light is nothing if not immanently gameable, as Jeff Rients so eloquently put it.

Most of this weekend, you see, was spent sitting in a coffee shop in St. Louis, killing time while my fiance busied herself as a bridesmaid for her friend’s wedding. I had no role in the wedding, which meant I had huge blocks of downtime while the bridal party shuttled around the city for photos, hair appointments, champagne brunches, etc. So I plopped myself down in a coffee shop, pulled up Points of Light on my laptop and started hacking.

As I’ve mentioned in a few previous posts, I’m hoping to run a sandbox-style fantasy game using Savage Worlds as my system of choice. I took the Wildlands map from Points of Light and dumped it into Photoshop; an hour later, I had the beginnings of my setting: a savage frontier punctuated with crumbling castles and keeps, the population reeling from a recently-concluded military campaign that ended in defeat for the invading empire. The army has retreated, leaving a shocked populace that now has to deal with invading orcs, hobgoblins, ogres and more.

I tried really hard to avoid scripting plots or connecting too many dots — that’s for the players to do, after all. But the seeds are definitely there.

Update: Goodman Games may be the best game company on the planet. I was planning to write an email asking for blank maps of the various kingdoms for my players to draw on. They pre-empted my request by releasing said maps last Wednesday. Wow. Get 'em here (PDF).


Rob Conley said...

Glad you having fun with it and it is what Dwayne, Goodman Games, and myself intended to be done with the product.

Rob Conley

PatrickWR said...

Thanks for stopping by, Rob. You guys have produced a superb product, and you have my thanks.