The Broken Hourglass - Interview @ RPG Codex
Vault Dweller's closing (at least for the moment) article at RPG Codex is a nice interview with Jason Compton on The Broken Hourglass that aims to go deeper on a smaller number of topics:
Let's explore the urban setting a bit more. The game takes place in a single city, which is great, interesting, and even innovative, but ... what exactly does that mean? Why should someone be excited about it?
Well, being in an urban setting means something to the type and variety of people you expect to encounter--fewer wayward lumberjacks and nymphs, and more candle makers, weavers, and artists. More significant than the actual location, I think, is the fact that the PC is cast as a resident of Mal Nassrin. Many RPGs put the player in the role of the Eastwood-esque Stranger. That's all well and good, but rather than dropping the PC from 5000 feet into a strange environment and teaching them the local mores as a newcomer, we are able to join more activity "in progress."
Do you think candle makers, weavers, and artists will be able to
generate enough excitement for players?
The more important thing to make clear here is that I don't think every single square inch of the game is there to tangibly "generate excitement." Some elements of a story contribute to that story without, themselves, being "exciting." Sometimes a trip to the brewery is just a trip to the brewery. You may meet someone who gives you a better sense of "Mal Nassrin as a real place" or "Mal Nassrin, a place with real people who need help," and if that heightens the overall excitement I hope we generate every time you start the game and hear the theme music, so much the better.
Now, our candle-making shop just so happens to contain a brief existential encounter, which may amuse or satisfy or enlighten on its own merits, but I don't look at every one of the areas and say "What generates excitement here?" I say "How can this contribute to the story?" Sometimes that means a major, plot-advancing encounter, and sometimes that means just providing a little glue.
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