Age of Decadence - Interview @ RPGNuke
A Russian site called RPGNuke interviews Vince D. Weller about his indie RPG Age of Decadence, and was kind enough to offer an english version to read.
Almost every game’s storyline have been based on a Joseph Campbell’s «hero’s journey» concept — Becoming a Hero, a Hero’s fall, introduction of helpers (allies), returning of a Hero. What about the storyline of Age of Decadence? Is there any proper alternatives instead of Campbell’s scheme?
I believe that the Campbell’s concept applies only to heroic fantasy — can’t have a «hero’s journey» without a hero. Such fantasy does tend to be very formulaic and due to the excessive demand generated by 12 year olds is in steady supply.
As for AoD, our guiding principle was realism. So we started with small, local events — a disgruntled officer who wants to take over a local shithole of a town, a prospering trading guild that wants to stop him, the assassins caught in the middle, a local noble grasping at straws — and then followed their effects on other factions. Sort of like a snowball rolling down the hill, gaining speed and growing in size.
In your opinion, is it necessary to mix the major side quests (which could be made a stand-alone storyline by themselves) with some tiny ones (delivery services etc.) or every quest should be unique, well-made and complex?
Depends on the game. A game that tells a story should have unique, hand-crated quests with multiple solutions and at least some consequences.
Can you give us some more details about your «Generation Ship» RPG? If I do understand correctly, whole adventure is going to take its place at the spaceship’s closed rooms and halls. I think this is going to be the one hell of an intriguing story.
A long time ago I’ve read Heinlein’s Orphans of the Sky and fell in love with the concept. If you or your readers aren’t familiar with it, imagine a huge colony ship slowly traveling to a distant system. The voyage will take hundreds of years and only the distant descendants of the original colonists, born and raised on the ship, will reach the destination. Sooner or later things go wrong and the ship descends into chaos and when the dust settles, a new society (or societies) emerges. They are no longer aware of the original purpose; they don’t care of the hardships and struggles of their forefathers. The ship is their world, the only world they’ve ever known.
While the physical setting is somewhat constrained, when it comes to different societies, there is so much to explore and experiment with. The potential for different conflicts is unlimited.
Such a game would be party-based, focused on exploration and dealing with different factions. We envision a huge ship with different decks, restricted area, abandoned and forgotten areas (so being able to find new passages, interact with the ship’s systems, deal with factions controlling different parts of the ship, brave the ship’s dangers, etc, will be of utmost importance), irradiated areas, etc. Plus mutants. Can’t have a generation ship game without mutants.
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