Well, 2013 is upon us and I’m doing steady work on The Moon Must Be Ours (TMMBO). At this point of development, it’s all about outlining and specifications. For other game lines, like Shadowrun or BattleTech, this can be pretty in-depth process. Line developers have to weigh considerations like target page count, writing budgets, art budgets, playtesting and the general target release date, to name a few.
Thankfully, by design, Cosmic Patrol books are relatively simple. Each book is targeted at 136 pages and feature the basic sections: intro fiction, rules, gazetteer, characters and missions. Given the flexibility of the rules, a lot of the real effort goes into world building and mission creation. And surprise, that’s the most fun, too.
In the Cosmic Patrol universe, the Moon is one giant Moon Man fortress. It’s been tunneled out from the surface all the way to the core. Any Patrol invasion of the Moon would have to navigate these rooms and tunnels to complete the mission.
Knowing how the Moon would be framed, I then made two goals:
- a choose-your-own-adventure mechanic for moving from room to room
- a mechanic that offers easy, normal, hard and insane difficulty settings
I didn’t want a lot of variable monster strengths and trap tests (that’d lead to too much referencing, IMO) so decided that difficulty tracks would be based on the number of rooms players would have to clear to successfully complete the adventure.
With those prerequisites in mind, I turned to a RPGer’s best friend: charts! Flowcharts, to be exact.
Now these aren’t in the actual book, but are used in the dev process to assign exits for each room. Each room takes the format of a Mission Brief with the room’s challenge or threats and a choice of exits based on what difficulty you want to play at. If you want a quick adventure, go with the Easy track. Want a bigger challenge? Use the Hard track. And then you can mix and match as desired, creating your own custom adventure.
Over the next few weeks I’ll go into more depth on how the room structure works, but I do have one cool announcement to share now!
During the development of Into the Cosmos, we held a contest for players to create a rocketship and mission for inclusion in the book. We’ll be doing the same thing for TMMBO, reserving two or three rooms for player-created entries! I’ll have more info on the contest later. Good luck!