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P&C RPGS - Chapter 18, "I've Still Got Time ..."

P&C RPGS - Chapter 18, "I've Still Got Time ..."

A Chapter by dw817

This week we're going to go over the importance and "fun" of "sub-quests," that is, those little adventures you go on before you try and tackle the main one.



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Chapter 18: "I've Still Got Time ..."

Some details, ideas, and musings I've had experiencing effective RPGs and RPG Makers

© June 2019 Written by David Wicker
Please do not reprint without permission

Last week we went over the differences between a cooling off period for casting spells and actual magic points, pros and cons- literally.

This week we're going to go over the importance and "fun" of "sub-quests," that is, those little adventures you go on before you try and tackle the main one.

First off you should be aware that sub-quests are not useless. They are not something just to bide the time. And in some cases can be quite instrumental in helping players who may have "missed" something from the beginning.

An RPG if it is written well covers all territory. Even for the most inept or luckless, it should still be possible to get through and win the game no matter what. And sub-quests can help you get there.

There are no CONS to sub-quests so let's just look at the PROS of them.

[1] Expands the player's world slightly by exploring and adventuring into new territory.
[2] Always let the player 'grind' for exp points and items that may not be found elsewhere.
[3] Strengthens the character bonds with the NPCs who request they do these sub-quests.
[4] Once the sub-quest is complete - may reveal a useful item that greatly helps the player.

So sub-quests are important. It's also important to not just have the same sub-quest over and over again.

For instance, let's say, "Mattie May" the innkeeper asks the player to clear out the rats in her cellar. Okay, so that might be 6-rats, small in size, little in damage, and very small experience points. Your reward ? 50-gold coins from the innkeeper and a firm handshake of appreciation. A good start for the novice adventurer.

Later after you've gotten further in the main quest, you speak with her and she says the situation has changed, there are bigger rats now. So you go back down and now find 12-rats, medium in size, more in damage, and a bit more experience points, perhaps with the final victory treasure of an armor or shield that resists poisonous bites from the rats.

Your additional reward from the innkeeper might be 500-gold coins and her extended thanks as a hug.

You speak with her much later in the game and she says she can no longer go to the cellar because this godawful giant rat won't let her. This will be the third and final sub-quest for this location. You go back down for the last time and see this one huge rat with two medium lackey rats surrounded by bones of other smaller animals.

Now this battle is a mini-boss so you have one of the medium rats keep tossing cheese to the big rat to heal his hit points. The other rat keeps casting an "armor" spell on the boss rat making it difficult to do much damage to him.

If the boss rat is beaten but the two medium are still alive, they'll do a dangerous cross X attack for high damage and they will both ultimately revive the boss rat after time in a spell.

If only the left medium rat is beaten but the others are still okay then while the boss rat no longer gets his hits healed, the right medium rat can still beef up his armor with the "armor" spell. It's also possible that the right medium rat will resurrect the left medium rat over time.

If only the right medium rat is beaten but the others are still okay then while the boss rat no longer has his armor increased, the left medium rat can still heal his hit points with tossed bits of cheese.

So as a player you are expected to defeat first the right medium rat, then the left medium rat, then the boss rat himself. If you defeat them in any other way, the player can and likely will be penalized with high damage to themselves and their players for not carefully seeing their way through this puzzle battle.

PHEW ! And all this complexity is taking place in a simple cellar of the local Inn ! But you see now how it can be done.

And what treasure do you get for defeating this final boss rat in these sub-quests ? The innkeeper, she is very grateful and even kisses you on the side of your cheek for doing away with her problem entirely but more importantly lets you and your entire party stay for free every time throughout the game ! Now there's a reason to celebrate !

. . .

So sub-quests are important indeed. It's pretty unlikely any RPGs today don't have them and if they are somehow absent, it is possible the game can be won fairly quickly as the only direction the player can go under these circumstances is forward - towards winning the game itself.

Sub-quests can also take place when the player goes out of their way to explore something that by all rights should be very difficult to get to and presumed empty and worthless.

For instance, the player could rescue some random peasant from prison and he tells them of a rumor. Of an incredible and terrible creature called the Lochnar that lives right on the edge of the Earth and lives in an underground cave of untold treasures and wealth.

To meet this sub-quest, the player must travel in Airship. They find the monsters get harder the more they travel to the North and are earlier warned by NPCs that there is no civilization or anywhere to land your boat in that direction. There is no reason to go there.

While this may be true by boat, by airship the player may fly across the vastly bare ocean there and come across an oddly shaped island right on the edge of the Earth as it is. It is trapezoid in shape with no way for a boat to land as there are no docks or shores, but an airship can land in one patch of the clearing.

The player Lands and examines the ground even though there are indeed no cities, castles, or dungeons anywhere to be found. It is perfectly barren.

But just by simply wandering the empty area - suddenly the ground cracks open ! The players fall into this fiery cavern where the walls are hewn from gold and precious jewels - and a tremendous battle takes place as the player comes toe to toe with the dreaded Lochnar and his fire-breathing minions !

And it's a battle indeed, quite possibly more difficult than even the final boss of the entire game ! But that's what you want to have. You want to encourage players to explore every square inch of their territory - for players love nothing more than finding secrets and treasures by being the most obsessive and dedicated of explorers.

And there you have it ! Sub-quests can appear anywhere and everywhere. They may be given by a single NPC in their own home or wandering outside the city - or charged with the quest by a whole bunch of people. It might even be from one of monarchs ruling a province or castle. It may be suggested from one of the player's own players and the reward is them greatly improving in that particular player's special ability - whatever it might be.

. . .

Next week we're going to talk about the importance of terrain classes. Not just where you walk in SCRUB and you get these little green burrs on your socks that itch. No, where the ground is frozen, boiling, poisonous, and gaseous just to name a few of the hazards you get in traveling.

Until then, bye for now ...

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© 2019 dw817

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