Working on campaign text

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Reepurr
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Working on campaign text

Post by Reepurr » September 21st, 2010, 12:43 pm

Okay, I've been designing a campaign that doesn't have anything to do with my era (it makes a nice change) for Drakes, and since I'm not so great at writing anyway, I'd like to give the story so far (the rest is only a basic plot) for comments and critiques.

This is the right forum to put it in, right?
(It's more like a script, because that's what a scenario is.)

I would much appreciate help on translating what the dwarves are saying into what the dwarves should be saying, given they have a Scottish accent.
Scenario 1:
Scenario 2:
"What do you mean, "a dwarvish dragonguard with marksman is overpowered"?"

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Simons Mith
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Re: Working on campaign text

Post by Simons Mith » September 22nd, 2010, 2:42 pm

*Shrug*

Not much material to criticise yet. What you have here is fine, for placeholder text. Maintain about this level of detail for the whole campaign, and get the thing working, and then worry about dialogue refinements such as accents. Dialogue polishing isn't entirely a linear process, and anyway a decent plot is much more important. Ropey dialogue is easy to fix, but a dull, weak or flawed plot cannot be rescued even by stellar dialogue.

Edit: Have you read this? - http://www.catb.org/~esr/wesnoth/campai ... howto.html

Also, tip: For your first campaign, settle for no more than 3-6 scenarios plus maybe one 'talky' scenario or you'll probably never finish it.
 

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jaimeastorga2000
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Re: Working on campaign text

Post by jaimeastorga2000 » September 23rd, 2010, 2:35 pm

Okay, your intro has a problem I have noticed is very common in campaign intros: it, like a history textbook, tells of events in a very neutral, bland, and spartan manner. And so too, like a history text, you can expect that it will cause glazed eyes and disinterested skipping shortly after exposure to the reader.

At the very least, you need to to explain why that group of drakes would be exiled. If you want to keep it a secret so you can reveal it later in your story, you should say something like "Exiled from their home for an offense now lost to history, the drakes spread their wings and looked westward...". You should also use details about the drakes and/or poetic language to help your introduction become more gripping; a good idea would be to give your band of exiles a leader and mention his bravery in the face of an unknown land and the dwarf armies they encountered. That will give your readers a name to identify those original settlers with, and allow modern drakes throughout the campaign to make references to him as a past hero, thus creating a sense of continuity. You also definitely need to explain what the drakes agreed to beyond vague offers to help when necessary. Are you talking about military aid? Scouting services using their ability to fly? How often have the drakes been called upon to fulfill this promise, their side of the bargain?

Then there is the actual scenario dialogue itself... it's got many issues. How could troops outside the castle hear an order to charge from the inside? Why is the drake king not aware there is a dwarf army massive enough to storm his castle sitting right next to it? I know scale isn't Wesnoth's strong suit, but I think writing should try to avoid stretching suspension of disbelief whenever possible. A solution to both of these problems is to have the messenger leave with the news, and then some time later the dwarven army would arrive in response and begin the attack. As he leaves, the messenger thinks to himself that his king was right to expect this foolish reaction from the drakes and to raise an army in advance, so that it does not look like an ass-pull when the army does show. All this builds plausibility and makes things seem more coherent.

Dralkath needs to give more reasons for wanting to stay and fight, or at least word his reason more passionately. And when he changes his mind and decides to flee, it should be more dramatic, considering his previous refusal to do so... have the adviser implore him to leave while there are still drakes left to save, to escape with them because the people will need a leader for the coming trials. Also, your dwarf really needs to stop referring to his liege as "the great dwarf king Trathel". It was okay the first time, by way of introduction, but afterward "king Trathel" should suffice.

In the second scenario, there should be a lot more discussion of their options and what they are going to do. They should mention the scorpions before the fight begins, as a peril they must fight off on their way south. And the villain for this scenario is... bad. Seriously? "As you are on my territory you must die!" No, no, no! Only cliche evil overlords behave like this. Have him, I dunno, have a bad history with past drakes who wondered into his territory or something that makes nervous... have him point out that it is very suspicious for a group of supposedly innocent drakes to move into his land as an army... have him like scorpions and be pissed off that the drakes are killing them... anything to give him an actual motivation to fight.

So, yeah... your story and dialogue definitely need polishing. Hope this criticism helps.

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Reepurr
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Re: Working on campaign text

Post by Reepurr » September 23rd, 2010, 3:08 pm

Thanks for the comments!

@ Simons Mith: Thanks also for the campaign guide link, very handy.
@ jaimeastorga: Okay, spent a while improving the first scenarios. Ever thought of doing your own campaign, by the way?

I just remembered something I was going to put into the first post: this really stupid plot turn the whole campaign hinges around.
Up until scenario 3, the dwarves are the bad guys. Then we get to scenario 4:

[Story]
Somewhere in a mysterious cavern...

[Scenario 4]
(Talk only.)
(A dark, damp cave. Lots of rusty prison cells. Necromancers all over the place.)
(Some necromancers come in, and a dwarf - King Trathel...)
Necromancer: The dwarves followed his instructions exactly!
Mal'Daldeth: Good. Is the tunnel clear?
Necromancer: Completely.
Mal'Daldeth: Good! The way is clear to the site where our master was imprisoned! Soon he will be freed!
:roll: Bad. Just not sure yet just why...

Also,
Changes made to scenarios 1+2::
"What do you mean, "a dwarvish dragonguard with marksman is overpowered"?"

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jaimeastorga2000
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Re: Working on campaign text

Post by jaimeastorga2000 » September 23rd, 2010, 3:25 pm

Reepurr wrote:Ever thought of doing your own campaign, by the way?
I have considered it; I actually have a lot of campaign ideas around. Maybe one of these months...
Reepurr wrote:Better?
Yep, definitely better. That scorched walls bit is exactly the kind of thing I was talking about for giving your intro a good bit of character.

Myrien
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Re: Working on campaign text

Post by Myrien » October 14th, 2010, 4:47 pm

Reepurr wrote: [Scenario 4]
(Talk only.)
(A dark, damp cave. Lots of rusty prison cells. Necromancers all over the place.)
(Some necromancers come in, and a dwarf - King Trathel...)
Necromancer: The dwarves followed his instructions exactly!
Mal'Daldeth: Good. Is the tunnel clear?
Necromancer: Completely.
Mal'Daldeth: Good! The way is clear to the site where our master was imprisoned! Soon he will be freed!

:roll: Bad. Just not sure yet just why...
If you are not happy with the current state of the text, consider this:
1) King Trathel, I take it, is the "he" the Necromancers are referring to; so they are talking about him as if he were no there, which seems a little strange to the reader, he also has to think "who is "he"?" first.
2) "Is the tunnel clear" could be better if it showed who the tunnel was cleared from - the drakes, I take it. Also, the few Necromancers are in the realms of the Dwarves' leader; they must keep his sympathy, perhaps ingratiate themselves.
3) If the drakes are named in the last sentence, the third could be a hateful statement about them - they took up the space dearly needed by the Necromancers, after all.
4) I think this sentence could be made a little more atmospheric. Perhaps the "master" should not be uncovered yet - it would increase the suspense. Why did the dwarf betray the drakes to the Necromancers? A "reward" could be brought in.

I'll try to give you an example of what I meant:

The Necromancers and Trathel enter.
Necromancer: Have your men obeyed their commands, Your Majesty?
Trathel: They have.
Mal'Daleth: Has the tunnel been purified?
Necromancer: It has been. Ha! That lizard scum had no chance. Your men are mighty warriors, Your Majesty. We will reward your kingdom abundantly.
Mal'Daleth: At last. I have waited so long for this moment. Come, it is time.

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Reepurr
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Re: Working on campaign text

Post by Reepurr » October 14th, 2010, 5:41 pm

I already made enough changes to make me happy with it... :| But your suggestions are duly noted.
In context, it makes more sense. Trathel is the prisoner of the necromancers. He's not working with them.
The necromancers are working toward their master by going through the tunnel, since it's the fastest path towards where their master is.

As for this thread, can a mod please lock it? No more help is needed...
"What do you mean, "a dwarvish dragonguard with marksman is overpowered"?"

Story of a Drake Outcast | The Nonsense Era
Played HttT-Underground Channels? Thought it was rubbish? Help us develop it here!

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