Interesting scenarios

Discussion and development of scenarios and campaigns for the game.

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Paulomat4
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Interesting scenarios

Post by Paulomat4 »

Since i'm actually developing a campaign I've been thinking of interesting battle situations. Nobody wants to play a campaign which is just defeat the enemy leader/s. So that's why i'm posting here: What are missions you found interesting in the past? Which scenario did you found particulary interesting? How do you increase the replay value of your Campaign?
Of course I've got some ideas myself, but i wanna hear yours too. :D
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Telchin
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Re: Interesting scenarios

Post by Telchin »

I mostly play only mainline campaigns and my UMC, so some of these ideas might be already done to death:
  • Branching - the campaign branches in two paths that might ("A Choice must be Made" in HttT, "A Subterranean Struggle" in UtBS) or might not ("Choice in the Fog" in TSG) reunite. An extreme example would be the UMC "Elvish Dynasty RPG" where the you get choice almost every scenario and the scenarios are randomly selected. This is more of an idea for replayability as the actual scenarios may as well be standart "kill all enemy leaders" and of course it's extra work for the campaign's creator.
  • Changing terrain - nice example is the UtBS scenario "Out of the Frying Pan" where you must escape a flood in a cave. I like it so much that I made similiar scenarios in my UMC, except there you want the flood to spread because you play as sea creatures.
  • Custom units - If your campaign features a custom faction (or faction from other era than default) some players might try it out of curiosity (or being bored from all that "elves vs. orcs" in mainline). Of course custom units don't make necessarily an interesting campaign, but they can lead to unusual gameplay. My UMC is about sea creatures, so most battles take place in water and you must evade dry land (the opposite of most default units).
  • Baseless scenarios - as in "without a base for recruiting/recalling". This has a balancing advantage, as you don't have to worry about the player having too much (or not enough) gold and/or promoted units from previous scenarios. The downside is that recalling high-level units is part of the fun, so be careful. That said this is also a good idea for the first scenario in a campaign (Liberty, UtBS and my UMC all use it) as you can use it to establish campaigns charcters or introduce custom units in action. You can also add some alternate way of obtaining units, e.g. the UMC "The White Troll" by Elvish Hunter has scenarios where your characters have mana to summon units (summoned units don't persist to next scenario).
  • Controlling points - places on the map, where you must place your units and something interesting happens. Sometimes they might be visited in a linear order, but often you have to split your army to reach them all. In "Closing the Gates" in SoF the dwarvish gates close when you place your units concurrently on all the six runes. In the UMC "The Devil's Flute" by lipk there are bridges in the final scenario that change position when your unit stands on a "switch" (you must split your army between the bridges and switches). In my UMC there is a scenario when you must destroy four "wardstones" to advance. In the last case the wardstones stay deactivated even when your unit leaves, but they also spawn enemies until destroyed.
  • Logical puzzles - the above mentioned The Devil's Flute has two scenarios where you have to answer riddles (not much replayability once you know the answer, though you can make different riddles for different difficulty levels) and one where you play sokoban (with zombies instead of boxes). The also already mentioned Elvish dynasty RPG has choice between normal combat scenarios and diplomatic missions, where you don't fight, but only answer some question and get some bonus and/or penalty depending on your answer.
  • Dungeon exploration - this is an entire genre of scenarios that appears in multiple campaigns and may use some ideas mentioned above. I hate shroud and fog in normal skirmishes, but I'm weirdly OK with shroud in underground scenarios as it helps the feeling of crawling through a dark cave. Avoid one-hex wide tunnels as they slow down the progression. Be careful with amount and placement of enemies (so it doesn't become a minefield for the player). For replayability try adding some hidden treasures and/or secret shortcuts.
  • Changing leaders - you can alternate between two (or more) leaders with separate recruit/recall lists (e.g. both branches of TSG have a scenario when you play as sir Gerrick instead of Deoran, DM has scenarios where you play as Kalenz instead of Delfador). You can also change the recuit/recall list without changing the leader (as happens to Delfador in DM). This can help the balancing (as you can deny the player promoted recalls) and showcase different unit types (Delfador alternates humans, elves and undead in DM). Be careful to not overdo it (DM changes the recall list too often for my liking) and try to allow all the units to be recalled in the inal scenario (to give the player some feeling of achievement).
  • Respawning enemies - instead of enemy leaders to kills you can have enemies appear automatically, either every turn (this is the case with the "wardstones" in my UMC) or when something happens (e.g. undead turning killed nemeis into new undead). You can allow the player to stop the spwaning by performing some action (e.g. destroying the wardstones) or not (e.g. when you want "survive X turns" scenario).
I hope that helps. ;)

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Paulomat4
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Re: Interesting scenarios

Post by Paulomat4 »

Well, thanks the long reply. I was considering some of these ideas, but i sure didn't think of all of them. Especially the controlling points idea is not bad. :)
Anybody else has some good iddeas?
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Dugi
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Re: Interesting scenarios

Post by Dugi »

I would like to add my input too, though I am not sure if you haven't played my campaign, where I used pretty much all of my ideas. Trying not to tell the same things as Telchin.
Special heroes - Leader or loyals can be units with special powers, that would be awkward if used by many units, but interesting if there is a single unit with that. Custom AMLA is a nice distraction too.
Multiple leaders - Unusual, but easy to do and quite practical. The currently less useful leader recruits, the other one helps the army.
Domination on defeat - Many sides, everyone against everyone, if a unit dies, it is respawned with full hp, on the side of the killer. Player plays one of the sides, others are controlled by AI. Needs a lot of hiding and picking occasions to attack the wounded and prone for conversion.
Dreadful plague - If a unit of yours dies, it is raised as undead, on the enemy side. Good to force the player to avoid any losses.
Endless army - An undefeatably massive but slow army is marching against the player, he has to break through it and flee or the other side before the army crushes him. Enemies should be varied, a single kind of units can be easily countered by a single unit spam.
Otherwordly gate opening - A location spawns more and more enemies, the player has to reach it and destroy it before the flux of enemies becomes unbeatable. There should be some enemies awaiting to make sure that the player will not reach it too early.
Ambush - At the start of the scenario, a group of enemies appear around your leader and top recalls/loyals/autorecalled allies, and they have to be defeated or fled from. This is not a tomato surprise, because the enemies are balanced for the expected force of the player, unlike the classical case when a unit steps on a far away hex and it gets instantly ambushed by units it has no chance to defeat or flee from.
Exaggerated alignments - An enemy faction that is not only chaotic, but also has a weapon special that makes them weaker during the day and stronger at night. If played with a lawful faction, night is the time to retreat no matter what and day is the time to attack headlessly, if played with a chaotic faction, day is the time when nothing happens and everyone takes positions and night turns the battlefield into a slaughterhouse.
Inverse zombie apocalypse - Oh no, a necromancer is raising our dead as our servants, we have to destroy more of them than they kill of us. The player controls the necromancer and his pets, the necromancer is a good killer himself to make the start possible. Might need some changes in recruit lists and incomes to keep it balanced.
Sneak - your units are invisible in bushes and have the hit and run ability, the map is swarming with guards, you have to get through the town, stealth-killing guards standing in the way, if a guards notices you, all nearby guards turn hostile or the player loses (the target is moved to safety).
Custom enemies - While it is hard to create a faction that would be playable, it is much easier to make a faction that would be enemy-only. They might create special tactical puzzles, especially if they are strong, but have a significant flaw, like never both ranged and melee attack, vulnerability to a single damage type (ideally, each unit to a different type), slow movement, bad defence or so. Also, the enemies can also have a special force whose usage has to be avoided all costs, like low hp and damage, but a crippling weapon special (such as petrification). Or enemies with extremely strong traits (like drain trait, slowing trait, extra attacks but swarm trait, charge trait, magic resistance trait or something like that) picked from a long list, that can create thousands of possibilities for a single unit.
Scenario with strange rules - For example a scenario where fire attacks have no effect.
Boss with doppelgängers - A boss constantly spawns doppelgängers that die when hit, but otherwise have the same properties, and are indistinguishable from him. The doppelgängers can be sent against the player before seeing the boss, just as bad omens.
Weather - A scenario with a large map and relative freedom to get through it, only with one target, enemies are spawned randomly with no leader, snowstorms occasionally come and force the player to attack aggressively to get into a cave to be shielded from the slow and cold damage the weather deals. A possibility to build igloos for gold to protect from it if no caves are available might help.
Possession - A boss that possesses his own units, and when the possessed unit is killed, he possesses a new one, and repeats this several times. The possessed unit is stronger somehow.
Fata morgana - You come to a village and... poof! It was just a fata morgana, you have to check all forests, villages and keeps if they are real or just an illusion, and expect that they might not be real.
Rise from slavery - Enemies are mentally enslaved, sent to attack you, and they might break free. If an enemy unit advances, it joins your side. Sometimes, it will become useful to sacrifice a weak, wounded unit, to get a unit from the enemy's army.
Everchanging dungeon - A variation of the dungeon style for better replay value. The target location has to be found, and according to random functions, some paths are blocked, and even the target and/or starting location is/are moved.
Shapeshifter - A boss who changes unit type every turn (his hp does not change). Every turn, you are facing another unit.
Enemies whose rage increases - Enemies with little exp to advance, advancing will not heal them, but will increase the damage they do.
Limited units - Give the player a few units at the start, and give him new ones only in prepared locations. Gold will be spared for later parts when recruiting will be normal.
Scouting challenge - Scouting is frequently neglected. Create a mostly empty labyrinth map, where the last undiscovered dead end path found becomes the point where the player has to get.

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Paulomat4
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Re: Interesting scenarios

Post by Paulomat4 »

though I am not sure if you haven't played my campaign
Don't worry, i've played your campaign :D
These are quite good ideas too! thanks
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Re: Interesting scenarios

Post by Heindal »

Random Enemy Spellcasting: such as weather, throwing fireballs, summoning and healing
Shopping Missions: missions that will allow you to use your bonus gold to unlock units or buying special items for one of your units
Optional Sidemissions Mission: missions that will allow you to level your units
Nonrepeatable Amlapathes for main Units: will increase ability

Playing with the ai you can give it different goals, for example reaching a specific coordinate or kill a specific unit

Defend Point Mission: defend a coordinate - if an enemy reaches a specific area
Defend NPC Mission: defend a person or a group of persons, which the ai tries to kill
...
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Paulomat4
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Re: Interesting scenarios

Post by Paulomat4 »

those are all very interesting ideas. I hope nobody of you minds if I take your code and modify it to fit my needs. :)
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Re: Interesting scenarios

Post by Heindal »

Return to Noelren by pyrophorus has used several nice game elements and he has a very entertaining way of storytelling.
Each scenario is unique and you should definetly get some inspiration.

btw: use whatever you like or just ask if you want something to be done, defense point mission will be uploaded with the newest epcial development
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Re: Interesting scenarios

Post by Dugi »

All content is licensed under GPL, meaning that you can take any codes you want. In fact, you are encouraged to use our solutions to facilitate your work.

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lipk
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Re: Interesting scenarios

Post by lipk »

Some of the more complicated code from The Devil's Flute is available here in a self-contained format.

And I loathe dungeon crawl.

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Paulomat4
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Re: Interesting scenarios

Post by Paulomat4 »

I know, but its always nice to ask :D
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Re: Interesting scenarios

Post by alluton »

If you are going to do dungeon scenarios. I suggest using Shadowmaster's method. You could only recruit during the first turn. Now you can balance the dungeon better and the player doesn't have to guess how many units he recruits. Its very frustrating to understand after 50-turn dungeon that you actually had too many units and lost alot of gold to their upkeep.
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Re: Interesting scenarios

Post by Reval »

Paulomat4 wrote:Since i'm actually developing a campaign I've been thinking of interesting battle situations. Nobody wants to play a campaign which is just defeat the enemy leader/s. So that's why i'm posting here: What are missions you found interesting in the past? Which scenario did you found particulary interesting? How do you increase the replay value of your Campaign?
Of course I've got some ideas myself, but i wanna hear yours too. :D
Did you have a look at "The fellowship of the Clay"? There, we also tried to generate different mission types - those ideas can certainly be expanded.
Last edited by Reval on September 8th, 2013, 6:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Paulomat4
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Re: Interesting scenarios

Post by Paulomat4 »

Did you have a look at "The fellowship of the Clay"? There, we also tried to generate different types - those ideas can certainly be expanded.
actually it has been quite some time since i played it. I'll have a look at it. :)
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