As you develop your adventure and plan out all of your events and map work, you must keep in mind that the flow of the story is also very important. The biggest part of making an adventure work, is to ensure that the flow of the story and events match the plans you had in mind. Episode goals set the stage for your adventure. If you plan your goals poorly, you could end up producing a less than favorable adventure.
Goals need to be set up in way that will develop your storyline. By starting off slowly and working your way through your adventure, you may unfold a pretty interesting tale. One thing I like to do at the beginning of my adventure creation is plan out how the tale will end. By doing this, you have given yourself a window to work within and it makes it much easier to plan the stages needed to get to your end result. Balance of the tale is of the utmost importance. If you start off your first episode with high goals, it will be difficult to keep the player interested, if in fact you cannot match or increase your goals later on.
So lets take a look at a loosely created adventure. Your final episode goals will be as follows.
- Rule city one
- Rule city two
- Sanctuary to Zeus
- Fulfill a quest
- 5 trimemes
- Population of 4500
This set up above is a pretty easy set of goals for a final episode. The trick is to get there without having too much of it already met. The easiest goal for an adventure designer to mess up is the population one. Players can and will hang around an episode trying to earn money etc. for future plans. If you allow the player to continue to build in earlier episodes, the population goal could be met before they even enter into the final episode. This can be readily fixed by adding some events into that final episode that will cause population problems. Decrease the availability of an item, city invasions etc. All of this adds to the pressure being applied to the population; do not make it so rough as to ruin all of the player's efforts however. The other goals in the final episode also speak for themselves. If you allow trimemes earlier in the adventure, the player may have them already. Before I get to involved in this final episode let's run the adventure through from the beginning.
Knowing our final episode, and its make up, we can begin the adventure structure, and sort out the number of episodes it will take to get to the end result. A fine balance is needed here to make sure that each episode is exciting and that all episodes slowly build up to a final climax.