The Relationship Map
One of our main goals with the Swordfish Islands is replayability, and one of the main mechanisms we hope will achieve that goal is exploration.
Going into this project we focused heavily on the creation of a hex map to facilitate this exploration, and we ended up with 9 islands made of 156 hexes. Then we came up with three unique points of interest for each of those 156 hexes, giving us 468 unique Points of Interest.
Upon completing our list of 468 points of interest we started seriously discussing the town of Swordfish Bay, our "adventure hub". We knew it was founded by an ex-pirate (Captain Jeremy Rand) and his crew, we knew there was an Adventurers guild (name still TBD...), and we knew the town had a population of ~350.
Then we started asking questions like "who's in charge of what?", and "what services would a town like this need to survive?", and "would those services be interesting enough to really include?". Several weeks, many note cards and much OneNote space later, we've ended up with 48 named characters complete with back stories, motivations, and goals that fall into four categories:
Patrick's Crew (As a pirate Rand had two ships, one run by Patrick Marsh. Patrick now runs the Guild at Rand's request)
But we didn't stop there. Nope. Here on the Swordfish Islands you go big or you go home. We then decided to create a "Relationship Map" between all the characters using the following 8 categories:
We took each character and made a "directional" list of names under each category. In this instance, directional means "Who will this character seek out?". Just because the town drunk will look for anyone on the island to drink with, doesn't mean that anyone on the island will see out the town drunk as a drinking buddy. Hopefully, all the drama created by these links, a group of players could enter the Swordfish Islands, play an intrigue game, and never leave town.
Camaraderie in this case means that two individuals have a friendship that may fall outside the normal bounds of the other categories and is focused on a **specific** thing. For example, two characters love sauces, or two characters go fishing every Saturday, or two characters get together to discuss esoteric knowledge.
Thoughts regarding the "Fuckin'" category:
- George R.R. Martin's got nothing on us ('cept the twincest and sex with children 'cause those are envelopes I have no desire to push)
- Combining this category with all the death and mind altering substances that can be found on the islands we're even more certain that the only way to get this published is independently. \o/
- Fuckin' further breaks down into "Has", "Ongoing" and "Wants to" so tension levels can vary
- Finally, why'd we even add this category?
- If we're successful, Rule 34 is going to hit us just like it does everyone else, so why not help the creators out with a rough framework to fuel the creative depravity
- I blame HBO, Soap Operas, Heavy Metal, history and mythology
- Depth of character
- Oh, and the Olympics. It's the Olympic's fault too 'cause we all know what goes on in the Olympic village post medal-ceremonies. Think about it this way, you've got a bunch of fit ex-pirates (male and female) living on islands where terrible death is a constant. All that aggression, fear and adrenaline is going to go somewhere. ^_^