BTTD #17: Making the Hardest Choice

I’ve been playing Outer Worlds on Xbox and at the first part of this stellar RPG, you have to make a choice:

  • Cut power to a city, hurting “the man”, but putting a lot of people out of work, possibly starving.
  • Cut power to the deserters, destroying what they’ve built, but rescuing the city they left.

It hurt because each choice had its pros and cons, but I made my choice and owned the fallout. And I think in the stories we tell, our characters need the same thing. They need to make decisions that are not so black and white, light and dark, because then they have to own the choice and all the ramifications that come with it.

  • You want to slay the slave traders? Well, then you have to break the treaty we have with their country and trade will be hurt and people could starve.
  • Caravans are getting robbed, but on further discovery, bandits are giving the goods to people in need.
  • A dragon is attacking in the nearby mountains, but it’s actually killing orcs; if you don’t intervene, you may have to deal with an older dragon later on. If you do intervene, the orcs could grow in power or you might just get killed dealing with a dragon.

You can test your characters’ diplomacy skills, outside the box thinking and see what they come up with. I am totally fine with railroading, making the characters follow a path on an adventure, but giving them two huge choices that could alter their world opens up more adventures around the mess they intentionally or unintentionally made. (If this intrigues you, try King’s Dillema and your head will spin.)

That’s Not a Moon

Most fantasy books I’ve read, magic is somehow enhanced or dampened by the shifts of the moon or moons. Because sometimes the good ol’ fireball spell is a bit overused. A waxing moon of the Dragon could fix that by making fire spells weakened if not inert. When the moon of the Dragon is waning, maybe the fireball is even more powerful.

Having eclipses, new moons and full moons can add some more depth to your world and get the characters to properly plan. (We have to hurry before the Dragon and Serpent Moon overlap!)

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