Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Back in the Saddle - Again!

Hooray! My play is done ('Romeo and Juliet' closed on Saturday), the set is struck, and all of the final wrap-up is done... meaning that I can fully shift my creative gears back to Army Ants! I have managed to keep up on the webcomic (barely) over the last few weeks, I got caught up on packages that I owed people (sorry Brett and DJ, but everything went out toady) and have also been thinking through some of the big ideas for the termite mound.

As far as the mound goes, here are a few broad strokes:
- The mound is an organic rather than modern structure. It has utilities, wires, ventilation shafts and elevators, but these are all nested within an organic, living super-structure.
- Rather than designing by 'levels', I'm going to design by 'nodes'. The thinking right now is that a node will be a themed section within the larger facility. Each node would consist of maybe 10-20 encounter areas. Each node would be an independent environment (with its own utilities and infrastructure) that would have links to at least two others nodes.
- Each node would be identified by a moniker instead of a number. Instead of 'node #1', you will have 'the node of the enervating eye' or 'node of the fallen shades'. In this way, I don't have to worry about how I'd ultimately assemble this whole thing - I can layer new pieces into the larger structure in any order I want, and still create a cohesive whole.
- It would be cool if each node provided an opportunity add a new rule/mechanic/element to the game.
- A gimmick for how this all works is a device that Zak will carry that pulses a sonar wave. The sonar will ping back the layout of the node (since the walls/doors within a node are thinner than the super-structure between nodes). He can explore a small section at a time, getting a map before he sets out, and clearing the map as he goes. It would still be possible to hide things that don't show up on the sonar, and build those into individual encounter areas.
- Chaos is the order of the day. This environment should be exceptionally chaotic, alien, and weird. The termites are not above summoning spirits, gathering energized vats of brains to power psionic machines, building golems out of dead insects, bio-engineering plants and mushrooms with mutant qualities, and imbuing themselves and others with a variety of afflictions just to see what happens.