Thread: Tragedies
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Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 522
# 7
01-15-2013, 08:45 AM
Personally, I would handle this as a "forced fail" situation, meaning I would have the successful completion of the mission by the player end with the failure of the mission by the character.

You could do this by simply having the mission progress this way from the start. for example: the TNG episode where the Enterprise is tricked into returning the Romulan spy home whom they think is a Vulcan diplomat--they figure it out but too late and are forced to run away to avoid capture themselves. Failure of the crew's mission is simply how the story ends. This can work very well as a set-up for another mission where the character deals with the results of this failure.

A variation on this is the "Glorious Failure" mission. In literary terms this would generally result in the heroic death of our protagonist in the climax of the story. Now, you can't kill a player's character (and I wouldn't recommend trying even if you could) but this can still be achieved short of that. You put the characters in an impossible situation and then have them deal with the aftermath of their inevitable failure to prevent "Tragedy X" from happening after doing a litany of heroic tasks attempting to avoid it anyway.

This is tricky but doable. I have a mission where the player is sent to investigate why a ship is late in reporting in. They are then forced to deal with an a situation that rapidly accelerates of control and ends in a militarily pointless battle claiming thousands of lives based on a lie told to cover-up the machinations of powerful individuals back in fleet command. The player is able to rescue a few people and come out on top in terms of the final battle, but they have been used and manipulated into taking part in something highly unethical. The player now rightly angry about this, I have a built-in set-up for the next mission where the player attempts to expose the corruption that lead to this tragedy.

Yet another way to do this is by having an optional failure achieved by dialogues that appear based on a decision the player has made on the last map. This can be achieved with invisible object and triggers keyed to dialogues placed on the map as opposed to the story board.

There is a great deal you can do with a little planning and creative use of the story-board set-up despite its limitations.

Last edited by ajstoner; 01-15-2013 at 08:52 AM.