The World of Steel Dragons – Part 3

Posted on March 22, 2017 By

Welcome to the third entry in a series on the storyworld of Steel Dragons!

Steel Dragons, as you may recall, is a digital adventure board game I’m designing for Quickcharge Games. Over the past two weeks, we’ve looked at the steam-infused feudal Japanese setting, as well as  the hardy and courageous characters who live there. Today, I’d like to focus on the most important aspect of any storyworld: conflict.

The conflict at the heart of Steel Dragons is between the order of civilization and the chaos of the wilderness.

In the game, this conflict is embodied by the players’ heroes adventuring through the Broken Lands fighting monsters and barbarians, defending local outposts of civilization, and reclaiming the land on behalf of various nobles and factions in the (civilized) Outer Provinces.

Of course, the conflict can manifest other ways as well:

  • The locals, though they struggle against the dangers of the wilderness themselves, may not appreciate outsiders interfering with their lives, throwing off the balance they’ve established, and generally imposing more civilization and order than they wanted.
  • Likewise, while the movers and shakers of the Outer Provinces are united in their goal of bringing order to the Broken Lands, they have competing visions of what that order should look like. One faction wants to restore the Empire to its former glory, another wants to establish a theocratic utopia, and another doesn’t care about ruling the land so much securing its own financial success.
  • What about the players’ heroes themselves? Depending on the scenario being played, they may cooperate against the chaos of the Broken Lands — or they may need to win at any cost, and might even choose to embrace that chaos to ensure their victory. Even players who are cooperating may come into conflict as they decide whether it’s more important to help their allies or get ahead themselves. (“Sorry! I know you need this lotus pearl, but I need it more.”)

Conflict is key to any storyworld and, as you can see, Steel Dragons has plenty to go around!


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