The emotional rollercoaster of a "resource managment/Rpg" gamebook

Hallo. What fo you think should be the emotional graph of a resource management Rpg (like Life of a Wizard, or Stronghold a Hero’s fate).

I’m sketching something on that line, and I guess how the different degrees of emotion should move during the plotline.

I thought to divide the story in 3 main sections, and to draft each section following the same basic sketch.
Less emotion -----> More emotion
Main Charachter hasa moment of personal growth
Main Character doubts about himself
Main Charachter has a moment of personal growth
Final Crisis
Fallout of Final Crisis
Main Charachter recognizes theirs faults and perks, faces the conseguenze of their choises then settles in for a time of peace until the start of Next section

I’m not too certain about Resource Management games, but I’d think that most of the emotional graph would be about sacrifice.

I imagine that as a resource manager in a game where resources are limited, the player might be working towards some ultimate goal - maybe building a prosperous city with sound defense wand happy citizens, or getting an A at the end of the school year while managing to forge and maintain meaningful relationships.

In these situations, there would a trade-off: Recruit more citizens to the army for a better defense at the risk of upsetting families, or spend more time studying at the risk of losing touch with friends.

Essentially, I mean to say that the emotional investment isn’t in the character’s own growth - it’s something the player identifies with in the circumstances they’re involved in. While they strive to form a relationship with a fellow student, they might realise that their grades are slipping and that puts them under more stress. It’s not something the game should decide for the player - The player must choose whether to let the grades go and eventually end up in a perfect relationship.

As such, I’d propose a three act structure:

  1. Player discovers what they can do and gets to know the world:
  • Introduction
  • Some basic choices on resource management
  • Some initial, small consequences
  • Further introduction to the world
  • Some basic choices on resource management
  • and so on until you’re ready to move on the the next act:
  1. Getting to grips with the game:
  • The rising tension
  • Some rewards and penalties from the initial choices
  • Some delicious RPG choices
  • Some important resource management choices
  • Some kinda heavy consequences
  • A climax to the first part of the game
  • A declining tension as the player settles in the aftermath
  1. The final Battle (or whatever)
  • A very important choice on resource management, where the player must finally choose what they ultimately want.
  • An incredible tension against what the player wants
  • Some very important RPG/Management choices to fail/succeed in what the player wants
  • The climax, where all their efforts tie up in a neat ribbon
  • The ultimate reward/punishment
  • The Final Aftermath

Whatever you decide to go with, I think it’s most important to avoid a predictable or recognisable game structure, where the player can realise “Oh, after I do this, this happens and the game will do this.”

I hope I helped a little?

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You helped a lot! Thank you so much Timberwolf. I think that I will study your sketch very closely.

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Hmm. This is out of my area of expertise, so I don’t know how valid my thoughts are that being said, I am someone with an internet connection therefore I will share them regardless.

Not everything needs to be so directly straightforward as “You made this option to burn down this guy’s home, now he doesn’t like you anymore.”

What about choices that are made with good intentions or even bad ones that inadvertently do good for other people? Doesn’t life have plenty of unintended consequences to actions? Not every single choice obviously needs to be a butterfly effect., however it might be good to see that things can be far more reaching that just the first decision directly in front of us.

“All the bandits on the road have been driven out. The caravans make their way to the city and trade flourishes.” Cut to eight months later, and the amount of foreign merchants taking over the market has made a wider gap of wealth between the classes with your people now finding it harder to make an honest living. Crime inside the city is now on the rise and gang crime is now a serious problem.

Obviously in practical use, it wouldn’t be an example that simple. The general concept would be to create a game where you both need to consider the long term effects and that even initially good choices are only good for some groups. Is this a choice that is going to have a butterfly effect? If you agree to this guy’s request will it be enough to keep a revolt at bay or just fuel the flames?

That’s just my opinion. I’m sure whatever you come up with will be awesome, regardless.

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