I have a higher respect for game designers now that I have designed my own campaign in the ‘Dungeon Master’ (DM) option of the game ‘Sword Coast Legends’ a Dungeons & Dragons game for PC. The game is designed to let someone build their own ‘Non-Playable-Characters’ (NPC), monsters, bosses, hero’s, dungeons, towns, quests, and different areas such as: swamps, mountains, caves, roads, and special areas. Built into the design element is the option to customize these areas with objects such as: road signs, tents, tables, beds, rugs, lamps, fires, smoke, grave stones, decorations, forest foliage, blood, animals, cave crystals, and the list continues.
At first I thought it was going to be easy. Not to say that it is difficult. But there is no direct tutorial except a small one that happens after you place a few items. I had to learn by trial and error. I spent twelve hours on one campaign learning how to create items, dialogue, quests, objects, unlockable areas, NPC’s, monsters, bosses, dungeons, areas, towns, item vendors, and boss fights. The DM option lets someone control how many monsters will be in an area at a given time, how many traps you want, if a door will be locked – trapped – how difficult the roll will be on each lock or trap. I was able to place secret doors and extra treasure, even remove treasure if I thought it was too much for the campaign.
One major bug I am still having is with is that I learned that custom creatures do not interact well with the boss quest fights that are built into the dungeon. I am unaware if there is a way around this bug yet, but I could not get my boss to fight my character, the boss would just stand there while my character killed it during my test play. The way around this I found was to insert the boss into the dungeon manually and create a custom quest to kill the boss. I am sure the option to let the boss be one of the games pre-made bosses would work just fine, but I have not tried it.
Over all I have spent eighteen hours creating and re-creating the starting campaign from the Dungeons & Dragons starter set “Lost Mine Of Phandelver”. The second time is working out much better then the first.
I highly suggest that if someone is interested in playing this game with their friends, as the DM option lets you build campaigns for you or your friends to play through. Then when you go to build your first campaign, play around with the options, try building a dungeon, make a quest or two. Then go and look at a few campaigns that other people have built and study how they link their quests and how they built their NPC’s and monster sets. Then once you have done that, seriously start trying to build your first campaign.
I do have a higher respect for game designers after putting my time and effort into building this campaign. I can’t wait to show it off to my friend when it is finished.