Sword Coast Legends Previews Real-Time Dungeon Master-ing
As one who loves RPGs, I’ve a lot of fond memories of old Bioware D&D games like Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter Nights, and Icewind Dale. Each of them found you adventuring through a very popular region of the Forgotten Realms world where so many great novels and adventure modules have come from over the years of AD&D’s history. Still, it has been quite some time since we’ve seen a video game return to D&D. Even D&D Online is beginning to show its age after being released back in 2006.
In steps the upcoming Sword Coast Legends and the nostalgia is undeniable. With a game engine that clearly has the foundations of Games like Dragon Age Origins and Neverwinter Nights, SCL is set up to tell some excellent stories as well as one more thing in particular… real time DM’ing!
Ok, for tabletop RPG noobs, the concept of a DM is foreign so let me clue you in real quick. The DM is the orchestrator of the story in a table top RPG. They control all of the monsters and can and often times will adjust the action to make things harder (or easier) for alll involved. This concept (which is affectionately called 4v1) is taking shape in the form of various other games this gaming age as well.
In my experience, though, this concept was first bridged with Neverwinter Nights. Back then, the DM module was quite complex though. Generating an adventure ending up feeling like a lesson in coding. The developers at n-Space and Digital Extremes look to significantly ease that interface with this new effort.
In the attached video, the action seen is a clear demonstration of the real time combat DMing that will occur as the adventure is progressing. Shown from the screen view of the DM, the video shows how easy it is to place and move an even initiate encounters. Traps, secret doors, additional monsters, and even ambushes can be placed to spice up a dungeon crawl as it happens. The DM must act quick though since the adventure is occurring as he is setting things up.
It was very interesting to see that even the DM earned loot which allowed him to place even more varied encounters to slow down the player or players. For a second there I thought they were going to start showing how the DM can earn their own XP allowing them more tilesets, monsters, and so on in a kind of unlockables kind of fashion. Who knows, that might be the actual strategy but that wasn’t alluded to in this video.
Instead, the video focused on how monsters could be enhanced or upgraded as well as controlled. It would have been more interesting to see if loot could be added or changed to the action too if things seemed to be going poorly or even too well for the adventurers.
Next week, the development team intends to show a bit of what most of us were really concerned with… the campaign creation module. Stay tuned as their next Twitch session delves deep into it on April 3rd.