Thursday, January 29, 2009

Know thy villain

You probably thought that my review of "The Tin Woodman of Oz" was going to be my blog for the week, didn't you? Well, I've got to keep on my rhythm and I thought you guys might be interested in watching the adventure design process from the inside.

My starting point is the title: "The Magic Belt of Oz". And also the blurb I submitted to the DunDraCon staff. While I could create a completely different adventure and run it in the allotted time slot, it would be much more work than starting from some kind of base.

So the story is about the theft of the Magic Belt. Who would steal it?

The Nome Kings seem an obvious choice, but they also have reasons that they can't. Ruggedo is wandering Oz without his memory (And Thompson might have dealt with him more permanently), and Kaliko is trapped being nice to Oz even though he hates it.

Few other villains appear in the Oz stories without being reformed in some way. The primary exception being Mrs. Yoop, the Yookoohoo from "The Tin Woodman of Oz". Although Ugu the Shoemaker (villain of "Lost Princess of Oz") learns humility from his transformation into a dove, there's no guarantee that Mrs. Yoop woke up one morning and decided to be a nice Green Monkey. And monkeys are crafty, meaning she would be very likely to escape her prison.

Her connection to Mr. Yoop is also useful. A climactic battle might be a fun thing for the players, especially as a chance to try out the game's combat mechanics. And it doesn't get more climactic than a fight with a giant.

Stealing the Magic Belt not only gives her an opportunity to get her original form and powers back, but could constitute a form of revenge against Princess Ozma, who was the one who trapped her in the form of a Green Monkey to start with. (Sure, she's the one who gave the form to Woot, but Ozma's the one who gave her a taste of her own medicine.)

It's likely that the main action of the adventure will occur as the heroes chase Mrs. Yoop across the Quadling Country as she goes to free Mr. Yoop. Since Quadling Country is plenty explored, there's lots of fodder for encounters there. Fuddlecumjig tops the list for me. It's a place Mrs. Yoop would go straight to if she thought she were being pursued. Just the act of her passing would create a mess that the heroes will need hours to clean up.

China Country is a similar place, and on the way, but repairing porcelain people isn't as much fun as putting together puzzles. The nearby Dark Forest, though, has possibilities. For those who may not remember, this is where the Cowardly Lion earned the title of King of Beasts. If Mrs. Yoop did something in her passing to upset the animals, there could be an interesting encounter there.

Then there's the big battle with Mr. Yoop. but believe it or not, that's not the capstone of the adventure. The heroes still need to get the Magic Belt back from Mrs. Yoop. She's gone back to her castle in the Gillikin Country, giving her the homefield advantage.

By the time they get there, Mrs. Yoop has used the magic of the Belt to change back to the person she once was. Then the real fun begins.


Nathan said...

The last time we see Ruggedo in the Famous Forty is in Handy Mandy, which ends with his being turned into a cactus.

Oz RPG said...

I caught a reference to that somewhere on the Oz Club boards, which made me less likely to use him. One of my challenges is to write a scenario that can be entertaining to the Oz newbie, but still be enjoyable to the veteran who's read "Handy Mandy",

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