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Soooo, fetch quests. "You there. Bring me 10 rat butts!" Rat butts may not even be useful for anything else. But this guy wants them. "Thanks! 8D!"

 

You are awarded 50 XP and 50 gold. Awesome. Right?

 

Yeah, so those are lame, and we should kill them. With fire, preferably. Right?

 

But, wait... what if they weren't forced into the role of "give player some means of acquiring gold and items and XP," but instead were allowed to actually just be an event in the game world that you had a choice of whether or not to even handle, or even find out about, for that matter? What if, instead of being captured and dressed up and made to dance in a cage, they were set free, and allowed to roam for miles in their natural habitat?

 

What if someone in town needs herbs? And, if you supply them with herbs, they just thank you and go on about their business. First of all, let me just say that herbs should be pretty useful to you, too. Not just some item that's pretty much worthless, anyway, that this person happens to need. Annnywho, back to the example scenario, this person actually needs herbs. Meaning that if you give them herbs, they actually do something with them that somehow comes into play in the rest of the story. Or, to put it more simply than that, at the very least, SOMEthing happens if you give them the herbs they need that's DIFFERENT from what happens if you don't. But it's not about you. You don't even get called over to them as you walk down the street, in "Hey, YOU look like you're skilled at herb-fetching!" manner.

 

Maybe there's not even quest text and all that jazz. You just find out they need herbs. Maybe you know a little more than that. They're some sort of healer, etc. So, you give them herbs, and on down the line, hours further into the game, some crazy shyte is going down in that same area, and you need to garner support to take down some lord. Well, since you supplied that healer with those herbs, it turns out she was working with the local underground to help counter-act the local lord's unbeknownst-to-many-at-the-time cruel, terrible treatment of significant portions of the populous. So, now, not only are more people alive than would've been if you hadn't helped the healer get her herbs, but they're already willing to help you out.

 

If you HADN'T given her herbs, because, who has time for herbs?! Heh... If you hadn't, then, you could maybe still garner support from those same people, but maybe it turns out there aren't as many, because they were thinned out by whatever disease/wounds she was treating. But, they don't HATE you, because they never specifically asked you, in uber-official quest form, to gather some herbs for them, specifically, and you never said "Yes, I will totally do that," and put it down in your "Things I will totally do or people will call me a liar and also I won't get XP or gold" ledger.

 

That's just one simple example. You could give some seemingly harmless old man some wyvern eggs or something, and he could end up creating friggin' medieval Jurassic Park, which you later have to deal with.

 

The point being that people who live in places and exist in the world need things that they may not obtain if someone doesn't help them get them, and those people perpetually exist and actually do something different with what they get when they get it, than when they don't get it. So, it's only really when they pretty much only exist in the game to supply you with a task, just so that they can give you a reward for that task, then warp to another dimension, apparently, that they become the dreaded "fetch quests."

 

I'd love to see oodles of little "events" here and there like this, with bunches of different outcomes depending on how exactly you handle them, or whether or not you even do.

 

I'm also aware I'm not inventing something here. This type of thing can be seen in many other games, but it's most prominently in the form of some optional quest objective or some kind of "hey, invest some money with me, and you won't regret it!" 'quest.'

 

The reason I bring up fetch quests is that, they're so seemingly insignificant (because in most games they're programmed to actually be insigificant) that it would be pretty awesome to actually have them be significant in the long run, in various ways.

  • Like 11

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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As long as the "quests" aren't entirely pointless as in the first example.

 

Maybe like in the second example, there's some kind of plague or something.

And someone thinks maybe the monks in some distant monastery would know more so off you go.

Then maybe they have the recipe (more fetching, yay!) or they have a ready healing powder.

Or they know nothing, but think maybe the elves do and off you go again.

 

Good ways to point the player into new locations at least.

 

Or maybe it's about rat butts, which are needed as a proof you killed the rats.

Because there's this plague and some fools think rats spread it, so there's a bounty.

But then it definitely shouldn't be 10 rats, no more, no less.

You should be rewarded if you kill 3 or if you kill 26, whatever the bounty is, per rat.

 

But IMO, stuff like that should always be marked in the journal as a quest.

Shouldn't be a jurassic park scenario which only happens to that 6% of players who happen to give a dude some wyvern eggs.

 

If there's too many minor quests, maybe we could get an ability to tag a quest as "no longer interested" so it goes into hibernation somewhere.

Edited by Jarmo
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Fetch quests aren't fun because of the activity, not the result.

Just getting X of Y and returning to spot A is what makes it boring.

 

How about this

Kill X of Y

 

then throughout the game, there are only X+2 instances of Y to be found. They are rare, each poses a different challenge, they're hard to find.

 

One is in the private menagerie of a rich lord, none to happy if you kill this rare bird. One can be found on top of a precipice in a distant land. One is a mother with a roost of 3 chicks, will you contribute to the extinction of said bird?. Another one is killed before your eyes by another adventuring party, they need the gallbladder to concoct a cure for their lord, and are unwilling to part with it. One is found surrounded by enemies.

 

Halfway through, you get an alternative offer, capture this bird instead of killing it for the Horticulturists, who are most interested as well.

A priest needs one of these birds for his divination ritual as a sacrifice. He too will offer a reward for it, and may try to take it by force or guile when you refuse.

 

And then when despite all these offers you return with your x corpses or trophies to the original quest-giver, he's nowhere to be found. The Horticulurist and priest in question are mysteriously slain, and then one day you wake up to find these items missing from your inventory.

 

that's much more fun then going out into the meadow and killing your 5 boars and returning with the boar tusks.

  • Like 6

Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
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Pet threads, everyone has them. I love imagining Gods, Monsters, Factions and Weapons.

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Lephys, nice post! Indeed, some fetch quests could work as long as they make sense. However, JFSOCC has captured the crux of the matter - they are often lazy design and boring, so anything that makes them varied and woven into several quest fabrics is to be preferred. :)

Edited by IndiraLightfoot
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*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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To be honest i've never had a problem with fetch and side quests so long as they're logical and interesting, if they serve to make a point, illustrate a certain behaviour, give us an advantage in a coming main quest, introduce an important character or simply enrich the world around us, then i've no argument with them.

 

Ideally they will be placed so that there's not too much backtracking involved, for instance in side areas of a main quests locale, so that traipsing back and forth is not excessive. However if fetch and side quests are within a city, then exploration is a valuable thing in and of itself, to my thinking. We all know Athkatla and Sigil like the back of our hands, I never minded travelling through as they were so alive and rich with atmosphere.

 

Your reactivity in the world is what I personally hope for in Eternity, on both the large and small scale. Obsidian has proven themselves well able to pioneer such a feature as well, so i'm hopeful.

  • Like 5

Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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Nonek: I have to agree. It's probably recent games like Skyrim and Kingdoms of Amalur that have made players shun those fetch quests, because there they were just stacks in the script's memory. Almost no story, and certainly no RPG or love at all.


*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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With P:E's objective XP, I'd love for simple quests to simply spring up and not be tied to a quest giver at all. I.E. you hear tales about or can see in the distance a watchtower that has been taken over by monsters. You receive the quest to investigate. If you move closer, you receive your first batch of XP and a new quest (like finding an entrance).

 

To avoid the nuisance of having unsolved quests in your quest log, they could alternate between quest log entries and journal entries.

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THere nothing wrong with fetch quests. As long as their is reactivity from the game world and npc quest givers are more then billboards like mmorpgs and games like morrowind. Gothic 2 is a good example of a game where npcs feel alive. Despite being goofy game where you can beat up everyone and the town doesn't decide to execute your doofus ass.

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Generally speaking, fetch quests should indeed always be optional and have the kind of interactive depth that Lephys mentions.

 

However, the notion of questgiver-less "rumors that evolve into quests" isn't exactly a novel idea. The Elder Scrolls games have been pushing this concept as long as I've played the series, and from what I've heard GW2 took questgiver-less fetch quests to a whole new level.

 

Nonek: I have to agree. It's probably recent games like Skyrim and Kingdoms of Amalur that have made players shun those fetch quests, because there they were just stacks in the script's memory. Almost no story, and certainly no RPG or love at all.

 

It's probably because Skyrim has about 185 versions of the same "My ancestor/my friend/I lost/left his/her/my [quest item, likely an heirloom with sentimental value] in [generic dungeon], please help Mr. Adventurer!" fetch quest. I prefer fetch quests that can be handled rather painlessly, ideally without leaving the overworld, such as simply running an errand between two towns.

Edited by mcmanusaur

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However, the notion of questgiver-less "rumors that evolve into quests" isn't exactly a novel idea. The Elder Scrolls games have been pushing this concept as long as I've played the series, and from what I've heard GW2 took questgiver-less fetch quests to a whole new level.

do TES games actually use objective XP?

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Nonek: I have to agree. It's probably recent games like Skyrim and Kingdoms of Amalur that have made players shun those fetch quests, because there they were just stacks in the script's memory. Almost no story, and certainly no RPG or love at all.

The bland, meaningless fetch quest has a long, loooooong tradition in RPGs. The very first CRPGs being developed had literally nothing but. There's certainly nothing recent about them; If anything newer RPGs have fewer of them than old ones did.

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However, the notion of questgiver-less "rumors that evolve into quests" isn't exactly a novel idea. The Elder Scrolls games have been pushing this concept as long as I've played the series, and from what I've heard GW2 took questgiver-less fetch quests to a whole new level.

do TES games actually use objective XP?

 

No, I don't think so, but I'm pretty sure GW2 does, like many MMO's. Why?

 

And the issue is that this approach seems to cut out a lot of the narrative depth in favor of a quicker challenge/reward turnover for the sake of accelerating character progression (not to be confused with character development).

Edited by mcmanusaur

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However, the notion of questgiver-less "rumors that evolve into quests" isn't exactly a novel idea. The Elder Scrolls games have been pushing this concept as long as I've played the series, and from what I've heard GW2 took questgiver-less fetch quests to a whole new level.

do TES games actually use objective XP?

 

 

No, I don't think so, but I'm pretty sure GW2 does, like many MMO's. Why?

 

because it plays strongly into what a quest is. I know that the idea of a quest starting as a rumor isn't novel, but I personally haven't played a CRPG that does what I was talking about.

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However, the notion of questgiver-less "rumors that evolve into quests" isn't exactly a novel idea. The Elder Scrolls games have been pushing this concept as long as I've played the series, and from what I've heard GW2 took questgiver-less fetch quests to a whole new level.

do TES games actually use objective XP?

 

 

No, I don't think so, but I'm pretty sure GW2 does, like many MMO's. Why?

 

because it plays strongly into what a quest is. I know that the idea of a quest starting as a rumor isn't novel, but I personally haven't played a CRPG that does what I was talking about.

 

Well, what do you think doing it in such a way would accomplish?

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Well, what do you think doing it in such a way would accomplish?

Nothing except giving the devs a myriad ways to make the player engage in quests and bestow XP without using the tired "person needs you to go into dungeon to retrieve item".

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I do sort of agree that since quest XP is the only kind of XP, the game should actually be more loose with what a "quest" is than RPG convention has called a quest.

 

Think of a quest at its broadest.  Often, an adventurer can be set on his (or her) task without talking to anyone.  Maybe they read about an ancient treasure in a book they find.  Or they decide to hunt someone down who picked their pocket.  Don't these deserve recognition as well?

 

The only problem I see with allowing for self-given quests is it has the illusion of taking agency away from the player.  In truth, it will still be up to the player to decide to complete a quest. But if the game gives the option, after some event happens, of undertaking a quest, then it can read as if the game is railroading the player in a way the game does not if a player needs to find an NPC and accept a quest.  

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I do sort of agree that since quest XP is the only kind of XP, the game should actually be more loose with what a "quest" is than RPG convention has called a quest.

 

Think of a quest at its broadest.  Often, an adventurer can be set on his (or her) task without talking to anyone.  Maybe they read about an ancient treasure in a book they find.  Or they decide to hunt someone down who picked their pocket.  Don't these deserve recognition as well?

 

The only problem I see with allowing for self-given quests is it has the illusion of taking agency away from the player.  In truth, it will still be up to the player to decide to complete a quest. But if the game gives the option, after some event happens, of undertaking a quest, then it can read as if the game is railroading the player in a way the game does not if a player needs to find an NPC and accept a quest.  

 

Well, consider me somewhat skeptical that the developers could possibly cover (i.e. reward with XP) whichever goals a player sets for himself/herself, and with that in mind it becomes a question of which arbitrary goals are the right ones...

 

Something like this also has the danger of encouraging a completionist playstyle to an even greater degree, if the progression of your character is tied to completing any number of random objectives. What if it doesn't fit your character's personality or motivations to explore some random dungeon, or something like that? Admittedly this is sort of a problem with quest-based XP in general, but at least with a questgiver in the picture you have the option of either doing what the NPC wants or doing the opposite, and either will likely result in an XP reward. Whereas with more freeform quests (that likely have no promise of reward other than XP), it sort of voids the question of whether your character would realistically want to get involved or not in whatever random quest lead they witness. Traditional quests are good in my opinion because they tend to give your character some non-meta reason to want to become involved in whatever it is that the quest involves.

Edited by mcmanusaur

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Admittedly this is sort of a problem with quest-based XP in general, but at least with a questgiver in the picture you have the option of either doing what the NPC wants or doing the opposite, and either will likely result in an XP reward.

what's the opposite of doing a fetch quest?

 

There still aren't many games that will offer an alternative reward for turning down quests.

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Admittedly this is sort of a problem with quest-based XP in general, but at least with a questgiver in the picture you have the option of either doing what the NPC wants or doing the opposite, and either will likely result in an XP reward.

what's the opposite of doing a fetch quest?

 

There still aren't many games that will offer an alternative reward for turning down quests.

 

No, but there are many games that offer alternative ways to complete quests. "NPC X wants you to bring Y to him? Bring it to me, NPC Z, instead!" There's some opportunity for your character's motivations to resonate with the ideology/promised rewards of sentient questgivers, whereas there is little way to call a player's character's motivations into questions when you simply spring the quest on them when they enter an area or do all of their goal-setting for them. It's sacrificing narrative depth and any pretense of roleplay, with little but expediency and a bit more incentive for metagame-y completionism to gain. The fact that the rationale and consequences of fetch quests is never interesting enough isn't a reason to cut those things out entirely, but rather to improve them in the manner that the OP suggests, in my opinion.

 

At any rate, I'm not sure what questgiver-less quests have to do with fetch quests, if there's no one to fetch stuff for. Where does that leave us, fetching stuff for ourselves? Is that what counts as a decent quest nowadays?

Edited by mcmanusaur

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Honestly, I think this is just one more reason XP needs to die in a fire.

 

If this happens, then the people who play RPGs for its reassuring number progression would lose their motivation...

 

But yes, I've always liked the idea of a system that turns all "leveling up" into a series of quests, in which knowledge- which is gleaned from books and trainers- rather than experience (the reward for repeatedly performing the same action) is the primary measure of progress. To me that is much more conducive to a quest reward than a simple sum of XP, which is what people seem to be expecting in PE. This also better facilitates a narrative being created from character progression, as you're literally completing a questline in the process of "leveling up". It's always baffled me that the main focus of character development in most RPGs was on the process's most repetitive elements, but to be fair it would of course be difficult to stretch such a system to provide as many hours of "content" as the traditional grinding-based progression. Or is toiling toward some arbitrary number really more fun than taking one's time and enjoying the ride, for some people?

 

That's really only applicable to a skill-based system I guess, and I suppose that's all getting way off-topic anyway.

Edited by mcmanusaur

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No, but there are many games that offer alternative ways to complete quests. "NPC X wants you to bring Y to him? Bring it to me, NPC Z, instead!"

That's actually what I meant.

 

There's some opportunity for your character's motivations to resonate with the ideology/promised rewards of sentient questgivers, whereas there is little way to call a player's character's motivations into questions when you simply spring the quest on them when they enter an area or do all of their goal-setting for them. It's sacrificing narrative depth and any pretense of roleplay, with little but expediency and a bit more incentive for metagame-y completionism to gain.

I guess you misunderstand my proposal. Let's assume that you get an entry in your journal that there are rumors of a black market operating in town, and this hint is oh so subtly written in gold, which indicates that there is an opportunity for you in all that. This hint doesn't ignore or take away any aspect of roleplaying; it's entirely up to you to investigate this rumour, be it because you want in on the scheme or because you want to rat them out to the town guard, not to mention the many reasons why your character may want to simply ignore these rumors. This isn't in any way less roleplaying-y than accepting a specific quest from the captain of the town guard to locate the black market.

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No, but there are many games that offer alternative ways to complete quests. "NPC X wants you to bring Y to him? Bring it to me, NPC Z, instead!"

That's actually what I meant.

 

There's some opportunity for your character's motivations to resonate with the ideology/promised rewards of sentient questgivers, whereas there is little way to call a player's character's motivations into questions when you simply spring the quest on them when they enter an area or do all of their goal-setting for them. It's sacrificing narrative depth and any pretense of roleplay, with little but expediency and a bit more incentive for metagame-y completionism to gain.

I guess you misunderstand my proposal. Let's assume that you get an entry in your journal that there are rumors of a black market operating in town, and this hint is oh so subtly written in gold, which indicates that there is an opportunity for you in all that. This hint doesn't ignore or take away any aspect of roleplaying; it's entirely up to you to investigate this rumour, be it because you want in on the scheme or because you want to rat them out to the town guard, not to mention the many reasons why your character may want to simply ignore these rumors. This isn't in any way less roleplaying-y than accepting a specific quest from the captain of the town guard to locate the black market.

 

Well, surely someone is responsible for informing you of that rumor, right? Isn't that the questgiver? I don't really see how rumors appear out of nowhere... and I don't want stuff to pop up in my journal without any explanation if that's what you're suggesting.

 

Or is it just kinda like you stumble upon a wanted poster with a bounty? I mean, even then there's arguably a questgiver- the person who you collect the bounty from- but you merely skip talking to them at the beginning of the quest.

 

So yes, I guess I don't really understand what you're proposing, or how quest-based XP ties into this.

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Well, surely someone is responsible for informing you of that rumor, right? Isn't that the questgiver?

In a purely technical sense, possibly. But you do not report back to them, you don't get your reward from them, and perhaps most importantly, your rewards become much more modular. Instead of "bring me item X from dungeon Y" discovering the dungeon, entering, finding the lich's lair etc. all come with their own batch of XP, and you may cop out at any time and not be left with empty hands and a failed quest.

 

I don't really see how rumors appear out of nowhere... and I don't want stuff to pop up in my journal without any explanation if that's what you're suggesting.

Uhm... you don't want journal entries that keep track of conversations?

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I appreciate the feedback everyone. To clarify, I'm simply suggesting that, instead of looking upon fetch quests and saying "I think giving people things is lame," that we maybe look at what makes fetch quests lame. I think it's the "fetching" part, as well as the "quest" part. I think the quest makes it a fetch.

 

What I'm urging is for such factors of reactivity to be approached almost like optional objectives that aren't actually tied to any particular quest. I realize they might still be called "quests" in the game, or go into a journal or something.

 

Another example that's very similar to the idea I'm getting at is the "supply this faction with stuff" type mechanic, where a need for some supply is expressed, and you choose to either try to give what you can when you can, or you don't. There is no "Travel to this cave and get me this particular number of these particular things, and then the quest will be complete, and something will happen because you completed this quest, and I shall give you things 8D!". You drop arms and armor in a box or something. And, later on, after you've done some stuff/traveled about and the world has had time to "update," so to speak, the factor of "how much arms and armor this faction had" is checked, thanks to your contributions (or lack thereof).

 

You see, their having stuff will inevitably change things, but they don't know exactly how much they need, or what quality of equipment they need, or where you can get it, or exactly by when they'll need it. And, nothing happens when you put a certain amount of stuff in their supply box. They don't go "chaching!" and a little checkbox appears in your quest journal.

 

Granted, these situations are often annoying, because you don't really know what measure of impact you're having on things. But, this could easily be remedied with some more-immediate reaction from the person checking the "donations."

 

Anywho, I just think the idea behind cliche fetch quests isn't actually abnormal or crazy or inherently lame and uninteresting. It just gets implemented that way, because they typically become just some optional thing to do whose sole purpose is to supply the player party with an optional gain-producing quest. "Well, fetching some things doesn't take very long and isn't as extensive as other larger quests, so this makes for perfect optional quests if you just need some extra money or cool things! ^_^"

 

I like to think there could be factors -- whose connections to the larger picture we cannot see -- throughout the game that are simple things like this, and it would be optional ways in which to "spend" your resources as opposed to simply selling things or using them yourself. So, it's not "give guy 10 swords and they'll give you a bunch of money." If they had a bunch of money, wouldn't they just go buy 10 swords? No... if you have 10 useful swords (for using, or for selling, or for breaking down for materials), you can opt to give these to someone else, if you so choose, who will put them to some kind of use in some other manner.

 

And they won't be completely standalone. I would expect you to be able to find out varying bits of info about a given person in need of something. Some would be individuals, some tied to factions. Some with clear motives, some not so. Some would alter something on down the road a ways, and some would produce an exclusive scenario the next day. Amounts would often matter, too. Give the healer some herbs, then say "eff this... I don't have time to gather any more herbs, or I'm going to use the rest myself, or I'm going to sell them 'cause I need the money"? Well, maybe the fact that she got SOME herbs allows some certain individuals to survive the plague later on, but not others. *shrug*

 

It's not like I've thought out every single possibility. It's just an idea on a forum that I've spent a good half-hour or so pondering thus far. And again, I'm not claiming it's utterly unique and unheard of. I just think it's specifically different from the typical implementations of these situations/"quests", while drawing valuable similarities from many other existing aspects of RPGs.

  • Like 1

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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