InterviewsMines of Moria Launch Interview with Jeffery Steefel, Part OneInterviews - RSS 2.0
WC: So you have the breaking of the Fellowship: Frodo and Sam going off into Mordor, Pippin and Merry get captured, etc. The story splits here. Before this, it was a single linear journey: the Shire to Bree, Bree to Rivendell, Rivendell to Moria. It was a rather logical progression. How will you handle this for the players; will they have more branching paths? How are you going to handle the breaking of the Fellowship as far as the players are concerned, and their interactions with the characters?
JS: Our epic story is still going to continue on a singular path - not literally linear, but a singular path - going forward in the terms of that particular story. Now that the Fellowship is breaking up (though it hasn't, yet) ... if you really step back and look at the story of the world, what's going on in the world at this particular time? Well, while the Fellowship hadn't been put together yet, but around the time the Hobbits were leaving the Shire at the start of the game, the players were mostly preoccupied with the Witch-King of Angmar and what was happening there. They weren't concerned with what Frodo and the Hobbits were doing with the Ring. When you encounter the Ring-Wraith, you aren't running into the Ring-Wraith that's been chasing the Hobbits; it's part of the larger story - the Wraiths are searching all of Eriador and other parts of Middle-Earth in search of the Ring.
It's really more at that level that we try to stay tied to the story. By the same token, when you enter Moria, you are entering Moria after the Fellowship has just passed through. You're following them, but you're on a different journey - you're there to take advantage of the chaos that's been stirred up there, so that you can help the Dwarves that have asked you to try and reclaim Moria. Then as you come out the other side and spend time in Lothlorien, then you will, at some point, encounter the Fellowship again. Then they will move on and begin to split up, and it again similarly it comes down to "What's going on in that part of Middle-Earth, at that time in the Third Age?" Some of it relates to the Fellowship, and some of it doesn't. That's what will drive our epic story.
WC: You do have things that are related - Theoden and Wormtongue, for instance.
JS: There's all kind of things going on in parallel with the story, it's just that it's a book, or a movie, and it has to be laid out in a linear fashion. What we're doing is allowing the story to live in parallel. Sometimes you'll be part of the parallel bit that you didn't hear as much about directly in the books, while the Fellowship is doing the part that you did hear about, and other times you're actually quite closely connected to the part where the Fellowship actually is. But you're absolutely right that there are all kinds of things going on. Saruman is beginning to do his thing down near Isengard and Fangorn. The corruption by Wormtongue of Theoden is happening and all that craziness is happening down in Rohan. The Gondorians have their own thing that they're focused on, the Orcs are amassing, there's all this stuff going on that we allow the player to start to encounter. That's the exciting part of what we're able to do with this, as opposed to a linear movie or a short, single-player game.
WC: Players probably won't get to hang out with Frodo and Sam as they go into Mordor - that'd kind of screw with the story, wouldn't it?
JS:That might be pushing it!