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One of the stretch goals during the Kickstarter campaign for Larian's Divinity: Original Sin II was a so-called Game Master Mode. The latest Kickstarter update brings us up to speed on that. Reminiscent of the module editor for Neverwinter Nights, Game Master Mode will allow you to write stories, create NPCs, build your own customisable items and treasure, craft the scenes in which your tale will play out, and more.
Here's a video of Swen Vincke and his team explaining how it will all work:
So, if you want to see the Game Master Mode in action, tune in to Larian's Twitch channel today, on May 9, 2017, at 4pm PT to catch a number of prominent YouTubers/Twitch streamers showcasing this new roleplaying mode.
And now, a few snippets from the update itself:
Tell Your Stories, Your Way
With Game Master Mode, we set out to create something that bridges the freedom of tabletop role-playing, and the interactivity and visual presentation of a computer RPG.
We built Game Master Mode to be as flexible as possible, so you can adapt to your friends on the fly and create a truly reactive world. Do your players want to burn down an NPC’s home? Make a pact with, rather than kill, the demonic boss? Perhaps they want to parlay with the pack of rabid wolves using pet pal? Even if you haven’t planned for it, you can adapt quickly to their choices and still deliver a story that feels real.
Whether you’re new to tabletop role-playing or an experienced GM, we’ve worked hard to make sure this is easy to pick up and intuitive to use. We also have prepared campaigns so you can jump straight in, working with a preexisting world to get a feel for the tool or, of course, you can create your own.
Craft Your World
Game Master mode comes with a variety of world maps and over 100 pre-made locations! But of course, you can always upload your own world map or craft your own location in our powerful Divinity Engine Editor.
Tweak the atmosphere, ambience, music, time of day (why yes, there is a night option), weather and more to fine-tune your story!
Create Unforgettable Encounters
Unleash the bestiary with hundreds of monsters and characters from the Divinity universe or download player-made characters and enemies from Steam Workshop. Give characters unique skills and name them. Cover the landscape in any of our elemental surfaces using our Surface Painter. Make the fight worthwhile by creating unique items for the players to loot.
Assume Direct Control
Control any enemy or NPC directly by possessing them.
Tell Your Tale with the Vignette System
Add NPC dialogue, narration, and present difficult choices with our powerful Vignette System. Add your own graphics and even additional dialog options on the fly! Managing different dialogs and encounters is now as simple as creating a presentation.
A Roll of the Dice
We brought in the essential component of every tabletop session: skill checks. Let your players roll the dice to see whether they succeed or fail!
Play Together and Share Your Creations
Tell your story in real-time, no rulebooks needed. Possess creatures, level up the party, create new locations, encounters and items on the fly. Tell your stories, your way - and share them with the world using Steam Workshop!
Oh, and if you're up for some extensive reading, RPGWatch brings us a lengthy feature, detailing their experiences with the Game Master Mode. A short excerpt:
The Game Master mode is integrated into Original Sin II and makes use of the available functionality and game mechanics as offered by the game engine. Up to four persons can play together with one game master. For this you join one of the available campaigns that have been prepared by the game master after which you can create your character.
Character creation is the same as in Original Sin II, which means a classless system where you are free to use one of the predefined characters and tweak it or create a character from scratch. Joining me in the game were, next to the game master, 3 persons from Larian Studios. We ended up with an elven wizard, a lizard rogue, a human dumbwitted farm-boy fighter and a human rich brat pretending to be a battlemage, which was my character.
After creation of the characters we rolled for gold with the 20-sided dice. The amount we rolled would be multiplied by 10. As I was a descendent from rich parents I got to roll twice, but apparently I kind of lost money on my way here as I ended up with just 50 gold. Strangely enough the thief in our party ended up with a lot of gold...
A game starts with a map that is used by the game master to explain the setting and what the campaign is about. This map is a 2D image and can be any map the game master wants to use. It can be one of the predefined maps or a map located on the computer of the game master. For the demos that are given, Larian had the OK from Wizards of the Coast to make use of the D&D campaigns. If they will also be able to offer this upon launch of Original Sin II remains a topic of discussion with Wizards of the Coast. On the map pins can be placed and named. To these pins levels can be assigned where the party can venture to.
In our case the map of the Northern part of the Sword Coast was used. Our party was hired by the Dwarf Gundrin Rockseeker, to transport a wagon load of provisions to a settlement named Phandalin, which is located to the South-East of Neverwinter. Gundrin went ahead on horse, together with an escort, stating that he needed to take care of business before we arrived with the goods. Before we ventured onwards, we had the opportunity to get ourselves some proper gear first.
Like in D&D, in Game Master mode dice rolls also play an important role. There is the standard variety of dices of which the game master can choose. If you want to lift a rock for example, you need to roll a certain number on the dice, which the game master has in his/her head. This number can be modified by your stats. So if you have for example more than 12 in a certain stat, whatever you roll can be modified with +1. If you have more than 14 , +2 etc. If you have less than 10, it can be modified by -1, etc. All this is to be decided by the game master.
The game takes care of the dice rolls. You can select one of the different dices to roll, the characters who should roll and the stat for which this dice roll is. Each of the selected characters will be presented with a dialog showing the dice that can be rolled and the result of that roll after pressing the button. The game master will see all of the results and can make the necessary modifications to determine if it is a success or a failure.