Re: Town Building Stories

Have you played any good town-building games?  They're not usually about building an army, so are you sure that that's what you want to be the main focus in your story?  Instead, usually the main character is either a 1-person army (possibly assisted by pets or summons) who protects the town in exchange for a home and food and crafts, or the main character is a 1-person crafting or magi-crafting revolution and the rest of the town is empowered by the MC's crafting.

Re: Town Building Stories

A couple of questions to consider which might improve the response you get to this:

  1. What type of game system were you thinking of implementing?

  2. Does it effect everyone or just the MC?

  3. Are you taking this through the common individual lens or the rarer wider societal look? e.g. Donnytown (with aspects of the Ghosthound?)

  4. Do the gamelit elements also effect the villain?

  5. Are they a "player" like the MC?

Re: Town Building Stories

While I'm not writing a gamelit, I am writing a kingdom building novel which faces some of the same problems. The kingdom building is often detached from the characters or plot, sometimes contrived and/or boring.

Here's some ways I've found work well to get around these issues, as far as I can tell:

- growth doesn't need to be shown in excruciating detail all the time. Some of the development can run in the background, while other, unrelated story elements happen

- when you do show town growth, it should relate to your characters and plotlines, in an active, organic way. Maybe mirror your MC's growth through a description of the growing and changing town? The possibilities are endless.

- your MC should have an active interest in the town itself. It shouldn't ever just be a means to an end. A town is a giant blob of culture, filled with people. Treating it like nothing but a weapon to defeat the villain with is a waste. So it's useful if 'develop town' is a goal in itself, only if your MC has a proper motivation for it of course.

- related to the previous point: to make the town matter more to readers, at least some of the inhabitants should be actual people, and not NPCs. Bonus points if you write a couple chapters from their perspective, since they would see the same town from a very different perspective

That's it off the top of my head, hope that was a help. If I think of anything else, I might come back to this thread.

Re: Town Building Stories

Oh if its not gamelit then this should be a lot easier for you as you can ground it in your own reality.

A good way for the MC to have active interest in the town itself could be to have them initially need to rely on it for a while but then come around to realise that they really care about this place and the people within it and they'll risk their own wellbeing to protect that

Re: Town Building Stories

Personally, I feel that there is no need to specifically cater one's works to make it "interesting" to the vocal minority. Just focus on writing whatever and it will attract people with similar taste. 

My thoughts aside, here are some interesting games to check out; I attached some highlights. There is no need to buy or play the game, just watch some youtube videos on the gameplay to get a feel... try not to get blinded by the pixilated artwork though.

1. Beast and Bumpkins
- Males + females + houses = population grow.
- Periodic attacks made by beast.
- Simplified tech tree.

2. Tropico 2 (pirate cove)
- Play politics with foreign super powers that have varied objectives.
- Balance the anarchy generated by troops vs the peace other citizens want.
- Go out and capture staffs needed.

Re: Town Building Stories

I mean, since you're writing a story and not designing a game, as long as your town features a wide cast of diverse and interesting characters, you don't have to worry about making a system that would actually be fun to play. The elements of the game that build it up are basically just catalysts for storytelling with the characters anyway. As this small, quiet town becomes more militarized, its economy more focused on preparing for war, what happens to the local artist making her living off funny caricature portraits? As the danger increases around the town, how do the farmers react? Those two teens in love who work as apprentices for an artisan are definitely getting drafted into the military, and that's gonna affect stuff. These are just a few of the countless things you can do with a town-building RPG system affecting the characters of a town.

Re: Town Building Stories

If I were to do a town building story than I would have the town progress in way that shows the successes and failures of the main cast. Did your characters successfully find/capture an iron mine? Then miners move in while the more of the skilled labourers such as blacksmiths start to set up shop in your town. Maybe your town is in a location where traders and other people routinely appear in. Have inns and marketplaces start popping up. Things like this would make the town building portion of your story more organic and have a more "realistic" feel to it as well.

As for the whole defending against the villain aspect, then I would suggest you look into why the villain wants to take over the town or why the MC is going after the villain. Does the MC's views coincide with a powerful figure who opposes the villain? Then maybe said "good" figure offers military support or is able to allow the MC to be able introduce the MC to a band of mercenaries.

Re: Town Building Stories

Having Factions acting in novel ways that the MC does't anticipate is usually a great way to keep the story engaging. Having the characters misunderstand the protagonist's intentions and plans because they cannot understand his vision is really interesting aswell. This is really done well in stories like Youjo Senki, Evil God Average and Chrystalis.