CC November 2: The Vital Connection is Made
A second November update? In my devlog? Yes, it can happen here. Today I want to write out loud about a couple of topics I'm mulling over, and at the end there is a bonus faction preview to reward you for reading all the way there (or scrolling to it).
Thing 1 I'm mulling over is a change that's kind of small and kind of large. The Actions list has been very stable since Copperhead County was a tiny baby, but I've been thinking about a rename: changing Deal to Connect.
Why bother? I was thinking about Disco Elysium, the CRPG of the decade, and how the game imparts information, insight, and guidance to the player. One really cool thing about the game is how important the Empathy skill is, and how the player character can use it to understand and relate to others. This made me realize that the CC actions list doesn't necessarily have space for that; Growl is about scary magnetism, Deal is about honest brokering, and Coax is about sneaky wheedling. Even though Deal could, in theory, be used for human connection, the transactional nature of the verb weighs it towards colder relations. Is there room for love in Copperhead County? I think so, and I think you can find a lot of examples of Connecting in inspirational media like Breaking Bad, or especially Justified, where Raylan Givens primarily interacts with criminals by relating to them. And one nice thing about the verb Connect is that it includes both that human connection angle, and the hooking something up angle that was already in Deal. So,that's cool!
However, I don't love how then two actions would be Connect and Coax, so I'm in the market for a Coax replacement. My frontrunner is Hustle, but the race is still unsettled. We'll see where that lands.
Thing 2 I'm mulling over is time. While I was looking for reference images for faction art (more on that below), I found this photo series of 1970s coal miners in Tennessee, Kentucky, and the Virginias. It's really great and I encourage everyone to click that link. I was especially struck by this one of these cool 1974 dudes relaxing at a West Virginia miner bar. America eats its young, as they say.
Anyway, that put me in mind of working on Copperhead: 77, the alternate setting DLC I've mentioned a bit in public (especially since I've also been working on finalizing the modern-day factions; seriously, more on that below!!!). And as time stretches into the future, I've been considering how its almost 2020 and how Copperhead County, though as timely as ever, was specifically inspired by events and personalities of the mid-to-late 2010s. The official year of the setting is "201x", which is fun, but you know, it ain't even gonna be 201x that much longer.
So what I've been mulling over is setting an official date for the baseline modern setting, which would also help it play nicely with 1977 (and attentive readers will spot several shared characters and factions between them). Right now my frontrunner is 2014: for some reason, every campaign I've run, we decide the year is 2014. It's a midterm election year, it's far enough away that we have some perspective on it, but not that far away, and it's pre-2016. So I like that idea, but the year, and the concept, are still unsettled.
OKAY HERE'S THE FACTION THING
More concretely, I've been working on finalizing the faction chapter. In the last update I mentioned I was mulling a reorganization of the faction entries, and that's continued. I set the chapter layout and final list of factions, and figured out where art would go. Yep, as also seen in the last update, the factions chapter will have several art pieces throughout, to help break up the faction entries and avoid the chapter being 20 straight pages of the same boxes.
Here's a spread where you can see both developments in action, plus previews of three factions. I'm very tickled at this art for the County Sheriff entry by Copperhead County interior artist Adam Schwaninger, which is a spoof of a real photo of a real APC owned by a real Sheriff in this real fucked up country. My hope is that the art pleasingly breaks up the page layout and helps entertain you as you read these sad entries about villainous forces.
Welp, that's all for now. As always, if you like what you see, please smash your choice of buttons to A) purchase Copperhead County B) tweet/post about Copperhead County C) all of the above. Stay tuned for future news and future musings.
You can even use the official Copperhead County forum if you want to sound off about this post or any other topics. Give it a try!