This scene started from conversations with Richard about the gypsies who will live in this world. A very early first pass resulted in a large camp where many gypsies lived and sold their wares. Richard felt that this didn’t quite match what he had in mind for this. Instead he had envisioned a much smaller, temporary encampment, possibly even a single gypsy family.
Once I started to visualize the scene in that way, ideas came to mind much quicker and more easily. This is a family that would almost certainly come under siege by a small group of monsters, they probably don’t have much in the way of money, and they probably had their own family issues to worry about.
We settled on two stories to represent here, one “local” and one “global.” Locally, the family comes under ambush from a pack of skeletons just as the hero arrives. This is a nice, quick little piece of gameplay that leaves the player feeling a sense of reward and accomplishment.
On the “global” scale, one of these gypsies has a wedding ring and offers it to the player as a reward for helping. On the surface, this appears to be an easy, extra reward for the player, but there is actually a great deal more happening here. The player has found himself or herself in an ethical dilemma, and that’s only apparent once the player has explored more of the world and uncovered more of the ongoing story. In this very organic way, quests can have both a long term and immediate consequence for players, and represents much of what questing means in a “Richard Garriott RPG”.
Shroud of the Avatar Developer