As an aside, I realized I kind of left out another question I ask myself. It overlaps the location's purpose but is more story-related: what goal are the PCs supposed to accomplish? The goal in this one, whether the PCs already know it or they discover it along the way, is to destroy Sh'v's source of power. In this case it's an altar in the main portion of the ruined church.
The first thing to do is determine the location's purpose: it's the site of the final showdown against the witch Sh'v. The temple stands on the ruins of an ancient church from the World Before that the Joshuans turned into a shrine. It lay abandoned and almost forgotten for years until Sh'v found it and desecrated the hallowed Joshuan ground to build her altar to the Old Arts.
As far as interesting things that can happen in this location, I have three main things in mind:
- Provide both a difficult direct assault route and a more indirect, sneaksy way in for the PCs.
- Have a handful of zones that the PCs need to move through to reach their objective.
- Provide the means for the PCs to be able to discover both clues as to how to deal with Sh'v as well as tie ins to the rest of the setting.
For the overall location I actually have a floor plan in mind for the ruined church, based off of a historical church design from the Montreal area. Basically, the church is shaped like an L, with a rectory and assorted rooms on one leg and the church and tower on the other. The power of the Old Arts has created a Shallow in the River of Dream, essentially making the entire area a spiritual abscess of sorts. Nothing living grows within the immediate area of the church and Synthesis use is more difficult.
The exterior is divided into two zones: the Church Graveyard and the Front Approach. The church itself is divided into three zones: Demolished Rectory, the Sacristy and the Old Church. For Fate Core purposes, these are defining aspects of the zones, on top of any situation aspects that are also present.
The Church Graveyard is part of the sneaky approach and is the way in to the Demolished Rectory. It has Wandering Zoms. The Zoms aren't there for the PCs to fight necessarily (since this would draw the attention of the enemies in the Church) so they are simply aspects to be overcome. Other possible aspects might be Broken Gravestones to provide some tension when a PC slips and falls, knocks over some stones and makes a lot of noise, etc.
The Front Approach is pretty much clear - in fact, the guards in the ruined tower within the Old Church have a Good Vantage Point and can raise the alarm if need be. In addition, this zone has a handful of possessed villagers and maybe even a Black One (think in terms of a wight instead of a zombie) that would need to be fought through to get to the Old Church during a frontal assault.
The Demolished Rectory is Mostly Rubble, making it somewhat treacherous to get through. However, buried under the rubble are the remains of some of the Joshuan and Joanite warriors who fell during Sh'v's original assault on the church years ago. These can yield Joshuan Artifacts if the PCs think to look. These carry with them one free invocation, which is good for groups that might need a boost for the upcoming fight.
The outer walls of the Sacristy are either intact enough or the openings obstructed such that the only way to access it is through the Demolished Rectory. The roof has long collapsed from this section. When the Joshuans converted the church they used this section as a foundry, since it already had a tall chimney and furnace. Currently, the room is occupied by a group of Possessed Villagers, waiting mindlessly to be sacrificed to fuel Shv's Old Arts. They aren't there for the PCs to fight, but instead open up some possibilities. They could alert the baddies in the Old Church to the PCs' presence. The PCs could break the possession and set the villagers free, and might even pick up some assistance along the way. They could also be used as a distraction, or the PCs could try to blend in with them for a surprise once they are herded into the Old Church. The Joshuan Forge isn't much use during the battle, but might be relevant to some later plans I have for the church.
Finally, we have the Old Church. This is the location of the battle between the PCs and Sh'v and her minions. On the furthest side of the zone from the front entrance and the entrance from the Sacristy we have Sh'v's Altar to the Old Arts, which the PCs need to destroy in order to break Sh'v's power. In the process of building her altar Sh'v has had her undead and the possessed villagers unearth portions of the original church and has also performed various sacrifices, creating a Desecrated Joshuan Shrine and making the zone difficult to navigate because of Excavation Pits. These can be used to push characters into, for cover, etc. Obviously, this zone is populated by Sh'v, her undead, and some possessed villagers that are being forced to fight for her.
Overall, I think that I'm pretty happy with the resulting location. It shows how answering a few basic questions about a location can help create an interesting set for the action. I'll sit down and get a map created at some point, and when I do that I'm sure to come up with a few more things to throw in.