Gimmie Those Wings!
A race of shapeshifters lives in a true meritocracy: strung between three of the tallest mesas on the plains is their capital city Haute Ecole, where shifters who have earned their wings play at contests of arms and contests of popularity, create great works of scholarship and art, and court each other. Their children, however, cannot live there; newborn shapeshifters have no genetic material with which to modify their bodies such as giving themselves wings, or strength enough to defend themselves from adult shapeshifters. Instead whenever a shapeshifter bears a child, they lay their egg into the creche, the protected (though somewhat trash-strewn) area between the three mesas, in the shadow of the great city.
You have just hatched from your egg, and made companions of some of the other young children living there. You are just old enough to hunt some harmless animal like a rabbit and gain from it the first building block of dna with which you can modify yourself. You have only to look up to see the mighty city where the cream of your race, presumably including your parents, live. But it will take a journey around the world before you can ascend to that height. Will you pursue a path of force and intimidation? A path of beauty and persuasion? Will you come to prefer the philosophy of one of the peoples you meet along the way and settle among them instead? Will you be taken captive by a tyrant determined to build his own dynasty? Take the first step, then another, until those steps become wingbeats!
Xenallure: A Tapestry of Hearts
You are among a group of modern humans unexpectedly summoned into a world where which seems to contain a strange mix of high tech and magic. The two strange-looking people who somehow pulled you into this world were not, apparently, expecting a herd of humans; whether screaming in panic or gleeful at the possibility of adventure, your fellows have scattered out into this world before the two natives could do anything about it. What about you? Will you stay and try to talk to them? Demand that they send you back to your own world? Do you even want to go back? Or will you run before they have the chance to capture you? Will you head for the world of magic or the world of technology? Will you collect your scattered people and establish a human hometown in this world, or lead them all back to earth? Or will you go native as a magic user, a cybertech user, or one of those strange spirits that are rumored to live in the cliffs by the ocean? Will you start a war, helping one race to assume dominance over the others, or mediate between them by helping build interracial friendships and romances? What will you think when you discover what seem to be old ruins of your own world underlying this one? What strange apocalypse could have possibly converted modern earth into this oddly divided future? And could your decision to return or not to return alter history?
You find yourself in a concrete hut with few furnishings besides a bed and a mirror. You have no possessions besides a gray set of clothing and no memory of how you got here. More alarmingly, you are not in your own body, but in a gray, bald, genderless body. When you attempt to leave the hut, a recorded message plays:
"Greetings human [name]. You have been selected to be one of your species' test group. If your test group proves to be able to integrate successfully with the [whatsitcalled] Empire, our existence will be announced to your homeworld and the rest of your species invited to join the Empire and enjoy the benefits of its technology and the collected philosophy and art of a dozen races. If your group cannot integrate successfully you will be returned to your homeworld and your species will be restricted to your solar system for a period of 100 zetti (approximately 57 Earth years), after which another test group will be taken."
Outside, an alien (but fortunately not gray) world greets you. You seem to be on a small island. You can see signs of civilization on the mainland, but you have no way to get there - you will have to craft it. Exploring the island, you find a stone obelisk with this inscription:
"Before you can shape society, you must understand society. To understand society, the first step is to BE society. To appreciate society, you must appreciate the loneliness of not having a society." Finding the obelisk gives you your first few quests - Grow a Plant, Hunt an Animal, Brew Dye, and one oddly titled Imaginary Friend. (Each of these is the start of a quest chain, working through all the quest chains unlocks the player's access to the central city of the world, which has a pvp hub, global marketplace, starting points for more quest chains, etc. The small island is retained as the player's personal "estate" which turns out to be portable and can be remodeled as desired.)
You are a young wildwright, a spirit with an affinity for nature. Your elders have trained you that your race's purpose is to maintain balance and add richness to the world in the forms of beauty and diversity. You could travel that path, and earn yourself a place among the heroes of your people. But there are other paths you could take. You could become a scholar hermit, pursuing knowledge of every form of life, mastering the highest levels of your race's magic, and crafting new life forms and entire habitats. You could use your abilities to create yourself a comfortable mansion to use as a home base between adventures. You could amass great wealth and treasure. You could create an army for yourself and become a powerful villain, demonstrate that strength is more important than balance, perhaps even subjugate the preachy elders who raised you and the sanctimonious young wildwrights those elders have started to send out on missions to interfere with your projects.
Seeing these all together, it's interesting to realize how similarly-structured they all are; none is a traditional linear jRPG, even though I often enjoy playing those. Nor are any tabletop-style heroic epics (but that part's not surprising because I don't like playing those). They are all interactive story setups which could contain all sorts of smaller stories about individual NPCs. They don't really have the same structure as any of the fiction I write either. Makes me think about the personal evolutionary process that led me to focus on this shape of game story. I guess this is the kind of story that I find a shortage of when looking for games to play.