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Muzlack

storyline help please

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Ok, my friend and I are making an RPG. We started it a long time ago in qbasic (haha) and we finally decided to do it in c++ like 3 years later. Now, we have known this whole time the basic storyline of the game, and a few weeks ago we wrote the storyline in our design document. At the time it seemed really good but I opened it up again the other day, and man! It''s horrible! So maybe I could get a little help getting just the basics of a storyline from you guys and we could build off that. Here''s our basic idea. 1- There is a wizard whose whole town was destroyed by the king''s (un named) army. They were afraid of the mages and destroyed the whole town except this one wizard was the only one that survived (reason?) 2- The wizard somehow makes the leader of the army (un named) start a slow transformation into this beast that he controls, so to everyone back at the castle, it seems like he''s losing his sanity. (It''s kind of like lord of the rings, I''m pretty sure Golam was a human and he became so corrupted by this ring that he turned into that thing) It''ll be kind of like that. So somehow he becomes possessed by this wizard. 3-For some reason, the king suspects something and summons Arean to investigate and finds out about it. 4- He eventually travels to this city where the mages lived and finds out that what happened to the captain is happening to everyone (maybe a poisoned water supply?) and the wizard will soon have an army capable of world domination. 5-finds a stone that has the power to grant a wish if taken to this sacred tree. 6-Somewhere along this journey, Arean also becomes infected by whatever is taking control of everyone. He slowly is becoming one of them. 7-At the end of the game, (You have to picture this) Arean runs for the tree and just as he makes his wish to stop all this, he transforms into one of these creatures and dies. Ok, I know that all sounds really stupid, but if it can be tied together correctly in CAN turn into a really cool game. I can really imagine the ending where Arean''s companions yell at him to make the wish while they both are dying trying to hold back the wizard and Arean dies just as he''s making the wish. Just the whole concept of killing himself to save the world thing is pretty neat. SOO, could I get a little help tying this together? Maybe just a sequence events that lead up to this and makes sense?

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This is just my opinion, and others would probably totally disagree with me, but, I don''t like games where the main character dies at the end. After working so hard to get through a game, I don''t like the story to make me feel like it was a waste, because if the game''s story is a good one, the player will become attached to the characters. If you kill the character, you kill the player''s attachment to the game. Lufia 2 did this, and I found it kind of frustrating.

Now, this kind of thing can be turned into motivation if used in the right points in a game, like Final Fnatasy 7, when Aeris died, I really wanted to beat Sephiroth even more; or in Chrono Trigger, it helped the player to focus on some other characters a while until you found out how to go back in time and save Chrono.

Metal Gear Solid didn''t kill off a main character, but I really thought it was going to happen. This is something that not many games do today. I actually felt suspense while playing MGS. I guess the setting was dark enough to make me feel the actual danger of the place. However that game accomplished this should be used more often, since in a lot of games, dying just means reload the last save.

Wow, that was more than I intended to write! Anyway, if your still reading this, I like the story ideas (I love stories in a fantasy setting), but get some opinions on the ending before using it.

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quote:
Original post by Muzlack
It''s kind of like lord of the rings, I''m pretty sure Golam was a human and he became so corrupted by this ring that he turned into that thing


Gollum was not a Man, but a Hobbit (akin to the Stoors, in fact). The corruption part, of course, is correct.

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Well, would it make it any better knowing that you are going to die for like half the game? I think it would improve the matter. Or, lets say he does die, but I would need to come up with one of those things like on the movie casper. remember, because he did such a nice thing for that girl, he got to be alive again? something like that could work, but I had better come up with a darn good reason, cause it would just be really stupid if an angel came out of no where and gave him life.

More importantly though, these events have hardly anything to do with each other, I''d really like some help coming up with a basic storyline.

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For me, knowing the character was going to die would just make me not want to play that half of the game. And you''re right: if the character does die, you''ll need a really good reason for bringing him back to life; something that will be very beleivable in the game world.

As for the base story, it seems like you have that figured out already. Was there a specific part you wanted people''s help on?

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a couple things, why does the captain take the armies to the mage''s town, why does that last mage live, why doesn''t he just kill the commander, and how does he infect him, and just those kinds of things that make no sense, really.

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Wait, I might have it.

Two ideas: lets say a scratch from these creatures causes you to be infected, which would be perfect for my idea. Lets say the whole game, you think arean''s wish will be to stop the wizard, but rather, he goes back in time to when he got scratched by one of these monsters, and killed it before it had a chance. Then, he continues through the game again (you won''t have to play again) and still has a wish to destroy the wizard.

Lets keep the idea and suppose that he got scratched by one of these monsters. Ok, when he wishes to stop the wizard, he kind of faints, and everyone thinks he''s dead. But, actually what happened is it would be like one of those old stupid fairy tales and when he killed the wizard he broke the spell off everyone, including him. I don''t know how I''d explain that in the game, but that would work.

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Well, the part about why the commander attacks the mage's town could be used to add a lot of mystery to the game. When the main character finds out that he is trying to stop a mage who was really just defending his town, you could have the character question which side is right. Some common reasons that the commander may have had could have been for power (which would make the mage appear better than your own side) or it oculd have some kind of deeper meaning in the world's history (which would extend the story's length in trying to unravel this), something like the leader of the mage's town stole something from the commander that could prove dangerous to them if used against them, so the commander attacked. The mage who lived was away from the town (on a mission, or casual trip or something), then comes back to find a ruined city, and knowing nothing of the reason, only those responsible, attacks in rage.

As for the part about how he "infects" the commander, he's a mage, so it would be very natural for him just to use magic. This would fit very easily into the story.

Hope this helps!

[edited by - Taiyou on August 18, 2002 12:55:26 PM]

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My 2 cen... uhh *counts on fingers* 20 cents

Ending: you could always do multiple endings, I always like those. If the player manages to complete the game within a certain limit - perhaps, once they find out that he''s becoming infected, they have 30mins of play time in which to use the stone to make the wish, etc... You don''t have to tell the player they''ve got 30 mins, or have any kind of counter - perhaps, at 10 mins and 20 mins the character cries out in agony or something. At the end, if they''ve managed to do it in under 30mins, then they get the good ending. Otherwise, they get the bad ending.

1
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The wizard didn''t get killed like the others because:
a) He wasn''t there, he was up in the mountains for some reason
b) He hid from them
c) He magically transported himself away. He''s a wizard, using magic to solve the problem would make sense. He''s the only one that survived because:
a) He was lucky
b) He killed off the others, either to stop them from telling where he was, or to give them a quick painless death (as opposed to the slow, torturous one at the hands of the enemy).
c) Uhh.. there is no (c)

2
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I like this. Perhaps, if you go with magical solutions to the previous problems, it drained his magic to such an extent that he can only control a single person, and only a small bit (increasing as time goes on).
For the same reasons the wizard would not be able to attack the king or his army directly. Also, the king may have wizards on his side, using magic to protect him. Their magic would be stronger than the wizard''s magic, so he wouldn''t be able to affect anyone inside the magical shield.

3
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King could recieve reports from the commander''s lieutenants, saying ''he''s acting odd.''

4
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Suggesting a poisoned water supply could be interesting - a sort of dramatic irony, depending on how you tell the story (the player character doesn''t know what''s causing it, but the player does). There''s a risk that could be frustrating for the player ("why do I have to bother investigating the river? I already *know* what''s happening..."). If you don''t reveal to the player about the wizard controlling the commander, then it could be very interesting. The player, being a seasoned RPG connisseur, is presented with dialog about a poisoned water supply. Aha, he thinks, so that is what this is all about. Then, when the real truth is discovered, it''s a surprise. My point (and yes, I do have one ) is that it''s a break from the typical RPG - making the player waste time for the sake of the story.

5
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Needs elaboration. What, he''s walking down the shop one day, and just happens to spot this magic stone on the ground, with a note explaining what it is/for/does...?

6
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Good.

7
-
See beginning of post...

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For all of the people griping about the ending...

How about multiple endings, based on what the player wishes (perhaps this would come through planning it out before hand, or the player could be presented with a last minute "think fast" set of options). The latter could lead to a rather intense moment.

The options could have wildly varying results, leading to success or failure, with extra little bonuses or consequences.

For example:
1) I wish that Dark Wizard #4 had never existed -
The wizard never existed, so no curse - player doesn''t directly die. Various other evil things that he had caused also don''t happen. But, this is a two edged blade - the wizard had also prevented some other evil things from happening, through conflicts with other evil wizards, perhaps distracting a neighboring kingdom from military conquest, or killing an elder dragon for spell components, that would have otherwise laid waste to the kingdom. (sequel? same characters, same period of time, different conflict!)

2) I wish that the curse be lifted - player makes this wish with their dying breath, still dies, but everyone else that is still alive is cured. The wizard is still alive to form new plots... (sequel?)

3) I wish that the wizard were dead - Great, now that the wizard is dead, his master plan will not be completed. Too bad the curse is still there, and now there are these poor, twisted, beasts aimlessly wandering around the kingdom. Player still dies. (sequel anyone? Bringing these creatures to rest...)

4) I wish that I were fully restored - Player returns to life, with full status, but curse is still active, and wizard is still alive. Player gets a chance to take out the wizard to at least provide some benefit (perhaps with some extra difficulty, the player could also discover how to lift the curse). Not easy, but possibly the best ending overall.

Possibly some others that could lead to total failure, or different forms of success.

So, this keeps the dark mood that you had set, but also gives the player a choice as to how things turn out - whether they live or die, and just how the problem is resolved.

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The "Magic Wishing Stone" thing seems kinda out of place... You should make sure there is a story behind it that fits with the mood of the rest of the game. I''d offer something but I''m not much of a writer...

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Here''s a question. If everyone else who gets cursed simply turn into creatures, why does your character die, instead of turning like everyone else? If he''s in a party long enough for us to become attached to the other characters, then make it so Arean completely turns right boefore finishing the wish and have his friends complete. See now they''re faced with an ethical desision do they kill him and make the wish or can they make the wish restoring everyone and bringing him back. From here they can regroup with the uncursed Arean and journey to finish off the wizard. This way you can having Arean slowly turning most of the game, and still get to keep him in the end. With the curse lifted you don''t face all those cursed man-beats and can add in other minion of the dark wizard. And I''d think it''s logical for him to be infected from a fight with a cursed creature (perhaps the king sends him to disposed of the turned commander!!!) he kills it but is cursed in the process and through that learns that the mage is behind it. He hates the king for destroying the town but cannot cease to hunt the mage because the mage has become a threat to everyone. He learns this because of the mage''s attempt to possess him.

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Ok, superpig- I guess I didn''t explain, the wishing stone is the wizards. And I was also thinking as a possibility that the disease he gets is different, this comes from the stone, if you touch it, now the wizard didn''t have trouble because he could cast a counter-spell, but arean being a low-casting magic user had no clue about the spell till later. Then he dies right as he finishes his wish, and he wouldn''t be included? A nice idea I was thinking. Also, maybe the disease thing for the stone was to protect it from fools to make a wish. Makes sense.

Also, the reason why I was saying arean was dying rather than becoming a monster was because I was assuming that the wish would be to destroy the wizard and all his minions, and at that point, would include arean.

I like these ideas. Could I also get some help for names for a) arean''s teammates-a dwarf(inventor who uses a hammer if that helps with the name) and an elf(who is a bowman and very wise (like legolas in LOTR)), the king, the commander, and I think the wizard name was going to be hallidor, I like that name, but if you guys don''t like, let me know.

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Things progress fast at this thread.
Some ideas I had seem to be outdated now, but here it is.

Here''s my attempt at putting the whole story together.

1st there needs to be a more solid reason for the King''s army to decimate the town. This is unless you need to hide the real reason for a plot twist later on in the game.
To make matters simple, how about if the wizard asked for the hand of the King''s daughter, who is the only surviving heir to the throne? The wizard, along with his mages have enough power to conquer the world, but they lack the prestige to rule. So, the wizard wants to marry into a royal family, etc.
The leader of the King''s army, armed with some item that neutralizes the wizard''s magic, defeats the mages. He wants to pursue the wizard who escaped, but his men are too tired to go forward, so he returns home. This man is the man who the princess loves, and is given the hand of the princess for saving the kingdom.

2nd is how the leader is infected. How about poisoned wine at the marriage ceremony? The leader ended up drinking the most wine, so his infection is most pronounced, but the others who drank the wine are also infected, including the main character. To make matters more personal, you could make the main character the younger brother of the leader. Maybe the main character was not part of the royalty until his brother married the princess and thus was not accustomed to the strong wine the nobles drink and that in turn was why he drank the least?

3rd is how the King found out. Since the leader is possessed, he increasingly acts like the wizard. To everyone else, the leader just looks mad, but to the King, who knew the wizard from a long time ago, sees that the leader is acting like his old friend, the wizard, before he started talking about conquering the world.

4th part is probably okay as is. He goes to the town, maybe finds a prototype of the poison or maybe some scroll detailing instructions for brewing it. He then returns and reports to the King. By this time, others are starting to be strongly possessed also.

5th part is the hardest b/c there is a big gap. One idea is to go back to the item that neutralizes the wizard''s magic. The leader obtained this stone from a wise sage in the East. The King orders the main character to go ask the sage for advice. The main character goes to the cave where the sage lives, only to learn that the wizard had killed the sage.

The sage''s apprentice, who is lying in the cave half dead tells you all this. You also learn that the stone, if taken back to its place of origin, has the power to nullify the wizard''s curse. Also, holding the stone would stop the progression of possession.
2 side notes here. 1 - If you want another love romance, make it the sage''s daughter, or atleast make the apprentice a girl. 2 - The leader could have gotten the stone from the sage in exchange for promising to kill the wizard. The stone had protected the sage from the wizard, but since the sage did not have the stone any more, the wizard was able to kill the sage.

6th has already been taken care of. He knows he is possessed by step 5. Maybe he shows signs before he gets his hand on the stone to make it more pronounced.

7th also is problematic because the main character dies even though everyone else is cured. One possibility is as follows. Just as the main character approaches the tree, the wizard, held back by Arian''s men, yells, "If you lose the stone, you will die! Join me now, and I shall cure you." Basically, the stone had stopped the progress of possession. But, if Arian loses the stone, the curse will instantly progress to the point where it would have been if he did not have the stone. Let''s say Arian had the stone for 3 months. So, 3 months worth of mutation would come in an instant. Arian''s body can''t cope with the change and he dies from it. This could also explain the slow speed of everyone else being possessed. The average body can co-exist with the mutation if the mutation progressed at a very slow speed, but it can''t co-exist if the speed of the mutation is as rapid as the one Arian experiences.

How''s this for a possible storyline with some flow?

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An idea for modifying the curse:

Someone who kills one of the infected becomes infected himself (rather than transmitting through biting/scratching/whatever). Perhaps the more infected beasts are killed, the faster the transformation. This would give the wizard a self-replenishing army, and give the player an extra challenge to try to avoid killing the infected. Perhaps as an explanation of the players death - his wish/magic could be killing the beasts - thousands of them. Killing 3 or 4 might turn one into a beast, killing that many could lead to a rather gruesome death as the character must bear the entirety of the curse himself.

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pwd-I couldn''t use that because throughout the game, most of the battles are gonna be against those guys. But Kuroahiru, all that really helps! That makes it all sound perfect. Thank you very much. I''m going to write up a new version of the design document from the help I got here.

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One of my favorite parts about good rpgs is the mystery about the character and you learn more about them as you go along. By what I''ve shown you here, can anyone give me some roll the character plays? I always like it when the main character finds out that all the trouble is really somehow connected to his past, I can''t think of any good examples. I think this happened a little bit in ff6 when terra found out she was half esper, but it''s been a while. Anyone have any ideas?

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The main character could have been born in the mage''s town, but removed from it when he was very young. Maybe he was royalty or something and he was the reason that the commander attacked the town in the first place, but when he destroyed the town, the prince wasn''t there.

So, the commander can be another enemy throughout the game who pursues the main character as both discover this hidden part of his past.

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Maybe if you limited the powers of the stone, it''s not powerful enough to simply lift the curse but it can kill everyone with the curse or (as the player has become so powerful) he can add his powers to the stone and maybe lift the curse.

Personally I like an ending where a character makes the ultimate sacrifice especially if it''s a character the player has become attached to. Coupled with suitable dialogue and music it can create a strong emotional reaction in the player, which is always a good thing.
A good example would be Maxi''s ending in Soul Calibur.

- DarkIce

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Im da man. Ive got your ending. Okay if youve ever play final fantasy 10 throughout the game you know that yuna is going on this pilgrimage to obtain the summons just to fight sin. However in order to summon the ultamate creature (the one that kills sin) it also kills the summoner (yuna). You learn this most of the way through the game yet the main character Tidus is a bit slow on the upkeep and doesnt realize it until way after the player does. In the end Im sure they find a way to kill it without Yuna dieing, though i never beet it
anyway my idea is simple as that either lead the player to believe that the main character is going to die for the greater good of the world then change the plot so the character lives. OOOORRRR you can simply kill the character in the end and have the "spirit" of this sacred tree thing have pity on the character thus bringing him back to life because he made the ultimate sacrifice. hows that sound

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I shall fart in your general direction. - I said so
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