Jump to content
  • Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  
xarnaudx

So what's your RPG story?

This topic is 2139 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

Hello,

These days, many aspiring game developers seem wanting to make RPGs or MMORPGs.
...which all need an inspiring story.

So, out of curiosity, what is yours?
What great story do you have in mind?

When you post, please insert a synopsis in quotes and more details after if you wish to do so.

Cheers!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement
I'm not currently working on a game project, but I'll describe some of my favorite RPG and MMO stories I've come up with:
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![/quote]

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?[/quote]

Becoming

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.)[/quote]

Wildwright

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.[/quote]

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. Edited by sunandshadow

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What great story do you have in mind?


That's actually a trick question.

I thought my story was pretty neat and straightforward until I realized it was the story of the world of my game and not the story of the game.
The standpoint of the player, and their story within that game does touch on the backstory every now and then (actually very oftently) but it is something else altogether.

Sunandshadow's first example is linked together in a unique way where the backstory and story of the player are one. It's perhaps a bit too convenient for my taste. It pretends that the story you are living is not just a byproduct of the society in which it was created but the actual plot of the world's story. Such story can only go to Epic level and will be hard to ground as anything that happens to the world also happens to you on a visceral level. I can hardly see this story ending humbly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='fuzzy fizz' timestamp='1341317595' post='4955254']
What great story do you have in mind?


That's actually a trick question.

I thought my story was pretty neat and straightforward until I realized it was the story of the world of my game and not the story of the game.
The standpoint of the player, and their story within that game does touch on the backstory every now and then (actually very oftently) but it is something else altogether.

Sunandshadow's first example is linked together in a unique way where the backstory and story of the player are one. It's perhaps a bit too convenient for my taste. It pretends that the story you are living is not just a byproduct of the society in which it was created but the actual plot of the world's story. Such story can only go to Epic level and will be hard to ground as anything that happens to the world also happens to you on a visceral level. I can hardly see this story ending humbly.
[/quote]
That's an interesting interpretation. I normally think of my stuff as the exact opposite of epic, as there is never any danger of the world ending or battles that destroy cities. I see my structure as basically a bildungsroman (coming of age and finding a place in society for being great at something), filled out with some romance and adventure (adventure being composed of some fighting and some creative problem solving). They typically end quite domestically - the main character, having earned wealth, safety, and love, retires to enjoy them and raise some kids.

Personally I think it's not a good writing technique to talk about the world's history independent of any character's perspective. IMHO history is a good story weakened by being told from the wrong perspective - several years too late. But, I know some people are much bigger fans of a historical perspective than me. Though I personally see a novel set in a historical period as a much better storytelling choice than a faux history book or journal about that time period, others might reasonably disagree.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What I meant is that by having a backstory independant from the player's experience of the story, you get to have the player be the victim of the events.
The problem with a story handcrafted for the character is that you can hardly justify things 'happening to them' out of the blue, but with a backstory, the player can reasonably see how a large scale war unrelated to him might affect his ability to go from one country to the next.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Things aren't really supposed to happen to the main character of a story "out of the blue" anyway, right? It's a violation of unity of theme and tightness of plot structure. The root cause of things that happen to any character has to be another major character, or an organized and consistent natural or paranormal force that functions as a character. If a player is accepted where he is, but will be rejected somewhere else, that's usually a reflection of a conflict between the thematic points of view represented by the two places.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, in most games I've played, there are unexpected turns of events that are not intrinsict to the plot and I tend to enjoy these.
In Final Fantasy 5, at regular intervals, the player is confronted to the consequences of asteroids falling. While these are integral to the overall plot of the story (how inhabitants of the other world seek to cross the rift to warn/help the locals of this world), it is entirely unrelated to the story of the game itself where the protagonist is trying to prevent crystals from shattering.
I loved this duality that gave a strong dynamic to the events that follow.
From the perspective of the player, these are "random" but they actually have meaning to the greater plot of which the protagonists are only one part, not the whole.

You'll notice similar narrative in the Game of Thrones books where the author is more concerned about the whole than actually retelling the tales of individual characters.
People come and go, live and die, but the plot continues. I like this emphasis on the persistence of the world as the main plot denominator, but experiencing this from the perspective of individuals. This is everything but an Harry-Potter-centric story ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I went and read the wikipedia entry for FF5 and it says the meteorites are used by people of the second world, where the big bad and the second set of crystals are, to travel to the first world, where the protagonist starts out. After failing to protect the crystals on the the first world, they travel to the second one. Thematically there's probably also a connection between space as a void and the big bad having been sealed into something called "the void" by the original division of the two worlds and set of four crystals.

I have to confess I don't like the storytelling style/structure of Game of Thrones, or the Malazon series which is the same kind of thing. They just seem like a sadistic soap opera to me, no offense intended. I'd argue that those stories which aren't about individual characters but instead about some great upheaval in a large setting are inherently epic, and I'm just not a fan of epic. It's probably connected to the issue of plot-driven writing rather than character-driven writing. IMO a good story is both but the characters should be where everything begins and ends because they are what I really care about (and I imagine that many readers feel the same way, though not all). And what the audience is supposed to care about is how you determine where to start and end your story - you start it where some character (generally either the antagonist or the protagonist) has a strong desire to do something, and you end it when that desire (or what it has morphed into over the course of the story) is satisfied or exhausted/destroyed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well with that said, I'd say we've sufficiently derived the topic of this thread (apologies to fuzzy fizz for that).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well with that said, I'd say we've sufficiently derived the topic of this thread (apologies to fuzzy fizz for that).

Just post a synopsis of one or more of your stories, that will put us right back where intended. smile.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

Participate in the game development conversation and more when you create an account on GameDev.net!

Sign me up!