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A Good Story Idea for an RPG?

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Hello all!! I have a story idea that I was originally going to use for a novel, but it would make a great story for an old-timey RPG, like the old JRPGs. What I am going to do is I am going to give you the gist of the story, and what I want to know is if you think it is too convoluted or if the story is too much too full of worn out fantasy tropes. Also if it's familiar or if you find any of it unsavory, let me know.

 

Anyway, once upon a time, a great goddess created the world with a giant crystal. When she was done, the crystal shattered, but they were still in possession of magical powers. The powers of these crystals were taken by men, but then one day, they simply stopped working and disappeared.  Now, years later, the crystals have reappeared and an evil witch has come to a clueless king to take over his kingdom and find one crystal in particular. The king is killed and his son takes his place, but the son is under the control of the witch. The crystal is found by a young boy who is the son of one of the former king's great generals. When the witch comes after the boy, it is the duty of the boy's elder brother to protect him and try to escape with him. With the help of a mysterious stranger named Vero, the two boys escape and come to an underground haven ruled by the dwarves. There Vero forces them to spend money on a slave boy named Soji to save him from his dwarf captors. They are forced to run from this place as well as they are attacked by the witches men. They run to the town of Hara where they meet a young woman named Miranda who is trying to fight against the witch. When she is killed by a traitor, she tells the older of the boys, Salis, that he must take over. He agrees and Vero knows where to take them. To Henden, the brother of the fallen Miranda who knows his way around strategy. They procure a base, but Henden tells them that they must go see the good witch Eve. She lives atop a mountain and sees most things that have, are, and will happen. She says that only Salis and his brother Kail with the crystal of banishment can win the coming war.  With that, they are sent on their way, and they meet the blind girl Evelyn who can see people's aura's and is led around by her mute brother, Eric.  However Eric is killed by a lowly assassin, and when they get back to the castle, they hand Evelyn over to Soji who literally has to drag her around the castle and do his work at the same time. Vero, Salis, and Kail are off to the forest realm to gather the people of the forest under their banner. They are attacked by denizens of the forest, but finally make it to the forest center where they sound the horn and call the people of the forest to them. The Berrik (Bear) people, the Tanuki (racoon dog) people, the wolf clan, the Raven Clan and the elven half brothers Ryun and Rillion come to their call. They say they will not help unless the three men help them free their people from slavery. The three go to help the people, but are faced with a huge troll. They attack anyway, but they are saved by Rachel and Rick, bomb wielding brother and sister cowboy types. In the end, good triumphs over evil, and the forest clans agree to join the three. However the situation with the elves is different, and their queen says they will not join. Ryun and Rillion defy her and go anyway.

 

That far that is what I have. How does it sound to you? Like a good story for an RPG? In all truth, I don't really like games with huge branching story lines, and I hate sandboxish stuff, however I do like a large linear story with a beautiful world. Does this sound like something you would play thus far? It is going to be a lot bigger, and I may add more later, but thus far, what do you think? Be as honest as you can, and let me know. If it is not cool, that will be good to know. Anyway, thanks a lot. And this isn't even the end of it. Cheers!!

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So, is the crystal useful to anyone except the witch? It seems like a magical artifact used in the creation of the world should be a powerful weapon and/or tool, sought after by every power on the planet. At the very least, it should help the heroes out, now and then. Even the One Ring did that.

 

Does anyone else have a crystal? Do they have different powers? I heard you call the one in the story the Crystal of Banishment. If it's used to make the witch disappear, is there a Crystal of Repatriation that her minions can find to bring her back?

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Wow that is quite an old-fashioned kind of story.  Trolls, dwarves, witches, animal races, and magical crystals older than the world... I'm surprised people are still writing new material with this blend of tropes.  Though, I'm not a high fantasy fan, I don't follow new novels that come out in that subgenre closely enough to actually claim that this kind of story is extinct.  I'll be really surprised if you tell me you're under 35 though, gambit.  Unless maybe you grew up in Europe or something, what's in fashion there is a bit different.

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Hahaha, actually I am under thirty-five...By only a few years. Going to be 31 on Sunday, haha. Anyway, it is an old fashion story because I still hold the old writers in high esteem. I still think that Tolkien is the gold standard for fantasy writing, and of course I grew up with so much of the old fashion fantasy type films. Willow, The Dark Crystal, and people think it's weird, but I love the movie Krull.  So I was brushing on the era when old fashion high fantasy was still in demand. Anyway, there are other crystals that are going to be part of the story, however, I have not woven them into this preview. Right now only the witch is looking for this one for unknown reasons, but we can assume that her reasons are sinister.  The witch is a magical being with her own crystal (or she wouldn't be a witch as there are no other sources of magic in the world). People with certain crystals have certain protections. So the witch cannot be banished, she has to be killed by some means. Kail, however, does not want to use the crystal, just as Frodo (or any one of the characters) can't really "use" the one ring. This is mostly because he does not understand where people are banished to and no one can explain it to him so he feels guilty about it. This makes the journey ten-thousand times more difficult than it has to be, but the heroes are accepting of his decision. Anyway, this story is still a work in progress, and so I am still determining everyone's motives and who the rest of the characters are going to be.  What I want is an expansive story, but one that has direction to it. There probably won't be many player "choices" within it, however, it will be an interesting fantasy world to play in. Maybe I am just an old timer trying to revitalize an old story. It is the story I want to tell though.

 

Thank you so much. Always looking for feedback so keep it going if you can!! Soon this idea will expand, so I may be putting more here at some point, so let me know what you think. Thank you! Cheers!!

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Old tropes to be sure, but there's nothing wrong with that, really. Sometimes the classic tropes are just comfortable, though they may have worn too thin for some.

 

My constructive criticism would be that it sounds like you have a premise and the beginnings of the top-level, linear story-arc, but you do not yet have a story. In my opinion, and I don't think I'm alone in it, the story-line in an RPG is almost secondary to the characters -- the story serves the characters rather than the other way around, reason being that the story should unfold as if they were events driven by the decisions of the characters, both good and bad (or neither). If you start with a story and then try to put characters into it to suit a predestined outcome, its very hard to make the characters or their place in the story feel natural, they'll tend to fall into a kind of literary uncanny valley. I mention this because the characters' personalities and their motivations are absent from your summary, but perhaps that's only because you are being succinct. I would just encourage you to really think them through, and try to give them personalities and motivations that aren't one-dimensional. At any major event or fork in the story, you should be able to imagine what the characters think and feel about it -- maybe they have different opinions or priorities along the way, maybe they have other considerations or loyalties outside the party that influence them, maybe long-forgotten relationships are drug up as events unfold.

 

Another criticism would be that the witch as described seems like a weak antagonist. Conflict stories really need a strong, multifaceted antagonist to thrive. My favorite villains are always the ones I want to see completely destroyed and demoralized, while not being able to fully shake the feeling that some past trauma is responsible for setting their path to villainy -- or, sometimes better yet, when their motivations started pure but became twisted. Said another way, villains who are evil for the sake of being evil or who's only goal is seeking power so that they can perpetrate more and greater evil are pretty bland. A good villian has history, personality, and maybe even a conflict or two -- but most importantly they have vision, there's something more to their madness than madness itself.

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Here's the thing. I am being very brief and sort of one-dimensional because this is just a snippet of a work in progress, and also it's just a synopsis of that work in progress. I do plan on fleshing out these characters and making them more than just names I have mentioned, so I just wanted to get that part of the story out there to see what people though of it as an idea. Anyway, would it be better if I added some character profiles so that you guys can get to know these people better? That would be no problem. Anyway, thank you!!

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Have you ever looked at novel synopsis examples?  They are used to convey the 'essence' of a novel, whether to a publisher after the novel has been written or to a writing buddy before the novel has been written.  And a synopsis is also used to pitch a video game plot, though it's harder to find examples of that.  There's an abundant supply of materials around online explaining how to write a good novel synopsis.  Some key points of the synopsis are:

1. What is the story problem or premise?

2. What is the genre and emotional tone?

3. What's the main character's name, personality, and why are they uniquely suited to solve the story problem?

4. What is the opening setting/action of the book, and how does it change to focus on the climactic problem?

5. If there is a central antagonist or group of antagonists, what's their motive?

6. What is the climactic action where the main character resolves the story problem?

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Kyrill, go back to your caravansl. If you want a "good story" - pay me 10,000 US and I will think about it. 
And you, guys above, Are you crazy? Why you helping him? You are stupid schoolboys.  Or because believe he will never achieve something? Then why waste your time?

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Gambit, as Aardvajk stated, ignore Krios as he is just a troll from the dark corners of the internet. His sole purpose was to start an argument or make someone doubt themselves. 

 

Now as for the ideas, parts make me think of several games right off. Final Fantasy, Elder Scrolls, Suikoden, just to name three. There is nothing wrong with using old tropes, after all a lot of games use the damsel in distress trope and many other tropes. Manveer Heir, of BioWare, even says using the same old tropes is lazy, but I disagree to an extent as I think if you know the tropes well then you can think of ways to make them fresh, flip roles, or find fun ways to use them. After all, look at Mario or Zelda, several games in both series and use basically the same tropes, but everyone loves them. I'd say focus on making the story interesting if you plan to use numerous tropes.

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Tropes work well when you're conscious of them in some regard. For example, a deliberately retro game can pull tropes off well precisely because it isn't 'trying' to appear new. In essence, I believe there are levels of 'recognition' in game design and these aid in the ultimate goal of immersion or suspension of reality. I like getting lost in games myself, so adding 'depth' to an already avowedly linear system should be the design challenge if you ask me.

 

But I do like the ideas you've got. You just need to get 'hooks' in there as said, and this is often done with linear narratives by making the characters super compelling. The plot might be 'linear' but the characters should breathe well within this context. That being said- you have a 'trajectory' for the plot which is what is good. A lot of the time people have good ideas but don't know how to link them together properly so you get something messy as a result. I don't see that here. with a bit of tuning and so forth you could get a story that really works: think of the 'purity' of Secret of Mana. Simple but great.

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Seems like a good starting point and I think your next step should be to really give your characters some depth.
One criticism I have at the moment is that possibly your story feels a bit male heavy. The females in your story, while they do have important roles to move the plot forward, do all feel like supporting cast. Perhaps it could be an older sister looking after her little brother? Something like this would play against traditional fantasy tropes and could make the game more engaging.

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