CR1 Island Story (Spoiler)

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CR1 Island Story (Spoiler)

Post by John P » Sat Jan 02, 2010 7:28 pm

This is a basic outline for the Island's "Main Quest". I posted this here so E'rybody can contribute! Don't be lazy: read!
I will add more detail if we agree this concept should be pursued. Everything detailed in this outline is explained to you in-game through NPCs. It is a simple traditional story, but it will be unique with more details specific to TMW.

For this story: Particle engine mist makes the island dark and depressing. Many village NPCs are depressed, angry, or even insane (ie. one man begs you to find his daughter and you agree, but then his wife tells you that the daughter has been dead for years and that he has obsessed over her since the arrival of the mist). During the academy tutorial, you get no hint of this. The academy is not effected and does not address the mist until you complete/exit the academy.

Tutorial - The Academy
You came to the island because the Escolians, a group of scholars who founded the academy, prepare adventurers to touch the soul menhir for the first time, and provide additional training afterward.

When the game starts, you wake in a room/dorm/whatever. NPC explains that you touched the soul menhir; and its a good sign that you fainted, because that means it probably has attached to your soul. He can now explain soul menhirs (or other 'tutorial' NPCs can do this). He says that since mana now flows differently through your body, as it is connected to the soul menhir, you have some new things to learn. (Excuse for tutorial). When you finish/skip the tutorial, you exit the academy...

Village - The Dark Mist
The dark mist appeared mysteriously overnight many months ago and now blankets the island.
The mist causes depression, even insanity.
Townspeople say the mist arrived at the same time that the magics teacher left the Academy. Nobody in the town is powerful enough to kill the magician. He spends his time in the mountains around the crater. (Explains why there is no magic training in the tutorial in CR1)

The Magician
Claims that the mist has something to do with the dark figure of the Afterlife, and nothing to do with him. He believes that the dark figure is the remaining spirit of Nu'rem**. He repeatedly tells you to leave, but you keep asking questions. He kills you (and talks you through waiting for revival or going to death realm - hidden tutorial).

The Afterlife
In a dark and confusing place, you are faced by a dark figure and a tired, worn-out looking man. (They are labeled “Dark Figure” and “The Pathfinder”. The Pathfinder explains how the afterlife works [[per the wiki]], but you can also inquire about the dark mist. The Pathfinder does not know who the dark figure is. He does know that the dark mist originates from the death realm. It can be summoned and controlled.

Return
You make your way back to the living and appear at the village soul menhir. Villager speaks:
“You know about mana and how it flows, but you do not know the creation story? Blahblah was the religion of Sabborus Keshlam, you know, as well as the rest of the Keshlam dynasty. It is the truth.”

Villager tells you to speak with the temple priest to learn about Nu'rem. Priest also explains how you will be able to join the church when you reach the mainland, and all of the benefits of doing so.

Now if you speak with the magician, he is impressed with your knowledge of the gods. He thinks the person responsible for the mist is in the Academy...

to be continued
----
Details:
*Essentially, villagers will share more and more information with you IF you do quests for them.
*Academy soldiers protect you from going into dangerous (aka un-made) areas.
*Afterlife does not have to be complete for this to work, but the Dark Figure and Pathfinder should at least have one small map to exist in, and perhaps can just send you back each time you die (until the maze is completed) -- naturally with the sarcastic comments from the pathfinder (See Afterlife wiki for details)
*Yes I have an ending in mind, shared it with some on IRC.

NPCs:
Because CR1 is small, NPCs are going to have to carry many roles, provide many quests, and, for the main quest, change what they say with some frequency. Example for main quest variable:
1.MQ = 0 while in Academy.
2.MQ = 1 when you leave (end tutorial). Now all NPCs (even Academy) will discuss Dark Mist and other quests.
3.MQ = 2 after you talk to/get killed by the magician at the crater and visit afterlife. Now NPCs will talk about Nu'rem as well as dark mist and magician, afterlife, etc.
4.MQ = 3 when you talk to the temple priest. Religion conspiracies, problems in the academy, etc.

This is a storyline that I think should be resolved by CR3, meaning the story will have a conclusion and be replaced by a new main quest. The mist will disappear, as will the magics teacher. This also means that you will have to come back to the island later in the game to finish the quest (unless you don't do it by CR3, then you simply miss out).

I probably didn't explain some things well, forgot some points, or whatever, so criticize, comment, question. What do you think?

**Nu'rem is one of the gods from the back story here: http://wiki.themanaworld.org/index.php/ ... _the_World
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Re: CR1 Island Story (Spoiler)

Post by Jaxad0127 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 9:24 pm

Like I said on IRC, I don't like introducing this in one CR only to replace it completely in another. I don't think you understand what the CRs are about. I'll talk more when you post the ending we talked about.

About the underworld: since we don't plan on letting players that are too "young" go through it (instead, going straight to the menhir), lets have the magician send you to the underworld alive instead. This also gives a good excuse for avoiding the maze, as you didn't actually die and are fully alive, the two figures send you straight back after talking to you. I'd rather do this reduced underworld as a separate map from the main underworld. Maybe having so much of the mist out has damaged the underworld, so you can't explore it more, only leaving you to go back to the island.
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Re: CR1 Island Story (Spoiler)

Post by John P » Sat Jan 02, 2010 11:23 pm

I think CRs are the perfect opportunity (hence their name) for adding content. I'd like to have a "living" story in TMW. Sure, it can stay the same (it doesn't HAVE to change in CR3), but I think CR1 is the perfect opportunity to have a world-wide event since there will be so few NPCs to work with. The changes required later will be a snap (remove particle effect, change NPC scripts, reset MQ variable to 0 and reuse). Its not like re-doing the entire CR, just the story content.

Good thinking with the magician, I would go for it. But the magician is supposed to come across as evil and mean, and I think him killing you adds to the intensity of the story. We can spin it and say you don't have to do the maze since you are so inexperienced. (Text could read like, "You carry little mana in your inexperienced soul. The dark figure is not interested in feeding from it.")

My opposition to a 'damaged' underworld would be that it shows too much weakness for such an otherworldly place. How about the maze does not 'appear' to you until you are of a certain strength (which is within our control thanks to the caps).

Thanks for input
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Re: CR1 Island Story (Spoiler)

Post by bcs86 » Sun Jan 03, 2010 12:32 am

A lot of thought was put into that story. Here are just some of my comments:
  • The game says hi by immersing the new player in gloom.
  • The mist implemented through the particle engine could cause many people to have choking graphics.
  • If the mist ceases when the quests are over, any visible changing of a (shared) environment needs to affect other players on the map.
  • John P wrote:When the game starts, you wake in a room/dorm/whatever.
    others will also be doing it at same time.
  • John P wrote:You know about mana and how it flows, but you do not know the creation story? Blahblah was the religion of Sabborus Keshlam
    if this expands into unneeded text let's simplify or avoid it.
The backstory has "old forgotten threat" plot to use eventually.

Incompetently simple, alternative start:
1.) the player starts at the small island of some farms and a port town.

2.) the player is warmly welcomed by mr. constable with all the pissed-off rules (or not if the player can't come back after leaving).

3.) the player has to learn to use the interface. Bypass this with a quick "read the damn manual!", or show a URL.

4.) grant the player scholarship at the academy. The academy NPC will refuse to let anyone in without it.

...) a bully in the academy spawns a scorpion to show off to his friends how mean he is to new people.

...) when the scorpion is killed, the bully stops harassing, working like how the spawn NPC on Manaserv works.

5.) the teachers at the academy are only concerned with the basics. What are stats and skills? What does each stat do? There are bookshelves around to read (sort of implying that the player should learn things for him/herself when it is not necessary to ask).

6.) the player is given some money, or a ticket to board a boat leaving the island for Hurnscald port (The Tulimshar areas eventually are remapped without the mismatching things like palms among cactus'. Rocks would match the sand more. deserts and beaches are different.).

...) if the boat accepts money, and there is a shop on the island, the player can skip the training and leave when enough money is made.
...) otherwise do not let player through without taking tutorial and presenting ticket.

7.) before the player leaves, the player should visit Newbington, a town by port, which will host more fun before leaving.

8.) I don't know what to say about death world in this context except that death sucks.

9.) Since the island will have cool new tiles and a ship, we'll want to go back.

But John P, yours is more detailed and creative. Thanks for working on the stories.
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Re: CR1 Island Story (Spoiler)

Post by Crush » Sun Jan 03, 2010 12:47 am

Sorry but I really dislike this "dark and depressive" route by John P. Especially for the tutorial.
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Re: CR1 Island Story (Spoiler)

Post by John P » Sun Jan 03, 2010 4:20 pm

bcs86 wrote:A lot of thought was put into that story. Here are just some of my comments:
  • The game says hi by immersing the new player in gloom.
  • The mist implemented through the particle engine could cause many people to have choking graphics.
  • If the mist ceases when the quests are over, any visible changing of a (shared) environment needs to affect other players on the map.
1. The academy is not in the mist. It is bright and happy.
2. It is the same mist as the graveyard
3. Mist does not cease, except all at once when CR2 is released. The players will learn news that [bad guy] has been killed by [possibly a list of actual players]
bcs86 wrote: [*]
John P wrote:When the game starts, you wake in a room/dorm/whatever.
others will also be doing it at same time.

[*]
John P wrote:You know about mana and how it flows, but you do not know the creation story? Blahblah was the religion of Sabborus Keshlam
if this expands into unneeded text let's simplify or avoid it.[/list]
1. The dorm room was the consensus in the CR topic... (It can be a generated map, otherwise it could be "the nurses office" or whatever)
2. Having a story in a game is not unneeded. The game should be more than just 'relevance to the current fetch-item quest'. Sabborus Keshlam is going to be important in many future quests, he is pretty much the hero of the game. The church is an organization that I hope that the players will be allowed to join.
bcs86 wrote: The backstory has "old forgotten threat" plot to use eventually.
The back story is here: http://wiki.themanaworld.org/index.php/ ... _the_World
bcs86 wrote: Incompetently simple, alternative start:
1.) the player starts at the small island of some farms and a port town.
...
9.) Since the island will have cool new tiles and a ship, we'll want to go back.
1. All of that stuff that happens in the academy is great, and should happen in the academy. I did not give any detail on the academy.
2. The whole point of having this excessive story is that players can't leave the island in CR1, so they need something more engaging until the next release.


Starting out in darkness was by biggest concern, yes. However, the academy will be bright and introduce bright characters, fun, etc. It is the 'newbie' part of the tutorial. Then, I had Diablo in mind, where you start out in dark, sad Sanctuary. When you progress to the next town, it looks incredibly bright and outstanding since you've spent so much time in the dark. Port City will look amazing in the same way.

Again, this is only while the tutorial IS the game.

BUT if you all want to kill the haze, I will go back to the drawing board. Really, I would only need to replace 'the evil' which is the mist with something else evil (less menacing if you like), such as someone puppeting the mayor for example. Everything else could still happen in a similar way...
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Re: CR1 Island Story (Spoiler)

Post by Kage » Sun Jan 03, 2010 7:06 pm

Crush wrote:Sorry but I really dislike this "dark and depressive" route by John P. Especially for the tutorial.
I kinda like it... but I agree... not for the tutorial and introduction to the game. Maybe we can pickup this story line for later?
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Re: CR1 Island Story (Spoiler)

Post by Jaxad0127 » Sun Jan 03, 2010 7:08 pm

John P wrote:3. Mist does not cease, except all at once when CR2 is released. The players will learn news that [bad guy] has been killed by [possibly a list of actual players]
Once again, this is something I take issue with. Why make all of this if we're just going to remove it in the next CR? Why not leave it in place for the tutorial? If we want to sue the island again, we'll make a new copy for older players to return to. Lets decide on a tutorial storyline and keep with it.
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Re: CR1 Island Story (Spoiler)

Post by Rotonen » Mon Jan 04, 2010 3:36 pm

jaxad0127 wrote:
John P wrote:3. Mist does not cease, except all at once when CR2 is released. The players will learn news that [bad guy] has been killed by [possibly a list of actual players]
Once again, this is something I take issue with. Why make all of this if we're just going to remove it in the next CR? Why not leave it in place for the tutorial? If we want to sue the island again, we'll make a new copy for older players to return to. Lets decide on a tutorial storyline and keep with it.
Since he has the really outstanding point of "I'm willing to make this CR1 more enjoyable for players since otherwise it is not going to be much content for the grand launch of the new server with the all new content. I see no reason to shoot down the initiative. If the initiative fails on its own, sure, we can go with a really minimalistic approach for CR1 content.

If he gets the ball rolling here and the momentum keeps up, I only see huge benefits for future CRs to come.

Also, the mist can be done with overlays rather trivially, as far as I can see.
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Re: CR1 Island Story (Spoiler)

Post by John P » Sat Jan 09, 2010 12:10 am

Sorry, rough week. I don't want to step on toes with this one, so I will try to come up with a less depressing introduction. It was more my answer to criticism that none of my writing was dark enough. Currently, all of my ideas seem to be coming up to "small" for my taste for CR1.

I really don't want a kindergarten start to the game.
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Re: CR1 Island Story (Spoiler)

Post by Jaxad0127 » Sat Jan 09, 2010 1:26 am

The idea can be reused elsewhere. Make the area have normal mist constantly. Then say the strange mist is mixed in with it. This could be used to block access to new areas until it's solved.
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Re: CR1 Island Story (Spoiler)

Post by John P » Mon Jan 11, 2010 5:43 am

OK I am working on an idea about a conflict between the academy and the town. A reason for the townsfolk (or most of them) to hate you simply for being a student of the academy. Pretty rough...
Just like the previous story, this occurs after you leave the basic training in the academy.

The academy was a castle for the town in the past, but over time simply became a storage as the town evolved a more democratic rule and elected leaders opted to stay in their homes.

The League of Scholars (or Escolians) contracted with the town to lease the castle as a library and place of learning. This action was supported and touted by Tal Keshlam (Emperor of the lands of Tonori, Tempus, and middle Argaeas) as some great advancement in his empire's success (==More adventurers and increased study of the Soul Menhirs).

The bare bones: Villagers now hate the academy, but breaking the contract would embarrass/upset Keshlam

Townspeople hate the students for one if not all of the following possible reasons:
  • Disrespect/Bad behavior
    Taking too much food away from the town vs. little payment compensation(contractual obligation)
    Over-crowding (didn't expect so many students)
    Academy is teaching material that contradicts The Church
    Any other possible reasons....
Quests will relate to earning the trust of the townsfolk in order to engage in further quests and access items/equipment (or lower costs). Some townspeople will simply manipulate you (blatantly), while others are genuinely upset (example: Mean guy, wife explains that he is just grouchy because his chickens keep escaping -- hint to go fetch his chickens/nod to Zelda games)

This could become more complex - If you do quests for the academy NPCs, respect with townsfolk go down (and possibly vice versa).

Pissy townsfolk might be used as excuse not to allow you to certain areas.
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Re: CR1 Island Story (Spoiler)

Post by Rotonen » Mon Jan 11, 2010 11:28 pm

If the academy were to produce trained mercenary recruits for the highest bidding nations, that could actually give people a reason to dislike the player for going to the academy. Then on the other hand the academy is the reason why the island prospers with all the passthrough traffic associated with the academy. I like the dualism and hypocrisy potential here. Also seems like a nice and natural platform onto which to build the conflicts onto which build the stories onto which to build the quests.

This also allows for quite a logical reason and flow for joining nations or other organizations requiring your assistance later on in future CRs to come. This also sets you quite apart from most NPC characters in-game.
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Re: CR1 Island Story (Spoiler)

Post by John P » Thu Jan 14, 2010 3:41 am

The fact that you touched the soul menhir and it accepted you sets you way apart from the NPCs. That being said, I have wanted to come up with terms other than "Adventurer" and "NPC" to distinguish the two. Some unique synonyms. Perhaps your 'organizations' can define you, as you said. You start out as a "Mercenary", then move on to be labeled other things (If not physically labeled, then at least recognized by NPCs "Ho there, mercenary" or whatever). Thats not to say skills/jobs will label you, but pretty much a 'status' or 'achievement' label. If not, at least something like a 'half-soul' for adventurers (since they believe that your soul is attached to the soul menhir) and a 'pure' for NPCs.

I'm fighting over the hypocrite-village idea. Pro - If you take into account the NPCs believing that you are impure, and still carrying on as you suggest, it is even more of an irony.

However, their actions seem TOO hypocritical to me unless their economy is too far involved with the academy to back out now -- overproduction vs. jobs issue. If the academy is churning out mercenaries, it wouldn't make sense to have Keshlam backing it since he would expect military service for his own army from the deal (which IS a possible direction). The Escolians could be part of the cold rebellion against Keshlam's presence in Argaeas ((Keshlam's kingdom is in Tonori, yet he also has a strong presence in the self-governed central Argaeas cities)). OR it could be simple and Escolians are only interested in tuition money, and you can work for Keshlam, Port City organizations, or whoever; they don't care!

All in all, this seems too real ;). We need some phantasmal magic and good vs. evil action going on!
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Re: CR1 Island Story (Spoiler)

Post by Jaxad0127 » Thu Jan 14, 2010 5:24 am

Your debt to Keshlam could be paid later in quests. Don't do them, and no one will give you new ones, or something.
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