Grand adventure in Generica

May 20, 2013

Last time, I wrote up a few characters for a scene or level in a videogame. It consisted of some low-level enemies, the final boss, and an ally among the enemy ranks. In thinking about where to go next, I realized how fun the player’s own companions can be, so now I’ll do a mixture. You, the blog reader, may have encountered one or two fantasy MMORPG’s in your time: why don’t I introduce you to the magical land of Generica?

Generica, the setting of the latest greatest online RPG you’ve ever played, is a rich world of adventure! (Theme jingle here.) I will create a “quest sequence” with several two-dimensional or one-dimensional characters. All fantasy monsters in this quest are “personality-free.” Again, if you are interested in anything I post and want to use it somewhere (such as in a tabletop gaming session), just ask me. I like to know where my children are.

The point of the story is “You can’t choose your family.” With that, how about a story of estranged siblings forced into opposite sides of a conflict? The “evil” one gets hunted down, and as to reconciliation . . . well, we’ll just have to see about that. RANDOM.ORG will tell me each character’s gender, number of dimensions, and status as ally or antagonist. I get:

Two-dimensional character. Female, ally.
One-dimensional character. Male, ally.
One-dimensional character. Female, antagonist.
One-dimensional character. Female, antagonist. * Nah, make her two-dimensional.
Two-dimensional character. Male, ally.
One-dimensional character. Male, ally. * Nah, make him an antagonist.

You can see I made some edits as I went. I decided that the fourth one on this list is the “evil” sibling; and so, to have believable interactions, she needs enough dimensions. Also, it might be nice if the “evil” sibling were contrasted against a nasty final boss, and then came out on top as a more complete (and redeemable) character. This means turning the sixth character into an antagonist so as to have a “final boss” at all.

As before, I don’t have any format guidelines. The characters are listed below in the order one would meet them in-game. Sometimes the dialogue will seem out-of-order: a hypothetical voice actor would need a complete list of lines, so (for instance) the quest-giver’s reaction to the capture of the “evil” sibling is listed here at the start, long before I describe the sibling. With that warning, I hope you can piece together the proper order.

2-D character: Initia. (Ooh, I think I might reuse that name for other quest-givers.)
Traits: Loyal, nervous.
Description: An aged retainer to Lord Glaux, wearied by years of managing the tasks and workers of his estate. She is a large woman but quick on her feet.
Dialogue: Intro – “Who is this? Oh! You saw the pronouncement, yes? Thank goodness, help has come! Lord Glaux hasn’t left his chambers since this disaster began. I cannot imagine what drove his sister to side with such a fiend. Come, I will bring you to your guide.”
Event – “Loncho! Stand at ready! Now, Loncho here will take you to the lands of Lord Vulturus: a tyrant who has shed the blood of our people. Lady Peregrine . . . she has sworn her power and fortune to his cause! If she will not see reason, then you must stop her before more damage can be done.”
Event – “[Gasp] Your Ladyship! How . . . how did you retrieve her alive? We must summon guards and bring her to Lord Glaux immediately!”
Event – “Oh, no. We need you yet again! To the gates, quickly!”

1-D character: Loncho.
Trait: Pessimistic.
Description: A somewhat hunched man. Despite misgivings, also a companion of some merit for the journey.
Dialogue: Intro – “Right, right, let’s get going before the house of Glaux falls around our ears. Truth be told, it’s doing that anyway. Repulsive creatures, always battering at the gates . . . ”
Event – “It’s not safe here in the lands of Lord Vulturus: he makes no effort to stop the wraithgoblins and blogspiders from spreading. I can’t imagine what he does with his taxes but feed his palace guard.”
Event – “Wraithgoblins! Agh, we’re dead before we reach the citadel!”
Event – “Look, there! Just our luck, it’s Lady Peregrine out riding, and she’s attended by more of the creatures! Oh, the rumors of her fall are nothing but true.”
Event – “You must be kidding me.”

1-D character: Uglychum.
Trait: Cocky.
Description: A rough peasant-type, gleefully fallen in with bandits and whomever else can help her steal her daily bread.
Dialogue: Intro – “Oh, don’t mind them: they’re just some wraithgoblin friends. Didn’t you know? Humans and goblins see eye-to-eye around here. Or maybe hand-to-money-purse!”
Fight – “Just drop my loot already!”
Fight – “The Lord and Lady make life easy for me. Don’t mess it up!”
Fight – “This is a land of plenty: I’ve got my freedom, you’ve got my dinner!”

2-D character: Lady Peregrine.
Traits: Protective, disillusioned.
Description: The well-groomed daughter of nobility, wearing the finest garments and yet armed for vicious combat.
Dialogue: Intro – “Loncho. You could not be bothered to change from your livery when entering Vulturus’s realm? Again the house of Glaux invites its own destruction.”
Fight – “Leave me to my work, I have a country to save.”
Fight – “Die by my hand or defeat me. You invite death the same.”
Fight – “Your fate will be no better than your Lord’s!”
Defeat – “Enough! It is clear my efforts to save our lands mean nothing: my dear deluded brother will not stop until proven right. Take me to see him. And prepare for when Vulturus sends for my return.”

2-D character: Lord Glaux.
Traits: Protective, desperate.
Description: The harried son of nobility, strong but crumbling, in fine clothes but with pale skin and unkempt hair.
Dialogue: See cutscene.

Cutscene: Lord Glaux: Is it her? Open the doors!
Lady Peregrine: Hello, brother. I have returned.
G: You look a mess! Have you suffered in the lands of Lord Vulturus?
P: Of course not. Unlike you, we have tended to our needs.
G: What? Nonsense! Do you mean to tell me letting beasts of darkness overrun one’s land is to its betterment?
P: You have spent years throwing every resource at the encroaching tide, and look how our home has crumbled. In the words of Vulturus I heard the truth: we must save ourselves long enough to find some other way out. Protect the thinkers and the arcane; seek the magical secrets that power these creatures or start a vast pilgrimage and abandon the lands.
G: I have done all that I can to keep these lands intact! I have repelled invasion after invasion, protecting all people down to the commoners, while Vuturus has taxed his common folk into misery. The creatures exhaust us, and even Vulturus raids us! How do you explain this?
P: In the end, Vulturus cares most for the nobility and the army. Were I still in his lands, I could force him to stockpile food for his people. I could support the magicians who seek a solution. As it is, he allies with the monsters, swelling the army that keeps him safe and his treasures in his grasp.
G: What are you saying . . .
P: You had best prepare for a war of survival. Vulturus is coming to reclaim the fortunes I promised in his aid. I doubt you are ready.

1-D character: Lord Vulturus.
Trait: Selfish.
Description: A tall man with a harsh glare. He makes long strides and grand gestures as he commands his inhuman troops.
Dialogue: Intro – “Ah ha, we meet upon the battlefield! I know who you are: you cannot conceal your thieving nature. Now I will have Glaux’s land, Peregrine’s wealth, and your cowardly head!”
Fight – “Do you not wish to ensure your survival at my side?”
Fight – “Ah, you could have served me well.”
Fight – “Humanity can only be saved by the best among it!”

. . . So with twice as many characters, this content is twice as long. Well, it doesn’t hurt that partway through I figured I needed a “cutscene.” This scene was lots of fun as one storytelling tool among many: cutscenes work in some games but not others, and ideally the player would get to “play” most content.

The point of this story (you can’t choose your family) isn’t as clear as the last exercise’s point was. Still, we can be sure these siblings will be stuck “cooperating while disagreeing” elsewhere in the game, too.

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