Rough Outline

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jojo
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Rough Outline

Post by jojo » Sat Jan 07, 2012 03:39

So here's a rough outline of what I've been working on. The player is an Imperial Agent, a sort of diplomat/enforcer type. The land (is the land called Wesnoth?) is split up into warring city states. The city states are mostly republics with de facto hereditary rule, ruled by councils drawn from the wealthiest and most influential families in any given city. The player has been sent to a gathering held at the mansion of a powerful noble in a key city. A city that has yet to declare allegiance to the Empire.

The Empire is sort of like the Papal State, they seek to influence the different city states with the intention of bringing them all into a single Empire. They've had some successes, and the time has come such that different city states are called to declare for or against the Empire. A shaky cabal of convenience formed from the noble/mercantile families that hold political sway in the different city states is formed to uphold the status quo. This is the House of Nobles.

While all these power plays are going on, life remains tough for the common man (or goblin!) and the oppressed are starting to band together under the Red Banner and fight back and claim the cities for the people. Further, with increased industrialisation and war raging between different city states, manipulated by different factions, the wild lands in between the cities are increasingly subject to environmental destruction. This bothers Gaia, the denizens of the wilds (primarily the Elf and Merfolk), and increasingly they've been directly intervening in political and military matters in an attempt to end hostilities (but at what cost?).

To muddy the frankly opaque waters, a shadowy secret society of forbidden mages; outlaw princes; arch-criminals; and other desperate sorts, lurk in the background. This Shadow Guild tries to manipulate affairs in their favour. Are they in fact trying to bring about a cataclysm? But what do they want? Riches? Political power? Or something grander or more arcane?

The game takes place in the mansion of a noble, lets call him Loretzi for now. You the player are sent to a gathering hosted by Loretzi. It's to celebrate the recent engagement of his daughter to a high ranking commander in the Imperial Army. You are just one functionary among many invited to the event. The engagement is seen as a tacit acceptance by Loretzi of the Empire, and a step towards his city becoming a member of the Empire in future. At the function he takes aside the most important guests, as well as his daughter and future son in law. Shortly after, you hear a cry. You burst into the inner sanctum of the mansion, to find Loretzi dead! You are foremost an agent of Order and the iron dictates of Order govern your every step. If this is a murder, then the perpetrator must be discovered. The suspects are limited to those in the inner sanctum at the time. You lock the door behind you and start your investigation...

Everything happened so fast, each guest accuses one of the other guests of committing the murder. The player must weigh up the evidence, listen to each account and make a dénouement, accusing one of the guests of committing the crime. The player, knowing the likely outcome of accusing any particular guest will have the option to lie and falsely accuse someone, knowing that their word is law.

There are five suspects, each with a hidden agenda:
1. Loretzi's daughter, secretly a key member of the House of Nobles.
2. The commander, a career soldier in the Empire with a chequered past.
3. Loretzi's goblin manservant, suspected of having ties to the Red Banner.
4. A soft-voiced elf, an honoured representative from a nearby sacred grove.
5. A noble from a rival family, lets call him Panceso, rumoured to practice secret and abhorrent magic.

As you can probably figure out, each of the guests is in some way a representative for each of the five factions. They'll all have something to gain and something to lose from Loretzi's death. I haven't decided the specifics, but I'm thinking at this point that the commander is the murderer. This will give the player an interesting choice because they'll be conflicted between their loyalty to the Empire and their devotion to maintaining order. A secondary conflict might be in whether to falsely declare the murder to be an accident and in so doing attempt to foster a greater peace.

---

Before I go ahead and start implementing this, I've got some questions:

- Is this sufficiently close to the original Misty Nights idea? Does it matter?
- Is the lore close enough to our current conception of the factions and the geopolitical politics in the background of WTactics?
- I've played a bit of Battle for Wesnoth, this project is quite different lore-wise. Is this an issue?
- Does the game sound like it would be fun to play?
- Any suggestions for improvement etc.?
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snowdrop
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Re: Rough Outline

Post by snowdrop » Sat Jan 07, 2012 19:52

Glad to see this and that you have put down some work Jojo! Excellent stuff. :)

Will try to give some input on your concepts:
an Imperial Agent, a sort of diplomat/enforcer type. The land (is the land called Wesnoth?) is split up into warring city states.
Focus on the social/diplomacy and not the "enforcing" ;) We want 0 to 1 combat in the whole story, and it shouldn't focus on slashing etc.

Land is not called Wesnoth, it's a different timeline long before or after whatever is in BfW, so we're not really bound to the Wesnoth universe in that sense... espeically since we use a very different and less classical fantasy setting.
The city states are mostly republics with de facto hereditary rule, ruled by councils drawn from the wealthiest and most influential families in any given city.
Yes.

The thing is that the Empire had most (but not all) of those regions under it's control not too long ago (say 2 - 300 years ago), when the Empire was at it's peak. The Emperor that got it there by conquest and negotiations died for some reason and his son that inherited it all sucked at "Empiring". There were internal power struggles between somebody in the family... maybe mother & son(?) since she recognized he'd undo the empire, but it all ended terribly for her eventually.

Bad leadership alone didn't undo the Empires grasp though: Some kind of black plaguish thing did. It upset most of the continent and 50 - 60% of the humans died, and probably some other species as well, (although Emperor family are humans). Chaos was born due to the plague. Control was slowly lost.

In all of this some regions saw an opportunity to rebel and break free from the Empire. The period was, except for massive amounts of death, a very stagnated one where there was little development. After the plague though and the initial rebuild new discoveries were done that paved the way for something that reminds of primitive industrialization... and we're getting close to the timeline in which WT is actually taking place: Men in power, rich or otherwise nobles, started to see how they could gain wealth and via that power, without being puppets of the Emperor. So some kind of seed planted there in some of their minds, about making a smooth shift in power via the people/markets, and being able to do it without direct confrontation, at least for a while, with the Empire Forces. After all, it would take a while for the Emperor to understand what was going on. In addition, the Nobles fear the many new ideas that got footing after the plague, and for example, don't want a spiritual society since that would give the power to clerics etc.

In any case, the Empire today is only like 20 - 30% power-wise of what it used to be, much like the Roman Empire declined in our world, it did the same. That's where we are at now. Yet, it is a player and it has began to gain strength, slowly.

Code: Select all

Old yet a pointer >>>  The House of Nobles is convinced that the old order of things is the one that pushes the world in the best possible direction. It is gold and the understanding of economical forces behind commerce that will save the species and make the world into a better place. True freedom and development can only be obtained through free commerce. By owning, or be owned. This is apparent to all the noblemen and their allies and such an obvious claim can't ever be questioned. The House only tries to fulfil it's role in the cycle of nature where you must eat or be eaten.
It's duty is to control the masses with every means possible to insure that they start heading on the right path, one that's free from factions, one where the people are at peace, united under the same principles and minding their own business – leaving the world to be governed by those appointed to do so: The noble elite.
The Empire is sort of like the Papal State, they seek to influence the different city states with the intention of bringing them all into a single Empire. They've had some successes, and the time has come such that different city states are called to declare for or against the Empire. A shaky cabal of convenience formed from the noble/mercantile families that hold political sway in the different city states is formed to uphold the status quo. This is the House of Nobles.
Yes, works. =)
While all these power plays are going on, life remains tough for the common man (or goblin!) and the oppressed are starting to band together under the Red Banner and fight back and claim the cities for the people. Further, with increased industrialisation and war raging between different city states, manipulated by different factions, the wild lands in between the cities are increasingly subject to environmental destruction. This bothers Gaia, the denizens of the wilds (primarily the Elf and Merfolk), and increasingly they've been directly intervening in political and military matters in an attempt to end hostilities (but at what cost?).
Great. Gaia also does this very very reluctantly at first, and keep feeling reluctant about getting involved into the political intrigues of man, but understand that it has pragmatic value.

the wild lands in between the cities are increasingly subject to environmental destruction.
There is no post-apocalyptic state yet where a majority of natures resources have gone to shitters, but, in some places nothing growns any longer, in others all the forests have been cut down, and others great dams are built, draining rivers, frustrating human villages and peasants as well as merfolk... Gaia sees clear signs of something that seems to become more frequent. Environemnt isn't destroyed or even close to getting destoryed, but the exploitation of earth is getting more frequent, and their worries are what gets them involved in the worldly matters.
To muddy the frankly opaque waters, a shadowy secret society of forbidden mages; outlaw princes; arch-criminals; and other desperate sorts, lurk in the background. This Shadow Guild tries to manipulate affairs in their favour. Are they in fact trying to bring about a cataclysm? But what do they want? Riches? Political power? Or something grander or more arcane?
Refrain from using/mentioning Shadowguild at all, at least in any explicit way. Their story hasn't been set yet. I think you can write the whole thing just fine without having to introduce them, yet maybe have some subtle remark somewhere that can, later when people know their story (whatever the exact nature of it will be) be connected to them.
The game takes place in the mansion of a noble, lets call him Loretzi for now. You the player are sent to a gathering hosted by Loretzi. It's to celebrate the recent engagement of his daughter to a high ranking commander in the Imperial Army. You are just one functionary among many invited to the event. The engagement is seen as a tacit acceptance by Loretzi of the Empire, and a step towards his city becoming a member of the Empire in future
Nice.

Mansion is a castle or Castle-like... think the most powerful within a city state would have that. We want it to be grandiose, not just a upper-middle-class-housing.
You burst into the inner sanctum of the mansion, to find Loretzi dead! You are foremost an agent of Order and the iron dictates of Order govern your every step. If this is a murder, then the perpetrator must be discovered. The suspects are limited to those in the inner sanctum at the time. You lock the door behind you and start your investigation...
Hrm... make the player more of a political attache instead of a classical investigator/crime fighter. Much would still remain the same, but since the state is still not a part of the empire our player lacks authority and can't act as some kind of police chief/investigator in that respect. Instead he'll have to act more casually and be more spy-like. His real motifs for wanting to know Loretzi are not justice - they are to get to know who is behind the murder since that person, or more likley - his/her employer - are a political threat to the state and empire joining forces. Thus, he must report back to the Emperor (well not personally ; ) about who was likely behind the murder.

That all becomes the main quest in the game. At the same time there are some lesser quests going on, which the player had with him already from the start. They are however "overshadowed" now and become side-quests.
Everything happened so fast, each guest accuses one of the other guests of committing the murder. The player must weigh up the evidence, listen to each account and make a dénouement, accusing one of the guests of committing the crime. The player, knowing the likely outcome of accusing any particular guest will have the option to lie and falsely accuse someone, knowing that their word is law.
Maybe they did get locked up in a room and are interrogated by the city states law enforcerers. Players character would also be interrogated, but also overhear the other interrogations... After that the room is unlocked and everyone are thrown out to the big room to mingle freely, yet, guards have been posted outside so nobody can leave the castle. The lawmakers remain the room and have a meeting where they try to figure out who the assasin is and who to bring for questioning, since it is a delicate matter, as you wrote.

Meanwhile, the player now gets the chance to use whatever he got to know during the "interrogations" + whatever he knew of everyone + what he'll learn to draw a conclusion himself. He will do that eventually after interacing and some puzzling, and when he has done so the lawmakers are finished, and they do of course arrest the wrong person... and game over or something... :P

3. Loretzi's goblin manservant, suspected of having ties to the Red Banner.
Goblins are seen as too lowly to be servants to a human of Loretzis stature.... Loretzi would have had a human servant instead, or even an elf (not that it would be common seeing elvish servants in a non-elvish establishment). If there are Gobos then then they are working the stables, or something else that is more hard working and less social, also where the rich don't have to see "their ugly faces"... :twisted: Else yeah, keep the suspicion that the servant has connections to Banner.

Also, perhaps make the elf appear as having banner sympathies, she could defend the goblin rights in subtle ways etc when having discussions... she would be hones, but in reality she is not affiliated with them.

Panceso is from a rival wealthy family, but why is he there? Maybe Loretzi wanted to rub it in his face, the fact that he was a key player in the union between the Empire and the city, and that it was a sign of Loretzi gettign even more power soon?

Panceso should not be verified as a caster himself. I'd rather have him being a suspected member of a secretive local cult that could supposedly use some dark magic. Or maybe Panceso won't be around at all if we ditch including the Shadowguild in the story.
- Is this sufficiently close to the original Misty Nights idea? Does it matter?
It does not matter, but it is very much in line with what I had hoped for with Misty, if not even better.
- Is the lore close enough to our current conception of the factions and the geopolitical politics in the background of WTactics?
Seems to work.
- I've played a bit of Battle for Wesnoth, this project is quite different lore-wise. Is this an issue?
No, not an issue at all: It's so on purpose. I rather see that we use something like we currently do than the Wesnoth lore.
Does the game sound like it would be fun to play?
Frakk yeah! To me it sounds great. This even made me want to watch some more "Borgias" :D
Any suggestions for improvement etc.?
I would be happy to come with a zillion suggestions further along and/or discuss stuff using voice chat later on, if and when you need that kind of input. :) For now, I only have what little I posted above.

Would be cool if you could get the ball rolling by maybe writing some kind of "biography" for each character, and he player would have it or parts of it available in a "notebook" or whatever... or it coud just be used internally by you when developing the characters and how they act, talk, understand them etc.

Edit: Just a clarification - whatever I write are suggestions. In the end it is always up to the person doing the work. That said however, there must always be some kind of coherency and standards for something to be an official part of the WT project ;) ..but that's stuff that we can always agree on when discussing.
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