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Article - 'Community Idea Pool #1' by Guest

An item about Plots/Characters posted on Aug 9, 2003

Blurb

The first of Mr. Y's new CIP articles for gamemakers working on their stories.

Body

The Community Idea Pool is an idea I started on the forums, but I am now adapting it to article format for Gaming World. People would send in tips to writing storylines, or ideas for storylines they had. I may also write my own submissions to add myself, in case I get ideas for storyline bits, but I will not write any tips to writing stories or plots- those tips are reserved for whatever gamemaking articles I may someday churn out. Anyways, these submissions can just be sent to me via Private Message on Gaming World- please, NO e-mails, as I don't check my e-mail too often anyways. When I gather 10-15 submissions, I wrap them up in an article and I add to Gaming World. Each submitter gets their name mentioned clearly for every submission they added. Also, I may narrate and add notes in some places about ideas and tips to give my own opinion on some submissions.





With all the explaining finished, let's jump right into it with some ideas I've gathered from the old Community Idea Pool on the forums!



Psi

If you have an annoying Demi-Villain (like Ultros from FF6), then have him accidentally save the day at some mad moment (then you kick his ass when he picks a fight)




I think this would work best in the less-serious RPGs in development, as I dislike cute little reappearing mini-bosses coming again and again to just waste 5 minutes of the player's time.



Grandragora

The main villain falls in love with the main girl and tries to capture her. But her spirit changes the main villain and he ends up helping you. And then another dark spirit engulfs him and he kills the main girl. Then he feels eternal guilt.



Tell me i am not teh MAEN MAN!!!




I am a bit unsure about your idea Grandragora, sorry :P. Perhaps this may be okay for the ending of a game, but isn't it a little anti-climatic when the main character (assuming it isn't the girl) doesn't have a part in it? Perhaps the villain could be manipulated into returning to old ways for a final battle with the hero, or maybe the villain agrees to help the hero fight the new 'dark spirit'?



CouchFiend

Heres one Idea I had but never used, the names aren't well worked out and are completely random.



Alex is a warrior of some sort, a bounty hunter perhaps. Rena is his girlfriend. There is a werewolf loose in his town, and a few days later the werewolf dissapears. So does Rena. Alex jumps to the conclusion that the werewolf killed his girl. Alex is all depressed and shit now. Then, about a week or two later there are reports of werewolf attacks from another neighboring town. Alex travels there, and volunteers to find this werewolf(Vengeance!!!). Alex finds the werewolf, fights it, and then kills it. When he kills it, it turns into his girlfriend, and he realizes he screwed up big time, then he kills himself.



For you slow people, Rena was the werewolf, and ran away while in werewolf-ness whatever. Then she was in some other town, and she awoke not knowing where she was, and thus stayed there kinda freaked out. then the rest of the story commences. I like that idea, but will never use it. IT IS AWESOME!!!




I like this idea quite a bit, though I don't know how the story could continue in an RPG using this. Perhaps it could be used as backstory, like a child of Alex and Rena discovering innate werewolf abilities and the story of his/her own parents?



calin

A young boy, his mother and sister are taken during the night from their wealthy estate, leaving his father on a desperate search.



Later, the fleeing captors are caught off guard, and after a desperate struggle they end up being forced to make the decision of whom to leave behind. They leave it to the boy, telling him that he must choose which of the two should live; his mother, or his sister. Time is short and he chooses his sister and then is forced to kill his own mother with a silver axe to save his sister’s life.



After some time they are found, the captors dead; the boy bloodied, wrapped around his dying sister. He retells the events to his anguished father, who, enraged by what he has done, disowns him soon after and the boy is left alone with but a few belongings strapped on to his back.



He broods and slowly goes mad, the only two thing in his mind; revenge and the death of his father.




Wow. That boy would need a LOT of convincing to have to kill one family member to save another. But, this idea does have some good possibilities. Why did the boy have to kill the family member, instead of the captors just doing so? And why the silver axe? Also, why did the captors strike? Could the family have had some powerful, magical, royal blood in them? All of these are possibilities of storyline you can exploit, not mentioning the future confrontation of father and son ^_^.



Mr. Y

A farm boy has inherited a huge farm from his dead family [killed by bad guy? Or natural death?], and turned it into a huge production. His farm and the nearby village are isolated by mountains and seas, but fortunately the boy's farm keeps everyone fed and working. Unfortunately, when the city's mayor works to modernize the city by opening new trade routes through the mountains, the village is eventually conquered by greedy nearby neighbors. All the young were slaughtered, and the farm was burnt to the ground. Also, the remaining families were dispersed across an empire, and new people of other cultures and areas were forced into the village. The farm boy escaped capture and death, and now decides to find some allies to destroy the greedy empire that destroyed his home. The problem? As the game continues, the boy makes many allies that help him eventually destroy the empire, but the problem is that they do it for radical, different reasons! And when the enemy is defeated, the boy soon turns against his former allies that turn out worse than the evil empire.




Now that I look back on this idea, it DOES seem a little cliche, and oddly reminds me of Harvest Moon games. Ho hum.



Shinan

You're a mercenary who comes a town (or city somewhere), there you do a couple of things for money (get rid of the robbers that have been pestering the lands, help with the harvest etc. etc.) and after this the game ends (or you could go to another town... possibly a couple of towns with some kind of story slowly interwoven with it)




A simple game concept that, IMO, would probably have to lean heavily on emotional backstory to have any semblance of a plot. But hey, I do like this non-linear kind of game idea :).



Shinan

Another idea is something loosely based upon "A song of Ice and Fire" by George R.R. Martin. With you being a commander of some place and stuff happening all around you, political intrigues, assassinated lords. You neve know when you're next. And at the same time you need to keep your people happy and choose you allies carefully...




I really like this idea, and I'd like to see much more of it :D. The idea of characters you embraced turning traitor on the hero, and of dread of great armies and manipulative politicians and generals... this one idea could be the beginning of a really great game.



Shinan

Another idea that I just got (although I might use it myself feel free to be inspired by it) is a world that has been more or less destroyed (dumb war or other catastrophe) and due to some odd reason there are monsters that always come out at night. The people live in old bunkers and city ruins and hide in small spaces when it's dark, sometimes it can even be dark for many days. And cold is it too, the sun i slowly fading away and there's monsters everywhere...



This should really be done with a post-apocalyptic feel, with autoguns and monsters that you can't see but are there... in the night somewhere... Preferably with a day-night system with you have to get in some hiding place when the sun sets 8^)

wohoo.. this could be a cool and scary movie too 8^)




Another very nice idea :D. A little cliche, but it's mixed in with some cool post-apocalyptic themes to make a cool game setting. However, how much would the monsters affect the plot itself?



kermit the toad

When you have writer's block...write about having writer's block. It's a bit stupid (and possibly even cliche, I have no idea) and probably won't produce anything genius...but at least it will get the juices flowing again.




I do this myself whenever I get stuck on ideas, along with exercising and eating. All three of these activities really help my mind drift onto fresh ideas and material to use :D.



Belross

So many fantasy stories! Man you guys are single-minded. Here's one that I was planning on using, but it seems that project is dead (regretfully, because I thought it was a good concept.)



According to the history of the game, around 60 years ago there was a massive disaster on Earth which basically rendered the entire planet unfit for human life. It took out most of the human population, but fortunately, by this time there were numerous independent colonies around the solar system. The largest colony on the Moon quickly formed a new government, the Lunar Alliance, and took control of the survivors.



The game is oriented around a man named Grendel. He used to be a Gunner (basically a specialist trained to handle pretty much any weapon, from sidearms to laser cannon arrays) in the Lunar Alliance Navy. He lives peacefully in a small orbital colony around Earth, along with most of his family, until one day a large band of illegals (ok, they're space pirates, sue me for being cliche ) attacks the colony and pretty much decimates it. Grendel escapes... but his family does not.



A while later, Grendel learns that the attack on his colony could have easily been prevented if it hadn't been for the currupt Lunar Alliance government. He is so upset by this, that he turns traitor and joins a violent underground rebel group.



After that, he gets himself into a shitload of trouble. He commits various terrorist acts in the name of "revolution", and soon is one of the most wanted men in human space. The government launchs an intensive effort to eliminate Grendel's rebel group, and they succeed, until Grendel finds himself on the lam for his life.



All of that, mind you, is intended to be backstory, not actually played in the game. The actual game is supposed to start around this point. (according to how I had planned it, but if you use any of this it doesn't matter.)



After a while of evading the authorities, Grendel is now hiding aboard an interplanetary cargo hauler, with the police close behind. It seems like he is doomed to be captured... but then Araneus arrives.



Araneus is another space pirate. He's not the worst of them, and usually doesn't commit serious crimes like murder, but he steals, cheats, and wiggles his way across the star system in various illegal ways. He came upon the ship Grendel is currently stowed upon, with the intent of hijacking its cargo, but when Grendel and Araneus meet, Araneus soon learns that the police are already almost on top of the cargo hauler. So... he escapes, and takes Grendel along too.




This is a VERY good example of backstory, as well as a slow but interesting introduction (a rarity) and what could be the bonding of two close allies in the future, or perhaps two hateful rivals squaring off until the game's finish. Again, a very good futuristic theme, even with the bit of cliche on space pirates and the destruction of the ideal home at the beginning :D.



With the minimum of 10 ideas or tips, that concludes this lengthy edition of the Community Idea Pool. Please take an active part in this and help it grow!