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Author Topic: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?  (Read 22121 times)
BobBobson
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« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2011, 01:25:57 AM »

Do You think our starting location ideas can be merged?

In the most basic elements? Well, your locale is more of a new, almost Native American 'tribal' settlement, whereas my idea is more of a settlement clinging desperately onto the ideas of how society should work from the past.

But in terms of 'should we guiltlessly steal ideas from each other?'...of course! You've come up with some brilliant stuff - and from my perspective, at least, it'd be a shame not to bounce this stuff around acculumating other thoughts.
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BobBobson
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« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2011, 01:32:49 PM »

*The President in his Bunker* (Quest idea)



*



"At 12.31 a.m., the Prime Minister of Norway and 124 aides, bodyguards and government workers made it safely into the Third Haven. The door was sealed shut from the inside.



At 12.42 a.m., the sound and impact of a large nuclear blast from outside was observed. The presence of others outside - who had wished to enter the Third Haven - was observed no longer. The Prime Minister made a speech to all assembled, and preparations were made to try and contact Oslo through the emergency hotline. The emergency hotline was found to be unworking. The Prime Minister ordered all who were not directly involved with communication to the outside world or food supplies to find a bunk below and try to get some sleep. In the morning, it was agreed, three specialists in radiation suits would venture outside in order to explore the surroundings and make contact with any nearby survivors."



*



The player can eventually come across an underground entrance, fused shut, and attempt to open it from the outside. Inside, they realise, the bunker is truly enormous - and marked with the symbol of the (fictional - the real PM from 1988's still alive. Cool and edgy though it would be, best not to get a blood libel going.) Prime Minister of Norway. There are scratch markings on the door interior, and old, gnawed bones littering the chilly bunker corridors.



As the player goes deeper, the huge bunker's purpose becomes clear - a place where the entire Norwegian government could function safely, in the case of nuclear war, with adequate food and water supplies for a very long time. But the food seems to have been consumed. Official records, kept by several aides, seem to make it clear that 124 government workers, and the Prime Minister made it into the bunker, but discovered after the blast, to their horror, that they could not escape or contact the ruined outside world...and as the player explores further, they find diaries, scrawled on the backs of secret documents, and even on the walls, addressed to,



'My loyal and beloved citizens of Norway'.



Further and further in, and the journal entries become more manic; they speak of a 'great patriotic sacrifice' - far more recent scrawlings refer to 'an invader' (you) and 'the traitor Hedda', who apparently began a treacherous uprising against the established order. The player becomes aware of crude traps placed in their way. Occasionally they will encounter a ravening lunatic, who may speak to them before attacking, or flee. There are also signs that some of the newer corpses may have been eaten.



Finally, they encounter an ancient, emaciated madman, in the farthest corner of the bunker, who claims to be the Prime Minister of Norway. He has survived for 20 years, as the others have, through cannibalism since the food supplies ran out - and the agreement that he should be the very last to be eaten.



The meeting will be interrupted by Hedda, as elderly and almost as mad as the Prime Minister himself, who's turned murderous against him. The Prime Minister responds,



"We were trapped; our rescuers could have come any day. Some had to die. Not all had to die. And if anyone was going to be last, it had to be me. If anyone could have united this country again - if anyone could have rebuilt it - it would have been its leader. Tell me, Hedda, that I shouldn't have been the last to go. Tell me I was selfish, and cowardly, and not taking on the responsibility of our nation's future. Tell me I don't bear the weight of those who died...those patriots, who allowed themselves to be consumed for the good of their country...tell me I don't feel their suffering, Hedda."



The player can take either character's side, trap the Prime Minister in the bunker for good, or help either character out into the open. If they do so, Hedda/the Prime Minister will not last long in the cold.



*Aims*



A slightly outlandish, dark 'vault'-dungeon story that doesn't feel *too* Fallout. First and foremost, no mention of 'vaults', the word is bunker. Secondly, it's government-military. Thirdly, by having that very real connection to the past and how much has changed in the instant the bombs hit.

And...well, it's also a chance to play around with ideas of patriotism, isn't it? At what point does a nation's leader cease to be any more important than another human being? And then there's the rather cool idea of having the most important person in the nation...sinking to the level of a savage animal.

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zenbitz
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« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2011, 11:20:37 PM »

Jiminy Crickets this is all great stuff.  I particularly like an ancient crazy David Bowie (or is it just a DAVID BOWIE FAN...) psychopathically slaughtering people.   Maybe we could have the PC align with Billy Idol to stop him!

Some minor issues:  Stockholm is a HUGE city.  Think about how hard it would be to model in the game.   That doesn't mean we cannot use it, or that the parts you outlined aren't good - but it's something we have to consider.  For this reason, I hated the "San Francisco" area in FO2.  New Reno was at least.... tolerable in it's sillyness.


*Accelerated apocalypse – getting you the nuclear holocaust YOU want, fast* (Background suggestion)
I noticed that every historical timeline that’s been played with has set up years and years of alternate history leading up to a tyrant in Russia causing a nuclear holocaust. As another possibility, how do we feel about, rather than creating a strictly alternate historical background that goes back several years, we take one moment that went, from an anti-Soviet point of view, magnificently well...and make it go horribly wrong, fast?
 
Quote
I.e., 9 November 1989 - as East German protestors attempt, in their thousands, to break down the Berlin Wall, one soldier fires a shot. It remains unclear if he's given orders by his superiors, or if he simply panics; but the crowd goes wild, some attempting to flee back, others trying to reach the wall first, some trying to attack the soldiers in righteous fury. Some are trampled; the soldiers open fire on the crowd. As some East Germans scramble over the partly demolished wall into West Berlin, the guards fire after them into US Territory. An American captain is hit; his comrades return fire.
 
From there matters escalate quickly. Neither Bush nor Gorbachev want a full-on war, but in the chaos, nobody has any real idea what's happening. As US, French and British soldiers attempt to hold a watchtower on the wall to protect the civilians from East German fire, Gorbachev is told that American troops have invaded East Berlin. Rioting and violence breaks out amongst the youth in the remaining satellite states; disorder reigns. A false report reaches Bush that a nuclear missile has been sent into flight, heading for London. He orders the launch of US missiles against strategic positions in China and Russia. Gorbachev, pressurised by his aides and the Russian army, retaliates.
 
Essentially, an 'apocalypse' which is nobody's fault - which came about through chaos and miscommunication, and which takes place at an iconic moment in history. Ordinary people in the game, of course, will have no idea about any of this. All they know is that, just as things started going right, something went wrong.
 
The whole issue of 'were there really ever enough nuclear weapons to destroy all of society?' can be dealt with in-game. Our position could be that there were, in fact, a great many more missiles than any government left on. Characters could even then dispute the fact that they didn't think it could have really ever happened.

Here the draw back with this situation, because you are not the first to suggest it... why would anyone nuke Stockholm in this situation?  Or Helsinki for that matter?  It's makes no sense.  Back when this game first started I did a bunch of "research" (in the internet sense of the world) about Soviet plans, and it seemed MOST plausible to me that if you want to REALLY, REALLY wreck a place, you need to have something like a biologicial/chemical war on top of a nuclear war on top of a conventional war.  So, I can see (thematically) why it makes sense for the Apocalypse to be no one's (or rather "everyones") fault (kind of like WWI), but it really needs to escalate into complete and utter nuclear and biological mad-dog insanity.
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zenbitz
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« Reply #18 on: January 26, 2011, 11:32:53 PM »

Quote
By the way, if you wish to keep the setting realistic, then there's no water except below extremely thick ice. 20 years of winter is enough to freeze the entire Baltic Sea. The Gulf of Finland alone freezes every winter and icebreakers are needed to keep the ship lines open.

Only partially true!  I mean, the latter part is true - and is actually somewhat important to parpg setting.  But I think that for OUR purposes (and we control the amount of climate change) it's has not been 20 years of winter.  Maybe ~10 years of nuclear winter, and then some warming for 10 years and then it's starts to get colder.

Hey, I just found this via google: http://portal.fma.fi/sivu/www/baltice

and this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baltic_Sea#Sea_ice

We might want to assume that the "first" parpg winter (2010 or whatever) is just a "Severe" winter (but with most of the Baltic NOT covered in Ice) but subsequently the ice coverage grows - so that by the end of the game (2016??? really no idea here) the whole baltic would be frozen to the Danish straights (but the more open ocean to the west maybe just has ice pak).

See http://wiki.parpg.net/Encroachment_of_Ice_Age for more about crossing the Baltic as a plot element.
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zenbitz
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« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2011, 12:26:46 AM »

The president in the bunker idea isn't bad.  It needs some kind of twist though.
Like maybe there are two crazy old guys each one thinks/pretends he is the President of Norway.

And of course, they are both lying.
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BobBobson
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« Reply #20 on: January 28, 2011, 01:55:07 PM »

Cheers, zen; I like all of your suggestions, understand all of your reservations...hopefully we'll get a chance to chat about some of them on IRC at some point.

And, of course, here's some more wall of text.



A couple of play-arounds with zenbitz' profession 'origins' as it were - the trick with these, I'm thinking, has to be to get the player character to the 'starting point', giving them as much of a character and a background as possible in the process, as well as the potential for a couple of later origin-specific side-quests, while retaining as little lasting baggage as possible. Each origin has to be broad enough to include a number of professions, and the possibility of the player being a nasty jerk or a saint. And - hardest of all - each one has to be equally engaging and have an equal amount of love and detail put into it. It'd be too easy to end up with one origin that the writers love and obsess over and one that becomes a glossed-over 'type'. With that in mind, I only had a go at the ones where something leapt out at me straight away.



*



(General New Blood thoughts)



(A different style of language to the Old Bloods. I'd suggest more slang (working out a 'slang' list would be great fun), slangy names rather than traditional Scandanavian ones. And, as zenbitz says, a different attitude - more practical, potentially more amoral.)



*



*New Blood Tribals*



"Crunt! Fuckers got a machine-gun mounted on a sled.We going to make a run for it, or what?"

Tak



The player opens their eyes in a natural dog-hole of snow, gunshots and screams echoing all around them. Beside them, Tak, a member of their tribe, is wounded in the leg and complaining. Through dialogue, it quickly becomes clear that the menfolk (and a few womenfolk, too) of the player's tribe have set out to try and pillage some much-needed supplies from a neighbouring tribe...but things have gone horribly wrong. Caught in an ambush, being massacred, Tag speculates that they've been betrayed. Here we can also have some profession-specific dialogue, i.e., a medical practitioner could try and bandage up Tak's leg, a mechanic could ruminate on the mysterious breakdown of their own sled, etc.



As the victorious other tribe leaves the scene of the battle, to raid the player's village, the player can finally leave the dog-hole (I'm uncertain whether Tak could be a long-term player companion or if he'd be better off being a victim of 'Introductory NPC Killing-Off Syndrome at some point) and explore the battlefield. A chance to loot bodies, perform mercy kills, attempt to find out which body is missing - i.e., who could have betrayed the tribe; even attack a group of enemy stragglers, hide from them, or attempt to bluff your way past them by pretending to be a member of the same tribe. The player can head back to their village, now being smashed apart by the enemy tribe, to attempt to rescue the womenfolk and children, to grab some of their own equipment, or to fight the tribesmen. Sneaking in to grab their stuff is relatively easy, but in attempt to attack the tribesmen head on/save all the women and children will end in death...well, almost certain death. Tak can warn the player about this, and instead suggest they head north to try and find a friendly settlement.



...and so the player enters the game proper.



The enemy tribe's stronghold will be visitable on the world map throughout the game, and the slaves rescuable...so long as the player survives what is essentially a suicide mission. I also like the idea - though I don't know how practicable it would be - of a timer on the situation of the slaves; if the player rescues them early on, they'll happily revolt and still be strong enough to do so. If the player waits too long, some of them will have died - but more will have married into the tribe and forgotten who the player is.



*New Blood - Wild*



"Wolf-boy. Saw one of these out in the woods south of Oslo once. Little shit's barely even human."

Hunter



I had a think about this and I actually do like this idea a lot - but its success would be contigent on whether or not we allow non-dialogue in, er, dialogue. My point is, we can compellingly create a 'child raised by wolves' scenario with something like 'Wolf: (Old Grey stares at you. Then, gently, he touches his snout against your wrist. It's a submissive gesture. For now, at least, you've won)' but you can't do it with 'Wolf: Arrroooo!'. It also relies on being realistic - I'm actually thinking 'child lives alongside wolves' rather than 'raised by wolves'. Closer to Shaun Ellis than Romulus and Remus - the player is suffered to live with them, running with the pack, occasionally coming into conflict with the big males, eating their food...but the wolves must always remain wild animals rather than faithful doggy companions.



The player wakes in a heap of fur on the floor of an old abandoned shack. A few tattered books remain around the hut from which, it is suggested, the player's learnt a small amount of reading and writing. As the wolves doze, the player can interact with them, help themselves to a reindeer carcass, etc. The player will have around their neck an old golden keepsake - they don't understand its significance, but feel that it's important.



Once outside in the snow, the player and the pack will attempt to hunt a reindeer - but are attacked by hunters. Shots ring out; the pack flees. The player can run with them, or attempt to stand and fight. As the pack is gunned down, the player is knocked to the ground. The hunters, finding nothing of worth on the player, snatch the keepsake and crack the player unconscious.



The player wakes a second time - amongst the tortured, skinned bodies of their pack. Only one body is missing (leading to a gentle sidequest in which the player can later track down the last pack member, who's become a grizzled, aging lone wolf). With nowhere to go, the player heads south and into the game proper...and, should they choose to track the hunters down and retrieve the keepsake, they can enter a quest in which they discover the identity of their parents and how they came to be abandoned to the wild...



The issue with this is dialogue. Do we want a whole sub-set of 'primitive' dialogue for a player who's been raised in the wild and cannot, therefore, speak fluently?



*Oldsters - Civilized*



"A man's got to eat, doesn't he? So he's got to work, he's got to use his hands. Tell me, kid...what are your hands prepared to do in order to feed your mouth?"

Gamel



I really, really like the idea of having a 'mundane' set-up that's just as involving and exciting as the action-y ones - think the plight of the dockworkers in The Wire. The player doesn't head into the game proper because the baddie murders their village or they get given a quest...they head out because there's no work in their town and they can't afford to buy anything.



The lumber mill where the player works is being closed down by Larsson, its owner, who claims it's going out of business because he can no longer afford to run it. As Larsson makes the announcement, the player's fellow workers complain and groan. Some of them say they'll head east to try and find work (hint, hint); some mutter that Larsson's hoarding cash and supplies for himself. The player fast finds that food is rapidly becoming unaffordable.



The player can head out with the streams of unemployed workers...or sneak into Larsson's house and try to steal from him/murder him. There isn't, as it turns out, that much money there, and the player will then find themselves hunted by the local law enforcement, causing them to flee into the wilderness and into the game proper. Desperation can also drive them to find unethical work in the town with Gamel, leader of a local gang of criminals, depending on their profession - a medic gets hired to torture a prisoner, a war veteran, obviously, is the muscle, a scientist might be asked to water down a drug shipment with dodgy ingredients to make it last longer. Eventually they will be given the chance to get paid work with Gamel's higher-ups in a larger settlement, leading them...you guessed it...into the game proper.

























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Gaspard
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« Reply #21 on: January 28, 2011, 05:41:35 PM »

I haven't the time right this moment to reply, but just to have it out in the writing forums:
I think the character origins could (should) have an impact throughout the game - as dialogue options + else.
Like in Fallout 2 the NPCs addressed the PC as "tribal" 'til the very end of the game, sadly it had no real effect on gameplay...
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rowanthepreacher
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« Reply #22 on: January 28, 2011, 05:42:50 PM »

I'm not so sure it should. THat would essentially lock you into some things, which sounds a bit... like a class.
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zenbitz
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« Reply #23 on: January 28, 2011, 09:51:43 PM »

I actually just wrote this in the Gameplay art.  But only on my draft copy.
I think that your origin should influence how others view you.  This means both "reputation" and general "get-along-ness" but also can influence dialog options/branches/text.

It's really up to the individual quest/dialog writer as to how much this (or any other "mod") effects the branch.
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Gaspard
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« Reply #24 on: January 29, 2011, 01:34:34 AM »

I'm not so sure it should. THat would essentially lock you into some things, which sounds a bit... like a class.

why class ? if you're an oldster then you're "from before" and doesn't matter whether you're a car mechanic or a peddler (more of a class class) - you're still an oldster. I would think it interesting if certain characters take that into account when dealing with you.

also - what zenbitz said - it's up to the writers how much effect the origin has on any given situation or dealings with a given char
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rowanthepreacher
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« Reply #25 on: January 29, 2011, 02:04:50 AM »

Very true. My objection isn't particularly strong, so i'll withdraw it.
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molchsender
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« Reply #26 on: January 31, 2011, 01:46:08 PM »

*Accelerated apocalypse – getting you the nuclear holocaust YOU want, fast* (Background suggestion)
I noticed that every historical timeline that’s been played with has set up years and years of alternate history leading up to a tyrant in Russia causing a nuclear holocaust. As another possibility, how do we feel about, rather than creating a strictly alternate historical background that goes back several years, we take one moment that went, from an anti-Soviet point of view, magnificently well...and make it go horribly wrong, fast?

We came close to nuclear war several times. I noticed the wiki mentions "Able Archer", which might have been the closest shave, in 1983. Apparently, the Soviets were afraid that NATO would strike first. And at the time, I considered that likely, too. Those were the Reagan years, after all.
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BobBobson
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« Reply #27 on: January 31, 2011, 04:27:30 PM »

A tatty faction proposal and an NPC proposal below; I hope - nay, expect - that anyone who reads the 'Ubermensh' joke will groan and put their head in their hands.


http://wiki.parpg.net/Mensh

http://wiki.parpg.net/Konstantin_Ekk
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BobBobson
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« Reply #28 on: February 01, 2011, 05:30:12 PM »

MORE!

I'm just starting to consider the nature of factions now, and play with ideas for that...because actually, the specifics of the plot and characters will all bleed into the factions, the little societies that inform the social/cultural landscape of the game...

http://wiki.parpg.net/Hvalbyen - a water-based settlement controlling trade and policing the waters in the strait of Skagerrak.
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rowanthepreacher
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« Reply #29 on: February 01, 2011, 06:49:09 PM »

You have inspired me Bobson. I'll get to work on my faction idea sometime.
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