Dashed Expectations

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 Post subject: Dashed Octopath
PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:16 am 
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Hey guys. So I got bored and I've been roleplaying and I decided I had an idea of sorts that will cure my boredom some, get me some practice, and possibly be the kind of fun that it might be worth giving a try, depending on what you think.

Octopath inspired me as well as a few things I've been thinking about recently, and I also thought I had a roadblock of sorts: I've just been getting too into my head with my creative stuff. I have a private character document, more failed prologues than I want to count, and just...well... Suffice it to say, I wanted to take on something I would not necessarily choose to do.

I'm going to try a collaborative story, although how collaborative it is will largely depend on you.

I have come up with a setting. This setting, as with the RPs we usually ran on this forum, will be a somewhat anime-esque fantasy with rules that are lax enough that they can be played with indulgently but not so light that they do not exist. This means it will shamelessly, aimlessly incorporate science fiction, fantasy, and anything I happen to like or that you tell me that you do. I do not have a lot of rules thought out and I will attempt to communicate them below:

Every good fantasy setting needs magic, and I believe any setting interested in trying to do better than good ought to flavor it. So this setting has two nouns that have a particular significance: patrons and favor(s). In this world, people are born who have the ability to bestow power onto anybody else. The flavor for how this works is a bit vague for now but I believe with DNA testing or other things like that, it is possible to predict who is a patron and who is not. All a patron can do is bestow power and each patron has some associated flavor in terms of how they do it and what they are able to grant.

A person who a patron chooses to grant power to gains a Favor, Favor, or Favors (it's sort of loose and can be used interchangeably depending on what contextually makes more sense). Favors are essentially superpowers that enable someone to do a thing they could not do as a mere human (or ghost, or cat boy, or mermanatee...you'll see?). It is a goal of many in this setting to either be a patron and to get a follower who will make you famous, or to find a patron and get the power to do what you need to. This has implications that should become clear as the story develops but I'll say for now that I do not know what they are in detail yet.

Additionally, a trading card game is played in this setting. Don't worry; if the thought is horrifying, it is possible we'll never encounter it or that you'll be able to encounter it in controlled doses. The game is called Rite: The Supplication, for now, and I will not be explaining how it works unless a certain choice is made.



This brings me to the actual game, and what I'm really asking you all to participate in, or at least seeing if this is something that would be interesting:

I have roughly made up eight characters and I will put them out before you here. Any one or all of them can be the main, depending. I would like it if a vote could be had as to which one the story should begin with; from there, I will attempt to complete a chapter for that character which will encompass at least a single significant plot beat that will point that character in another direction. The chapter will not likely be done in one post; I'll explain what I have in mind a bit lower down. These eight characters were made with a certain gimmick in mind that helped me come up with them; in theory they should not be characters I would have picked to write. That's part of my challenge. I'll list them below:


---------------------------------

Without further ado, the selections. I like them all a lot, worked on them I guess for two days now, and so I hope you do too.

Character 1 is Isabella Strong. She was once the regional champion at the card game Rite: The Supplication, a game in which each player stands behind an Altar, conjures creature, charm, and conveniences by calling to a benefactor, and tries to destroy the other player's Altar. The game was created by Fulfilling Figments, LLC, and has been around long enough that you can take classes on the game's history at actual schools. Isabella's championship was quite short-lived, and her fall came a week after, when a strange duelist challenged her to a duel and publicly humiliated by using a very strange deck. Although the match was not official, everyone saw Isabella's loss; her fame was over, sponsors began to tell her they were no longer interested. The official duel she lost to another person was a formality, although she lost that one as well, and then her career was really over.

As the story opens, Isabella has nothing other than her deck; she bounces from motel, to store, to motel, trying to subsist. She has not forgotten her glory days though. She has not forgotten that she is destined to win. Above all, she has not forgotten that it is the strong who survive - all others will crumble in their own time. Her first chapter is the day she resolves to stop putting up with her life, and to claw her way back to the top. A comeback story to remember! A thrilling rival or two, perhaps, that we will meet one day.

Isabella's Action is Duel. If it is requested, Isabella can challenge any NPC she meets to a game of Rite: The Supplication. They do not HAVE to accept, but the tone of this story means that, so long as this Action is not suggested in a way that would waste time or be impossible to duel, if people ask - it will be time to duel. Isabella has no Favors. It is possible she might have a sponsor or friend from her heyday who would grant her one, but Isabella has an uphill climb if she wants to do anything but play card games. Her deck is themed around conquistadors; I believe the official deck name for her will be the Conquistadores Cinque.

One side detail about that card game though: it really is old; in this setting, it can be played to resolve disputes and the results are considered binding. While the card game is still a bit strange to the people in the world who do not tune in to the professional games and such, the people who have card decks have all generally agreed that the word of the game is law. It's acquired the sniff of superstition over the years. One wonders why they believe it.


Character 2 is Ethan Kestrel. He lives with his Aunt Mei. He has lived with her for as long as he can remember; his parents were lost under mysterious circumstances. Ethan is of that class of young man (young human, really) that I assume we all have some familiarity with: he is living at home with his elderly aunt and believes it's time to leave the nest. He works a delivery job to make spending money; the only issue with being a delivery boy is that you never quite know just...who you're delivering to. There's another issue as well, but it would be such a shame to put too many dark clouds over young Ethan.

Ethan has a dream: he wants to open a comic book store. This setting has comic book heroes of the sort we are familiar with, although, of course, none of them are ones we would quite recognize. They serve a very important function in this world: because to get by, people must beg patrons for power or patrons must beg people to accept their Favor, it is empowering to imagine a person who is strong entirely on his own, and who is special without depending on a distant patron. Ethan is especially fond of Dyna-Mite, an underdog hero who never quite gets the large comic book runs other heroes get. Dyna-Mite is a shrinking superhero who claims to have the proportional strength of dynamite; it is entirely unclear what this would mean, but he punches quite hard.

Ethan's Action is Trade. He may attempt to offer anything he has for something that another person has. This may seem underwhelming, but Ethan is earnest and I do think there is something to his dream - I won't tell you if there is a dramatic success rate for this or something, but if Ethan is going to operate that store he wants, he'll have to trade. Ethan has no Favor, but I promise you this will not last for long.


Character 3 is Linda, short for Lyndis Martha Roycewell von Elliwoode d'Hectare (the d is kind of silent and, really, please call her Linda). The d'Hectare family line is quite old, and was quite celebrated some time ago; nowadays, it's a pretty vestigial bloodline. This was just a bit unavoidable. The d'Hectares were knights and cavaliers, shamans and priests, and generals and myrmidons; there was really no place for them once mankind stopped seeing a real use in the kind of war you win by hitting people with swords and axes and lances. Now all they are is Linda, the sole heir, with only an old man living in the attic who might be her father (it makes sense in context), who otherwise has no job, no friends, and up until now, no hobby. A person could go mad that way.

Well...maybe a person did. Linda is quite eccentric and has found a new obsession of sorts: a stone ring. The ring once was filled in the center, but the hole is seamless. Linda was so taken with it that she promptly became a desperate fangirl of all things that cannot easily be explained. She had to have it dated at once. Scientists told her though that the ring is actually not any number of years old at all. It does not seem to age. Linda called Mister Treadlight, her long-suffering manservant, and told him to dust the library immediately. It was time to find out where the ring came from. It was time to find out how many things out there nobody knows about.

She's quite excited. Aren't you?

Linda's action is Nerd Out - by getting worked up and excited over her own obsessions, Linda is able to coax people who similarly have passions to reveal them. Linda is a patron, meaning she has no powers of her own. She may grant them though, and has granted them to Mister Treadlight, who as a result does have a Favor and will not allow her to be harmed.


Character 4 is Tae; her race orders it last name, first name, and her full name is Manna Tae. She is a proud member of the F'shtan, one of several non-human races. (I am toying with thoughts on the races but I'm keeping hands off for the time being). The F'shtan and humans developed side by side on the sea and land, respectively, and each was so in command of their spheres that neither was able to consistently exploit or dominate the other. Things were rough at first, as they will always be, but eventually the F'shtan and humans realized neither one wanted the other one's turf.

However, just because the races "get along" does not mean they have a perfect relationship. The F'shtan are renowned for their unbelievable genetic versatility; there are some members out there who are wholly unique, and in a world run in part by people who collect followers to empower...well. Everyone wants to own something beautiful. After surfacing too far from F'shtan territory at the wrong time and running afoul of a slaver ship, Tae turns out to have been one such curiosity, now a part of the collection of the elusive Madame Catfish. She wants her freedom, she wants payback against four specific individuals responsible for her predicament, and she dreams of world conquest.

Her Action is "Perform". If it is requested, Tae will attempt to do something eye-catching to perform; Tae is, however, "performing" with air quotes. What will instead occur is that Tae will do something impossible to ignore by everyone in the area. Tae possesses a single Favor from a patron back in her home country, which will likely not be strong but it is all she has. Madame Catfish is a patron also, so Tae may earn another Favor.


Character 5 is Effy...short for Ephemera!!! She’s working on a longer name which will be her pen name, but she just hasn’t got it quite right yet. Effy is a ghost. You might be surprised to know this, but even in this setting, a ghost is strange. A ghost could be created with a Favor of some kind, perhaps, but Effy believes herself to be a ghost that happened to exist already. People would call that flatly impossible if Effy spoke to people; the ghost thing makes that hard. Effy, as long as she is able to remember, has been bound to a single old house in a far back, sleepy cul-de-sac on the outskirts of a big city. To leave, she must prove she is ready, a task which is going to end up being quite open-ended because it entails convincing, a very open-ended verb.

She hasn’t been ready for a while though. In the meantime, she has become a curiosity to the children in the neighborhood, who do not know what she is and whose parents always think they are lying. Her memory is both cut off at a point, and generally hazy; for some reason, up until her story begins, she has not really been remembering things well. To explain what I mean: she believes she has seen the children she knows grow up, but she has no precise memories of it. Furthermore, unlike most ghosts you would expect, Effy does not know what she was when she was alive. This actually does not wholly concern her though - she just wants to be a best-selling author of strange fiction, all the stranger because it will be written by an amnesiac ghost.

Effy’s Action is Read - For some reason, Effy is able to detect auras on objects, and she is able to examine them closely and learn things about them that it would be impossible to learn in any other way. For instance, she could examine a necklace on the street and feel its importance and the timid, nervous flutterings of the heart that the lover who purchased it felt that day; she could find out who had held onto a coin; she could look at a public sculpture and attempt to learn about its sculptor. This is a weird ability to be used to learn strange information that I may actually sometimes try to hook you with. Maybe. Effy has no Favors and is not a patron; she is actually a strange thing in this setting, and she is able to “ride” a person, which is an ability meant to have possibilities but begins as passively being able to go along with a fleshy being for a fun trip.


Character 6 is Happy. He is a salesman. His father was a salesman, and his father’s father was a salesman. His father’s uncle was a wealthy man who went to the arctic one day and became staggeringly wealthy, supposedly having discovered a massive treasure which he brought back with him before locking himself away in a mansion, where his family never saw him again. Happy never knew his uncle. Happy has known his father though; Happy’s father has never been the same man since he came back from the war.

Happy has two goals that he considers to be one goal, because he has not realized something unbelievably important, which is that his life is becoming a symbol of the death of the promise of democracy and a free country. His first goal is to become the greatest salesman in the whole world. His second goal is to be………..Happy. This is something his mother has asked him once, and he’s never once forgotten it. But he believes he’ll be happy if he’s a great salesman. Lately, people have begun saying that his father is going to die. They say he will be a dead salesman.

Happy does not like that at all, but what is a salesman to do but sell to clients?

Happy’s Action is Sell. You can literally tell me to have Happy attempt to sell anything, and I’m being flexible with this not because I want you to make me do something that won’t work or that’s futile or that just wouldn’t be funny, but because I want to see what things in a scene Happy could try to sell to someone, or what offers he could come up with to make a sale to a person. This has to be his path to glory. He has no Favors and he sure isn’t a patron.


Character 7 is Fessel. He has a first name and a last name but he doesn’t really use them any more and has not for quite some time; the only people who would know now are the doctors who set him loose. Fessel’s story branches depending on who you ask. If you ask Fessel, one day, in his youth, while he was out in the woods looking for a strange bird he had seen earlier, he found a new friend, Herr Klaps, and Herr Klaps told him the most amazing secret. If you ask the police who found the crime scene and the witnesses, the suspect began ranting and raving the instant he stumbled out of the trees in a frenzy and broke onto a landed family’s property; he got to the house and began hitting the dining room window with a folding chair, trying to make his way inside. Police could not find out who his parents were, where he came from, or what he had been trying to do; in his feverish cries, he insisted he had only been trying to see if they had wanted any help.

Fessel straightened out. He grew up in the sanitarium. No one ever claimed him and so there was really no place else for him to go. He also was what you could call colloquially a late bloomer: in this context, a patient who took a very long time to become sane, and whose sanity is still up for debate. As his story begins, the sanitarium has received a request for his release; they have their doubts, but they have to let him go. He is no longer the deranged child who tried to break into a wealthier family’s house; now he will take his mission to help all patrons he can find and do it like an adult.

Fessel’s Action is Genuflect. He may decide to help anybody he meets, although one must bear in mind that Fessel only helps those he suspects might be patrons, which should mean he is looking for people who might have money, since he does not entirely grasp that being a patron is not about having money or not, but just sometimes happens to be related. He will receive a Favor in his first chapter, but he will have an interesting relationship with it. His goal is to become his own patron, meaning he wants to mystically grant himself a superpower, which is a process that should be impossible. He helps patrons because he believes he will eventually learn how it works.


Character 8 is Jean. He has a full name he will grow into. Jean is a cat boy. That’s not a racial title; I just have to functionally describe that he is a young man who has cat ears and a cat tail. Jean hails from a wondrous country in the north that southern neighbors have never entirely been sure what to think of, other than sometimes…”I want to go there one day. I want to live in Mountlandia.” Mountlandia is the home of a lot of things and everyone knows what those things are: cold temperatures, vast forests of beautiful sap-filled trees, funny accents I won’t type up for you but that you’ll have to imagine, and an elite task force of horseback riding cat people who keep the Mountlandian border secure.

Cat people, I hear you asking? Yes. You see, it’s a funny story really. The settlers who came into the region that would become Mountlandia, after claiming it from the indigenous people, began, over time, to slowly begin manifesting secondary cat traits. For the most part Mountlandians are still absolutely human; they just happen to be oddly adorable. Not all Mountlandians have cat traits, but enough do that it’s associated with the region. Like Ethan, Jean also works in delivery, although he works at the opposite end - the end that involves cooking the pizzas. It is not satisfying and he aspires to be a chef. This dream is less random than it seems; Jean’s hometown is a famous cooking mecca with grants for poor chefs who have talent, many schools, and other minor manifestations of that obsession that depend on what we will call playfulness and we won’t say whose playfulness it is. It’s just that he hasn’t gotten noticed yet and he’s nervous about it.

Jean’s Action is Take an Order. Jean may have a long way to go, but he just seems like the sort of person that you want to order to make or get or deliver things and has ingrained his waiteresque lifestyle in a way that has given him a weird talent. He can figure out what a person wants to eat, drink, or, to be a bit looser so we have a bit more potential here, what that person would like to order. Take that as you will with my usual admonishments. Jean has no Favor, but he might get a patron; he is going to meet a star chef who will in turn shine a light on Jean himself.



These sketches are rougher than they seem, and I truly would be open to any input any of you had on any of them before or during this. This is ideally something that will be responsive to you guys, so I'd like it if you were open about things you'd like to see on these eight characters.

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In addition, I am contemplating a gimmick that I will lay out here for you all to see what I'm thinking of; it will clarify what Actions are:

First, each character may have a special action. I will not be posting chapters in their entirety since I do not know what they'd look like yet or what an appropriate length would be; I would like to keep them like Octopath's and have them be relatively to the point but that's neither here nor there. In between my posts, or perhaps anyone's if this becomes a group game (I don't know, this is still a bit new of an idea so I have not decided how I would ideally like it to be in the end), the audience can suggest that the character perform that action on an appropriate character or object that can be interacted with in this way. These are meant to be like Path Actions from Octopath and should allow for some color or an ability to direct the story to things that maybe you find more interesting than I thought I did.

Examples include: Character 1 may be able to challenge anyone to a duel. Character 4 may create a distraction that cannot be ignored in her attempts to...perform. Character 7 may bow before anyone and help them whether they want him to or not, and he in fact wants nothing more than to do this. Etc.

If I included this sort of gimmick, I would allow myself the discretion to refuse to honor the vote for an action if I simply cannot make it work. That said, if I included this gimmick, it would be intended as a gesture that I would like to trust the audience to offer up some potentially swerving ideas that might be really fun to try, maybe. We may not need it since I would like this to be a responsive type of thing anyhow and I'd listen whether or not I included a gimmick. It just seemed fitting given my inspiration.


I think that will do for now. More rules and such could follow. I just wanted to see if this is the type of thing that appeals to anybody and I thought posting it here would allow me to lay it out. I have more in mind to tighten this ship but there's really no point doing it just yet.


Last edited by Mister Owl on Tue Aug 07, 2018 9:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Dashed Octopath
PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:50 am 
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Sounds fun. As for my vote, uh, sea cow, number four, go get 'em.


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 Post subject: Re: Dashed Octopath
PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:56 am 
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I pick 7 because I understand him.

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 Post subject: Re: Dashed Octopath
PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2018 2:49 pm 
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I sea cow, I vote cow.

More seriously, character 4 has my vote too.

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 Post subject: Re: Dashed Octopath
PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2018 7:07 pm 
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I'll go for Number 8. Could be fun.

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 Post subject: Re: Dashed Octopath
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 7:42 pm 
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Number 4 cause I know many Taes in animes

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"See, their morals, their code, it's a bad joke. When the chips are down, these civilized people, they'll eat each other. Dropped at the first sign of trouble. I'm not a monster. I'm just ahead of the curve."


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