[January 18: added new Historical Basis section, added to Equipment section, added to Graphics section]
the following is an extremely long, detailed explanation of an RPG game idea I've been working on for a few months now.
the game(idea) is called Drifter. why should you bother to read it all? well, consider the following similarities with the Piranha Bytes RPGs:
- Action-RPG focused on immersion, player choice, and a cohesive, reactive/interactive world/storyline
- the three character improvement paths(for this game I'm calling them Warrior, Prowler, and Wizard)
- NPCs teach skills and abilities
- medieval low-fantasy setting
- a heavy focus on factions, totally impossible to experience it all in one playthrough
- a "blank slate" nameless player character who still shows a subtle, unique personality
- orks vs humans, lizard people from underground, and a living Titan
- an artful, organically composed, truly 3D gameworld
- non-immersion-breaking alternatives to things like a quest compass and floating signs above NPCs
granted maybe not all these promises are fulfilled by whats written below them, but they do convey
my intention for this game, Drifter. it is very much intended as a tribute to Gothic 1-3 and at least Risen 1.
therefor, once I plan out the other aspects of Drifter they will reflect the above similarities just like
the parts I have planned and written below here.
- no cheesy smack-talk between opponents in battle(such as in Elder Scrolls)
- any living thing can be attacked and killed(if necessary this will require a special "adult" patch)
- moves at a realistic pace and speed
- strictly realistic sound effects(not like the Hollywood foley art)
- use many ordinary objects as weapons
- a lethal unarmed combat system for Warriors, and a stealthy one for Prowlers
- execute a rapid Rush Attack combo by holding down the heavy or fast mele attack button
[the speed of attack increases with each consecutive swing, discouraging repeated blocking since a
small amount of damage is still done with each blocked blow]
- learn and use unconventional “Informed Attacks”, specialized for a certain enemy or enemy type
if a weapon(including the claws, etc of beasts) is significantly stronger, it can break the weapon or shield it strikes.
this is partly to alert the player that they shouldn't yet have been fighting that powerful enemy in the
first place, and partly a balancing choice, giving the Prowler a reason to take off the Warrior armor use their acrobatic dodging abilities.
you can pay a smith to repair a broken weapon, or do it yourself with your smith skills. the same goes for strengthening your weapons.
note, however, that stronger weapons do not necessarily inflict any more damage than weaker weapons.
- some spells are of mixed elements (ex: Sandstorm, gets dust in eyes etc = earth + air)
- many spells are also useful outside of combat (ex: using Freeze Ray to simply walk across a raging rocky river where swimming would be bad idea)
- advanced spell, Elemental Shift, transforms one thing into something similar of a different element
- generally spells can affect the world and objects in it, not only creatures/people
- some advanced spells have effects that don't wear off over time(they have to be undone by something/one)
the final, ultimate attack spell is Nuclear Explosion. In addition to the typical requirements for learning an advanced spell,
to get this you will have to ally yourself with one of two destruction-oriented groups of NPCs(one is a faction you can join,
the other is something else) and complete a complicated side quest.
The unique way Drifter's questlines are set up prevents Nuclear Explosion from ever breaking the game.
Depending on which major region the spell is cast on, it will have one of two types of result.
A: achieve an ending instantly (one example: nuke the human Empire, and the orks conquer the world)
B: resolve a Central Questline instantly (one example: the human Empire wants you to help them
defeat the rogue nation of the Amazons, you just nuke it, end of story.)
although Drifter is an RPG, I have decided against the usual approach to item and equipment management.
I feel like most RPGs I've ever played have been very loot-obsessed, to the exclusion of other important things.
why so materialistic? for example:
screw your potions, they make the game too easy and they're about as realistic as DragonBall Z
screw your hundred different armor sets, just give me one set that belongs in the world and protects me at the expense of speed
screw your hundred different retardedly ornate weapons. just give me one of each type thats good for different things
screw your hundred different rings and necklaces, I'm not a rapper and I don't need all that shiny bling crap.
I just want the game to be focused more squarely on what an RPG is really about, and what an
open-world, non-linear game is really about. so I decided that the player should simply have all 20 or
30 or whatever pieces of vital equipment right from the beginning. basically the idea is that you only
have to worry about what you need to equip when its logical and makes sense gameplay-wise. if you're
gonna do some sneaky stealth stuff, put on your quiet shoes, but get out your wizard staff too if
you're going to cast some spells, and put on your warrior helm also if you're gonna need a little
protection. character improvement is not dependant upon finding better equipment, but upon player
choices, player and character skill improvement, and a small element of quest completion.
Part of the reason I made this important choice was inspired by the beginning of Gothic 3. you start in the
middle of a pretty serious battle, within the walls of a certain town, yet from the moment you enter the
gameworld you have total freedom should you choose to use it. There are two unblocked exits to the town,
and you can simply leave if you feel like it, and do whatever right from the start. Drifter doesn't even have
an opening FMV!! It doesn't need one because its not a sequel and the player hasn't done anything yet so
there is no result to show. The point is, the player doesn't have to jump through hoops like a circus animal
before getting to experience the open, free-form nature of the game. Giving the player all the equipment at
the beginning not only gets rid of the circus hoops, but changes what clicking “New Game” means.
“New Game” is no longer a chore(having to find all the items all over again). Instead, its a really inviting
and exciting opportunity to make different choices and to play a different role in the game world.
below is the equipment. its divided into the three classes, but you can mix and match as desired. note
that most of the non-Wizard items can be improved through smithing skills, but that will require points put into the Prowler path,
since the Prowler is the crafty, technological path. If you make some money, however, you can pay a smith to improve your
equipment without spending points in the Prowler path.
WARRIOR - 1h sword(temporary improved version available via a main questline), 2h sword, 1h axe, 2h axe,
morning star, warhammer, halberd, (crude, medieval)brass knuckles, armor(medium, with some leather and
some chainmail, so you can still dodge and jump somewhat), horned helm(because horns are rad), and a shield.
some type of mid-size shield.
PROWLER - poisonable dagger(you can access different poisons through alchemy, which is a Prowler
skill), longbow w/ arrows, crossbow w/ bolts, spear, choking cord, (primitive)grappling hook, cloak,
mask(so people can't ID you while you make your escape), silent shoes, and a few types of traps.
WIZARD - staff(permanent improved version available via sidequesting), robes, bracelets, circlet, and
an athame ritual dagger for spellcasting.
in terms of gameplay, Drifter is mostly a homage to Piranha Bytes. however in Drifter the vividly
harsh, raw, brutal atmosphere of the Piranha Bytes RPGs is combined with the hauntingly dreamlike,
emotionally charged artistic surrealism of the Team Ico trilogy. The main way Drifter achieves this
union is by rejecting both background music and voice acting in favor of a complex, intricately
lifelike sound effect driven audio experience.
is music necessary for a great RPG? not necessarily. besides, RPGs are very long, and the music tends
to get old in the second or third playthrough which every great RPG deserves. and anyway, what modern
RPG actually has REAL music in it? music that can be called art? does anyone even remember the original
Tristram theme from Diablo 1? these days I expect to hear trash in games, and I'm rarely if ever surprised.
what about voice acting? in shorter, more linear video games(Legacy of Kain) voice overs work wonders,
but in RPGs it is mostly a bad idea, awkwardly coming and going with the wind(Baldur's Gate), or simply
of terrible quality due to the excessive quantity attempted(Elder Scrolls). JRPGs rarely even try for
good quality voice overs. when they do, every thousand years, few fans seem to care or appreciate the
expensive effort(Final Fantasy 12). voice acting and lip-sync eat up all kinds of resources, and
removing them from a non-linear RPG with tons of dialogue choice allows lots and lots of resources to
be put into more important things, such as the quality and/or quantity of the Role Playing itself.
the sounds of both music and voices dramatically alter the way we percieve video games. if we hear both
music and voices, the experience of hearing that game is boring unless both the voices and the music
are absolutely awesome. plus, the music may detract from our enjoyment of the voice acting or vice
versa. in any case, by now we are desensitized to that experience. if we hear music but no voices, we
experience the game like we would a music video, or if we hear voices without music, we experience the
game like we would a movie. and we are just as desensitized to those two audio experiences. they feel
old-hat unless executed with monumentally exquisite skill. and budget to boot.
on the other hand though, primal, elemental sound effects like wind blowing through the trees, boots
tromping through the dirt, the crackling of a fire, or the splashing of a powerful rushing river send a
very different kind of message to the brain. they draw us IN to the world rather than pushing us AWAY
from it. by removing both voice overs and background music from the equation, and putting extra effort
into making the sound effects believable and alive, Drifter will be able to bring the player, rather
than merely their character, into the game world when they click New Game.
both contrast levels and color palette will be strictly realistic(nothing is either grey or saturated
unless it would be IRL). this will help to allow the player to believe the game world is a real place
rather than an artist's pretentious aestheticism or symbolism. However, photorealism is not the goal either.
Whats important is that it feels real, rather than actually looking real. hard to put it in words. If an NPC's
eyeballs are slightly larger than in real life, or not precisely at the proper place on his head, the player
probably wouldn't give a crap. and the player is who matters. A player will care more about whether the
NPC's eyes actually turn to look at things, and whether or not different NPCs actually have
different colored eyes.
Drifter will be artistically optimized for only two graphics settings, Normal and High.
There will be specific individual settings between Normal and High levels, but they will simply be
mechanically derived, literally partway between. They won't be artistically unique like High and Normal.
Normal will be for mid-range systems, and High will just be totally ridiculous. like Crysis but even worse. one
of the biggest advantages of PC game development is the fact that you can future-proof the graphics, and I
want Drifter to do this to the extreme. The High setting graphics are important, because I don't ever intend
to make a sequel with similar gameplay, so I would expect players will be stuck with that setting for decades.
The reason for only two settings is that I plan to spend a lot of time making the Normal setting look good
despite the lesser detail level, and I would not be confident that I could make the game look good at three or
four different settings. That would be an unacceptable, unrealistic amount of work to devote to mere graphics.
The Eight Central Questlines:[solutions contain spoilers]
the "main storyline" of Drifter is significantly non-linear, so it was necessary to divide it into
eight questlines. the idea is that in a given playthrough, you can do some but not all of these major
storylines, and completing any main questline will either get you to its unique ending, or have one of
two possible outcomes which affect the world, your reputation, all kinds of stuff. there will certainly
be some sidequests too, but I haven't planned any sidequests out yet except one which will be explained
after these eight central questlines.
1. who will be emperor?
the human empire in which the game largely takes place has recently lost its emperor in a naval battle
with the Ork Armada. two human politicians, Governor Tallbeard and Senator Neldor, are vying for
rulership of the empire. Tallbeard has proven to be a decent, level-headed ruler, even though he has
done horrible things in his personal life, and sometimes is drunk for days on end. Tallbeard is also a
huge misogynist. Neldor is the nicest guy you could ever meet, but he's also a bipolar schizophrenic.
Neldor hasn't really "cracked" yet, but many citizens suspect that he soon will. and if he is then the
emperor of humanity's greatest nation, the entire world may be knocked out of balance. a growing group
of imperial "Maverick" citizens is not satisfied with either of these politicians, and is demanding a
a. support Governor Tallbeard
b. support Senator Neldor
c. convince the Mavericks to help make YOU the emperor! [this is an ending]
2. the black plague
the bubonic plague has destroyed many small villages, and is currently sweeping through the ancient
city of Zenith, one of the empire's most important centers of culture and knowledge. the Temple of the
One God preaches that the plague is the wrath of God, and the "grim reapers" that appear before
outbreaks of the disease are angels of death, come down from on high to punish humanity for aspiring to
understand the forbidden secrets of the cosmos and compete with the glory of God. a radical pagan
coven, the Fellowship of the Dragon, claims to have actually KILLED a grim reaper, and to have its body
preserved in their secret headquarters, as well as its scythe for that matter. if you can somehow get
in contact with the Fellowship of the Dragon, maybe you can find out whats really going on. spoiler:
the "grim reapers" are evil aliens from outer space, currently trying to find biological weaknesses in the
human body by spreading the black plague using scythe-shaped machines. they wear black cloaks to
conceal their alien physique. the Fellowship calls the aliens Reapers.
a. join the Fellowship of the Dragon and help them blow up the Reapers' mothership
b. join the Fellowship, but then turn on them in a key moment to gain favor with the Reapers. you can
then work for the Reapers
c. start working for the Reapers, but then steal some technology and use it to spread the black plague
all over the entire planet!! [this is an ending]
3. the ork invasion
imperial spies report that the orks have been planning a massive invasion for years, and it may come
very soon. but the Empire has all kinds of domestic problems to work out before its ready to defend
against such a powerful enemy. with their advanced technology, and huge, hulking bodies, the orks are a
force to be reckoned with in war. if the player solved the empire's problems before the ork ships
arrive, the empire might prevail, but otherwise you will have to get creative.
a. travel to the ork continent and attempt to ignite a civil war
b. travel to the ork continent and attempt to negotiate a peace treaty with the empire
c. become an agent for the orks and help them conquer the empire. [this is an ending]
4. the titan
most orks have become atheists, and dismiss mystical orkish folktales and legends as "infantile
mewlings of an infantile culture." however, the most ancient of all ork myths, the Myth of the Savage
Mother, may turn out to be true.
in this myth, a being made of pure power travels to the ork lands to find a worthy mate. seeing the
many weak and dishonorable humans who then inhabited that part of the world, the being was dismayed.
but at that very moment, the most famous human man of all time, Kronung the Violated, was born, and the
being was instantly consumed with lust, for this human had the most valiant soul in all the world.
having found a suitable mate, the being then took the form of a woman, but the being's power was so
great that it could only become a giant woman, a hundred feet tall. fearing that the stupendous
strength Kronung would possess as an adult might allow him to resist even her mammoth form, the being,
the Savage Mother, raped Kronung when he was but 13 years old.
In the moment of his ejaculation, the Savage Mother roared out to the entire world his new title, the
title that no human or ork would ever forget: Kronung the Violated. In time, the Savage Mother gave
birth to the race of orks. Kronung was deeply ashamed, for he knew that one day, these Savage
Children(that is what the orks call themselves to this day) will conquer humanity. Kronung was so
furious with himself for allowing his seed to create the orks that he immediately seized the nearest
thing he could use as a weapon, a shovel, and waged his own private war against the nearest thing he
could attack, the Earth itself, digging deeper and deeper. by the time Kronung had grown into a man,
the hole was extremely deep and wide. the hole Kronung dug became known as the Forever Cave, for it was
said to have no end. when at last the being known as the Savage Mother decided it was time to go and
seek a new mate in another world, Kronung the Violated on his dragon steed snatched her out of the sky,
casting her down into the Forever Cave, and thus claimed the only victory he could over her.
in the ages since the time that myth is said to take place, orks have explored the entirety of this
Forever Cave, however, and it is obvious that no creature like the Savage Mother is living inside it.
there are also no bones of any large creatures inside, so its unlikely that the Savage Mother, if she
existed, could have possibly died in the Forever Cave. but one rebellious ork shaman claims to have
found evidence that the Savage Mother left the Forever Cave hundreds of years ago, and went north to
the frozen wastes. and what is more, a creature fitting the description of the Savage Mother has
actually been sighted on the northern border of the human empire. humanity is in a panic over what to
do about this "Titan" as they call her, and strange objects which appear in the sky along with her make
imperial citizens even more uncomfortable than the fact that such a powerful being is female…
a. help the imperial mages find a way to banish her from the world
b. befriend her
c. help the Reapers harvest her life energy [this is an ending, spoiler: because the Reapers then don't
need humans as their slaves or the resources of Earth, and they destroy the entire planet.]
5. the old gate
the one thing ork explorers did find in the Forever Cave was the reason Kronung must have stopped
digging: he had, incredibly, hit a wall, made from blocks of a black stone that couldn't be identified.
the wall was uniform and undecorated, the only exception being a heavy metal gate, which the orks have
never been able to open. in Orkish its name is simply The Old Gate. a guild of imperial human scholars,
having retrieved many ponderous, ancient tomes from the Library of Zenith before it burned down, thinks
they may have found the method to open the Old Gate. these scholars reason that, even if a hundred
angry trolls come out from the gate when it is opened, at least that will distract the orks and delay
their invasion of the empire(since the Old Gate is across the sea on the ork continent). but the ork
shamans warn that what is inside the Old Gate is pure evil, and the whole world, including humanity as
well as the unexplored lands and all their peoples may suffer greatly if that evil escapes from its
spoiler: in a way, the ork shamans are right. the Old Gate was placed by the gods who created humanity
to protect humans from an intelligent species of intensely xenophobic lizard people. these lizard
people evolved from the archaeosaurs, who were a dinosaur-like evolutionary cousin of dragons. although
an asteroid impact drove most archaeosaur species to extinction, certain, smaller, more clever types of
archaeosaurs learned to find shelter from the harsh living conditions in caves. there they hunted any
of a myriad of other creatures who also had nowhere else to run. they learned early on that to survive
they must hunt all living things but themselves. all flesh, all leaves, everything must be eaten. and
as they evolved, this became the core of their identity, the cold hard fact that they had only come all
this way because they were unflinchingly ruthless to all but each other. lizard people have no friends,
no lovers, no family, or tribe. to a lizard person, all lizard people are him, and all other life is
his one enemy.
a. help the ork shamans strengthen the magic seal on the gate, so it can never be opened
b. open the old gate and flee back to the human empire
c. open the old gate and enter, but have someone lock it behind you so nothing comes out [this is an
ending, after you exterminate all the Lizard People, along with yourself, using a deadly
6. the man
humanity itself could be defined as a war between reasonable, honest people, and greedy liars. for as
long as humans have existed, these two armies have remained locked in eternal battle. in the world of
Drifter, every faction you can work for is ultimately fighting in that singular, ancient war of wars.
every human, at some point in their life, will hear rumors of "the man," powerful rich people who
strive, in secret, to gain more and more oppressive control over society in order to become richer and
richer, no matter the cost to humanity as a whole. the main way they achieve control is through
calculated lies, delivered to the public en masse by subtle means designed to manipulate emotions like
fear and hate. thus do they lay waste to all checks and balances the law may place in their path,
drowning great societies in needless war and all manner of injustice, to serve their selfish ends. in
this game, "the man" in the human Empire is known as the Meta Council, rumored to have been the cancer
at the root of all kinds of bad things that have happened in the Empire since it was founded more than
1000 years before the game takes place. now, the Meta Council is on the verge of gaining total control
over all of humanity.
a. just kill them. kill them all!!
b. work for them, become a Meta Council agent
c. do whatever is necessary to expose them to the people, and destroy their three Council Chambers so
they can never meet again [this is an ending]
7. the amazons
no one really knows how the two human genders developed such bitter enmity between them. but it is a
fact that men and women prefer to be mostly isolated from eachother, preferring the superficial bliss
of ignorance. there would seem to be precious little curiosity to understand they who live on the other
side of the wall.
in Drifter, this wall is literal, physical. on one side is the human Empire, dominated by men who see
women as inferior. on the other side is the separatist nation of the Amazons, dominated by women who
see men as inferior. the Meta Council frequently allow Amazons to scale the wall and invade Imperial
settlements so that the public remains afraid of powerful women, and won't support female politicians.
but these invasions have allowed the Amazons to amass all manner of resources useful for warcraft over
the past several years, and they plan, before long, to make their last stand against the Empire.
a. help the Empire crush the Amazons
b. help the Amazons conquer the Empire
c. try to help the Amazons re-unify with the Empire, negotiating equal terms between male and female
humans[this is an ending]
8. the temple of the one god
about 500 years before Drifter takes place, the Empire abandoned its old polytheistic Pagan religion in
favor of a monotheistic faith known as the Temple of the One God. with this spiritual revolution came
many major changes to the way humans live and think. instead of seeing evil as a sly intruder who
sneaks into humanity from outside, the humans instead began to see evil as something which was always
inside them that they must contain and prevent from gaining control. this inherent inner evil became
known as Sin. The Temple of the One God also places great emphasis on the value of humbleness and
selflessness in general, which differs from the more flexible, logical Pagan approach to life. the
biggest difference however is that the Temple is far less tolerant of other religions, since they
believe that it is Sin to worship any deity but their own, the One God.
the Temple of the One God has been burning Pagans for hundreds of years, and most remaining
practitioners of the old religion are either dead or in hiding. but many imperial citizens are outraged
by the brutal lengths the Temple goes to, and they refuse to support Tallbeard or Neldor, seeing as how
both candidates agree with the practice of burning Pagans. these angry citizens are flocking to the
Mavericks or even to the Fellowship of the Dragon, either of which is a problem for those in power. in
this uncertain time, rumors abound of a mysterious prophet, claiming to be a messenger from the One God
himself. what this messenger says may determine the future of the Temple.
a. become ordained as a holy knight of the Temple, spreading the gospel across the land and
apprehending Pagans, etc
b. kill the true prophet and claim to be him yourself, changing the Temple's ways as you see fit
c. help the Fellowship of the Dragon and its allies destroy the Temple of the One God [this is an
The Elemental Pillars:[a sidequest]
throughout the world and questlines of Drifter, there is the theme of the four classical elements,
earth, fire, air, and water. this is due to the fact that four of the most important characters have
inherited the souls of powerful, primal beings known as the Elemental Pillars, whose task it is to hold
up the weight of the entire physical plane of existence, lest it fall down and crush the spiritual
plane which lies below. the souls of the Pillars were stolen from the lizard people's priesthood by the
crafty God of Illusion in ages past, when the Gods decided humans were more worthy of the task of
holding the world together. The current Elemental Pillars are :
earth - The Drifter, player character, wanderer from the western wilderlands
fire - Queen Aristomache VII, Queen of the separatist Amazon Nation, leader of the Amazon faction
air - The Ice Witch, a feared sorceress from the northern wastes, allied with the Maverick faction
water - Governor Tallbeard, a flawed man but a dependable ruler, leader of the Tallbearders faction
the whole elemental thing sounds cliche until its explained properly. first of all, being an Elemental
Pillar of, for example, Fire, has less to do with flames, and more to do with a certain type of
magickal energy which motivates passion, ambition, aggression, etc. there is a connection between
physical fire and elemental Fire energy, but for these unique Elemental Pillars that connection does
not apply in the ways one might think. in Drifter you can learn elemental magick spells that produce
physical fire or water or whatever, but you don't get any additional power out of earth magick spells
just because you are the Earth Pillar. the power of the Pillars is a different kind of magick, which
cannot generally be cast at will. The easiest way to imagine it is by comparing the element to the
personality of the character who is the Pillar of that element.
the big twist to all of this is that over the past few millenia, something has been "warping" the
Elemental Pillars, bending them out of shape. at this point, the elemental energies are all out of
wack, and the stage has been set, spiritually speaking, for some kind of catastrophic disaster. a
strange and subtle aura of chaotic madness envelopes all humans. as we grow into adulthood, we become
desensitized to this sinister force, and forget about The Warp which we sensed as children but couldn't
then understand."seasoned elders" innocently, naively believe they are experiencing a fulfilled and
healthy human life.
how can the four Elemental Pillars possibly avoid the disaster when no one even knows the cause of The
Warp? what is the evil force inside humans which is corrupting the fabric of the world? is it humanity's
Sinful nature, as the Temple of the One God preaches? or is it perhaps something even more horrifying...
Drifter is a mix of elements from medieval Europe, ancient Greece, and ancient Rome.
However its complicated, because the main part of the game's world, the continent where humanity's
Greco-Roman style Empire exists, bears a lot of similarity to North America in addition to Europe.
And the Ork Lands, which in Drifter lie across an ocean to the east(where Europe would be)
don't much resemble Europe. Its a weird fantasy continent for a weird fantasy race, with crazy-looking
(and often horrifying) plant and animal life. And what is more, the orks are entering a Steam Age of sorts,
far ahead of the humans across the ocean.
For the style of the dialogue writing, its best to just be completely modern with this kind of game.
Any attempt to provide some “medieval flavor” will only come across as cheesy and insincere in
this type of raw Low-Fantasy setting. Instead of merely STYLISTICALLY, the medieval flavor should
be in there LITERALLY. As in, characters convey the exact thing that would have been conveyed in
medieval times, yet they are saying it in totally modern language.
In the interest of showing a more real, more historically correct depiction of the past(and also one that is
relevant to the present), Drifter will incorporate some taboo elements from both the medieval and
Greco-Roman cultures that video games have never had the guts to portray. In ancient Greece alone
we have: bisexuality being quite commonplace among(at least) men, sculptures of... ahem...
male members hanging proudly above the doors to homes(naturally to assert male dominance
over women), and the elephant in the room - a cultural tradition of pedophilia.
Now, I'm not going to totally shove pedophilia and bisexuality in people's faces with this game, as they are
not really what Drifter is about. but Drifter is not the Elder Scrolls. its not a medieval Star Trek where humans
are never prejudiced against those different from themselves. Drifter is a fantasy based on reality.
The monstrously sexist ancient Greek perception of the genders, and the legend of the Amazon invasion
which fueled it is absolutely central to the story, world, and characters of this game, and I will not sanitize it
to make people less uncomfortable. If it makes us uncomfortable then maybe we really should be
uncomfortable. maybe we ought to question the dogmatic, artificial definition of gender which has been
burned into our brains like cattle getting branded.
out of the Piranha Bytes RPGs, Drifter's world most resembles Gothic 3, only with a smaller Nordmar,
smaller Varant, and more variation in Myrtana. For example there's an autumn-like region in the north,
and a swamp/jungle region in the south. Also, there's a small portion of the Ork Lands you can explore
across the ocean to the east if you choose to sail there.
The “Nordmar” part is known as The Northern Wastes, and houses the Maverick faction.
The Northen Wastes are fairly similar to Nordmar(if it aint broke dont fix it) but maybe
a little bit more... icy. Normar seemed mostly just snowy to me rather than icy. And a little more of a
“broken wasteland” kind of feeling. Sometimes Nordmar looked/felt kind of “clean” to me, which
wouldn't be right for The Northern Wastes. They need to be more “messy” as it were.
The Northern Wastes connect with the Ork Lands in the distant north, but its simply too cold there for
anyone to travel across.
The “Myrtana” part is the heart of the human Empire(and of the game world), known as the Imperial Mainland,
housing the Tallbearder, Neldorite, Fellowship of the Dragon, Temple of the One God, Amazon, and Meta Council factions.
On paper this sounds like they're all jammed in next to eachother, but bear in mind,
the Tallbearders are mostly only in the city he rules(connections from his former pirate/mobster life),
the Neldorites are mostly only in the capital city(his posh politician friends),
and the Meta Council are spread out all over the game world,
sending their agents to influence everything they can.
The “Varant” part is known as The Deadlands, because its so barren and inhospitable.
However, there is a small, unique community of people living there, consisting of former Amazon nation citizens who migrated south.
The Deadlands are considerably more scary and treacherous than Varant was in G3, with confusing mirages, days hot enough to kill
an unprepared person, and weird areas of sickening radiation(with powerful mutated versions of the local enemy beasts).
basically The Deadlands are a waking nightmare, containing more enemy creatures than a sane player would ever want to tangle with.
I also want this area to have more interesting rock formations than G3's Varant. rock formations in deserts can be really awe inspiring.
big canyons with caves in high places, tall towers and tunnels you can walk through that lead to scenic vistas.
In Drifter, G3's Unknown Lands are called The Western Wilderlands.
The Western Wilderlands are the native land of The Drifter, the player character,
which is fitting, since almost nothing is known about that land,
just like the player and their character. The human Empire is unable to explore/colonize
The Western Wilderlands due to prides of colossal beasts that attack anyone who enters their territory.
They are the most powerful non-quest-related enemies in the game, and can only be killed in
certain specific ways. If you can somehow find the godlike power to defeat them, and you walk west,
you get a special ending where you return to your homeland, but of course it doesn't actually
show The Drifter's people, that would ruin everything.
some interesting specific locations:
The Grey Fortress - a massive castle of unknown origin, ancient beyond reckoning and long-abandoned.
Locals avoid it, claiming it is a cursed place, inhabited by evil spirits.
Sometimes people claim to hear voices coming from the high towers in the dead of night.
[spoiler] In fact, this is one of three secret meeting places of The Meta Council, chosen for obvious reasons.
Forbidden Mountains – a mountain range which both the Imperial government and the
Temple of the One God specifically forbid anyone to enter, for different reasons.
The government claims there is an elite company of ork warriors lying in wait there to assist when the
main invasion fleet arrives by boat, but most citizens think there must be a Meta Council meeting place
hidden there, probably on Mount Judgment, the highest peak in the Empire. The Temple of the
One God preaches that The Forbidden Mountains contain the fabled Garden of the Past and Future,
in which dangerous secret knowledge is said to have been recorded in the form of statues carved
by the One God himself. According to the Unknowable Tome, their ancient holy book, any human
except a genuine prophet of The One God who looks upon the statues in the Garden of the Past and Future
will receive the most severe punishment the One God can bear to inflict on his child.
Greatforge – a major ork city that is the home of the ruling ork family and the center of the
industrial revolution which is transforming their civilization. Here you can learn a lot about the Ork Lands
as a whole(even if the game won't let you explore them all). Its also possible to acquire a
steam-powered/clockwork orkish robot(either made for combat or another purpose)in Greatforge
and you can bring it home to the Empire as a servant/sidekick.
Jubilation Swamp – named sarcastically, this is a place travellers always avoid due to tons of mosquitoes,
thirsty leeches, deadly poisonous snakes, and terrifyingly huge alligators. A few people do live there,
like criminals on the run from the HIG(Holy Imperial Guard) or stubborn independent-minded
oddballs who just want to be left alone.
Cacophony River – named for the obnoxiously loud buzzing bugs and shrill squawking birds which make their home on it.
Monotony River – famously boring, uniform and uninteresting.
Lake Neldor – the biggest lake in the Empire. and Senator Neldor owns it. And he named it after himself.
And if anyone fishes in it, swims in it, or puts their boat in it then the HIG come running
to throw you in jail. Neldor has a big expensive luxury boat on it, The Merry Sunflower, where he
throws private parties. and he has tons of big fish brought from elsewhere to Lake Neldor.
so he can fish for them in his lake, from his boat.
Lake Oblivious – a beautiful highland mountain lake named thus because people like to bathe and
swim in it, but it feeds into a huge waterfall off a tall cliff, and “oblivious” people sometimes die horribly
when they don't realize the current is slowly pulling them toward the waterfall.
- - -
hey, thanks for reading all this! I'd love to hear what you guys think of it. and I'd be interested to know
your thoughts on how the blanks should be filled in(the parts of the game I haven't yet planned/described).
also, if anyone here is interested in helping me make this game(even though I can't pay you) definitely
let me know. doesn't matter what kind of work do, art, programming, or just good ideas, any of it would
help Drifter get made.
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14.01.2012 12:36 -
my Gothic/Risen-like game idea#1
Last edited by ukozo; 25.01.2012 at 10:15. Reason: added new Historical Basis section, added to Equipment section, added to Graphics section
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- Sep 2010