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About this blog

My Ramblings

Entries in this blog

 

Core Crystal - new logo and general description of that world

Quite a while back I came up with a game idea and typed up the basic concept of the game world, after that I didn't touch it for a long time. However today I felt like doing up a logo for it, what do you think of it?   Anyway, this here is what I typed up about the game world when I first thought it up:

Cadh20000

Cadh20000

 

Remember that Dwarf I showed earlier? Well...

Remember that Dwarf from my stories that I showed earlier? Well Holotech Studios, the ones who make FaceRig(the program I wanted to use him in) have agreed to personally rig him properly for use in their program! I don't have to go through the long process of learning how to rig models properly then doing so before he can be used, their own team will be doing it for me! The only catch to it is that he has to be available for all users of their program to download and use for free, and that is no problem at all in my opinion.

Cadh20000

Cadh20000

 

Dwarven member of the Phoenix Warriors

This is the old Dwarven member of the Phoenix Warriors who is in charge of Theran's training as a member of the organization. Basically this is what the one telling Theran the story should look like. He doesn't yet have a name.   I would prefer to use this fellow for the FaceRig competition, but since it is a completely custom model instead of an edit of a pre-rigged avatar I need to rig it first, and since I have never rigged a model before I have to learn how first so there is no way I can make the deadline using him. I used "Mixamo Fuse" to make him, it has been acquired by Adobe and they are marketing the new version, but the old version is free and on Steam. You can use an "autorig" function on their site, but it kept messing up his chin since his neck is so short, it kept anchoring the point of his chin on his chest so it stretched when he turned his head instead of moving properly. Therefore I will be sticking with that edited FaceRig avatar I showed in the last blog entry.

Cadh20000

Cadh20000

 

Anybody here heard of FaceRig?

Anybody here ever heard of "FaceRig"? It uses your webcam to enable a 3D avatar to mimic your facial expressions, lipsync, etc... It can also be used to alter your voice and can be linked to videochat programs and even be used to record vids for youtube and such.(Like for instance if you are doing a review of a game and don't want your real face in it, you could use any of the dozens of possible avatars, I got the DLC too and can chose between 93 different ones.)   I caught it during a Steam sale on the 31st. Bit pricier now but not too bad. DEFINITELY fun to play around with!   The program is still relatively cheap at $14.99. The more expensive "Pro Upgrade"($64.99) doesn't change the program, it only changes the license so you can use it for stuff that makes more than $500 a month instead of only stuff that makes under that.   Anyway, if a person has the base program during the next couple weeks they can enter a contest to win the Pro Upgrade. I'm DEFINITELY trying for it!     Steam page(where they are selling it, the program site will just link you back there for the purchase anyway): http://store.steampowered.com/app/274920/   Contest page: http://steamcommunity.com/games/274920/announcements/detail/115201797087853877   Full contest rules: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0ciRKrWV2vsU3h6MFdEMkw2MkU/view?pli=1   Program site: https://facerig.com/     For my entry into that contest I'll be having an older member of the Phoenix Warriors telling the new recruit the story of how and why their organization was originally founded. In my stories that is Theran he is addressing, but in the vid it will be the viewer.     This fellow is the older member of the Phoenix Warriors who is telling Theran the story, at least in my FaceRig video for that contest anyway. He is an edit of one of the avatars that came with it. I'm a long way from being able to make my own from scratch.   I'm thinking of making his hair a bit more gray though...   Unfortunately I can only change the overall hair color instead of adding streaks of gray.   I need to memorize the script better and tweak the lipsync before the vid will be completed though.   It needs more editing before I upload it to my dA, but there isn't enough time to do so for using it as the script in that contest. This is what he will be telling the viewer:

Cadh20000

Cadh20000

 

Categorized the Blog Entries...

Categorized the Blog Entries so stuff should be easier to find now.   Of course there are the general "Uncategorized" ones like this post here.   But there are also...   "General Game Making Ideas" which are ideas for games but aren't associated with any of my ongoing projects.   "Game - Bibliotheca Arcanum" which is obviously ideas and details related to my "Bibliotheca Arcanum" game project.   And finally, there is... "Story Writing" which is assorted details about, and links to, the stories of mine that I have posted online so far. Mostly unrelated to my games, but a few are what I decided to expand upon and base some of my game ideas on. None are particularly recent at this point though.

Cadh20000

Cadh20000

 

Splitting headache led to weird dream. Thinking of making it a game later.

I had a splitting headache so I took some migraine meds and laid down earlier, while laying down I had a really odd dream that DEFINITELY seemed like it could have been the plot to one of the many fantasy/scifi/harem manga I've read.   This group was stranded somewhere far from civilization, the details were blurry but it was either a floating lab or maybe a lab on a small island, either way they were far out away from the nearest inhabited landmass. What I remember of it didn't start until after whatever rendered the lab inoperable, eliminated most of the scientists, and freed the girls/test-subjects. I'm guessing from the composition of the group though that the lab had been attempting to mutate humans to allow them to live and breath underwater by combining them with fish DNA, though there were some aquatic mammal fusions in the group as well. There was one guy and group of girls who had been somehow transformed from fully human to part animal. The only one I remember clearly was a girl who was covered with venomous spikes. She, in the dream, was part blowfish though she couldn’t inflate, but she could extend the spikes to use like spears for hunting or fishing. Unfortunately her venom rendered anything she killed with the spikes inedible to anyone but her so she felt useless to the group as the greatest danger threatening them was starvation.   I'm thinking of turning that dream into a story, maybe trying to recruit an artist for it too and making it into a manga-style comic, a game, or both.

Cadh20000

Cadh20000

 

Bibliotheca Arcanum - character relations at the start of the game.

Bibliotheca Arcanum - character relations at the start of the game. . . . . . . . . . . . . I typed up what these 6 characters feel for each other at the start of the game, since you need to develop a relationship in order to recruit people this gives a starting point.   The harder to recruit Derek is a powerful tank right from the start, but he has no special abilities. The others tend to be weaker at the start but they have special abilities to counter that. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Eric, age 12. Has a crush on Kat who is 3 years older and is sometimes tutored by her or her little brother Darren(despite a 2 year age difference they are best friends). Neighbors/friends with Sarah. Only knows Aida because of her relationship with Kat(they are BFF’s). Can’t stand Derek who picks on Darren.   ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Kat, age 15. Loves her little brother Darren. Is best friends with Aida. Is friends with Sarah. Views Eric as a second little brother. HATES Derek who picks on her little brother Darren.   ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Darren, age 14. Loves his big sister Kat though she infuriates him when she pushes work off on him so she can spend more time practicing her fencing. Is best friends with Eric who is 2 years younger. Likes Sarah who is 3 years younger, but views her more as a fun kid to hang out with than as a potential future romance(Darren’s interest in chemistry and Sarah’s interest in mechanics sometimes overlap so they enjoy hanging out and chatting or working on projects together). HATES Derek who always picks on and bullies him. Finds Aida annoying because she likes teasing him for not being athletic like his sister.   ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Aida, age 14. Best friends with Kat. Likes to tease Darren but not maliciously. Knows Eric has a crush on Kat but keeps quiet about it so she can watch his efforts in trying to hide it from Kat. Thinks Sarah is a good kid that could benefit from some martial arts training. Wants to beat up Derek so he’ll quit bother Darren.   ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sarah, age 11. Has a crush on Darren. Admires Aida and Kat for being so disciplined. Thinks Eric is weird for being so fascinated with computer games. Hates Derek for picking on Darren.   ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Derek, age 14. Has a crush on Kat. Takes out his anger at her disdain of him on her brother Darren, which made her hate him more. Thinks Eric is a wimp. Is scared of Aida. Doesn’t even know Sarah exists.   ------------------------------------------------------------------------------   *EDIT* Yuugami asked some questions that I thought maybe some other readers might share so here they are along with my responses to them. Well, some of the earlier blog posts are the closest to a game thread that I have. Eric is the protagonist, the others are all optional recruits. The game is divided into 4 chapters, only during chapter 1 can you do any recruiting. Chapter 2 covers a 10 year span of time during which the characters train and their advanced classes and non-class-specific skills are determined depending on the choices the player makes. Chapters 3 and 4 your team are no longer children and are out to eliminate the Society that has ruled their world from the shadows for nearly 1000 years(with help of course). You can gain many allies after chapter 1, but only those recruited in chapter 1 are controllable by the player or will stay in the party or base. As for ages; Eric is 12, Darren is 14, Kat is 15. At the start of the game Eric is a nerd, in every sense of the word. He loves fantasy movies, computer games, fantasy novels, and LARPing. Eric is the only mage in the group. His grandfather collected antique books, including a grimoire known as the "Bibliotheca Arcanum" which he was working on translating before he died. Eric found the grimoire and was taking part in the cosplay contest at a local fantasy convention. He tried practicing a spell out of it so he could do it convincingly as part of his act, using the book itself as a prop. The first time he put the whole spell together was on stage and all the con-goers, ESPECIALLY him, were shocked when it worked. That attracted the Society's attention and starts the game's storyline off. Kat is focused on Fencing nearly to the exclusion of having a social life so she isn't a "social butterfly" by any means. She is EXTREMELY disciplined about fencing, but blows everything else off whenever possible so she can fence more. She is kind but tends to get too focused. Like her brother she has a very high IQ and breezed through math classes(The only thing that stopped her from leading the Mathlete's was the fact it would have taken time away from her fencing practice so she refused.), which is what she tutors Eric in. She doesn't like being hit on and will give the guy a glare that usually makes them shake in their boots. As for her abilities, she can combine her fencing skills with foils and sabers enhanced by both magic and science for devastating attacks on one enemy at a time. Most of his friends are about his age or older, he spends most of his time in the chemistry lab doing research and assisting the professor. He and Eric have known each other for most of their lives and both like fantasy movies and video games so they hung out a lot. As for Sarah, her gadgets are often fueled by his chemical concoctions allowing them both to refine their skills so they frequently collaborate on projects. He becomes the Alchemist, the only dependable source of potions in the game(as long as you have materials for him to use anyway). As the Alchemist he has the ability to not only make potions to heal, but many attack oriented ones as well, he can make them one to a time during battle and immediately use them himself, or stock up between battles and let the whole party use them. Any potions, attack or healing, used by him receives a 10% boost in effectiveness. She hasn't taken Derek out yet because Darren doesn't want her too and Derek is too smart to do it where she can see and might lose her temper enough to go against Darren's wishes. She isn't cruel, but she thinks Eric is too young and immature for Kat so she won't help him, but she realizes that she might be wrong and is allowing him to pursue Kat without interference either so that he can try to prove himself, plus it amuses her to watch his antics. Her attack power is the second highest among the allies, plus she uses pressure points to debuff and nerf enemies and joint locks to capture them on occasion for interrogation. I don't know this Happy from "Scorpion" so I can't compare, but she is the "Mechanic". Sarah has the ability to craft equipment and unseal optional areas that are behind locked doors, gates, or other devices. Without her, you will only have about 1/3 the equipment available throughout the game that you would have with her, plus access to almost a 1/4 of the game relies on her ability to to disable locks and traps. All she wants is to be close to Darren so that fuels her work beyond even her own fascination with mechanics. She is energetic and fast, unfortunately for her this tends to lead to getting carried away talking about her gadgets and leaving everyone but Darren confused. As for why Derek is someone you would want to recruit from the start, he has far higher HP and defense than any of the others, his attack power is also a bit higher than Aida's or Kat's, which makes the early fights before the others learn their stronger skills far easier. Most of the other characters will forgive him if he proves himself willing to fight alongside you and put his life on the line to protect the others, but Darren will not, thereby making Derek and Darren mutually exclusive recruits. Darren doesn't want to be responsible for Derek getting hurt, but he wants nothing to do with him, this is the only thing that saved him from being beaten by Aida in revenge for his his picking on Darren.

Cadh20000

Cadh20000

 

Current project update and future project idea

As some of you know, since my shoulder injury I haven't worked on my projects much at all. I have been putting off doing so until after my surgery(which will be on the 29th of this month, December). Anyway, I have not given up on those projects and will soon be back at it. They have merely been shelved temporarily, not discarded.   I have also come up with an idea for a future project after the current ones are done. For now though it is just some idle planning rather than actively being made.   The other evening I lay awake quite a while and while laying there I remembered and expanded on an old idea of mine. It used to be little more than a daydream, but not this time. I think that would make an excellent game. I could set it up so that the player's most powerful attacks are stored in the Void and only accessed by tearing holes in reality, but do so too many times on a single map and you get warped into a twisted nightmare version of that map! I think 4 versions of each map will do. 1 normal, 2 increasingly twisted but still beatable, and 1 so nightmarish that it cannot be gotten through, but also cannot be saved on so if you land there when you die and reload you go back to a...less twisted...version, wherever it was you last saved.   Anyway, the story goes like this:   A young guy whose body is weak(mainly his joints, it was a daydream about me after all) became an inventor. In an effort to fix his joints he made nanomachines which he used on himself. These nanomachines read the DNA and from that DNA they extrapolated the creature's optimal health which it then repaired the body to match that, using outside materials that they deconstructed and reconstructed on a molecular level when necessary. This was their programmed function. However, that wasn't all they did... The other thing they did was that they linked with that creature's mind and acted on its thoughts. They could take any material the creature touched and reconstruct it to match that creature's thoughts...whatever those were. They could also retain the molecular blueprint of whatever they deconstructed and rebuild it later from whatever material was handy. In the wrong hands it could be a deadly weapon.   Another of his inventions(that he had never quite gotten to work) was a device which could literally tear a whole in the fabric of reality, thereby exposing a segment of the void between dimensions that could be used as storage. These tears would close on their own after a short while. Whenever a tear was made it always exposed the same section of void so that whatever was stored in there could be retrieved from anywhere. Basically an extradimensional storehouse.   The guy was both trying to find a way to make the nanomachines safe to use medically, without virtually handing out superweapons to whomever was treated with them, and to get the rift machine to function. The military learned of it and wanted it for use as both a weapon and field medicine. He refused to sell it to them so they tried to commandeer it by force. Since he had already used the nanomachines on himself he used them to deconstruct his entire lab, including all backups of his research and blueprints, escaped, and went into hiding. In his desire for speed and stealth as he escaped the nanomachines responded by taking the raw metal around him as the lab was deconstructed and formed a suit of armor that moved like flesh. Drawing upon his random thoughts and memories, it took on aspects of both the tiger for its stealth and cheetah for its speed. The facemask became that of a snarling cat and the gauntlets formed razor sharp retractable claws. Because it was forming this armor at the same time it was deconstructing the rift machine the data became corrupted and merged the two in its blueprints and this actually got the rift machine to work! A slash of his claws would tear holes in reality itself!   This new armor was also capable of transforming into a metallic cat, not merely a humanoid suit of armor with cat features. Because it was bonded with him on the molecular level thanks to the nanomachines his very body would restructure when this happened, giving him the ability to move like the cheetah he had wished to have the speed of.   So began his life in hiding from the military. Unfortunately for him, the ability to tear holes in reality came with a heavy price which he knew nothing of...and it would come back to bite him in the end. As holes were torn and resealed themselves the fabric of reality in that area would weaken and warp. The effect was so slight it was unnoticeable, but it was also cumulative. The more holes torn within a single area, the weaker and more warped reality became, until it began to distort into a living nightmare.   ----------   As for the nanomachines... Basically all they can do by themselves is repair his flesh, deconstruct material at the atomic level and store the blueprints for future reconstruction, and alter the material itself according to the bonded mind's thoughts. If that mind cannot figure out how to do it they can't do it unless the blueprints for doing so are already stored from deconstructing something. Also, they can only affect things he directly touches since they are now part of his flesh.   The blueprints they acquire are stored in sort of a hive mind/memory bank. Each one contains only a tiny portion of the data, but together they have it all and there is enough overlap for the collective to restore the data should any be lost or destroyed.   The rips in reality aren't an asset, no matter how much he originally thinks they are, instead they are the source of much of his future troubles since they gradually warp reality into a "living nightmare".   I'm thinking that perhaps I should make it so that the molecular bonds in whatever they construct is weak and will fail after a little while causing the object to crumble into dust? Except his flesh of course, his body can't crumble apart or he'd die. The flesh should use the artificial flesh as a template and strengthen that area, much the way real scientists cause new ears to grow on mice by implanting a few cartilage cells and a porous frame for them to attach to under the mouse's skin.   Or, as my friend Elliot suggested to me: "I like that! Or perhaps his flesh does fall apart as well, but its replaced over time by the nanites. He could be fully nanite by the end and not know it until it's too late".

Cadh20000

Cadh20000

 

Necromancers in my worlds

philteredkhaos left a comment on my last blog entry, "Expanding on the info about Magic in my worlds", which reminded me of some of the information I had accidentally left out when I originally posted it. Here is the comment, and the information. Thanks for the reminder philteredkhaos, I had forgotten to include why Necromancers are called that.   Necromancers in that world use the undead as obedient servants and soldiers who will never rebel no matter what they are ordered to do.   To make Zombies they use Alchemy to get the proper components in the proper amounts, Elemental magic to bind it together on the bones, and Aetheric magic to animate it with a semblance of life. Zombies are shambling, slow, and basically mindless, but they are exceptionally strong and once given an order they will follow it through to the end no matter what it takes to do so.   They also use ghosts as spies and saboteurs.A “Ghost†in that world is a minor magical construct often used by Necromancers to harass their enemies, more a nuisance than a threat, but a foe that hasn’t been getting any rest is hardly focused or coherent enough to truly be a threat either. A ghost’s power is limited to making noises, apparitions, and manipulating small objects. What makes them a problem that must be dealt with instead of something that can be ignored is the fact that “small objects†include potions, spellbooks, rings, amulets, knives, and even swords.   Within the ghost’s movement range they interfere with portal spells, making them one-way only, entering via the portal occurs normally but leaving via one is impossible, attempting to do so will merely result in them exiting the portal a few moments later in the same spot they had entered it, usually quite shaken up. Occasionally a ghost will form naturally when a person dies near a concentration of energy; as they pass on their thoughts, desires and regrets, become imprinted on the energy and shape it, forming a somewhat cruder form of the same construct the Necromancers use. Generally speaking, this form of ghost has more raw power and therefore can manipulate larger objects, but has a smaller range. Also, rather then being bound to a single object, they tend to be bound to a place instead.   They, whether natural or artificial, cannot be destroyed or even banished until whatever they are bound to is located and either destroyed or cleansed. What makes this so difficult is the fact that the item can be anything from an apple core to a building and there are no distinguishing characteristics to mark it other than a slight aura that an experienced mage is able to discern with extreme focus. Of course, discerning it does require that the ghost give them a chance to focus long enough.   The drawback for the Necromancer in this is the fact that the ghost is incapable of moving more than one-thousand feet in any direction from the object they are bound to and is unable to touch or manipulate the item in any way, thereby making their effective range quite limited. Due to this inability ghosts are often made and dispatched in pairs, each able to carry the others binding object to the target location.   A "Revenant" is basically a cross between the two, a zombie's physical form is constructed, and a ghost's mind and intelligence is bound to it and incorporated into it, giving it control over the body. The body acts as the ghost's binding object but unlike a normal binding object, the ghost can actually manipulate it, effectively this removes the range limitation from the ghost and gives them the strength of a zombie, but also removes their ability to manipulate objects without physically touching them.

Cadh20000

Cadh20000

 

Expanding on the info about Magic in my worlds.

A while ago I did a post about Dragons, Goblins, and Magic in the world of my stories. Well, in one of the worlds anyway. Today I'll expand on the Magic aspect of that.   In the world of "Theran"(my main novel and assorted short stories, Theran is the title character, the world itself has never been named) Magic differs from "science" in that it requires a living being to cast it, it can be imbued in an object by a living being, but never replicated mechanically or by chance.   Any being can use their own life energy to cast simple light or finding spells with only a little teaching(2 year olds are taught to make a light to use as a beacon if they get lost), but intermediate and advanced magic requires the use of this internal life energy to manipulate outside energy to create larger effects, the more internal energy a person has the more external energy they can direct.   Someone who can only use their internal energy has no title, they are just normal, average, people.   Here it becomes more complicated, there are 3 external sources of energy and each of the 3 magically inclined species possess an affinity for one of these. Drawing upon the one they have the affinity for allows intermediate magic to be accomplished. Dragons draw upon raw elemental energy easily, Elves draw upon "Aether" or the life energy radiating from all living creatures or plants easily, and Humans mix chemicals through Alchemy for direct effects and draw upon the energy released by the chemical reactions for indirect effects easily.     Someone who uses only the one they possess an affinity with is known as a "Mage" of that school. Using 2 of these energy sources removes the school title, but still leaves them the "Mage" title.   Now none of these species are restricted to that one type their species finds easiest, and the mixing of the three is the only way to accomplish advanced magic.   Someone who uses all 3 is known as a "Wizard" and possesses a sub-title that is determined by how they use the magic. An "Arch-Mage" serves life and light, they generally focus on protecting and healing those around them.   A "Gray Wizard" aka simply a "Gray" are teachers and researchers. Think of them as the "Mad Scientists of Magic" if you will. They seldom think about how their discoveries will be used, they only focus on studying old magics and inventing new magics simply because they are interested in them. They generally will teach anyone who can pay their fees.   Finally, a "Necromancer" is one who uses magic for their own benefit only, using their power to kill, subjugate, or even outright enslave anyone weaker than themselves.   Though the Dragons, Elves, and Humans are the only species that truly have a magical affinity, the other 2 intelligent species, Goblins and Dwarves, also possess some.   Goblins possess the unique ability to pool their internal energy which allows their Shamans to use the combined energy of a whole tribe to accomplish magical effects not even the Dragons can replicate.   Dwarves use their internal energy for lights that don't require flame and so cannot set off flammable gasses in their mines, beyond that however they do not use magic at all, instead they are the ones who developed technology as we would recognize it. Dwarves possess steam powered technology roughly equal to that in our world during the late 1700s and early 1800s.   Their world is composed of 7 "planes of existence", 4 of them are Elemental, 2 are Spiritual, and the final one, the physical world, is where the other six overlap.     The 4 Elemental Planes are Fire, Water, Earth, and Air. An Elementalist can, with proper training, safely summon and control creatures from the 4 Elemental Planes.   Each plane consists entirely of a primordial element, simply a gigantic mass of a single element, alive yet not sentient, not thinking. When a new mage first summons an Elemental, a portion of this primordial element gets brought forth, assuming an existence separate from the main body. This portion becomes linked to that mage and is the one always brought forth when the mage summons that element. As time goes by and it is repeatedly summoned, it gains a true consciousness and a personality all its own. No mage may ever summon more than 1 of any of the Elementals.   The 2 Spiritual Planes are Light and Darkness. Anyone with a modicum of Magical training may summon from them.   Darkness always seeks to be summoned, the instant the barriers between the Plane of Darkness and the physical world are breached it rushes forth and consumes the summoning mage, taking on their form and memories then using them as puppets. Should this body be destroyed the Darkness takes on another form, usually resembling a bat-winged humanoid with horns, skin like obsidian, and eyes like the deepest shadows in the darkest caverns of the underworld, though as shadows themselves change shape, so can the form the Darkness takes.   Light has 3 forms which may be summoned, 2 are instructors and one is a destroyer. The only way in which Light will participate in combat is if the foe is the Darkness, in which case it attacks all out without hesitation. “The Teacher†is an instructor in the ways of Healing and Defensive Magic; those seeking to become an Arch-Mage summon it to act as their final teacher and complete their training. “The Warrior†is an instructor in the ways of Physical Combat enhanced by Defensive Magic; the greatest heroes of all time summoned it to teach them the best ways to combat the evil that was running rampant in their times. “The Executioner†is the destroyer, to be summoned only in the event of the Darkness invading. If the Darkness is present in the world at the time it is summoned, it senses this and immediately rushes to combat it as soon as it is exits the Gateway between the Plane of Light and the Physical Plane. To summon it when the Darkness is not present is to die; it will give you one chance to explain yourself and will accept only one response. “The Darkness is not yet here, but the enemy is in the process of summoning it. You are our last hope, save us from it.†Any other response, including trying to get it to fight an evil other than the Darkness, is considered a mockery of its purpose and it will not accept that, instead killing the one to waste its time in such a manner.     Philteredkhaos left a comment which reminded me of some of the information I had accidentally left out when I originally posted this. Here is the comment, and the information. Thanks for the reminder, I had forgotten to include why Necromancers are called that.   I may have forgotten to include it in this blog entry, but Necromancers in that world use the undead as obedient servants and soldiers who will never rebel no matter what they are ordered to do.   To make Zombies they use Alchemy to get the proper components in the proper amounts, Elemental magic to bind it together on the bones, and Aetheric magic to animate it with a semblance of life. Zombies are shambling, slow, and basically mindless, but they are exceptionally strong and once given an order they will follow it through to the end no matter what it takes to do so.   They also use ghosts as spies and saboteurs.A “Ghost†in that world is a minor magical construct often used by Necromancers to harass their enemies, more a nuisance than a threat, but a foe that hasn’t been getting any rest is hardly focused or coherent enough to truly be a threat either. A ghost’s power is limited to making noises, apparitions, and manipulating small objects. What makes them a problem that must be dealt with instead of something that can be ignored is the fact that “small objects†include potions, spellbooks, rings, amulets, knives, and even swords.   Within the ghost’s movement range they interfere with portal spells, making them one-way only, entering via the portal occurs normally but leaving via one is impossible, attempting to do so will merely result in them exiting the portal a few moments later in the same spot they had entered it, usually quite shaken up. Occasionally a ghost will form naturally when a person dies near a concentration of energy; as they pass on their thoughts, desires and regrets, become imprinted on the energy and shape it, forming a somewhat cruder form of the same construct the Necromancers use. Generally speaking, this form of ghost has more raw power and therefore can manipulate larger objects, but has a smaller range. Also, rather then being bound to a single object, they tend to be bound to a place instead.   They, whether natural or artificial, cannot be destroyed or even banished until whatever they are bound to is located and either destroyed or cleansed. What makes this so difficult is the fact that the item can be anything from an apple core to a building and there are no distinguishing characteristics to mark it other than a slight aura that an experienced mage is able to discern with extreme focus. Of course, discerning it does require that the ghost give them a chance to focus long enough.   The drawback for the Necromancer in this is the fact that the ghost is incapable of moving more than one-thousand feet in any direction from the object they are bound to and is unable to touch or manipulate the item in any way, thereby making their effective range quite limited. Due to this inability ghosts are often made and dispatched in pairs, each able to carry the others binding object to the target location.

Cadh20000

Cadh20000

 

Female Characters and the Roles they play...

I keep seeing all these articles on how too few games have strong female characters. Some are saying there needs to be more female characters, others counter that by saying it isn't the number of them, it is that not enough of them are strong enough characters.   (For those who don't know, "MC" = "Main Character")   My current project(Bibliotheca Arcanum) may have a male MC, but it has its share of strong female characters. It is a pain to write the story for, because with the exception of the male MC, the rest of the characters all have to be recruited by the player's actions, some are mutually exclusive, and the events encountered and areas accessed vary according to who is in the team. They all affect the story's flow and the direction it takes.   Of the 5 you can recruit so far, 3 of them are female. 2 are strong-willed front-line fighters and 1 is a support role/mid-range fighter who dictates what types of equipment you can obtain(Most equipment in the game is made, not found or bought). They are the "Fencer", the "Martial Artist", and the "Mechanic".   The girls aren't regulated to the typical rather passive healer role, they stand out and make their mark on the story.   While there is nothing wrong with a female healer, it is just that in RPGs with characters that have set classes the female characters have been stuck in that role almost exclusively. It has become such a stereotype that many people will look at gender plus role and assume it is the same old thing without paying attention to the character herself.   Bibliotheca Arcanum doesn't have a set healer character, all the characters will have a method of healing, usually based on either items or first aid rather than magic(though the MC, the only spellcaster on the team, does have a healing spell or two).   Kat, the Fencer, is a 15 yr old girl at the start of the game. She has been fencing since she was little and has gone to the Nationals twice. Could have been an Olympic level fencer if she had taken the time out of studying to focus on it, but she is a straight-A student and takes her studies seriously. Her little brother Darren is the group's Alchemist.   Aida, the Martial Artist, is a 14 yr old girl at the start of the game. She grew up in a dojo, studying Karate from the time she could stand up unaided. Karate is her life, almost to the exclusion of a social life or school. I would go so far as to call her mildly obsessed.   Sarah, the Mechanic, is an 11 yr old girl at the start of the game. She is curious about anything and everything in the world around her. Wanting to know how everything works on a mechanical level, she is extremely studious and spends most of her free time fiddling with machines, especially those with engines.   All 3 girls live in the same neighborhood and have been casual friends since they were little.

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Cadh20000

 

Links to various of my stories, storyline pieces, and background info

"Theran - Phoenix Warrior" is my book and most short stories I have are related to it and involve either him or his family. The previous blog post (Dragons, Goblins, and Magic) goes with this world. "Brief Description of the world of Theran" "Notes on Schools of Magic" "Phoenix -Tribe/-Guard/-Knight/-Warrior" "The Tale of the Phoenix" "Laws and Punishments on the Plains of the Sun" Since this is under a "Mature Content" spoiler which can't be opened without a dA account I copied it under the spoiler as well.   "Theran - Prologue" The "Artist's Comment" below the actual prologue/chapter has links to the other chapters in the book itself. There are only a few. "Theran - How he got his power" "A Tender Moment" "Snow Day" This and the next one go together, they focus on Theran's elder sister's family and occur on the same day, this one in the morning and the next in the evening. "On her husband's shoulder" "To the Fullest Extent of Tribal Law - Part 1" Both parts of "To the Fullest Extent of Tribal Law" are written from the perspective of Katya, Theran's elder sister. "To the Fullest Extent of Tribal Law - Part 2" Since this is under a "Mature Content" spoiler which can't be opened without a dA account I copied it under the spoiler as well.   "Interdimensional Ghost Story" << This is by far the longest single story among these. "Bandits Attack" "Thief - Part 1"       "Silver Symbiosis" is my other game project, the 3D one that I had to shelve due to team management issues. "Silver Symbiosis: Game Opening Script" "Linear portion of the story" (goes about to the point where the player can start making decisions that actually affect gameplay) "Rock-Goblins: Description" "Wraith: Description" "Skills" "The Rifts and Spirit Enemies" "First Psionic Upgrade" "The Dragon's Arrival" "The Living Earth - Mud" "The Living Earth - Stone" "Can you see the Wind?" "The Searing Magma" "The Wild Waves" "Through the Storm" "Hidden among the leaves" "Evan's Fatal Mistake" Since this is under a "Mature Content" spoiler which can't be opened without a dA account I copied it under the spoiler as well.       Unrelated stories: "The Enchanted Army" "Ook: The Orangutan who loved to Cook" "Blackberry" "There is no such thing as a lock I can't get past!" "Fireballs and Popcorn" "Story idea with illustrations"     Manga storyline with scene DESCRIPTIONS but no actual illustrations other than the title: "Excalibur: A new twist on an old tale - Scenes 1~53" "Excalibur: A new twist on an old tale - Scenes 54~98"     Probably already read this one, but it is what "Bibliotheca Arcanum" is based on: "An Accidental Spell"

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Cadh20000

 

Dragons, Goblins, and Magic.

I had to explain a lot about dragons as they appear in my book(along with some related info about magic) to someone earlier. Realized just telling about them, their culture, their magic, and their relations with the other races adds up to roughly 5 and 1/4 pages of Calibri size 11 font text.   I started with a description in a poem form and after that was answering specific questions:   None can stand against that greatest of beasts, the Dragon: With a beak like unto that of the great birds of prey, yet filled with a multitude of fangs, needle sharp and gently curved, the shortest of which is as long as a large man’s hand. Wings in shape like unto those of that creature of the night sky, the bat; the symbol both of terror and of luck, yet in size greater than even those of the magnificent Roc. Neck and tail; both supple as a whip and strong as steel, like unto those of a constrictor. With claws as long as swords and sharper still; capable of rending steel like unto paper. With scales hard as diamonds and the color of those most precious of metals, gold and silver. With a mind sharp enough to make even those of human-kind’s greatest philosophers seem as those of mere infants. Breathing flames, hot enough to melt granite as easily as butter. Commanding the magic of nature itself, and manipulating the elements to its will. None can stand against that greatest of beasts, the Dragon.   Every dragon has its own individual nature and this is closely related to their adult form. As juveniles they all appear much alike, with dull grayish-white scales and no horns at all.   Evil emotions such as hatred, anger, greed, and lust will cause a dragon’s coloration to darken, eventually becoming black as pitch with crimson highlights. Twisted, jagged horns will sprout from all of their joints as well as the back of the skull and corners of the jaw.   Good emotions such as love, empathy, and generosity will cause their scales to lighten, eventually becoming either gold with silver highlights or silver with gold highlights. The only horns they sprout will be gracefully curved and positioned along the back of the skull (No-one, not even the dragons themselves are certain why some among the good dragons become gold and others silver, though some believe it is due to what their hoard is primarily composed of).   Simply experiencing these emotions will not cause the transformations; all dragons will experience all of them at some point in their life. It is the dragon’s choice of which to hold in their heart that will decide which form they will have.   A dragon molts approximately once every decade. On the rare occasion where a dragon’s nature changes, their form will begin to change at their next molt, it can however, take as many as 10 molts for it to completely reverse. This reversal in natures is exceedingly rare. Unlike any other creature, approximately nine-hundred-ninety-nine out of one-thousand dragons can be judged solely on their appearance.   Dragons are more intelligent than any bipedal life form and can be reasoned with, when approached. A Black Dragon will most likely roast you before you get the chance to make the attempt, but a Gold or Silver Dragon will allow you the opportunity to make your case as long as you approach in a peaceful manner. Should you approach in a warlike manner, however, they will proceed to roast you just as quickly as any Black Dragon would have. They will make sure that you get a good look at them first. Should you stow your weapons upon seeing that they are not a Black, they will allow you to continue your approach.   All dragons build hoards as they grow. No dragon will ever allow you to take something from their hoard for free. A Black will never allow it at all, but a Silver or Gold will occasionally accept a trade, either for another object which they desire or some service. (On extremely rare occasions they may allow you the use of it for free, but under no circumstances will they ever allow you to retain it for free)   Who says there isn't a "dragon culture"? Quite a few authors say there is, it is just that they live in small communities and like "country neighbors"(I personally have lived in several places where the nearest neighbor was a 1/2 mile to a full mile away, that would be the equivalent of what? 100 miles for something the size of a dragon?). Many cultures until recent times were broken up into small communities quite a distance from each other, and some still are. Hermits live alone yet still are part of society, they merely don't get together with others very often.   As for "living like animals", who says they have to? A cave is easily defensible and far easier to carve to their liking with claws instead of hands that can hold tools. Their sheer power is sufficient to bust out if anyone tries blocking them in and their senses are too sharp for someone to easily sneak up and set an explosive or whatever to collapse the cave entrance.   As for being solitary, many creatures, including quite a few humans, prefer living either alone or in small groups. They cannot easily farm due to their body shape, raising and herding animals would be virtually impossible as any herd animal would run in terror at the sight or scent of a carnivore that much larger than itself. This would almost force them to live spread out so they can hunt and feed themselves without over-hunting and forcing themselves to travel huge distances to find prey/food. Also, their wings and flight capability make what is many days journey for a land animal nothing more than a stroll down the lane for them.   Personally in my book they rule one entire continent and have a country and government of their own on the other, but to any of the considerably smaller humanoid races(Human, Elf, Dwarf, and Goblin) the area would seem deserted because of the distance apart that they live. Not only can their claws carve out amenities in their lairs, but they can also summon and control Elementals to manipulate the stone and shape it to their will. They don't live in houses or castles because they don't need to, and they view the smaller races as being foolish for bothering with such impermanent structures. On the continent where they merely have a single country, they also live outside it as citizens of the other ones, though when they do so they live by those countries laws. Excepting of course, the evil dragons. Those are basically bandits no matter the country or continent and are treated as such.   Dragons rule one entire continent completely uncontested, and have a country of their one on the other continent which is shared among all 5 races.(The "Races" are actually Species; Dragon, Human, Elf, Dwarf, and Goblin)   The book's MC is human so the story focuses almost exclusively on the shared continent and that is all I mapped out.   Architecture for Dragons: There is some, but it is mainly things like doors and entryways for their caves. The inside of the caves can be quite elaborate including libraries, bedchambers, guest quarters, and more. Take Brandelyn for example, his hoard is composed primarily of books, scrolls, and magical artifacts rather than precious metals and jewels, though it does have a share of those in it. As a result a large portion of his cave is a library complete with row upon row of shelves and display stands. It does not however have any tables or chairs except in the guest chambers.   Newly hatched Dragon Kits are roughly 10ft in length, they never stop growing until they die. While not truly immortal, they only die if they fall ill or are killed. Old age cannot kill them, but like humans they can suffer from infirmities and dementia, though these do not set in without injury or illness causing it for over 3000 years. The oldest living dragon is 2500+/- yrs old. Prior to the encounter between the MC, the Phoenix, and a certain Black Dragon(name unknown) the eldest(that Black Dragon) was 4,700+/- and he was completely insane and extremely malicious. The Gold Dragon I mentioned before, Brandelyn, is 150ft long and approximately 1000+/- yrs old. Roughly equal in age to the MC's tribe's pact with the Phoenix.   As for Dragon Art, the Elemental Summons I mentioned before are Salamander for Fire, Undine for Water, Sylph for Air, and Golem for Earth. The Golem are capable of manipulating and molding solid stone like soft clay so stone sculptures are common. They are however intelligent in their own right so the statue designs are sometimes planned and guided by the Dragon and sometimes by the Golem itself. The other Elementals are equally capable of manipulating their own elements. Elementals are capable of working together and combining their powers to achieve effects outside of their one element. Sylphs are often used as messengers due to the fact they are made of air and therefore move at the speed of the wind itself.   They rarely keep records, but when they do the records are either carved in stone or dictated to a member of one of the other races to be written on paper.   They do not raise food. They are pure carnivores and either hunt or trade for food. Given a choice they will trade their Elemental's services rather than an actual part of their hoard.   An organized labor force among them does not exist, anything an individual dragon needs can be made or obtained by sheer physical strength, magical manipulation, or trade with the other races.   Their economy is based ENTIRELY on barter, the exchange of goods or services for goods or services.   Trade between them and other races is generally done on an individual basis. They have precious metals, jewels, knowledge, and assorted magical artifacts that they can exchange for whatever they want(and no-one tries to cheat a dragon, that is straight out suicide). Their shed scales are highly valuable trade goods as these are far harder than even the finest steel, nullify magic, and can be forged like metal.   Dragons live in small family groups. A mated pair and their young. The young stay with their parents until they either cause trouble and get kicked out, or grow up and find a mate of their own. A dragon doesn't reach adulthood for about 200 yrs or so.   They do not have dedicated doctors, but they do possess some healing spells for severe injuries, and their natural resistances make infection nearly impossible. Their scales make injury very difficult. Steel will shatter well before a scale is so much as scratched. Their scales have the additional effect of nullifying any magical energy that directly touches them which makes casting magic require magical energy to be directed through the mouth instead. Any magic which requires direct manipulation of the energy by the caster's body is essentially impossible and any magic used on them must be directed at exposed flesh rather than protective scales in order to have any effect. (An injury under the scales cannot be treated by magical means as the scales will nullify the magic before it can even reach the flesh.   Teaching between dragons is done one-on-one between parent and child, except in the case of the parent not having the required knowledge in which case it is handled as an apprenticeship to a knowledgeable adult instead. They occasionally teach other races though, Take Brandelyn as an example again, he is a guest lecturer at the University of Corran and occasionally takes an apprentice in Elemental Magic if he takes a liking to someone.   The world the book takes place in is actually 7 planes of existence. 4 Elemental, 2 Spiritual, and one Physical. The Physical Plane is the intersection point of the other 6. Summons from the Elemental Planes take a small portion of living energy that then develops a mind of its own as it remains separated from the main body. These minds remain bound to the summoner until that summoner dies so their summons are always to the same one and all memories of past summonings are retained. When the summoner dies this mind is released back into the main energy being at which point it dissipates and its memories merge with the main being's. As a consequence of dealing with these beings, they know there is a greater existence than their own and revere it. They do not actually worship though. It is more a deep and abiding respect than true worship.   Each plane consists entirely of a primordial element, simply a gigantic mass of a single element, alive yet not sentient, not thinking.   BASIC Elemental Magic is nearly instinctive for dragons, and ADVANCED Elemental Magic is easier for them to learn than it is for any of the other races. Advanced Elemental Magic involves the summoning and controlling of Elementals. Elementals when summoned for the first time are merely mindless bundles of element-specific energy that will destroy everything around them if the summoner's control slips in the slightest. As they are summoned more often and kept summoned longer their minds develop and they become intelligent creatures with their own wills. A good Elemental Mage will treat and teach them like his or her own children and they will grow to become willing and capable partners while an evil Elemental Mage will treat them like slaves and force them to obey without question or hesitation in which case the Elementals will resent them and will rebel if the Summoner's control slips.   An Elementalist(Master of Advanced Elemental Magic) can, with proper training, safely summon and control creatures from the 4 Elemental Planes. When a new mage first summons an Elemental, a portion of this primordial element gets brought forth, assuming an existence separate from the main body. This portion becomes linked to that mage and is the one always brought forth when the mage summons that element. As time goes by and it is repeatedly summoned, it gains a true consciousness and a personality all its own. No mage may ever summon more than 1 of any of the Elementals.   The 2 Spiritual Planes are Light and Darkness. Anyone with a modicum of Magical training may summon from them.   Darkness always seeks to be summoned, the instant the barriers between the Plane of Darkness and the physical world are breached it rushes forth and consumes the summoning mage, taking on their form and memories then using them as puppets. Should this body be destroyed the Darkness takes on another form, usually resembling a bat-winged humanoid with horns, skin like obsidian, and eyes like the deepest shadows in the darkest caverns of the underworld, though as shadows themselves change shape, so can the form the Darkness takes.   Light has 3 forms which may be summoned, 2 are instructors and one is a destroyer. The only way in which Light will participate in combat is if the foe is the Darkness, in which case it attacks all out without hesitation. “The Teacher†is an instructor in the ways of Healing and Defensive Magic; those seeking to become an Arch-Mage summon it to act as their final teacher and complete their training. “The Warrior†is an instructor in the ways of Physical Combat enhanced by Defensive Magic; the greatest heroes of all time summoned it to teach them the best ways to combat the evil that was running rampant in their times. “The Executioner†is the destroyer, to be summoned only in the event of the Darkness invading. If the Darkness is present in the world at the time it is summoned, it senses this and immediately rushes to combat it as soon as it is exits the Gateway between the Plane of Light and the Physical Plane. To summon it when the Darkness is not present is to die; it will give you one chance to explain yourself and will accept only one response. “The Darkness is not yet here, but the enemy is in the process of summoning it. You are our last hope, save us from it.†Any other response, including trying to get it to fight an evil other than the Darkness, is considered a mockery of its purpose and it will not accept that, instead killing the one to waste its time in such a manner.   The Physical Plane is the world in which we live; it is the intersecting point between the other 6 Planes.   The energy beings that composed the 6 Planes of Existence other than the Physical Plane are NOT sentient, but they are alive and retain all memories of all Elementals that have been summoned and subsequently dispersed.   Only the summons from the 2 Spiritual Planes are mature, intelligent, and knowledgeable immediately upon their first summoning.   Magic is very common at a low level(Light, finding lost objects, magical locks, etc...) but practicing advanced magic requires a license from the government of the country the person was taught in. Learning it can be done through normal one on one apprenticeships or through the University of Corran which is the preeminent university in their world and is recognized and taught at by all races except Goblins.   “Illumis†is a spell taught to all children of all the Plains Tribes that generates a ball of very bright light above the caster’s palm. Children are taught this spell as soon as they learn to speak in case they get lost in the tall grass prevalent upon the Plains. By casting the spell and holding the resulting ball of light as high overhead as they can reach, they can easily be found. If they can hold it above the grass the light is visible for miles around after dark and a few hundred feet on even the brightest day. Even if they are too small to hold it above the grass it is still visible for quite a long distance and is therefore quite an effective aid in locating them.   That sort of thing is very common in that world.   All Dragons use basic Elemental Energy instinctively. They have a bony formation on the roofs of their mouths which forms a variant on the Fire Element's Summoning Circle that they can direct magical energy through to produce a high pressure stream of pure fire energy angled to pour out of the mouth, this is the source if the reputed fire-breath.   Elves can see the life energy as a sort of light emanating from every living thing, from a little sparkle on blades of grass to blazing light emanating dragons. With a little practice they can manipulate this energy to effect the world around them.   Humans have a knack for combining chemicals in such a way to produce direct effects and ambient energy which with some training they can use to effect the world around them.   To generalize it... Anyone that has mastered one of those branches of magic is labeled a Mage of that school, mastering 2 of them doesn't earn a new title, but removes the school title, by mastering all 3 and learning to combine them however the person earns the title of "Wizard" which then has a sub-title depending on how they use it and what their goals are. These subtitles are "Arch-Mage" for those who use their magic in service to Light and Life to protect and heal the innocent, "Grey Wizard" for those who use magic for magic's own sake, studying and developing new magics, and "Necromancer" for those who use magic to conquer, control, and oppress others. Necromancers generally animate dead bodies and use energy constructs because these have no free will and cannot rebel.

Cadh20000

Cadh20000

 

It wasn't worth getting up this morning...

Not game related but...   It wasn't worth getting out of bed this morning...   I'm applying for disability because I have a bad heart(twice hospitalized with a heart rate that refused to fall below 149 for a week even while sleeping and once it dropped so low they put a crash cart beside my hospital bed and didn't go back to normal for 2 days), a genetic condition called "Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome" which makes my joints extremely unstable and painful, severe depression(resulting from 30 years of extreme pain), etc... I'm not listing it all here.   To get the info on the first appointment I had to call 3 numbers, spend about 40 minutes on the phone, and ended up with a voicemail. I called one number, went through all the prompts and got put on hold for just under 20 minutes, then I got directed to another number, called that and was put on hold for 5(?) minutes just to get directed to another number, called that number and went through all the prompts to get the voicemail. And that was not including the time talking with the person on the other end at both of the first 2 numbers. This was 2 days before the appointment. She didn't get back to me that day so I had to call and leave ANOTHER message the following day(yesterday), and she finally got back to me that afternoon.   Today I had an appointment to be examined by their doctors. 76.9(?) miles each way(about 2 hours drive with the speed zones, traffic, and road construction), a bum shoulder that is in a sling, and I had to be there by 10am.   Got there, spent 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours on paperwork, had a nasty fall in the waiting room and had to struggle for almost a minute to get back off the floor, got in there and had another fall as I stepped off the scales.   They rushed me to the ER where I spent about 3 hours getting poked, prodded, and posed for x-rays. They finally decided the ribs where just badly bruised and sent me home. Now I need to reschedule the appointment to be seen by the state's doctors and make the drive again.   As to my arm in the sling, both the ER physician and doctor want me to have an MRI on the shoulder, but the insurance doesn't like to accept a primary care's request for one. I may need an orthopedic surgeon's referral to get it.

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Cadh20000

 

Some early maps from "Bibliotheca Arcanum"

Here are a few maps from "Bibliotheca Arcanum". All images also work as hyperlinks to the dA page where the image is posted.   A map of the east side of the park near the main character's home. The area with the water fountains is a "splashpad" that is animated with the fountains going off in a pattern and the well on the small island in the lake is the access to a cave with a small maze containing chests with some healing items and other such things. No NPCs have been added yet. There will be a bunch of kids running around and so on later. Unfortunately I'm having trouble keeping the fountains in sync. They stop animating as soon as they go off screen and start again from that point when they come back on screen so the pattern starts out right, but ends up a mess. Finally got that straightened out and the choreography works!       A cave with a small maze containing chests with some healing items and other such things. There will be more chests and I think probably a couple enemy encounters in the final version of this map. This cave is accessed from the well on the island in the park.       These 2 are zoomed in sections of the park: It is a modern city park, they keep the grass neatly trimmed so long grass would seem out of place, or at least that is how I saw it. The only exceptions are the marshy areas on the shore of the lake where a lawnmower would sink into the mud. There is a flower field in the lower right with the red, yellow, and white flowers from the RTPs "Outside_B" tileset.         The lamp posts are roughly every 20 feet, about twice their height between them, perhaps the ones who said there were too many are right and I should cut them down to about 1/2 that though. I'm not sure...         This is an animated gif of the fountains in the splashpad at the park near the MC's house.    

Cadh20000

Cadh20000

 

Bibliotheca Arcanum - Menu Mock-ups

These are simply mock-ups of the menu system in the "Bibliotheca Arcanum" game. I am sincerely hoping that I won't have to make any changes, but I will if I have to.   . . . . . . . First off there is the "Main Menu". The buttons on the left are used to navigate between the various sub-menus. The button on the far-right, as its label states, closes the menu. Simply press the right arrow to navigate to the button or left arrow to navigate back to the menu list. Pressing the cancel button(by default, "X") will also close the menu and take you back to normal gameplay. The character art and stats shown here are always those of the main character and leader of the party. Be careful of his health. Should he die the game is over regardless of the state of the other party members' health. The cancel button will take you back to the gameplay.     This is followed by the "Character Menu" which acts like the "Status Menu" you are no doubt used to. It shows the selected character's full body artwork and lists both current equipment and detailed information on the character's stats and health. Use left and right to navigate between the different characters and view the others' stats. This shows all currently recruited characters regardless of whether they are in the party or not. The face images of characters not in the active party will be shown at 1/2 size. Simply replace the text "Status Effects" with the actual names of the states currently inflicted on the character. Pressing the action button while looking at a character's stats will open a second page about that character. The main character's (Actor ID: 1) second page would show a radar graph(I think that is the right term) for the Reputation System and all other characters'(Actor ID: 2, 3, 4, etc...) second pages would show a simple scale like the HP bar for the Trust System. Reputation determines which recruits are willing to join you during the first chapter of the game. The way the Reputation system will work is like this: your choices during various events will raise or lower the reputation in certain areas. Each choice will give you +2 points in one area and -1 point in the area opposite. The points on the graph are the areas you can increase or decrease your reputation in, the blue is your current reputation. The way the Trust System will work is that it is separate for each teammate. It begins at 100% for a new teammate and drops by 20% each time they get knocked out during battle and not revived within 3 turns(which results in them retreating from that battle). It is restored by 5% for each battle they make it through intact. If it reaches 0% that teammate leaves the team permanently. The only way to get them back is to either reload from a save file made before they left or to actually start a new game and re-recruit them. From the second page the cancel button will take you back to the first page, from the first page it will take you back to the Main Menu.   Character Menu: First page: All characters:   Character Menu: Second page: Main character:   Character Menu: Second page: All recruits: (The blank grey silhouette will be replaced by actual character art.)   The explanation for the Reputation system's graph arrangement:         The Inventory Menu has 3 separate tabs which are navigated between by using the left and right arrows. Confirm the tab you wish to view by pressing the action button (by default, "Z") and then use all four of the arrows keys to select and item to view. Press the action button a second time to use an item, provided of course that the selected item CAN be used anyway. Selecting an item for use brings up the "Item Use" screen by dimming the Inventory Menu and overlaying it with an expanded Item Information and Character Stat window. Use left and right arrows to select which character to use it on and the action button to confirm that you really want to use it. In the lower right corner of all 3 tabs is the current money the player possesses. Pressing the cancel button will take you back to the tab selection, or if there already back to the Main Menu.     The Equipment Menu features a full body image of your currently selected character along with their name and detailed stats. Current stats are shown on the left of the arrow, stats after changing the selected piece of equipment are shown in the right. Use left and right to navigate between the different characters and view the others' stats. This shows all currently recruited characters regardless of whether they are in the party or not. The face images of characters not in the active party will be shown at 1/2 size. Up and down arrows change between equipment slots. The action button opens a smaller window showing all equipment in the inventory that the selected character can use. The cancel button closes this smaller window or exits back to the Main Menu.     The Skill Menu once again shows a full-body image of the currently selected character in the top left. Use left and right to navigate between the different characters and view the others' stats. This shows all currently recruited characters regardless of whether they are in the party or not. The face images of characters not in the active party will be shown at 1/2 size. The top right, on the lighter blue background, lists the selected character's skill names and their description. Don't be afraid to experiment with skills, some of their uses are not instantly apparent and many battle skills have out of battle uses as well. The cancel button will take you back to the Main Menu.     The Quest List Menu is just that, a list of all quests currently in progress. Use up and down arrows to view different quests. Each slot shows the quest's name at the top, the quest objectives in the middle, and the icons of any quest items in the lower right. Other than the spellbook next to the top quest, the icons you see are merely there as examples and will not be present during the game(unless a quest calls for them of course). The cancel button will take you back to the Main Menu.     The Bestiary Menu lists the names of creatures you have encountered up to that point on the left, use the up and down arrows to select one and the action button or right arrow to confirm that selection. Doing so brings up their image, a brief description, and detailed stat information about it. If the information is long enough to go off the bottom if the screen the up and down arrows will scroll the off-screen information into view. The cancel button or left arrow will take you back to the creature list. From there the cancel button will take you back to the Main Menu.     The Map Menu displays a map of the area. As the image text says, the up arrow takes you to the World Map and the down arrow takes you to the Local Map. The gray house symbols are for isolated buildings, the 5 pointed star is for a small town, and the 2 many pointed stars are for cities. The grey targets are Society Strongholds and will only appear on the map when you have acquired information on their location. The black X through the one means you have already defeated the Regional Boss that was stationed there. The larger black diamond with the plus sign in it is the Society Main Headquarters and will only appear when all Society Strongholds have been cleared and Regional Bosses defeated. The one of these with the black X has been cleared. The red dot is the player's current position. As you have probably guessed by this point, the map you see before you is a mock-up to show the symbols and layout rather than an actual in-game map. Press the cancel button at any time to go back to the Main Menu.     The Save/Load Menu functions basically the same as the default save and load menus in RPG Maker VX Ace. Each slot features a File Number, the main character's name(which can be customized at the start of the game, Eric is merely the default name), the party's current location, and sprites of all currently recruited characters, the main party is under the File Number and main character's name, and after the space and below the Location are the reserve members. Use left and right to switch between "Save to" and "Load from", use up and down to select the file to use. Press the action button to actually save or load the game. You will be asked to confirm whether to save over an existing file or to load from one during a game and lose your current progress. When loading from start-up "Save to" will not appear and there will be no confirmation required to load from a save file. The cancel button will take you back to the Main Menu of the currently loaded game.     The Credits Menu is simply an in-game list of who contributed what to the game. The leaf symbols show another page to that side, left and right arrows flip between the pages. The cancel button will take you back to the Main Menu.

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Bibliotheca Arcanum - Story Synopsis

I needed to explain the setting to some people who are helping me with my research for the historical precedents for the skills and classes so I wrote out a synopsis of the story.   ----------------------------------   The game takes place in what is basically an alternate version of our world. Just one where the magic and creatures of legend were real history and hushed up by those who wished to hoard that power for themselves.   The villains during the first 3/4 or so of the game are either humans, or are summoned and controlled by humans. It is only in the last chapter that they start to come across autonomous magical creatures.   There is the normal world and the "Bibliotheca Arcanum Dimension" which is a pocket dimension where every piece of magical knowledge has been automatically recorded in the language it was first devised in, from cave paintings to computers.   There are 5 volumes written in the year 1021 AD which serve as keys to open a gateway to that dimension. 4 of those were lost, but 1 was in the MC's great-grandfather's antique book collection.   In order to use the gateway you must first master every spell recorded within that book. Those books were not merely books though. They were meant to be not merely reference materials but also a teaching ASSISTANT. They are magical AIs that bond with a person and test mastery of each spell before allowing the student to attempt the next one. The gateway spell's diagram is emblazoned on the cover and the spell itself is the last one in the book.   The villains are known simply as "The Society" and are basically magical Illuminati. They rule from the shadows and use magic to enforce their edicts. They also suppress any knowledge of magic as anything but fantasy. As long as people believe it is just prestidigitation(stage magic) or something in books, movies, and games they don't believe the Society exists and you can't fight what you don't believe exists.   In addition to the section of the Bibliotheca Arcanum Dimension where the team hides out and trains during their 10 years away, there is also an area sealed behind a giant stone door which is surrounded by 6 gems and an empty socket. As you master certain skills the 6 gems will light up one to a time. When you defeat the boss of the Society you will get the 7th gem and can insert that into the empty socket.   Once you do so it will open and you will gain access to the area where the creatures the Mages summoned, and many others, live. And they are NOT happy about the gateway being opened by a human. They blame humans for sealing them there and using them as summons. Now they want revenge.

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Bibliotheca Arcanum - Characters

. . . . . . . . . . . I'm doing a lot of research on fencing, alchemy, etc... so I can follow historical precedent and give it a fantasy twist rather than straight out making it up. After all, it is basically an alternate version of our world. Just one where the magic and creatures of legend were real history and hushed up by those who wished to hoard that power for themselves. The player's team consists of one mandatory Main Character as well as several optional recruits.   The Main Character:   Eric, a Cosplayer/Gamer/LARP'er who later becomes a Mage: Ages 22 and 12. The costumed version sprite(with the cape) is being redone by KingDanner on the RPGMakerWeb forums.   Bukarett on the RPGMakerWeb forums is doing the banner image and status menu illustrations of the characters. This is her preliminary sketches of Eric:         The Potential Recruits:   The recruits consist of an assortment of other kids whose classes are determined by hobbies and (school)classes. The whole potential roster hasn't been determined yet.   So far there is Kat who is a sporty girl who does fencing as a hobby, she later expands on her hobby to gain her class as the Fencer. The Fencer deals piercing damage. Ages 15 and 25. Her brother Darren is a chemistry wiz and later expands on this to become an Alchemist. The Alchemist makes potions for the team and can use unique potions and other chemical concoctions, such as the Ice Bomb and Fire Bomb. Ages 24 and 14.   Derek is a bully who picks on Darren and later becomes a Brawler(the 2 are mutually exclusive, either Alchemist Darren OR Brawler Derek). The Brawler deals heavy blunt force damage with no special effects. Ages 24 and 14.   Sarah is the shop class wiz and later expands on this to become a Mechanic. The Mechanic builds your equipment and tools as well as fixing/opening doors and gates to allow access to optional areas. Ages 21 and 11.   Aida the Karate Ace and later expands on this to become a Martial Artist. The Martial Artist deals lighter blunt force damage than the Brawler but has the chance to inflict the stun effect and what are referred to as "Debuffs" which are stat reductions. Ages 24 and 14.   Except for Kat who got reversed, the images are the characters as adults on the left and as kids on the right.   Ms Littlefish on the RPGMakerWeb forums is making the emotion-sets for all the characters to be used with the textboxes.

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Bibliotheca Arcanum - Skills and Puzzles

Some of the database and scripting stuff I am working on. More will probably be added later in another entry. I will also update this one so it will all be in one place though.   Currently working correctly: The "Dimensional Gate" spell which can only be used when on certain maps(most of them qualify, but not all). It records where the spell was used from, plays a movie of the portal opening, teleports the team to the other dimension, then makes you forget the spell until you step on the magic circle to leave then reteaches it to you and teleports you back to wherever you were when you used the skill. (I still need to finish animating the movie though.)
Currently trying to get working correctly: The "Illumis" spell lights up the surroundings for 5 minutes to a time and blinds enemies when used in battle. Was working correctly in my old project, but needs a little tweaking to fit this one.
There are 8 Elemental Summons, both basic and combat versions of the same 4 rather than 8 separate ones. These summon the associated Elemental to aid you in combat or puzzles in exchange for a certain amount of MP per turn. They can be voluntarily dismissed at any time, but if you run out of MP they will simply vanish at the start of their turn. You can only use one version or the other to a time, so no having 2 Salamanders out at once!
Translation puzzles(see next paragraph).
The most "unusual" things about the magic system isn't the individual spells though, it is the way they are learned: During the "Apprentice" section near the start(Chapter 1: Intro and Recuitment) you have a spellbook written in runes, you play a minigame/puzzle where you translate the runes(you have a key code/legend but can't access it at the same time as the translation puzzle), and when you get it right you play another puzzle/minigame where you have to successfully use the spell properly to accomplish the task. Until you do so the spell remains unlearned.   Later in the game, after you fully master that spellbook you begin learning spells more normally though. You know, levels and classes instead of minigames and puzzles.

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Dimensional Gate

As my status updates the last 2 days have said, I've been working on making a movie to play when the "Dimensional Gate" spell is used. It is an actual movie, not an "animation". I'm making it frame by frame in Photoshop CS3, assembling it in Windows Movie Maker, and converting it to .ogg in VLC Media Player.     I have about 1/2 the frames done. It is taking forever... but I'm not worried about it. No deadline has been set so quality over speed! When the spell is used the movie will start with the character is holding the Bibliotheca Arcanum spellbook open to the spell for a couple seconds. (The movie is first-person perspective so he is not shown beyond the hands gripping the book)
Then he closes the book and the emblem on the front begins to glow.
He turns the book to face away from him.
The emblem (in reverse because the book is facing away) spreads to cover most of the screen.
A swirling light spreads from the center of the emblem until it fills the outermost circle.
An image of the other dimension's Portal Room spreads from the center as if opening.
When that image completely fills the outermost circle of the emblem the emblem and image grow as the screen brightens in a slow flash.
When that fades the movie will be over and the character will be standing in the Portal Room.
All in all, I expect it to take roughly 30 seconds or a little less from beginning to end and will play every time the player uses that skill.       The skill is used when you want to rest, rearm, or change your party. It is ONLY available when in the normal world. NEVER from the other dimension because the way it is set up, that would change the variables and you would never be able to leave that dimension if it were ever used there!(I know, I tried during playtesting. Promptly made the character temporarily "forget" that skill when he goes through the portal to get there and "remember" it when going through the portal to leave.)   The game will be divided into 4 "Chapters".   The Dimensional Gate will be opened for the first time during a cutscene at the end of Chapter 1 to escape the Society's "big guns". You don't stand the slightest chance against them at this point!   Chapter 2 will be entirely inside the other dimension. Your characters will spend the next 10 years of their lives there training. To the player this will be an assortment of cutscenes, minigames, and puzzles which will decide what sub-classes and stat-bonuses the characters will have for the remainder of the game. The sub-classes will NOT be visible, they will actually be a simple class-change to another class with the exact same name and all the skills they would have learned up to that point, but different skills from that point on.   Chapter 3 will be back in the normal world and the skill will be available on most maps, though it will be sealed when on certain ones. You will have up to 4 members in your main team, the rest will wait in the other dimension.The Alchemist and the Mechanic can be set to make things for you while they are there, but they also have special abilities when used in the main team so it will take thought rather than being a no-brainer which way to use them.   Chapter 4 will be a chance to finish up stuff in the normal world and you will gain access to a new area in the other dimension which has been sealed behind a stone door up until then.

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Expanded and (hopefully) clarified Game Summary

. . . . . . . . . . . Type of game:     In game "Systems":       Setting/Background info:     Chapter 1 of 4(Intro and Recruitment, takes place in the town and school):   Chapter 2 of 4(Learning and Growing, takes place Bibliotheca Arcanum Dimension):   Chapter 3 of 4(Rebellion, takes place in the "normal world" and covers most of it):   Chapter 4 of 4(Afterword, takes place in the "normal world" and in a previously sealed section of the Bibliotheca Arcanum Dimension):     Need to do/Current progress Come up with and write out the spell incantations for display in the Bibliotheca Arcanum's pages.(Pictures shown when using the book as an item. No effect as an item, just displays them as though actually paging through the book. Left and right arrows to flip forward or back in the book.)
PROGRESS: 6 done. Undetermined number still to go.
MAKE the page illustrations(2 versions for each incantation, one in runes and one translated). PROGRESS: 12 done: 6 runes, 6 translated. Undetermined number still to go.
[*]Make the "Legend"(Code legend, not story legend. Needed to translate anything in runes.) PROGRESS: COMPLETED
[*]Come up with and write out the Alchemy Recipes and Mechanic's Blueprints for the crafting system. PROGRESS: 1 done.
Make the page illustrations for those recipes and blueprints(Used in-game both as a reference for the player, and as a Key Item needed to learn the recipes/blueprints.)
PROGRESS: 2 done: 1 runes, 1 translated.
Map out the town, convention center, and school, including the insides of accessible buildings.(Where the first "Chapter" of the game take's place.)
PROGRESS: The MC's house, 2 floors, is done.
Experiment with scripts. (Find out what ones work together and what ones I need to find alternates for.)
PROGRESS: 1 version of all I need have been found.(I think)
Make character graphics with the "Character Generator" and/or "Game Character Hub", both sprites and faces.(Making the rest of the potential teammates and storyline enemies)
PROGRESS: 8 done: 1 young MC, 1 young MC in costume(cosplay contest that starts off the conflict), 1 adult MC, 2 adult potential teammates, 3 storyline enemies.
Finish database work(Making the rest of the potential teammates, configuring classes, making skills, making weapons, and making items(primarily the crafting ingredients))
PROGRESS: Barely started.

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Getting back on track...

As you can probably tell, I have been working more on my game lately. The title is "Bibliotheca Arcanum" (That means "Secret Library" or perhaps "Library of Secrets". I'm not quite sure which, my Latin is FAR from fluent!)   -------------------------------- *EDIT "Arcane" is often used to mean magic, but it actually means "mysterious or specialized knowledge, language, or information accessible or possessed only by the initiate —usually used in plural" http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/arcanum   Well, according to Google Translate the title translates to "Studies Mysterious" instead. It says "Mysterious Library" would actually have been "Bibliotheca Arcanus" instead. Oh-well, I'm not changing it again. https://translate.google.com/#la/en/"Bibliotheca%20Arcanum" --------------------------------   This is the same game idea that I talked about in my first 3 blog posts, just more fleshed out and finally getting beyond the planning stage.   The game will involve a dual "Reputation" and "Trust" system, the reputation system would look and work something like this: The points are the areas you can increase or decrease your reputation in, the blue is your current reputation. The yellow stars, while not visible to the actual player, are the points which your reputation must reach or exceed in order to recruit certain teammates. The 3 stars shown are the Chemistry Wiz who will later become your Alchemist(between kindness and intelligence), the Bully who will later become your Brawler(between Combativeness and Anger), and the Karate Club Ace who will later become your Martial Artist(between Wisdom and Courage). Brawler and Alchemist are mutually exclusive, once one is recruited the other becomes unavailable(Chemistry Wiz is the Bully's target/victim so they refuse to cooperate) The difference between Brawler and Martial Artist is that the Brawler focuses on physical damage through powerful but unfocused blows while the Martial Artist targets weak points to deal lesser damage combined with stat reductions.     I bought the "Humble Bundle", the full 3 tiers of it. Now I have many new sprites and tiles to play around with and they just need some editing to fit my game... Since then I've spent too many hours editing sprites, tilesets, and icons.   Some were very simple edits, such as this one: I simply had to cut it from the sprite sheet, name the new sprite sheet to acknowledge that it only had a single sprite-set on it, double the "canvas" height, and reposition them so they appear 1/2 way up a 2-tile high wall rather than at the top or bottom of it. (Credit to the "Futuristic Tiles" DLC for the original 1-tile high first-aid kit sprite)   And then there is this "topper" for the doorframes:   Others were a bit more complicated... I took the flowing water from the "Futuristicfountain" sprite sheet, set a screenshot of the sink from the "Inside_B" tileset from the RTP as a background, trimmed the water to flow into the sink instead of down the front of it, drew in a faucet to overlay the water and viola! (Credit to the "Futuristic Tiles" DLC for the original "Futuristicfountain" sprite and to Enterbrain for the RTP sink)   Took some of Cait's parallaxing tiles and edited them to make sprites(so I could have lamps and laptops that the player could turn on and off):   Made some new icons: (and added them to the iconset from the "IMFT-Scifi-Resources" that I got from the "Humble Bundle".)   Made up some character sprites and faces for my main team, though I still need many more: Young Eric: Young Eric in costume: (and this one still needs editing to include the blue wizard hat found in the "Inside_C" tileset from the RTP) Adult Eric: Adult Sarah: Adult Aida:     And some character sprites and faces for their enemies, though I still need many more of these as well. Society Member #1: Society Member #2: Society Member #3:

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Continuing with my characters

Have you ever met someone who looks virtually IDENTICAL to one of your established characters?   I have, a girl in the Philippines who went by the username "Ichie" who, other than her height, hairstyle, and clothing, could have been Katya's double.   When I was in college we would talk every day when I got out of class and before she headed to bed. I haven't talked to her since I got out of college though.   This is what Ichie looked like last time we talked(at least 3 and 1/2 years ago):     This is the character Katya, as done in RPG Maker VX Ace's Character Generator using the RTP parts.   This is her as drawn by alllosthope on the Mangafox forums for me.       Character Description; Name: Katya (Meaning "Pure" in the culture I took the name from.)   Physical description; Race: Human Height: 4’6†Skin Colour: Dusky tan Bust: High, full, but not huge breasts (B to C cup in today's measurements) Arms: Slim Legs: Slim Waist: Narrow Hips: Wide Eye Colour: Mahogany Brown Eye Shape: Almond Eyebrows: Thick but narrow and gently curved Cheekbones: High Nose: Small with the tip ever so slightly upturned (The shape often described as a "button") Jaw Line: Narrow Chin: Rounded (NOT pointed!) Mouth: 1.5†wide Hair Colour: Black (very glossy) Hair Style: Single loose, thick braid hanging down to 1†below her shoulder blades with bangs hanging to ¼†above her eyebrows, the braid is often draped over her right shoulder so she can fiddle with it as she thinks   Clothing(which was actually a courting gift from Bran before they got married); Material: Light brown matte leather Top: Form-fitting bodice with loose sleeves ending in cuffs approximately 2†below the elbows, the hem flairs out over her hips. The neckline, cuffs and hem are embroidered with pink and blue roses. The buttons are carved in the same rose-shapes as the embroidery Bottom: Wide, loose skirt that ends approximately 1†below the knee, the hem is embroidered in pink and blue roses. (The skirt may be wide but it does NOT flair out) Feet: Front-laced boots with flat soles that come ½ of the way up her calves.   Weapons; Twin daggers coated in a powerful paralytic poison of her own brewing. A belt-pouch full of vials containing both healing potions and poisons which she brewed.   Special Skills; Herbalism, Potion brewing, Cooking, and Melee combat.   Family: Father, Drechan, is the Phoenix Tribe's “Weapon Master†(basically war-leader and combat instructor). While he is an excellent fighter, combat trainer, and leader, he absolutely stinks at things such as cooking. Adopted brother, Theran, is an orphan whose biological family was killed in the war when he was 6 months old. He is now swordsman and a Master Elementalist(Expert in summoning and controlling Elementals). He also is teaching her Elemental Magic. Mother died in the same war that orphaned her adopted brother. Husband, Bran, is a wood-carver and co-owns/co-manages(with her) the trading post that is the tribe's sole dependable contact with the more settled peoples of the neighboring kingdoms. Daughter, Karen, is a precocious tomboy who spies on her mother's magic lessons and tries out spells she is not ready for, usually with disastrous results.   Pet Peeves: Her father's cooking(She learned to cook in sheer self-defense against it). Anyone threatening any member of her family, ESPECIALLY her daughter.   Personality: Usually kind, gentle, loving, and determined. Often over-protective and always absolutely merciless against anyone she feels is threatening those she cares for and will not hesitate to cut them up with her daggers, let the poison coating the blades paralyze them, then kick them in the ribs while they are down. Only then will she administer the antidote and only so the perpetrator will survive long enough to face Tribal Law.   Cultural Background: Semi-nomadic society. They raise cattle, hunt, and gather wild plants. The tribes from the Plains have very limited contact with the settled peoples from the neighboring countries. Such contact is restricted to trade for medicinal plants, metal, and wood which cannot be obtained on the Plains. Her particular tribe has had a contract with their totem creature, the Phoenix, for a millennia. The terms of this contract state that in exchange for them guarding its nesting site they are granted certain magical abilities such as the ability to always discern whether a spoken word is an intentional lie, a mistake where the speaker believes what they are saying will get past them however. Tribal law is extremely harsh, including indentured servitude for thieves and torture and gelding for rapists   Personal Background: Taught to fight hand to hand or with melee weaponry from the time she could stand unaided. Her father's cooking was so horrendous that she sought out good cooks among the other tribe members in an effort to learn to cook something edible for her family. As the tribe is semi-nomadic, spices and herbs for seasoning the food must be gathered from the Plains so she learned to recognize and gather plants to do so. During the process she also learned to identify both medicinal and poisonous plants. She has since learned to brew potions and poisons from them. She has also become an adept enough cook that she is usually requested to cater for the annual Plains Council where the elders of the 6 tribes gather to decide policy affecting the collective People of the Plains.

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A bit sidetracked but...

This actually has to do with my book rather than a game design, but I do occasionally draw inspiration from this guy's life for the games. As a side-note, my avatar is his sister and her husband.   Main Character: Name: Theran Race: Human Height: 6’6†Build: Muscular Special Skills: Stealth, Tracking, & Master Elemantalist (Expert in summoning and controlling Elementals) Weapons Main: Claymore
Secondary: Short sword
Shield: Black Dragonscale (cancels out hostile magic)
Hair Color: Golden Brown Eye Color: Hazel Skin Color: Bronze Theran was actually adopted into a semi-nomadic tribe. Due to his genetics he has always been larger and bulkier than anyone of a comparable age among the natural-born tribe members(wider shoulders and a full foot taller than the average adult). Due to this, well people will be people. Some accepted him for who he was, others looked at him as an outsider. EVERYONE who didn't grow up with him was startled to see him the first time though.   The character's "internal development" comes in to play with these categories:   Family: (in his case his adoptive father was the tribe's war-leader and raised him to fight from the time he could stand, his adoptive elder sister has also been trained to fight, but chose instead to focus on herbalism and potion making, the family's mother died in the same war that made him an orphan)   Personality: (Earnest, kind, caring about others. Will never INTENTIONALLY hurt an innocent, but willing to literally skin anyone who would do so alive or burn them to ashes in the middle of a city street(He did that once and got kicked out of the city. Diplomatic relations are all that saved him from trial, imprisonment, and possible execution.))   Pet peeves: (1. His sister calling him her "little brother" even though he stands a full two foot taller than she does. 2. Anyone who would harm an innocent. 3. Anyone trying to steal from him)   Cultural background: (Semi-nomadic society. They raise cattle, hunt, and gather wild plants. The tribes from the Plains have very limited contact with the settled peoples from the neighboring countries. Such contact is restricted to trade for medicinal plants, metal, and wood which cannot be obtained on the Plains. His particular tribe has had a contract with their totem creature, the Phoenix, for a millenia. The terms of this contract state that in exchange for them guarding its nesting site they are granted certain magical abilities such as the ability to always discern whether a spoken word is an intentional lie, a mistake where the speaker believes what they are saying will get past them however. Tribal law is extremely harsh, including indentured servitude for thieves and torture and gelding for rapists)   Personal background: (Born into a trader's settlement, his birth family is unknown. He and an unidentified woman were the only survivors of an attack during the war. The woman died shortly after rescue without regaining consciousness. Cause of death was wounds apparently sustained while protecting him. Through age ten he had no idea why he was different and the other kids picked on him, at that time his dad revealed the truth to him. He was taught how to fight barehanded and with weapons from the time he could stand unaided. At the same time he was also taught the basic magic used by the tribes, including but not limited to the "Illumis" spell to provide light and be used as a beacon if separated from the group. Left the tribe at age sixteen to find someone who could teach him to fight in a style more fitting to his physique(larger weapons, less stealth tactics, etc...))

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Cadh20000

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