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[center][SIZE="4"][b]Quest for the Lost Relic[/b][/size]
[INDENT][SIZE="2"][b]An interactive story brought to you by the makers of Laeth E’Thae and other fine cheeses.[/b][/size][/center][/INDENT]


[size=1]My dear fine people, welcome to the preliminary thread for [b]The Quest[/b]. This thread’s major purpose is to create the world in which the quest is to take place. We have some ideas, but we also thought the story would be a lot more fun if the cultures and the cities were all created by the players. And we’ve even drawn a map. If that doesn’t get you excited, then we don’t know what else will, quite frankly.

So right now you’re probably thinking, “Okay, maps are cool, but what the hell are you talking about?”

Well, my friend, we’re talking about [b]massive participation in creation of the persons, places, and cultures of the world[/b]. The actual story that will take place is very obviously going to be an adventure – a quest for an ancient relic. But like all good adventures, our (anti-)heroes are bound to get sidetracked here and there. We thought it would be cool (and would also help foster strong commitment to the story) if all of the places and side quests were not created by us. Take a look at [b]the map[/b] for a better understanding. We have created the terrain, divided up the different territories, and established a tentative route to the treasure. But as of now, most of the places our sturdy crew would travel through have no names, no identities of their own. That’s where you would come in.

There are some rules, of course. The first and foremost is that this is [b]not[/b] a sign-up thread – just because you submit ideas to this thread does not mean you will automatically be accepted into the story later on. We may still use your ideas, and you can enjoy reading as the adventurers travel through the fertile lands of your imagination, but unless you are accepted in round two (the adventure inn thread), then that’s about it. However, we do encourage you to plan ahead and think about what kind of character would be accepted into a story like this.

The adventure story also takes place in relatively [b]modern times[/b], but there’s a catch. Humanity has gone back a few steps – we had superb technology once, but something happened and now years later, we’ve forgotten how to use some of it. It’s not terribly post-apocalyptic – we still have electricity, we still have guns, and the laws of physics still hold true. But there are no computers in existence anywhere. Electronics are severely limited; electricity, for example, rarely functions normally outside of the big cities. There are steamboats and trains, but the automobile has yet to appear. Mankind has learned to rely once again on his own engineering ingenuity.

This is not a fantasy epic – there is no magic, there are no dragons, elves, sorcerers, wizards, or cat people, and if you think your sword-wielding prowess can stand up against bullets, we refer you to Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark. This does not mean that there cannot be any kind of supernatural element to the story, however. Even in our rational world, there are unexplained things that can and will occur.[/size]


[center][size=2][b]The Map.[/b][/size]
[size=1]([URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v290/studded_tonfa/MAP.jpg"]click me, I’m beautiful![/URL])[/size][/center]

[size=1]It’s a splendid map, we know. We’re pretty fond of it, too. But it’s pretty empty, and we’d like to fix that. All of the different territories are numbered and up for grabs, with the exception of three: 5, 16, and 17. The first two of these inland borders’ are marked with red, and the last one is a neat little island in the southeastern corner (you may note the x, if you wish). The borders of all the territories are shown with black dashes, and some of them follow rivers. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask, but if you go by the borders and the numbers we think the little countries are pretty easy to pick apart.

There are a lot of black dots on the map. These marks represent cities, but if you decide to take on a country and you think a certain corner of that territory is better for a city, you can make a suggestion. We may or may not listen, but if you provide us with your proposal and it sounds reasonable, we’ll change the map to reflect that.

The other noticeable feature on the map is the question mark, which has been liberally used. These points reflect possible side quests, but you are by no means limited to these places. We want you to be creative and have fun with the possibilities.

There are also a bunch of little notes here and there. Most of them describe the terrain of the area, but some suggest the nature of the country or a possible problem to be solved. Some are just silly.[/size]


[center][size=2][b]The Territories.[/b][/size][/center]

[size=1]As previously mentioned, three of the territories/countries/nations/city-states/whatever the hell you want to call them have already been “taken” and developed. The first two (5 and 16) are listed below, but because 17 is special, the nature of that country will unfold along with the story. We suggest thinking about countries that are along the tentative quest route, if only because we are more likely to come into direct contact with them, but the choice is up to you. As your ideas come in and we decide that we like them, we will add them to the list. If there is a river or a mountain range or some other kind of landform within your territory, feel free to name it! But leave the major oceans and waterways to us.

We feel that this is a very important aspect of the story because the terrain affects the journey and the culture affects the characters, and so we want as many people involved in its creation as possible. This includes social, political, and cultural aspects. The beauty of this is that characters will practically create themselves by the time the map is complete. You may use the two created countries below as examples, and you may always PM one or both of us if you have any questions.

[b]5. Oppalon[/b] [Arcadia]
Oppalon is the country located on either side of the straight, and is one of the wealthier countries on the map. History shows it as being one of the earlier settlements, due to its easy location on the water and its proximity to other fertile lands. It quickly grew in size and wealth, mostly in thanks to its port towns. While it does not contain the strongest ground force, its navy is superior to most; Oppalon is a country that has long relied on water and knows it well. The country is governed by the Ministry of Oppalon, which is headed by Prime Minister of Oppalon Ellen Verder. There is an election every five years; currently they are in their third year in office. The Ministry finds its home in the capital city.

The capital city of Oppalon is Clover, located on the tiny peninsula on the west side of the straight. It is also the biggest port city in Oppalon, and a wide variety of people pass through it daily. Clover runs on solar and water power, as does the rest of Oppalon. The city is a beautiful one, made of white stone and colored glass, and has been the subject of many poems because of the way it glimmers on the horizon as one approaches it by sea. It is a city of layers, as well, and most buildings are at least two or three stories tall. At sea level, a series of canals and waterways make up the roadways. The next level up provides more solid ways of travel, and there are a number of elaborate pulley systems that help residents traverse from one level to the next.

The only thing brighter than the glass windows is the people themselves. Color is very fashionable in Clover for men and women alike, and the more vivid it is, the better. Because of the way the city glimmers both day and night, Clover has gained a reputation as being very proud and somewhat vain, and it is a view that is not completely unfounded.

The second largest port in Oppalon is Napellus, so named for the purplish flowers that litter the coastline on the east side. These flowers are remarkably poisonous and in Oppalon’s ancient times they were used to coat arrows and spears for battle. The cardiac poison is deadly once it enters the bloodstream and is only sold for outrageous sums in Napellus’ notorious black market. There is a way to counter the poison, but the antidote calls for a rare ingredient that is extremely hard to come by.

Napellus itself is nowhere near as glamorous as Clover, but its unique blend of sea and country give it a very charming and friendly atmosphere. It also happens to be the best place to commission various nefarious deeds – the port city is teeming with bounty-hunters, assassins, and the like.

[b]14. Zix[/b] [Shy]
Zix is an island nation of farmers, artists and priests. The government is currently ruled by the beautiful and wise Princess Dorlene, but her crown will soon be passed on once she reaches the age of 16, as is tradition. A new, younger princess will be chosen by Dorlene on her final day as head of state, but it is common knowledge that she is reluctant to give up her title.

Of course, the role of princess is merely to be a figurehead, and most day-to-day operations are run by her advisors and the Zix high clerics. Dorlene’s only true power lies in her command of The Zixish Royal Navy, which ranks among the largest in the world.

The capital of Zix is the “Clockwork City” of Karisia. Highly advanced subways and railcars once carried Karisia’s citizens in and out of the city, and some were so reliable that they survived The Great Fall and are still used today. A much larger network was once used by all of Zix, but most of the pieces to the system were salvaged during the nation’s reconstruction. Due to this and Karisia’s remote location behind the river very little contact is made between the capital and the nation’s other cities.

In many ways Zix is a land of two peoples. Few citizens on the outskirts and the coast have any formal education, a stark contrast to the charmed life of a Karisian. While the people of the farms are fairly simple-minded, Karisians pride themselves on their intellect and devout faith. Despite this (or perhaps because off) this education, Karisians are extremely indecisive. Many are active members in multiple political parties and religions. They try extremely hard to be ‘modern,‘ and will go to extreme lengths to do so. This open-mindedness is often a source of ridicule by surrounding nations.

The archipelago to the north of Zix has long been a source of contention between Zix and its neighbor to the east. This is a direct result of Princess Dorlene’s aggressive use of The Zixish Royal Navy to create a hegemony in the region. Zix is currently using several of the small islands as military outposts, perhaps in preparation for a much larger assault on the main continent.

The climate throughout the country is hot, dry and often highly unpredictable. Crop growth tends to fluctuate wildly from season to season, and most farmers barely produce enough to feed themselves and their families. Rainfall is more regular in the west, and many Karisians see this as a sign of approval from whichever deity they are worshipping that month. The Zixish people are starving both culturally and literally. Many feel a war is what would help to unite the nation and bring new prosperity to the land.

[b]17. Benadir[/b] [Sharp Cheddar]
Benadir has been at war with its western neighbor Ceylon over the proper borders of their respective lands for as long as anyone can remember. While a tension between the multitudes of ethnic groups in the region is widely regarded as the starting point for the feud, the more modern face of the struggle surrounded the Curonian Isthmus. The site, historically important for shipping, was also the most widely recognized border between the two countries.

A canal, if built through the isthmus, would cut the travel time from Clover to the Southern Islands by almost half. When proposed, Benadir and Ceylon were immediately at each other’s throats for the rights to the canal. For several years, either country made no headway. However, around 20 years ago, Benadir attempted to end the dispute by simply “annexing” its neighbor.

Since then, the geographical entity of Ceylon has ceased to exist, and Benadir ‘rightfully’ controls the passage of ships through the Hendrik Saul Canal, (usually shorten to the Saul Canal) as named for it’s righteous and upstanding authoritarian leader. Walking the streets in the nearby capital of Curonia one quickly learns that Ceylon is still very much alive – while you will not find it on a map, it would be extremely difficult to overlook the struggle still taking place in the streets. It is often extremely difficult as well to avoid being caught in the crossfire.

It should be noted that Benadir, as an authoritarian nation, harbors mixed emotions among its populace. It is not uncommon to find that a citizen of Benadir is also a Ceylonian nationalist, and perhaps hopes that Benadir may someday see the light of democracy. An uprising would be possible – but not without the help of the military. Fabulously trained an often from the aristocracy, most of the force whole-heartedly pledges allegiance to Hendrik Saul.

To the east of the Bena River, grassland stretches out toward the ocean. No government truly exists in those lands; however, Benadir lays claim to it. The true leaders are the head clansmen, leading bands of uncivilized savages. At least in the eyes of those to the west. Regardless, any persons not fully prepared for a trek through the region will probably die.[/size]


[center][size=2][b]The Side Quests.[/b][/size][/center]

[size=1]Like the territories, you the reader will also help us come up with exciting side quests to steer our adventurers off the beaten track. The side quests can be anything, and they don’t have to necessarily amount to anything. As mentioned before, the question marks are suggested locations for these mini-adventures, but you can put them just about anywhere.

Here are some ideas we threw around. You can run with these, or make up your own.
- the canal episode (located in territory 17)
- danger in the mineshaft
- cave explorations
- underground cities
- exploring ancient ruins
- collecting rare flowers that only grow on certain cacti
- pirates!
- damn those natives and their human sacrifices
- transporting people/goods from point a to point b

Side quests can also provide cameo appearances, so if you want to be involved in some way but are not sure if you can stick around for the entire duration of the story, keep this in mind for possible characters.

(We will go over possible characters and other sign-up information in the Adventure Inn thread.)[/size]


[center][size=2][b]The End Notes.[/b][/size][/center]
[size=1]What we’re ultimately hoping for is that a lot of the same people who offer up ideas will in turn participate in the RPG. This would allow for a person to introduce their creations as we come to them in the story; even if the character you end up creating isn’t a native, in a way you are, and it makes you the best person for the job. It’s our hope that all of this enthusiasm will spill over into the story itself and will help drive the adventurers on their quest for the lost relic.

More information about the adventure and the relic will unfold when we put up a thread in the Adventure Inn. But until then, we hope you will stick around and help us make this story one to remember, if only because everyone was involved in the creation of it. ;]


- the always delicious [b]Arcadia[/b] and [b]Sharp Cheddar[/b][/size]
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[size=1][color=teal]Good to see you back Arcadia, still brimming with ideas I see,

Its late at night for me so I want to stake my claim on trying to put something together for 6,7 and 8 if thats okay 'cause seeing as they're all close to each other and separate from the other landmasses I figure I'd like to write something that can link the three of them together. Hopefully I should be able to start that tomorrow.

Gotta say I'm impressed with this idea and hope it all comes to fruition ^_^.[/color][/size]
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An OB MMORPG? Finally! ;P

I'm just worried about one thing: if there's no fantasy in the game, no magic, no monsters etc., won't it be quite a [I]boring[/I] adventure?

If you compare it to Indiana Jones, then what are the players supposed to do? Dodge pitfalls and traps? Travel a few weeks on a steamtrain to get anywhere? Doing sidequests like in videogame RPGs aren't necessarily the most interesting thing to write about, either...

I don't mean to insult your idea, it really is a grandiose one, and I really hope it succeeds, but [I]for me[/I], personally, adventure and realism don't mesh well together.

PS. If there is no magic in the world, then how come they are after the relic then? What's so important about it in that case, if the assumed historical value is taken out of it?
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By magic we mean more of a Harry Potter/Lord of the Rings/OMG i am all powerful kind of thing, but it doesn't mean that it's all real all the time. I think we did mention that we encourage a supernatural aspect to the story, and a quest for an ancient relic can certainly be strange on so many levels. We [i]want[/i] some things to be unexplainable, but we don't necessarily want to revert to fantasy stereotypes in order to make that happen - people can't use magic, but it doesn't mean that magical things can't happen.

The relic is something we want to reveal through the course of the story, but for now let's just say that it does have value on more than a historical level. But it's just so old and mysterious, so there's no real way to know exactly what that is.

I'm going to take this moment, too, to emphasize the fact that you don't necessarily have to [i]join[/i] the RPG in order to contribute ideas. There will be a sign-up thread in the Inn in a few days, and between the two hopefully everyone can get a better idea of what we're aiming for.
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[size=1]I'm not sure if this is what you were looking for, but I couldn't help by try to contribute somehow.

[b]14. Zix[/b]

Zix is an island nation of farmers, artists and priests. The government is currently ruled by the beautiful and wise Princess Dorlene, but her crown will soon be passed on once she reaches the age of 16, as is tradition. A new, younger princess will be chosen by Dorlene on her final day as head of state, but it is common knowledge that she is reluctant to give up her title.

Of course, the role of princess is merely to be a figurehead, and most day-to-day operations are run by her advisors and the Zix high clerics. Dorlene?s only true power lies in her command of The Zixish Royal Navy, which ranks among the largest in the world.

The capital of Zix is the ?Clockwork City? of Karisia. Highly advanced subways and railcars once carried Karisia?s citizens in and out of the city, and some were so reliable that they survived The Great Fall and are still used today. A much larger network was once used by all of Zix, but most of the pieces to the system were salvaged during the nation?s reconstruction. Due to this and Karisia?s remote location behind the river very little contact is made between the capital and the nation?s other cities.

In many ways Zix is a land of two peoples. Few citizens on the outskirts and the coast have any formal education, a stark contrast to the charmed life of a Karisian. While the people of the farms are fairly simple-minded, Karisians pride themselves on their intellect and devout faith. Despite this (or perhaps because off) this education, Karisians are extremely indecisive. Many are active members in multiple political parties and religions. They try extremely hard to be ?modern,? and will go to extreme lengths to do so. This open-mindedness is often a source of ridicule by surrounding nations.

The archipelago to the north of Zix has long been a source of contention between Zix and its neighbor to the east. This is a direct result of Princess Dorlene?s aggressive use of The Zixish Royal Navy to create a hegemony in the region. Zix is currently using several of the small islands as military outposts, perhaps in preparation for a much larger assault on the main continent.

The climate throughout the country is hot, dry and often highly unpredictable. Crop growth tends to fluctuate wildly from season to season, and most farmers barely produce enough to feed themselves and their families. Rainfall is more regular in the west, and many Karisians see this as a sign of approval from whichever deity they are worshipping that month. The Zixish people are starving both culturally and literally. Many feel a war is what would help to unite the nation and bring new prosperity to the land.

-Shy[/size]
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[quote name='Arcadia']By magic we mean more of a Harry Potter/Lord of the Rings/OMG i am all powerful kind of thing, but it doesn't mean that it's all real all the time. I think we did mention that we encourage a supernatural aspect to the story, and a quest for an ancient relic can certainly be strange on so many levels. We [i]want[/i] some things to be unexplainable, but we don't necessarily want to revert to fantasy stereotypes in order to make that happen - people can't use magic, but it doesn't mean that magical things can't happen.

The relic is something we want to reveal through the course of the story, but for now let's just say that it does have value on more than a historical level. But it's just so old and mysterious, so there's no real way to know exactly what that is.

I'm going to take this moment, too, to emphasize the fact that you don't necessarily have to [i]join[/i] the RPG in order to contribute ideas. There will be a sign-up thread in the Inn in a few days, and between the two hopefully everyone can get a better idea of what we're aiming for.[/QUOTE]

It's good to hear that, Arcadia. ;D

I just might contribute something in the near future, and hopefully you'll take it to be a part of your world.

*walks off wondering what an OB MMORPG would be like*
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Some of you may have noticed that we've posted a new thread in the Adventure Inn, so please do check that out. In the meantime, we are positively delighted with Shy's contribution and have added it to the territory list.

[i]Hopefully[/i] everybody is just taking their time with their ideas and we'll get more in soon... the map is just too pretty to waste.
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Guest jlyns09
I definitely want to get in on this; it sounds like it's going to be a blast! I've got the beginnings of an idea for territory #9, but I'm going to take some time to think on it and get all the details hammered out. This was more me wanting you two to know that I'm very interested and am working on ideas!
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As a participant in Laeth E'Thae, I couldn't help but be intrigued by this new idea. I'd like to lend a hand by designing a country.

15. Imezas

Imezas, a desert nation, is one featuring an extremely limited population and little to no real social order, as the region is home to nomadic tribes who share extremely poor relations with each other, as well as outsiders, and are prone to attacking first and asking questions later. For this reason, industrialized nations like the neighbouring Zix usually make no attempts at contacting or assimilating the residents of the desert nation, usually preferring to send people into exile there.

However, in the years following the Great Fall, the few residents of Imezas have begun exhibiting signs of change. The reason for this is the amount of waste flowing in from the river in the north. As a result of the Great Fall, a great variety of objects from Zix and lands across the ocean fell into the sea, and strong undersea currents carried these items of curiosity into the bay and rivers north of Imezas, resulting in them being washed ashore and buried under the sand. The people who travel along this river in search of clean water would then uncover these mysterious objects and attempt to use them or barter them for other, more important objects.

This unusual influx of technology has resulted in the people of Imezas developing a strong sense of superstition about these foreign objects, and many nomads usually attribute mystical or spiritual qualities to whatever they may find in an attempt to make the object seem more valuable to people from outside their tribes. This new commerce usually results in far more people being fooled into trading for useless things, but at least the nomads have reason to communicate rather than kill each other on sight.

As the years passed, the people of the desert nation began understanding more and more about the value of the technology being passed down to them, and it is considered an extremely valuable skill among the nomads to be able to appraise the value of or understand the function of a foreign object. People who possess this ability are usually revered as prophets, and are often sought for advice or guidance, making them the de facto leaders of their tribes. These skills are often sought in the younger members of tribes, and the people of Imezas have found that these skills can be present in people of any gender, country or race, and they therefore know better than to judge by appearance alone.

Despite having no capital city or town to speak of, the people of Imezas usually spend most of their time in the northeastern part of the region, as that is where most of the items from afar usually wash ashore. However, there are still expeditions to the west in search of fresh water or items that may have traveled further upstream. Though no attempts have been made at crossing the ocean, the people of Imezas usually survive by fishing. Water pollution levels in the waters around Imezas are extremely high, and though the people of Imezas have long since developed natural resistances to the pollutants in their fish, said fish are inedible to residents of other nations as they are unpalatable at best, and poisonous at worst. No one in Imezas attempts to travel south, as it is widely considered suicidal due to the high frequency of sandstorms, attacks by violent creatures hidden amongst the sand dunes, and a general inability to gauge direction or distance under those conditions, making navigation impossible.

A hopeful few in Imezas usually attempt to develop new creations based on the qualities of the objects already passed down to them, and most of their energy is devoted towards finding ways of making sea water drinkable, navigating the desert, crossing the ocean, or transporting goods more easily. None of these attempts at reinvention have succeeded thus far, and those that try are usually pitied or ridiculed by their tribesmen, although some of the "prophets" who understand the properties of the objects also believe that these inventions will someday succeed.

---

Hopefully this is an acceptable idea for a region. If it is, then I might consider playing a "cameo" role as someone from there. If not, well, I'll take a stab at designing another place.
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