Story and Theme Problems

Jeremy SaundersJeremy Saunders Administrator Posts: 1,149 admin
I am currently working on some new histories for the game, but I would like to address some of our current problems as well.

The forum membership has been clamoring for more/better story to help with circles and professions. I have been thinking about this for several weeks and I am trying to get a good grasp on things before we update things. Anything we update will be discussed on the forums. Little changes can have some pretty big effects and I would like to keep as many people as happy as possible.

What are my goals?
  • A better understanding of why people hate each other from circle to circle.
  • More avenues to create conflict and strife between circles.
  • Clean up as many loose ends in histories as possible.
  • A richer background and history in the game.
I would like people who are interested in helping to answer this question:
  • What do you think the main story problems in the game are? 
I am not looking for player debate about the things you have issue with. Just post what you things bother you as a player. 

DO NOT post massive brain dumps or rants or whatever. I will just delete those. Post simple concise issues.

For example:
  • Where is the AM side getting it's powers with the death of the gods? 
  • What were the demon gods? I thought that was Golgotha and all that.
Thanks.



TaqjaSvoraiEnryk
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Comments

  • DevimDevim Member Posts: 57 ✭✭
    I would like a better reason to hate AM aside from them hating me and mechanical things and that there are hordes of them....
  • AleutiaAleutia Member, Historian Posts: 363 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I've never been able to reconcile that magick and demonic are essentially the same, except we have a few more demons standing over there for cuddles. I'd like to see a more definitive, 'this is their differences' because it's never felt like anything more than 'NO DEMONZ'

    If undead are going to come to a forefront, is there going to be a good villain? Not one that shows up for an event and is never seen from again. This dude or dudette needs to have a massive, sweeping storyline that involve MULTIPLE events. Frankly, we could do with this in general. We need more characters that stick around and are not cookie cutter throw their hands up and cackle evil. Let someone have FUN with this, let them get an idea in their head and run with it. These new characters need to be so prolific we do things like discover their histories, and we have help files on them and everything.

    I want to see more racial histories. We have two amazingly detailed histories for Lamira and Lyke, and everyone else gets squat.

    Obelisks are inherently magickal - why does anti-magick use them?

    There are all these random emotes about a volcano spewing shards. Why is it spewing shards? Where is this magickal volcano. I want to go to there.

    Avasyu's body dropped somewhere to the west (I think? I'd have to look for the direction). We have this massive pool of divine energy laying around somewhere - what's being done with it?

    I'll stop for now :<



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    SvoraiIniarEnryk
  • LionasLionas Member, Historian Posts: 765 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 2013
    Post removed because I was bad and didn't follow the guidelines above.
    I am the righteous one... 
    the claims are stated - it's the world I've created 
    Ahkan
  • AhkanAhkan TexasMember Posts: 2,375 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 2013
    If anything, player driven history has really blurred the line between who is worse, Magick or Demonic. When push comes to shove, Demonic has had more precision without as much fall out. Magick is 2/2 or 3/3. Destroying metal? Zombie event? Death of Gods? The party line of "Magick doesn't ruin the world" has been decimated.

    Personally, I want to take the avenue that the Demonic Gods were exactly that, Demonic Gods. It's a much more interesting role that allows for a lot of depth for those playing the mortal side and those writing the administrative side. We'll call Golgotha the mid-level henchman who answered the phone and pretended to be a badass. We now know better. You have a choice to make here, do we learn our lesson and focus on death and not dying or do we see how much we can learn/steal. (Could explain a class redesign...how weird!)

    The game needs variety. We need to play that up. By variety, I also mean we need an antagonist who is neither orc, undead or demon. (There's a fire mage underneath a volcano out there.)

    If you want to revamp the story line and actually add some meat to those potatoes (current plot lines) you're going to have to give us some (read: a lot of)  support. When someone in AM says, "we get our power from x, y, and z, (if it makes sense) you need to jump into their skill sets, abs, help files and do some spot checking and fixes. When Khandava tells you that they don't want to be 100% demon, that they want to worship the darker nature spirits, you need to put  put in the ab's, helpfiles and other miscellaneous scripts that they've written. Not gonna lie, I dare you to beat it. (I dare you because you can't.) There are a lot of people in this game who are out of this world creative (and none of them pk). Tap into their grey matter and let them do the lion's share for you. Sure you get a veto, but use it wisely. You told us our cities, guilds and nations were our babies. Your job just needs to be saying the word "ok" and dispatching someone to do the work we can't behind the scenes.


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    ZarimSvoraiLindsayKanthari
  • LalitanaLalitana Member Posts: 208 ✭✭✭
    Antioch needs not just a new "source" for its skills, but a raison d'etre. The gods are dead. What the heck is a city full of gods-worshippers supposed to do now?

    I mean, Antioch can go steampunk for all I care - I have no problem gluing some gears onto Lalitana's sitara. But the city needs a stronger avenue of roleplay than "Meh, magick and demons suck and also all your obelisks belong to us now", and whatever it is needs admin backing.
    Sarrius
  • EnrykEnryk Member Posts: 55 ✭✭
    edited June 2013
    • What is magic really? Why do both AM and Demonic have physics-breaking abilities, but this is not considered magical?
    • Why are two factions classified by power source, but the other is not? Why can't I take an anti-magick profession and also use magick, and be twice as powerful? Similarly, why can't I take a magick profession, add demons, and be three times as powerful?
    • Why is magick faction so terribly, horribly, disgustingly neutral, but the other two are often seemingly positioned as "good" and "bad". Where are the examples of evil anti-magickers or virtuous demon-summoners?
    • What happens to the Ichayra River now that the gods are dead? Is that stream of divine power still flowing through all the realms?
    • Why is power source the most important divisor of the Imperian population? Why is the difference between summoning an imp, seraph or songbird more important than what organisations I'm working for, what values I hold, or what actions I've taken? (I'm not saying it can't be, but I don't find any compelling story reasons other than "they're different so they should be wiped out".)

    • How do ordinary denizens and creatures align with the two power sources? Is every farmer and beggar in the magick faction some type of wizard? Does every builder and peasant in the Demonic faction talk to demons? Or are the ordinary folk technically "anti-magick" in ability? What about animals and creatures - can they have affinity to each of the two powers? How is this different to the inherent affinity that magickally-altered races (non-humans) must have?
    • What is the actual difference between cities and councils? Why couldn't an environmentally-friendly city sit above a forest domain? How do councils (okay, just Celidon) avoid the nebulous "hippy-Nature" concept, and differentiate themselves with more than cosmetic lip-service?
    • Why can't you take some professions cross-circle?
    • How are different moral perspectives permitted in each circle, given that they are defined by skills rather than motivation?

    One more that I think is the most important I still struggle with:

    • What should factor into my decision on which circle I should join, given its the most important decision as a player?
      - Do I choose "good"/"neutral"/"evil", and then pick a class/city afterwards?
      - Do I pick on flavour only, and expect that roughly equivalent playstyles will be available in each faction?
      - Do I pick based on city/council backstory, and then pick a profession that represents that story?
      I don't think the game does any of these at the moment particularly well (story and RP-wise) when it really should be the clearest thing of anything to a new player.
  • KhizanKhizan Member Posts: 2,648 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Can we lessen the amount of outright evil in Stavenn's skills? It's kind of hard to play the side off as anything other than Mhaldor-lite when you've got a main kill method as out-and-out evil as vivisect. In my head, the ideal Stavenn is an aggressively expansionist empire that utilizes demonic powers. Think Rome with Warlocks. In practice, what we have is an undead Legion of Doom, which is inherently hard to cast in any kind of role other than a Saturday morning cartoon villain. 

    This is problematic, because, ideally, city conflict should be between two factions who want reasonable yet opposing goals. Outsiders shouldn't be able to look at it and immediately go "Those are good guys. Those are evil guys."

    Along with this, one thing I'd like to see is the removal of demonic as the theme for a side, moving towards a more undead/dark-nature-spirit sort of vibe. The classes would stay the same mechanically, but the skills would be reflavored.  After all, the demon planes were sealed off with the Hammer, so 'demonic' moving to a different source of power would make sense.

    "On the battlefield I am a god. I love war. The steel, the smell, the corpses. I wish there were more. On the first day I drove the Northmen back alone at the ford. Alone! On the second I carried the bridge! Me! Yesterday I climbed the Heroes! I love war! I… I wish it wasn’t over."

    SarriusEnrykAzefel
  • AhkanAhkan TexasMember Posts: 2,375 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Either way works for me. Stavenn could use a few (18) bones thrown its way.
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  • Jeremy SaundersJeremy Saunders Administrator Posts: 1,149 admin
    Let's keep this very general. As soon as you get specific as 'rewrite all the skills' in class A, you are talking about several months of work.

    I am looking for holes in histories and themes. 

  • KhizanKhizan Member Posts: 2,648 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The hole in the theme is that Stavenn's theme is basically "We're ridiculously over the top evil! Look at us vivisect people and summon horrible demons!", which is a theme that worked for a game with the God of Literal Actual Evil, but which doesn't work so great for a game that tries to be more gray and less black|white.

    "On the battlefield I am a god. I love war. The steel, the smell, the corpses. I wish there were more. On the first day I drove the Northmen back alone at the ford. Alone! On the second I carried the bridge! Me! Yesterday I climbed the Heroes! I love war! I… I wish it wasn’t over."

  • SarriusSarrius Member Posts: 1,319 ✭✭✭✭
    Jeremy said:
    Let's keep this very general. As soon as you get specific as 'rewrite all the skills' in class A, you are talking about several months of work.

    I am looking for holes in histories and themes. 
    I think if you outsourced the 'write all the skills in Circle A' work to a few smart people on the forums, you would find that it would be done in a week or two, TOPS. Demonic has probably been itching to do that for months.

    I think 'redefine demonic and AM' are both probably good story concerns.
    KanthariAzefel
  • Jeremy SaundersJeremy Saunders Administrator Posts: 1,149 admin
    Very general for now. I am not against changing up skillset themes.

  • KhizanKhizan Member Posts: 2,648 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 2013

    AM is, imo, fine. 

    They've always played up "BECAUSE THE GODS SAY IT IS BAD!" as their reason, but really. Look at everything demons and magick have done to the world. You don't need Baar going "Magick's bad, mmk?" to look at that history and go "We can't let people use that crap. They will destroy everything!"

    What they really need is a solid reason to have divine powers now, but other than that most of the stuff is solid, imo.

    "On the battlefield I am a god. I love war. The steel, the smell, the corpses. I wish there were more. On the first day I drove the Northmen back alone at the ford. Alone! On the second I carried the bridge! Me! Yesterday I climbed the Heroes! I love war! I… I wish it wasn’t over."

  • SarriusSarrius Member Posts: 1,319 ✭✭✭✭
    Khizan said:

    What they really need is a solid reason to have divine powers now, but other than that most of the stuff is solid, imo.

    This is all I really need. I do agree with Khizan that the absence of a booming voice telling Antioch that magick sucks is no reason to stop thinking magick sucks.
  • AhkanAhkan TexasMember Posts: 2,375 ✭✭✭✭✭
    It's been years since AM actually listened to the gods anyways.
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    SarriusAzefel
  • AhkanAhkan TexasMember Posts: 2,375 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 2013
    Aspects:
    Someone needs to sit down and churn out a reason for them existing. Why are aspects able to tap into the power of the moons? Why are the monoliths so important to aspects? Hell, even try to explain why aspect perks work.

    Obelisks:
    I said this when they came out. Why are they important? A little back story here would go a long way. This system needs a huge improvement, but that's months away. Right now, someone can sit down and say what they are, how they function and how they're tapped into the moons.

    Undeath:
    I think it would also help a lot of us if the creative types in demonic (and probably only demonic) sat down and had a pow-wow with the story writers for the game to hash out what we want undeath to be. We're at a pretty serendipitous point in development, so we can factor in some of these core values and concepts and incorporate them with the upcoming theme of the summoner revamp. Additionally, we're following on the heels of Thanatos dying/departing/playing super villain?. There's a lot of room to sit down and really (re)define the entire concept of necromancy and undeath.

    Nature:
    For the most part, the game has moved away from the stereotypical nature council. This is a good thing. It would also be worth sitting down and hashing out a more in depth view of nature. You can easily focus less on "i love my trees" and focus on the diversity of spirits you find in nature. Olanre, Isra and maybre Svorai have all made large claims of "beasts not yet awakened" or "beasts/spirits not seen by mortals." You could easily start to treat Nature like mm...the fey from common literature, with the not-so-bad-fey and maul-your-face-off-fey.
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    Kanthari
  • GurnGurn Member Posts: 787 ✭✭✭✭
    For that matter, why does magick hate anti-magick or demonic? Besides the people of those circles being hostile, there's no real reason to be hostile back except "The game tells us to." I can play it off as corruption as a nature lover person, but that still makes me go, wait a minute, why do we hate Ithaqua again?


    If we're going to be doing the whole 'magick pushes too far' thing, there's the problem of, well, how does that separate us from demonic? Demonic is just another way of utilizing magick, being pushed too far. For that matter, then we have the whole nature council and city thing going on, which I've seen as "don't push magick too far, let natural magick be natural" versus the whole "let's see what happens when we do this!"

    The only reason I've seen for magick disliking anyone else is that we're hated first.
  • IniarIniar AustraliaMember Posts: 3,213 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Aleutia - We need more characters that stick around and are not cookie cutter throw their hands up and cackle evil. Let someone have FUN with this, let them get an idea in their head and run with it. These new characters need to be so prolific

    Ahkan - By variety, I also mean we need an antagonist who is neither orc, undead or demon. (There's a fire mage underneath a volcano out there.)

    Throwing an idea out there - Create a badass avatar, fill 'er up with badass skills and artifacts unique to this avatar. Create definite termination conditions to this avatar and a time limit (say 3 months). Create a (or several) specific objective(s) for this avatar. Give this avatar more freedom with roleplaying devices. Give this avatar NPCs to control and do as he/she bids. Lock this avatar into one circle. Give this avatar to a committed, active combatant with some storytelling skills. Provisos - IC at all times, non-disclosure, altered PK rights with reduced repercussion. 

    Why and what's the diff with a God?
    1. No mandate. He/She is not (supposedly) all powerful. He/she is mortal with a personal agenda that the other circles should try and foil because he/she should generally be a tool with the OP powers granted him/her.
    2. Temporary! And not farmable! Even if he/she is OP'd to kingdom come, the time limit ensures the avatar will disappear after a time (RP whatever). 
    3. Temporary side-balancing (or imbalancing). No secret AM is dominant, give Magick a one-shot Gandalf the Grey with Treants as minions for 4 weeks, well things should get spicier.
    4. Gives the players a chance to create a memorable, interactive, dynamic, "he/she was -really- one of us", temporary Hero. Like... on our Council and shiz. 
    5. Gives the circles more visceral reasons to hate each other. Rather than this NPC supposedly is demonic... we're gonna side with it now. Oh wait, it isn't.
    6. Re-usable to create Epic Events! Imagine two or three of these badassess running around fighting each other. Please?
    7. Finally, credits. Let same-circle players bid for the role in credits. Or shards. Or whatever.

    wit beyond measure is a Sidhe's greatest treasure
    Kalon
  • EnrykEnryk Member Posts: 55 ✭✭
    Another thing would be why each of the moons are so clearly aligned with one of the three factions? I really dislike that there's a good, balanced and evil moon, and that they're so often used as a specialisation choice - why would an anti-magick person want anything to do with the prime symbols of magick?

    On that point, Aryana's Spring is clearly magickal (it "flows with the power of life"), yet is used by all three factions. Why don't demonic and anti-magick have their own versions of resurrection/reincarnation?
    Sarrius
  • Jeremy SaundersJeremy Saunders Administrator Posts: 1,149 admin
    edited June 2013
    Go here (http://forums.imperian.com/discussion/161/story-issue-spin-off-topic) for some of my explanations. I want this thread to stay short, bullet point posts.

    Okay, here is my summary of the major things I have seen that I would like to work on. 
    1. More reasons for why the three major factions (AM, Magick, and Demonic) are at odds.
    2. A third 'villian' that is possible 'good'.
    3. Completed racial histories.
    4. Explain obelisks. Why are they important and why does AM use them is they are magickal?
    5. Where are these shards coming from? Why are they coming from this volcano?
    6. Where is Avasyu's body? What is the plan for that?
    7. Explain the Demonic Gods.
    8. Where is AM getting its power from now that the gods are dead?
    9. What is the story with aspects? How do they get power and what is up with monoliths?
    10. More background on the undead.
    11. More options for nature roleplay, conflict, and story.
    12. Why are moons aligned with factions.
    What did I miss? 

    Remember, short bullet points (like I just did) makes me happy. Rambling posts that have nothing to do with story makes me sad.

  • Jeremy SaundersJeremy Saunders Administrator Posts: 1,149 admin
    Oh, I forgot to mention that I do have answers for most of those, but obviously they are all in my head, which is a bad place for them.

  • AleutiaAleutia Member, Historian Posts: 363 ✭✭✭✭✭
    More information on the planes
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    DiceneGurnKanthari
  • BathanBathan Member Posts: 1,056 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I'd like to see the Entities be more involved in the overarching storyline but I'm guessing they're not supposed to be.
    ‘Least I won’t have to carry it no more. You see how bloody heavy it is?’

    ‘Every sword’s a weight to carry. Men don’t see that when they pick ’em up. But they get heavier with time.”
  • EnrykEnryk Member Posts: 55 ✭✭
    Ichayra River. Aryana's Spring.

    Magickally created races in anti-magick faction. 
    Sarrius
  • LionasLionas Member, Historian Posts: 765 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 2013
    There's a difference between "magick" and "involving the moons". Square, rectangle, etc.
    I am the righteous one... 
    the claims are stated - it's the world I've created 
  • SvoraiSvorai Member, Moderator, Immortal Posts: 293 mod
    I'm fairly sure that "Flows with the power of Life" doesn't automatically make it "Magick." Considering miss Epiphany was "Goddess of Life" and she was "Anti-Magick." I see it more as Diachaim. This power allows you resurrect your friends, just like your Anti-Magick skills you have that resurrect your friends are not magickal, neither is the Springs. 

    I'll be honest, I have no idea what the Ichayra river is so I'm not touching that.
  • Jeremy SaundersJeremy Saunders Administrator Posts: 1,149 admin
    Yeah, not sure what Ichayra River is coming from. Was that posted somewhere?

  • LionasLionas Member, Historian Posts: 765 ✭✭✭✭✭
    $ searchposts ichayra
    Searching posts...
    The string ichayra appears in no posts in the following categories: announce events
    Time elapsed: 0m0.810s
    I am the righteous one... 
    the claims are stated - it's the world I've created 
  • AhkanAhkan TexasMember Posts: 2,375 ✭✭✭✭✭
    @Kalon

    I'm going to reply to your wall of text here, as to not clutter up a good thing. It's the past mechanics/players/mismanagement that have backed each circled into a stupid, stereotypical role. Even here, Magick wasn't neutral. Magick isn't out of place. It's not the red headed step child circle by story. It's the outsider because of the way you guys play it. I'm guessing you misunderstood Khizan's reference or you're just subscribing to an outdated concept of Imperian. With affinity and circles as they are now, the breakdown is:

    Anti-Magick: The gods told us we don't need no stinking magick. We should kill anything that doesn't agree with us. This seems to be working. Keep on going.
    To Magick and Demonic: Convert or punch in face.

    Magick: I want to control the primal forces of nature to break things and kill people. 
    To Demonic: You delved you greedily and too deep.
    To Anti-Magick: Why hit me in face? /sadface 

    Demonic: The ultimate power is in death and demons!
    To Magick: "wimps!" /conquer
    To Anti-magick: Why hit me in face? /sadface

    All of these roles are pretty neutral. These roles leave things open for a lot of wiggle room. Historically, everyone has teamed up with everyone else to accomplish some goal. This has tapered off lately because of shards and our lack of ability to tag-team those goals. Everyone has played the villain. Everyone has played the victim. Nothing you addressed really resolved any hitches. Khizan hit the nail on the head, we don't NEED to know the definitive source of your roleplay. This is why Eloweth was a humdrum role. The ambiguity is the fun part where we get to make up our own roleplays and act it out. This is where any sort of 'in-fighting' should take place. It should take place over a scotch and a smoke while you argue your differences with your same-circle buddies, or venture out into the world and role play with the 'enemy.'

    Overlap:
    There's not enough overlap in the game to make me want to interact with other people in any sort of meaningful way. The player driven roleplay, bolstered by the lazy mechanics like blanket unwelcome/enemy has pretty much made it treason to go out and interact with people. All it takes is one spiteful person in power and bam, you're outcitizened, enemied and just lost everything. This makes it really hard to get a lot of interaction between circles. It denies a lot of people the opportunity to go through the back and forth with someone like Kira, who is willing to listen to your "this i why I do what I do" while simultaneously trying to convert you to her way of doing things. It's something you will never see from the pk-clods of clan me-smash.. That's sad. 

    To be honest, I don't know how to fix this.
    image
  • KhizanKhizan Member Posts: 2,648 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It's iffy. Part of the problem is that so many of the people who were associating with the enemy were really 'associating' with the enemy, if you get my meaning, and a ton of the lines got blurred, to the point where I'd have people refusing to throw raiders out of the city because they were in the Noctusari guild and so was whoever they were textsexing at the time and they didn't want problems with that and so forth, and I know that I'm far from the only person who had those problems.

    Most of the orgs started out with pretty loose fraternization rules, and most all of them ended up tightening them up because of just that reason. When I was the Taekyon GM, I had to make the guild fully AM to get around these problems. It's a case of the players creating situations that resulted in restrictions.

    Similarly, the blanket unwelcome was implemented because players couldn't seem to stop abusing novices and newbies as raid targets and so cities started a blanket enemy process. I honestly cannot remember how many times I had a novice that was maybe a couple of hours old  telling me things like "I found an unmonolithed room in Stavenn if you want to raid!"

    Basically, players are horrible and they will make everything they touch just slightly more horrible.

    "On the battlefield I am a god. I love war. The steel, the smell, the corpses. I wish there were more. On the first day I drove the Northmen back alone at the ford. Alone! On the second I carried the bridge! Me! Yesterday I climbed the Heroes! I love war! I… I wish it wasn’t over."

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