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Storyteller Pilgrim - contest (Camelon)

8 days ago

Now that Thanksgiving weekend is over I can finally start planning this out. :) I picked prompt 25 for it's Canterbury Tales and Hyperion vibe.

25) You're a pilgrim traveling to a holy site. To fund your travels, you tell short stories that the audience can influence. The setting may be historical or fantastical.

 I'm not that familiar with the editor here, yet. I've played around with it a bit, but other than 'Score' I haven't used any other variables, and I haven't looked up how to do items yet. So I'll need to budget some time in to make sure I can do what I want.

So far I have a vague plot outline formed in my head, though not written, as well as some minor world building. [Leaning towards the group-prompt storytelling being literally necessary in the world...] 

Questions I'm pondering as I brainstorm:

- Do I want audience influence to only happen during stories, or to be more of a thing that can influence stories throughout the game (e.g. prompts from the audience becoming like items one can use later for inspiration, or the audience rewarding not just with money but scraps of tales or artifacts as well sometimes.)

- Do I want the path to the sacred site to be fairly linear (e.g. five set locations) or have it more flexible in the route he can take? (E.g. choose to go to the wealthier city where the people are harder to please, or the story loving town that has been hit with hard times?) I'm leaning towards the latter, but time will be a concern.

- I'm thinking for each location that there will be a number of options, but the player will be restricted to choosing only one or two. I'm not sure how to script that yet.

- I'm debating whether to make crowd prompts more meta (e.g. the crowd shouts "clown!" or "pink whale!") or have it more natural to the story (e.g. you see several raised hands, and must choose between the teenager with a vicious gleam in his eye or the child with his finger up his nose) - where the type of prompt a person might pick (hard, silly, classic, etc.) is only hinted at with their description. And some crowds like different sorts of things.

- Working on how to make the end game meaningful with diverse endings more than just "you make it" or "you fail." I have some ideas for this so far, but figuring out how to implement them will be tricky.

Storyteller Pilgrim - contest (Camelon)

8 days ago

This story is gonna be hype, and I love this prompt, almost picked it myself.  I like the idea of picking specific members of your audience based on their appearance.  Gives an element of control, but not complete control over the path you take.  

Storyteller Pilgrim - contest (Camelon)

7 days ago
I think this prompt has a lot of room for subplots. I almost tacked one onto it when I made the list ... something about how the storyteller left behind a trail of bastards in his wake and had an angry count on his trail. But I decided it was unnecessary.

Anyway, the story world itself may have an impact on the pilgrim. Maybe there's a civil war brewing? Internal squabbles between neighboring counts? Disastrously bad weather? A flooded river? A broken bridge? Plague? Food shortages? Heretics? Zealots killing heretics? An obsessed wench that follows you like a lost puppy?

Storyteller Pilgrim - contest (Camelon)

7 days ago

There is certainly going to be a larger backdrop to the world in terms of conflict/politics, and each location he goes to will have it's own problems (Whether related to that conflct or more day to day concerns.) I'm not sure how much it will directly affect the pilgrim, yet, except for at least one of the locations where there might could be a kidnapping as I have it plotted now. One of the things I liked about Simmon's Hyperion sci-fi take on the Canterbury Tales was that the pilgramage was just a small "slice" against a much larger conflict - like huge things were happening in the world, if not the whole universe, and they were just swapping tales and focused on reaching their destination for their own motives. Only towards the end did their plotlines more obviously thread into the larger narrative. I thought it was the most effective book of the Hyperion Cantos because of that feel.

I think the main focus for now is going to be planning out the core structure of his travel and how the stories will work, then fill in side quests once the basics are done.

(I also had zealots killing heretics in my last contest game, and a broken bridge featured prominently, lol. And an obsessed wench, although she was the one who made Aeron follow her like a loyal dog.)

Storyteller Pilgrim - contest (Camelon)

7 days ago
Well, if the bridges keep breaking, we'll have to find your story universes some better engineers, won't we!

Storyteller Pilgrim - contest (Camelon)

7 days ago

Potential spoilers!!

I have the main routes drafted out. Each route has seven locations - the start, the destination, and five stops between. The routes can overlap at a few points, and certain sections can be linear [Most noteably the camel caravan.] Each route will have trade offs in expense (the player may not be able to always afford certain options, or may choose to conserve the extra cash) as well as the potential reward of the destination or the types of story a location prefers.

I am still unsure how much knowledge of the map I should give up front, or whether a map will be an item. I *think* I might have the player start with access to an old letter detailing one of the specific routes, and have some tidbits of other locations sprinkled throughout the game to help the player to decide whether to try an alternate route.


Storyteller Pilgrim - contest (Camelon)

7 days ago
Looks neat. You seem to be putting some solid thought into this.

Storyteller Pilgrim - contest (Camelon)

6 days ago

This sounds like a lot of fun! I can't wait to play the finished product!

There are really good guides to variables and restricted links. They are relatively easy... sounds like you will just need to make a variable called "money" and have your story earn/lose it (which can happen each time you click a link). From there you can set links to only be available if your money is higher than the cost, and have it subtract the cost. You can also link different endings to how much money you have left if you do this... sort of like you donate all your money at the ending destination and if you have more than X gold Y happens. 

I am not sure if any of that aligns with what you had in mind, but good luck writing!

Storyteller Pilgrim - contest (Camelon)

6 days ago

Yah, I looked through some of the tutorials and it looks like I can do most everything I want with variables and not need to worry about 'scripting' yet. So money will be one of them. There will also be some private? variables that the player can't see that will affect what they can do at the final destination and what endings are available to them. In theory. My planned variables for those so far are Classic, Absurd, Despair, Inspiring, Moral, Humor, and Macabe. Those each map to two potential types of stories. I'm debating whether or not to throw in a faction stat between mages and muses or if most of that can be handled inside the game itself.

Storyteller Pilgrim - contest (Camelon)

6 days ago
Oh neat, hidden modifiers. If they have a significant impact on the endings, or if some endings are difficult to get, can you make a walkthrough (at least for the judges) at some point after you're done?

That's not a requirement. Just a humble request. And please don't waste time on it, unless you think it will help you planning wise, until after you feel you have a finished product.

Storyteller Pilgrim - contest (Camelon)

4 days ago

Good idea! I plan to keep track of that for myself, so hopefully I will have at least something simple related to that, (E.g. to hit this rare ending, take this path and do X, then do Y in this location or Z in this location or both.)

Right now as I write it I've turned all the variables to show so that when I play it/test it I can easily note the variable changes and tweak them if needed. 

Storyteller Pilgrim - contest (Camelon)

4 days ago

I have the first location and all it's activities/events connected with their variables in the editor and a rough summary of what occurs on each page. I'm trying to keep moving as there are at probably 10 days this month, at least, where I won't be able to write on it.

None of the pages have the final version yet, but one of my 'stories' turned into a poem when one of the audience members insisted she wanted poetry ;)

The princess in her garden,
In her merry, hanging garden,
With verdant Philodendron,
And Bouganvillae silk,

Comes to water all the roses,
All the vibrant, scarlet roses
From a golden pitcher
Touched with honey and with milk.

Sitting down beneath the flowers
On a bench below the flowers
She works upon her sampler
In bright glass jewels and thread.

"She embroiders for the prince,
Her handsome, charming prince,
Who awaits her in the north,"
The chatty fuschias said.

"She must sew for her mother,
The gentle, wise queen mother,
Who brings us tea in summer,"
The sunflowers replied.

"Perhaps she makes a shroud,
A golden, melancholy shroud,
For the tomb of her dear father,"
The morning glory cried.

The princess stood and smiled,
Bittersweet, she softly smiled,
"They are all my special treasures,
But they are not my secret friend.

"I have made you each a ribbon,
A patterned, silken ribbon,
To return the warmth in winter,
That you gave my heart to mend.

Storyteller Pilgrim - contest (Camelon)

23 hours ago

Now that I can finally dive into the actual writing part, I've finished the first page. I tried to find a balance between not overloading with exposition but still keeping it clear what is happening and why it's a problem.

A lilting symphony wakes you; brightly colored warblers and thrushes are serenading the dawn. It's your favorite time of day - the golden hour when the flora and fauna of Dreaming Forest blush and bloom, but the humans of Harrow Village have yet to wake.

Since dreams were lost thirty years ago in the Sacrifice of Salvation, there is little attraction left for you in sleeping late. You wake with the sun - earlier, in winter, - and generally spend your mornings laying out in the dewy grass, staring up at the light shimmering over the leaves of the forest canopy, or trying to count how many different sounds you can hear.  Sometimes, you bring out miniature, carved palaces and hang them, then sit a while watching the hummingbirds squabble over the thrones of seed and the fountains of nectar.

But today is different, for it will be your last day in Dreaming Forest for some time, perhaps forever. You sit and hot drink Franjia tea, just watching and taking everything in, as if drawing each aspect of the scene on the folded papers of your mind. "Good-bye to you all," you murmur at the creatures of paradise that flit and dive around you. This place, this secret idyllic corner of nature, was the final dream of your wife before she was lost. You were meant to have shared it together - her, the Muse of Epics, and you, the simple storyteller she fell in love with. Instead, you had tended it for four decades, alone, with only her memory beside you. And now, even that is fading.

"It's time," you sigh, and return inside your simple wooden cabin to finish packing. Today you are to begin a pilgrimage that will take you thousands of farspans north, across the equator and beyond, to the sacred Grove of Muses. It is there your wife stands as stone, along with the other muses who gave their lives to save the planet. All save Sandman, who was all but destroyed, and now orbits the planet as a ring of glittering dust. Now, instead of giving special dreams, all dreams exotic or mundane, return to him.

A weeks worth of food. Three pairs of clothing. A blanket. 50 pieces of silver - all your savings. There isn't a lot you can take, since you will have to travel light. And it will not be easy - you will have to trust that you can earn money along the way, whether by odd jobs or by telling stories, if you hope to keep traveling once your funds run out. But there is one item above all others that you must take: Ivani's Book of Tales.

It is your most valued possession, the original stories your wife once inscribed and gave to you as a wedding present. Many of the stories have faded to near illegibility - the ones you have read the most, for all tales fade in the world now that the muses have gone, even ones like these written before the Sacrifice or written on Remembrance paper or carved into stone. They might not vanish immediately like spoken tales, never to be told again, but they still are powerless to last forever. But to lose the memory of them - that is what terrifies you, and what has driven you to take this Pilgrimage.

At first you had thought the lapses were just the dawn of old age - you are over seventy - but they were all related to the Book of Tales, or to stories you told the people of Dreaming Village. You would speak a tale, and then not only would the words be lost forever - but you would find you couldn't recall what the story had been about a week later. After months of this, you began to hear rumors and complaints of others who were also forgetting - forgetting not just the stories they had heard, but the memories of the Muses or the dreams they had had in childhood before the Sacrifice had robbed the world of nighttime visions. Then, you woke one morning to find you couldn't remember the color of Ivani's eyes.

Something is wrong, and it is imperative that you find out what. You hope there will be something with her, in the Grove of Muses, to explain what is happening or provide an answer. She had sacrificed herself to save the world, but at what cost? Why have dreams gone? Why do stories fade? And what is eating your very memories?

You shrug on your cloak, shoulder your pack, grab your favorite carved walking stick from your collection, and shuffle on foot through the trees towards a forked path overlooking the town. Your limited supply of money will not get very far, and you cannot cross mountains, oceans, and deserts on foot. You'll need some form of transportation, and the nearest place to get that is Dreaming Village.

The town is divided into two sections - the main town, and Inrit Gardens. You are well-known to the townfolk as you have spent over half your life telling stories to them and buying food and supplies. But Inrit Gardens is a place for tourists and the rich who planted summer homes there. Like most village-folk, you avoid it unless there is a reason to go.
You have toured Inrit a few times just to see the sculpted gardens and the creatures that inhabit it, as it too was a place touched by your wife, but its beauty had been tamed and controlled so it did not hold the solace you hoped. Still, it might be a good place to visit now, as nobles have deeper pockets than the common man. While it might be harder to get noticed or draw a crowd in a place like Inrit Gardens, they would likely be willing to pay a lot more for an hour's entertainment.

But you haven't said good-bye to anyone in the main village, and they are the ones who have supported you all these years. The children, especially, are fond of your tales even as their parents grow jaded through the years, remembering the times when stories could be told over and over.

You reach the edge of the forest and the forked path and look down over the village. Inrit Gardens dazzles even from here, a patch of green and blue, home to many stately homes and several larger mansions. Everything there seems quiet, almost untouchable. The main Village is a bit more brown and homely, but you can see the colorful awnings of the market stalls in Town Square, as well as at least a hundred small figures moving about. It should be a good crowd, today. You step forward, clenching your staff with veined, papery hands. Where will you begin your journey?