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Sabiduria Stories: An Idea for a Video Game that Could Have Been
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Ffydwyrr Offline
It's Pronounced FEE-dweer
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Posts: 82
Joined: Apr 2018
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Post: #1
Sabiduria Stories: An Idea for a Video Game that Could Have Been
The following post is a basic (and fairly incomplete) plot outline for Sabiduria Stories, a semi-cancelled RPG Maker game design side-project I had conceived last year in response to a seemingly never-ending series of catastrophic natural disasters in the USA and abroad. I had plans for Sabiduria Stories to serve as a "testing ground" for some of my current main project's more unique mechanical and gameplay-related ideas. But coming up with characters and a storyline has always been my least favorite and most difficult part of game design. I'm posting this here because I'm curious whether my game idea is worth pursuing and developing further, and whether anyone here would be able and willing to help me come up with ideas for the game's uncertain middle part.

This game's plot was my way of answering two questions: "How much value would somebody like me add to a team of strong and morally upright adventurers during a crisis?" and "How come just about every RPG has a point later on where you have more money and resources than you'll ever need, and there's no way for you to share your good fortune with others in need?" As the game progresses, several years pass and the major characters get older and change in unexpected ways.

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The game focuses on three central characters: Zadok, an elderly high priest and headmaster of a religious boarding school, and Reo and Artus, two of the young boys enrolled at that school. The central figure of this fictional religion is Sabiduria, the goddess of knowledge. (Her name comes from the Spanish word for wisdom.) In addition to Zadok's authority within the Sabidurian church and its central school, he is also a skilled musician who has written many hymns and plays the organ flawlessly. (Zadok's name and profession pay homage to "Zadok the Priest", a piece by Handel.)

The orphaned Reo (who has a mysterious origin and powers) is Zadok's adopted son, and the two share a close bond that's almost like family. Reo isn't exactly what you'd call brave or heroic, but he's studious, he's an excellent listener, and he tries to bring out the best in everybody around him. For that reason, Zadok assigned the problematic Artus to be Reo's roommate. Artus is the spoiled, self-absorbed, slow-witted, overweight heir to a family fortune. (Much like Final Fantasy 6 and other classic RPGs, Sabiduria Stories takes place in an Industrial Revolution-style "steampunk" setting, and Artus' family owns a company that's responsible for many of the current technological advances.)

Because of his learning difficulties and behavioral issues, Artus has been acrimoniously ejected from almost every school in the area. His desperate family signed him up for Zadok's school (whom they're also major financial supporters of) to try to give him some discipline and morals as well as an appropriate education. But Artus simply wishes to be left alone and study independently. He has a passion for food and cooking, and secretly wishes to open a restaurant when he grows up. But the few times he was allowed to cook for others, he ended up making them sick with his recipe-following ineptitude, questionable hygiene, and tendency to overuse expensive ingredients such as saffron. (There's a running gag that he'd add saffron to absolutely any dish if given the chance.)

Artus' unfortunate combination of personality traits makes him a frequent target for bullying by peers and discipline by authorities, and he feels alone in Zadok's school and unloved and unappreciated by his family. He wants to do well and fit in, but no matter how hard he tries, his best is never good enough. The only person he feels safe and comfortable with is Reo, whom he can share absolutely anything with. As much as Zadok and his staff would like to expel Artus and restore some order to their school, they fear alienating Artus' wealthy and generous family.

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A kind, brave, and determined girl named Chira transfers to Zadok's school from a distant land. She immediately becomes close friends with Reo, and bitter enemies with Artus. The three children are often put in the same group for assignments in school, and Reo is frequently forced into the uncomfortable position of having to mediate heated disputes between Artus and Chira. There are hints of a budding romantic relationship between Reo and Chira, which become more prominent as the game progresses and the two children age.

As Reo and Artus grow older, Zadok gets the idea to have them and their classmates (including Chira) perform charitable outreach services in their community and abroad. When Zadok was much younger, he would go on international humanitarian missions, and he feels such work would build character in his students, especially Artus. Plus, it'd give his school a break from having to deal with Artus' almost-daily disruptions. Zadok also wants to give Reo a chance to develop and demonstrate leadership abilities. The high priest is aware of his advanced age, and knows he will need to find a suitable successor soon, so he would like nothing more than to pass his title on to his adopted son someday.

Once Reo, Artus, and Chira reach a certain age, they'll visit a different overseas country in every chapter and befriend a similarly aged local citizen who can act as their translator and assist them in battle with different types of combat skills. These new additions to Reo's party would serve as the temporary protagonists of their respective chapters. After Reo's party concluded their business in these foreign lands and returned home, some of their guests would choose to accompany them on future adventures, while others would bid farewell and return to their duties. The main reason I cancelled this project was because I found it hard to come up with ideas for overseas missions, special guest characters, and antagonists for every region.

Every party member has his or her own unique set of equipment and abilities; for example, Reo (the perennial faithful sidekick) casts various assistive spells, which fits with his personality of trying to get along with everybody. The lone exception to this rule is Artus, who can't be controlled during battle and frequently engages in useless and almost-humorous actions. (The existing RPGs Dragon Quest 3 and Earthbound have similar comic-relief characters.) In addition, Artus' natural cluelessness often gets the party into legal trouble in foreign nations, and they end up getting imprisoned on at least two occasions, with Zadok having to bail them out.

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In all his travels and all his years, Zadok has witnessed countless incidents of suffering and despair, but he always had his faith in the goddess Sabiduria to guide him and keep his spirits high. However, there's something about Artus, something unsavory and almost malevolent, that made Zadok question his faith -- and perhaps even the existence of Sabiduria -- like never before.

Each of the chapters has Reo and Artus' group assisting the local people with various problems (hunger, disease, natural disasters, crumbling infrastructure, etc.) while fighting against a different corrupt, self-serving organization. In his nightly conversations with Reo, Artus confesses how he's filled with fury and envy towards the other party members for everything they bring to the table, and resents Zadok and his school for having forced Artus into an unfavorable situation he cannot opt out of, because he's just a powerless child and beholden to his family's wishes.

Artus is fully aware of how useless he is to the group, and although he once had grandiose and childish dreams of opening a restaurant, now he wants nothing more than to separate himself from Zadok's ill-conceived international rescue effort. He also harbors feelings of intense anger towards Zadok, and wishes to someday take revenge against the high priest for changing his life for the worse.

Eventually, all the stresses of travel, combat, charity, and assorted other serious responsibilities add up for Artus, and he succumbs to mental and physical exhaustion. He has no choice but to leave Reo's group permanently as they continue their global journey. This is good news for Reo, since he can now include three competent guests in his team instead of only two. In one of the game's later chapters, Reo visits his ancestral homeland and learns more about his strange powers. In another later chapter, Chira leaves the party for good when she decides to stay in a faraway land and use her talents to help the local people recover from... some plague or disaster or whatever. (I haven't worked out all the details of the story, and probably never will.)

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As Reo's group steadily becomes stronger and adds more members, they build more of an international reputation and are seen as an immense source for good in the world, ushering in a new age of peace and prosperity. Meanwhile, Artus is abducted by aliens and forced to tell them everything he knows about the humans and ways they can be conquered. It turns out that many of the stronger and more "connected" antagonist groups that Reo's team fought had secret ties with the aliens, and they've been plotting to take over the world for a long time. (Haven't really figured out the aliens' reasons yet. Perhaps they wish to use the human world as a new source of natural resources?)

Artus asks why he has been chosen to help the aliens bring down the humans, and they tell him it is because he is one of the most prominent people who has been cast off by society and denied a place in the world's future. Realizing he is in a position of power, with an unusual perspective that's in demand, Artus refuses to cooperate with the aliens unless his luxurious lifestyle demands are met. He quickly wears on the aliens' patience, and his voracious appetite places an undue strain on their limited food resources. They gradually come to decide that conquering the human world isn't worth it, so they return Artus to where they got him.

Unbeknownst to the aliens, Artus has secretly stolen some pieces of highly advanced technology from their ship, including a device that allows him to assume the form of whatever he chooses. He returns to his homeland and uses this machine to switch forms with Zadok. Immediately, Artus-as-Zadok starts implementing drastic, sweeping reforms to the church, proclaiming the goddess Sabiduria as a false idol, and changing the religion's central worship figures to Zadok and the aliens. Because the High Priest Zadok is such a powerful and respected figure, Artus-as-Zadok's reforms are accepted without question. Meanwhile, Zadok-as-Artus must deal with his new status as an object of public disappointment and scorn. He has no idea why he and his former student switched places overnight, nor does he know why the church he once led has suddenly abandoned its core values.

Initially, none of the church's former staff members are willing to believe the transformed Artus' story about how he's actually Zadok, and they refuse to even let him into the church's restricted inner sanctum. However, when a few of them hear him play a technically demanding piece on the church's organ, they realize he is telling the truth and send a messenger to Reo in the hopes that he'll discover the cause of this strange happening.

Reo is asked to find a sacred treasure that can restore Zadok and Artus' true forms. (Were I to continue developing this game, the artifact in question would probably be the legendary Mirror of Ra, making a cameo appearance from Dragon Quest.) Of course, by the time Reo and his companions locate the truth-revealing treasure, it is too late: Artus-as-Zadok has managed to enlist enough people to turn his twisted cult into a world-spanning movement. Can Reo and his friends defeat Artus and restore order to the world? Or will Reo join forces with Artus, and begin a new age of egalitarianism and hedonism? The final decision belongs to the player!

For an overview of myself, see my introductory post here.
To listen to some of my upcoming game's original music, visit this webpage.
Also, if you have trouble spelling or pronouncing my name, just call me Mr. F.
05-27-2018 01:14 PM
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