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Story Ideas, Marten, 13-Sep-08


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The following items were ideas that I originally contributed to another group that unfortunately has stagnated. I am placing them here in hopes of greater discussion.


I really want to get into planning for story for MORE; ever since my joining in The Great Tree years ago, that is what I've longed to be involved in, and we have a tremendous opportunity here to produce a story of quality that holds peoples' interest. I'm afraid that as the months tick by and I see no planning at all, we're squandering precious time.


We need to get the various people who have been involved in successful fan-made story thus far together and get them onto the same page (pun intended). I think a key to successful story adoption is to have a crowd of people who're already playing along, who have a little inside knowledge and can apply peer pressure to others to participate. Not everyone has to know the full story to accomplish this; people just need to know their "script" - they need to know how they should react to keep the story believable.


The most obvious story idea, I think, is the one that everyone has been afraid to touch: First contact with another group of people in an Age entirely of our own writing. This is actually a story that can be played out many times with different results, because we have any number of possible scenarios, and always the question of an old rule that is a sci-fi favorite: Star Trek's "prime directive." What would we do if we:

* Found a world where we had access to highly valuable resources, but our presence was opposed? What if several linking books had been written, and someone with less than honorable intentions came into possession of one?

* Encountered a civil war between two groups of indigenous people?

* Failed in our precautions and brought with us a disease to another race, or if we brought a disease from another world back to ours? (Pento aside.) The Conquistadors wiped out more Native Americans with disease than with weapons, unintentionally, and that was just on our own planet. This has been done sort of with "The Book of D'ni", but we could put our own twist on it.

* Accidentally let someone from another world into our own? Would we have to worry about the same sort of xenophobia that the D'ni had? What if someone from another world who came to ours turned out to be evil at heart?

* Discovered a civilization in peril of being completely extinguished? (This is sort of a rehash of my idea earlier.) If we linked to a civilized world and then found it was unstable, such as Riven was doomed to collapse... would we then feel responsible if we closed the book and threw it away, leaving the people there to all die?

* Wrote a link to a world with yet another race with access to some form of the Art, such as it appears the D'ni did when they brought the Bahro to our world?


All of the above ideas are just generated off of one core idea - encountering another people. With a few more seed-generating ideas like that one, we could have a real garden of stories to develop.


I also think that we can help to develop stories and backhistory for Age Writers who have a nifty idea for a place, and want to build it... but have no good concept for the history of that place. I don't know if there is a marketplace for this sort of service or not. But... perhaps an Age has suspicious attributes that suggest intelligent life once was there (such as Spire or Haven did). How did this come to be? Was there once a race that lived there? Or what natural forces could have developed such a thing?


Religious-type groups are perhaps too easy an opportunity, but here is an idea that could play out as a series of disjointed events with no clear conclusion. This idea could also dovetail with the Ink Writers story.


Taking a page from eco-terrorists, there might be a group of explorers who band together to oppose the efforts of the modern Guild of Writers. This group would cause disruptions from time to time - valuable and rare ink and book stores would occasionally be discovered vandalized. The premise of the group is rather simple: Man should not be playing God.


This sort of story provides a great opportunity to make it seem ICly that we have more writers working on more Ages than we actually have; if the Writers are waging a sort of war against an anti-Writing group, then numerous Ages "in progress" (Ages that OOCly aren't even being written at all) could be stolen and destroyed to further the story. This could also create an easy in-character "out" for Writers who cancel projects they're working on for whatever reason.


There could also be opportunities for accidents and problems that are completely unrelated to the anti-Age-Writing group to be blamed upon them.


Basic premise: A group of Hopi Native Americans who believe themselves to be the true descendants of the D'ni learn of the Restoration effort and...


Various options are possible from that idea.


1. Perhaps the Hopi join the explorers, and begin to divulge new secrets, other knowledge pulled from traditions and stories passed down through the generations.


2. Perhaps they form their own organization and attempt to counter the DRC's approach to Restoration. They might also challenge Yeesha's involvement in the releasing the Bahro.


3. They might declare all of D'ni to be their sacred homeland, and order the explorers to leave.


4. Some or all of the above. Different members of the Hopi nation may disagree on the right approach, leading to conflict among themselves as well as among the explorers.


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I always like the encountering people from another Age sort of thing. I just like worldbuilding, so designing a culture is always a fun thing for me. I don't think it'd run afoul with RAWA's guidelines, either - provided that contact with the D'ni is not a part of their background. (Well, I could see an argument for contact with some D'ni - a rogue Writer, etc. But not major sanctioned contact - that'd creep into off-limits areas, I'd think.)


There's a lot to work with in that kinda of scenario. There is a long history of first contact stories in fantasy and science fiction. And introducing an outsider is a time-honored way of keeping your audience interested and teaching them about the culture at the same time.


From a interactive fiction angle, this is more difficult. But it allows for some interesting opportunities. Say that an Age is made for people to visit. You can staff the age with people playing 'natives'. They can go about their business, their stories and such, and explorers waltz in and initiate first contact. That way the story gets played from both sides.


As for the anti-Age group, I can see some interesting possibilities there. However, you'd have to play it very carefully - new Ages is the bread and butter of Myst gaming, really. Such a group would probably have to take a somewhat moderate position ("We shouldn't be writing Ages, but we can use the ages that are there already.") or very carefully make them an antagonist. This is a narrow line to walk - see the Anti-DRC movement for examples of just how narrow.


The Hopi story veers a little into a gray area of blending surface concerns with cavern concerns - that's the same issue of government intervention in some ways. However, a small group might be good. Or a group of Navajo could claim domain over D'ni as 'the descendants of the D'neh that rose from the earth'.

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  • 3 weeks later...


I finally wrote that story I told you I was thinking about based loosely on your "first contact" idea. It shows another way this "first contact" idea could play out. Check it out here



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