Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Dodging Wrenches - Book Two of DragonFable's Story
So, I was digging through old DF folders on my desktop and came across our rough outline for the Book Two arc of DragonFable! I also noticed the question of Book Two’s… brevity popped up on the forum again so I wanted to share our original plan with you and talk about how things went so off track.
All the Book Two Spoilers!!!
I have the luck of being able to throw things at Warlic if I need to. Waaaay back during The Storm War, we hinted that Warlic was… more than human. The Blue Mage, his parentage, his mana quirks, and his rivalry with Xan over Jaania, is all stuff that Real Life Warlic had written about years ago when he would RP with his young paladin friend, Artix. His infernal half was something we only hinted, though, so when we started talking about Chapter Two we wondered what would happen if Warlic got so overloaded with mana that he couldn’t suppress that half of his being anymore.
When I started planning for the new arc, I had conversations with Warlic, Ghost, and Tomix over what directions we should go in, what made sense for the characters we wanted to use, and what the DragonFable world would be like after the Orbs were gone. Those convos and the things we established in book 1 all started to mesh into the story we wanted to tell.
In the giant blank purple space below is the initial rough story outline for Book Two. Again, note, this is rough. There’s an overall arc, an overall direction, but there’s still tons of questions interspersed. Those are all potential spots for smaller story arcs, for new towns, revisiting old towns, etc. We had a solid direction, though. From this rough outline, we would make rough outlines for individual/town story arcs, then rough outlines for each of the quests in those arcs, and then polished versions of them all, and so on and so forth.
Unfortunately, even the best laid plans can go awry and, even though we made it a few more steps down the line of the refining process, wrenches started to get thrown our way.
Games, usually, don’t have ten year life cycles. They usually don’t even have five year life cycles, especially now. Sure, there are exceptions to that, but even those tend to have expansion packs or re-imaginings. Book One, the Orb Saga, was told over five years and we were asked to plan Book Two on a much shorter scale. So, our rough outline started to have some cuts.
AdventureQuest Worlds was huge and our first attempts at 3D were underway, so there were talks about shifting staff around to help with balancing the workloads better. So Book Two needed to be finished by the end of the year… then by the end of summer… to help make sure any big transitions went smoothly and the story could have a proper end. So, the rough outline got shorter and shorter.
In the end, to try and fit everything we needed to tell into the much shorter timeline, we ended up cutting a lot of the things that would have filled the story out on a much grander scale… which was unfortunate. The Great Staff Do-Si-Do wasn’t a huge as expected either. Ghost is now Lead Animator for AQW but I was able to stay with DF and Tomix got promoted to DF Lead Animator! We were already at the Wargoth battle at that point in the story, though, and we couldn’t unring that bell….
We had a foundation laid for us, at least! Book Two ended up being a transitional story to carry us into Book Three and what ended up in game left our heroes with a lot of unanswered questions… unanswered but not forgotten! Some of them still might be able to make their way into Book Two eventually, in new towns and places (M4B has suggested Flashback Fridays!). The upcoming arc in Book 3 Swordhaven should provide some answers too. It's past time you had a face-a-face meeting with Jaania….
Highlight below for super spoilers! Please keep in mind this is still the rough outline so plot points and arcs were still being worked out at this stage.
Chapter 2 - The Split - yin/yang… - Shattered - Elemental Disarray -
* Chapter should start in January, with hints to it throughout the Fall (Ateala starting to travel through the rift). November will be used to tell the Warlic/Xan/Jaania backstory with the new NPC slot. Players will play as Xan starting as a normal human mage through to the duel.
Lore is in a fragile position. Darkness is incredibly weak (light elementals wreaking havoc – Doomwood affected? Vampires vs werewolves?). Fire's great dragon, as well as Ice's, are still infants (Wind or water dragons making a play for ice territory? Weakened darkness dragon vs light dragon?). Xan is working actively to take over Lore and has been trying to find Warlic to exact his revenge, but Warlic has disappeared.
Warlic, whose father was an evil infernal elemental fire lord, has been split into two entities as he was pulled through the dimensional rift: Wargoth, his infernal side, and The Professor, his human side. Wargoth is the source of Warlic's magic and has all of it now that they're split. The Professor has no power but is very intelligent and creates scientific/mechanical items incorporating magical objects (Cysero: "This is incredible... how did you make this without using a fish?").
They are linked and if one dies, the other dies but, if Wargoth dies, all his power will be released and that could be devastating to the planet. The Professor knows this and has been trying to build complex magi-mechanical devices to stop Wargoth. (Player doesn't find Professor until latter half of the Chapter as he's hiding from Wargoth. The Professor should have some sort of burn scar. He's a new NPC, old, with shades of the MQ Warlic.)
Through the dimensional rift the Ateala have seen the return of an ancient evil, an incredibly powerful fire demon (i.e. Wargoth). A very long time ago, Warlic fought his father, defeated him and then eschewed his infernal side, became neutral and pursued knowledge. Now that he's been split, his evil side has taken over where his father left off. Wargoth, knowing that The Professor is his Achilles’s heel, tossed him back through the dimensional rift while he destroyed the Ateala's world. The Atelala have fled through the rift to Lore and now Wargoth has followed them.
The Ateala used to be dimension travelers and the extent of their power and knowledge is what drew Warlic's father's attention. His father destroyed their ability to riftwalk and they were stuck on their current world where they lived for thousands of years before Warlic's infernal half came through the opened rift (the Ateala don't know how Wargoth got to their world but they find the rift and try to escape through it). They had no choice be to try and flee through the opened rift as Wargoth destroyed their home.
Ateala are nocturnal. Their settlement will have a darkness shield over it, any Atela NPCs that appear in Falconreach will appear only at night. (Their previous world had no sun.) If exposed to light, they get badly burned, hence being really sensitive to fire and their great enemy being a fire infernal. (Note: with darkness being weak atm – how does it affect them in their new home? What does Sek think? Would Ateala represent a new, more potent “fountain of youth” for him?)
The Professor and Wargoth still have a connection through dreams. (quest zone? all weird and twisty)
Wargoth has the same magical weakness as Warlic. His mana fills up as he casts spells (full mana = BOOM) and that's the only thing that's stopping him from totally consuming Lore with fire, as he did with the Ateala's world, but as the player fights him it cools him off, depleting his mana. The only way to defeat him will be recombining Wargoth and the Professor. In order to do this, you'll need powerful mages, familiar with Warlic, to channel, which means Xan and Jaania. (Nythera?)
Xan, in the meantime, has been taken over by Wargoth, who can easily bend him to his will and basically enslave him. He's playing with Xan, torturing him and Xan loathes him, but doesn't realize that it's technically Warlic that's enslaved him yet. With the Professor's help, you find a way to break Xan's enslavement. The Professor, being Warlic's human side, tells Xan that it was his greatest regret, the accident that set Xan on fire, something that the whole Warlic could never totally admit. Having freed Xan from enslavement, Xan knows that he now owes Warlic a favor before he can get his revenge after Warlic is recombined.
You'll then have to find Jaania and a way to free her from her frozen/crystallized state to get her help, along with Xan's. Hunting down Wargoth with Xan and Jaania – Lore is in chaos and have to help. Super charged fire elementals – Xan constantly tempted. Jaania cold, angry over state of Lore – trying to find cure for Xan - trying to find ways to close portals to elemental planes (visit the Avatars? Talk/fight other great dragons?). Need to make some kind of peace between the planes so Lore isn't ripped apart before Wargoth gets a chance to burn it. (Fiamme and Kyanos)
The combination of Professor, Jaania, and Xan (Ny?) can finally stop Wargoth and combine the two halves of Warlic back into a whole again. Xan and Jaania channeling through some complex device made by the Professor finally ends Wargoth. Warlic is whole again and doesn't remember anything that happened. He "wakes up" and sees Jaania and an expression of joy comes over his face at seeing her free. She slaps hims and takes Xan's side and her and Xan leave (Jaania: "How could you do that to Alexander? He was our friend and you almost destroyed him over a stupid duel!")
* Note: The three were friends. Xan and Warlic were both in love with Jaania who always had her nose in a book and didn't realize their feelings were that deep. Warlic and Xan were always in competition with Xan always feeling as the lesser. During the duel Warlic's infernal nature flared and he set Xan's head on fire and Jaania, trying to stop the fight was trapped. She only knows that Warlic set Xan's head on fire and that the world is now in chaos due to Warlic’s infernal half. Xan, despite being crazy, traveled with group to help. **While traveling, player thinks about bringing up Warlic but doesn’t want to push Xan over the edge - so never gets to talk about the good Warlic did before the split).
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