Game Fu 6: Initial Concepts

Posted on August 23, 2009

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I had an idea before the contest started, but I didn’t think I could pick ingredients to match the concept. After staring at the list long enough, however, I found I could make it work. (Ingredients list is in this post. You can view the whole thread from there if you wish.)

Our three categories this time are system, setting and tagline. “Tagline” is a short phrase describing something about the game, a bit like you’d read on the back cover, and must be constructed from two individual phrases. With a bit of work, I came up with the following. This is the initial concept for my project, Stormhunters.

System

* There is a goal based system that gives experience for character improvement
* Character creation is based on archetypes, but characters may change archetypes during downtime.
* Damage in combat is not random.

Setting

* “Monsters” are not real life forms. They condense out of the air / some other medium to attack people when it is disturbed.

Tagline

* The threat of Nature over all forces us to ask: what is Evil?

Concept

In our world, intrepid men and women seek to understand the forces of Nature in order to better predict the coming of violent storms. In doing so, they hope to save lives. These stormchasers put their very lives at risk in order to advance our knowledge.

In a world just a short step away from ours, the forces of Nature are not blind and dumb. They are possessed of will and desire, and what they want is often at odds with human wellbeing. Storms seek out and destroy human habitation, leaving spirits and monsters in their wake to further the havoc after the initial strike. Ordinary people are helpless against them; indeed, ordinary people do not know these things, and would not believe if told. Only stormhunters — men and women dedicated to protecting humanity against these forces — stand in the way of the destruction. Posing as stormchasers, the stormhunters exist in a twilight world between the mundane and the paranormal, both equally dangerous.

Stormhunters live a life of constant travel across the heartland of the United States and mind-numbing boredom punctuated by episodes of thundering fury and blinding terror in battle against a storm. To those who float through life untouched by the power of the storms, those who do not believe in the danger of the storms or the spirits that spawn from them, the stormhunters are useless drifters. To those who owe their lives to a stormhunter’s diligence and courage, the stormhunters are heroes.

Stormhunters draw resources from groups scattered throughout the country, but the bankrolls are never enough. They can count on support from some individuals throughout the nation’s heartland — former stormhunters and their families and friends, people saved by stormhunters in time of need — but even then they must carefully husband their resources and make difficult choices. The larger a stormhunter group is, the more effective it is, but the more expensive it is to maintain.

One question lurks in the mind of every stormhunter, however: are the storms and their monsters evil? Is nature malignant, or is it simply uncaring of human suffering and dreams? The question may not matter. Every human life saved by the efforts of the stormhunters and their stormchaser compatriots is a victory.

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