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Which RPG-story would you like to rewrite?

RPG Story Writing Fun

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#1
Harry Easter

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Since we have now a few "What game would you like to see?" - topics I thought we could start this topic:

 

There is a lot of talk about stories gamers don't like (biggest offender: "i was bored!"), but where there also any stories you would've liked to rewrite, just because they didn't live up to their full potential? If yes, why and how?

Rules for this thread:

- Name the game.

- Write what problems the story had.

- Write your suggestions.

- Hopefully have fun writing them.

- Profit.

 

I will start with Dragon Age: Origins (and hope you've played this one).

 

While not a bad game, the first Dragon Age bores me to death. The main reason is that the story gets really uninteresting after the origins, because I didn't played my origins character but a Grey Warden from that point on. Thing is: I never got a real idea what a Warden supposed to be. Sure, we got to know Duncan and Alistair, but the infos we got out of them were minimal at best (and let's be honest, Alistair isn't a credit to his order). So the connection to our order was mostly nonexisting and Ferelden really didn't live up to it's potential as a "barbaric" nation.

 

So what could they have changed?

Answer: Put the game in the northern nation of Andersfels. Why?

- It's the homecountry of the Grey Wardens and their HQ could have been a nice hub.

- The nation is very poor and it's king has only power in it's capital, which could have been a good explanation why the farmers depend on the Grey Wardens, with whom the King has some political tensions.

- It's close to Tevinter and the Qunari, so the game could have introduced us to these nations, without stretching the plausability of the setting (I mean the mages came down to the south of Ferelden, just for a few slaves. You could have those cheaper, buddies^^).

- Killing the king of Anderfels wouldn't have changed as much, as crowning the new King of Orzamar, because Anderfels is a very desolate country.

- I could have an explanation why everyone is a Grey Warden and why they are immune to the poisonous blood of the Darkspawn, which was a thing ... at the beginning of the game.

 

Okay, that's for the setting, how about the structure of the story?

I would keep the "one adventure per location" - structure of the original, but would have burned down the smaller City after the halfpoint of the game, to raise the stakes. The players should feel a connection to the people living there, before I kill everyone. The role of the main-antagonist should also be divided between 

 

- The King of Anderfels (doesn't want to lose his crown and values the independence of his people)

- The Grandmaster of the Grey Wardens (wants tighter controls on everything and turn the Grey Wardens in some kind of private army of the chantry and kill pagain traditions that might have survived the centuries).

 

So I wouldn't change as much, just details to tighten up everything a bit and give the player more room to identify which the organisation he's supposed to be part of.


Edited by Harry Easter, 15 September 2017 - 12:32 PM.

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#2
Guard Dog

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Neverwinter Nights. All the pieces you need for a compelling story were there. But it was just so... generic. No real thought or effort went into the main story. The never put the pieces together. Some of the side quests were pretty decent but in the end the villain was not compelling and  their master plan made no sense, the writing and conversations were just vacant, and the premise just sucked. A cult worshiping a lizard race that plans to enslave the cult and everyone else but needs the cult's help to do it. It makes no sense!

 

The problem is it tried to make your level one nobody into the savior of the city at level 1. The "best and brightest" were wiped out by level one goblins and wizards casing cantrip cold sprays but you survived. If that was the "best and brightest" that whole city was already f----d. And I HATE this idea that there is an "adventurer university" out there that teaches all different character classes how to do whatever they do. SoU, which was much better, leaned on that same crutch too.

 

No adventure is epic at level 1. Baldur's Gate wasn't an epic adventure at level 1. You are on the run and your foster father is murdered. Now go find your own way. Here is WHY SoU was better: It started small. A small event occurs: an old man's house is broken into and some things stolen. That is a reasonable task for a level 1 character. Like Baldur's Gate the small event turns out to be a part of a larger plot, which is part of a larger plot still. And in following the plot structure your character grows as the plot grows and what starts as a small adventure is actually an epic one. SoU to it's credit never got so big the whole thing seemed empty or hollow the way NWN did. When you are the savior of the world at level 1 there is nowhere to go.

 

I would not keep any aspect of the NWN main story. It cut a new one from whole cloth. But it would be one that would be smaller, more focused, that grows as the PC grows.


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#3
KaineParker

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Baldur's Gate 2
The problems are with no evil path and no good option to get to Spellhold. Namely I'd change interactions and ot with Irenicus to allow a path that allows you to side with him and unlock the power of Bhaal. I'd also provide at least one more option to side with some knights or whatever to shut down the Shadow Thieves. This would involve changing Bodhi from Irenicus' sister to just a very powerful vampire and signifigantly changing Irenicus' motivations, but it'd be worth it. Oh and Imoen wouldn't suddenly be revealed to be your sister. ToB would feature more narrative and less hack n slash with the 5 becoming 4 to avoid that begining fight.
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#4
SonicMage117

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(Bethesda Fallout games)

-The problem is that the main story/goal/quest in all Falloiut games revolves around a simple retrieval of some sort and what really interests the player is the side-quests. It's clear that both Fallout and The Elder Scrolls are like the CoD and Battlefield of rpg's. I'm here to say what nobody else wants to. For the sake of Fallout and Elder Scrolls keeping the Rpg genre popular and robust, nobody wants to talk about these truths.

-Fallout 3 = Locate your dad
-Fallout New Vegas = Locate a chip
-Fallout 4 = Locate your baby

What would I change and why would it be succesful?
I have a few ideas.

First I would make a more meaningful storyline. One mistake that all 3 games have made is not having a richness or deepness of attachment to its characters which are induced into the main plot. Sure you have rich and deep stories for the side-characters such as the brotherhood of steel, fallafel resistance, etc. but that's not what the focus should be on.

-Having a true backstory. I would add a backstory to the main character, not just flashbacks which just feel forced but an actual useful backstory with info. Tugging at the players feelings and emotion.

-Why not have a credible monent in Fallout that is comparable to something like we've seen in Life Is Strange, a more mature and relatable story to the Fallout games would certainly be welcome. Instead, there seems to be lack of well written stories in the 3 newest Fallout games even if the characters are lively. The games are in lack.

Imagine something like:
*Opening scene: A parent and a child watching television, laughing, joyous.*

*Suddenly a shadowy organization breaks in, shoots your child point blank while you are in the basement, the shadowy organization mistook your neighborhood for another for being infected with a virus that turns people into mutants.*

*Because the secret organization missed the target, the virus has plagued the earth and thus was nuked*


*Fast forward 25 years*



*You have been isolated and in suspended animation, you are now living in an underground facility in you awaken which combative assailants take in and train people who are vulnerable and need a purpose*

"War... War never changes... but this war is in my soul"

"They took my son/daughter they killed son/her."

"There will be no more war when I'm done with them."

And thus, no more finding someone or locating an item. Your sole purpose is revenge. Any side-quest completed rewards you with something to piece together about the secret organization who you are plotting to take down.




HA! Good Fun!
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#5
Harry Easter

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@Guard Dog

 

Exactly! SoU did so much better, it's sad that it never got the recognition it deserved (at least I only hear that the story didn't feel "epic" enough for some people). And you are right, it is weird that Faeruns best and brightest get killed by a bunch of goblins ... although I never questioned that, when I was younger. It was something that just happened ... but you'e right. Hmm^^.

 

 

@KaineParker

 

Good points too! Myself I would change three details:

 

- Turn Ellesime in the mainntagonist: She really hasn't a real role in the game, besides being part of Irenicus background, but on a closer look she would fit more in the themes of the series. She's immortal and technically a god, so why not make the tree ill and now she tries to safe it and her own immortality? We could show how a once benevolent ruler turns into a real beast, who doesn't want to lose her power and is willing to sacrifice hundred of others (mainly darkspawn) to achieve this goal.

 

- Irenicus would still be her lover and the mainscientist behind the "Essence-stealing-project", but now he wants the power of Bhaal to stop her, because what she's doing is an affront against the gods and maybe he can safe his soul (and the other elves) when he brings her down. In the end he gives up, because his feelings for her are stronger than all the duty he ever felt. You don't even need to rewrite the stuff with him allying with the drow and other stuff. He's just that desperate.  

 

- Bodhi would have been one of the Ellesime clones (maybe even the first), who turned into a vampire and would thematically serve as a dark reflection of what Ellesime has become. Irenicus keeps her around, because he can't live in a world without Ellesime (yes, he's that obsessive and you can't tell me that it doesn't fit the character).

 

 

And Throne of Bhaal would have been changed as follow:

 

- Bhaal takes over: Thought long about it, but as predictable as it would've been, Bhaal should have been the last boss of the series. The games were about his plans and I don't know why he just didn't take over of Amelyssan.

 

- Keep Balthasar, Yaga-Shura and the first Lady in, but replace Sendai and Abizigal with a fourth Bhaalspawn, who is presented as this uber-Spawn, that Yaga-Shura (who is just an ordinary Fire Giant) is serving. Could be a good decoy antagonist and a display of how powerful a Bhaalspawn can be in the end.

 

 

@SonicMagic

 

I'm sure you're just joking, but I like the idea of side-quests giving me informations about my maingoal. Could be working and a revengestory in a cruel wasteland is always a good motive.


Edited by Harry Easter, 15 September 2017 - 12:36 PM.

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#6
Harry Easter

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Okay, now I have the time to write about this one:

Torment: Tides of Numenera

 

Warning: I will spoiler this one and I assume that you played at least the first act. 

 

I don't think that Numenera is a bad game. It's an unfinished one and that's what it brokes it neck. You can really see where the budget was cut and my approach for the story to fit:

 

 

- Cut out the sequence with the tombs and let the player crashland into the Bloom: The Bloom is the one weird region of Numenera, a big blob who can open portals to other world at random. The portals are a nice way to introduce weird locations and the game wouldn't really lose something, if we would go directly to the Bloom and learn to survive there. The Airship from Act 1 crashlanding there, would also be less contrived than a portal suddenly opening and getting us to the Bloom, so the story still works. The City of the first act and the Bloom are tightly connected, so why do unnecessary busy-work?

 

- Make the eternal battle a vital part of the story: If you speak with NPC's a lot of them metion the ternal battle, the fight between the forces of the changing god and his cast-off children. It seems to be a very cool conflict, so why don't fight for one of the sides in the Bloom? The Blooom would also be fitting, since it is also a hungry blob, that feeds on the suffering and flesh of the people. Both leaders even count on soldiers losing their life. Why?

 

- The Bloom is the basis of the economy: Like I said, it can open portals to other worlds, so troops could plunder other locations and since it is a big blob of flesh, I could imagine that the Bloom could be modelled as a big meat factory to feed millions of people of the tiers. It's bones are turned into fundaments for houses, it's skin good for clothes and it suffers. That's why it called the Sorrow. 

 

The Sorrow is not the guardian of the tiers: It's an alien creature, that lives to ease the suffering of creatures and that's why the Bloom called us. It wants to destroy every trace of the changing god and their children so the Bloom will find rest. This focus on the Bloom would also rewrite the story from "What is one life worth" (which never fit, I think) to "does suffering for a greater good exist?“ or something like "Are you ready to make people suffer for ypur survival?" 

 

- The Changing God tries to help us: One of the better plot twists of the game was, that the main antagonist isn't the Changing God but a A.I. that THINKS that it is the Changing God. It corrupted the crusade of it's masters and just tries to become flesh and bone. Perfect flesh and bone. But what if the Changing God exists as a dead vegetable and wants to help him, so he may finally finde piece for himself? Not original yes, but it could help to deliver more informations about the true nature of the Specter and help to build up the twist better. It could also be a good setup for the old motive „creation that tries to surpass it's creator“ and mirror the Specter and the Last Castoff as beings, who both want to live, only that their methods are completely different. Maybe.


Edited by Harry Easter, 16 September 2017 - 07:56 AM.


#7
Bartimaeus

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Oh and Imoen wouldn't suddenly be revealed to be your sister. ToB would feature more narrative and less hack n slash with the 5 becoming 4 to avoid that begining fight.

 

If I recall correctly, the whole Imoen plot got messed up compared to the original designs, as it was originally planned that Imoen die in Spellhold. From what I recall reading, playtesters got upset that you spent all this work and time trying to get her back, and then she was just immediately killed by the plot right as you got to her. Understandably, other bits of the story got pretty screwed up as a result of them trying to work her back into surviving when the game was pretty much already finished at that point. I think the original design made more sense and probably would've ultimately worked better for various reasons (including in ToB), but it certainly would've been grimmer. Personally, I always hated that the base cause for the setting of the game's events in motion, as well as what became (I thought) a big theme of the game, was never really properly dealt with: namely, the utterly horrid destroying of Irenicus' and Bodhi's souls as a result of pre-BG2 events. The destroying of one's soul is a pretty terrifying concept, and there should've been something learned by the elves and gods as a result of doing it...but the end of the game kinda just glossed over it, like no big deal - you got YOUR soul back, so no harm done, right? Worse, ToB then kinda just retconned it by bringing Irenicus and Bodhi back for the final fight anyways*, which was super lame. If you're gonna go with something that conceptually horrifying, at least stick with it.

 

*I guess the idea was that...you must've left a tiny sliver of your soul behind for them? Otherwise, there should literally be no way of them being raised again...


Edited by Bartimaeus, 16 September 2017 - 08:34 PM.

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#8
majestic

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Yes, Imoen was supposed to die in Spellhold - it's also the reason she has absolutely no party interactions outside of Irenicus' dungeon. There was no time left to fiddle some in.

 

There was another, more practical reason for her survival. Having Imoen die at Spellhold and Yoshimo "leave" the party could potentially render your party without a thief for a large stretch of the game. At least this way if you choose Yoshimo to accompany you to Spellhold the party has the option of getting a thief in return, even if it is just a dual classed one (her stats are good enough for all necessary thievery anyway, unlike Nalia's).

 

Sure no one really needs a thief in any of the Infinity Engine games but they have their uses, and a lot of players complained about the lack of decent thief NPCs in the game, with the only single-class one only available for a while (people for some reason apparently like single class thieves and clerics, whatever for).


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#9
213374U

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Worse, ToB then kinda just retconned it by bringing Irenicus and Bodhi back for the final fight anyways*, which was super lame. If you're gonna go with something that conceptually horrifying, at least stick with it.
 
*I guess the idea was that...you must've left a tiny sliver of your soul behind for them? Otherwise, there should literally be no way of them being raised again...


Been a while (at least... a decade?) since I've played vanilla, but wasn't that an Ascension addition?


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#10
Bartimaeus

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Uh, that's possible, since I haven't gotten to the end of ToB in forever either vanilla or modded (mainly because ToB really just isn't that good). Alright, well, good, if that's the case, since they really *should* be perma-dead. :p

Yes, Imoen was supposed to die in Spellhold - it's also the reason she has absolutely no party interactions outside of Irenicus' dungeon. There was no time left to fiddle some in.

There was another, more practical reason for her survival. Having Imoen die at Spellhold and Yoshimo "leave" the party could potentially render your party without a thief for a large stretch of the game. At least this way if you choose Yoshimo to accompany you to Spellhold the party has the option of getting a thief in return, even if it is just a dual classed one (her stats are good enough for all necessary thievery anyway, unlike Nalia's).

Sure no one really needs a thief in any of the Infinity Engine games but they have their uses, and a lot of players complained about the lack of decent thief NPCs in the game, with the only single-class one only available for a while (people for some reason apparently like single class thieves and clerics, whatever for).


Yeah, my main character is usually a human thief (swashbuckler) -> mage dual-class for exactly this reason. :p

Edited by Bartimaeus, 18 September 2017 - 07:30 AM.


#11
algroth

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As far as I remember Irenicus and Bodhi never came back in the vanilla game, though from what I understand Ascension was given a 'stamp of approval' by the devs themselves, so it's semi-canon I guess?



#12
Eumaios

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In terms of what would be a fatally flawed end product, I completely agree with Guard Dog.  I would give a nod to Neverwinter Nights.  If anything, I think it's worse than he does.  Forget the other failings of the game, the story was really terrible.  Probably the worst effort of any Bioware game I've played.  In fact, it's so weak that I had to go look up the plot because I'd forgotten it.  From the whole clichéd tutorial and subsequently four pronged fetch it quest to the over wrought ending, it was dismal.  The idea of Lady Aribeth going evil isn't a bad one, and having her fall from grace come as the result of her lover being unjustly hanged by a vengeful mob could work if it weren't so shallowly executed.  A few of the individual areas were nicely done and I remember at least one wooded level being downright eerie.  Still as a complete package it was pretty awful.

 

I wouldn't even fix it.  I might keep a small sliver of the backstory and maybe a few of the level design ideas, and then just come up with an entirely new game from scratch.

 

As for the other games mentioned, I haven't played enough of Tides to know if it's bad.  The part I've played so far was fun complete with flaws.  BG2 might have had problems during development but the game itself was a lot of fun.



#13
algroth

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Given that I'm replaying it right now, I'll go ahead and pick Tyranny.

 

So, first off I will say that I really like the game and think both the premise and first act are *great*. It's not so much the general story I'd change as the way it progresses in the second and third acts, both of which I consider fairly problematic. For starters I feel the game doesn't do that good a job at expanding the scope and raising the stakes as it progresses, in terms of story arc the game does feel a little flat and I think this is due to several things, but primarily the modular quest structure (each region encompasses its own independent module with their own independent stories, which make the whole storyline feel fractured and episodic by consequence) and the fairly flat or non-existent build-up towards each of the climactic encounters with the Archons. It all reminds me a tad of Balthazar in Throne of Bhaal. Likewise, the other problem I see is that the game does a fairly poor job at allowing the player to act as an agent of *Tunon*, and I feel that they are too quickly made into a lackey for whichever leader they choose to ally themselves with, instead of acting as, y'know, an ally, or a Fatebinder.

 

So, here's how I see things going into the second act. Firstly, I can by and large group the motivations and conflicts that drive the story and quests in the game into three fields, being personal gain, helping the ally faction and carrying the protagonist's duty as a Fatebinder. The game as it exists chooses to give the first two predominance to the third, but personally I think the faction stuff is what should be secondary to the other two fields. I think the civil war can act as a backdrop and catalyst to the plot, and have the main storyline revolve around the Fatebinder's investigation into the archons instead. I'd have the Fatebinder gather information by following leads, infiltrating the factions, using his alliances to this end, interrogating suspects, and so on. He'd be Terratus' detective. The player's allegiances would affect the way the storyline plays out inasmuch as enabling or barring ways to acquire certain information. Meanwhile, faction-related quests would be secondary and would help towards third act goals, and rather than having the Fatebinder act as lackey he could be given the chance to stand toe-to-toe in negotiation with the Archons (thanks to being under Tunon's protection) and thus determine a course of action if he disagrees with the way the factions go about their business. I'd also make every Tier open to the player at the same time, letting them choose the order in which to handle the respective "big" quests (again, all of them secondary) and not forcing them to miss any should they choose to do all. The main storyline would by the end provide the minimum amount of power needed to advance the story, but each of these faction-related sidequests would of course strengthen your allies and give the player bonus power which could come to play either in the third act or determine the end of the game to an extent or other.

 

Once the evidence has been collected and we move onto the third act, I'd make it so that you can sentence one or *both* of the Archons, and be then tasked with carrying out the sentence. As with the game, I'd have Kyros promote the protagonist to Archon and have them fight one another for control, thus forcing the player to confront all Archons regardless of his sentence. As for the Archons themselves, I'd make it so that it is possible to have every Archon bend the knee and be recruited regardless of your choice of allegiance, with your actions through the prior two acts acting as a determining factor instead. I'd make it so that you can either recruit or beat an Archon to submission depending on how you choose to play your character: for example, while Graven Ashe could be recruited if having him already as an ally and with high enough favour, I would also make it so that with high enough favour an ally of the Vendrien Guard could persuade him with Ashe's history as a rebel general himself, or for a player that is enemies with Ashe and who has also learned about how Ashe originally bent the knee be able to use that same tactic so as to secure Ashe's surrender and compliance in exchange for their lives. Both options would require additional preparation by means of either getting the help of Disfavoured officials to convince Ashe, or surrounding and capturing Ashe's forces, or any one person desirable enough for him to consider surrendering. Obviously, if he were to be persuaded, Nerat's death would be a condition. As for Nerat, I could see the player forcing Nerat into submission Chorus-style, or alternatively feeding one of their companions. Mark is the only one who wouldn't 'bend the knee', but with high enough favor might be persuaded to delay your duel and then be acquired by proxy when enlisting Tunon (or otherwise facing both). All ending roughly in the same point as the game in its current iteration.

 

Anyhow, these are some thoughts as to how I feel Tyranny's story could be improved. Fun exercise all the same.


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#14
injurai

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Easy, Diablo 3.

 

The stories of 1 and 2 were minimal leaving so much mystery that it massaged the games atmosphere further justifying the old adage "less is more." There was this feeling you were an average representative of some skilled order that ended caught up amongst the schemes of hell. You felt it was only fighting the nethersome hellspawn by which your skills grew to such unheard of heights, aided by the discover of arms from a more divine era. The games were raw, nothing about it felt over-produced. Passion products of their era, the team venturing into unworked territory for the industry. Integrity manifested in droves and driven into silicon.

 

Then comes Diablo 3, production hell, over-production hell, subversion of game design, monetization driven. The story felt like it existed to tie together some fancy CGI scenes and pad out Act objectives. When the writing was good, it was relative to the rest of itself. In honesty I'd say the best it managed was merely okay. At worst... well it made it to those lows in more than one way, different rings of hell if you'll allow. At worst, the writing became cringe inducing, committing the typical sins of being too gamy, hammy, altogether lacking a semblance that could realize a world and setting that matched the alleged gravity. Also at worst, it betrayed it's own history, destroyed the most beloved elements without making an alchemically equivalent exchange to forge the narratives future. What was new was disinteresting. What was old was squandered.

 

Truth be told, I'd want to redo more than just the writing. If the writing was all I could rework however, that might be enough. For all it's design shortcomings, at the very least I could rapture up story that would drag me to hell and back once again. These days I'd rather experience Diablo-likes with a fresher lens. What other drapery could adorn a dungeon crawling loot fest, dazzle the senses, conjure up the suspension of disbelief. Diablo 3 is what blizzard wanted, a game to ensnare a new generation with less of a history with the series. For those like me, it's a game forever haunted by the ghost of Blizzard North and visage that is Path of Exile.

 

To rewrite other text heavy rpgs, I'd feel as if I might be creating an all together different game. With Diablo 3, I'd feel like I was making the omelet that should have been served after one came out with eggshells in it.


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#15
Serrano

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I'd rewrite Consortium and cut the whole 4th wall shattering plot thread. That game did such a great job at making you feel like you were in a Star Trek-like episode, I'd have just focused on doing that and not ended on a Cliffhanger. It would have made for a great series of games, you could have explored multiple story genres and none of the sequels would really need to connect to anything that happened previously but could still be entirely story driven with lots of C&C.


Edited by Serrano, 18 September 2017 - 04:32 PM.


#16
majestic

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As far as I remember Irenicus and Bodhi never came back in the vanilla game, though from what I understand Ascension was given a 'stamp of approval' by the devs themselves, so it's semi-canon I guess?

 

Dave Gaider made Ascension on his own after ToB shipped. So yeah, I'd consider it semi-canon. :)


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#17
Gfted1

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Iirc, NwN was first a module builder and second a single player game tacked on.



#18
majestic

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Iirc, NwN was first a module builder and second a single player game tacked on.

 

And riddled with project overruns, coming out years after the planned release. The single player campaign was probably really just slapped together and released without much thought or quality control - we were supposed to be able to import our Baldur's Gate characters after all.

 

Oh how that could have gone. Instead we got ToB and the NWN OC.

 

Of course Volo is right when he says NWN was well worth the money for the user made content, one could potentially play for years without getting bored.



#19
algroth

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As far as I remember Irenicus and Bodhi never came back in the vanilla game, though from what I understand Ascension was given a 'stamp of approval' by the devs themselves, so it's semi-canon I guess?

 

Dave Gaider made Ascension on his own after ToB shipped. So yeah, I'd consider it semi-canon. :)

 

Ah, right, I knew the devs were involved somehow but couldn't remember how. :D



#20
SonicMage117

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Tyranny is a good one to pick for this, the game does as many things wrong as it does right... It's a mixed bag of heacy rice.





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