How to Save the World

Part Five




An important concept of role playing games is that of dimensions. When the first games were made, as you probably know, they were only in 2D form, either in a scroll-screen view or overhead view. There simply wasn’t good enough technology to make a 3D game. To make up for this lack of a third dimension, game makers soon replaced it with a fourth dimension: time. At first, this mean a person playing a game had to complete it within a given timeframe or he would lose a life. Later, the concept of time travel was introduced to the gaming world. Now that 3D graphics are available, most games employ a four-dimensional scheme to their layout in one way or another.


In addition to these four “common” dimensions, consider working in some other possible elements. Here are dimensions 5-9. They are the only other ones I can think of. If you can find any others, feel free to use them.


Fifth dimension: A shortcut (warping from on place to the next).

Sixth dimension: Implosion (this turns an object or world inside out).

Seventh dimension: Growth, expansion (or, the exact opposite, shrinking).

Eighth dimension: Time warping (Literally, the fourth dimension x 2)

Ninth dimension: Explosion (the supernatural ability to completely surround all 360 degrees of an object and view every side at once. This is particularly used for designing villains, bosses usually.).


Chi and Ace


Now to get back to my adventure. Ahem:


Alexandra Chi has just walked into the Heartland Castle unarmed, but capable of all of Lewis’s basic and combination moves. As soon as she enters the castle, a ninja character jumps at her and promises to avenge the death of his brothers much earlier in the game. Where the first ninjas, if you remember, had a bow staff and throwing stars, this guy has a sword. He is still easy to beat, so Alexandra can gain the Ninja Sword before going on into her half of the dungeon.


She walks into the next room, the central room of the castle. As soon as she walks in, the Voice laughs and says, “Good! Someone has come over to play!” The room resembles that of the classic optical illusion in which there are stairs and doorways coming from every which direction. Remember how I said earlier there must be doors the hero can open as well as ones he can’t? Well, the doors that to Chi are right side up are the ones she can enter, and the ones in other directions are the ones she can’t. Next to the door is a switch marked “SWITCH.” At first, it seems odd that the sign should be there, but it is actually a pun on “switch.” When you activate the switch, you are no longer controlling Chi’s actions, but instead control Lewis Dominick. When Dominick hits a similar switch, your control goes back to Chi.


Lewis Dominick rushes into the castle to find a fourth ninja waiting for him. This one carries no weapon; however, on defeating him you do get an item: a map… or, more precisely, one part of a map. It only shows the areas on Lewis’s side of the castle, which because of the optical illusion layout of the castle is only one side out of four. Lewis walks through the doorway to find out that the castle itself did not split when the drawbridge and entrance did; he is in the same room as Chi. The only thing is that they are on different sides of the dungeon, so they look sideways to each other.


I’ll admit that this concept sounds complicated, but the dungeon is actually fairly short. Chi must solve two logic problems and defeat one enemy to get her two sides of the map and full access to her two sides of the castle. Lewis has the exact same task. And of course, there are minor rooms with lesser enemies on the way. After all this is done, Chi and the Ace both meet in the same place, a hallway that looks like a funhouse. On one end of the hall is a door that is huge. At the other end is a small door. Walk in either direction and you either get huge or small.


Ky: I think you should take one door while I take on whatever’s behind the other. Agreed?


Lewis: Sure. So, which one do you want?


Ky: I’ll go for the small door over there. Good luck!


Lewis: Thanks. See ya later, I guess.


The Fourth Dimension


Ky goes behind door number one. You are automatically controlling Lewis at this point. You go through the large door, and this castle’s boss, Kamikaze Jester, attacks you. A full description of this boss and the temple in general will come later when I go to design the finer aspects of the game. For now, let’s just say you beat him by dodging the balls he throws at you, which are really Alarums from earlier in the miniature dungeon. When he throws a Boomerang Alarum, it comes back and hits him, stunning him for three seconds, in which time you must strike with your bow. Use a combo move or two to make the battle go faster and increase your chances of winning. Win the battle, and you’ll find a red bird in a birdcage: the Flying Ruby.


Before your battle with this joker, he informs you that Chi has gone through a portal that brings her back to the past. And after the jester is done for, it seems as if there’s no way to bring her back…


But as you walk out of the temple onto the Broken Heartlands, you see a message waiting for you at the gate. It reads:


Dear Lewis Dominick,


            I left this here a few days ago, your time. Of course, I had to make sure it would survive the destruction of Heartlandtown, and I didn’t know how to do that, but if you’re reading this, I guess that’s not an issue anyway. Lewis, I’ve seen to it that Club Town is safe for the moment. And I also know how we both got into the future in the first place: it seems that King Aetre summoned us from the past by using a spell he found that brings to the future all who are of destiny and all who have a special power vested in them by a Jack. Now I trust you have two of the four Jacks: the one from the forest and the one from Hector’s hands. All I was able to find out from looking in the old Legend Books in the Club Town Library (unfortunately not available to you at the moment) is that the one in the “safest of vaults” is in a diamond mine, and the one in the “darkest of lands” is atop a huge mountain. Get these Jacks and send them to me in the past. How, you ask? Here is King Aetre’s spell book, in its entirety. Use the Messenger Spell to send me the Jacks, and all that you have will come safely to me, and I will proceed to give them to King Aetre. Got it? Good. I’ve left some other notes around that I think you’ll find helpful. Good luck!


Alexandra Chi


But wait! There’s something wrong! The spell book she sent you is missing all of its pages; they must have gone when Heartlandtown was destroyed. There is a clue as to the pages’ whereabouts, though…


By now you have hopefully collected some of the Jack’s Feathers. These feathers fall into the book automatically to form pages of the book. It takes five jacks to fill one page, front and back, and there is one spell on each side of a page. You must get all five feathers of a page before that spell is activated for Lewis to use.


At this point in the game, you may have gotten up to fifteen jacks (if you’ve been perfect.) This means you have a possible six spells to begin with (all in all there are fifty feathers, twenty spells).


*What did we learn from this story so far? Well, to start with, there must be a specific purpose to the subquest. In my game, Dominick is required to obtain the Jack’s Feathers to gain spells, but the basic idea of the feathers, as we will see, is extracurricular. I’ll explain this later. We also learned, hopefully, that a sidekick must remain a sidekick, and no more. There comes a point at which the hero must do most of his thinking for himself. Ky’s notes ensure that she is still giving advice without becoming too involved or too intrusive on Dominick’s adventure. Another point is that the second dungeon follows the format of the first so closely that the same rules apply for both dungeons. The only thing that really changes from dungeon to dungeon is the difficulty—and I don’t think I need to write out a set of instructions for that.


Now to explain what I mean about the Jack’s Feathers being purely extracurricular. In the spell book, the spell that sends the Jacks to Ky is the last spell in the book. Most people, when they play the game, won’t get that far into the spell book, so they’ll never send the Jacks back, but they’ll still win the game. This Messenger Spell is used to bring about an alternate ending, which is a very nice addition to any RPG if you can program it in. Do I have you guessing at the ending yet? If I do, good… very good… I’ve trained you well. If you’re not guessing at it at all, though, that’s all the better. We’ve just gotten past the second dungeon, so don’t get ahead of yourself, okay?


In fact, I think it’d be a good idea to summarize the game so far before we move on, since so much has happened in the last few sections.


Lewis Dominick is on an adventure for the Four Jacks, which are all birds trapped in various places. With the help of Alexandra Chi, daughter to a deceased messenger, he has gotten two of them: the Flying Emerald and the Flying Ruby. Now, Alexandra has slipped back into the past, where she has left notes she hopes will help Lewis on his quest. Working against Lewis are the forces of General Reginald Dastard, an evil Spade Mountain opponent to the good King Aetre of Diamondland. To win the game, Lewis must collect the Jacks and defeat General Dastard, thus restoring peace to the land.


Several elements of the latter plot have already been revealed, such as Dastard’s weakness at close range attacks and the legend of those who are “destined.” The questions arise now as to why Lewis and Alexandra, two seemingly normal people from ordinary backgrounds, could be considered destined as King Aetre or the departed King Hector.


Next time, Part Six: Advancement