How to Save the World
“Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.” George Herman “Babe” Ruth
The scene is Diamond Castle in the past. King Aetre sits on his throne as he listens to Ky speak in front of him. Aetre’s faithful jester, Kamikaze, stands next to the throne. Cinema:
Aetre: Yes, I can see you’re from the future, because you have a medal with my seal on it, but I’ve never seen you before. And I know that King Hector had a large variety of long-range weapons, but I don’t think that Reginald Dastard would have any knowledge of that. The weapons were top secret.
Ky: Then how do you know about them?
Aetre: Spies. Now, as I was saying, if Dastard had gotten these weapons, as you say he has, he would have used them by now. He would have either attacked me directly, or tested the weapons on some undefended little town somewhere.
Ky: Agh! That’s exactly what he’s going to do!
Aetre: Are you yelling at me?
Ky: Your Majesty, you have to believe me! Dastard is going to lay Club Town to ruins! Trust me! And now I’m trying to stop it from happening, or evacuate the town, or something… anything. It’s just that now I have to do it alone, because the boy that was helping me out is stuck in the future, you see, his name is Lewis Dominick—
Aetre: (suddenly stirred): Hold it there! Did you say Dominick?
Ky: Huh? Um, yes Sire.
Kamikaze: Don’t pay attention to this girl, Your Majesty. She’s obviously lying. Why, the Dominick line in Spadeland died out years ago.
Aetre: Alexandra, if that’s your name, where does this Lewis come from?
Ky: He’s from Club Town.
Kamikaze: See, Sire? Even by her account the Dominick does not come from the Mountain.
Aetre: That’s exactly why I’m starting to believe the girl, Kamikaze. There aren’t any more living Dominicks in Spadeland, so it would make sense that the only survivor would have moved elsewhere. If she had answered “Spade Mountain,” I would have known she was lying.
Kamikaze: But, Your Highness, there is no survivor. There never was a survivor. Do you not remember, Sire? The last Dominick in Spadeland died without a living heir, just like the king in Heartland.
Aetre: Good Kamikaze, you forget the legend that the Four Heirless Kings each had rightful successors all along? You forget that it was just such a discovery that helped me to my throne today.
Kamikaze: Yes, but just because you were discovered to be the descendent of the great Diamondland Kings does not mean the legend holds true!
Ky: Pardon my asking, but what legend are you talking about?
Aetre: It is no concern of yours. You tell me that Dastard will strike Club Town. I will therefore authorize a voluntary evacuation of the village. That means I will come with you to warn the citizens, and all that want to leave can go to Safe Haven Village. I will have my soldiers here provide for the transportation. But any people in Club Town that don’t want to go don’t have to. Understand?
Ky: Yes, Your Majesty. Thank you.
Kamikaze: This is madness! Pure Madness!
Aetre: What? How dare you call the king’s decision madness! I don’t like your attitude lately, Kamikaze. You’ve been warned before. Pack your things and leave this castle at once!
Kamikaze: But Sire, there’s no way you can possibly run this country without me here as your advisor. You cannot make important decisions without me!
Aetre: It looks like I just did. Now, get! Alexandra, you go to Club Town. You claim to have gotten two of the four Jacks? Then the third is in the Diamondland Dunes, the sandy area to the East. The only way to get there without scaling the East Ridge is through the underground Chalcedon Caverns. To get to those, you must open a vault hidden west of Club Town. I really don’t know exactly where it is, though. Don’t get me wrong, I think it would be a good idea to evacuate Club Town, but if you really want to help in the fight against Dastard, we will need those Jacks. Good luck finding your switch. Say, Alexandra, are you absolutely sure that this Lewis Dominick comes from Club Town?
Ky: Yes, Your Majesty.
Aetre: And where do you come from?
Ky: Safe Haven Village.
Aetre: I wonder… are you sure you’re the daughter of a messenger.
Ky: Yes, Sire.
Aetre: Nevermind, then. Go to Club Town and find your switch.
A discouraged jester leaves as the cinema comes to a close.
Two things just happened here that changed the entire flow of the game. First, before this scene, Lewis was the hero of the story. Now he is part of a legend! Ky also enjoys a promotion, though. Before this scene she was Lewis’s sidekick. Now she is a heroine. What’s the difference? Now she is fighting completely on her own. Like Lewis, she has had preparation for battle, and even fought some enemies before. She is her own identity now. Keep in mind, though, that as soon as the game switches to Lewis again, she is just a sidekick helping the hero with messages and hints. Besides, Ky’s playing time is far less than Lewis’s. His battles are harder, he has more extracurricular activities, and Lewis is the only one from here on out to face the real dungeons of the game.
*When upgrading a role like this, you give an extra boost to the morale of the hero / heroine. It is as if because he is chosen, more is on the line; if he fails to do his job, there is nobody who can replace him. This is an increased sense of urgency, and it is almost always a plus in an RPG.
You (Alexandra Chi) go out of the castle. Because you cannot go through Obliteration Field (you don’t have the spell, remember?) you go back through the Northern Woodlands.
Now you get to meet the good citizens of Club Town while it is still a quiet village of cabin houses, wooden street signs, and shade trees in every yard. There are three main streets: East Leaf Road, North Leaf Road, and West Leaf Road. The North Leaf Road extends to the south and turns into the North Road. The East Leaf of town is the commercial side of town. For example, you will find the local grocer, the oddities shop, the furniture store, and the Deuce Tailors North. Try and guess what wonders you can find in the Deuce Tailors North shop.
That’s right, you get a uniform improvement. Ky trades her white suit and fifty Alligons in for a red one. This is Ky’s only uniform improvement in the entire game, and it really helps if you get it. Now you can do all of the combo moves and (if you got the black uniform as Lewis) charged moves for your one weapon, the sword.
The North Leaf of town is the residential sector. Go here to find houses of residents and talk to people. Every person you talk to you warn to evacuate, so the more people you warn, the better. It is very easy to warn them all in one fell swoop if you go here and just start talking with people. The only two that don’t heed your warning are the mother-in-law of the couple in the Heartbreak Hotel and the aunt and guardian of Lewis Dominick. Strangely enough, you cannot speak to Lewis himself because he is locked in his room 24/7 playing his guitar so loudly the house shakes.
The West Leaf is the sector where you will find the town library. Go here for all your information on local legends, fighting techniques, and anything that might help you. As you read the books, you find that there used to be a castle in Club Town on the exact spot of the library. When you search around the shelves of books, one shelf seems for some reason to be out of place. Remove it by pulling it back slightly, and you will find a door. That door leads to a miniature dungeon: the Cloverleaf Fortress Remains.
The Fortress is a standard miniature dungeon. It is the basement of the library, but unlike the underground diamond mines Lewis must face, this place is more like a sewer. The old castle walls are covered with rot and mildew, and you won’t get anywhere without having bought a flood lantern at the oddities shop. Much of the fighting in this place is done with your lantern in Ky’s left hand, your sword in her right.
Villains in the dungeon are quick to spot you with your lantern, so you can attract lots of attention you don’t necessarily want. Oh well, you knew this job was dangerous when you took it, right? The bad guys here look like mutant slugs with army helmets. They all claim to be guarding the fortress. Kill them all, get through the corridors, and you will reach the end, where you will find a sign that reads, “Here stands the switch that opens the gate to the Dunes. Guardians of the switch, keep watch until my line reawakens.” After the inscription is a seal with the markings of a crown and a clover and the name King Marcus Dastard IV Last King of Clubland. You pull the lever and the vault opens. Then the lever shifts to the side. Behind its original location there is now another thing of interest: SWITCH…
*That’s enough storytelling for now. In our last chapter, you will recall I mentioned exactly how the game is advanced from stage to stage. In this chapter, I have embellished those ideas. The important lessons to be learned here are as follows:
1. When developing character, you are really developing the plot at the same time. You are revealing to the gamer facts about the hero and villain that you did not know before. Some of these developments you should let the gamer guess at beforehand, but some of them must be surprises.
2. To develop the weaponry in the most effective manner, not only should you make the weapons gradually become more advanced and more powerful throughout the game, but you should also make sure that the newer, more powerful weapons can help the hero do more things than he could before in places he has already visited. This is why a person playing a good RPG has to explore the world and revisit old friends and places often.
3. When you go to develop the plot, go about it as if you are in the gamer’s shoes. Try and predict what places a person would likely go to first by instinct, what directions they might go in, or whatever tangents they might stray off on. If you can do this effectively, you can protect your game from potential defects. By this I mean you can control what techniques your gamer might try to get past an obstacle, and then you can let only one of those possible techniques actually work.
4. In all RPG’s there is a hierarchy of standard roles. From most benevolent to most evil, they are: hero / heroine (Lewis), sidekick (Ky), knowledgeable sources (King Aetre), loyalists (guards, good soldiers), commoners (citizens), enemies (army slugs), bosses (Giant Swarm, Kamikaze Jester), villain (Dastard). You should include all of these roles into your game in one way or another. And yes, one person can fill two roles. And as I just pointed out, a person can improve their role by becoming a character of destiny, a term that I use loosely, but which basically means that the character is made more influential to the plot and gameplay.