Garrett (garote) wrote,

Series idea brainstorming session

The beginning of one episode could feature character creation. Perhaps this could be best presented as a montage of the different character creations from game to game, all presented at once. This way they're contrasted, and taken out of the way to avoid future tedium.

With each generation scenario the results get more and more arbitrary or perverse. First a player is knocked over by successive avalanches of huge dice, and each time he gets up he's wearing different clothes. Then he goes wandering around a museum, and touches paintings, and his three companions come spilling out of the paintings. Then they choose doors, and change as they enter. Things get a bit confused, and the four players end up as a Lara Croft character holding a giant spatula, a Blanka lookalike in an innertube, a soldier with a big leathery spellbook, and a frilly tights-wearing bard with a bicycle pump a-la Dig-Dug. They open a door and arrive in a glade, and walk up to a gypsy wagon.

They all crowd into the wagon at once. First to sit down is the Bard, who hands his bicycle pump to the soldier. The Lara character leans her spatula against the wall, then leans on it, but breaks a window. Nobody notices. The soldier sits on a bench by the door. The Blanka character helps himself to a drink from a potion sitting on a crude mini-bar, pouring it into a shot glass, then downing it. His hair starts to smoulder. (Eventually he becomes bald, and the smoke fills the room.)

The Gypsy across the table welcomes the "adventurer", and blathers about foreseeing the Bard's fate. He perks up at this news, and leans over the table as she lays out Tarot cards, a-la Ultima VII.

She asks several pointed questions in the style of the game - the cards come to life to show the scenes, animated a-la Monty Python cutout style. With each question she turns over two more cards, then takes one away when the question is answered. For these first two questions, the Bard seriously considers his answer.

The soldier, bored, throws the bicycle pump under a bench and opens his spellbook. Blanka is scrubbing his head with his hands, trying to dampen the painful smoke.

The gypsy turns over two cards - something like "DEATH" and "THE FOOL". She asks another question, this one doesn't seem to have a decent answer. Both options are evil. The Bard says he wouldn't do either. The gypsy orders him "Choose one."

"No, I refuse."

"Choose one." repeats the Gypsy.

"No!", he slams his fist on the table.

The Soldier looks up from his book, concentrating. Speaking out loud to no one, but facing Blanka (who is still turned towards the mini bar), he intones: "In Vas Flam Corp!"

The Blanka character bursts into flame. "Haroo!" he shouts, mimicking his namesake. Chaos erupts.

Break to a shot outside the wagon, which is rocking back and forth, with smoke and flame belching out the broken window. The Blanka character falls down the wooden steps, smoking, pursued by the Lara character, who is beating him fiercely with the spatula. "Stop and roll!" she's shouting. Blanka rolls off a small dock into the nearby pond, which erupts into a column of steam. The two swans in the pond immediately begin biting him as he struggles ashore. He underhand-punches them and they fly back into the pond with a shower of feathers. Unharmed, they honk at him from the center of the pond.

Blanka, bald and sooty, with a thick ring of burned rubber around his waist, turns his attention to the Soldier and Lara, who are standing next to him. "Are you okay?" asks Lara. Blanka glares at the soldier. Pause for a beat. The soldier grins and says "Heheh ... Sorry about that."

Blanka yanks the Soldier's spellbook out from under his arm and whacks him on the ass with it. The Soldier goes flying into the pond.

Back inside the gypsy wagon, the Bard is coughing and putting his chair back in place. Small fires are burning around him, the wagon is a shambles. The Gypsy woman is unharmed, as are the Tarot cards on the table. (From outside the sound of biting swans, screaming, and splashing is heard.)

"Okay, gimme another question. I wanna learn my fate." says the Bard.

The Gypsy begins to tell another tale. It sounds different from the last, but in the end, the two choices are exactly the same, and both bad. The Bard frowns at this. He suggests a clever alternative that doesn't involve evil, but the Gypsy replies, "That choice is not valid."

The Bard is dismayed. "Not valid? Look, I don't like these choices! How can this be my fate if these aren't my choices?"

"Choose one." rejoins the Gypsy.

The Bard has given up. He sighs. "Okay, whatever. I choose [evil option 1]"

The Gypsy selects the "THE FOOL" card and discards the "DEATH" card, following the procedure of the last two answered questions. The next two she turns over are over-the-top insulting - cards like, say, "THE LOSER" and "THE JERK" (picture reminiscent of Steve Martin of course)

"Hey, those aren't even-", begins the Bard, but the Gpsy interrupts him.

(another question)

The Bard, flabberghasted, picks an answer and ends up with "THE LOSER" card. Lara wanders back in with her spatula at this point, while fisticuffs are still audible in the background. She stands, and the Bard sits, blocking the view outside. The Gypsy turns over two more cards - these make no sense at all, like, "THE TWIG" and "NOODLE BOY". The Bard starts to object, but trails off, clearly annoyed. From outside the Soldier's voice drifts in, intoning some other Ultima-esque sounding spell name. There is a loud crack, a bang, and a flash from outside, silhouetting the Bard and Lara. Blanka screams again, mostly in rage. More fisticuffs ensue.

The Gypsy's next question starts, "A priest, a monk, and a wizard walk into a local tavern."

(more explosions from outside) "The barkeep says, 'Hey, what's a stack overflow error in usecode doing in a place like this?'"

(The Bard and Lara turn to look at each other, totally confused.) "The monk turns to the wizard and says, 'int rand one break in twenty. character class equals 8, go to twenty five.' The king orders them all executed. Which do you rescue, A, the priest, or B,the wizard?"

"Uh ..." says the Bard.

"Wow, what's up with this chick?" says Lara. "... So much for 'learning your fate', huh?"

Bard turns to Lara. "I don't get it. If this is some kind of test of character, I just don't get it."

"Well, it started out okay..." says Lara.

The soldier comes bounding up into the wagon, out of breath. "Guys, you gotta help me. He's gone totally insane."

As he talks, he glances outside, then ducks. The spellbook comes sailing in the doorway. It passes over the Bard and the Gypsy, and smashes into a soot-stained shelf full of potions, jewelry, and broken glassware, which cascades to the floor. At the bottom of this same shot, we see that the Gypsy is still intent on the Bard. "Choose one." she urges him.

We hear running footsteps approaching from outside. The Lara character turns, pulls her spatula up to waist height, and swings it in front of the open door. Blanka runs into it with an OOF, and sits down hard in the doorway, with yellow birds circling his head. Lara props the spatula against the wall and yanks Blanka to his feet, then grabs the Soldier by the scruff of his neck and forces them to face each other.

"You." she shakes the Soldier. "Apologize."

Blanka is growling. Soldier says, "I'm really sorry, man. I swear. I was just following the directions in the book. I didn't know it would set you on fire."

Blanka keeps growling. "I swear!" says the soldier.

Lara: "There, see? He didn't do it on purpose. _And_ he apologized."

Blanka's growling subsides. Lara releases the flesh at the backs of their necks, and pats them on the shoulders instead. "Good, now you two be nice for a while, okay?" She turns around, facing back towards the Gypsy, with an expression of "stupid boys" on her face.

"Uh ..." says the Bard. "Okay, I guess it doesn't really matter, so what the hell. I choose B."

The Gypsy takes away "THE TWIG". She turns over "NOODLE BOY" to reveal - not the back of the card - but "THE HACKER", for just an split second. There is a buzzing sound like a terrible ground loop, and the card changes to "THE AVATAR".

The Gypsy stands up, arms out, flourishing the sleeves of her robe. "So be it!" she intones. "Your path is chosen! You are ... The Avatar!" The sleeves of her robe elongate past her arms and encircle the four players. The wagon and environs fade to black as the arms of the robe twirl around the four repeatedly, obscuring everything else in cloth patterns.

The Bard is annoyed - "Whatever" he says, rolling his eyes, head leaning on his fist.

With a crack of thunder, the four players appear in a town square. They're back to their default garb, all except for player A, who has a gigantic foam-rubber Ankh hanging from a chain around his neck. While the others look around and express their relief that that ordeal is over with, he pulls the Ankh up over his head, looks at it with irritation, then hurls it to the ground, where it bounces away. A minute later, while the characters argue over what to do next, we see a dog pick it up, chew on it, and run away with it.

Much, much later in this episode, while the charcaters are standing outside a dungeon, we actually see the dog parade by, still holding the Ankh in his jaws, trailed by seven NPC-types. The seventh is lagging behind, and shouts, "slow down Avatar!" at the dog. The dog stops to pee on a bush, then enters the dungeon. His "party members" all file in after him.

This sounds alright so far, but it needs more scenarios. So far, only Ultima, Dungeon Keeper, Quest for Glory, and generic dice-only RPG generation screens are represented. There must be a lot of classic games I'm missing here, with their own unique "character generation" scenarios ... Suggestions, anyone? Do you remember any novel methods of choosing a player, from your RPG game-playing youth?

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