Scholars Rising: Game and Story Thread

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Scholars Rising: Game and Story Thread

Unread postby Bush Leagues » Mon Sep 04, 2017 11:21 am

OK, I finally finish Part 1. Of the Prologue. Which requires a part 2. And then we can actually play.

I've underestimated the amount of writing required. But that's fine. Once in the game, it'll likely be a little less per chapter.

Scholars Rising: Prologue, Part 1

It's split enough that you should be able to find places you can take a break in the story. I've also made it so everyone can comment on it on the document, if you like.

My thoughts, don't read until after you finish
I tried to make everyone's backstory distinct enough from others to make it memorable. The Liu-Sun Brothers, Liu Ping, Sun Xia, Song Ting, and Cai Shan I had good ideas for quickly, and quite like those. Mao Hushe and Fan Touhing I had to think about quite a bit to get something. I'm less happy with Long Ren's story, but I was running out of ideas for original backstories.

I tried to focus on the characters themselves, and how they would act and behave. Naturally, some liberties had to be taken, since all I have is a vague aspiration, temperament and importance of the Han court to go off of, but I think I made them all distinct enough.

I tried to make the stories tonally different in most cases, with a slight tilt towards happiness and optimism. Bei's story starts kind of sad, goes through some hardship, but then finds an instant friend in Cai Shan. Cai Shan returns to his troop, and they're all eager and willing, and it feels good, I think. Same with Song Ting, who leaves her friend behind, but is going off to better herself while helping others. All good things with good feelings.

Then you get to the brothers, and to anyone who's played the tenth game, here's some comic relief. Even if you haven't, I think the jokes are generic enough to get. So in ROTK X, there's a tavern where you can do jobs that a nobleman hires you for. It's the same nobleman in every city, and he's just "nobleman". These jobs range from the simple (attend a festival and don't do something to ruin it), to the actually compelling (find buried treasure northeast of city X), to the ones that make you want to shoot yourself (create a map of China by visiting every city). So I've included that as a humorous thing, and the mood is still fairly light here.

Fan Touhing is the first one who doesn't have any character to bounce off of, really, and I think the characterization here is weaker because of it. If it mattered more I would definitely make changes to it, but it's ultimately for fun; I'm not writing multiple drafts for this, sorry guys. :D

Liu Ping is the first one that really ends in a downer mood, I think. An emotional separation from her brother (really, it's the same town, so it's not strictly necessary, but I thought this kind of halfway falling out could be revisited once we take Cheng Du), which doesn't leave a bad taste, per se, but it's not a happy feeling. This is like those incidents in movies where someone "just has to" do something and must leave someone behind to do it. Those moments are sometimes emotional because of the weight involved. I tried to convey that, but with only a couple pages dedicated to these people, it might be too melodramatic. I tried to make her pompous tone into a slightly pompous attitude; clerk work is beneath her, Liu Zhang doesn't know anything about anything, etc. This should make her different enough from Song Ting that they're distinct.

I found Sun Xia's situation funny. While waiting for her "True Lord" to accept her, she runs off to serve someone else, and ends up stuck with them for however long. Interesting things could develop if we come into contact with Sun Ce and he's a major force.

Mao Hushe brings us our first real action, and her character settings make her stick out compared to our other PCs. Note also she has both eyes at this time (I didn't want to point it out too hard, but I also wanted to be clear. Hopefully I hit the right balance).

And then Long Ren, who's opening I less happy with, but I was running out of ideas. We also have more than a few high LDR/INT types with Cool personalities, so coming up with original enough characterizations for them was difficult.

Finally, Mao Hushe confirmed first OG. :lol:


Those are my thoughts overall. I have the outline of the next part in the my head, as well as the lead-in to Chapter 1. Once part 2 of the prologue is published, I will play the game and write up a chapter of story for it, and then post them together (I could record the game for funsies, with commentary). So you'll have simultaneous story/gameplay in the future once the prologue finishes.

Thanks again to everyone for their time and effort, and thanks to anyone who takes the time to read everything I wrote, and feel free to leave suggestions or comments or anything for me. Honestly, suggestions are more than welcome if they include ideas - as a GameMaster for tabletop games, have playing drop in hooks is one of the best things for helping tell a story. Likewise here, I think, if you can devise some kind of situation or idea, chances are I can find a place for it somewhere, and then that's an idea I didn't have the think up on my own, saving brain power.

Also, Council meetings. Sakae Wu had the great suggestion about letting the forum, as a whole, decide our future course of action at certain points in the game. When we reach major bottleneck points, I'll take suggestions from our players, and then we can vote to see what actually happens and what path we choose. In this way, you guys can help write the story with me, in a sense.

For now our path is set, but council meetings will be a thing in the future. Stay tuned!

Part 2 will likely be out in a few days to a week. It depends on how long it actually ends up being, and also that I have to work late one night this week.

EDIT: I forgot to mention a few things.

I had to take a few creative liberties with history, named when Zhang Lu rebelled against Liu Zhang (historically ~200, in our story it's immediately after Yan's death), as well as with title conventions and the like for the period. My knowledge of the governmental structures at this time is better than a layman's, but not as detailed as many on here. So I've tried to be "specifically general"; put another way, titles and the like that make sense and can be distinguished in prestige/responsibility from each other, without specific titles that might be historically inaccurate.

Also, I didn't realize while I was writing how much I wanted to use pauses during the conversations. I think a lot of media of the day, in the rush to fill in stuff so you don't have "dead air" (to use a news/radio term), have forgotten the art of the dramatic pause. To quote Rick McCullum (who was one of the producers of the Star Wars prequels) "It's so dense, every single frame has so much in it...". Because that's what you needed, right, along with a cartoon rabbit that's only interesting to 4 year-olds. (I've watched too much RedLetterMedia).

I think anyone who's watched Gilmore Girls will know what I mean. Seems like Rory and Lorelai can have 3 conversations in the time it takes me to have one. Anyway, I quote like the dramatic pause, so you can probably expect to have more of it, but I'll dial it back some.
Last edited by Bush Leagues on Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Scholars Rising: Game and Story Thread

Unread postby Sun Fin » Mon Sep 04, 2017 12:49 pm

Thanks for all you hard work Bush Leagues, it's very easy to read and I enjoyed it :).
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Re: Scholars Rising: Game and Story Thread

Unread postby SunXia » Mon Sep 04, 2017 8:11 pm

Awesome I enjoyed reading all the distinct personalities there and how they ended up volunteering or moving to volunteer. Can't wait for the game to begin!!
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Re: Scholars Rising: Game and Story Thread

Unread postby DragonAtma » Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:42 pm

I think the portrayal of Long Ren is fine. It looks as if Sima Hui would be Long Ren's friend (he's not normally playable in RoTK11, but I don't know what mods you're using, plus he may be one of a few "custom made for this playthrough" characters that could be convinced to be active). Long Ren would definitely know Xiang Lang and Xu Shu (due to them studying under Sima Hui at the same time), but it's your call whether they're friends or not. I imagine he'd also be at least a passing acquaintance with Song Zhong, Zhuge Liang, Pang Tong, and other Jing scholars (even if it's minor enough to be flavor-only). IIRC Sima Yi arrived slightly too late to meet Long Ren, though.
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Re: Scholars Rising: Game and Story Thread

Unread postby Bush Leagues » Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:57 pm

DragonAtma wrote:It looks as if Sima Hui would be Long Ren's friend (he's not normally playable in RoTK11, but I don't know what mods you're using, plus he may be one of a few "custom made for this playthrough" characters that could be convinced to be active).


No, no mods.

Yes, he could well know those people. I thought about putting in a reference to that, but Zhuge should be 13 at this point (born 181), so maybe he's a little young. Xu Shu, Xiang Lang, and some others are probably reasonable, though, I'm not sure on their ages.

Glad to have your approval for Long.
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Re: Scholars Rising: Game and Story Thread

Unread postby DragonAtma » Mon Sep 04, 2017 11:09 pm

KMA encyclopedia says Xu Shu was born ~170.

It also says that (1) Xiang Lang lived to be 80+ and (2) he died in 247, thus he was born 167 or earlier.

SGZ says that Zhuge Liang's uncle (Zhuge Xuan) and Liu Biao were "old acquaintances", and that he brought Zhuge Liang and Zhuge Jun because Zhuge Liang's father Zhuge Gui passed away when they were young. So it's more likely Long Ren met Zhuge Xuan than Zhuge Liang, but there's always the chance of a "Come, meet my nephews!" encounter -- and with 90 Int it's possible Long Ren would recognize Zhuge Liang's potential. But if you decide they haven't met, I understand.
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Re: Scholars Rising: Game and Story Thread

Unread postby Bush Leagues » Mon Sep 04, 2017 11:43 pm

No, those are good ideas, and the ages match up nicely, so incorporating something like is definitely do-able, and it can create interesting hooks for the future.

This also provides a possible characterization for Long Ren, too, since maybe he could be connected to this vast network of scholars through Sima Hui. Perhaps he can't call on them for favors or anything, but then visits and meetings could be arranged to discuss matters.

So I think that definitely works, and arranging scenes with these types of people is good, and would make for easier writing if there's a hook through Sima Hui and Zhuge Xuan. I'll think on that for a while and keep it in mind going forward as well. Thanks for the ideas! :D
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Re: Scholars Rising: Game and Story Thread

Unread postby Sakae Wu » Tue Sep 05, 2017 2:22 am

Great work Bush Leagues! That's some nice writing. The premise has a little "Seven Samurai" vibe which I really like.
I'm looking forward to see how this develops. :)
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Re: Scholars Rising: Game and Story Thread

Unread postby Bush Leagues » Tue Sep 05, 2017 2:41 am

Sakae Wu wrote:Great work Bush Leagues! That's some nice writing. The premise has a little "Seven Samurai" vibe which I really like.
I'm looking forward to see how this develops. :)


Well, give me a katana and call me Kurosawa, apparently I'm a master of story-telling. :lol:

In actuality, I've never seen Seven Samurai. >_>

But I'm glad you like it! That council idea was really good, too, so thanks again for that.
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Re: Scholars Rising: Game and Story Thread

Unread postby LiuBeiwasGreat » Tue Sep 05, 2017 3:22 am

I liked the bit where I am escorting a cow :lol:
Very fun read, looking forward to more, I am really enjoying this :)
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