This rant will be a little different than the others I have done priorly. This will not be me spouting off about something lame or annoying or even me insulting something profusely (well, actually, there may be a little of that), but it's still not gonna be me talking about myself directly (like anyone cares about that? by which I mean me). No, this shall cover a topic equally to even more loathsome: my works.
The Ten Year Quest
Like a lot of lamers, I was partial to creating pathetic attempts at paper RPGs. Think of something along the lines of a NAD&D (Not Advanced Dungeons And Dragons). While most were half thought out and never finished ideas that would be poorly scribbled on a single page of paper in the middle of some notebook not to be seen again for many months, in 1994, I broke my own bad habits. Approximately ten years ago, a page was appropriately titled "quest," since that was the name we gave to such a paper RPG. This was the first "game" of my making to be marked with a date of creation and would go on to have the longest lasting RPG characters of my make.
The games premise was simple enough. You chose between the playing "The Warrior", a fighting muscle man, or "The Aventurer", a misspelled individual with less brawn but more knowledge and weapon wielding. It was your mission to avenge the fallen king by defeating the evil sorceror who had usurped his throne for some reason that was never really made clear throughout the entire course of the game. The gameplay (if it could even be called such) was very linear, involving a more-or-less predetermined path for players to follow. Along the way, they'd be joined by such allies as Cilltra, the Thief, who oddly lacked any ability to thieve at all, and Xaxor, the Wizard, who was the only character in the game, good or bad, that had the ability to use magic.
The terribly conceived mock-game spanned over ten pages, which is including the overworld map, the battle scene, and the character/item/enemy index. The game only featured four stats: Strength, Intellegence, Weapon Skill, and Magic (Life for all player characters was set at one hundred, and therefore is excluded from listing). These stats meant little to nothing, as there was no mechanics made for using the stats. Everything was determined on a whim and by what I "thought would happen". Battles really only held one option, which was not "What do you want to do?" but more of "How hard do you want to attack?". You could choose Light, Meadium, or Heavy blows. Repeating heavy blows would exhaust a character and make them weaker, causing them to miss more and take more damage, so they had to be moderated. This "uncanny" battle system was utilized against a stunning five enemies, including Blob, Imp, Skeleton, Guard, and Piranha.
Seven weapons were available in the games only two weapon shops- oh wait, that's right, they weren't. Out of Cane, Knife, Daggers (pluraled, for they always had to be in a pair), Sabre, Sword, Axe, and Spear, only the last six were for sale in a shop, each one being sold in only one of the two. Four types of armor, Cloth, Leather, Chain, and Armor, were for sale at an herb garden, for some reason. And, when I say "herb", I mean a swiggly red pepper looking thing. There were also weird "Kyka Fruit" growing as local flora, too, which would restore some amount of lost life. More poorly thought of items included a Life Potion, a scroll of Magic, a "Braslet of Streinth" (the severe typos made it by-pass the obvious infringement on other more noteworthy game's accessories. hooray!), a Shield Pendent, a Magic Ring, a Power Necklace, a Golden Crown, A Jade Staff, a Crossbow, and Arrows. Of those many items, only two of them appeared in the game, despite most all of them having a listed price on the opening page: the potion and the bracelet (oh, so that's what it was!). Some special items that actually were not busts included the Comet, a magical item used to instantly win any battle, and Puffy, the Puff Dragon, a pink ball with wings that would spit fire when fed spicy "herbs".
What follows is a quickly reconstructed passing through the game as best as I can remember how it is suppose to happen, for I never actually wrote down what transpired directly and pretty much winged it back then, too:
Upon choosing a character, you began in Calnal Village, a town consisting of a shop, a hotel, two houses, a tree, a bush, and a cave. Standing outside the Shop was Cilltra, who joined your party immediately with no incentive whatsoever. Inside the cave were two blobs and an unidentifiable monster advancing on a defenceless girl. Leaving the Village, you entered Calnal Forest, which would randomly lead you into a battle with blobs, imps, or both. To the east of the woods was the Grave Site, haunted by a skeleton and blob. It is here that you discover the king's grave as well as the grave of Cakra, who apparently was Cilltra's father, who had to have been killed by the same evil sorceror who slayed the king, thus giving her a reason to stay on the quest with you. Yeah... Further east is the Herb Garden, which allowed you to pick all the herbs you could carry for $5 (yes, apparently a dollar system was in use during a fantasy medival setting) and sold armor. To the far west lied a thick patch of grass. When it was ignited (by any number of means), a secret passage was revealed to a chest of "Infadent Treasure". Behind the chest lied a pile of rocks that could be blasted (with the spell "Magic Blast", only learned by Xaxor) away to uncover ... some item. I fail to remember which it is, as no hint was given to what it was.
Less west, near Calnal Village and Forest, was Calnal Pond, which drained into the Calnal River (everything's Calnal! hooray!). The Pond seemed to be everlasting, as it perpetually drained away yet magically remained. Near the edge of the Pond, you encountered your Friend (who apparently knew both of the choosable characters), and he was going to try and ride down into Kiya Canyon in his cheesy rowboat by drifting down Kiya Falls. Somehow, you survive the trip and land in Kiya Lake. Instead of your good friend rowwing you to the near by dock, you have to swim and battle your way past three schools of Piranha. Once that hurtle is crossed, you can go east to Kiya City. The new town consisted of a shop, a hotel, seven houses, a windmill, a tree, and a bush. The windmill doubled as a library, which held a magical jewel that powered its spinning blades for the canyon was dreadfully hot and needed cooled by it fanning wind. The houses contained various crap: a pink haired lady who would give you vague advice for $5, a witch (green skin with the black hat and all) who, I think, would poison your weapons for $20, a sleeping man, a priest who would revive fallen allies, a piece of meat, and some dumb guy who said nothing of value. Past the city was Dragon Cave, a fearsome and forbidden cavern that housed Puffy, the Puff Dragon. By feeding him a Kyka Fruit, he was given super strength and could fly you (and your ally) out of Kiya Canyon and back to the ground level. Kind of a wonder why you had to go down there in the first place, but you did... I guess.
With all other options taken, you could head north, to the Bad Lands that stood between you and the Fortress of the sorceror. While the map revealed them to be lumpy plains separated from the rest of the flat, detailless landscape by a very short earthern wall/slope, they were actually a flaming field covered in skeletons, and were much smaller than the map displayed (the overview map's representation was the same size as the actual representation). A piranha infested pond blocked off the castle from intruders, cleverly guarded with a sign warning of the dangers and a rowboat. No one could get past with that... Oh, no, wait. Here, you also met Xaxor, though he did not physically appear in this spot, per se. While rowwing out, you could investigate a strange hot-pink glow in the waters to find the Comet. Stepping into the Fortress, the Lord of Fire and Lord of Lava stood in your path, two giant elemental beings summoned by the sorceror. With one hundred life and fifty strength, they would normally put up a challenge, but Xaxor merely uses his Ice spell to kill them both in one hit. A legion of four guards stands in your way next, which seems like bad logic, for they are much weaker than the two Lords. Xaxor disposes of them with a single Fire spell. Finally, after a very long and brief (?) quest, you were face to face with the sorceror.
There were two endings for this game. In the latter made one, you simply use the Comet to defeat the evil wizard and save the kingdom (somehow). But, the original ending was much more... different: The sorceror congratulates you on making it this far but does not wish to fight you just yet, for his powers have not fully reached full (apparently it took a lot to kill the king or something, I don't remember). He does have enough power left in him to hit you with some temporal freeze, catapulting you years into the future, far enough to where theirs advanced technology. He is finally ready to battle you, and, as it begins, the roof on the Fortress comes crashing down, smashing him flat. A large, pink foot sits atop the wreckage, belonging to a great beast. The beast is Puffy, now fully grown. Ha-ha-hah! Oh, that Puffy! END
Now, that's what I call bad!
It Was Already Made
Despite being made on paper, Quest I, and, in fact, all my games, were heavily influenced by video games in play and aspects. Most notable was the character design. Like just about all of the quests made, a main character (if not all) would have spiky hair. Back then, though, this was not a trait of an anime character. Oh, my no. People barely recognized things as being anime back then, and I (being stupid) barely recognized that most games even came from Japan, so wild hair was, between us (the makers of lame quests), the trademark of a staple RPG character. Another trend I took with character design was low color amount. As though I was making a low color containing sprite for some old 8-bit game, the characters lacked much of any varience. if their shirt was one color, so where their pants. Gloves, boots, belt, and other accessories all matched, too.
As much as I'd like to think I made up my own ideas, many were borrowed from other games that I liked but horribly copied to the point of being some twisted, bastardized version of the original. For example, the Imp, an enemy, sadly, was based on the Imp from Final Fantasy I, or at least on what I thought it was suppose to look like, which would up making it something entirely different. I gave it a buff chest, armor, and horns. About the only thing the two Imps wound up sharing was the name and color. Back at this time, I was very uneducated, and thought that was what imps were suppose to be, for I never saw or read any other descriptions for them.
Puff Dragons, unfortunately, were simply stolen from one of my most favorite NES games, Bubble Bobble. I merely took Bub, painted it pink, and changed its hands to wings. Xaxor, the wizard who more or less won the game for you (who actually appeared in just about any other game I half-made, generally to give you things or advise), was just a steal on the old man from the first Legend of Zelda. Bald guy, long beard, brown robe. Not too descriptive, but that's where I took him from. The magical item Comet I know I borrowed from some Final Fantasy. I just remember my friend telling me how some Meteo spell was the most powerful there was. Well, Meteo is like a meteor, and comets aren't too different from them, so I sorta slide that around.
The Continuing Quest
Sometime over the next two years, being '95 to '96, I wound up creating a sequel to Quest I, Quest II : Quest Returns. The main character was set automatically as the Adventurer, since no one used the Warrior, and his stats were customizable, allowing him to learn magic. The other characters included, in a greatly increased cast, Cilltra, the Thief; Mist, the Mystic, a new character thrown in for no reason; Yaca, the Boatman, who was the guy from the first game with the boat; Zola, the Fire Mage; Gex, the Warrior, who now had a name; and Keqo, the Beast, who was a really crazy, feral fighter that assumed the role of "very powerful last allied acquired". It also had a second Puff Dragon, Fluffy, Puffy's sister. The catagories included: Strength, Speed, Agility, Weapon Skill, Armor, and Magic. The entire game, including the battle scene, character page, etc., only spanned nine pages, and barely that. It was so poorly thought out that I have labled it the worst of all my quests ever!
To rectify it, in 1997, I started work on Quest III : The Ultimate Quest, which blew its predicessors away like the flimsy paper they were made on. The characters included: Sabit, the Adventurer, finally given a name; Cilltra, the Thief; Yaca, the Aqua (pretty much a water pseudo-wizard); Zola, the Fire Wizard; Gex, the Warrior; Layek, the Priestess, some half thought up character made just so there was someone who could use healing spells; Magare, the "Moster" (go, typo!), an actual monster as opposed to some really crazy guy; and Ying, the Blackbelt, and Yang, the Ninja, whom I still neither know why I made nor really recognize. And, no, I did not mispell the ones name, it actually was "Ying". This game's categories were Strength, Speed, Agility, Intellegance, Armor Class, Weapon Class, Magic, Fighting Skill, and Life, which finally varied between characters as opposed to just being one-hundred. This was the first Quest to actually feature experience points, too. The game featured the return of the Lord of Fire and Lord of Magma (renamed). After a very long time of working on the game, getting close to twenty pages done, work abruptly stopped. It wouldn't be until five years, in 2002, that work would resume and I would go on to finish it.
When work started again, my drawing style had completely changed. I stopped coloring things in so the art would show through more and to save me time. Many enhancements were also made to the actual game. The best improvement (next to the drawing) would be the "guide" I placed in the back, that way I would forever know what was suppose to happen at each scene and any secrets involved there in addition to a listing of all items, weapons, and armor and what they did. Actual mechanics finally emerged, using dice for determinations. As the level with the two first Lords ended, new Lords for more elements were introduced, including Ice, Plant, Water, Wind, Earth, Thunder, Metal, Fear, and Magic. The returning Puff Dragons gained Mints for them to breath out an iceityped attack to complement the fire produced by the spicy Herbs. Weapons finally evolved past the nomenclature of "Sword" and "Long Sword" to include interesting titles and abilities, like the "Guillotine Blade", which effectively caused Death to a critially hit target, and the "Prism Wand", which used a character's Magic to determine damage as opposed to Strength. To go with the expanded arment, a forge system was whipped out on a whim that allowed rare and generally expensive items to be set into weapons, increasing their power or giving them new abilities. These items eventually were able to be absorbed into spells! In the time between May and August of 2002, that being the summer I graduated from high school, I poured out pages twenty to forty-five.
This is the legacy of all that was my first "quest". Today, the series only exists in mind and bears the name of "The Questers", as I believe the former name was already taken by a real game. The actual character pool has been limited to Sabbit, a treasure seeking bounty hunter; Cilltra, a temple raiding plunderer; Zola, a magician in training; Yaka, a nefarious pirate and bandit; and Magare, a gladitorial half-breed monster. All of the former cast, while not playable, are to make cameos throughout the game merely for the purpose of my own nostalga. The entire series was absorbed into the Legends of Idos setting, making all the characters of the Knamu race. All of the traditions are to still be present: the Puff Dragons, the Kyka Fruit, and even more Lords.
And thus ends the ten year history of my most recognized creation. Who knows, in another ten years, it might actually be a real game that people can play. Hah. Not likely, though.