A homegrown game in the werks - Fantasia
Here is the lead in story so to speak - one of them anyways and some other basic intel for now - I hope to be running a tester game in the next few weeks as my time permits.
A package arrived in the mail today, oddly wrapped and smelling of burnt cheese. Just before I opened it I realized this odd package was intended for Mr. Gibbs, the recluse old man across the street. Although many urban legends circulate about Mr. Gibbs, many horrifying and bizarre, I know Mr. Gibbs as a quiet fragile old man lost in some sort of never ending day dream of some fantasy world where the dead walk and he was some fierce creature fighting to save the world. Mr. Gibbs rarely talks in depth about his "dreams", being labeled insane and having spent a better portion of the last decade in an asylum, he seldom speaks of his fantasies nowadays.
Most of our town sees him as a cook and the neighborhood kids often vandalize his property for kicks or make crazy dares to break in. This has resulted in several police interventions but has produced at least one bit of strange fact. Rollins, Jimmy Rollins was put on probation after he was caught breaking into Mr. Gibbs house a few months back, and what he saw was probably more strange then some of the stories that are flying around town.
Mr. Gibbs, a man well into his 90's must really have lost his marbles. Jimmy saw Mr. Gibbs dressing some sort of medieval armor loaded up to the hilt with stuff, ranting and raving in the middle of his bedroom ( the dark library) as it has been called. Mr. Gibbs has a vast collection of really curious books and weird artifacts. Nothing like Huck Finn, we are talking Metabolism of the dead, and resonance of a beating heart… yeah weird and many others in Latin or something with strange diagrams and pictures like right out of some Dungeons and Dragons novel.
I know, you are thinking how do I know all this, Jimmy could not possibly have seen all that. You are right he didn't see, "all" that. I have been befriended Mr. Gibbs in lieu of my social friend's ideals and have been helping him around his house for the last 2 years or so. Mr. Gibbs thinks it better I keep our friendship a secret, less suffering on my part he keeps telling me.
There is this one curiosity I have above the rest, and there are a lot of them with Mr. Gibbs. What's in the attic. I'm not a prowler or a sneak but last week Mr. Gibbs told me he had to show me something soon and that he is preparing something in the attic for me and , of course, I am NOT to go in there for any cleaning or whatnot. Even stranger, he wants be to bring a few of my most trusted friends as many as 3. He said he had this feeling. Yeah this feeling I am having is a bit apprehensive. And trying to get even my closest friends on board to going into Mr. Gibbs attic for some sort of "surprise, is not without its perils, never-mind just going to his house or admitting my past two years of activities helping the ole man out. Nevertheless, even while they think I am mad, my closest buds have agreed to come along. Johnny, after getting over the initial shock and letting out a few minutes of teasing at me, agreed he was going to get my back and anything that ole man tried to pull, he would Hi-Ya him with his karate, which he takes too seriously bordering on the edge of becoming a bully he reins in his fierce thirst for competition and helps keep the sanity of the friendship in tact.
Then there is Kara, we have been friends since the third grade. She is odd in her own way. Not one to back down easily from a challenge, if at all, she will often take the guys by storm, a dart champion at the local pub, she carries that edgy air of arrogance but underneath it all she is as tender hearted as they come. I fear that the sharp pencil she keeps tucked in the back pocket of her size 3 jeans gives here a false sense on security. You see, she never used to play darts. She calls it her lucky pencil One day , Larry Whitinghouse was man handling his girlfriend, and close friend to Kara, Julie in front of Pilber's Market. Kara stepped in and tore Larry off her. To say the least he was not impressed. Shoving Kara he walked backwards down the street egging her on, calling both of them all sorts of names I don't wish to put on paper. Kara was pissed. She picked up Julie's pencil ,which had spilled onto the ground along with the rest of her purse, and flung it at Larry more out of frustration then any desire to maim him at that moment. The pencil soared with precision, and even though Larry was almost 15 feet away, it landed with enough force to drive itself completely through his hand. Ironically the one he was using to flip the girls off with. After the charges against Kara were dropped, she always carried a 2 pencil with her and coincidently learned the game of darts. It is no surprise that locals are wary of Dart teams with Kara on them. So as long as she has her 2 on her, she feels that a 90 plus year old man has no chance.
And last there is Robbie. Robbie is a loner, not in the miscreant sort of the word, but because of his brainy and deeply attentive studious nature. He can let loose with the best of em, but is always over analyzing situations and , well he would be great friends I think with Mr. Gibbs, if not only for their universal weirdness and interest in fantasy worlds and all that jazz. Robbi has been a good friend since the third grade as well when I and Kara rescued him from a band of ruthless bullies. Ok, it was two and they were pilfering lunch money at the bus stop.
That leaves me. I am your average Joe. Scott is the name and I have no game. I go with the flow and fit in to about anywhere. Since we are not born into a cast system in our modern world, I am not locked into any sort of indentured role in society. I roll with whatever the day throws at me or my buds get me into. While I keep a steady hand on the wheel, I am constantly barraged by those around me about direction in life and deciding on this or that. I am happy right now not fulfilling that casting call of role makers and just work where I fit in.
Anyways, back to Mr. Gibbs and the package. Tonight is the night. Yes the night, creepy right. You try convincing 3 of your best friends to go to the attic of some convicted loony at night based on the sole judgments of me. Well, I did it amazingly and there are coming.
So I am going to get this nasty smelling package to Gibbs and ill get back to you later.
It is later and I am happy to report that we, yes we have been at Gibb's house for nearly three hours now, laughing and really settling the nerves of everyone here. Mr. Gibbs in this really elated mood, happy and content. I have never seen him like this, ever. It is a little unnerving wondering why he is so happy and what he has planned for us upstairs.
It was nine 'O clock on the dot when Gibbs suddenly looked ill and his whole demeanor changed, almost sad, a deep sadness, the kind that reaches all the way into your souls and traps even the brightest hope in its darkness.
One by one we realized that the mood had changed and one by one we fell silent. Mr. Gibbs stood slowly, showing his age now, looking frailer then I had ever seen him, looking as though he were on his death bed but standing. We all looked at each other, nerves flaring and we could sense in each other the pity we at that moment felt for him. He asked in a raspy withering voice for each of us to help him up to the attic even though our protests offering to do it another night when he was feeling better,. He silently strode toward the stairs, where we all grabbed a hold of him and gently helped him up to the attic door.
What we saw when we entered was not anything any of us expected. There was a straw bed against a wall, and a small table about the height of a stand up dresser against the far wall, and the only decoration was some strange hieroglyph and symbols like a complex physics problem scrawled across the entire length of the wall ending in a drawing of an arched door with no knob or handle.
You could tell we all were immediately at ease, expecting some sort of torture chamber or occult sacrificing ritual. Mr. Gibbs now appeared even frailer, and motioned slowly to help him to the straw bed. He muttered in barely a whisper, "not much time left" please read to me, each of you. We were a little disappointed but gravely concerned for Mr. Gibbs. Robbi kept urging us to call 911. That's Robbi for ya. Gibbs lifted a shaky arm and pointed to a large book on the table across the room, each of you read, and then answers one question from me. Ok this was really odd but he was insisted and in a matter of 3 hours we had grown closer to the old man then any amount of years it seems could have given us.
We all huddled around Gibbs as Kara retrieved the book and began to open its ornate cover. Gibbs sternly with tenacity unbecoming his current state ordered the rest of us to back up to the center of the room. We were shocked and before we could protest he said "One at a time". Kara quickly waved us off and tapped her 2 for clarity. We backed up about ten feet, to stay within earshot as Kara started reading. It was silent in the room, we could not hear Kara, or even Gibbs from only ten feet, unnerving to say the least and weird. But Kara looked to be in no harm. She closed the book and Gibbs nodded and said only one word, which was clearly heard…."NEXT".
We all took our turns, when it came to me I opened the books and began reading some sort of description on magic and the correct usage and theories of combat and all that mumbo jumbo. When I was finished, Gibbs asked me if I understood what I read and to explain it to him. To be honest I was dumbfounded, I couldn't make sense of it. I felt Gibbs would be disappointed with me but he just smiled and said well done and told Robbi, who was last, it was his turn to read, sending me to the center of the room.
After Robbi was done, Gibbs motioned us back to his bedside. Gibbs now looked very pale, his eye sockets dark like his body was rapidly dying. Fast like some twisted undead sci-fi movie does it. His eyes lock with mine and he spoke…………….
"You have passed the test, and are all worthy",
When Johnny started to say, "Worthy of what….." his voice failed him and no more sound came out. Gibbs never broke eye contact with me. Johnny kept talking apparently not aware that nobody could hear him.
You will be tested, again and again. Your life will be a test of your souls, Gibbs continued his words strong with passion and life, while his body seemed to fall darker with every sound he made.
You have been chosen. Chosen by fates beyond this world, chosen to …… " His words were drowned out in a flurry of coughs and gurgling as his body lurched and pitched in a gruesome display of death fighting to take what little life remained. After a few moments of these horrific tremors I turned to my friends, who all seemed locked in staring at Gibbs, calmly with no signs of shock or anything. I looked to Johnny, now still. A single tear rolled down Johnny's cheek. Of all people Johnny, a tear, what the hell was going on?
Gibbs, rolled his head slowly toward me like a skeleton in some poorly done carnival haunted house. His grey blue eyes were vibrant, full of youth, of life, a stark contrast to the body before us wasting right before our eyes.
" Scott, Thank you. Your choices will grant me freedom and your courage has given me peace" He did not move his lips but I heard his voice. It seemed young and strong, I heard it clearly as though he were talking to me . Gibbs said a few more lines that struck me deep and my eyes erupted with a wetness that is reserved for the sting of a long time friend that has departed. I didn't understand why it felt so intense.
The color of his eyes faded to grey as his let loose his final breath, and slowly closed his eyes. He lay still on the bed. So many questions, no more answers …..
One by one Kara, Johnny and Robbi looked across the room to the table, then I heard Gibb's voice call to me and it told me before it trailed off to silence.
"On the table is a scroll with your name on it. Take it, read it, and accept your gift beyond that door."
"What door?" I asked to myself and the answer suddenly startled me. All my being was instinctively drawn to the drawn door on the wall, the drawing with no handle or knob.
One by one Kara, Johnny and Robbie left Mr. Gibbs side. Kara put a gentle hand on my shoulder that broke my shock and awe of what just happened and motioned me toward the table. On the table four tightly rolled up scrolls sat. Scrolls that were not there when we picked up the book to read to Gibbs. Each one was sealed with a red wax seal, and in each of the seals was one of our names.
I asked how they knew about their names on the scrolls and they said Gibbs just told them, and about the door. Somehow, I can not explain even if I tried in a million years. Gibbs was speaking to each of us, at the same time, and instructing us, comforting us and leading us to this door.
The night had already been far stranger then any of us would admit, this while pressing a lot of questions on us, didn't keep us from each picking up the sealed scrolls. On three we agreed. One ………..two …………three.
In unison we broke the seals.
You awake, parched and groggily to the bleak evening. The cool snap of a sea breeze slaps against your cheek. A scroll, words, names, spinning a door, darkness, screams……now here. Where is here? You drag yourself to your knees and hear the faint sounds of a somewhat familiar voice, its sound piercing your mind growing louder, louder……..You awaken violently , an odd creature standing in front of you calling your name loudly, another behind you shaking you as to awaken u from a deep sleep. Your head is still spinning….and then you snap, you remember Gibbs, the reading, the doorway stepping through, the whirl of images, memories that were not your own, Robbie, Kara, John fading into the darkness, changing……..”
a strong and squeaky voice yells a final time and your eyes snap open your mind clears what it can and you try to scramble to you feet, away from the funny looking creature before you, calling your name…..
”Scott, stop, its me…..Kara….Its…”
You turn meeting the gaze of a large hairy beast, looking blankly at you.
“Scott, its me”
How, where, what are these things how do they know my name, the thoughts thunder through your mind , racing, you turn violently away, trying desperately to get away, to think……
”Sit down, calm do…. “
The sounds trails off as you feel yourself falling, darkness enveloping you, tired….so tired…..you collapse where you stand.
You have been called forth, you have been chosen and IT knows you have come. Fantasia awaits, what remains of it anyways.
The game is called Fantasia - very misleading from what you may think. No this is not Disney, unless Tim Burton has secretly taken over Good ole Walt's kingdom and made all the good little boys and girls his undead minions.
This game revolves heavily around a vast and unforgiving landscape tainted millenia past by an unnatural evil, cursing the very ground of the world, stripping it of life, leaving vast barrens of harsh landscape and only speckled remnants of life, struggling to survive, holding on to scant remnants of hope foretold of in legends all but lost to the mist of the ages.
Now in lamens terms. I also like D&D and had a great liking for any adventure that revolved around taking out the mysterious and gruesome undead. This is not a sick flick, blood and gore game, but does center on taint and entering into a dark world bereft of any lawful order to its chaos.
Find your way, complete quests for the folk around you, search out treasure, glory, and an end to the source of the evil that binds this land in unliving darkness.
The basis of the design was meant to be incorporated into a PC model game but due to lack of programming knowledge and other resources I have decided to complete the basis of the game in pencil and paper fashion, Ole School RPG style, while keeping the general tone simplified and adaptable to an electronic medium in the future.
Ok, it has taken about 10 hours of on and off again work, and the Game systems is nearly fully functional from scratch. It is raw but useable now. Player character creation is simplified and sheets are done, make ups are done, races are done classes are non existent (all based on race) and a fully working character can be generated in 6 to 8 minutes, less if you have done it a few times.
Just filling in minor details for the fleshing out, like completing spell list and melee weapon charts, and mob data.
1st starter adventure plug in is done and that pretty much takes the game to the testers table – now I need time and testers.
All the fancy Smanchy details, the glitz and glam will be sewn in from here on out, like the advanced world enviroment, more creatures and mobs, cultures, and varying storylines, and other things a tester may think of that I have overlooked.
I will be posting relative info about it soon PC creation, sheets the raw basics enuff to get the juices flowing and a tester or two to try it. Its in the rough but should be playable. Simplicity is the key.
Freedom, is only survival in this decaying wasteland we call life.
Peace, a lost realm of the forgotten.