Lauren presented the rest of the founding group an idea she had come up with, with a basic map that she had drawn (above).
The Player/Protagonist goes on an epic journey:
- starting in the human area
- through the Forest where the elves live
- then to the Ice Castle
- then through a Venice like city
- and then they have a choice:
- go through a dangerous area filled with monsters
- or through the complex labyrinth
In the end, they must face The Dragon Lord.
We discussed the villain and his potential motives. The team did not want to have a boring baddie, and decided he must be interesting and developed as a character. The antagonist will be the Dragon Lord, whose wife died and the traumatic circumstances of this is what turned him into a villain.
The also decided that they would like to develop Lauren’s map into the sort of map you see at the front of books like ‘Lord of the Rings’.
The team discussed that having the choice of the labyrinth or the monster area means that the reader might miss large chunks of the book. We questioned whether that would be a problem, or if it encourages the reader to play the book again. We also talked about the “one true path” style of gamebook that is common. This type of gamebook is like one big puzzle, to which there is basically only one solution. There are no right answers to this kind of decision – we have to decide what experience we want to give the reader. We also noted that you can design it so the player can visit places in any order to complete challenges.
Lauren stated she prefers having significant choices, and that this will contribute to the morality of Paradox the dragon, and the player themselves.
- The elves could be allies in some of the encounters where the player faces monsters or villains. Perhaps they assist the player in fights, or provide them with some equipment
- Key question: What is the Dragon Lord up to?
- The player should know a little bit at the start and then learn more as they go along
The Dragon Lord is at war with Ice Castle, which is causing the ice to melt, which is flooding the Elven Kingdom. This is the key issue the player needs to solve in order to finish their journey.
The player finds Paradox at the start of the book, so when they go to Ice Castle, the inhabitants there think the player is in league with the Dragon Lord. But when they find out the player is not they can become allies.
There will be different endings depending on the moral choices of the player:
- GOOD: persuade the Dragon Lord to see sense, thus stopping the war and saving the different kingdoms from their doom
- BAD: kill him and become new Dragon Lord
We discussed the Hero’s Journey and the three act structure (see separate post)
The group’s English teacher, Ms Urquhart, suggested having an environmental theme allegory with fire and ice, but the young people rejected it as they wanted to keep it fantasy-based.
Lucy suggested that fire could be melting ice which causes flooding in the player/protagonist’s home land. So the player goes to the Ice Castle to find out what’s going on. The player thinks maybe they’re doing it on purpose or that the Venice-like city is doing it, but then the player discovers it’s the Dragon Lord.