Creating a Story

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Here is a story #1:

"Our hero needs to rescue the kidnapped princess. He went to the evil wizard's
castle. Took the princess and went home. End."

Here is a story #2:
"Our hero needs to rescue the kidnapped princess. He headed straight to the
evil wizard's castle. During the night, he was attacked by slaves merchants and
took prisoner. The same night, the merchants leave the country on a boat. They
stopped at a small isolated island. They were attacked by giants and during the
fight our hero escaped. He ran into the forest and after a while, stopped,
exhausted. Right before him, between trees and branches, is standing what seems
to be an old temple, half-hidden into the ground. Wonder if he should
explore ?"

The second story seems to be more interesting that the first one, right ?

What makes it interesting ?
1- Pitfalls, difficulties, problems
2- New beginnings, quests, rewards

When creating a story, have a general goal, many rewards and many pitfalls.

General goal
------------
Here are some kind of general goal:
- rescuing someone for some reasons
- finding something for some reasons
- killing something for some reasons
etc...
Examples
- Finding the Ivory Broach to heal the dying king
- Killing the evil goddess Lolth to free the country from her plague
- Rescuing the princess for the given reward
- Finding the exit of a deadly maze in which our hero was taken into
etc..

Pitfalls
--------
The first pitfall are our hero's weaknesses at first.
Examples
- low experience, equipment, attributes, etc...

The second ones are created by the story.
In story #2, our hero is took prisoner by slaves merchants.
He needs to:
- Find a way to leave the island (i.e. magic portal at the lowest level of the
temple)
- Back to general goal, rescue the princess ! (Btw, no one knows where is the
evil wizard's lair ! Let's explore the country !).

Rewards
-------
Rewards are what happen when you free yourself from a pitfall.
Example:
- Experiences score gained after defeating monsters
- Finding the exit, an item, some help
- Being back to the main goal
etc...

Roaming the country
-------------------
You should have some general place to explore while not on a specific pitfall.
Example: In story #2, our hero could explore the island and find
- a village
- some caves
etc...

The goal of the general place is to gain experience and to have fun.

Twisting the end
----------------
NEVER have an easy end. Let's say our hero has _finally_ found the princess...
only to discover she:
- turned into a vampire and needs a potion of anti-vampirism. Our hero needs to
find proper reagents to brew such a potion.
- is into an adamantite cell and our hero needs the Hammer of Thor to break it.
The old artifact is located in a hidden cave in the Northern Lands.
- was never kidnapped ! The slaves merchant were hired by the one who asked our
hero to rescue the princess. Now... it's time for revenge !

Twisting the setting
--------------------
Create something different about your world that helps to make it fun to play
Examples:
- The land is unknown (randomly generated) to our hero, he needs to explore it
- Some monsters are kind, indifferent or hostile to our hero
- During the night, undeads are waking up
etc...

How to create a story:
----------------------
- Create a general setting, twists it
- Create a main goal, twists it
- Create a number of specific pitfalls + appropriate rewards
- Create some general places to explore

by George Petryk, americ@total.net
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