Closer

Design Document for:
Closer
Or 'Living with The Gods :-)'

//All work Copyright ©2008/9 by Daniel O' Connor

Written by Daniel O' Connor

Version # 1.00//

WHAT IS CLOSER?

The Story-An Overview
Welcome to The Land. Called many different things by many different people, a quirk which best illustrates the diversity, conflict and contrasts in The Land. Innumerable fiefdoms, petty-kingdoms, Enlightened states, Tribeslands, Wildplaces, Okrouts and Ascendants all make up the patchwork political landscape. Five groupings can claim to have more power than most; The Scion Of Tsaiol, The Kingdom of Ierne, The Scion Of Alamont, The Electorate of Rarthomok and the Divine Land. However most people live out their lives, toiling away at the soil or on the Ocean, surviving, mating, dieing. Wars are perennial, however are usually small and of no consequence. Brave warriors or mages are revered, the dead are buried, borders redrawn and tribute paid.
But the heavens move closer. No one knows nor now even cares. The power of the gods are withering. They can no longer command or control the elements of life they once had responsibility for. Now, they have to rally their worshipers. Instead of being aloof observers of human affairs they now lower themselves to the level of human kings, currying favor from their worshipers, parleying with other leaders and governing their own “lands”. The best Magi and Alchemists in The Land are sought out by ambitious rulers to raise them to Godhood. Many commentators feel the time of numerous small holdings are over and that the age of the empire has dawned. Fueled by the fallen gods, a great upheaval is no doubt about to be visited upon the Land.
In all this a story of one. Circling the capital of The Kingdom of Ierne is a vast slum, Caisil. Teeming with thousands of convicts, vagabonds, beggars, thieves and commoners, Caisil is a filthy sea of humanity. The King of Ierne, knowing that work for such a vast body of peopl could never be found decreed that anyone living in Caisil for a year or longer be eligible for the Dole. Of course, this system is a stroty within itself, so we will pass over it for the moment.

Fithir, daughter of two people of no importance, destined to be dead or pregnant by the age of 16, daughter of drug dealer and his drug addict wife, destined to be a tool for the rest of her life, daughter of a monster and empty shell, destined to become one or the other. Fithir is given a choice. She is kidnapped (not an uncommon occurrence in Caisil) by members of the Death cult. On the sacrificial altar, she is killed and called directly to the feet of Death. She is then offered the position of Reaper.

So begins her story.

Aims
To make a low fantasy, realistic RPG with unique combat, strategy and interaction elements.
To create an immersive, expandable and believable world, where the player has real effect on the game space.
To combine several genres seamlessly in one package.
To give a genuinely challenging experience to players.
Not to use a cliche orchestral soundtrack.
Questions

1.What is this game?
To use the oh so popular genre mashing acronyms that plague us these days, Closer is an Action-RTS RPG. Influences in the Closer concept have been old CRPGs like Albion, Baldurs Gate, Fallout, Icewind Dale and the Might and Magic series, Dungeon Keeper (for the RTS), FPS's such as ArmA and Project Reality, XCOM series for base management, Mirrors Edge and Condemned for their realistic movement simulations.
2.What the player does
The player controls the avatar (not James Cameron, Richard Garriott!) of Death, Fithir, in an attempt to solidify Death's hold on her power. However as events unfold, and player actions (or lack of them) a opportunity arises to rebel. The player may also choose to fight against other Gods. Various elements of the story have yet to be decided on, so this section will change.
To give an aspirational example, a player in combat is very likely to die if one solid blow is visited upon them. Direct combat is either resolved very quickly or become quite protracted an tiring. Most combat would hopefully be executed quickly and quietly by the player. In this the game is encouraging a stealthy style. However with the right gear and player skill, a head-on Conan play style would certainly be possible.
The RTS element is introduced in the players management of what is essentially the Cult of Death. If anyone has ever played XCOM, the overarching management would be conducted like this, with multiple bases spread out through the land, the player assigning cult members, issuing various tasks and organizing general things. The player also chooses one base to act as their personal temple/base/brothel whatever. This location is highly customizable, and as mentioned, could be styled as a temple/base/brothel/scary mansion. The player must organize the defenses of this location personally. This is where the Dungeon Keeper element comes in. This is where we shamelessly rip-off DK and XCOM but as dead series, I can only call it a tribute to these excellent games (AND DK DESERVES A MILLION SEQUELS EA FFFFFFFUUUUUUUU ahem).

3. How the player accomplishes these things
The name Closer sucks, but it has a meaning, obviously symbolizing the whole fall of the gods thing, but also the theme of the player being “close” to Fithir. Fithir while being a demon/human hybrid will still bleed, sweat, feel pain, break bones etc etc. The word here is visceral. The low fantasy dictates a dirty, down trodden and primitive world for the most part. Fithir's clothes and skin will get dirty, her armour will be ripped, abused and torn (not in an arbitrary “condition” bar, but in physical representation, like broken chainmail, sliced leather what-have-you) . She will breathe heavily while sprinting, flying (yes flying), acrobatics. Referencing the influences here again, Mirrors Edge and Condemned are invoked here. Whether or not to implement a full injury/disease system is a question I am not sure about.
As far as the RTS element goes, again my one gaming fetish of realism pops up again. Sending orders to another base? The player will have to physically sit down and “write” these instructions and hand them to a messenger. Is the base far away? Better budget a few days of travel time till the orders are received. Of course, if the player obtains the proper material and personnel, they can send message instantly using a variety of methods (does your cult specialize in magic? Perhaps send the message through telepathy. Alchemy? The clever guys can remotely write on a piece of paper in the other location! Found an artifact that allows you to project your voice to a chosen location? Great!) Organizing guards? Gather them together and give them orders? Building traps? Get some d00ds to do it for you and watch them build it!

4.What the hell is The Land?
The Land is partly the result of my terrible naming skills and partly due to the background of Closer. As I noted in the over-long Story overview, The Land is a place of many beliefs and cultures. Many of these have their own word for the Land (it'll be fun coming up those! @ sarcasm) so historians have offered the name The Land as a catch all phrase in order to not alienate anyone (whether or not it is realistic to have such impartial historians in this setting is another problem). Ultimately The Land would be able to have every environment needed in this setting. I am also working on a separate project to create a all-encompassing and hopefully detailed set of lore for The Land (See “Things I am working on”).

Why Make This Game?
(forgive me if I make unsupported assertions here, this is what I believe to be true)
A good question. Basically, with the exception of Bushido Blade and Mount And Blade (kind of), there isn't really a realistic approach to RPG's or fantasy based action games. RPG's are easily some of the most abstracted from reality, especially one's in the classic Dragon Quest/FF vein, with Mass Effect 2 and Mount And Blade being closest. Fantasy action games usually fall into the hack and slash (Dynasty Wars, Gauntlet, Baldurs Gate to an extent) or beat em up (Soul Caliber etc). Two games close to my heart are Dungeon Keeper and XCOM (although XCOM is closer to my heart attack hahaha) neither of which exist in an sort of current day format. I feel these games represent some of the best gameplay and design in the business, and need to be brought back in some form. There are many fans of Bullfrog's and the XCOM series who still wait like Duke Nukem fans for news of a new IP.

Also the low fantasy setting is vastly underused in RPG's/Fantasy. Most RPG's use a setting similar to D&D's Forgotten Realms (which I have taken some ideas from), Dragonlance or Greyhawk. Perhaps the greatest exception to the rule was Planescape: Torment which used its 'rules' to creat an experience like no other. Morrowind and Daggerfall are slight exceptions, while Oblivion takes it High Fantasy very seriously. Oh and the Witcher. Which I plan on playing.
I feel the story while of course being trope filled, is unique enough. The idea of being what is essentially the ultimate neutral party (what is more universal than death) , fighting with for and against gods, possibly having the large say in the future of The Land and playing who is essentially an easily mold-able personality (Fithir could quite believably be anything from a psychopath to a benevolent reaper…yeah).

THE LAND
Physical
One main large landmass, all environments (snow, sand, sea, rainforest, low, high), one large sea which separates The Land from the Unknown. Numerous islands along the bottom and top of the lake.
Key Locations
Capitals: Ierne (Kingdom of Ierne), Montghav, (Scion of Alamont), Set In Gaertt (Electorate Of Rarthomok), Etras (Scion of Tsiaol), Tempus (Divine Land)
Travel

Undecided

Weather

Everything and anything

Day and Night

Yep

Time

Long scale, yet to be decided

MUSIC OF CLOSER

Not orchestral. Sick of it in nearly every blockbuster movie and game. Can't remember one memorable piece in any game with the possible exception of the Halo theme. A mix of Dark Ambient and some flute/drum tribal music. So this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdAg_bNoBGQ
And this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdAg_bNoBGQ
Minus the rather cool electronic remix stuff
Maybe a Middle Eastern feel?

An entirely superflous category at the moment.

STUFF I AM WORKING ON

1.Full character bio for every major character in the game.
2.A lore book.
3.The bloody script
4.Another combat system based on summoning undead
5.Locations
6.Gear (in game)
7.A better name
8.Background research (into mythology and religion)
9.This. It is far from finished.
WHAT I NEED HELP WITH
Everything!!!
But mainly these things:
The script oh god the script, it is too much for one man!
More gameplay ideas/refinements
Is this feasible?
Refining story
Please, please if you have anything to add, comments, ideas, artwork, cake ANYTHING you can email me at

moc.liamg|erenolk#moc.liamg|erenolk
ac.ufs|ronnocod#ac.ufs|ronnocod

I would love to get a group together to work on this and my other game concept ND (which I will be presenting VERY SOON) so you are very much welcome to be a part of the group, no matter what your place in gaming is!

SAMPLE SCRIPT

“Closer”
by
Daniel O’ Connor

1234 Your Street
City, State ZIP Code
Telephone Number
Black Screen:
Closer: LOVE IS A WAY OF FEELING I (THE HOVEL)

Fithir
I should have been dead, dead years ago. I should have died at childbirth, drowned for being weak or simply for being a girl, caught smallpox or somesuch as a toddler, starved as a young one, used an killed as a teenager….I had no special will to live, it seemed all the same to me, the suffering of life or dyeing or taking that chance of perhaps another life somewhere better……No I was kept alive because someone needed me. Something, needed me.
SEE CHARACTER BIO FOR FITHIR

FADE IN
The scene slowly fades in and reveals a leaking, rotting wooden roof. The camera changes as we look around the iny room. FITHIR has been sleeping on a dirt caked bedroll on the floor. The rest of the room is completely bare. She draws back the woolen veil separating the bedroom from the rest of the house.
The following dialogue is triggered when FITHIR approaches certain objects.
FITHIR
To call this hovel a house would be an insult to houses. To call it a home would be perverted.

FITHIR
My mother’s room. I suppose it is my father’ as well, but he is rarely home to sleep in it. The stench of Pinvas and stale alcohol floods the rest of the house. My mother is a drug addict and a whore. My father is a murderer and drug dealer. I am a disease ridden, disturbed and probably violent teenager. The typical Caisil family you would think

FITHIR
The only other room in the house is where we keep the food. Supposedly. That’s what my parents tell me and everyone. I have been warned under pain of death not to go in there. I doubt they’d kill me if I went in. Probably do something much worse.

Fithir
The stove, unused, unloved with an evil smell coming from it. It has never been used to cook anything edible, thank god, as my parents would burn Caisil to the ground. I’m guessing it is used to store….accoutrements. I like to tell myself that, accoutrements is a nice long word and it isn’t connected to say, the words “human” or “flesh”.

FITHIR
This small enclave was for a dog. I don’t know if I need to elaborate more.

FITHIR
I would like to go out that door and never come back however I’m sure someone related to me would have me killed, worrying that a penniless, exploitable, schizophrenic young girl would alert some person of authority to my parents activities. The problem here isn’t the danger of me informing someone, more of A) Getting to talk to someone in authority B)Having them believe me and C)Actually giving a shit.
It is safe to say my parents are quiet paranoid. Such is the mind of a criminal.

But I do go outside. As long as I am back at sundown, I am guaranteed life upon this wonderful world for at least another day.

Outside….you know Caisil. I’ve shown it to you.
SCENE END

CLOSER: Love is a way of feeling ii (caisil)
FADE IN

Caisil, the vast slums of Praeta. Hovels like FITHIRS’S as far as the eye can see. A thick, grey smog hangs in the air from the innumerable fires and furnaces. The mud and dirt trails that slither randomly through the slum are filled with every race, colour, profession and service under the suns. Men and women don’t eke out a living, it is merely provided. The King of Eamhain Mhacha, living inside the walls of Praeta doles out a monthly ration of coin to all inside Caisil. This practice is called the Belenus, and is further explained in the Appendixes. FITHIR’s hovel is at the north-western part of Caisil, the furthest away from the actual city and closest to the countryside that surrounds Praeta.
FITHIR
Caisil, the enormous, suspicious looking boil on the backside of the prostitute that is Praeta. For some people it is the reason to visit the whore. You wanna avoid them.

Caisil is very open ended. The player can explore and interact with a multitude of objects and people. For the sake of brevity, I have only written introductions to branching interactions. All plot related dialogue will come first, with branching activities after and finally non-plot sensitive conversations.

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