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Burnout
October 31st, 2011, 02:30 AM
Synopsis:

The city of Tokyo rests on one of the many gates to the Negaverse; Beyond lies the Nameless City, a decaying reflection haunted by Youma- And ruled over by the Dark Generals, with constant infighting and bickering for power.

The player is a freshly-spawned Youma, having survived the horrific Rite of Ascension. The Rite is basically a cannibalistic free-for-all; Newly youma are released into a small area, and turn on each other until only a few are left standing. The objective isn't just cruelty; To become more than ravening animals, they have to consume the others- The survivors are unquestionably more powerful and intelligent than the mindless beasts they initially were.

Character creation is fairly simple: You choose one of several 'archetype' Youma- A raven, a tiger, a wolf, et cetra- and distribute additional stat points accordingly. A raven-basis Youma, for example, is intelligent but fragile; The tiger is versatile, the wolf is heavily offensive-focused, et cetra. This also greatly influences your 'heroic' form- The raven would be a mysterious figure in a cloak of feathers, while the tiger would look more like a knight from GARO. Then you pick your patron Dark General, each of which has different demands/boons that can be granted.

Interestingly enough, the player's Dark General is sneakier than most; He plans to use the PC as his ace-in-the-hole, sending him forth to sabotage his rivals and thwart their plans. And what better disguise than a hero's form?

After a bout of gutwrenchingly painful surgery, the PC's Youma form is reshaped to resemble a more 'respectable' armored hero; In addition, he's gifted with the ability to assume a human shape, as part of the disguise. He's promptly dispatched to the city Above, to fulfill his lord's tasks- And to generally undermine the efforts of the other youma to establish a beachhead.

However, in his *very* first mission- Stealing the Zodiac Regalia from a museum- he clashes with Parasite Green, an agent of a rival Dark General also after the same thing. The battle's interrupted by the Heavenly Guardians, the city's team of magical girls; The player is, in fact, mistaken for a new hero. It's not a total failure, however; He makes off with one of the pendants in the process...And the interest of the Heavenly Guardians, who believe him to be a potential ally.

Of course, this *also* earns him the ire of the Dark Generals...His sponsor, however, is pleased with his success- And orders the PC to continue operating in the city, with a certain level of discretion. As long as the energy keeps flowing back to his patron, and his missions are completed on time, he'll allow him to keep up the facade...With the long-term goal of eliminating the only force standing in the way.

Conceptually, the game uses a map mechanic very much based on MiniDead Blood, and a 'satisfaction' gauge similar to Valkyrie Profile. Each day, the player selects locations in the city to harvest Energy from- He also has a certain number of actions that allow him to roam freely. By placing Void Anchors, you draw a certain amount of Energy from each location, which can be:

1.) Used to boost your stats/abilities.
2.) Cashed in for Favor, needed to satisfy your patron's quota.

Actions you can take include:

1.) Training/Upgrading Void Anchors
2.) Investigating interesting locations

and, of course, pursuing the routes of the Heavenly Guardians, who are the main heroines of the game.

The higher the concentration of people in the area, the higher the Energy received; But Void Anchors can be discovered and destroyed, and need to be protected. (You'll be warned when an enemy Youma chances upon them, and can spend an action to meet them in combat.)

The PC constantly receives missions from his Dark General- Meet a certain 'quota' of Energy within a certain period of time, that keeps rising. Completing side-quests counts towards this quota; So, choosing to send a powerful artifact 'home' allows you to spend more Energy on yourself...But you're down a potent weapon.

Battles are straightforward, turn-based (Probably Final Fantasy-esque) fights, where you take turns hitting each other until the opponent goes down. You level up accordingly, and can pick between a Good and Evil skill tree, which is Offensively/Defensively focused.

Fortunately, the Heavenly Guardians *also* battle Youma, too- They count as potent allies. Initially, you'll encounter them by coincidence...But as romance blooms, you can call upon them for help. But it's a two-way street, too, and expect your love interest (Or her friends) to similarly expect aid from you. Be warned, you can't expect them to do *all* the work, as they're notoriously unreliable- Early on, the most you can hope for is that they happen to attack an enemy Youma with designs on your Void Anchor, or a potent Boss...So you can leap in, in true Tuxedo Kamen-style, to 'save the day'.

It's in your best interests to play along with them too, however- In true ren'ai game tradition, you get stat bonuses from the potent 'bond' between the two of you, which only increases as you get closer. Hence the need to balance soul-sucking with romance. Of course, you could ultimately betray them for a massive Favor boost...But you'd have to be a real bastard to do that. (It *is* planned as an option, though.)

Ultimately, however, this system is *not* sustainable. As in 'Colonization', you'll eventually have to rebel against your Dark General, when his demands become impossible...But will you have enough power to take him on?

Ideally, there'd be Good Endings and Evil Endings to the game: You turn on your Lord either way...But will you fight alongside one of the Heavenly Guardians, and renounce your Youma nature- Or will you supplant your creator and rule in hell?

Obviously, this is a rather basic framework. Several more complicated mechanics- Like the risk of the girls getting suspicious if you manifest Youma powers, or your Dark General getting antsy when you're siding the good guys too often- will probably have to wait, or be ignored if they're *way* too complicated.

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Terminology:

Youma: A creature of darkness spawned from a human. The process involves abducting a human, and infusing him with Spite- The body becomes a 'cocoon' for the developing Youma, who shreds the chrysalis when it emerges. Most Youma begin as near-mindless creatures; Eventually, with time, experience and food, they develop the magical powers that come with their nature. Some Youma are born with Relics, artifacts that reflect their old life or personality. (i.e. A pistol, a scythe, a dagger...)

Relics: Objects of magical potency. Most Relics are artifacts of times past- They keep discovering them in Japan, anyway- or created by newborn Youma. The Dark Generals can *forge* Relics, too; The process, however, mostly involves melting down Youma to form the 'raw materials' required. Evil Relics like are standard equipment for a General who wants to see his servants well-armed.

Common Youma Relics include the Maggot Revolver, the Shroud, Heartripper Blades and the fearsome Soulscythe. Ancient Relics can take multiple forms, but most Youma items can be used to harm in some way; Even armor, for example, will be cruelly spiked and barbed, as befits their vicious nature.

Dark Generals: The peerless champions of the Nameless City. Each one rules over part of his domain as a literal demigod- But they're anathema to the world, and can't emerge directly. Well, barring a master plan or dark sorcery, of course. They work mainly through their Youma agents, and are *constantly* at war with each other. The number of Generals is uncertain- It's *always* fluctuating, as new Youma ascend, are destroyed, and so on. Notably, every Dark General is a unique being.

Tentatively: The way you create your Dark General is to select three of the seven sins, to define their likes/dislikes.

For example- An Envious, Greedy and Wrathful General likes it when you:
1.) Send Artifacts back. (Especially weapons.)
2.) Thwart the plans of rivals.

...And is more likely to get angry when you disobey.

Conversely, a Gluttonous, Lustful and Slothful General is...
1.) Wants large quantities of energy.
2.) Prefers you to capture 'live' humans, unique enemies, or the Heavenly Guardians.
3.) Emphasizes stealth, because he doesn't want to bestir himself in a war against his enemies.

It also affects their end-game stats. The first General would be a physical powerhouse, and armed with top-tier Relics- The latter would have huge HP and MP reserves, with an emphasis on 'draining' attacks. There's no 'gimped' build for a General...You only get to pick your poison.

Heavenly Guardian: Zodiac-themed magical girls. There are, apparently, 12 Zodiac Pendants; Each of them is a potent device in it's own right, but only works for a young girl. Their attacks are *particularly* deadly to Youma. By the time the game begins, there are currently four Guardians; Three more pendants are eventually discovered, and one goes to the player's Dark General.

Energy: Vitality, life-force, mana, Prana- All these things and more. Needless to say, it's the most valuable resource- the main goal of any Youma or Dark General is to get as *much* of it as possibly. Notably, most Youma can't use Energy- It has to be processed into Spite, the corrupted form of power, to be used. Thanks to his surgeries, the player can used a limited amount of Energy; Mostly to keep his disguise up, and later to empower the skills on his 'Good' tree.

Void Anchor: A device for siphoning Energy. It takes various forms- The usual one is a kind of 'curse', a black sphere, that can be hidden within an artifact. It drains Energy from anyone in the area; Not enough to kill immediately, but enough to eventually induce depression and lethargy. Generations of tampering have made them *very* hard to detect- Less so to Youma. Needless to say, this is a *vital* tool.

edit:

The game takes place over the course of one year, and comes with a built-in failure condition. Assuming you meet *all* of the Dark General's requests with unfailing loyalty, his last order is for you to return to the Nameless City to receive your 'reward'. When you *do* return, though, it's revealed that he plans to consume you to increase his power- Which is considered to be the ultimate reward for your service.

Also, if he *does* consume you, he'll wear your body like a shell, and emerge through the gate into the world above, to bring about the Apocalypse. Naturally, whatever your moral stance, you take issue with being consumed- And the final battle to the death begins.

ItsaRandomUsername
October 31st, 2011, 06:58 PM
Okay.

Seriously.

Not even joking here...

FUND

THIS

HARD.


I mean it. Interesting - and dare I say it, rather original in this day and age - concept for a protagonist? Check. Interesting suggested mechanics for gameplay? Check. A hint of dark and edgy flavor in magical girl-styled setting? Check. Promises of a unique, non-cookiecutter RPG, visual novel-esque experience? CHECKED SO HARD.


BTW, would this be an all-ages game, or is it just generally presumed that there would be h-scenes for the different Heavenly Guardians?

Burnout
October 31st, 2011, 08:58 PM
Good question- The game could potentially work either way. H-scenes aren't really meant to be a large part of the game; Generally, it's one after the confession, and one at the very end. Technically, there's the potential for BAD END kind of scenes if you betray the girls, but that's never really been my kind of thing. It seems that an All Ages version would work best, initially at first.

Some relevant mechanics and characters:

1.) Void Anchors/Defense: At the beginning of each time period- Usually a week- you select the 'districts' of the city to place your Void Anchors. Higher concentrations of people means that more energy will be drained for them...But also, conversely, the risk of discovery. Anchors give two kinds of income- There's a small trickle that comes back to you each day, but most of it is 'banked' in the Anchor unless you spend an action to retrieve it. Anchors are *automatically* retrieved at the end of the week...But can you wait that long?

Also, the more Energy in an Anchor, the higher the chance of attracting an enemy Youma. You'll get a warning that your Anchor has been detected, and the icon will change to a sign that it's being 'contested'- That's when you can choose to head over and engage the interloper in combat. If you don't, the enemy Youma will steal all your 'banked' Energy, and render the Anchor useless for the rest of the week, severely cutting your income. Higher-level Youma will 'break' the Anchor, forcing you to purchase a new one. They don't come cheap, too.

You *always* get a warning- But if the enemy Youma is *way* too powerful, you may *not* want to defend the Anchor. Alternatively, you can leave a mostly fully-charged Anchor as a 'bait' for the enemy, to farm them for XP. Void Anchors also have an Energy cap; While an Anchor may gain 500 Energy a day, it can only *hold* 2000- Unless you drain it dry (whereupon the process restarts), it'd *stay* at 2000, and merely give you 100 a day.

Anchors can be upgraded to have higher Capacity, Drain Rate, Undetectability, or more estoeric functions like converting Energy directly into Spite, damaging enemy Youma, or giving you a boost when you're fighting in the same district as one.

2.) Upgrades: In additional to the Youma Skill Tree and the Hero Skill Tree, you also gain access to part of a Heavenly Guardian's Skill Tree, if you're actively pursuing one. The HG Trees rely on Affection to unlock, on a Social Link/Commu Level kind of system- But you also gain passive benefits. So, while it's in your best interest for *all* the girls to like you, you ultimately have to commit to one, for the greatest benefits.

3.) Turn Order: Each Turn is a Week, and tracked on a daily basis. You begin with seven Actions a week, with each one being considered a Day. Your menu is a City Map- Events occur on the map, and you choose where to go, after placing your Void Anchors at the start of the week. (The number of Actions available can be slowly upgraded, but they shouldn't go beyond 10-12 at maximum.)

Youma move on the City Map, and the Heavenly Guardians move, too. They don't follow the same 'pattern' you do- They appear on the map for a few days at a time, then vanish. Notably, the Youma appear *first*, then the Heavenly Guardians move to engage them. As there's a limited number of the girls, though, they can't be everywhere at once. Not all of them appear together, too.

Every month, you get an Energy Quota to fill; Subquests and locations of interest appear on the map, too, and you spend an action to access them. Successful completion counts towards the Quota, which increases month by month. If you click on the location where a Heavenly Guardian is engaged in battle, you enter the RPG-style battle; But this time, the girl's fighting along your side as an ally. (It always counts as if the battle 'just started' when you turn up, to make bookkeeping simpler.)

If you enter a Heavenly Guardian's location when she's *not* fighting, you get a chance to talk with/flirt with her, and that's where the ren'ai game aspect is relevant. Later, once you get to know a girl, you can meet up with her in 'civillain' form, too- Or even call her to arrange a date. They won't reveal who they are until fairly high Affection, though.

Characters:

1.) The Hierophant: Your Dark General's right-hand man, and your contact with the Nameless City. The Hierophant is an old, rather powerful Youma- Who takes exquisite pains to appear as an exquisitely dressed gentleman, in a variety of guises. He's also the shopkeeper, and your go-between for requisitioning Relics and Void Anchors. His true form, however, is a hideous Worm Youma- Or rather, a wriggling mass of them in the vague shape of a man, hence his obsession with appearance. His most prized possession is a deck of cards, known as the Dead Man's Hand- Each of the 51 cards is actually a Youma painfully melted down into one of them, with various effects.

Ultimately, he's happy to stand aside when you make your move to betray the General; The only card he's missing in his Deck is the Black Joker, and he's not picky whether it be your soul, or the General's, that goes screaming to the Forges.

2.) Heavenly Guardian Leo: The 'main girl' of the game, Leo's very much the oujo archetype; She's from a well-off family, and is the unofficial leader of the Guardians. In battle, she's styled as a Valkyrie, expertly fighting with a sword and lion-faced shield. Also, she's the *hardest* girl to win, in fact- But quite probably the most powerful one. Her Skill Tree gives powerful offensive attacks, suited for a melee combatant- However, Leo can cast a few, but highly deadly, spells.

http://gelbooru.com/index.php?page=post&s=view&id=648975

3.) Heavenly Guardian Virgo: Virgo's your smart girl archetype; A little of a introvert, but hardly a wallflower like the type usually is. As a Heavenly Guardian, she looks the most different of the group when transformed- In combat, she's the healer/buffer...But her buffs also harm Youma, which makes her a *very* potent combatant in her own right. Her skill tree gives the greatest Passive Buffs...When she's *actually* casting her buffs on you, you're a combat machine. Very heavily weighted towards magic.

4.) Heavenly Guardian Aquarius: The sporty girl- And a member of the swim team!- Aquarius is a front-line fighter: But while Leo is tank, she's the agile fighter, armed with a magical trident. Aquarius hits fast, and tends to do Critical damage with her weapon; Leo gets hits often, but has plenty of HP. Aquarius has less, but she rarely gets hit, in contrast. Her Skill Tree boosts your Speed and (perhaps more importantly) the number of Actions you can take.

5.) Heavenly Guardian Libra: Libra is, oddly enough, the only one with a magical background (As a Youma huntress, of sorts); She's the most recent Heavenly Guardian, but also the most skilled, given that she was doing this even before she was empowered. Think the Yamato Nadeshiko archetype, or something more in line with Yomi from Ga-Rei Zero. She's the most versatile one of the group, similar to her Zodiac Sign, her skill tree doing a little bit of everything- However, the key to her Skill Tree is that the effects are *complimentary*, which makes her particularly deadly with a partner. Each ability has a special effect when another one is used in conjunction- It's still effective on her own, but takes longer to work.

For example: Her first Skill, Imbalance, is a minor debuff on the enemy. The follow-up Skill damages the enemy much more if he's been debuffed. A particularly deadly combination is a Prayer Strip charm which allows your next attack to never miss...And the subsequent skill is a highly inaccurate, but horribly lethal attack. You see where this is going. When actively working with her, these effects can be unleashed on the same turn they're cast.

6.) Scorpio: Scorpio's a unique case: After the PC retrieves the Zodiac Pendants, his Dark General uses it to create a Heavenly Guardian aligned to them- Scorpio. She's a rather mischievous, violet-haired vixen, with a mechanical scorpion's tail and a pair of scissoring claws; Unlike the others, she doesn't change back. Effectively, her magical form is her only form, the Pendant permanently fused with her. The Dark General uses her as a spy and an assassin, but hasn't been quite able to extinguish her personality- Indeed, doing that would defeat the purpose, so she has to be allowed a certain level of free will. Scorpio's the easiest girl to win; She's an offensively-focused Skirmisher like Aquarius, but she has plenty of damage-over-time effects. Her Skill Tree is unique in that it's the *only* Skill Tree to provide spells that run entirely on Spite, not Energy; Effectively, if you're aiming to be the most powerful Youma, she's essential. For her concept, think Eas from Pretty Cure, or any other 'Bad magical girl gone good'...Except she's not the least bit repentant, and rather enjoys her new form and powers.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/8073552/dielust9.jpg

If you're not on her Route, though- You'll have to fight her before you take on the General yourself.

ItsaRandomUsername
October 31st, 2011, 10:23 PM
The Hierophant sounds pretty chill.

Also, nice details on the Heavenly Guardians. They sound delicious.

ItsaRandomUsername
November 1st, 2011, 07:14 PM
Also, I presume Parasite Green might be a sort of recurring rival character?

And another thing - I wanna duel-wield one of those Maggot Revolvers with a sword DMC style. Could my PC potentially do that?

Burnout
November 1st, 2011, 09:28 PM
Sort of. Parasite Green's a plant-type Youma; His main power is that he's *very* hard to kill, as he prefers to work through 'possessed' bodies. As the name implies, he's very much a parasite- Over the year, you'd fight him a few times, in increasingly evolved forms, which scales according to your level. It's a matter of personal pride, for him.

Yes, you could potentially dual-wield a Sword and a Revolver. The game's combat system is, tentatively, an abstract one along the lines of the early (FFVI) Final Fantasy games, or an RPGMaker-style system. Your character has the following equipment slots: Helmet, Armor, Left Hand, Right Hand, two Accessories, and Emblem. (Analogous to the 'amulet' slot.) Holding two weapons means, for instance, that you shoot *then* fire, effectively giving you two attacks. (Though you might need an Accessory or Skill that lets you do that.) Another way of handling it could be: You still attack once, but your off-hand weapon's properties (And some of the ATK power) is added to your attacks.

However, dual-wielding means that you'd be denied the opportunity to use off-hand items which give passive benefits. Some are obvious, like shields- But spellcasters get Relics like Orbs and Grimoires, that boost their magical power. After all, they won't be attacking *that* much, anyway. Dual-wielding means you'll have a powerful offense, but you'll be weaker defensively; Weapons have absolutely no defensive properties, after all.

Maggot Revolvers a very much a trademark Youma weapon, though. They fire bullets that, on impact, become a horrible fleshboring creature, actually eating into the opponent. Effectively, this means that different 'variants' of Revolver have a chance of inflicting a different status effect. (From reducing defense (Eating through armor), poison (After all, it's gnawing on the opponent's flesh) or momentary paralysis (the gut-wrenching pain of trying to get it out.)) It's pretty much a standard weapon tier system; The more expensive the weapon, the higher power it has/greater chance of the on-hit effect.

Pipedream Features:

1.) Crafting: Well, a limited kind of crafting, a la Dead Rising 2's system. Combine Relics you already have to form new and unique items. Alternatively, some Youma drop Essences, which can be combined with certain Relics to upgrade them. For example, combining a wasp Youma's Essence with a Maggot Revolver would lead to a more effective weapon. You'll have to find the relevant recipes and items in the game world, of course.

For the Inventory screen: Ideally, it'd be separated, neatly, into categories of items- So you don't see a horrible jumble of useless rubbish. Also, the player shouldn't be 'hoarding', which goes against the genre- At most, he should be holding onto one or two potent items- It's more profitable to send everything else back, so to speak.

2.) Combat Bonuses: Potentially, synergy bonuses. Using a pair of Claws, for example, should have a bonus as they're matched weapons. Same for using two pistols at once- It's easier to coordinate. Some items are just *made* to be used for each other, like the Uruk Regalia; Using the (rather weak) items in conjunction should give you a bonus for the full set.