Mark Hurley

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POI: The Caves of Ben-linka

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POI: The Caves of Ben-linka

OVERVIEW:

The Caves of Ben-linka is a tourist attraction run by a small group of Goblins. It consists of a series of caves, the centerpiece of which is the Grimmox Stone, a large, gorgeous, crystalline outgrowth from the main cave’s wall. The Stone is vaguely doughnut shaped, the inside of which can easily support the largest of Humans, standing arms and legs splayed DaVinci style. The outside of the circular stone is jagged with crystal edges that produce a beautiful blue glow, reflecting off the water that surrounds the platform it stands on, and off of the cave walls themselves. The inside, where visitors wait on line to stand one at a time, is polished smooth. When one stands inside the crystal doughnut, it glows in a seemingly random sequence of brilliant pinks, purples, blues and yellows, and a powerful, life-affirming energy courses through one’s body, like electric caffeine that can last up to a month at a time. One feels at peace with one’s life and self, and these people generally perform their regular jobs superlatively for a time, whether it be casting spells or baking bread. 

The powers of the Grimmox Stone, a spiritual center for an ancient “pagan” Goblin offshoot clan, bring hundreds of visitors to the Caves of Ben-linka a week. Tours are given hourly for small groups of pilgrims of every race and creed. To get to the main cave that houses the stone, a tour group must swim down a shallow [about 12 feet deep], subterranean fresh-water river that runs through a series of glistening caves. Tourists are encouraged to collect the rare and pretty shells, fish, and underwater plants that inhabit the river, for resources and decoration. When the river meets the main cave, it courses around the Goblin constructed stone platform on its left, in which stairs are built for access to the Stone. When the pilgrims have finished their business, the river continues through similar caves for a time to an exit at the other end [like one of those short snorkeling tours they give in tourist places in Mexico]. Visitors are filtered through a gift-shop that features knick-knacks, clothes, and literature revolving around Goblin mythical figure Ben-linka, before eventually leaving for good.

However, every once in a while, a visitor does not make it to the gift-shop. Some witnesses state the missing people were seen at the site of the Grimmox, while others have no recollection of the people at all. What they don’t know is that, aside from its powers to endow focus and energy into those that touch the stone, the Gimmox is also a filtering device that can detect a certain kind of spiritual energy in a person that is used in a ceremonial magic potion the Goblin devotees of Ben-linka sell at exorbitant price in the gift-shop, and in traveling medicine shows all around Palladia. Those who are found to possess the desired essence are dragged by retrieval Goblins underwater on the journey out of the attraction, who are able to breathe underwater with special gill-giving magic. Those people are never seen again, seemingly, but those who buy the Ben-linka potion, which is said to hold powers of anywhere from romantic attraction to lycanthropy cure, are actually holding their liquefied remains. The stone also has powers that make one hazy on the details of the experience, or forget them altogether, so that no one suspects the kidnappings.

REGION:

Rural Everquake Mountains, remote from Human settlements and Tremorstone.

GEOLOGY:

Caves, river

RESOURCES:

Fish, shells, shellfish, aquatic plants, Ben-linka potion and souvenirs

FOLIAGE:

Magically potent, brilliantly colored aquatic plants and weeds for those who can swim well.

INDIGENOUS BEASTS:

Fish, Goblins

PURPOSE:

Questing, PvE, resource collecting, temporary ability enhancement

DAILY ACTIVITIES:

Guided tours, market

Trade Goods:  Y                   Housing:   N                    Quests:  Y

Training Quests:  N               Type:  N/A

HISTORY:

The history of the Grimmox Stone has been lost to the centuries, and generations of the retelling have distilled it into vague spirituality. The powers of the Stone were discovered centuries before by the Goblins, and attributed to a new deity of power and consciousness known as Ben-linka. When the stone was lost for a time, the stories remained, and when the cult rediscovered the relic, it was clear that great profits could be made in exploiting its religious implications.

Layout:

A system of caves, consisting mostly of comfortable waterways accommodating swimmers, the Ben-linka Caves are not accommodating to travel on foot or pack animal. The middle of the system of caves houses the Grimmox, and is brilliantly illuminated by the crystalline stone and reflected beautifully by the water onto the surrounding walls.

Structures and Locales:

  1. Entrance: The entrance is where pilgrims queue up for admission. It has an open air pool where the group that is next to enter awaits their turn, and the mouth of the cave system, with added crystals for the sake of breeding anticipation.
  2. First Caves: All standard caves, the floors of which are entirely occupied by the fresh water river. There are some very pretty crystals lining the wall, but they pale in comparison to the Grimmox itself, and this is by design. Under the water, one can find the exotic aquatic life indigenous to the underground waterway.
  3. Main Cave: Like the others, only larger. There is a Goblin made rock platform on the left that the river courses around, with stairs leading up to the main event of the tour: the Grimmox. The Grimmox, as described above, is the centerpiece of the cave, larger than life and eye catching.
  4. Second Caves: These are the same as the first, except one crucial one: where the Goblins wait underwater to grab the ankles of those chosen to be liquefied into the Ben-linka potion. There is nothing to distinguish this one, so as not to raise suspicion.
  5. Gift-Shop: Before exiting the caves, visitors are shuffled through the gift shop where they are encouraged to browse and buy souvenirs. This is a cave that feels more homey, with atmospheric wooden rafters and muted, comfortable colored tapestries that grease the wallets of the pilgrims.

NPCs

  • Gorous and Boarous – Twin Goblins that run the tours. Bumbling and constantly juiced up on Grimmox power, they are pleasant, if off-putting in their jumpiness. They constantly finish each others’ sentences, often incorrectly, a situation that invariably leads to aimless arguments over semantics. They sometimes even confuse one with the other.
  • Flouride – The teenaged female Goblin that works the till in the gift shop. She is meek and often has a very guilty look on her face. If ever one were to attempt to get information on the disappearances in the Caves, Flouride would be the one to break most easily.
  • The Adherents – Those Goblins that happily volunteered to do the work of Ben-linka. They can be found either under water, or in the remote, secret caves where the potions are made (separate POI). All wear leather masks that cover the head like a light helm, with the Mark of Ben-linka squarely on the forehead. All carry leather satchels large enough to hold the live victims collected in the Cave, and carry them to the Processing Caves.

Broken Anvil – Chaotic Dwarf City POI

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Broken Anvil

Capitol: Broken Anvil

Population (racial breakdown): Varies, but averages 70% Dwarves, 30% Goblin

Languages: Common, Dwarf

Exports & Trade Goods: precious gems, iron, obsidian, Goblin hides, mushrooms, water

Imports: other foods,

Major Cities: Broken Anvil, Little Boulder, The ‘Combs, The Ruins of Old Boulder

Ruler: Constantly in contention

Type of Government: Anarchy

Overview:

The territory of Broken Anvil was meant to be a major province in what is now The Kingdom of Tremorstone, but fate and war changed its destiny. Located in the west of Palladia, in the mountains near the wastelands, the Dwarves of Broken Anvil are now completely cut off from their eastern kin. These Dwarves live in makeshift shelters in caves, tunnels, and caverns that were once fashioned to look like the tidy, functional ones of Tremorstone, but have since fallen into disrepair. Families and slipshod survival groups live behind barricades of discarded and broken furniture and weapons, protecting their meager possessions and often terrified for their very lives.

The anarchic government has no leader that anyone can agree upon. Therefore, safety and public works projects are non-existent. There is no standing army, outside of a rag-tag collection of poorly armed militias that have the ability to join together for a common cause, but rarely do. The only thing keeping oblivion, and the constant assaults by Goblins, at bay is the rabid, natural need for a group of people to survive in the worst of circumstances.

Broken Anvil lies in the south-eastern section of the Godwar Mountains, and therefore borders the Deluge Sea. A cave mouth large enough to accommodate two large ships abreast connects what used to be a burgeoning market dock town right outside of Broken Anvil proper to the sea. This exit is hampered by constant attacks by the bird-men Fargu, who live on the Aquilan Cliffs above the mouth. Surrounded on all sides by Goblins, Orcs, Plains Elves, and Fargu, complete evacuation is impossible. Still, it is possible for small groups to enter and leave by way of holes in the treacherous reaches of the Godwars.

The Dwarves of the Broken Anvil territory are constantly plagued by attacks from better equipped, better organized Goblins. Broken Anvil was once a major part of Goblin territory, but in ancient times the Dwarves started settling the area in an effort to expand the empire of Obenchain, completely ignoring the traditional claim the Goblins had on the area. The majority of Palladia’s Goblins live in neighboring Apoxus, but many are so devoted to driving the Dwarves out of their traditional homeland that they have taken to moving in and creating strongholds deep into Broken Anvil territory. As the Goblins are aligned with the Orcs, and worship Apox as a god, their claim to these territories is backed by Orcish society, and the Orcs frequently “gift” these lands to the Goblins, though the lands are technically in Western Dwarf territory.

Written by scumbagstyle

May 24, 2011 at 7:39 pm

Bastion’s 7th Ward

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Bastion was Raan’s Human Capital City, and consisted of various wards added over the centuries. 

7th Ward – Erudite Bastion – The Scholars’ Ward

Ruling Family:  Bedwig

Ward Identity: The Intelligence of Bastion

Major Trades: Professor, student, house-servant

 Manufactured Goods:   The future great minds of Hannania and beyond

Unique Structures: The Handolyn Club, Bedwig Hall

Prosperity Level: Middle class, but with an attitude suggesting nobility for all that

Overview:

The 7th Ward is basically Hannan University, a world renowned center of learning that has grown to encompass an entire ward. The exteriors and interiors of the Scholars’ Ward are shoddy, like one large professor’s office, but not unclean. The Ward is thick with buildings, crowded rather than aesthetically pleasing, and claustrophobic with academia. Stalls line the streets, selling used text books, interesting looking science equipment, and the clothing common to the ward (eccentrically scholarly, puffy purple hats, robes with stripes denoting discipline, silly looking banner pins).

The streets are cobbled loosely but comfortably, and along the tight boulevards, one can expect to see dusty banners decorating the sides of buildings, denoting intellectual fraternities, secret organization symbolism, and school heraldry. Outside of the classrooms and lecture halls one can enter, one will also encounter cafes, numerous taverns, and fraternity houses.

The Ward has several colleges and schools, all inclusive in the the prestigious Hannan University, but its true centerpiece is the Handolyn Club. Where the rest of the Ward offers the rigors and mechanics of academia, the club offers the elegance and charm associated with it. The second major building is Bedwig Hall, a sort of student union with an open court where students and professionals can meet for discussion and trade.

Philosophy is the most important aspect of this ward; on wooden boxes often stand combatants in philosophical duels, much like the duels of other courts, but less lethal and holding no legal sway. People performing simple science experiments fill the streets, and sometimes errant explosions emanate from labs in the buildings. Street lectures are not uncommon, ancient Greek philosopher style, from students and professors, sober and drunk alike.

At times, one might notice that some of the walls are marked with arcane symbols one can only read if one has enough philosophy and history, sometimes even scientific skills. Some symbols are visible, and others are keys to find invisible symbols, that might be part of a secret trail that leads to the treasures of a secret society.

The dormitories and frat houses serve to house students, professors, and the people paid to maintain an environment conducive to learning, all together. Intellectual debate mingles with mild debauchery here, and a community atmosphere prevails throughout.

Current Politics:

The members of the 7th Ward are quiet scholars by nature, but as so often happens with people who are allowed too much book learning, they are imbued with righteous rage at something or other happening in other wards. Sometimes they are justified, usually not. The Bedwigs are quietly apologetic for the actions of the Scholars when they need to be, but usually the students and teachers’ protests are passed over as harmless by the offended.

An incident involving the disappearance of an enterprising your student named Connoryl has caused the eyes of the Scholars’ Ward to look with suspicion at the 12th Ward, but the furor from this has mostly died down.

The scholars and professors of the Scholars’ Ward do not often visit Aquia Bastion for vacation, preferring their own relatively quiet Handolyn Club over the loud, touristy atmosphere of the 3rd Ward. This is not out of dislike, but preference. Still, it has not failed to rouse animosity among the elite of Aquia, who are losing money as a result.

Daily Life:

There is a jovial atmosphere, for the most part, around Erudite Bastion every day. The learned are happy among the learned, and the many public houses add wonderfully to the sense of well-being. There is much hard work being done, but none are unhappy to do it.

The only ill-feelings emanate from those few scholars that use selective parts of their vast knowledge to express (usually) unfounded political anger. They debate in the Handolyn, and deliver impassioned lectures in the schools, but the only people really interested in what they have to say are the unlearned of other wards

Ward Features:

The Handolyn Club: Located next to the Ward Court, the many-storied Handolyn is awash in muted class, sophistication, and of course old-style academia. Exhaustive libraries and chandeliered lecture halls compliment spacious, high ceilinged banquet spaces and special event halls. Members of the club enjoy regular lectures by famous scholars around the continent, not to mention the physical fitness facilities that members can use to buff their abilities. Often, conferences here are arranged in concert with members of the Ambassador Ward, and feature exotic academics. For this reason, there are luxurious accommodations on some of the floors for them to stay temporarily, though some people have more permanent arrangements.

Personalities of Note:
Patriarch Herwin Bedwig (head of family) alcoholic but kind

Sulwin Bedwig (his wife) young professor of philosophy, charming but lacking in social confidence, and her unassuming nature happens to be what attracted Herwin to her.

Tiawin Bedwig (Herwin’s nephew) brilliant theorist, currently working on a project of great social and political significance that only he will ever understand or care about. Tiawin feels wholly unappreciated as many philosopher/scientists often do.

Girl looking for her brother