This was the final project for storytelling. I had to do a storyboard with this assignment but because I’m a terrible sketch artist I have omitted the storyboard element. This assignment fleshes out a little bit of the narrative and gives more insight into the world that the characters live in. I hope you enjoy this and I look forward to any constructive criticism and questions.
Children of The Piper (working title)
By Jarrod Herrington
In an alternate future, where the Cold War had erupted into WWIII, the world is now governed by a corporate culture. This culture, in which major corporations rule the planet, only a handful of cities survive, and are currently run by one major corporation per city. What had started out as a utopia had devolved into a dystopian society, where the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. The poor live in the lower levels of the cities, while the rich live in the upper levels. The leaders of these corporations play a dangerous game, a game where the children of these leaders are kidnaped and used as pawns in bids for ultimate power. To kidnap these children a new drug, using sound, has surfaced and has become the most prevalent drug of the age.
In the past, the Pied Piper of Hamelin led its children away with a tune from his pipe. In many accounts there was only one child left behind. In others, there were two, a blind child and a lame child. In most accounts the children are rumored to be the ancestors of the people who lived in Transylvania, which is now known as the central region of Romania. But what if they weren’t the ancestors? What if they lived on under the ground, growing and advancing? What if their aging was retarded?
The game focuses on the blind child, and the lame child, who have grown up and now run a business that finds these missing children. The business does very well, even though their main office is in the lower portions of the primary European city of London. A woman from their past contacts them and hires them for a job. This job, takes them all over the planet, putting together pieces of a puzzle that lead them back to their roots and to a man they had thought they would never come into contact with again, the Pied Piper of Hamelin.
As stated earlier the world the characters live in is a dystopian society. There are only a few cities left, and most of the world’s population has been centralized to those cities. The world outside of the cities has mostly returned to nature, with small areas that are populated by an agrarian society. The major costal cities of every nation have been wiped out and those who have no desire to subscribe to the “utopia” that the corporations have promised populate most of them.
The major cities, which are now corporate city-states, or Cor-sci, are located in places that each corporation has roots in, is an easily defensible location, or has the historical relevance to influence that areas population. In Europe, where the story both begins and ends there is the Cor-sci of Avalon, formerly London, and Felső világ, which was formerly Vienna. London, because of it’s historical significance, and Vienna, because of it’s centrality. In Asia the entire Taklimakan desert in China has been turned into the Cor-sci of Shangri-La. In Japan, almost ninety percent of the country is the Cor-sci of Amaterasu.
Within North America the cities of New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Seattle, Kansas City, Dallas, Austin, Denver, and Las Vegas no linger exist and are areas of high radioactivity. Florida and California are gaping craters flooded with seawater. The face of North America is a vastly different place. The new seat of power within North America resides in the Cor-sci of Freedom, which is located in the place of Des Moines Iowa. Tupã, the Cor-sci of South America encompasses the entire Mato Grosso region of Brazil.
The story begins in the Cor-sci of Avalon, where the two main characters, Hans and Franz, are on a mission to rescue the daughter of one of the minor corporations that exist. Another minor corporation attempted to affect a “hostile takeover” of the other to increase their standing in the Cor-sci hierarchy by kidnapping the daughter or that corporation’s leader. Not only are we introduced to Hans and Franz but we are also introduced to the sonic drug “Elysium.” After rescuing the girl, our heroes return to their offices to find the door open. Within the main room is a woman who identifies herself as Fullō. Fullō tells Hans and Franz that she is aware of their secret and that she won’t reveal it to the corporations unless they help her on a little job.
Their first lead takes them to Felső világ, and to a man named Beowulf, who is in charge of the corporation that governs Felső világ. While there, they come in contact with Beowulf’s assistant Wiglaf who attacks them in a mechanized suit of armor called Seax. After their confrontation with Wiglaf, they meet Beowulf and discover that his name is in fact Aldo, one of the children who were taken by the Pied Piper. After killing Beowulf we discover that Hans and Franz are in fact two children who were left behind when they could not follow the piper. We also discover that a side effect of the pipers tune caused the children who heard it to age at a slower rate, and to be almost immortal.
The next lead takes them to the Cor-sci of Tupã in South America to meet Rupave and Sypave. Rupave and Sypave attack Hans and Franz in a large bipedal mech that requires two people to pilot it. After defeating them Hans and Franz discover that Rupave and Sypave are in fact Odo and Oda, twin brother and sister who were also taken by the Piper. After a giant earthquake levels the building that Odo and Oda were in, Hans and Franz learn that the sonic drug “Elysium” causes death in adults because of a change in their hormones that occur when they reach adulthood. Only those who have heard the original tune are immune to it.
Next they go to the Cor-sci of Freedom to compile what they know so far and to engage in some R&R and resupply. While there, the head of the Cor-sci approaches them to deal with a rebel faction. In dealing with the rebels they discover that the leader is not only the former head of the Cor-sci but also Dietrich, another of the children that was taken by the Piper. He almost didn’t make it because of his obesity, which hasn’t improved with age. Hans and Franz do not deal with Dietrich like they had done with the others because when they were children they were close friends. Instead they lead an assault on the Cor-sci to reinstall Dietrich as head.
They then head to the Cor-sci of Amaterasu to meet with Susanoo. Susanoo, attacks the two in a suit of armor that resembles armor worn by Samurai. The armor has a second stage that resembles a Ninja. After defeating Susanoo, Hans and Franz discover that Susanoo is not a human being at all but a cyborg created from the remains of Ingrid, one of the oldest children taken by the Piper. They also learn that the Piper is still alive and living in the Cor-sci of Shangri-La.
Upon reaching Shangri-La, Hans and Franz are immediately attacked by the Piper’s forces. After escaping, Hans and Franz make their way to the floating fortress where the Piper supposedly resides. After reaching the piper they are confronted by cybernetic copies of the people they fought in the previous Cor-sci’s, including Dietrich, who is not as big as he was when they met him in Freedom. Upon reaching the Piper, Hans and Franz discover that not only is the Piper just a shadow of his former self, and suffering from severe psychosis, but that it was never the Piper who controlled the children but the pipe itself that caused the children to follow him. Originally, when air was blown through the pipe, a chemical reaction between the air and the material that the pipe was made of produced a spore that when ingested, caused euphoria and made the mind highly suggestible. Because of a child’s under-developed mind, this caused no ill effects and even produced a limited immortality. The Piper originally discovered this when he first played the pipe over five thousand years ago as a child. Over time the level of technology had become so advanced that the pipe wasn’t required to be played anymore. Instead it was discovered that the sound itself, while not producing the suggestibility, still produced euphoria.
At about this time Fullō is revealed to be Emma who, with her husband Edwald, had sought to control the remaining population, first through the Cor-sci’s and then through “Elysium”, to realize the utopian society that was promised by the Piper when they were younger through their organization, Muspilli. A final battle is held and Hans and Franz leave Shangri-La, as the Piper’s floating fortress burns in the background. In the epilogue Hans and Franz discuss the dangers of sonic drugs, how private enterprise should be limited in their scope, and the benefits of entrepreneurship. Also in the epilogue we find that Emma and Edwald are still alive.
There are six main areas that the characters can explore. There is much to do in these areas like mini-games and discovering items or clues that can lead the characters to the ones they combat in the final “stage” of each area. The characters need to interact with the local population in order to discover clues as to who is in charge and how to stop the spread of the drug “Elysium”. All areas are essentially the same with the exception of the area Shangri-La that sees the characters enter random skirmishes with security forces that are actively searching for them.
When interacting with NPC’s the characters have the option of a negative, positive or neutral dialogue options that effect the “reputation” of the characters. If the responses are too positive then the NPC’s will lie to the characters, believing them to be too gullible. If the responses are too negative then the NPC’s will lie to the characters, fearing for their lives. If the responses are too neutral then the NPC’s will think that the characters just don’t care and they will give a randomized response, which could either be the truth or a lie. If the characters are too “dark” or too “light” then the NPC’s will always lie.
Just before moving on to the next area the player will be given the option of “uploading” what they have learned to a community board for other players to access. This can help other players to complete the game and obtain the “true” ending. This especially is needed for attempts to play the game at higher difficulties. The player will also be able to “upload” information through the pause menu as needed and be able to check what others have “uploaded”.
There is almost always a “boss” battle with a minor antagonist that can either have one of the characters face a near death situation. In the event of a near death situation the other character must pull that character to cover so that the character can be restored. The whole story cannot be achieved without either A, accessing the community board or B, switching between the main characters in single player mode.
Hans is the more stoic of the duo. Blind since birth, he has had his eyes replaced with bionics that give him the abilities of enhanced vision to include x-ray, thermal, and night vision. His bionic eyes also grant him the ability of enhanced targeting. Hans’s primary job during combat is to provide security to Franz while Franz is either in a hand-to-hand situation or accessing a buildings security system.
Hans is taller than Franz and carries himself with an almost soldier like quality due to spending time in the military long before the story takes place. Hans is solidly built and tends to communicate more through actions than words. Hans does like to have intelligent conversation and finds those who whine and complain intolerable. The only one he tolerates in their whining is Franz. Hans is vehemently anti-homosexual, but is wise enough not to let it hinder his outlook.
Franz is openly homosexual, a little bit more high-strung, and often reacts emotionally. An accident when he was younger cost him the use of his leg, and he often needed to be carried around by a friend. His leg was replaced by cybernetics, which grants him advanced code breaking and reprogramming skills utilizing the computers located with in his leg. Franz can open any electronic lock and break into any computer system.
Franz provides intelligence for the duo by the use of a gauntlet that is linked to his leg wirelessly. This gauntlet has a retractable vibrating blade that is approximately ten inches long and can cut through any substance or can disable any electronic device, including the human nervous system.
Franz is thinner than Hans and about a foot shorter. Because of his previous disability, Franz takes a more direct approach when dealing with people. He also tends to assume the worst when it comes to interpersonal interaction and often tries to goad Hans into performing what he likes to call “aggressive negotiations”. Franz is a bit quicker tempered than his larger counterpart and it shows in his fighting style.