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The Fireborn Twins


A game centered around a pair of characters that I want to make a game/story about. The idea needs work.


TODO: I have not decided what the game should be like, although I lean towards a 2-D brawler for the boss battles and a mix of Metal Gear, Thief, and Lost Vikings for the main mission gameplay.

It might be a good idea to take this game 3-D, which can support both stealth and fighting. If it stays 2-D, perspective might shift from top-down to side-view for important battles.


The player controls the Fireborn Twins on a series of missions.

Each mission may be a combat mission, with an objective to defeat a particular enemy, or may be a puzzle along the lines of the Lost Vikings. Missions should involve a degree of tactical planning.

Victory, if all missions are completed, might only be that Ray gets to fly his helicopter during the ending credits.

Development Roadmap

None yet. Need a game design first.


The Fireborn Twins are a pair of magical operatives for a secret U.S. Army tactical force. Ray represents Order, Roy represents Chaos, and their powers complement each other. Ray is a thoughtful tactician, and Roy is a brawler and powerful attacker.


TODO: design a good introduction. You will already be on the Army base, probably giving instructions to a new third character to teach the player the game mechanics.


Ray and Roy used to be one person, Raymond Smith, a helicopter mechanic for the U.S. Navy. He volunteered for the Army's magic testing program after hearing about it from a drunken participant in a bar in Japan, and he became one of the most powerful wizards they had at the time. Even as powerful as he was, he was being held back by a naturally occurring anti-magic field around his body. The Army tried to invent a spell to remove the field from his body and place it in a material object, and they decided to see if they could get rid of his bad attitude at the same time.

When the spell was complete, they ended up with two Raymond Smiths. The bad attitude ended up in the one that had most of the magic power, and the more mellow version had an enhanced anti-magic field. A technician's bad accent asked if they were both Roi {TODO: are there any accents on Earth that can mix these two syllables up?} and the more arrogant one was happy to call himself King. The spell also caused a small fire in the machinery that they used to control the spell, and Roy called himself the Fire Born. Ray also took this name, understanding that he was no longer Raymond Smith.

The game takes place at least a decade after these events. Ray is a semi-retired emeritus mage who sticks around the base to work on his helicopter and volunteer for help if it is needed. Roy is around so the others can keep him out of trouble as much as any other reason.

Game World

The game takes place in the same universe as Dan Shive's comic “El Goonish Shive”. The game itself should keep enough of this hidden that it is not apparent to the casual reader of that strip. Some of Shive's main characters will show up as masked NPCs in the Halloween mission.

Major Locations

Army Base

The magic-users are stationed at a U.S. Army supply transport hub which also has an intelligence unit stationed there. The “intelligence unit” is actually the magic unit, which started out as an experimental remote sensing (E.S.P.) unit from the 1970s. The psychics made mental contact with scattered military personnel who had contact with space aliens and magical beings and brought them into the unit.


Player Characters

Ray Fireborn

He represents Order. He is quiet, thoughtful, and direct. He also still has a few bad habits, such as the way he talks down to his twin brother Roy.

His key gameplay characteristic is a circular anti-magic field that surrounds him.

He carries a rifle with a gemstone bayonet. It is both his main weapon and a magic wand. It is long enough that he can focus magic through it to cast spells through his anti-magic field. He must still constrict his anti-magic field a bit when he casts spells this way.

Roy Fireborn

He represents Chaos. He is boisterous, aggressive, and scatterminded. He still has some sense of Order in him, enough to respect the Army unit and to sometimes follow directions.

His personality is such that he would beat up a thief and keep the stolen goods for himself.

His key gameplay characteristic is that he sometimes does not follow your orders and will do what he wants, such as attacking a nearby enemy in a way that raises an alarm.

Roy wears enchanted bandages around his waist due to having been struck with the Cutting Curse, a spell that left two slices in his abdomen that are slowly eating their way through him. The Army mages have not been able to cure him and have suggested letting the curse take its course and healing his body behind it, but no one knows if they could heal his spine once it is cut. He is often in magic stasis in a hospital bed because it fully halts the curse's progress and also because it keeps him locked up so no one has to deal with him.


A young woman medic with a curse. She wears a magic medallion that keeps her human; the medallion must be recharged by the Army's mages once every month or two. She cannot approach Ray's anti-magic field or the pain of transformation into her real form will be overwhelming; in game terms, you lose the mission. She is a relative newcomer to the Army.

She is secretly Dan Shive's character Vladia after transformation and later integration into the Army's secret magic unit. The need for magic to sustain the transformation diverges from Dan's canon but should be good for character interaction and game play.


If I'm going to directly and obviously use any of Dan Shive's characters, it's going to be Specialist Steve. He was in two strips and shows no powers:

Possibly: a guy with no significant powers who is competent against equally unpowered opponents. Possibly: a guy who is good at certain things: lockpicking, computer interfacing, etc.

What is known about him is that he is doctrinaire, he follows protocol, says “sir” and “ma'am”. He described Vladia as a crazy woman screaming at him and expected advice. He has low initiative to act on his own or was under orders not to do anything until the others arrived, and he did not think to give a good enough description to potentially identify the person. He knows about magic and aliens, being on the task force, but may not have any supernatural powers. He is a Specialist of something yet to be determined. Whatever he can do, he probably does well. He was taking point in leading the investigation of the building. He was first to the action, when all the action was loudly taking place in one area, and he had to use his radio to contact the others. Maybe he has super speed. This description and the conclusions are based on taking a punchline too seriously.

Main Allies

Commander J

The shadowy commander of the Army's magical force. He is ultra-serious, all business.

He is secretly Dan Shive's character Commander Jaguar.

Maintenance Guy (name needed)

The guy who tolerates Roy using his tools to work on Bluebell in his hangar.

Minor Allies

Eddie and the Feebs

Only spoken of. The Feebs are what Commander J calls the Federal Bureau of Investigation. When J says the Feebs want their help, Ray asks if he means the Feebs or if he means Eddie. Eddie is the leader of a very small group within the F.B.I. that is aware of magic. Eddie also happens to have been the Army guy who told Raymond about the magic and aliens in that bar in Japan before he finished his tour of duty and joined the F.B.I.

Eddie is secretly Dan Shive's character Ed Verres.


Ray's helicopter, a Bell 206 that is painted white with red trim. It used to be painted with blue trim, but the authorities had him change it because people might mistake it for a police helicopter. Bluebell was a piece of Navy surplus that Ray bought for cheap, and he holds it together with discarded parts that are all on the brink of malfunctioning.

Ray wants to use Bluebell for transportation to missions, but Commander J would charge him for the cost of Army fuel and tells him to use a car instead.

Backstory characters not appearing in the game

Sailor #$%@ You [inactive]

A superheroine sighted in Japan in the late 1980s. She was an American woman wearing a Japanese schoolgirl's uniform, a holstered pistol, and a Sony Walkman, and wielding a magic wand and a beer bottle. She was seen battling a minor shadow demon, or more accurately chasing the relatively weak creature while cursing up a storm in the middle of the night at 2AM local time. Screaming “you don't &#$% with the U.S. Navy!”, she blew it to hell with no remorse. “Ha ha! I kicked it's #$@ing $%#! This calls for Steppenwolf.” Donning headphones, she skipped off under the high crescent moon singing ”#%@ yeah I'm gonna make it happen, take the world in a love embrace” – which are not the correct lyrics. One witness was Naoko Takeuchi who thought the superheroine could be used for a new manga character with a few changes.

She may not appear in this story but is part of the character lore. She was one of Raymond's alternate forms before the split, and was his best form for magical combat since his anti-magic field in this form became an outer skin which absorbed incoming magical damage and, since it no longer permeated the body, allowed her to prepare stronger magic while using less energy. Raymond used the form to slut around bars. Neither Ray nor Roy has been able to duplicate the form since the split. Ray could theoretically restore the form by casting Wampyr on Roy, but the transformation would only last for the duration of the Wampyr spell. Whether Ray or the female form would also absorb Roy's Cutting Curse is a question that is still under consideration.

Salim Rashid [deceased]

The encounter with Salim is background lore that does not appear in this story.

Salim was the most powerful known human mage in the world, and he worked for al-Qaeda. The U.S. Army's mages considered this a bad thing. He was defeated by Roy and Ray while preparing to detonate a stolen Pakistani nuclear bomb on the outskirts of Moperville, where the lay lines of the Earth had led his magically attuned mind. Roy engaged Salim directly while Ray sniped him and then stood over his body so his magical healing factor could not activate. Roy was severely wounded in the fight and one of the spells that he took would not go away; this was the Cutting Curse.

When news of the incident reached Osama bin Laden, he said “what the @%$ is this #$%!?” and cast the report aside.

Minor related lore: Salim had an assistant who was supposed to detonate the bomb if anything happened to him, but this assistant was a C.I.A. agent. The C.I.A. discreetly returned the bomb to Pakistan so that a Pakistani General Zaid could keep his job since he would not have to report that the weapon went missing under his watch.

Main Enemies

TODO: Create some enemies.

Every main enemy is likely to be unique to the level that it is found in.

Every enemy should be made more vulnerable by some factor of the environment.

Minor Enemies

Generic guards?

Themselves? Especially Roy.

All enemy AI should be unaware of any of your movements until you are sighted or make yourself known to the enemy.

Spells and Powers

Ray's Abilities

In addition to those listed, Ray also has most of Roy's spells since he reads Roy's spellbook more often than Roy does.

Field Toss

Ray can toss his anti-magic field outward about 15 meters. It will quickly reform around him. This ability will dissipate pure-magic foes and cancel spells. A powerful floating enemy can be defeated with one shot of the anti-magic field as gravity does the rest of the job.


Ray can shoot people. With his gun. He can put runes on his bullets to make them do damage through magic defenses.


Ray can borrow anyone else's abilities for a short period of time. This drains the other's magic power.

Roy's Abilities


Roy can take the appearance of anyone. His behaviour stays the same, so it does not always work as an infiltration tactic.

Guards will remember the time and location of the last time they saw a person, so it will cause an incident if they see Roy having the appearance of a person that they just saw walk away in the other direction.

Generic Offensive Magic

Fireballs, lightning, etc.


The Cutting Curse. This is a very powerful spell which slices the victim in half, or at least condemns the victim to being sliced in half, reducing their HP over time. The visual effect is yellow sickle crescent-blades spinning toward the target.

“Katakasu” is just “Cutting Curse” pronounced with a Japanese accent. One of the characters may comment on this.

This spell is so evil that the game should strongly discourage you from using it.


TODO seriously here. Determine what the game is supposed to be first.

One late mission will be to “use your magic to find the space alien” during Halloween, and the alien is walking around undisguised. You can beat the mission in a few seconds if you spawn near it.

General mission concepts

  • Don't get knocked out
  • Capture the Macguffin (object, bad guy, computer files, etc)
  • Avoid causing a big enough incident to draw the attention of the common people
    • If you do cause an incident, evacuate the area without getting caught.
  • Avoid killing people or you'll piss off Commander J.

General mission gameplay

You should be able to give characters orders. Go here. Cover me. Distract this person. Active that object.

Some difficulty will come from the fact that Dia cannot move within a certain radius of Ray.

Mission preparation

Choose items to bring along. All items required to complete the mission will be preselected and locked. Different items will allow for alternate paths, some of which are easier or more fun. Each person can bring a limited number of items. You may have a car that you can go back to for changing items. You would have two cars since Ray and Dia cannot be near each other.

You can also change your characters' appearance, to choose to be in military gear, civilian clothes, business suits, or lab coats. This can affect guard reactions on seeing you. If you aren't wearing military gear or carrying an obvious weapon, guards may ignore you.


A core part of gameplay should involve moving the characters into position and then seeing what they do with the equipment they were given. Positions may be highlighted and marked with arrows to guide the player there. Some positions may only be highlighted if the player has the needed equipment. There may be secret positions that are not highlighted but are used if the player goes there with the right equipment.

Having the right characters with the right equipment in the right positions can make the boss fights easier, optimally causing the fight to be skipped.


Inner Magic Capacity / Limit

All magic power available in a day.

Ready Capacity / Limit

As much magic power as can be collected at once.

Spells are drawn from the Ready Capacity. This in turn draws from the Inner Capacity over time. You can cast a bunch of spells, but then you have to rest for a bit.

You may be able to cast a charge spell that dumps power to Ready Capacity but bleeds as much power as it transfers.


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fireborntwins.txt · Last modified: 2013/11/29 17:47 (external edit)