Make an RPG in RPG Maker with as stock a plotline as possible and take the piss out of it. Intentionally use stock music and artwork.
Consider using the music wrong (battle music in cities and vice versa)
The Hero named Hero is played straight as the wide eyed idealist who gets to save the world because he is the hero. Of course his hometown was destroyed and he was the only survivor except for Syria who no one counts.
Hero is the overall best character: strong HP and MP, a good set of offensive and defensive spells, etc. In the final fight Hero gets a special spell “win the game” that wins the game.
Hero's childhood friend and ABSOLUTELY NOT girlfriend who should be the heroine of the game but the part was written for someone else. As fitting her personality, she attacks quickly and hits hard. She has no spells and her other talents are weak.
Syria is the sane character who knows the tropes and shakes her head at all of the stupidity around her. She uses slang, contractions, and colloquial speech when others speak in a more official tone.
A former lord who lost his kingdom to Saro the Necromancer.
“Was your kingdom a vale or a moor?” - Syria “It's a mountain.” - Valemoor
Valemoor is “Fail More”. His raw talents look impressive but he has a low accuracy rate and weak magic defense. Valemoor begins at a high level and is a decent early pickup when the player's level is low. Later in the game he may start demanding a salary befitting of a lord.
If it ever becomes necessary to create two parties, Valemoor has the ability to lead another party.
The stereotypical pirate, using the stock pirate imagery. Allowing Jacks on your team will allow you use of a boat for quick travel. Leaving him behind can cause a pirate raid on the town. He steals from the team, reducing the gold take by 20%-50%.
A generic healer/cleric/priest. If left behind, he neutralizes the destructive potential of the negative characters.
An explorer with a backpack who can carry twice as many items as other players, assuming DQ-style item restrictions are in place. If you leave Crisco behind, you may need the extra healing items that Matthew can carry.
concept: copy the hiker-Jontron from Pokemen X&Y, on the right of this image: http://knowyourmeme.com/photos/625109-pokemon
The Part 1 villain who switches sides because there is always another bigger and badder villain who turns up after the first villain is defeated. He is fairly weak but his necromancy spells allow defeated enemies to be “revived” on the hero's team. Leaving him in town can have negative side effects.
Possible necromancy mechanisms: 1. Saro raises any defeated enemy in battle, and it joins your side as a combatant. 2. Saro automatically clones a defeated enemy after the end of a battle.
Possible combat effects: 1. The raised creature joins the team as a normal combatant. 2. The raised creature attacks once with the creature's attack power and causes the target to lose a turn destroying it.
There may be some local heroes who are only available for one mission. It may be possible to gain the trust of some of them and make them permanently recruitable.
You choose your team before each mission. The world changes when the mission is complete. The changes depend on which characters were left behind. Leaving behind villainous characters can cause cities to be modified or even destroyed. Leaving behind virtuous characters can cause positive effects.
Effects on the game world can include:
* Fauna change. A defense force may be trained to the point that encounters are weakened or no longer happen within a radius of the city * Redistribution of NPCs. Refugees may appear in other cities. * Availability of item shop items. Items produced in a suppressed center become more expensive. Items produced in a destroyed center are no longer produced unless the NPC responsible for producing them goes to another center.
Effects on characters left behind may include: * Level increase * Stat increase * Obtaining a skill or item
* A character that is left behind will do something that is in that character's interests. This will usually, but not always, have a beneficial effect on the character. * The effect on the game world may be positive or negative. * Character commentary hints at what the action will be. * The effects on the game world should be funny. You leave Jacks behind and he raids the village while you're not looking. You leave Saro behind and he's up to his necromancy tricks. You leave Syria behind and she ends up running the place when you get back.
The obvious implementation is to script everything, but I'd like to have an engine underneath the scripts to handle NPC movement and item distribution automatically.
Each center of power has “Strength” and “Appeal” values. The presence of certain NPCs and artificial structures increases these values. A city is destroyed when its strength is reduced to 0. “Strength” affects the strength and frequency of monster encounters.
“Appeal” affects whether wandering NPCs will go to this city or not, and whether the city is likely to be attacked by pirates.
Basic economy: * Soldiers: provide Strength. Require Food and Capital. * Elites: require a high Appeal. Produce Capital. * Commoners: provide Food. Require a minimal Strength and Appeal. * Merchants: require Capital. Increase Appeal. Produce trade goods. Drift to where there is a high unserved Capital. * Clerics: increase Appeal. Drift to where there is a low Appeal. * Refugees: Provide nothing, eat a minimal Appeal, become Commoners in time. * Monsters: simply exist, nullify Strength. * Bandits: attracted by Capital, otherwise same as monsters.
TODO: Make a matrix of this economy and tweak it until it becomes self-sustaining.
In the opening mission Hero and Syria have to walk to the nearest city. That is all. There is no option to leave them.
The King: “You must collect ten ratsasses.” Syria: “You've gotta be kidding me.” Hero: “We will do this for the glory of the kingdom!”
Leaving Syria behind:
It is possible to leave Syria behind on the first mission. She trains and becomes a guard captain and gains a lot of levels. Her core growth model may be improved. Consider it a bonus for finishing the mission with a shorthanded crew.
The Hero's quiet peaceful village is attacked by Saro the necromancer and his army of skeletons, which are destroyed when an army of trolls attacks the village at the same time, and Saro bugs out when a flock of dragons attacks the village. Then flying saucers from outer space show up and zap everything with lasers and fly away, leaving the hero standing on the one undamaged square. Cue sad music.
The hero takes one step forward. A flying saucer quickly drops down, zaps the square he was standing on, and flies away.
Hero: “My quiet peaceful village has been destroyed! I am the only survivor!”
Syria walks in from offscreen. “Hey, Hero! I was hunting in the forest and these trolls showed up and… HERO. WHAT DID YOU DO?”
Hero: “Everyone I know is dead!”
Syria: “I'm still alive.”
Hero: “E V E R Y O N E! ”
Syria: “There's me, and, uh…”
Hero: “I AM THE ONLY SURVIVOR”
Syria: “Shit, everyone else IS dead. So, uh, we're not going to have to repopulate the village ourselves, are we? I don't really like you.”
Hero: “I MUST take action.”
Syria: “*cough* ahem, about that…”
Hero: “I will take vengeance upon the necromancer Saro who destroyed my village!”
Syria: “Oh. So we're going on a suicidal war against some archwizard with an army of skeletons. I can do that.”
They leave through a forest where they have a difficult time fighting slimes and slugs while armed with walking sticks, and Syria insists that they head into town and get better weapons.
As they walk away from the forest, for each of the first few steps on the map, the destroyed village is hit by a meteor shower, Gundam colony drop, Evangelion third impact, etc.
The heroes run around the world gaining support to overthrow Saro and return Valemoor to the throne of his kingdom. Saro joins right when they are about to fight him, and then the second Big Bad appears and announces plans to destroy the world. Saro says, “See? I told you so.” The heroes have to run around the world again, acquire bester equipment, argue with NPCs who don't see the need to save the world from destruction, etc. The Big Bad may attack cities from time to time if you tarry long enough.