Journey of the Black Rose
A SNES era Final Fantasy style RPG following the story of Menarra Darkblade, a dark and complicated assassin, and an unlikely hero.
Journey of the Black Rose
A SNES era Final Fantasy style RPG following the story of Menarra Darkblade, a dark and complicated assassin, and an unlikely hero.
Please note! All pictures at this moment are using basic, pre-rendered tilesets. The game will recieve customized tilesets at a later date unique to the project. The pre-rendered tilesets are a suitable stand in so I can build the game, and can be easily changed later with a few simple commands.
The Basic Story:
Journey of the Black Rose is a throwback to the SNES era Final Fantasy-style RPG games many of us grew up loving. It is based around the main character, Menarra Darkblade, a Dark Elf woman of questionable intention. Born the daughter of a bandit father and a slave mother, she was raised a bandit. After her father's tragic death, she wandered the land and married into royalty while keeping her past secret for a time. When her past was revealed, there was a little turmoil in her marriage, but her new family adopted her with the same love and compassion as before, even as she began to delve back into her birth trade. Years later, she would be captured, tortured, and turned into the slave apprentice of a dark conjurer named Aster, known to the world only as Akur, a simple wanderer.
Journey of the Black Rose follows Menarra's story twenty years after that kidnapping, where she has become a loyal follower, and wife, to Aster, who has trained her as an assassin and has begun teaching her dark magics. A horrible accident during a massive spell ritual shatters their home and will begin to change the world forever, unless Menarra and her former family can find a way to stop the spreading forces of annihilation that Aster and Menarra unleashed.
Unlike most stories in RPGs, you are not really a 'Hero' as Menarra, she is as guilty in this world as any other and is terrifyingly heartless in battle, or when putting a blade through a target's neck. She has her softer sides, but have no doubt she is vicious and cruel, wrapped in cunning and intellect.
Intended Features: (please note, INTENDED! I will do my utmost to provide all of these, as they are things I dearly want in the game!)
-Custom battle system, similar in styling to the Final Fantasy games of old, but with unique aspects for this project. (this is still being developed)
-Open overworld! You will be free (with the right transportation!) to explore the world as you wish and discover it's treasures and secrets for yourself! Not everything in the world will be involved in the main storyline, some of it you have to go and find for yourself.
-Crafting! Monsters will drop certain items and materials, and some can be gathered yourself, to make equipment upgrades! (this is still being developed)
-Choices!! Your actions and decisions will reflect on the world around you! Don't want to save that guard from the monsters? Down the road he may have helped prevent a loved one's death, but now they're dead too! Chose to ignore that mysterious sound? BOOM! That town is gone! You never know what consequences your actions may bring, choose them wisely!
-More to be announced! I will provide more details as they develop in Updates on the Kickstarter page. I have some wild ideas, and I don't want to promise anything unreachable until I've consulted with my pocket coder!
About Menarra Darkblade:
Menarra Darkblade is a young, beautiful Drow, only 115 years old. She has red/orange hair and deep pink eyes, and dark grey skin. She was raised in a bandit camp in the deserts of Aegan by her father, Larsu'yan Darkblade, who led the camp, and taught her everything he knew. She never knew her mother, Me'eraal, who was a slave bought for a night by her father, and taken from her at birth by him. She became moderately skilled with small daggers, but exceptional at hand-to-hand combat. She went with her father on many raids once she was a teenager and could assist him, and enjoyed the work thoroughly. She helped her father on many of his 'jobs', and even helped him hunt down and kill a few 'marks'. Her training was long and tough, her father never letting up. Her only breaks were for sleep, food, and to go with him on jobs so she could learn the trade of the bandit firsthand. There were three ‘jobs’ in particular that shaped who she became, and hardened her to the world and the people in it.
The first was when she was 17, her father got a contract on a nobleman of the human lands who was always surrounded by bodyguards, but hired prostitutes and was alone with them in his chambers for extended periods. She gladly volunteered to pose herself as one of his callgirls. She bribed the local whorehouse owner to pose her as a new acquisition, and the nobleman paid for her services. That night, as she began to attend to his needs, she pulled a dagger from her shoe's sole and slit his throat, a satisfied grin on her face as his blood poured out onto the bed around them, bringing the knife to her lips and licking the blood from the blade slowly, savoring her first solo kill as his blood stained the sheets around them. She slipped out the window and returned to her father with the nobleman’s finger, his official signet ring still on it.
The second was when she was 20, her father caught wind of a caravan of supplies and armor heading along the borders of the orcish deserts and the human lands, and it would be taking a path in the wilderness to avoid the guarded inner roads. The entire camp mobilized at her father’s word and they went out to ambush the caravan in the forests just off the King's Road as it passed through. The ambush went off as planned, the caravan guards were killed swiftly, leaving only a man and young boy on the cart who were steering the horses. Menarra’s father quickly dispatched the man, then turned to her, asking what she thought to do with the boy. She did not respond, just smiled sweetly and walked over to the boy. As she approached she could see the hope grow in his eyes as he stammered at her, “M..misses…I will be useful…I’ll…” then his eyes go wide as she doesn’t break her stride, pulling out a blade and stabbing him in the heart, looking up to her father, who nodded to her, and telling him simply in a sweet, playful tone, “No witnesses.~”
The third was when she was 26, and her father returned to camp with a young woman, bound and gagged. When Menarra asked who she was, he said she was the daughter of one of the elven farmers, and that she made the mistake of wandering too close to their scouting party. She was tied down and beaten until she became submissive, then Menarra’s father asked her to take a message to a contact of theirs who would be happy to have another slave to sell. She did not hesitate, and even assisted in delivering the girl to her new master as she struggled to get away. She felt a small pang of remorse and sympathy for the girl, but the payment was generous for the pretty girl, and Menarra celebrated the good fortune with the rest of the bandit camp, sharing song and Rum all around.
All of that changed when she was 30. She was out in the desert, away from the bandit camp at a place of privacy only her and her father knew of, when she received a messenger bird from her father, the message it carried spattered in blood, telling her the camp was being attacked and would fall before she received that note, and to run and never return, describing the attackers as the family of the elven girl they sold four years back. She briefly thought of going back, already in tears, but knew her father and the others were already dead, so she ran into the desert, and kept running, living off the land for nearly four months, wandering the lands before stumbling into an abandoned town in a desert a distance from Skravia and the Sequoia Grove, out past the snowy pine forests, her heavy armor long broken and discarded, traded for tattered leathers and a well-worn axe on her back.
She met a young wood elf there named Marsuvees, and after a rocky meeting they began a relationship of convenience, supporting eachother. She began a new life there, improving the four small buildings of the town and plying her trade at night, taking what she needed and avoiding the guards of local Skravia while at the same time becoming the adopted daughter of it's High King and Queen, the High Queen actually being Marsuvees' mother, though they weren't on very good terms. She was beginning to dig secret rooms under her house, lining it with the tools of her trade, preparing to start anew, continuing her life as a bandit and slaver in her new home, before she made a mistake of trusting a man calling himself Akur.
She ran into him in the wilderness some distance from the Sequoia Grove, while hunting game in the swamps. He joined her in her hunt, and even protected her from a rival Drow that lunged out of a cave that she did not notice. They took down a wild boar and had a nice meal of freshly cooked pork out in the swamps, where they talked and shared stories of past hunts. Akur offered his axe arm to her, for hunting and any other purpose she may desire, and invited her to his home to eat and discuss their future business together. Menarra dwelled shortly on it, then accepted, knowing she would need allies to start her banditry again.
Once they arrived at his home, Akur slammed the blunt side of his axes into her head several times, rendering her unconscious and taking her into his dungeon below the house, where she was chained to the wall with spiked chains, the cuffs lined with inward-facing spikes, meaning the more she struggled, the more pain she would endure as the spikes dug into her skin. Once bound she was stripped and left naked in the cells for a few days, Akur only returning to give her water and to torment her body or take pleasure from it as he wished. Menarra could hear the screams of another girl in another cell on occasion, could hear how she was beaten and tortured when she displeased Akur. She spent the first days talking tough and trying to intimidate him, to no avail at all.
She tried to learn anything she could about her captor, but he revealed nothing but his name, and his love of blood, torture, and women. As the days crept on and she was humiliated and tortured for the pleasure of Akur and a hooded woman she knew only as ‘Mistress’, her mind began to give in and fracture. The same routine continued for several weeks, beatings, humiliation, and torture if she acted out, which all wore down her will to resist, her mind slowly becoming a haze of pain and shame. Finally her mind broke, her willpower giving out as Akur promised her a new life if she would submit, and she gave in, swearing herself to his service, mind too weak to hold on any longer or endure the pain a moment longer. She spent her first months as a servant and slave, doing what she was told by her Master and his Mistress, without hesitation.
She earned their respect for her fighting abilities, and eventually earned their affection, no longer merely a slave, but an apprentice and companion to them both. Menarra took on the alias ‘Black Rose’ and began following her Master on his trips to Skravia and other nearby settlements. Over the next few years she came to truly love Akur and Altariel, her Master and Mistress, and she would do anything to please them, and lay down her life in their defense. She saw them as her savior, raising her from a life of simple banditry to something far greater, with nothing left to hold her back. In her time in this new life, she had helped torture several people, finding great pleasure in the pain and fears of others.
She had helped to redesign her Master’s home, installing many new traps and helping to carve his dungeon's expanding corridors with pick and shovel, helping him raise the grand towers of his fortress, and laboring happily for the good of her Master. She took on an apprentice of her own, a friend from her former life that had shown great promise to her and her Master, her name was Eleyra. She trained her in her footsteps, seeding her authority and influence wherever she could in an effort to prove herself further to her Master. She built her own corridors within the dungeon, designing it for combat training, torture cells, and executions. A dark day came when her apprentice betrayed them, returning to her old life and seeking to evade Akur and Menarra. They hunted the girl down, killed her entire family, then took her head, which to this day sits on a pike in Menarra’s torture cells, now just a long dead skull.
Decades passed of this routine, Menarra taking on a new apprentice, Violet, whom she gave the name Sapphire Dawn, and who was completely and utterly loyal to her in all ways, and building her power and influence. Akur has spent years in his studies, attending to his two 'wives' as able but spending more and more time pouring through ancient tomes his network of contacts and servants had unearthed and brought to him. He was preparing for something, Menarra had seen the strange new glyphs and runes inscribed upon the floors, walls, and ceilings of the main tower in the fortress. Only time will tell what he is preparing for, but it is clear that time is fast approaching...
What are the Goals of this Project?
I will be absolutely clear on this point: I am going to make this game no matter how the funding goes. It is my passion, and I want to do it, period. That being said, the funding will allow for me to produce a game of higher standards and quality, and dedicate far more time to both producing it better, and faster. Right now I work on the game in my free time on my days off work. If the funding is successful, I will cut back my hours at work to 1-2 days a week (or less/none if very successful!) and spend the rest of the time working Full Time on this project.
If funding is successful, I will work Full Time on this project, allowing me to further refine every aspect, as well as reach out to talented pixel artists and music composers to create unique content for this game. Funding beyond the initial goal will meet various stretch goals, which I will list below, that mostly include changing commissioning a PORTION of a category of the game (music, avatars, sprites, tilesets, etc), to commissioning EVERY piece from a professional, as well as add on more to the game itself.
About the Creator (me):
I am a father, an avid gamer, a roleplayer, a husband, a geek, and passionate about everything I do and love. I found my love for game design through modding, creating content for The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. I released all of my original works on a now-gone site that I believe was tfrforums.com or something similar, a dedicated Elder Scrolls site that did very well through Morrowind, but the hosting stopped and I never heard what happened beyond that. I lost much of my earliest works to a hard drive crash around the same time, so I recovered what I could and moved to Planet Elder Scrolls, and began working on a massive project.
That project turned into Sobitur Facility. I contacted many other modders who had created modder's resources and brought in some of their works to create a large Dwemer facility with a solid backstory, intense high-level encounters, and a main storyline that fit in believably with the existing lore of the Dwemer in Elder Scrolls lore. The project became my pride and joy, and confirmed to me that game/content creation is what I wanted to do with my life, it's what I love, it's what I do.
I began to work on a followup to Sobitur Facility entitled "Cry of Nature", but that was put on temporary, then indefinite hold as I had a child, got married, went to college, and worked menial jobs to support my family and provide for us. I hated to shelf that project, I didn't get far into its development but it was already shaping up to dwarf the scale of Sobitur Facility in it's content. I hope to perhaps one day go back and finish it, I still have all the resources and some of the story saved and filed away on a thumbdrive.
I did however put my focus into gradually acquiring game development tools and software as I could afford them, and began creating characters to roleplay through various means and medias, and kept track of their dynamic stories as they developed and played out, all with a greater purpose in mind.
Now, I have built up many detailed characters, and I have the tools I require. I am in a place that I can begin to work towards my dream, and I will make these games and release them no matter how this goes, but I have faith and confidence that I can provide great games that not only take you back to the golden days of SNES story-driven action RPG's, but also provide new and interesting stories and characters for everyone to enjoy and fall in love with, just as I have.
Monetary Goal and Stretch Goals::
-$50,000: Initial funding- I will work full-time on this project. The artistic content of the game (music, avatars, sprites, etc) will be a mix of self-created works and commissioned works specifically for this game.
-$60,000: More Commissioned- I will have special, custom commissions for most applicable, and sensible, artistic contents of the game. I will take my personal works to professional artists as references and have beautiful works created to replace them in many areas, and create a portion of the artistic content myself.
-$65,000: More Art Rewards- I will add a set of full color artworks commissioned specifically for this project and include them as additional digital rewards for every donation tier of $20 or above! Minimum of 10 pieces, likely more, from many varied artists and styles.
-$70,000: Fully Commissioned- I will have special, custom commissions for every applicable, and sensible, artistic content of the game. I will take my personal works to professional artists as references and have beautiful works created to replace all of them.
-$75,000: Soundtrack- I will compile all of the music used in the game, as well as some bonus tracks, into a digital soundtrack that will be given free of charge to all Backers of $20 or higher.
-$80,000: Fully Realized Underworld- I plan on having a substantial Underworld in the game, home of the Drow, some of the deeper-dwelling dwarves, and some other goodies. With this stretch goal, I will flesh it out even further, creating more content for the Underworld outside of these areas, including side quests, more un-quested areas of interest, and more to explore and discover here outside of the main storyline, providing even more content to explore and enjoy!
-$90,000: Fully Detailed World Map- I will commission a HUGE rendering of our world map to be taken and converted into a realistic-looking, beautiful map of this fantasy world, and provide it to all backers of $20 or higher free of charge in a digital format, and I will look into also having an option to order a poster-sized physical print available for order (not free, but cheaper for Backers).
-$100,000: Hired Minion!- I will hire another developer to work Full Time side-by-side with me on this project, enabling us to do more, faster, and raise the quality of the overall experience.
-$100,000+: I don't know!- If we make it this far, I will be eternally grateful to all of you, and I will consult with my intended hired partner on more features we can offer up for further stretch goals! I am also open to hear your opinions of further rewards and content, provided they are realistic and reasonable, and if we like something, we'll add it in appropriately. At this level of funding, we will be able to afford to get every tool and asset we need to realize our wildest dreams for this project, and make it truly remarkable!
Risks and challenges
There are always risks to developing anything, the key is to know how to handle them and always be prepared for the worst. The biggest risks I foresee possibly complicating this project will be delays or conflict of interest with commissioned help. I do not plan to hire anyone with the bare minimum funding on this project, just commission people to assist with music, art, and possibly coding a few core systems if the need arises and I can't address all the work myself.
Delays happen and if they occur I will do my best to mitigate their impact on delivering the project on time, through either hiring additional help or crunching through some extra-long nights to make sure the delay is made up for.
If a commissioned person suddenly decides to raise a problem with me over something, I will either enforce the agreement they will have signed before taking the commission, or completely omit their contributions and find someone more reasonable. All professionals I commission will be working with the understanding and signed agreement that all content created under my commission will be my sole property once submitted. They will be credited accordingly, but all rights to the content will be mine alone to avoid any problems.
As far as actual development problems, I do not foresee any huge snags, but I will stay watchful and ready for them. I am confident in the software I have bought and learned to use, and I have a large pool of reliable and knowledgeable friends that are all excited about this project and willing to chip in or troubleshoot with me if I ask for the help.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (32 days)