Preparing for my first WIP - Anthro Animal Fantasy


#1

EDIT: Here’s a poll to help determine the animal species that will be available to pick from in the final game!

  • Reindeer
  • Cougar
  • Mouse
  • Bear
  • Wolf
  • Weasel
  • Otter
  • Squirrel
  • Rabbit
  • Boar
  • Badger
  • Hedgehog
  • Horse
  • Donkey
  • Goat
  • Sheep
  • Cattle
  • Lynx
  • Mole

0 voters

Hello all, I’m Micah and I’m ready to join the ranks of aspiring IF writers here. Had some trouble sorting through all the ideas going “This would totally make a great game!” before finally settling on something that seems both doable and potentially interesting to other people. Before I get stuck in writing and stumbling to learn ChoiceScript, I’d like to know your thoughts on where I plan on heading with this project.

First of all, as the thread title indicates I want to write a story about anthropomorphic talking animals in a fantasy setting. It’s just something that appeals to me. I have a shelf dedicated to Brian Jacques’ Redwall series, a small collection of the Burgess rendition of the Brer Rabbit stories, and the core rulebook for the Ironclaw roleplaying game. People love talking animals (or at least I do :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: ) and playing with animal stereotypes when creating characters should be fun.

The background details so far are as follows: The story will take place in a realm featuring two antagonistic kingdoms, one ruled by a noble Stag (King of the Forest) and the other by a proud Lion (King of the Beasts). Despite their dislike for one another the two kings understand that an all out war between them would be more devastating than worthwhile. So when a number of lords sworn to them begin agitating for conflict they decide to keep the belligerent lords in line by trading hostages. The warmongering lords from each kingdom are forced to send one of their children to be raised by a noble family in the other to ensure their good behavior.

The PC is one of those children. The first part of the game would involve getting used to being raised in a new place (by a completely different species) and surrounded by people that your family had been advocating the destruction of. The plot kicks in when the PC inadvertently discovers a conspiracy to provoke the stalled war/stage a coup. Trapped in a foreign land, surrounded by suspicious strangers, and with only their own hearsay, the young PC has to find a way to protect their home and kingdom from the outbreak of bloody conflict. Or potentially use this knowledge to advance their own rise to power.

Sounds like a good summary, right? Can’t wait to actually make it come to life.

Beyond just asking in general what you think of the idea, I have one unsolved dilemma I’d like you all to help me with. Should the player be able to choose their character’s species, or should there be a single default species for PCs? Which species do you think should be available to be chosen from/should be the default?


#2

I would like to have a choice as to what species I am. As for which, I think a lion and a stag should definitely be one of the options.


#3

I’d be very careful about how many kinds of animals you’d allow a character to be. One or two sounds manageable for your first game. Making alot of options at first that affect the entire story sounds like way too much coding for your first try at it.


#4

AS an anthro bunny myself this story is a ‘can of worms’ as in it will be very tricky to keep it in hand. And typical furry folks (target audience) are very particular about their animals.

In my opinion, to remain objective and keep things relatively controlled, one predator and one prey species to start with or rather ‘predator and prey paths’.

Say there is a ruling type of animal on either side or the opposite the lowest of the low. Something that will have the most impact on the player experience.

Aside from the sheer massiveness of this kind of possibility it can be a tremendously enjoyable game.

YOU have my vote if there are ninja rabbits!


#5

This sounds very interesting. I would give people the choice to pick what species they are. It will add more flavor and replayability to the story.


#6

Having started a game where you can take one of four basic paths - and now being 130,000 words in and only on chapter 3 - I have one thought. Would it be possible to start with just one species and see how things go, and then add a second if you still want to, after you’ve gotten a bit into the story?


#7

That’s not a bad idea. I suggest taking a poll so the majority at can at least get to play as the one they wanted, then later add more.


#8

A “Watership Down” scenario would be more advisable for your first game.

I’m writing a game with one tribe as its central unit and even with one tribe possessing their own culture, language, proverbs, poetry, and mythology it is complicated keeping integrity and consistency.

I believe you have the background and passion to do this but the more prepared you are for the long haul, the better you will be. imo.


#9

A world of talking animals… y’know… that’s not the worst idea I’ve ever herd (FYI keeping up with the Kardashians was the worst idea). Sounds really cool.


#10

Hello @C_Micah. I think your story is a great idea. I was just thinking about Redwall yesterday so was very pleased to find your thread!

People love animals, and I absolutely guarantee people will ask you if they can choose a different species - but its a tough call because you can’t by any means satisfy everyone, and as @Fiogan says, its going to take a lot of time!

So I’d agree with @Razgriz about starting with one, at most two (you can always add them later, and pyschologically it makes a big difference to feel your story is progressing - otherwise it is way to easy to give up).

But @Snoe’s idea looks like a really interesting one - a predator and prey path! To my ears that sounds original and dynamic.

:poodle:

And obv. the chosen species should be a dog…:wink:


#11

Neko! But bunnehs are cute too. :smiley:


#12

I feel like there could be a hidden Lannister/ Baratheon message in this story.

I feel like this is a terrific idea. And I must agree with @Snoe on the whole predator/prey idea.
And if your going to be adding choices for other animals, I really don’t think flying creatures would work well in this story as a pc. Unfortunately, I think that means my favorite animal the raven is out. But if you’re taking request, may I suggest a fox in contrast to snoe’s rabbit?


#13

Is royalty specist?

I mean, do you have to be a deer or a lion to be king? :disappointed_relieved:

There are some lovely prey / predator relationships out there

but seriously, perhaps you could choose a couple of animals that aren’t loaded with preconceptions. I mean, we load animals with behaviour expectation through their use as symbols, metaphors and morale causes.

Exploring the relationship between two less loaded animals could give you free rein as an author to create something totally unique.


#14

Well, noble titles are hereditary and for the most part animals can’t interbreed for mixed offspring. Although this does give me an idea for a bastard born mule in a family of horses. Gonna shelve that for later, thanks!

Part of the reason I’m using animals is precisely because they have inherent expectations due to their use as symbols. It can be a nice shorthand to make the player think a certain way about a character. “Oh here’s a fox. She’ll be crafty and clever and I probably shouldn’t trust what she has to say.” And some of the characters will play into the stereotypes about their species. But I think it will make those departures from the expected all the more memorable. Maybe another fox is a hulking brute, or a paragon of a knight who would never lie.

As for being unique; I’m going to focus more on trying to make the experience well-written and enjoyable. None of what I’m imagining so far is incredibly original (obvious, given the inspirations in the op), but pursuing novelty and perfectionism has doomed several other projects I’ve attempted. So I’m willing to settle for a simple story well told. Especially if it means I can validate my dream of being an author by finally getting something published. I guess what I’m trying to say is that this game is my attempt to prove to myself that I can write something good enough to get accepted first and foremost. Innovation and the pushing of envelopes can wait until I’m more confident in my writing ability.


#15

That rings a bell - I really enjoyed the searat going against his ‘evil’ nature in the Bellmaker.

You could do some fun things with that interplay of expectation. Good for you for sticking to your plan of a well-written, enjoyable, and finished story. I look forward to reading your demos! :grin:


#16

As “one” of the options? As in, combined? Like…a stion? Or a lag?

I’m sorry! Please forgive me, the grammar nerd in me couldn’t resist, I throw myself at your mercy. I do agree that those are two great potential choices! Very regal. Just, um, going to show myself out now… :sweat_smile:


#17

@MizArtist33
It’s too late for that, Miz.
I’ve had Blizzard lock the door.
You’re doomed now. Doomed to be locked in here with your own inner grammer nerd.

place evil laugh here


#18

I think one major problem with these sorts of settings is the “no interbreeding” rule. How the different species interact would be markedly different from how any humans would interact in similar circumstances. One of the main ways that mediaeval societies interacted was through marrying heirs to combine the families. In a world where the families can’t interbreed, politics is suddenly turned upside down. Families will be far more insular, with no real options for permanent peace. Also, I imagine that inbreeding will be far more common; it’s not just about preserving the divine blood any more, but rather that there’s no-one else to breed with. And while I’m sure we can tell Romeo + Juliet style stories about the stag who fell in love with a lioness, it would leave one wondering just how many such star-crossed couples there had been (and had died without babies, which were at a premium in mediaeval times).

I don’t think that it would be impossible to deal with the ramifications in a story, but it’s probably not the story you want to be writing. I can see two ways of dealing with this: either the species is more representative than real, and thus the lioness can have babies with the stag, with said babies taking after only one of the parents; or I would suggest cutting it down to a very small number of non-interbreeding species (maybe even just lions and deer). Of course, you could just ignore the ramifications, and I doubt anyone will really mind if it’s a good story.

Good luck on the story!


#19

Considering the cunning and subterfuge needed to usurp the throne, I believe a :mouse: will be the most suitable choice of animal for the MC :wink:

Although a :cat: or a :dog: can also be potentially effective…


#20

@ParrotWatcher One of the great things about discussions like this is how people can help a writer solve problems that they didn’t even know they had. Your post got me thinking about interspecies romance again, and the idea of paramours just clicked with it. If interbreeding is (mostly) impossible, romance between species doesn’t have to be. Nobles especially would be open to the idea given that most of their marriages are political conveniences in the first place. Of course they’d want sweethearts! The position of Lady’s/Lord’s Consort could even be codified. And since the acceptance of such paramours is based on the indulgence of romantic feeling in the face of inability to produce viable offspring it would be downright scandalous for a noble to have one the same species as themselves!

It also neatly explains why such a medieval society would be accepting of openly non-heteronormative relationships. Marriage is for prestige, power and offspring. But love is unbound by worldly concerns and brings people together regardless of species or gender.

Not that such things are going to be that important to this story anyway. The PC is a preteen after all. But background details are important!


So far it looks like more people are in favor of having multiple species to choose from, at least two. I was hoping, if I wound up going the pick-an-animal route, to have between 3 and 5 choices. But as @Razgriz, @Fiogan, and @Zolataya pointed out that could very well be a lot more work than I can reasonably do and still have a competently told story. But then again maybe there are tricks I could try to cut down on how much fresh material I would need for each included species. The simple fact is that I don’t have a lot of experience with ChoiceScript so I can’t make a judgment call on that yet.

So. Time to get some experience then. Over the next couple weeks I’ll write a mock up of the character creation, plus a few test scenes to try and work out how species selection can alter a scene along with ways to minimize that. I’ll use Bear, Boar and Bunny, I mean, Rabbit, as the prototype species for this test.

This will also give me a chance to get comfortable working with the Stats. For now I’ll be using Body, Agility and Wit as the normal core stats, and have a Civilization vs Atavism opposed stat. I think you’ll like that last one. Stats subject to change as things fall more into place of course. Except Civilization/Atavism. That’s a core concept I’m unwilling to completely do away with.

Once the mock up is complete I’ll see about getting it set up as a quick and dirty demo so everyone can get a better feel for where this project is starting off from, as well as give more concrete advice. Regardless of how everything works out, this experiment should provide a good backbone to build the final Prologue sequence on.

In the meantime, I’ll be editing the top post with a poll so people can vote on which species they would like to play. Discourse has a Multiple Choice Limited Option poll apparently, so everyone will get between one and three votes as they please. If it looks like only one species will be viable for me to write, then the top voted animal will be it. Depending on how difficult it would be to code for multiple species, the top two through five could be options.

In the poll at least you’re going to have lots of options.:wink:

EDIT: Sadly, Discourse polls only allow for fewer than 20 options. I am shame. :disappointed: