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Seeking Advice from Dragon RPers for Upcoming Game

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Seeking Advice from Dragon RPers for Upcoming Game

Post by Darktooth on Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:59 pm

Greetings, all! I'm sorry if this isn't the right board for this, but it seems like a pretty general question, so I'm posting it there.

So, I have recently been employed to write the script for a new video game about being a dragon. It's kind of a beautifully-illustrated choose-your-own adventure life-simulator thing in which you live the first hundred years of the life of a dragon in the wild.

In my writing, I'm going for a genuinely draconic feel - not having dragons be humans in dragon suits, but something really genuinely Other.

I have two questions for those who care about such things (which at DRF would be many, I would think):

1. What would you like to see in such a game? Any events, encounters, life moments that you can think of? Maybe something you've RPed at DRF and you think would make an excellent event/encounter for others who love dragons?

2. Any ideas on how I can make the 'being a dragon' part of the game more realistic and immersive from a writing perspective? How have people here who play the most dragon-y dragons succeeded in doing so?

If there's anything that has bugged you about how dragons have been portrayed in other mass media or something you have always longed to see in that, please let me know. I want this to be a game which is enjoyed by dragon enthusiasts; I hope you'll share a little of the wisdom you've learned at DRF regarding the dragon RP experience with me.

(This isn't a place for advertisements, so I haven't included anything of the sort in this post, but if you want to know more, I've put a post in the advertisement board with a link to the site. That's not the point of my writing this, though... I don't want to make you buy anything, I just want your advice.)

Thank you!
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Re: Seeking Advice from Dragon RPers for Upcoming Game

Post by Celestia on Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:35 pm

Oh sweet. Last time someone came to use about a dragon game they were like "hey check this out" and then just linked a facebook page or something with some English and some Russian or something. Pretty sure the project never went anywhere. Anyways this looks pretty exciting. I've browsed for games in which one can play as a dragon quite a few times and have been very disappointed with the results. The only ones I can think of that even touched on the subject were Istaria, an mmo and How To Raise A Dragon, a browser flash game. Not much to say about HTRAD it's a simple flash game but was kinda fun. Istaria was amazing in it's day, these days not so much. Still have fond memories of it though and still remains the best dragon life rp game despite it's own restrictions with being an mmo model.

So dragons. These are some complicated questions. Everyone has their own perspective of dragons most veritably with dragon enthusiasts. For example myself and a few others aren't very happy with skyrim dragons being referred to as dragons. They are wyverns not dragons and in my own personal bias mind consider them inferior. That having been said they in certain cultures and peoples minds are legitimate dragons. Then you'd be surprised at how many feather winged dragons we've had. And don't even get me started on the cold blooded or warm blooded conversation. Our site caters to all imaginings but obviously with a game that isn't nearly as easily accommodated.

As far as making being a dragon more immersive and realistic the best thing to do is to imagine yourself in the shoes of a dragon perhaps turned into one if that makes it easier. That might sound like duh at first but it's not something people are well versed in. In media as a whole all outlooks considered all protagonists, all focuses is on a human or human like character, and for good reason. Point is people aren't used to looking at things from a different point of view. Dragon anatomy especially is one of the most alien you can get. They are reptilian in nature, quadrupedic, winged, have a tail, a long neck, a snout, almost always drastically larger than other creatures when grown, cold blooded from the perspective of many, and do not have dexterous hands. To be realistic people need to be reminded of these things. Now to be fun that's a different question. Here we have fun with just being and interacting with dragons and with complex social networks and drama. And if you look at many animal rps and books for example warrior cats, complex social networks is a common reoccurring plot point.

Then there is what is a dragon a symbol of. In mass media they typically are a symbol of evil, power, intelligence, egos, and wealth hoarding. For myself they are a symbol of most of all independence, but also power, and majesty. I'll add that to the question list. What do dragons represent for you guys?

(You needn't worry about posting advertisements to a game. Our concern is more fellow forum based rp sites. If it isn't that and pertains to the discussion feel free to link.)

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Re: Seeking Advice from Dragon RPers for Upcoming Game

Post by Sly on Tue Jul 18, 2017 1:27 am

Darktooth wrote:

1. What would you like to see in such a game? Any events, encounters, life moments that you can think of? Maybe something you've RPed at DRF and you think would make an excellent event/encounter for others who love dragons?

Personally it highly depends on what sort of theme and setting you are going for in your game, as there is a list of life moments and encounters that you can choose from but cannot accommodate for all. Is this in Medieval, modern or futuristic times? Assuming you pick the former, you will have to be careful not to explore ideas that are already clichéd. Not to mention you need something that will be challenging to the protagonist. Events are highly dependent on backstory of your game. Encounters, just make sure it is something that is challenging. Note, because dragons are revered as almighty, majestic and powerful, you may have a difficult time finding the right balance between that view and interesting encounters. DRF certainly had some interesting plots going on in RPs, but again, unless I know the backstory you are proposing, it's really difficult for me to choose some samples that can cater to your requirements.

Darktooth wrote:2. Any ideas on how I can make the 'being a dragon' part of the game more realistic and immersive from a writing perspective? How have people here who play the most dragon-y dragons succeeded in doing so?

As a dragon-POV writer myself, it comes down to reading books from published authors who did the same (Robin Hobb and her Rainwild chronicles, for example) before I gain some insight as to how to do it properly. I'm aware of different limitations to this, including the inability to express most emotions, restricted movements and the occasional large sizes. I went as far as removing their abilities to speak and just communicate via telepathy, or 'song', with only the gifted being able to hear their speech, and only allow them to speak in somewhat archaic language (but not Shakespearean). Not only does it take practice in getting to the perspective of a dragon with different ways of mobility and expression of emotions, but it will also require learning from how others have done it.

DRF has some good writers who are able to do this.

Darktooth wrote:If there's anything that has bugged you about how dragons have been portrayed in other mass media or something you have always longed to see in that, please let me know. I want this to be a game which is enjoyed by dragon enthusiasts; I hope you'll share a little of the wisdom you've learned at DRF regarding the dragon RP experience with me.

As Astral said, it will make me wince if a wyvern is depicted as a dragon, and not a lot will accept this. I never let go of the fact that dragons are meant to be wise and majestic creatures, but a lot of media portrayal nowadays dared to make them 'kid friendly' and make them behave like humans dressed in a fur suit. One game that somewhat did that was a dragon visual novel called 'Angels with Scaly Wings', which, unfortunately, I cannot see them as dragons due to their behaviours completely reflective of that of humans (basically replace everyone in a town with a dragon version of themselves, and that's the game). What I would prefer to see are dragons exhibiting behaviour that is decently separable from that of human behaviour. I am fine with dragons establishing communities in addition to territorial breeds, but for the love of God , don't put them in houses with a table, chairs and a fireplace when they themselves can't build them! In my story, those that do establish communities either live like travelling nomads or they work with human allies to construct large huts and such, or they form 'pseudo-communities' where they are territorial but do gather together in one place to discuss certain affairs. I would also prefer dragons that are far more assertive and dominant, and absolutely hate dragons that behave like nothing more than simple slaves or servants in servitude to lesser species like humans (unless it is by force or trained from young). Forming pacts with humans is fine, but yeah, PLEASE make the dragon act like one, and not an overgrown dog. Drakengard did mildly okay in that regard (though I wish the dragons there are smarter) and Eragon failed miserably.

Celestia wrote:What do dragons represent for you guys?

Majestic, wise, powerful.

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Re: Seeking Advice from Dragon RPers for Upcoming Game

Post by Darktooth on Tue Jul 18, 2017 8:12 am

Celestia wrote:What do dragons represent for you guys?

A very good question. As a professor of mythology, dragons, to me, represent the ultimate symbol of totality, combining the eagle, which is the prime symbol of the heavens, with the serpent, which is the prime symbol of the earth. The dragons in our game call themselves the "True Children of Above and Below" - they soar higher than any other animal, yet delve the deepest caverns. They are the perfect animal, and as such, somewhat representative of Nature Herself, in all of her glory.

What do you think of that interpretation?

Sly wrote: Personally it highly depends on what sort of theme and setting you are going for in your game, as there is a list of life moments and encounters that you can choose from but cannot accommodate for all. Is this in Medieval, modern or futuristic times? Assuming you pick the former, you will have to be careful not to explore ideas that are already clichéd. Not to mention you need something that will be challenging to the protagonist. Events are highly dependent on backstory of your game. Encounters, just make sure it is something that is challenging. Note, because dragons are revered as almighty, majestic and powerful, you may have a difficult time finding the right balance between that view and interesting encounters. DRF certainly had some interesting plots going on in RPs, but again, unless I know the backstory you are proposing, it's really difficult for me to choose some samples that can cater to your requirements.

The setting is actually Bronze Age, when humans are just beginning their hegemony of the planet. Mother Nature still rules the world, but humans are a threat on the horizon. In the game, you are just a hatchling, at least at the start, about the same size as a wolf, and so the world contains plenty of challenges. It's mostly set in nature, so the majority of encounters are with animals, other dragons (there aren't many of those, as such a giant creature could be an ecosystem-ruiner if overpopulated, but the ones that are there are important) and a few other sentient races on occasion.

Sly wrote:As a dragon-POV writer myself, it comes down to reading books from published authors who did the same (Robin Hobb and her Rainwild chronicles, for example) before I gain some insight as to how to do it properly. I'm aware of different limitations to this, including the inability to express most emotions, restricted movements and the occasional large sizes. I went as far as removing their abilities to speak and just communicate via telepathy, or 'song', with only the gifted being able to hear their speech, and only allow them to speak in somewhat archaic language (but not Shakespearean). Not only does it take practice in getting to the perspective of a dragon with different ways of mobility and expression of emotions, but it will also require learning from how others have done it.

DRF has some good writers who are able to do this.

How interesting that you should say that! I've gone the very same route - dragons can't speak, but can communicate telepathically through images and sounds with other creatures. I even call it "song", like you, though my dragons use that word to describe pretty much any form of communication. Wolves are "singing" while howling, or even growling, for example. They also speak differently, although I'm not sure I'd call it archaically; perhaps "poetically", in the sense that they are careful with their communication and want it to be both clear and beautiful. Slang is meaningless for them, as they have no interest in presenting themselves as culturally different (and really, there aren't enough of them to form large sub-societies which produce things like slang).

Who are the people on this site whom you consider to be "good writers"?

Sly wrote: I would also prefer dragons that are far more assertive and dominant, and absolutely hate dragons that behave like nothing more than simple slaves or servants in servitude to lesser species like humans (unless it is by force or trained from young). Forming pacts with humans is fine, but yeah, PLEASE make the dragon act like one, and not an overgrown dog. Drakengard did mildly okay in that regard (though I wish the dragons there are smarter) and Eragon failed miserably.

Be at peace! Our dragons most certainly don't use tables and chairs, are quite cognizant of the fact that they are the most powerful and wise creatures on this planet, and would never, never stoop to being subjugated. Any pact at all would be something which our dragons would be hesitant to do, simply because they see pacts with lesser beings as inherently limiting and annoying. They would, however, help lesser beings on a case-by-case basis, so long as the lesser beings were deeply respectful and they were being properly compensated for their help.

So knowing that the time is Bronze Age, the player begins as a hatchling (though can grow to the size of, perhaps, a large elephant by the end of the game), and that the setting is largely natural, with humans playing only a very minor role, does that help? I'd still appreciate any suggestions regarding interesting encounters you have seen/would like to see, dragon culture, etc.
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Re: Seeking Advice from Dragon RPers for Upcoming Game

Post by Baldirak Sapiens Draco on Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:32 am

1. I don't do much combat RP but I have enjoyed the little bit I have done here on DRF. So I'd like to see Dragons having to battle others, be they fellow Dragons or some of the other races. Since there aren't a ton of Dragons in your game, there should be lots of encounters with those there are. As Hatchlings, it'd be nice to have to deal with nature in addition to larger animals. For example a bad storm which causes flooding or a tornado. A snowstorm if it's wintertime. For encounters with Humans, I agree they shouldn't be best buds, but enemies. However, it could be possible for the two to interact without hostility, depending on the situation. I have a Human character who disliked Dragons just like everyone else but gained respect for them when one saved his life. I also have a Dragon who was born in captivity and was a slave to Humans for his entire life until two sympathetic Humans helped him escape. That brings me to another event that might be interesting for players to experience. As Hatchlings, they could come dangerously close to being captured by Humans but manage to escape or maybe they could be captured, depending on which they choose.

2. As Sly and Celestia said, the key to realistic Dragon roleplay is to imagine yourself as a Dragon. This comes quite easily to me, despite the vast differences between Humans and Dragons--or any other animal for that matter. Of course it is hard for some, especially those new to RP, to do.

In regards to Dragon culture, here on DRF the universe was created by a Dragon god. We have full gods who are worshiped and seen as the immortal observers of the world. You'd never they actually existed unless something happened that could threaten the existence of Dragons. Then there are semi gods who are the defenders of the tribes. So maybe in your game the Dragons have their own religion?

To be honest, there isn't a whole lot about the way Dragons are portrayed that bothers me. Some don't like when they are made 'kid friendly'. Well why not? Kids naturally like to think that a creature like a Dragon would be friendly. I do agree they shouldn't be 'human in a dragon's body', though. I consider Wyverns to be Dragons because there are so many depictions of what a Dragon looks like... it just so happens that nowadays people have settled on a particular one and thus consider everything else to be related to Dragons but not Dragons themselves. The one thing I don't like is that 99% of the time Dragons are automatically evil and incapable of being good.

For me, Dragons represent power. They represent wisdom, nature. They represent everything we wish we could be.
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Re: Seeking Advice from Dragon RPers for Upcoming Game

Post by Rylatha on Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:26 pm

Hello! I have been meaning to reply to this, and I am happy I finally have the chance! I would also like to say that I am one of the teen members of the site and am currently thinking over many things I may want to have a career, and a scriptwriter just happens to be one of them. I am very happy I get to put in some input! This is exciting for me. Anyway, let's get to it!

In response to your first question
I think all that what my friend Baldirak said are good ideas. Since your hatchling will start off as the size of a wolf, there are bound to be other predators who may see them as potential prey. Humans are definitely a threat, and I can see them trying to kill your dragon. Since humans are becoming a threat, they would be willing to do anything for survival tools, I can imagine. . . That would include trying to hunt your dragon for their skin. Much like what Baldirak said, however, not all humans are the same, and not all may hate dragons, although they don't need to hate them in order to hunt them. One of my human characters has begun helping dragons and sabotaging trappers as a living, but seeing as this is the Bronze Age, humans like her are either impossible to find or very rare since everyone is trying to thrive and would claim anything that could be seen as a tool for survival. I'm sure there would be plenty of people who would fancy a set of armor made from a dragon. Or perhaps your dragon could be captured, like Baldi said, so they could grow to be larger(as a hatchling may not be enough for one person). Then the humans would have more hide to work with. Maybe your character could then try to escape!

I also think the natural disasters Baldirak mentioned is a good idea too. Not only during it, but also after. Lots of potential prey could have been lost due to the disaster, not to mention humans will be more desperate than ever.

In response to your second question
To be honest, this is tricky for me, and this is difficult to write too. Sometimes I think about other animals. . . Say a human raised a sword to the dragon. A dragon doesn't know what a sword is, and wouldn't refer to it as a sword, for example. It would see it as a threat. Much like what Sly said, a dragon wouldn't be able to express a lot of emotions.

There is this game that I played on my phone a few years ago, where you live as a dragon. It is more of a novel, and you read it and select choices as you go. I haven't played it in a while, but maybe you would like to see it in case you're interested? It is called Choice of the Dragon, and it's free.

This answer of mine is very short because this is something that is hard to put in words. I do think of animals when thinking of what dragons may actually feel, but I think a dragon is much more than just an animal, so I don't want to compare so much, if that makes sense.

Things that bothers me in media
I am not bothered that dragons are made kid-friendly, but I am bothered when a dragon is more like a human in a suit. I won't dwell on that though, since that topic seems to have been elaborated on already.

Anyway! Celestia brought up Skyrim, and I will bring it up again. I love the game, and I have even played it quite a bit for the past few days. However, something in the game bothers me. In case you're not familiar with Skyrim, it is a fantasy RPG game from The Elder Scrolls series where you play as a character known as the Dragonborn, a person born with the soul of a dragon. Your character starts off weak, but can grow to be strong. . . Very strong. So strong that you can kill a dragon in less than five hits. This is what bothers me. In my eyes, all dragons are powerful. In Skyrim, dragons are levelled by strengths. A Blood Dragon is stronger than a normal dragon, an Elder Dragon is stronger than a Blood Dragon, and so on. I know that the standard dragon is the weakest, but regardless I think that all of them should be very powerful. No matter how strong a human is, no matter the armor they wear, no matter the weapon they have. . . I don't think a human should have the power to take down a full-grown dragon on their own. Yes, it is possible for them to escape and maybe even give the creature a wound, but killing one alone? That doesn't really make me happy, but I enjoy Skyrim nonetheless.

Also, like Baldirak, I don't like how sometimes dragons are portrayed as being unable to do good.

In response to Celestia
To me, a dragon represents wisdom, power, and the capability to influence others for good.

Well, that is my input! I hope it helped!

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Re: Seeking Advice from Dragon RPers for Upcoming Game

Post by Wake on Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:31 pm

I'd help, but everyone already said lot of my own points, so I'll just make some brief remarks. First off, I'm with Baldi and Ry on your first question.

Ok now about how I think of being a dragon. First I'd think some terms in their speech would sound odd. Like calling any baby/child a "hatchling," or simply using "youngling" like Star Wars, calling fingers "talons," and maybe something like saying armor is a "second/metal hide." Though, in general, I don't mind how they talk. And when it comes to English, well that's a coin toss for me. I like the telepathic speaking, but I also like the idea of dragons being able to learn a broken form of English, or even full English after a lot of practice. I mean, listen to a crow or raven that's taught to speak. They sound pretty human.

As for the emotions they can show, it depends on your design. If they have ears, frills, or something else along those lines, you could have them show more emotion, like Toothless or my character, Wake. Otherwise, it should be hard for a non-dragon to pick up one how they feel.

As for dragons in media.... Well, firstly, I see wyverns as a kind of dragon, along with creatures like hydras, lindwurms, etc..., and can be called dragons, so there's that. As for other things, I don't like that they seem to always be an antagonist. I'd like to see some more heroic dragons, like Toothless or Spyro.

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