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Game Design Exercise: Farahlon Side Stories

06 Sep
Game Design Exercise: Farahlon Side Stories

I know it’s been some time since I’ve done this, but most of that time, I had better stuff to write. As in, in-character pieces about events actually happening in the Tower of Krasha. We got some new people involved in my particular circle, and I concentrated on that for the time being. But now, I return with the piece I promised two weeks ago, side stories of Farahlon. Most of these you won’t even get a breadcrumb for and you’ll have to stumble upon the right NPC in the wild. Doing these stories is not essential to your story or game progression, but they reward with some cool bits, including lore, battle pets and followers.

Gulag the Unbreaker

In the Primal area just north of Farahlon, you’ll find a gronn, tangled with vines and guarded by botani who are apparently attempting to turn him. A gronn infested by fara would be quite a fearsome enemy, so you intervene, killing the botani and freeing the gronn. Unlike what most gronn would do, this one doesn’t attack you, but offers you a quest. His name is Gulag and he has just recently grown out of the gronnling stage and was sent to the Primal area by his magnaron, Cragskaar, to prove himself. Cragskaar doesn’t care that Gulag could have died, as magnaron have no love for their children.

In the first quests you help Gulag kill some podlings, the task he was given by Cragskaar, and sift through goren corpses strewn about. Gulag wouldn’t tell you what he’s looking for, but after a while you finally find a living baby goren called just “Gulag’s Best Friend”. The little goren doesn’t talk and simply hugs Gulag and follows him (and you) around. Although Gulag’s initial task is done now, he knows it was a weak task given to him as a mockery and now wants to kill more Primals to prove himself.

As you delve deeper into the Primal area, you find not just the plant-people but some of their still-living victims as well. Some of those victims are Waverider Orcs or Farahloni draenei. They implore you to spare them and you have to convince Gulag they’re your people and should be spared. Gulag is surprised by how caring you care about your own and laments how Cragskaar or his brothers never shown him any love and finally agrees. Finally, in the heart of the area you find a Rangari leader or a Laughing Skull warrior who you rescue after killing a fara that was attempting to kill him.

With that done, Gulag invites you to tag along with him to Cragskaar Den where he will take the oath of a Breaker before his magnaron. In that oath, a gronn promises to break anything and everything that stands in his way. When you get to the place, Cragskaar voices his disappointment at Gulag bringing an outsider to the Den and orders him to kill you. Gulag refuses and even refuses to take the oath, as only you have shown him respect. Cragskaar promptly attacks and you have to defeat him with Gulag’s and his best friend’s help. In the end, the other gronn watching you scatter around and Gulag offers to become your follower – and his best friend your battle pet.

Flowerpicker Clan

Deep in the Fara Wilds, you find a lone old orc killing a plenty of Primals swarming at him. As you talk to him, you learn his name is Kolar, Warlord of the Flowerpicker Clan. Or rather, the last Flowerpicker. His clan has always been famed for their Primal-killing skills and was dubbed for that “flowerpickers” – as even picking flowers is a savage job when the flowers can bite you back. Unfortunately, the Iron Horde did not welcome the Flowerpickers and Grommash laughed them out. To gather strength, they delved into the Fara Wilds to collect resources to fight the Iron Horde. It was then that most Flowerpickers were slain and Kolar declared vengeance and that he won’t rest until all the Primals are dead, or he’s killed by them.

Kolar has noticed that the botani in the Fara Wilds are preparing some kind of ritual. Together, you run around the area and slay the botani channeling a spell at the Fara Heart, the area in the very middle of the Wilds, and destroy their minions. As you kill the last botani, however, you find Kalor, Kolar’s son, very much alive and kept caged for food for mandragoras. Kalor managed to kill the mandragoras sent to eat him and even tamed one to serve him. As Kalor reports to you, there are more Flowerpickers still alive in the area and you have to free them before the Fara turn them into plant monsters – the gravest dishonor for a Flowerpicker.

You manage to free three more Flowerpickers. Kolar is already invigorated by some of his clan surviving but still wishes to destroy those who would dare to bring such dishonor to his clan. Kolar wants to strike at the Fara Heart, but in his way stands a giant infested creature. You approach it and Kolar demands it to stand aside but it start speaking of his childhood and how he was always too hot-headed for a chieftain. It is then that Kolar realizes the monster has the mind of his father. Furious, he orders you to slay the beast. As you fight it together, the monster devours the other three Flowerpickers and incorporates them into itself, becoming stronger.

When it finally dies, the spirit Lokar, Kolar’s father, appears to you and thanks you for freeing him from the eternal disgrace of becoming a flower. Unfortunately, Kolar is gravely injured and dies before your eyes. The two spirits depart together and the lone surviving Flowerpicker, Kalor, has nowhere to go. He offers to join your service before he can start the Flowerpicker Clan anew. Kalor becomes your follower and his mandragora is now your battle pet.

Fel-Sage Rhaze

While you do your quests for the two Verroaks in the Overgrown Apexis Ruins, you will find there a shadowy amulet. The amulet is similar in design to those worn by the arakkoa outcasts, but the power infused in it is different. You speculate the power is fel in origin, which is unusual for arakkoa, and decide to report with it to Floon, who’s alive and well in this reality and is now working with the Order of the Awakened in Veil Krasha. Floon confirms the amulet was infused with fel magic and wants you to investigate its origins.

The first clue he has is the arakkoa outcasts some people noticed at Socrethar’s Seat, among the Shadow Council forces. He sends to go to the non-elite areas surrounding Socrethar’s Seat, especially arakkoa settlements, where you kill some of the Shadow Council arakkoa, collect their amulets and pretend for immersion’s sake you didn’t notice elite vrocks patrolling the area. You bring the amulets back to Floon who uses them in a ritual to bring forth a vision of the one who made them. The vision spawns Rhaze, who looks like a vrock, a fel-corrupted arakkoa with demonic wings. Rhaze strikes back at Floon even through that vision, killing him on the spot.

You complete that quest with Talonpriest Verroak, who informs you what happened to Rhaze in our timeline. He was the leader of the Dark Conclave and a Sethekk who decided to side with an Old God after they lost contact with Sethe. Verroak speculates that since in this timeline most of the Sethekk were destroyed already and the Old God is not in contact yet, the Dark Conclave turned to another dark source of power – the Burning Legion. It turns out the Dark Conclave sided with the Shadow Council and you have to stop them.

You are sent much deeper into Socrethar’s Seat this time, where you find Fel-Sage Rhaze meeting with Socrethar himself. The two notice your presence but deem you unworthy of their attention. Rhaze infuses his follower, Parshah, with fel magic, turning him into a vrock and sends him against you while he and Socrethar teleport to Shattrath, in preparation to become raid bosses in the Shadow Council raid. You kill Parshah and loot a fel-corrupted kaliri pet off of him and return to Veil Krasha with the news, which greatly troubles the Awakened. The spirit of Parshah, an unwilling participant in the Dark Conclave’s schemings, appears to you as well and offers to become your follower to help you destroy those who corrupted him.

 

These might not even be all the side stories, but they’re the ones most representative of what I would want to achieve with them. Some are foreshadowing future developments (that I imagined as well), some are just unrelated romps with comedy and drama, and all simply exist to make the zone richer and less linear.

Next time, expect more info on open objectives – a feature in Farahalon similar to bonus objectives but basically endless. Together with it I will describe another form of “endless” gameplay in Farahlon, the Apexis towers.

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Posted by on 06.09.2014 in Game Design, OOC

 

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