... Welcome To ...
You sat back in your chair as the PC glowed with a familiar wash of blue and green hues. The intro music--a placid piece--wafted out of your speakers with an air of familiarity. You hadn't been playing Lost Horizon for long--in fact, anyone would still consider you a noob--but it was already a welcome escape from the hassle of everyday life. You settled in for at least a couple hours of adventuring.
Lost Horizon was a fantasy MMORPG that you'd recently gotten hooked on, after a friend recommended it. It wasn't the biggest game on the market, but it boasted a respectable player base of roughly two million, and a very active community. In the game, you created an avatar character and went on seafaring adventures to unknown islands, fighting monsters and obtaining loot. It wasn't all that different from your typical Final Fantasy, but with a refreshing nautical theme and a sense of genuine adventure. In fact, despite the game's popularity, many secrets persisted, and the developers had hinted more than once that nobody had yet managed to reach the world's endgame zones, where the final bosses presumably reside.
After a minute or so of loading, you found yourself staring at your avatar character on the harbor of Sanctuary Island, the place where all new adventurers start out on your server. Sanctuary Island was a monster-free zone where players could rest, relax, and trade stories. There were shops, blacksmiths, virtual eateries, and all sorts of digital entertainment. It was also where people posted notices to join Guilds, which were groups of players that banded together to go on adventures. Once you registered as a Guild, you were given a ship of your own, and could sail to neighboring islands in search of danger and treasure. Of course, all the surrounding islands were relatively easy zones, but the farther you sailed, the darker the waters got, and the more mysterious as well... there were many "urban legends" of vanishing islands, giant sea monsters, and wandering dragons effortlessly wiping out even high-level parties. No one really knew what lay at the very edges of Lost Horizon, and the game's unfinished world map reflected this.
But you didn't need to worry about that just yet. In fact, you hadn't even bothered to join a Guild yet. You wondered if you should check other players' postings, or make one of your own instead. But who would want to join a total noob's adventuring party? As you turned these questions over in your mind, you wandered aimlessly around the plaza, where dozens of players had already congregated, allowing the game's soothing sounds and visuals to relax you. And then, you began to feel strangely tired. Sleepy, even. Which was weird. It wasn't that late, after all. You considered the possibility of logging off for the evening, but before you could, all you can hazily remember was dozing off in your chair, with the sounds of Lost Horizon still drifting out of the monitor...
... That was the last thing you remember of the world as you knew it. And that was a few days ago.
After you fell asleep in your chair, you woke up in an entirely different place. The first thing you noticed was the smell of the sea: the salty wind biting at your face. After that, you felt the hot sun on your brow, and heard a series of murmurs around you. As your eyes adjusted to your new surroundings, you realized that you were somewhere outdoors, surrounded by people. All of you seemed to have just woken up from a deep sleep, and were sitting or lying on the cobblestone ground. You looked up and saw an impossibly blue sky, almost unclouded, but the glare of the sun forced you to cover your eyes.
And that's when you realized that the hand you were using to cover your eyes... wasn't your hand. You lifted your palms and stared at them, dumbfounded. You used them to feel your face, your body, your clothes. An ice-cold wave of dread came over you. This wasn't your body. This wasn't your body at all!
As you looked around in disbelief, you realized that everyone else seemed to be going through the same shocking realization. And, even more terrifying, you realized that not everyone around you was human. Some had fur and tails poking out of their trousers. Some were small and pudgy, almost child-like in size. Even more alarming, some had horns and scarlet skin, bearing the appearance of devils. You wanted to scream, run, escape, but where? You weren't you. But then it hit you, all at once. You knew who you were. You knew whose body this was. And you knew exactly where this place was located.
Somehow, you had been transported into the world of Lost Horizon, and you were inhabiting the body of your in-game character. You even recognized your surroundings: this was the plaza of Sanctuary Island, the starting area. The familiar background music was gone, but everything else was there.
In the next few hours, there was a storm of emotions among the players: panic, alarm and confusion; but also elation, excitement, and disbelief. Everyone began to explore their new situation. It was clear that everyone who had been playing Lost Horizon on that fateful night--including you--had been somehow transported into the game. Some people wondered if this was some kind of VR update; though if it was, the developers hadn't bothered promoting it. Moreover, whatever this was, it was way more realistic than any VR technology you'd heard of: you were literally in the body of your character. You could move, talk, eat, and sleep. You experienced hunger, heat, cold, pleasure and even pain. For all intents and purposes, this felt utterly and completely real.
Some people took this as cause for celebration: after all, what could be more exciting than your favorite video game becoming reality? You could go on adventures now! Real adventures, with your friends! You could be whoever you wanted! Players had found themselves transported into the bodies of their characters, which in some cases were of a different gender, or a totally different species. The experience was impossible to describe. Some people wanted to drink, party, be merry, and test the limits of their new existence.
But this celebratory atmosphere only lasted a few hours, as the true nature of their predicament became clear. There was no "log out" option to be found. In fact, you couldn't really bring up the game menu, because the game was the world now. Some of the game's mechanics--such as equipment, items, stats, and skills--could still be accessed and modified, but you couldn't exit your session. People began to try all sorts of things: voice commands, elaborate hand motions, talking to NPCs. But the game's NPCs--the shopkeeps, blacksmiths, and tavern maids of Sanctuary Island--simply repeated their pre-programmed game dialogue. They were highly realistic pieces of A.I., nothing more. If you implored them to log you out, or if you told them you were trapped in the game, they looked at you as if you were crazy. They only responded properly to standard game commands.
And this is when the real panic started setting in. People wanted out; they had lives and responsibilities in the real world. Nobody was sure of how much time had passed, though it seemed to be equal to the real world, as high noon became dusk on Sanctuary Island. There was screaming, threats, and desperation. And then there was a certain, looming question: could you die in this version of Lost Horizon? And what happened if you did? Some speculated that maybe dying was the way of "logging off," but most didn't dare to try. Dying was painful, after all, and pain felt real now. Fortunately Sanctuary Island was a monster-free zone, where PvP wasn't allowed. Perhaps the answer to this mystery could be found in the surrounding islands, but who dared sail there and risk injury or death?
However, this mystery was soon solved for everyone when a particularly desperate player, overcome by panic, flung herself off the pier and into the ocean, where she drowned. Other players rescued her and attempted to revive her, but it was too late. As soon as her health bar hit zero, her body vanished into thin air. People became distraught. Was death equal to erasure? Or had that player managed to boot herself back into the real world? There was no way of knowing, until a pair of clever players visited the Sanctuary Island Church, the place where dead characters were taken to be revived. There they found the drowned girl, who had "respawned" on the Church altar. She said she remembered nothing after drowing; she simply woke up in the Church, completely fine, though missing her equipment.
This answered the first, and most pressing question for all. It seems like dying wasn't an escape from the world of Lost Horizon, but it wasn't permanent, either. Dead players simply respawned in the nearest Church, albeit having lost their equipment. It stands to reason that this would also happen if players died while fighting monsters on other islands. And at this point, players began to feel a little more adventurous. Perhaps the answer to finding a way out of Lost Horizon was in the mysterious "endgame," the frontier islands. Perhaps you had to win the game in order to escape it.
And thus, after a couple days of uncertainty and exasperation, the hustle and bustle of Sanctuary Island returned to something approaching normality. Players began to organize themselves into guilds, register for ship licenses, and venture out into the world. Since there was no apparent way out of the game to be found on this island, there must be an exit in the far reaches of the ocean. Unfortunately, every trapped player's character had been kicked back down to level 1, with nothing but the most basic equipment to boot, so everyone was more-or-less starting from scratch.
Some players couldn't handle the terrifying reality of their predicament, and chose to remain on Sanctuary Island, hoping that somebody else would find the answer. Others are still hoping to find a glitch or bug in the code, or a way of contacting the outside world. But the vast majority of players, even in the face of this great uncertainty, have decided to do what they do best: adventure.
And that leaves you. You're still shaken and confused by your new situation, but a couple days have passed since then. You're beginning to wonder what you should do. Should you wait it out in the safety of Sanctuary Island? Or should you form a Guild, and venture out into the world to find the answers yourself? After all, it seems you have all the time in the world...
You are a regular person who's somehow found themselves trapped in the world of Lost Horizon, a fantasy MMORPG. Moreover, you are in the body of your in-game character. There doesn't seem to be a way out of this situation. Here's what you know so far:
- Currently you are located on Sanctuary Island, a monster-free zone for beginners. There are roughly 5,000 other players on the island with you, all of whom were playing on the night of "the event." Players do not seem to be entering or exiting the game at this time. Attempts to contact players on other servers of the game have so far been unsuccessful.
- You are at level 1, and have only basic equipment. You have no money, but Sanctuary Island offers free meals and accomodations for all players.
- You seem to have all the physical features and capabilities of your in-game character.
- Time seems to pass normally in-game: days turn into nights, and nights into days, at a normal rate. It's too early to tell, but it doesn't seem like anyone's body is aging.
- Dying in-game causes you to respawn in the nearest Church. However, you lose all your equipment.
- If you want to leave Sanctuary Island and explore other locations, you'll have to form a Guild with other players and apply for a ship license. Then, you can use your ship to visit other islands, and return to Sanctuary whenever you like.
If you want to participate in the RPG, you'll have to complete two sign-up templates: one for your real-world (IRL) self, and one for your in-game self, which you are currently trapped in.
Real-World Character Sign-up
It's worth mentioning that you currently don't know what is happening to your body in the real world. You presume you are in some kind of deep sleep IRL.
Appearance: A short description of what your character looks like IRL. Remember that your real-world appearance is not the same as your in-game self, which you are currently trapped in.
Personality: A general description of what you act like IRL. This may be similar, identical, or totally different to how you act in-game.
Background: A short description of who you are IRL, and what you'd been doing with your life before getting trapped in this situation.
In-Game Avatar Sign-up
You are currently trapped in the body of your in-game Lost Horizon avatar, which may be similar or totally different from your real-world self.
Name: This may be the same as your IRL name, but it probably isn't.
Age: Again, this may be totally different from your real age.
Gender: Your character's gender may not be the same as your real-world gender. A lot of players have found themselves in a different-gender body.
Race: Your real-world self may be human, but your in-game self may be one of Lost Horizon's fantasy races. Scroll down for a description of the playable races.
Weapon Type: Your character's weapon type determines which weapons they can equip, and which skills they can use. Scroll down for a description of the available weapon types.
Appearance: You can use a website like Picrew or DMHeroes to create a portrait for your character, but you must also describe their appearance in writing.
In-Game Persona: Most people don't act the same way in MMOs as they do IRL. Here you can describe how your character's in-game behavior differs from their real-world personality, if at all. You may also want to write about how your character feels regarding their current situation: are they scared, confused, excited, or all of the above? Are they in a hurry to get out, or willing to take their time?
There are four playable character races in Lost Horizon. Each race has a special trait or bonus ability inherent to them. Though there are shops on Sanctuary Island where you can change your character's hairstyle and minor details, you cannot change your character's in-game gender or race.
Example Images: Male | Female
Humans in Lost Horizon are very similar to real-world humans, but may have unnatural hair and/or eye colors. According to the in-game lore, they are the most common and enterprising race, capable of excelling in almost every profession.
Human players are by far the most common in Lost Horizon. They're stereotyped as "vanilla" or "boring" by other races, but few can deny their resourcefulness.
Bonus Trait: Handy: Humans can carry up to 8 items with them. Other races can only carry 5.
Example Images: Male | Female
Beastkin are humanoids with animal traits, such as fur, fangs, claws, and tails. They come in many different colors and fur patterns. According to the in-game lore, they are a proud, physically dominant, and agile race.
Beastkin are a fairly common player race, and enjoy a reputation of competence and self-sufficiency. However, some refuse to work with players of the other races.
Bonus Trait: Sensory: Beastkin have a superior sense of smell and hearing, which allows them to detect traps and hidden monsters.
Example Images: Male | Female
Liliputs are short, cute humanoids with round faces and button noses. Beginner players tend to confuse them with human children. Don't be fooled by their appearance, though; they are physically as strong as the average human, and often have a surprisingly mature personality.
Liliputs are a somewhat uncommon sight, but enjoy the best reputation among all players of Lost Horizon. They're typically helpful, reasonable, and seasoned adventurers.
Bonus Trait: Truesight: Liluputs can see clearly in the dark. They can also see through magical illusions and concealments.
Example Image: Male | Female
Ogres are muscular humanoids with horns and tails. They come in various colorful skin tones, including bright red, forest green, sky blue, and royal purple. According to in-game lore, they are the physically strongest, most warlike race.
Ogres are the least-played race in Lost Horizon, perhaps due to their monstrous appearance. Some NPCs will react with special dialogue when approached by an ogre player.
Bonus Trait: Hardy: Ogres are immune to the status ailments Poison and Paralysis.
While other RPGs use classes or job systems, Lost Horizon makes you choose a weapon type for your character, out of a possible ten. Your character's chosen weapon type cannot be changed. Characters can only equip weapons of their chosen type; any other weapons will uselessly slip out of their hands.
When you begin your adventure in-game, you will be assigned some basic starting equipment, including a basic weapon of your chosen type. As you level up and progress, you will obtain better weapons of the same type, with additional skills and bonuses.
Each weapon type has a unique bonus trait that distinguishes it from the others. These traits remain constant across all weapons of that type. Choose your weapon type wisely.
Though I will not forbid multiple players from choosing the same weapon type, it would be better if everyone picked a different one, for variety's sake.
Sword and Shield
This weapon type allows you to wield a sword in one hand and a shield in the other. It's a balanced choice, popular among beginners.
Bonus Trait: Deflect: You can use this weapon's shield to block projectile attacks, such as arrows.
This weapon type allows you to wield large, two-handed weapons, such as greatswords and battle axes. It's a fearsome and imposing weapon type.
Bonus Trait: Resolve: These weapons' attacks cannot be blocked, parried, or interrupted by enemies.
This weapon type allows you to wield long, two-handed blades, such as sabers and katana. It's a stylish and flashy weapon type.
Bonus Trait: Sharpness: These weapons' attacks can cut through enemies with tough or scaly hides.
This weapon type allows you to dual-wield a pair of daggers, short swords or claws. It's a fast-paced and lightweight weapon type.
Bonus Trait: Freeclimb: These weapons can be used to climb vertical surfaces, or the backs of giant monsters.
This weapon type allows you to dual-wield a pair of gauntlets or braces that fit over the hands, and enhance your punching attacks.
Bonus Trait: Powerlift: These weapons enhance your physical strength, allowing you to lift and throw heavy objects such as boulders.
This weapon type allows you to wield two-handed polearms, such as lances, halberds, and scythes.
Bonus Trait: Polevault: You can use these weapons to pole-vault over chasms, or into the air to hit flying enemies.
This weapon type allows you to wield grappling weapons, such as whips and chains. It's a popular choice among female players.
Bonus Trait: Snatch: These weapons can be used to steal held items from enemies, as well as deprive them of their weapons.
This weapon type allows you to wield heavy, two-handed bludgeoning weapons, such as hammers, maces, and clubs.
Bonus Trait: Breaker: These weapons can be used to destroy certain obstacles, and shatter enemy armor.
This weapon type allows you to attack at a distance by shooting arrows. It's the only long-range weapon type.
Bonus Trait: Quiver: You can equip and switch between different arrow types with special effects, such as Fire Arrows, Bomb Arrows, etc.
This weapon type allows you to cast magic spells. It's the only weapon type that allows your character to use magic.
Bonus Trait: Spellcaster: By equipping spells onto your staff, you can cast them as many times as you like.
Accessories and Items
Aside from weapons, characters can use Accessories and Items. Accessories are equippable pieces of gear, which provide various skills and bonuses. Items are single-use consumables, such as potions, bombs, keys, and traps. Once the RPG has begun, your character will be assigned some starting equipment, which will include accessories and items, but you don't need to worry about those for now.
I'm looking for around ~8-10 players for this RPG, but I'm willing to expand that number later down the road if one of the (more experienced) players is willing to co-GM with me. For now, sign-ups are still open.
1. Monster Guy / Stella Gold / GoldStar (Liliput Staff)
2. Skillfulness / Quinn Mazrin / MazzieQ (Liliput Bow)
3. InnerFlame / Alexander Nathaniel Thornton / QT-Pi (Beastkin Dual Fists)
4. VampirateMace / Declan / DemonBoi_67 (Ogre Spear)
5. Sketchie / Camilla Cartwright / Stardew Butterfly (Liliput Hammer)
6. Schade / Rachel Seo-Yeon / CatBoy08 (Beastkin Dual Blades)
7. Tangeh / Wesley King / Shiori Queen (Orc Heavy Blade)
8. Dragalge / Priscilla Seinford / Madamt Quixoticle (Human Staff)
9. GoldenHouou / Bradshaw "Brad" Tanner / Hotbabe69 (Beastkin Whip)
10. NPC / Santiago Cisneros / Santi_99 (Human Bow)