@Shaun: no need to apologize, it's my own fault. I should've found a way to phrase the topic so it would have been broader, but still involved similar ideas.
Asmahan 13y/o, Bantu, twelve fingers, round face, short white sarong, long reed-flute (ney), 4’8”
Malik 15y/o, Somali, lean and wiry, scars up and down his arms, red kilt, bare chest, small dagger (kris), 5’4”
Da Ge 16y/o, Chinese (Hui), light armor, musket, long bow, 6’2”
Sayyid 32y/o, Somali, four arms, cut, mighty beard, white kilt, pair of swords, 8ft
1.1 Out in the wild: Asmahan, Malik, and Da Ge have collapsed exhausted around a fresh kill. Malik is sitting next to the beast, the last of its blood arcing onto him. Asmahan is bandaging Da Ge’s forearm. The animal is a hybrid rino-smilodon: armor hide covering pound upon pound of agile muscle; the body is covered in puncture wounds.
Sayyid: [Off-panel] We've finally found our little miss’s talent -
1.2 Sayyid is holding the beast by its horn with his upper left hand; the sun is setting behind him, making him appear even larger. He’s looking at Asmahan [off panel.]
1.3 Asmahan has furrowed her brow, tightened her lips and the bandage. Da Ge is smirking. Sayyid towers over them.
Sayyid: Now, who can tell me how far back to Luma?
1.4 Da Ge gestures in the direction of the school with his free hand.
Da Ge: Going around the hell mouth - two days. Cut through the White Forest – not even half that.
1.5 Sayyid has ripped the horn off of the beast by tossing it over his shoulder. The beast is still in the air, beginning to descend; the horn is still in his hand.
Sayyid: Mister “One-shot-in-ten” feels bored? Crawl before you can walk, son.
2.1 Night: gathered around the campfire. The group has a 4-humped 6-legged camel, carrying some collected cargo. Everyone is asleep save Sayyid, who is sitting at the fire, but has turned to face out into the darkness.
2.2 Sayyid is staring directly through the camouflaged head of giant serpent.
2.3 The monster appears in front of him, its mouth open, spitting a viscous substance directly into his face.
2.4 The students all rise from where they had been sleeping: Asmahan is already on her feet, though still hunched over; Da Ge is pushing himself up with his good arm; Malik’s scrambling to get up.
Sayyid [Off panel]: Oohrah!
2.5 The four are facing off against the animal: Asmahan playing her flute, Malik stabbing it in the side, Da Ge with bow drawn, and Sayyid on top of its head striking down.
Asmahan: ♪♫ ♪♬
3.1 The three men are riding the camel, tied to it so that they don’t fall. Asmahan is holding the animal’s lead with one hand, and a torch with the other.
3.2 The three men are feverish, shivering, and slick with the serpent’s spit.
3.3 Asmahan turns her head to look up at their condition, wearing a nervous expression.
3.4 And she leads the camel into the White Forest. It is as though a primeval Amazon erupted from the dry earth; giant fungi grow on and around the trees, some tall enough to reach to the canopy.
4.1 Asmanah sits at the edge of a small pond. She is clutching her flute, staring at a rustling in the bushes. Her torch is stabbed into the ground. Her compatriots lay on the ground behind her. The camel lays beside, dead.
4.2 It was a wild donkey; it now drinks from the pool. Asmanah has relaxed.
4.3 Asmahan has almost fallen flat on her back, and stares at the animal [off-panel] wide-eyed. She holds herself up with one arm.
Donkey [Off panel]: Born from the earth, to the womb we return.
4.4 The animal is sitting like a human: one leg folded underneath it, the other bent at the knee; one ‘hand’ gesturing at the forest, the other supporting its chin.
Donkey: Toil as you might, their end is written. But will you join them here?
4.5 Reflected in the eye of the Donkey: Asmahan looks up awestruck. The torchlight dances in the creature’s eye.
Donkey: Render unto me their ashes. I will deliver you.
5.1 Sunrise: dew drips from leaves and sun beams pierce the canopy.
5.2 The edge of the forest yields to the typical dry brush, and finally, the wall of the school.
5.3 Asmahan exits the forest playing her music.
Asmahan: ♪ ♪ ♬
5.4 She looks back into the forest as the Donkey exits. The Donkey is carrying Sayyid and the boys on her back.
Asmahan: ♪ ♫ ♫
5.5 The animal’s face is blank, but the notes from the song are clear in its eyes.
Also, if the winner of the LAST contest wasn't such a newbie to the site he would have had a more thought out idea from the get go and no one else would have been forced to come up with something off the top of their head. Honestly, the topic isn't that bad. It's more time and personal crap that kept me from it this time around.
As far as this script, "Moonlight Sonata", VERY original! In one of the panels a name was slightly misspelled. That's me nitpicking. I couldn't find anything else to critique. Plus, talking donkey and music notes!
I just got a page breakdown and some snippets of dialogue. Can we have until midnight on the 9th? Until then, … critiques.
Fish dudes! Well, … Marsh Men. Gotta love their inclusion in anything, and the trend continues here. But, as many accolades as I want to give you for that, there were a few things that stuck out, like the misspelling of "dam". Or, maybe I'm wrong and it's some kind of older spelling I'm unaware of? Seems like a good opportunity to create a fantasy curse on par with "Duraset's balls!" that goes missed. Also, in this case, sound effects should come first. He's reacting to the darts.
I had to look up what you meant by "fetishes". Kind of unfortunate that it has a somewhat more skewed familiar meaning, since it works well here. Can't argue against learning new uses for old words.
Thelion HOWARD??? It worries me that it's either a joke that his name is a mundane one and I don't get it because of some meaning I didn't discern, or it's really that on the nose and I just think it isn't all that funny. If it's the latter, I apologize.
My last concern is the dialogue. You took the time to get everything visualized effectively, and build the tension through a piece largely without anyone saying anything, and then when they do it's difficult to read. ALL CAPS WITHOUT ANY PUNCTUATION WHATSOEVER HURTS MY EYES AND YOU WERE DOING SO WELL UNTIL I GOT TO THAT POINT.
But, all in all, I enjoyed it. Nice work.
Love the Muslim slant that you gave to all of this. It ties nicely into the theme while giving it a similar Arabian Nights vibe that works well and makes it fairly distinct. The time skipping from page to page took me a second to catch up with, but when I started to expect it by page 4, it wasn't an issue. Definitely feels like you've got a bigger world under construction, although, besides Sayyid being twice everyone else's age, I never really got the "school" aspect. He just comes across as being more outspoken than the rest, as opposed to them learning from him, particularly since he doesn't make it past the second page with his wits about him.
Two more things.
First, as a minor aside, "hell mouth" instantly reminded me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It's all I could think of, and I couldn't get the taste of it out of my mouth. I expected bats at least!
Second, this works well on its own, but it does not offer me a sense of closure. It is cool, and it does seem well-researched and thought out, but it feels too much like a part or a larger story. A coda or a, … can't think of the term, … omake? An extra little piece for the true fans, or those interested in minor details. Maybe a story you would include after someone off-handedly mentioned, "Oh, Sayyid and them? Yeah, they had a rough trip back", before continuing with the story. Then, when enough people asked, you went back and wrote what that rough trip was. I feel like I'm rambling, so I hope that makes even a little bit of sense.
@ Mike V
Where's my Level 60 DreadKnight Goes To Prom story? Make that happen.
@ Inkspot: Thanks for the crit. Unfortunately, 'hell mouth' does come from Buffy; there was a fair amount of research, but that name just seemed like the best fit (no bats, but there was a man-eating spider in an earlier version.)
This is supposed to be a stand alone episode in a longer story (I'm not writing it right now, but I may come back to it.) Sayyid is supposed to be more like a Marine SI than a teacher, but this was what I'd imagine a field exercise would look like in this kind of school. All in all, I'm pleased that you feel like there's a full world beyond this because it means I did a good job with my research and successfully avoided an info-dump.
@ Tommy: sorry, didn't see your note. Thanks! I tried finding that name, but I've made three passes now... I've just read this too many times to see something different, I guess.
Panel 4.1: It's spelled Asmanah instead of Asmahan. Again, that's me REALLY nitpicking haha. That's the kind of small mistake that, not only makes it into approved scripts, but also into novels quite often. I just thought I should try to help better it in someway, so I nitpicked.
Title: Welcome To The Dungeon
EXT: OUTSIDE THE BOARDING SCHOOL OF RPG.
PANEL ONE: A jet-black limousine pulls over to a curve; the right portion of the hood and front side of the vehicle separates the top right half of the panel diagonally. Alongside the portion of the vehicle, we see a grayish sidewalk dividing the bottom portion. The sleek black paint glistens in the sun.
CAPTION: We have arrived, Sir.
PANEL TWO: Against the rays of the sun, one of the limousine’s shiny doors opens, removing the makeshift solar shield.
PANEL THREE: We see two elegant black shoes, twins of coinage exporting. Climbing from the shoes, a pant-hem sits trained above, levitating slightly overhead. Attached to the wing-tips, a small curved heel rests on the edges of both.
PANEL FOUR: Two pitch-black nuances are submerged into ovals. From these two holes, a transparent image produces the images outside. Oswald Gray, an attendee at the school, stands partially in both of these ovals. Through the shadowy image, Oswald’s receding line encircles inside the middle of his hair, and the sun illuminates a reflective but blinding mirror on top of his head. Inside his hands, he holds a piece of paper, a flyer. Once again through the shadowy shades, a dark outline of the school rests in the back. In these ovals, only a giant blackish door, a snake head piece accompanying it, rests in the background. It is divided in half in each of the ovals, the left-side on the left, and the right-side on the right. Rubbernecking and seemingly seething, the metallic non-organic snake’s fangs pretend to be preparing for attack.
Oswald: Welcome, Chairman. Are you here for the-
Chairman: Take me inside.
Oswald (link): But, sir.
PANEL FIVE: The two ovals become lower than before. We can see the upper half clearly now, but the bottom is still covered partially with the shady ovals. It seems as if the background has magnified. (The first sentence of dialogue enters first on the top left corner.)
Chairman: Step aside.
Link: I know exactly what you’re doing.
Panel Six: The two ovals are completely gone, and the background is fully clear, but even closer than before. But now on top of the snake knocker, we see chrome outline of an older man, the chairman.
Chairman: You can’t hide anything from me. I know you’re type.
The Splash Panel takes up the top, and PANEL TWO, which is a little bit smaller than the Splash, occupies the bottom. Within PANEL TWO, PANEL THREE rests right in the middle.
INT: A DARK, DUSTY STAIRWAY
CAPTION: MEANWHILE, SOMEWHERE INSIDE THE SCHOOL.
Splash Panel: Kara and Henry are quickly descending down a stairway. Henry’s black crocheted cape bellows behind him, flirting with the wind. Reaching the bottom, he turns to his female companion who is still half-way on the stairs. The atmosphere is cloggy, and Henry who’s Claustrophobic, looks fuming. (The Caption sits on the top left of the page, and is what the reader should see first.)
Henry: Don’t you see; they have been lying to us!
Kara: So what! Don’t you think I know that?
PANEL TWO: The panel is divided diagonally, the top left corner is Kara, and the bottom right corner is Henry. Within this panel, only their faces are seen but a black border separates in between the two. Kara, blond hair and a sharp face, attribute to her status as a blue-eyed babe. On the other hand, Henry’s neutral brown hair and eyes achieve distinguished color tones. However, Kara, being optimistic yet annoyed, adds another contrast with emotions.
Kara: People try to save their own lives; there’s no question about it. But don’t you see, Henry? We would be as good as dead if it wasn’t for their help.
PANEL THREE: An image of the side of Henry’s fist hitting or resting against the right wall appears.
Henry: We’re already dead! Did you not see the incoming solders? They were everywhere!
Page 3: The panels are arranged in a descending order vertically as if it was a stair set going downward. All the way through PANEL THREE, a black border surrounds the picture. Unlike these Panels, PANEL FOUR stretches across the rest of bottom.
PANEL ONE: A brown boot moves downward to the next stair.
PANEL TWO: A second brown boot moves to another.
PANEL THREE: They stop moving, and we can see the edge or the bottom of the steps as the pair of boots stands upright.
Kara: Trust me; we’re going to get out of here, both of us.
Link: I promise.
PANEL ONE: Henry’s hands grip tightly onto Kara’s shoulder. We see only the hands and her shoulders.
Henry (Linked in the middle to other panel horizontally across): I can’t…
PANEL TWO: His right hand is seen falling down. Grayish swirls surround it giving the impression of motion.
Henry: I just can’t, Kara.
PANEL FOUR: The hand moves down her left arm, the grey fabric rubbing against the invading fingers.
Henry: I should have never trusted those idiots.
PANEL FOUR: His hand descends to her left hand, which is wrapped tightly in bandages. But yet, a ring still sits on top of one of the covered fingers.
Henry: I should’ve never trusted myself. It’s my fault that we are in this mess.
Panel Three: A feminine hand catches it before it falls.
Kara: But you can still trust me.
Page 5: This page is surrounded in darkness. It’s like someone has shut off the lights. Each of the panels brings forth a sense of emerging light. Panel TWO and the remaining Panels all seem connected in sequential order over a brief period of time.
PANEL ONE: The panel is submerged in darkness. Except for two large hands that are shown rubbing against each other, otherwise clapping, and the crevices are crusty and deep-rooted.
PANEL TWO: Two more hands join in clapping on the left and right, they illuminating more light in the darkness.
PANEL THREE: Four more hands join in clapping.
PANEL FOUR: And then, on the bottom of the page, the whole room was clapping.
A/N: I actually liked this topic. A Dungeon School isn't a topic I would normally do, but seeing as I had a free hour, I had to give this a try. Unusual topic and something I could try practicing twist endings with, I loved it. lol, I definitely need to continue practicing with these 5 page scripts, but this was a good practice topic.
1/ A giant rat. The broken, rotting teeth in its slavering maw gnash together. Its leathery tail whips back and forth, too heavy to lift completely off the ground, but powerful enough to haphazardly swing towards unsuspecting, and unlucky, targets. Clawed paws, mottled black with mange and filth, swipe out with reckless abandon. This creature has no care for what it strikes, so long as it strikes something, and can proceed to make a meal out of it. Smaller rats cluster and swarm around it, deadly through numbers, not size.
Myrgos, a young drow, has drawn twin cutlasses with blades as dark as his skin. His teeth are gritted as he shakes a small pile of rats off one boot, slashing at more, with eyes glowing red in the dark. His leather tunic is cinched with a large belt from which twin scabbards hang. His long, pale hair flies around him.
Eudona, a kentauride with short-cropped hair, wears a fitted corset on her very human torso, a leather sling around her back. Her longbow is pulled back as far as she can manage, fitted with three arrows at once, showing off the toned muscles in her arms. Several of her homemade projectiles have penetrated the monster's hide.
Farrar, an apprentice blacksmith, wields an enormous hammer, swinging as powerfully as he can, and connecting with the leg of the giant rat. He wears what might be thought of as traditional squire garments. Stereotypical farm boy, complete with shaggy mullet.
Violca, a gypsy sorceress in training, already possesses the enchanting beauty one might expect from someone so in tune with magic, both good and bad. The scarf in her hair, her flowing skirt, and the various trinkets she is adorned with jangle and dance about her as she suspends one nearly dead rat in some kind of spell, and a pile of decidedly dead rats with another.
Barely visible in the background is a pedestal, several feet high, with a small chest on it. Presumably, this is what they've been looking for, and what the rats have been guarding.
1/ The antechamber to the dungeons. This is the last refuge from the bizarre fortified village into the labyrinthine tunnels themselves. The four walls are rough-hewn stone with metal rings holding torches. One has a stone archway, large plaques scrawled in an unidentified language are on either side, denoting the various creatures and theoretical spoils that lie within, as well as the people who have ventured into the "dungeon", and made their way back out. The wall opposite has a bench and some staircases leading up to what must be the rest of the school. Dormitories and such.
Standing in front of the door is Bovik. He is a walrus of a man. Not fat, but large. Balding and barrel-chested with a bushy mustache, bulging arms lined with scars, and a face pock-marked by the flame of dragons, sting of unnaturally large insects, and any number of other maladies, he smirks. His clothes are simple, as are his needs. Years of adventuring have left him with the desire for little excess. From his belt hangs a mace, forged from iron, with a distorted, screaming face on each of its four sides.
Bovik: 'Ere we are, then. The Entrance. Yeh've gotta get to one o' th' store rooms on the first level, secure th' treasure, and make it back here 'fore th' time limit's up and we have to magick yeh all back. Otherwise, yeh get to continue trainin' as the wee pups yeh are, 'stead o' th' fancy-pants adventurers yeh believe yerselves to be.
2/ A shot of our four students, decidedly more nervous than we've previously seen them. They are lined up, shifting from one foot to the other, and displaying a number of nervous, fidgeting habits. Even though they've been preparing for this, it's the first time they've been sent in, and they imagined that Bovik would be going with them. He is not.
Violca: What if we, … don't come back? E-even with magick, I mean.
3/ Bovik stops to consider this. Slightly bewildered, slightly bemused.
Bovik: Then I've got fewer recruits to train, 'aven't I?
4/ This does nothing to assuage their nerves, and they steal glances at one another, trying to hide the fact that they are having second, third, and even fourth, fifth, and sixth thoughts about spelunking with nought but other unproven classmates and their own underdeveloped talents.
5/ He casually waves them off. This isn't anything he hasn't heard before.
Bovik: 'Sides. T'ain't nothin' in here that yeh can't handle. Bunch o' rats is all. Maybe a gob or two. Find their way up from th' lower levels, sometimes. Now, stop yer dawdlin' and get marchin', …
1/ The four walk down a tunnel. Little can be seen. Just faces and glimpses of metal reflecting what little light has found its way down here. Everything is wet and cold, smelling of mildew and neglect. It is a dungeon, after all. Myrgos' eyes glow, indicating his nightvision.
Bovik (Caption): Yeh won't find nothin' if yeh don't look fer it."
Farrar: Who has a torch?
Myrgos: Not me.
2/ Ever-suffering. This is what Farrar has to look forward to, being the unspoken leader of this ragtag group. He turns to face Myrgos, Violca piping up between the two of them before a physical altercation begins between the two young hot-heads.
Farrar: Har har. Such a help.
Myrgos: Well, you asked.
Farrar: You didn't have t--
Violca: Will this do?
3/ Violca traces a pattern in the air that lights briefly. Her fingertips and palm glow.
4/ The tunnel lightens up, illuminating everyone and everything around them, centered around the rays of light shining from Violca's outstretched hand. She uses her hand like a lantern, pointing it at whatever needs the most light at any particular time.
Farrar: Nicely done.
Eudona: Yes, now we can see death closing in on us.
5/ Myrgos sidles up next to Eudona. His hands are on the hilts of his cutlasses, still sheathed. She's nervously starting to nock an arrow. Regardless of the differences in race/species, these are teenagers, and it should be clear that there is a mild flirtation going on here. Whether or not it's reciprocated between both parties is a different matter.
Myrgos: What's the matter, my little filly? Scared of the dark?
Eudona: I advise you walk away from me. This is an enclosed tunnel and I wouldn't want anyone to be accidentally trampled.
6/ Myrgos throws his hands up.
Myrgos: I surrender! No need to get all up in arms, legs, mane, and tail.
Violca (OP): EEEeeeepp!!!
1/ Violca is clutched to Farrar. He holds the long handle of his hammer, using it like a walking stick almost. Her hand is still glowing. In front of them is the silhouette of a rat.
Violca: We're gonna die!
Farrar: Calm down. It's just a rat.
Violca: Really? Oh, ...
2/ All four of them stand together now. Farrar still has his arm around Violca, but she shines her light forward. Eudona's bow is pulled and Myrgos' hands are on his hilts. They are ready for action. The rat curiously walks towards them.
Rat SFX: squeek?
3/ Violca looks up into Farrar's face. Definitely teenagers.
Violca: I'm sorry.
Farrar: For what?
4/ Violca pulls away. All three of the others watch her closely as her carefree persona comes to the surface. She's laughing, chiding herself for being so timid.
Violca: Being scared of a rat! I mean, look at him!
5/ She turns her palm in the rat's direction. A monstrously grotesque rat fills the tunnel less than twenty feet away from them, smaller rats writhing and pouring across the floor and down the walls from around their enormous leader.
Violca: Almost cute and cuddly, really!
6/ Violca may not have looked behind her, but the faces of her traveling companions are hard to mistake. Terror. She stops prattling when she notices.
Violca: What? What is it?
7/ Violca turns to look over her shoulder. Trying to determine why her friends are suddenly so quiet. The gravity of their situation hits her immediately.
Violca: Oh. That's bad.
1/ The four young dungeoneers walk up the stairs, through the stone arch. They are ragged and tired, but victorious. Farrar carries the chest that was on the pedestal. Across from the entrance, a small bench is shoved against the wall. --- is fast asleep, snoring loudly, one arm dangling off the side. There might be a sentiment that he was waiting up for them if he weren't completely unconscious, not to mention that he sent them into a perilous dungeon.
2/ Shadows fall over him. Four of them.
Farrar: Wake up, Bovik.
3/ His eyes crack open. Just enough to see who has disturbed him.
Bovik: Ngh. Came back, did yeh? Bring me somethin' nice?
4/ He's met with four angry grimaces. Farrar hands him the box.
5/ They begin to walk away as Bovik shifts to a sitting position. None of them seem to care what might be inside their treasure, or that they might offend Bovik. As Bovik speaks, they stop dead in their tracks, Farrar looking over his shoulder, speaking for the group.
Bovik: Don't yeh wanna see what's in th' box?
Farrar: We already did. You sent us after an empty box.
6/ They climb the stairs in the antechamber, leaving Bovik to his treasure chest devoid of treasure, his bench, and the stairs to the lower levels. He crosses his hands behind his head, stretching out with the empty chest still on his lap, watching his dejected pupils exit.
Bovik: Hmph. Rookies.
Through your technical descriptions, I know we're looking at things through the Chairman's eyeglasses on the first page, that there's a specific layout you're looking for on the second, and the staircase idea on the third page, though you seem to have misplaced the fourth panel, but they get in the way of my reading the story.
As for the story itself, … I'm not sure what's going on. An imposing figure gets out of a limousine, looks towards the front of a large castle/school with a metal snake on the front door, and two faculty members have a hurried discussion about being lied to and incoming soldiers, and then a slow clap builds to a whole room clapping.
I'd like to give you a full critique and make suggestions, but with my limited knowledge of what's actually happening, it just isn't feasible.