1. Cornflower
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    Cornflower Member

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    Ideas for a test for a would-be prince

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Cornflower, Jan 25, 2011.

    Ideas for a test for a would-be prince? Ok the hero (who for most of the story doesn't know he is one-but he does found out),saves the heroine (with some help from the sleep-action heroine). They go into town (note: its the Prince's first time being there) and he says he is THE prince. But Subjects would be excepting impostors so they had created a test that only the true prince can pass (this is more than some writing test). What Would be some ideas to have in/on the test?
     
  2. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    "...But Subjects would be excepting impostors..."

    What do the subjects have to do with it?! They're - well, they're subjects. They have no say in such things.

    There have been many, real life, "lost princes" to take power. Many (most?) were eventually proven fakes, and most of those who weren't proven so were dogged by such suspicions.

    The test in real life is not for the subjects, but for the nobility and bureaucracy. And their "test" is "is he a warm body who will support our faction?"

    But anyways, I digress. On to your story.

    Without resorting to magic/miracles, there's always the old "birthmark" test.

    Or maybe, as a youth, the prince learned some esoteric knowledge/ritual/etc. ie Maybe the old viser hums a few notes of a tune, which the candidate-prince completes - preferably reflexively.

    Hope this helps.

    -Frank
     
  3. The Degenerate
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    The Degenerate Active Member

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    Only the true prince can remove the sword from the stone. Oh, wait...

    On a serious note, maybe in your world royal blood is gold. Only problem is that a simple pin prick won't reveal the goods. It only flows through a specific vein in his throat, so in essence, they could prove he is a prince, but it would kill him in the process. So they start chasing him with cleavers and pitchforks, and perhaps I'm getting carried away here if this is a light fantasy.
     
  4. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ever read The Princess and the Pea?
    You are best coming up with your own solution to your problem, that is part of the joy of being a writer.
     
  5. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Look up Owen Tudor ? Then Henry VII
     
  6. Headintheclouds
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    Headintheclouds Member

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    -have someone with magical abilities examine his mind and realise he is actually the prince
    -he has some ancient atifact of the royal line
    -yet another quest to retrieve an object which only the prince can use
    -order him to prove it, and let him huffily protest, and they realise only a true prince could be so bloody proud :p

    Just a few ideas
     
  7. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Come up with a concept almost as stupid as the princess and the pea, and then work in 50 pages earlier that it's an established thing that princes react to, so it doesn't seem so out of the blue. :p Bonus points if you can make it work with a logical explanation that doesn't seem out of place in the early part of the novel.

    Another thing would be rather than direct proof, have some sort of side-quest challenge that, by completing it, earns the respect of the people and therefore they're more likely to believe him, just because he seems like a nice guy. Slayin' a rogue dragon is one idea. In a lot of TV programs about travelling kids you have a village of the week with its own problems. Look at some of the plot gimmicks they used (usually some sort of natural or unnatural threat to the village).

    I think the story about the Gordian knot also had something to do with proving kingship. Might want to look that one up.
     
  8. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Have him enter Monty Python's Twit Olympics and if he wins he must surely be of royal blood.
     
  9. Tesgah
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    Tesgah Member

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    The test could be subtle, as in the Prince can be testet by the villagers without him knowing it's a test. Say if all Princes in your story is honerable and selfless, the villagers could test this by seeing if he's willing to risk his life for a random civillian (damsel in distress kinda thing), though he wouldn't really be in any real danger, but the Prince does not know that.

    There are many different ways to do it. Just brainstorm a little, you'll get the perfect test eventually ;)
     
  10. Cornflower
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    Cornflower Member

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    I might as well mentioned this Since the prince was 18 months old he been hiding in the woods and his future subjects had to deal with a very, mean, king who made NOTHING better for the kingdom. Not able to grown food, no almost no water, no festivals almost always at war somewhere or other.

    So after 23 years of that would you think his subjects would want to know he is the real one?
     
  11. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    Nah, that's too easy. First he has to slay the fire-breathing dragon in the cave where the sword is hidden. The sword is a magical talking blade that never shuts up. The true test is suffering through its wit and not going insane. :D

    Sword:
    "So, are we gonna kill something now?"
    "I know! Find someone rich, and kill them! Then find someone richer, and kill them too! Hack and slash your way to fortune! Whoo-hoo!!"
    "I'm sharp, I can come up with something... OK... find someone who knows what you want to know and threaten to kill them! Yeah! Then kill them! Woo-hoo!!!"
    "My brother's a +12 Hackmaster!"
    "You know, my last owner always said I was 'sharp' and 'edgy'. He was such an ass."
    "YOINK!!! Got your nose!"

    Anyone that has ever played Baldur's Gate II and remembers Lilarcor knows the pain/hilarity I am talking about. :)

    After 23 years of that the peasants wouldn't really care who rules over them so long as they can continue on with their daily lives unmolested.

    The best way to show the prince as a better person than the king would be to have him do something beneficial for the community such as slay a dragon, deal with the local bandits terrorizing the town, rescue the farmer's daughter from some great calamity, etc. You already said he saved the main heroine, didn't you? That should already gives him a foot in the door towards their good graces.
     
  12. Cornflower
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    Cornflower Member

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    The subjects really had no daily life since they were unable to grow food, there was no festival and the women were always afraid of their husbands and sons dying since the kingdom always in a war somewhere or other. He slayed A dragon already (part of rescuing the heroine) and a half-human half-Octopus. The only thing he has he is wearing from his great-great-great-great-grandpa Phillip Charming.
     
  13. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    Unless this is a children's book, I suggest rethinking your plot so there is a bit more detail.

    A kingdom depends upon its subjects to flourish. Farmers grow crops to eat and/or sell to merchants. Merchants and tradesmen sell their wares to the common folk. And all of them pay taxes in either money or crops.

    Farmers that can't even grow enough to feed themselves will not survive a winter. A king won't get more funds from raising taxes if his subjects have no more money to give. In fact, that would probably just cause riots and unrest. If a king can't buy his goods within his own kingdom, then he has to import them from somewhere else which makes it cost even more.

    Anyway, that's me taking your words at their value.

    Since your MC has already killed a dragon and a half-octopus thing, why don't you have him present trophies from either one of those things? Like the dragon's horns or one of the half-octo-thingy's arms? Peasants aren't generally known to go out and kill that stuff. :D
     
  14. Cornflower
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    Cornflower Member

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    Your insulting my story and Disney movies calling it a children's story.
     
  15. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    Awesome! If the need to insult you ever arises, then I am well prepared! I am only joking though. :D

    I was just commenting on the simplicity of your explanation earlier. You may have already thought deeper into your explanations than what you posted for all I know.

    Anything I post here is just a suggestion. I'm not saying you NEED to do what I say or I'll press this big red button of DOOM FOR CORNFLOWER! that sits on the corner of my desk. :)

    Don't make me press the button. :cool:
     
  16. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Was going to say, I really hope you're exaggerating their hardships. :/ Peasants have revolted for a lot lot lot less than that. /says the student of medieval history.

    People aren't a big dumb mass that does what the king says. Always think of each and every person in your story as an individual character. My favourite example of this would be in one of the big budget movies with massive battle scenes (may even have been Lord of the Rings, gods know I watched the commentaries and extra features enough times as well as the movies :p) they programmed the army of beasties to attack, but gave them a fair amount of AI - and much to their frustration half of the orcs turned tail and ran. :p

    Unless there's a spell on your people restricting their AI much the same way as those film-making guys had to to make their orcs attack, they're going to think for themselves. Imagine yourself in their place, and the only story is their own personal struggle. If the main character was a villager at the beginning of the oppression, I'm sure they'd have organised an uprising LONG before your prince came along.
     
  17. demented-tiger
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    demented-tiger Member

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    I think can understand the hardships: the people intentionally grow just enough crops to pay the taxes and starve themselves so the men and boys are too weak and malnourished to be drafted into the armed forces. You say the people are afraid to go to war? If they appear poorer than they are, they won't get drafted because they wouldn't make good soldiers - they couldn't even reach the battlefield, where they could at least be cannon - I mean, arrow - fodder. Still, you might want to re-evaluate the villager's hardships.

    Now, I have a character who is himself a prince - a crown prince and heir to the throne - who although he is the son of the reigning monarch, looks and acts like a commoner. He even holds a commoner's job while he waits for his mother to retire and pass the crown to him (originally, he was supposed to be a member of a royal line long thought dead, but that was too complicated). What marks this character from the other commoners is his signet ring which he wears at all times. It is enchanted to recognize only him and his named heir as its rightful owners, and will physically change size to deny itself to anyone else.

    Suppose your prince bears an article that only the rightful king may wear. The villagers could try to wear it, but they discover they cannot, and only the prince can. Later on, the people discover the current king posses a similar article to legitemize his reign, but it is a fake.
     
  18. Cornflower
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    Cornflower Member

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    I'm going to have to double think the hard-ships. I mean it would be unlikely for Anne to get work at an inn when there's almost no food in the first place. Wouldn't his (the Prince)'s guardian(s) have hid it someone where until the prince knows he is one? Considering his parents been dead for 23 years.
     
  19. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    Also consider this for thickening your plot (consider it "story roux").

    After 23 years, many of the original officials will be dead. Some long so. In fact, the officials in their prime will have had their whole career pass by without having an official royal on the throne. The young footsoldiers, pages, grooms etc will have never known life with an official royal on the throne.

    I mention this as a way of adding depth to your plot.

    Are there officials who are able to "get along just fine without a royal, thank you very much."? Will the younger ones know how to act? Certainly, you can have the people, on the whole, happy for the return, but it can add to your story to not make this universal.

    -Frank
     
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  20. Cornflower
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    Cornflower Member

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    there is a fake royal on the throne (until the battle scene with dragon/octopus).
     
  21. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    This sentence needs commemorating in some way. :p It's the sort of thing I would make my Facebook status or MSN name if I had said it.. Ha ha ha :D
     
  22. Cornflower
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    Cornflower Member

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    Lets just say the fake royal, ex-official (before he took the crown, he was a very young official to the Prince's parents and so is/was a Double-Double female agent) and the dragon/octopus is the same "person".
     
  23. Arkitekt
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    Arkitekt New Member

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    Here is my train of thought on this...

    Long-lost Prince shows up in random village after 23 years.
    Prince: "Hi, I'm the long lost Prince! I see my dastardly brother, the King, has run this Kingdom into the ground. I'm here to take over, you have to believe me!"
    Villagers: "Maybe you are the Prince, maybe you aren't. That doesn't really matter. We have no intention of supporting yet another unqualified ruler simply because he's related to someone. Prove to us you are worthy of being our leader, that you have what it takes, and that you have our best interests at heart, and we may support you."

    Then, very significant parts of the story would involve the Prince taking up various causes or performing quests to help the people. In my mind, this is how it would realistically work. From the ground up. He wouldn't just saunter into town, claim his birthright, and immediately have tons of support for his uprising... not very realistic, no conflict, and no character development there.

    Also, if I were one of these villagers, I would wonder: Where have you been all this time? If you are such a great leader and want to rule us, why did you abandon us for so long? What have you been doing for the last 23 years that makes you think you even CAN usurp your brother and guide this kingdom to prosperity???

    Seems to me, the Prince would have a challenging road ahead of him, and alot of 'splainin to do ...
     
  24. Cornflower
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    Cornflower Member

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    he was a baby when he had to be taken into hiding. and the Karan the Terrible is no relation to the Prince. By the time the Prince shows up (with/his bride-to-be--my character) Karan is dead (spoiler: Karan is the dragon/octopus thing the prince will fight with some sleep-action from my character)
     
  25. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    You have to find a way to explain this to the villagers so they believe him, not us. :)
     

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