Reverse Ikesai

Story Idea

Imagine an inversion of the classic ikesai plot. Instead of being reincarnated as the hero of a World of Warcraft-like fantasy world, the main character is the only person we meet who did not reincarnate from another world. They could be the child of a couple who left adventuring to raise a family, even though it meant living as if they were non-player characters (NPCs). Perhaps they defied the common wisdom that any non-reincarnated individual would be “just another NPC.” And those people would not be entirely wrong: Their child would grow up without a starting class, being neither a Warrior, Wizard, Thief, or Sage, only a person.

But this origin grants the main character the ultimate beginner’s mind. They inherited no prejudices about monsters nor any unfounded mental models of magic. Where others would attack a goblin on sight for the XP, they try talking to it. Where schools would teach the Fire/Fira/Firaga hierarchy as gospel, they discovery mana calculus. Where others power-game the skill point system to min-max their attack power, they have no predefined skill tree at all and choose instead to refine their social skills and make allies by training at what makes someone into a good friend. They take nothing about the established systems for granted.

The main character would be the ones to discover that the world’s similarities to MMOs are superficial, at best, or nothing but unexamined social convention at worst. It would turn out that the reincarnated people are the naive ones. Perhaps the main character discovers that much of the magic in the world functions only because people think it works that way and yet, when exposed to disbelief, that magic fades away. A terrifying thought for those whose power over nations depends upon spellcraft but a revolutionary change for someone who want to bring technology to those unlucky enough to spawn into the “wrong” starting class.

This feels like a meditation on openness, awareness, prejudice, and acceptance worth exploring.

(Original post.)