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The Royal Archives => TSL General Archives => Topic started by: TheReturnofDMD on July 03, 2010, 08:27:58 PM

Title: The Black Cloak Society
Post by: TheReturnofDMD on July 03, 2010, 08:27:58 PM
After playing KQVI, whenever you first did, what were your thoughts on the Black Cloak Society? And now?

I mean as far as, what do you think the nature/composition of the group was--Was it a simply a group of evil guys? Or was it a group of magically inclined bad guys? What were their intentions? Did they have anything to do with the past ills of the KQ games or was that unconnected?

In your vision, who are they and what is their goal?

Who is Shadrack? Is he a wizard? Is he the leader of the BCS? Is he simply just another member, on par with say Mordack and Alhazred, reporting to some unseen leader?

I always thought the BCS had so much potential...Someone should really interview Jane Jensen (since when asked Roberta didn't even remember the Black Cloak Society, so it must've been Jane's idea) and ask her what her intentions and vision for the group was.

But what about the fans here? What is your vision of Shadrack and the Society of the Black Cloak?

PS--As an aside, did anyone ever wish we got to learn more about that tiny village we see when Graham is swooped up by the Roc in KQV?
Title: Re: The Black Cloak Society
Post by: Baggins on July 03, 2010, 08:38:39 PM
http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/Society_of_the_Black_Cloak
Well, that's pretty much straight for information from KQ6 and KQC, and other known behind the scenes information.

http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/Shadrack

I get the impression between the various sources it seems that Abdul Alhazred was once Mordack's minion, so slightly less than rank. Shadrack and Mordack seem to be equals more or less. With Mordack's death, Abdul became essentially Shadrack's equal (although he may have been Shadrack's equal when Mordack was alive).

How big the organization is, can only be speculated. It would be funny if the club only ever had three-four members  ;D.

Manannan is sort of indirectly connected, being Manannan's brother (and according to prototype information), but he's more affiliated with the Magician's Guild. Could the Magician's Guild be another name for the Society of the Black Cloak?

Its always possible that the magician/wizard/enchanter/sorcercer, choose your parser term (from KQ1 and/or 2) was Shadrack, ;). Said individual is also affiliated with the Magician's Guild. It would kinda answer one of the loose ends if he was.

Hagatha was out of the running since she was never part of design discussion of the group (although she was said to be M&M's sister).

The village? I'm not sure if its even mentioned in the KQC. One of the world maps shows a village past the mountains, but I think that's supposed to be the village from the game, and just put where it is for artistic license.

Title: Re: The Black Cloak Society
Post by: I_am_so_nifty on July 03, 2010, 09:17:19 PM
I think that they are a group of evil wizards (and possibly witches), either fairly small or spanning the world (there's really not much middle ground there), that are intent on taking over the world--or at least the Green Isles.

If it is just Shadrack, Mordack, Abdul Alhazred, and possibly Mordack, they might all have some joint reason to dislike the Green Isles, as it's possible that it is the only land that they want to take over.

If it is a large group of wizards, it's possible that they've influenced all of Graham's family's adventurers. If it is such a large group, it could have started for one specific purpose, but that purpose has been lost to time and turned the whole, cliché "We want to take over the world!" thing.
Title: Re: The Black Cloak Society
Post by: Baggins on July 03, 2010, 10:05:12 PM
Well there certainly is no official evidence that the "brotherhood" has witches.

Actually there is probably more evidence towards it being chauvenistic mens club. Its a brotherhood (which generally has masculine definition, of "brothers", a fraternity). All three of its known members seem to it fight over the same women.

Each wants her for various reasons. Mordack wanted to marry her (and to use her as a scullery maid). Shadrack wanted her dead or alive for his 'peculiar' interests. Alhazred just wanted to marry her, and then kill her.

None them seem to show much respect for women.

Its strange they only chose to take over and destroy the Green Isles, after Alhazred learned about the islands, from a copy of the Guidebook to the Land of the Green Isles he discovered. The guidebook influenced his decision to go there according to the KQ6 hintbook.

Quote
That Alhazred found a copy of the "Guidebook to the Land of the Green Isles," and that was why he decided to come to this kingdom and take over?", KQ6 Hintbook, pg 74

It's also unclear how much was Abdul Alhazred's idea vs that of his peers. They gave him suggestions how to improve his take over, but he seems to act like most of it was his plans.
Title: Re: The Black Cloak Society
Post by: oberonqa on July 03, 2010, 10:59:28 PM
The problem I had with the Black Cloak Society as it is represented in canon is it is an unresolved plot device.  Anyone's interpretation is valid when considering the BCS because there just isn't enough information in canon lore to support any one theory over another.  The only things that can be considered as uncontested from a canon standpoint is the following:

1>  Mordack and Shadrack played chess (which could mean they were peers... if you want to interpret it that way.... or it could mean one was leader and one was not.... again if you want to interpret it that way)

2> Alhazared maintained contact with Shadrack, as referenced by the note found among his belongings in his room in KQ along with a black cloak (which could mean he was a member of the BCS and was serving Shadrack or Mordack, or was an equal of Shadrack or Mordack, or was working independantly and merely keeping the BCS informed of his actions.... again depending on which interpretation you favor).

3> Alhazared and Mordack may have plotted together to place Alhazared as the King of the Green Isles, as evidenced by Mordack being in possession of Cassima.  This depends on interpretation of course...

That being said, who can say what the structure of the BCS is... let alone it's membership.  I myself am a supporter of the theory that the BCS is the driving force behind all the evil things that happened to Daventry over the years, which means the BCS is comprised of every major villian in the KQ series, consisting of the following:

--->  Enchanter and Dalia the witch from KQ1

--->  Hagatha and Dracula from KQ2

--->  Manannon from KQ3 (this one is pretty much a given since he was Mordack's brother and both were evil wizards)

--->  Lollote from KQ4 (even though she was an evil fairy from Etheria, I believe the BCS attracts evil individuals of all walks of life, even the immortal)

--->  Mordack from KQ5 (again, pretty much a given.... especially considering the link that is the chessboard to Shadrack)

--->  Alhazared from KQ6 (also, pretty much a given.... considering the note and the black cloak)

--->  Malicia from KQ7 (this one is kind of a stretch.... since Malicia's intention is to pretty much destroy Etheria and recreate it as she saw fit... this goes against the plots of the other members... but I'm willing to include her as a member because she was a part of the Etheria Royal Court and would have made a powerful ally to the BCS

--->  Lucreto from MoE (of all the members... this one is the hardest to justify, considering he actually did destroy the world and like Malicia, went against the plots of the other members, which seemed more about the disposing of obstacles and taking over existing kingdoms rather than destroying everything.  Whats more is there is no solid evidence to support Lucreto as a member other than the fact that he was Evil.  Unlike Malicia there isn't much for the BCS to gain by having him as a member... but if he was the evil enchanter from KQ1... then there you go...)

Taking things a step further...

-->  I would say the BCS are the ones who engineered the three treasures of Daventry being lost, which set the stage for the first game.  

-->  They also engineered Valanice to be locked away in the Quartz Tower in (for reasons unknown.... I never did buy the whole Hagatha being jealous of Valanice's beauty thing).

-->  Manannon kidnapping Alexander as baby (probably not a big stretch, as Mannanon did kidnap other baby boys prior to Alexander so it probably would not have been difficult for the BCS to... suggest ALexander as a Wizard's Slave).

-->  Manannon somehow getting the three-headed dragon to terrorize Daventry (as good an explanation as any for the wizard's frequent trips)

-->  Lolotte kidnapping Edgar from Etheria and relocating to Tamir to get revenge on the Etherian Royal Court (a personal ambition, perhaps?  Or perhaps Lolotte worked in conjuction with Malicia to set the stage for her own coupe in KQ7?  Or perhaps a combination of the two....  hrmmmm.....)

-->  Mordack casting a spell on Graham, which causes his heart to fail, probably in the hopes to wipe out the head of the royal family to keep him from interfering in future BCS plots.

-->  Mordack kidnapping the entire royal family, again probably in the hopes of removing the royal family from interfering with future BCS plots.

-->  Alhazared and Mordack scheme to take over the Land of the Green Isles.  Cassima is abducted by Mordack, probably with Alhazared's help, in order to clear the way for Alhazred to ascend to the throne of the Green Isles.  The current King and Queen are... "dealt with" and Alhazared is named Vizer, and probably would have been proclaimed king if not for the return of Cassima.  Mordack probably did not have asipirations for kinghood, as he was, for all intent and purposes, the ruler of Serenia.  Alhazared furthers the plan by sowing distrust between the isles.

-->  Malicia sets into motion the eventual destruction of Etheria by kidnapping King Otar and replacing him with an imposter, with the intention of using the Elderitch Volcano to blow it's stack and destroy Etheria and Elderitch.

-->  Lucreto makes his way to the Alter of Eternity where he can claim the Mask of Eternity for his own (or for the BCS if you support the theory that he was a member of the BCS).

As far as structure goes... who can say?  It's commonly assumed that Shadrack is the head of the BCS... but it's also entirely possible the BCS had no leader... with each member coming up with and executing their own plans in an attempt to further the goals of the BCS.  There just isn't enough information at this time to suggest one theory over another.  Maybe Shadrack was the leader... maybe he wasn't the leader.  Heck.... maybe Shadrack, Mordack, and Manannon were all three leaders and the others were minions.  Again... who can say?  I don't have a prefererred theory where this is concerned.
Title: Re: The Black Cloak Society
Post by: TheReturnofDMD on July 03, 2010, 11:15:29 PM
Well there certainly is no official evidence that the "brotherhood" has witches.

Actually there is probably more evidence towards it being chauvenistic mens club. Its a brotherhood (which generally has masculine definition, of "brothers", a fraternity). All three of its known members seem to it fight over the same women.

Each wants her for various reasons. Mordack wanted to marry her (and to use her as a scullery maid). Shadrack wanted her dead or alive for his 'peculiar' interests. Alhazred just wanted to marry her, and then kill her.

None them seem to show much respect for women.

Its strange they only chose to take over and destroy the Green Isles, after Alhazred learned about the islands, from a copy of the Guidebook to the Land of the Green Isles he discovered there. The guidebook influenced his decision to go there according to the KQ6 hintbook.

Quote
That Alhazred foud a copy of the "Guidebook to the Land of the Green Isles," and that was why he decided to come to this kingdom and take over?", KQ6 Hintbook, pg 74

It's also unclear how much was Abdul Alhazred's idea vs that of his peers. They gave him suggestions how to improve his take over, but he seems to act like most of it was his plans.

Something says to me Shadrack might be some kind of Necromancer or something.
I don't know if you've ever played "Baldur's Gate II" but there's a mage named Jon Irenicus who captures the protagonist and his sister and does a bunch of very evil and scarring mental and physical and emotional experimentation on them--I could see Shadrack being that sort given the referrence to his ''peculiar interests.'' Either way it seems just by his ''interests'' he is a very powerful, wicked, dark creepy guy.
Title: Re: The Black Cloak Society
Post by: Baggins on July 04, 2010, 03:57:22 AM
Quote
Alhazared maintained contact with Shadrack, as referenced by the note found among his belongings in his room in KQ along with a black cloak (which could mean he was a member of the BCS and was serving Shadrack or Mordack, or was an equal of Shadrack or Mordack, or was working independantly and merely keeping the BCS informed of his actions.... again depending on which interpretation you favor).
Alhazred states that he himself is a member of the Society of the Black Cloak in his letter to Shadrack (as overheard in the hallway). It is the only direct reference to the society in the game, other than Shadrack's letter, calling Alhazred, "a brother of the Black Cloak".

It's King's Quest Companion that states that Alhazred was the minion of Mordack. It's also has bit more on who and what level of plotting was going on, who sent who, etc, as well as slightly more background for individual members, and how they interact.
 
If you have only the game to go by, its even less clear.

Infact, if you went only by the game, all you would know is that Abdul Alhazred is a member of the black cloak. You'd have no idea who Shadrack is other than a guy that Alhazred writes to, and has played chess with Mordack, and likes hearing about Alhazred's plans, and has offered a recommendation on how Alhazred could get the crown.

Quote
Salutations from the Society of the Black Cloak, etc. etc. My long preparations are about to come to fruition.

Infact, there is no reference in KQ6 in which states that Shadrack is even a member of the society within KQ6. The above quote could even imply he is outside the society, and that the plans in the green isles appear to be Alhazred's alone (which is also implied in the KQ6 Hintbook by Lorelei Shannon).

It is actually the King's Quest Companion, that explains that Shadrack is also a member of the society, and that it was at least in part his plan as well. That was part of the reason he was giving suggestions.

Actually to understand the full extent of the machinations, you need the information from KQ5 (which explains the relation between Mordack and Abdul Alhazred), the less clear material from KQ6, and the more specific material from King's Quest Companion (both KQ5 and KQ6 novels). The KQ6 Hintbook, by Lorelei Shannon also contains a tiny bit of clarification as well.

I've now added in the citations for most of the information concerning Shadrack, the Society, and Abdul Alhazred into the Society of the Black Cloak, and Shadrack's article.

http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/Society_of_the_Black_Cloak

http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/Shadrack
Title: Re: The Black Cloak Society
Post by: I_am_so_nifty on July 04, 2010, 08:15:40 AM
-->  I would say the BCS are the ones who engineered the three treasures of Daventry being lost, which set the stage for the first game.

-->  They also engineered Valanice to be locked away in the Quartz Tower in (for reasons unknown.... I never did buy the whole Hagatha being jealous of Valanice's beauty thing).

-->  Manannon kidnapping Alexander as baby (probably not a big stretch, as Mannanon did kidnap other baby boys prior to Alexander so it probably would not have been difficult for the BCS to... suggest ALexander as a Wizard's Slave).

Well for these three...

Dahlia is the witch who stole the Chest of Gold, and the sorcerer is possibly the same one who stole Merlin's Mirror. Make that dwarf who stole the Shield of Achille a minor minion of the society too and it makes perfect since that they organized it.

I never really bought the jealousy thing either. If the purpose of the BCS is the cliché "We want to take over the world!" it was probably part of a plot to take over Kolyma.

I also think that Manannan may have done it simply for revenge. I mean, Graham did ruin the plot of his sister (Hagatha), so it's possible that is was partially for revenge.

Oh yeah, and Baggins, I was wondering if you knew what happened to Cedric and Coignice, Valanice's parents. I was always curious about that one.
Title: Re: The Black Cloak Society
Post by: Baggins on July 04, 2010, 08:30:11 AM
It's hinted that the "dwarf" was actually a leprechaun, actually. Not necessarily the dwarf that runs around Daventry and/or Kolyma trying to steal treasures.

Well, I think King's Quest Companion (Second Edition), implied that Manannan kidnapped Alexander in revenge for Hagatha losing Valanice in the An Encyclopedia of Daventry section.

The Three Headed Dragon, however is implied to have nothing to do with Manannan, in the chapter on Iconomancy magic, and the Encyclopedia.

As for Valanice's parents? The books never say. I think I added everything the books have on her parents in the their respective articles.

WE don't know much beyond, the fact that Valanice was kidnapped from her parents by Hagatha. It
is possible they didn't come to a happy fate..

BTW, do you know that your suggesting that the magic mirror lied about Hagatha's reasons for kidnapping Valanice? The magic mirror that's supposed to always tell the truth? Yep, let's just ignore the canon, heh heh.
Title: Re: The Black Cloak Society
Post by: I_am_so_nifty on July 04, 2010, 09:01:53 AM
Okay, so maybe jealousy was part of it. And it's much easier than the mirror saying, "And oh yeah, it's also part of an evil plot to take over the entire world..."

While that would be helpful, he really wouldn't have needed to know it at the time...

But yeah, I am morphing the canon a bit.
Title: Re: The Black Cloak Society
Post by: KatieHal on July 04, 2010, 09:14:02 AM
Well hey, if I were Hagatha, I'd be jealous of Valanice's looks, too, regardless of whether I had any other reasons to kidnap her!

Not that I'm saying she did. Or didn't. Who knows?  :suffer:
Title: Re: The Black Cloak Society
Post by: I_am_so_nifty on July 04, 2010, 09:17:59 AM
Ah yes, Hagatha in relation to TSL. With that short part in the trailer of Valanice on the tower, and that wallpaper that mentioned the tower, and the one calling Valanice "A Queen with too Many Secrets"... I always wondered what that was all about. We're getting closer and closer to figuring it out... but for now we must  :suffer: through it.
Title: Re: The Black Cloak Society
Post by: Baggins on July 04, 2010, 09:30:30 AM
Ya, that was my point that the beauty was her main reason for kidnapping her (at least in canon), but that doesn't mean she didn't have other reasons ;). The mirror cannot lie :). Also Valanice may have explained some of this if you talk to her in KQ2?

Quote
"Her name was Valanice and she told him she had been imprisoned in the tower by a jealous witch.-Roberta Williams, KQV hintbook

Quote
"Her name was Valanice she told him she had been imprisoned by a jealous witch."-Roberta Williams, Interaction (fall 1992)
Title: Re: The Black Cloak Society
Post by: oberonqa on July 04, 2010, 09:59:04 AM
I wasn't suggesting the mirror lied... but only showed Graham what he needed to see.  It's not called the Mirror of Absolute Truth, after all.

I will agree that Hagatha surely must have imprisioned Valanice because of her beauty... but there must be more to it than that... especially if Hagatha is a member of the BCS.  Thats what I never bought about her reasoning for imprisioning Valanice... it just doesn't fit within the context of the greater machinations of the BCS. 
Title: Re: The Black Cloak Society
Post by: TheReturnofDMD on July 04, 2010, 10:31:04 AM
I wasn't suggesting the mirror lied... but only showed Graham what he needed to see.  It's not called the Mirror of Absolute Truth, after all.

I will agree that Hagatha surely must have imprisioned Valanice because of her beauty... but there must be more to it than that... especially if Hagatha is a member of the BCS.  Thats what I never bought about her reasoning for imprisioning Valanice... it just doesn't fit within the context of the greater machinations of the BCS. 

The thing is though it's unclear if Hagatha was a member of the BCS or not.

And remember at it's heart King's Quest is a collection of fairy tales and myths and in fairy tales witches would go and capture or kill beautiful women for no other reason than jealousy. Look at Snow White--The witch wanted her dead because Snow White was simply more beautiful than she.
Title: Re: The Black Cloak Society
Post by: oberonqa on July 04, 2010, 11:22:46 AM
I'll give you that.... and if I had never heard of the BCS I would never suspect Hagatha's motives as being anything more than just jealousy.  If one wanted to discount Hagatha as being a member of the BCS, then it would be easy to accept that she merely imprisioned Valanice out of jealousy. 

The theory that Hagatha's motives included and extended well beyond jealousy depends entirely on whether or not you think Hagatha is a member of the BCS.
Title: Re: The Black Cloak Society
Post by: Baggins on July 04, 2010, 04:39:48 PM
Depending on how much you take Roberta's word vs. that of other designers writers, (and its obvious they sometimes ignored her and did their own thing, and often she had little to do with the actual stories); she apparently never intended Hagatha to be Mordack and Manannan's sister. She has stated in interviews that they aren't (or at least to her husband who passed it onto the fans) . It was Peter Spear who tied her into that grouping, and other designers that referenced said fact in later sources such as the King's Questions (although it was never mentioned in the games themselves).

But since she basically never saw them as connected, she never had any reason to go beyond the generic fairy story that wanted the series to be an homage to.
Quote
I asked Roberta [...], and sorry to admit that she said she didn't remember the Black Cloak Society. It sounds cool. Perhaps she should have taken it more seriously and featured it in other games. With respect to Hagatha [being related to Manannan and Mordack]: Roberta's answer was, "Would you like them to be related?" Then she said, "Nope, Hagatha was her own separate person."
- Ken Williams at SierraGamers (6-9-2003)

<blockquote>...one final thing: Hagatha was never part in any discussion of a Black Cloak Society.
- Roberta Williams at SierraGamers (6-9-2003)

Personally, I take the approach that the series as a whole is something designed by many (not only Roberta), in some cases invidividual games are the products of their head designer, who told created their individual views of the universe. So basically KQ1-4 represent more Roberta's influence (and are the most pure and true to her intent to create a world made of Fairy Tales). KQV was still mainly Roberta I think (although I forget who her co-writer was). KQ6 was primarily Jane Jensen's story, KQ7 was mainly Lorelei Shannon, and MOE was primarily Mark Seibert's story. Though Roberta had some hand in all the games. Peter Spear worked with individual designers (such as Jane Jensen, and Lorelei Shannon), but not necessarily Roberta in all things (although she had endorsed reading them as a way of better knowing King's Quest). It was Jane Jensen who wrote the Guidebook to Land of Green Isles, and chose to include Derek Karlavaegen when it was suggested to her. The novel series are mostly just a Sierra licensed product and Roberta had little to no direct influence on them.

So I do aknowledge that others might read "conspiracies" where Roberta never intended there to be. Especially if they delve into the material that goes beyond the games. I still thinks its important to at least understand the development history, and know that sometimes her opinions stray from other designers. A good example is that in her view King's Quest occurs on earth in our past, which is a bit different than the KQC which placed it in another universe.

Quote
"The chronicles of Daventry are retold, these centuries later, as the tales of King's Quest."-Roberta Williams, InterAction (Fall 1992)
So basically there are sometimes two parallel and official story threads going on. Depending on how purist people might be, they might side with one version over another, or try to incorporate both in some fashion. For example Jane Jensen and Lorelei Shannon incorporated King's Quest Companion details (but more or less stuck to the "Earth's past" scenario in the manuals and ingame text). Whereas Roberta might have had a different take on the universe.

But ya back to Hagatha, it seems that Peter Spear never really did much with Hagatha, other than in the KQC, 2nd Edition, which covered KQ1-5 he tied her to Mordack and Manannan, and also stated that it was possible that their evil family was possibly the cosmic balance to the royal family of Daventry, that they it was fated for one to cause evil that would affect the other, while the other was forced to stop their evil to bring things back into balance. If things swung too much into the side of good, it was the dark family's duty to balance things in the other direction. This had to do with family however (and had nothing to do with the BCS).

Back as early as the KQC, 1st Edition, which covered KQ1-4, also had a semi-evil magical guild (though not all members are necessarily evil), the Magician's Guild, which he tied Manannan and the Enchanter/Sorcerer.

http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/Magician%27s_Guild

The Magician's Guild is never mentioned beyond the KQ3 material (it never shows up in most of the material relating to 4-7 as far as I remember). Though it gained at least one additional reference in the second edition, concerning the Society of Wizards.

http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/Society_of_Wizards

Hagatha is never referenced in the KQ6 and KQ7 material in later editions. It would seem like Roberta's vision (and the vision of other authors) made Hagatha less important in the scheme of things, so too did she lose her importance in the KQ6 and KQ7 material in the companion.
Title: Re: The Black Cloak Society
Post by: oberonqa on July 04, 2010, 06:20:52 PM
As you yourself said Baggins... Hagatha's importance to the source material waned as time went on, which suggests to me a loose end.  As far as Roberta's intentions go... keep in mind the idea of King's Quest grew and matured in Roberta's mind as she went along.  

If you were to ask Roberta if she had a master plan for the storyline of King's Quest (including locations, story elements, etc), she would probably say she didn't.  After all, she was working on King's Quest over a period of two decades (a decade if you only count KQ1-5).  Her ideas and perceptions of King'a Quest was bound to change and broaden as time went on.  For example, is it a coincidence that KQ3, which was about Graham and Valanice's children, just so happens to occur at some point after Ken and Roberta became parents?

This is not to say that Roberta changed her mind about KQ as KQ went along.... just that her ideas became more encompassing and started to include a broader scope.  KQ1 and 2, which are essentially interactive fairy tailes with very little in the way of storyline (as defined by the Dramatica Theory).  Contrast those two games with KQ3 and KQ4... and you begin to see Roberta maturing as a designer... moving away from the abstract and beginning to define her designs within the context of the story she was trying to tell.  This is most immediately noticable when looking at the puzzles in KQ3 as opposed to KQ2.  Puzzles began to take on a aspect of the storyline, enhancing the story that is being told in KQ3.... whereas in KQ2, the puzzles were strewn about willy-nilly.  Then in KQ4, Roberta took the next logical step in implimenting a Dramatica Theory storyline by making the entire game story driven, complete with character development arcs, climaxes and valleys, etc.  

One could argue that the move towards a Dramatica Theory storyline was propelled by technology and that the reason why the games became more complex over time was a direct result of the growing knowledge of Sierra's programmers and designers.  One would be correct in arguing this point... but the argument does not automatically nullify the growth that Roberta underwent as a designer.... unless you are going to tell me that Roberta designed out the entire royal family as well as the major villians of the first 4 games and 3 entire continents while sitting at her kitchen table designing KQ1 for the PCjr back in 1981.  She may be a viewed as a great designer now... but don't forget that Roberta started out as a designer with very little experience and applicable knowledge in the field of Game Design... her first games were Mystery House and Wizard and the Princess... KQ1 was her third game and the first game in what became known as the third person adventure genre.  Prior to that her main aspiration in life was to write childrens stories (I recall reading that in an interview... again Baggins could probably pull that interview up).  So not only did they lack the technology in 1981 to design a fully fleshed out KQ game like KQ3 or KQ4.... they also lacked the knowledge and the savvy to even attempt such a design.

That is the growth that Roberta underwent as a designer and that growth is mirrored by the growing complexity of her games.  Her games got bigger and bigger because her knowledge of design and aspirations got bigger and bigger.... each game growing on the branches of the previous game.  So while it is indeed correct that KQ6 was mostly the result of Jane Jenson and KQ7 was mostly the result of Lorelli Shannon, don't think for a second that Roberta did not have her hand when it came to her brain child.  King's Quest was the primary vehicle for Sierra.... it was their flagship franchise.  Every new incarnation of the game engine got it's debut in the King's Quest series.  It was the vehicle for which Sierra derived much of it's financial success.  And given that Roberta was King's Quest... she always had a hand in it.  She may have allowed other designers like Jane and Lorelli greater freedom of expression when it came to their designs, but she maintained control over what a King's Quest game was and what a King's Quest game was not.  Designers that Sierra wanted to be more liberal with got their own game series... such as the Coles and Quest for Glory (when the Coles wanted to create an adventure/RPG hybrid) or Jane with Gabriel Knight (when Jane wanted to explore the idea of designing an adult-themed adventure game).  King's Quest as a franchise was very much by the numbers.... and Roberta was where those numbers stopped.  Everything that we consider King's Quest at some point or another passed over Roberta's kitchen table... even the work of Peter Spears.

That being said, while Hagatha (bet you were wondering when I was going to get off of that tangent eh?) may not have initially been anything more than the witch of a kingdom... as the collective storyline that is King's Quest grew and matured, the implimentation of Hagatha would surely have needed a change as well.  So when Peter Spears came up with the idea that Mordack, Mannannon, and Hagatha are related... that was something that Roberta had to sign off on.  Peter was not given carte blanche when it came to King's Quest.  No one was except for Roberta.  Now does that mean that because the three are related and Roberta had to have signed off on that idea... that makes them all a part of the BCS?  Of course not.  That is where theorycraft comes in.  The entire idea of the BCS is a loose thread... in much the same way that Hagatha became a loose thread when she fell off the Villain Radar in the source material.  The big diffference lies in the fact that the idea of the BCS was never fulled explored... it was a seed of an idea that was dropped into KQ6 to cover Sierra's bases if they ever made a KQ game featuring the BCS (read:  so the fans couldn't say the BCS came out of nowhere).  But I am sure at the time KQ6 was being made... the BCS was nothing more than an idea in Jane's mind... maybe she wrote a page or two of background... intending to flesh it out further in another KQ game.  But that is in the realm of what might have been... as it stands there is no one correct theory where the BCS is concerned.  All theories are equally valid... because all theories are equally plausible under canon.  
Title: Re: The Black Cloak Society
Post by: Baggins on July 05, 2010, 03:22:06 AM
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her first games were Mystery House and Wizard and the Princess... KQ1 was her third game

Actually I'm pretty sure she designed most or all of the of the Hi-Res Adventures series (Mystery House, and Wizard and the Princess were only two of those series). She did timezone, which was pretty much one of the most ambitious games in 1981, 1,500 screens, not many other adventure games can boast that. Check out the Roberta Williams collection if you want to play the back catalogue of her early games.

The only reason you hear about Mystery House and Wizard and the Princess more, is because Mystery House was the first ever adventure game with graphics, and Wizard and the Princess was the first every to have color graphics (and was inspiration for KQ).

King's Quest 1 is remembered technology wise for being the first "3-d adventure game" with animation.

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And given that Roberta was King's Quest... she always had a hand in it.  She may have allowed other designers like Jane and Lorelli greater freedom of expression when it came to their designs, but she maintained control over what a King's Quest game was and what a King's Quest game was not.


This is true, she even helped design MOE. However, at least up to KQ6 era (InterAction Magazine), she was still saying that the reason Hagatha kidnapped Hagatha was because of Jealousy. Which was her original story idea. BTW, she didn't write the manual stories for KQ1 and KQ2, I forget who the manual authors were.

Also there is one more aspect of Roberta, she herself has said that she always looks forward and never back. She said she never really liked to look back at her older games, so they never really had that great of an influence on her for her later games. This in part maybe why she herself didn't really incorporate too many details from previous games, it was something that was pushed by her co-designers. It's also a reason why she currently doesn't have any interest in making adventure games, and doesn't like talking about her past games.\

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Roberta had to sign off on.  Peter was not given carte blanche when it came to King's Quest.  No one was except for Roberta.  Now does that mean that because the three are related and Roberta had to have signed off on that idea...
Actually we have the quotes from Roberta and Ken Wiliams stating that she never signed off on it, actually. To her they were never related. For the same thing as the fact that Roberta also stated that the world was part of the history of our earth, whereas Peter Spear had it in another universe.

Ken Williams has explained later that there were alot of things that Sierra as a company licensed, that the designers themselves had little impact on. Official, but not necessarily designer controlled, purists may tend to ignore these sources. Ken Williams has even stated that the novels TFC, KOS, and SNW, were officially licensed to the publishing company, but Sierra had little to do with them, other than Roberta read them after they were already published. So ya she didn't directly "sign off on them".

Actually the latter seems to be the case with the King's Quest Companion as well, it wasn't until the 3rd edition that Sierra directly got their hands directly into the design and writng of it, with Jane Jensen, Eluki be shahar, etc giving pre-design information to Peter Spier, Jeremy Spier, et al, so they could incorporate that into the KQ6 and later KQ7 material (thus why it has the big ol Authorized Edition Sticker on the front). Previous editions were simply licensed.
Title: Re: The Black Cloak Society
Post by: oberonqa on July 05, 2010, 03:44:02 AM
Your right that Roberta never liked to look back and preferred to look forward... but from a design standpoint that just isn't possible.  There had to be some kind of looking back to ensure continuity with previous games.  Even before KQ5 and the introduction of co-designers, Roberta was forced to tangle with the idea of storyline continuity... most specifically when dealing with KQ3 and KQ4, which was her first attempt at implimenting a Dramatica Theory-based storyline.  She had no choice but to look back at what she had done previously.  She may not have liked doing so, but that doesn't mean she didn't do it.

As for the whole licensing thing, I am quite sure that Sierra didn't just sell the licensing rights to Peter Spears (or whoever) for them to do as they pleased.  Not when dealing with their flagship franchise.  Business does not and has never worked in that fashion... ever.  I would really like to see those quotes you mention from Ken Williams saying that Sierra sold the licensing rights to King's Quest novellas and the like and didn't maintain creative control over the whole thing.  If that sort of arrangement had indeed happened, it would have been potentially disasterous to the franchise, as whoever ended up purchasing the license could do whatever they wanted to do and Sierra would not have had the ability to stop them.  Let's take, for example, if Peter Spears decided to write an entry into the King's Quest Companion a little blip about Daventry being some kind of space pod experiment that Manannon and Mordack cooked up so they could play God.  Let's say that Peter Spears also put in a blip that Graham was actually Roger Wilco and the evil that the royal family must endure was actually the Space Police in alternate forms.  That would completely destroy whatever kind of value King's Quest had as a franchise... and would have turned Sierra's flagship franchise into a laughing stock.  If you are correct and Sierra did indeed sell the licensing rights to a third party and relinguished all creative controls on the usage of said license... then Ken Williams was a fool and he was just lucky that the third party he sold the licensing rights to didn't take advantage of an opportunity to completely rewrite King's Quest into whatever the license holder wanted. 

I seriously doubt that was the licensing arrangement that Sierra had made.  I'm willing to bet that the quotes you are referencing was probably Ken talking about the licensing agreement in abstract... rather than absolute specifics.  And as far as Roberta saying the KQC was a seperate entity from her own designs... that may very well be the case... but that was probably her own personal opinion.  Again, creative control over the proper use of the license to avoid contamination of the franchise would dictate that Roberta had to have signed off, or at least given her consent to the text prior to being published.  If there was really something in the KQC that she objected to... she would have been able to exercise her creative control to get the offending material taken out.  She may very well have disagreed with what Peter Spears wrote and felt that the entire thing was a seperate entity... but that didn't mean there was anything in the text that she had to approve that she felt would contaminate the franchise and risk devaluation of said franchise.
Title: Re: The Black Cloak Society
Post by: Baggins on July 05, 2010, 04:39:00 AM
Hmm, ok I think Annette Childs got the story credits in KQ2/3, at least the manuals, I think. Roberta got the "designer" credits.

Hmm, while Roberta is listed as the third billing in the intro credits as designer, director and producer, I just looked at the ending credits for KQV, strangely Roberta Williams isn't even listed (except under a couple of voice credits), William D. Skirvin got the top billing as Creative Consultant. Although she is listed in the "About KQV" tab, "King's Quest V...By Roberta Williams". She isn't listed in the main credits for KQ1 SCI either for whatever odd reason (but shows up in the "About KQ1" credits.).

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If that sort of arrangement had indeed happened, it would have been potentially disasterous to the franchise, as whoever ended up purchasing the license could do whatever they wanted to do and Sierra would not have had the ability to stop them.  Let's take, for example, if Peter Spears decided to write an entry into the King's Quest Companion a little blip about Daventry being some kind of space pod experiment that Manannon and Mordack cooked up so they could play God.
Well, let's see through all the editions, he pretty much states that Roberta Williams games are just games, and not the real story (his/Derek's version is the "real story"). What about the part in KQ7, 4th edition where Derek Karlavaegen implies that KQ7 didnt' happen, and was all just a hoax? He also took the creative choice to say that the remake of KQ1 was not the real story, but the original version was. Although evidence from later Roberta Williams interviews seem to say she considered the remake to be the story she wanted to tell. It was placed in the classic KQ1 boxes and replaced the older version until the release of the anniversery collections (its also the version Sierra's owners later replaced previous versions with in the most recent collections). This largely has an effect on the order of how the treasures were found. There are also some major differences between items and certain aspects of the KQ6 story (but that was more to do with them working from a prototype version of the KQ6 script, and not all the ideas had been finalized). For example the face on the copper coin was Valanice instead of Graham, the drink me bottle was empty (and Alexander acted his death, and Hakim acted along with him), rather than it being filled with something that would knock you out, and make it look as if your heart had completely stopped (tricking Hakim as well as Shamir), among other things.

There are also a few examples in the first two editions where he actually changed character names, or made them less clear. For example, Jym and Tam Baker, the baker brothers of Serenia, no reference to William Baker. We are made to believe that the guy working on the wagon in town was one of the brothers (this example is in the Second Edition. An Encyclopedia of Daventry, a section left out in the later editions). He also made Manannan's cat female, when he was clearly male in the game (or alexander isn't able to tell the sex of cats very well, :p). Although it may have been a previous cat of Manannan's (since it was from an article, "Fragments of the Sorcerery of Old" by an Unknown Author).

Its worse in the Space Quest Companion, where he changed the names of a number of the minor characters or organizations to give them names that followed his sense of humor. For example the Gippezoid Novelty Company was replaced with the Patrician Broadcasting Company, or PBC (a play PBS, Public Broadcasting System). The merchant of Venus, Nelo Jones was given the name Ronko ProPeeler a pun on Ron Popeil, of Ronco fame. The Employee of the Week, is female, when in the game he is male (and gets mad if you assume he is female, this may be part of the joke, since its from Roger's perspective). Fester Blatz's race and heritage is a bit different. He's a 'Hermanoid' rather than a Phleebhutinski, and is apparently not the last of his species. There are apparently plenty of Hermanoids around the galaxy.

If we looked at the novels, King Graham, has blond hair in Kingdom of Sorrow, hah hah (not counting the cover artwork, where its black). The kingdom was pretty peaceful, about 2 years before KQ3, with no sign of the Kingdom's impending doom from the dragon heh heh. The timing of The Floating Castle which covers a time frame of about a year, may not easily fit between KQ4 and KQ5 (since official timelines don't leave much room in that timeframe, less than a year at the most), and certainly not after KQ5. We are also told that Alexander was 18 when he escaped Mannan, rather than 17. We are also told that the kingdom was in possession of the magic mirror for about 200 years (rather than the 500 in KQ1 manual). There is a sentence in Kingdom of Sorrow that would seem to imply that Alexander and Rosella aren't twins. He muses that his son would be about the same age as William if he were around (who had just turned 10), his daughter was seven at the time. Granted 7 is about 10, but its not the best way to word things.

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As for the whole licensing thing, I am quite sure that Sierra didn't just sell the licensing rights to Peter Spears (or whoever) for them to do as they pleased.  Not when dealing with their flagship franchise.  Business does not and has never worked in that fashion... ever.  I would really like to see those quotes you mention from Ken Williams saying that Sierra sold the licensing rights to King's Quest novellas and the like and didn't maintain creative control over the whole thing.

Here is that quote you wanted to see;
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Sierra had nothing to do with the Kings Quest novels, beyond licensing a company the permission to write them. I asked Roberta if she read them, and she says she thinks she did, and that she thought they were ok, not great.
-Ken W, Sierra Gamers 12/8/2003
Ok lets look at other licensed products, Quest for Glory Authorized Guide, and one of the designer's thoughts on the book;
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And by the way, mentions of "Devon Aidendale" and Willowsby (or Willowdale or whatever the name was) drive me crazy. Devon was just the name Paula Spiese chose for her QG hero, and she used him in the strategy guide she co-wrote with Lori. Those names have no "official place in the canon", except of course they've been enshrined on Wikipedia because they're part of a published book." "We did not name the hero, nor his starting village, for a reason. We wanted every player to imagine their own hero's background so that the player would really become a part of the story. So it's frustrating when I see other people adopt Paula's fantasy as their own. Still, if that makes the game more fun for you, go with it!"-Corey Cole

So ya, Sierra did offer its licensing out without retaining complete control in some cases. Even some of the material published in-house was not necessarily completely under Roberta or other designers control. For example all evidence points to the King's Questions being put together by another team other than Roberta Williams from what I've been able to dig up. I don't think she had anything to do with Hoyle Book of Games  series (and Graham's Board Game Challenge) either. She always maintained aspects of her story that were alternative to aspects of the King's Quest Companion that were published as well in other published sources. Such as the cosmology of Daventry (in our world vs. another?). I once even asked her during a fan chat back for the release of MOE, about the world, and she even said it happend along time ago in our past (parroting what we have been told in the manuals for most of the series, the KQ6 introduction, and most of the articles she has written).

Seriously instead of speculating who and what was behind the King's Quest Companions and how much "licensing" deal was going on, read the Acknowledgement pages, he spells it out pretty clearly, and what went on with the designer process for his books. Peter Spear wrote as I recall (this was third edition version) mostly acknowledges having talked to Ken Williams (not Roberta Directly) and Jane Jensen, and other assorted Sierra employees. He does thank Roberta for creating the universe though. About the only quote we have on Roberta's opinion of the books (concerning the his version of the universe) is on the cover of the Third Edition (though there was a different review from her on a later reprint of the first edition).

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The King's Quest Companion is an interesting blend of fiction and helpful information for playing my games. Anyone interested in reading the story behind King's Quest or who just needs to be 'unstuck' while playing the game will find this book invaluable."-1st edition."

"...wonderful blend of fact and fiction that brings my games to life in an exciting, new way. It adds another fascinating dimension to the entire King's Quest experience. It truly is a pleasure to read and a must have for anyone hoping to explore the series in greater depth and detail.-Roberta Williams, 3rd and 4th edition cover

The explanations for Hagatha/Mordack/Manannan primarily appears in the second edition in the An Encyclopedia of Daventry, and a single refrence in the KQV novel that isn't really explained within the story (the latter was reprinted in the 3rd/4th edition). I don't think he ever connected Manannan and Hagatha together in the first edition at all (I think both were treated as separate villains).

That being said, the internal aspects of the games or the manuals weren't always consistent. Setting alternate dates for many of the events, the age of Alexander in KQ3. Was he 17 turning on 18, or 18 (possibly turning on 19), or even 19/20.
Title: Re: The Black Cloak Society
Post by: oberonqa on July 05, 2010, 09:14:32 AM
All of the examples you cited are good examples of what happens when continuity is not maintained and does indeed show that Roberta was surely looking forward rather than looking back.  On that I stand corrected.  It doesn't make sense why she didn't at least establish some kind of continuity... especially when she started implementing the Dramatica Theory method of storytelling.

As far as the licensing goes, Ken's quote is abstract.  It states that Sierra had nothing to do with the novels aside from selling the licensing rights.  It does not say whether or not Sierra retained some kind of creative control over the exact usage of the license.

However, you bring up some good points in regards to what was written in the 1st and 2nd edition of the KQC... not to mention the other companions.  I have only read the third edition ofthe KQC (as that is the edition that I own).  It certainly does raise some pretty big questions as to who was protecting Sierra's interests with the licensing.  I stand by my assesment that someone at Sierra must have signed off on the text prior to publishing, for pretty much the reasons I mentioned.  However, given what you have cited, it's difficult to say it was Roberta, as there is far too much conflict in the source material.  If Roberta did indeed sign off on the texts.... then that would mean she didn't know her own world.

Of course... that may very well be the case anyway.  Erpry over at AGDI got a chance to visit the Coles and talk with them and I believe they told him that Sierra didn't keep design documents for completed games.  Not having access to those design documents would surely have had an impact on continuity... especially if Roberta wasn't able to keep things straight within her own mind.

Perhaps the person who was signing off on the texts prior to publishing wasn't tied to King's Quest?  That would certainly explain the continuity issues that were allowed to be printed...
Title: Re: The Black Cloak Society
Post by: Baggins on July 05, 2010, 09:49:14 AM
Well, I think its certain that at least Ken Williams signed off on many of the ideas (or gave input). Its stated that he was involved from day one (at least in the 3rd edition). However, that doesn't mean that Roberta had much direct input (Peter Spear doesn't directly aknowledge her, other than thank her for creating the series). We at least know that Jane Jensen was sending him and eluki bes shahar the design documents. Jane Jensen incorporated Derek into the Companion although some of his characteristics are slightly different, as in what he calls the world (earth vs. Daventry).

We also know Lorelei Shannon was a fan, since she incorporated some of the details like Lake Maylie, Merlin's Mirror, Shield of Achille, Chest of Gold, and Alexander being kidnapped during the summer, into some of her documents for the official KQ5/6 Hintbooks. I think she may have also been the designer behind the King's Questions, but I haven't been able to confirm that. That program made some rather obscure references to Second Edition  (and/or First Edition) material, Hagatha as sister, Pegasus, Monastery of the Blessed Wilbury.

Infact there is another program with the King's Quest anniversery collection, Inside the Chest which contains a transcript of an article from an early Sierra News magazine which printed a portion of one of the chapters from the First edition, The Eye Between the Worlds" (the artwork was definitely Second Edition, but the article itself was originally 1st Edition, as I recall), with an additional review. The review was by Lorelei Shannon, IIRC. So ya, she really must have loved it. It may have also been modified to include elements from Second Edition in that chapter (including a reference Mannanan being last seen in Mordack's castle), but I don't remember exactly.

Other than that, who literally 'signed off on it', it could have been some nerdy desk jocky/accountant in marketing for all we know, LOL (starts imagining the cubicals in SQ3  :suffer: :suffer: :suffer:).

Ok, I put this in another thread, but since this thread is about BCS, I thought it should go in here as well, basically Roberta's discussions on the Black Cloak, and if Hagatha was connected or not (which turned out to be "not");

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"The "Black Cloak Society" was never an actual term that I instigated or thought up. I'm not actually sure where that came from. The closest thought that I have on that subject is that: when I was working with Jane Jensen on King's Quest 6, and we thought up the evil vizier, we talked loosely about the possibility of putting Mannanan, Mordack, and the vizier together as group -- possibly -- in a future King's Quest. There was loose reference to the possibility in King's Quest 6, although nothing was set in stone at that time. I think that it's possible that Jane Jensen might have mentioned the possibility (perhaps) in subsequent interviews on the subject, although, I'm not sure about that. Later on, I heard about the Black Cloak Society and kind of wondered where that phrase came from, but, I never refuted it as I thought it was kind of cool and, probably, would have gone on with the idea in future King's Quests had I had the chance. And, one final thing: Hagatha was never part in any discussion of a Black Cloak Society.
- Roberta Williams at SierraGamers (6-9-2003)

"I asked Roberta [...], and sorry to admit that she said she didn't remember the Black Cloak Society. It sounds cool. Perhaps she should have taken it more seriously and featured it in other games. With respect to Hagatha [being related to Manannan and Mordack]: Roberta's answer was, "Would you like them to be related?" Then she said, "Nope, Hagatha was her own separate person."
- Ken Williams at SierraGamers (6-9-2003)
Title: Re: The Black Cloak Society
Post by: crayauchtin on July 06, 2010, 03:36:27 PM
I like to think BCS is a huge organization, and I think that a number of previous villains were probably members... but I don't think all of them are members.

In my mind...
1) Dahlia, potentially.... but almost certainly not the Sorcerer (who wears brown, not black), he's simply not evil enough.
2) Hagatha, almost certainly. (Of course, I really like the KQ2+ story much more than the original KQ2 because that seems like such a disconnected jumble of fairy tales and inventory puzzles with a very, verrrrrry loose storyline tying them together.) Dracula... they do make an awful big deal about his cloak for him NOT to be a member. The Evil Enchanter, however, certainly not. Again, he's not enough of a villain, y'know?
3) Manannan is definitely a member.
4) Lolotte's plots are very centered on Genesta and Edgar and seem highly personal, so I don't believe she's a member.
5) Mordack we know is a member. The Old Witch is definitely not, again, she simply doesn't strike me as being of the same caliber of villain.
6) Alhazred and Shadrack are definitely members.
7) Malicia's plot, again, is very personal against the Etherian fairies who she perceives to have wronged her.
8) Lucreto's not of the world, I don't think he could be a member. And how would he have even encountered the Black Cloak Society with his whole life being spent in the realm of the sun?
Title: Re: The Black Cloak Society
Post by: Baggins on July 06, 2010, 03:42:07 PM
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1) Dahlia, potentially.... but almost certainly not the Sorcerer (who wears brown, not black), he's simply not evil enough.
To be fair he originally wore black (kq1 original), and he was the one behind stealing the Magic Mirror, and allowing Edward's wife to die (maybe even the one who made her sick in the first place). So pretty darn evil. He's also possibly the same wizard Graham encounters in Kolyma.

http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/The_Sorcerer

http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/File:Kquest1sega.jpg
If you want a nice drawing of the old guy.
Title: Re: The Black Cloak Society
Post by: I_am_so_nifty on July 06, 2010, 03:44:33 PM
To be fair, all he did in game in the original was paralyze you, after which nothing happened. Although, I believe that in the remake (which was the story Roberta wanted to tell) it's possible for the ogre and other dangers to come along while you are paralyzed.
Title: Re: The Black Cloak Society
Post by: Baggins on July 06, 2010, 03:47:36 PM
It was random, you could technically die in the original, but it was rare.
Title: Re: The Black Cloak Society
Post by: I_am_so_nifty on July 06, 2010, 03:51:11 PM
Really? I thought that each of the enemies had a set location in the original, when the remake just gave them random locations in spots in the dark forest. Though, if it's rare, I suppose that explains it.
Title: Re: The Black Cloak Society
Post by: Baggins on July 06, 2010, 03:53:23 PM
Ya, they have a series of set screens for each character, but some of their screens overlap. So you could be one screen that's either enchanter or the ogre, another that was the enchanter and the wolf, and another the was enchanter and the dwarf.

I can't confirm the latter, two, but I've definitely run into the ogre in this method.

Its also the same way it works in the KQ1 SCI as well. Each has a certain set area on the map where they can appear, with some overlap.