Author Topic: Yet Another Chrono Break Concept  (Read 5531 times)

Rowan Seven

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Yet Another Chrono Break Concept
« on: August 28, 2010, 08:58:57 pm »
Hello. Longtime lurker here who briefly went on a bout of posting when Chrono Trigger DS was released and has momentarily delurked to participate in this Dream Splash. The following is only a very rough sketch of a vision for Chrono Break, and while I've had the basic premise for a while (the teaser below was copy and pasted from a post I made on this forum back during my last period of activity) I've only recently tried to develop it and there's still a lot missing. Two particularly important elements that haven't been worked into the following are a death and resurrection of Valus (the main protagonist) through time travel as Crono and Serge were both saved and a "Chrono Break" object. Other than the title and importance of "breaking" time, there isn't anything to tie this into a "Chrono Break" as Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross both had the names of their titles utilized in their stories.

Anyway, thanks for taking the time to look at this rough outline and (to the forum's moderators and owners) for providing a place where we can discuss our dreams for a third Chrono game. Now without further ado...

In unoccupied Medina, Melchior's adopted grandson dreams of avenging the parents he never knew, unaware of the royal blood that flows through his veins...

In the El Nido archipelago, an intrepid youth dreams of an adventure the world has forgotten and a girl who is unforgettable, not knowing that his quest to find her will take him to times and places beyond imagination...

In military-controlled Porre, a mighty general dreams of immortality and world domination, there being few left who can oppose his schemes...

In the sea of time, a beautiful princess dreams of returning to the one she loves, but she has lost her way...

And beyond the walls of time and space, an ancient king dreams of becoming a god, his far-reaching plans already in motion...

The planet's dream has become a nightmare, and when the three triggers act as one to cross the final gate and enter the realm of Zurvan there will be no averting the...
Chrono Break!


Medina The arrival of a refugee family of dragonians in 925 A.D. profoundly changed the city and Mystic society. Whereas beforehand the Mystics had largely imitated their human neighbors, under dragonian guidance they began to create a way of life that was more in-tune with nature and develop distinct technologies of their own. The combination of Mystic magic and dragonian elements in their defenses also enabled Medina to become a local superpower that not even the increasingly militaristic Porre dared trifle with lightly, although the Mystics' lack Porre's global reach because of their smaller numbers.

In 1005 A.D., at the urging of the dragonian Sage Icaru and others, Medina's Elder opened the city and Mystic lands to human refugees from Guardia and other kingdoms fleeing Porre's expansion. The influx of so many humans into Medina's community has created tensions, with some Mystics and humans still embittered at each other because of Magus' war and past wrongs, other humans upset at their lack of power in Medina's government, and many on both sides angry over what they perceive to be an unfair distribution of aid and resources to their own people. However, the majority of Mystics and humans recognize that so long as Porre remains a threat there is strength in unity and accept their tenuous coexistence as a necessity of the times. A few even laugh at the irony that the Mystics, who once waged war to destroy Guardia, now protect the kingdom's survivors. 

Choras Lacking Medina's magic, El Nido's elements, Guardia's riches, and Porre's industry, the island kingdom of Choras decided to eschew the path of power in favor of the pursuit of profit. Building up their fleet of ships and financial institutions, they emerged in 1000 A.D. as a major center of trade and commerce in the world and remained staunchly neutral when hostilities between Guardia and Porrre erupted in 1005 A.D. Many without and within Choras were upset at this, seeing it as a betrayal of the island's longtime friendship with Guardia, but others particularly in Choras's merchant community countered that Porre was their best customer and had done far more to enrich the island through trade than Guardia had done in generations.

However, despite Choras's proven commitment to neutrality and the lucrative relationship between it and Porre, Porre's military views the island with suspicion. Its merchant fleet could easily be repurposed for military use and its vast wealth employed to hire legions of mercenaries. Moreover, Choras's ports remain open to Medina, and Porre suspects that the island is used extensively as a safe haven by rebels to share intelligence and weapons. There are powerful factions within Choras too who favor a more active role for their kingdom in the world and remember their ancient pacts with Guardia, and thus despite efforts on both sides tensions between Choras and Porre continue to mount. Where this will ultimately lead no one truly knows.

El Nido This archipelago remains what is has always been to Porre: a mystery that is feared, desired, and dangerous. It was through contact with El Nido that Porre acquired the elements that started them down the path of becoming the premier world power, and they are afraid that one of El Nido's many secrets may yet cause their downfall too. Porre's High Command has long contemplated annexing El Nido into their own territory and even made preparations for an invasion in 1020 A.D., but their chief espionage agent, Norris, recommended against an offensive when he made his report after an information gathering excursion. In his debriefing, Norris cited the strength and discipline of the Acacia Dragoons and high anti-Porre sentiment on the islands as reasons not to invade. Porre might win a war against the Dragoons, but it would be bloody and difficult and pacifying the population would be even harder.

El Nido is unaware of how close they came to war, but the diverse peoples of the many islands do feel that something fundamental has changed. The Records of Fate have fallen silent, and the six Dragons of the archipelago now sleep. Moreover, for many the world feels a far better place even though they are unable to articulate why this is so. Even the demi-humans are genuinely optimistic about their future for the first time in years, and a rare state of harmony and amicability has descended between them and their human neighbors. It seems that the peoples of El Nido will go arm-in-arm together into a better tomorrow...assuming tomorrow comes.

Guardia The Kingdom of Guardia was defeated by Porre in a swift but bloody war in 1005 A.D., seemingly putting an end to the Kingdom's glorious thousand year history. The King and Queen both disappeared in the final battle and are presumed dead, and the surviving defenders were put to the sword or forced to flee. Many of the country's people resettled in Medina but the majority remained where they were, either unwilling or unable to leave their homes and waiting with anxious hearts to learn what their futures would be. What awaited wasn't the oppressive tyranny they expected.

Porre annexed Guardia, completing its conquest of the Zenan mainland, and appointed General Marcus Kimble as governor of their new province. Much to the surprise of the conquered, General Kimble proved himself to be a just and talented governor and immediately began postwar reconstruction of Guardia's lands and cities, sometimes even spending his own wealth to speed along redevelopment. Under his leadership Guardia also began its own belated industrialization, and within a few short years a semblance of normalcy returned to the region.

However, despite Governor Kimble's benevolence the people of Guardia remain proud and defiant, chafing at being ruled by a foreign power and resentful that the products of their factories and farms are being sent to the nation that destroyed their kingdom. Acts of protest and resistance are common and grow year by year, and many believe it would only take a few sparks to stir a large-scale rebellion. Ironically, by doing so much to modernize Guardia and restore its prosperity Governor Kimble has given the people the very tools they need to potentially win a second war, and among his greatest fears are the possibility that he'll one day be executed by the people he's devoted so much of himself to...or be forced to execute them.

Porre The discovery of El Nido in 920 A.D. drastically changed Porre. Returning travelers and traders brought with them dragonian elements from the archipelago, and although Porre's civilian leadership was slow to realize their military potential the army was not. In the 930s a clique of officers and generals launched a coup, successfully overthrowing Porre's Elder and replacing the government with their own High Command. Out of loyalty to the past regime Porre's El Nido colonists declared themselves independent of the mainland, and relations between the two have been tense ever since.

In the years that followed, Porre's new government invested heavily in new technologies and research and industrialized while Guardia and other surrounding countries remained mired in feudal traditions. Despite their military government and the advantages their access to El Nido's elements and their own manufacturing base gave them, however, Porre stayed on amicable terms with its neighbors, both fearing and respecting Guardia's legendary might. It was only in 1000 A.D. when contact was made with a mysterious man who called himself Dalton that Porre's foreign policy shifted substantially. Dalton gave Porre knowledge of advanced gunnery and other weapons far beyond the times and quickly ingratiated himself with an expansionist faction within the military. With Dalton's support, this faction was able to guide Porre down a path that made them the masters of Zenan and toppled the once preeminent Kingdom of Guardia in 1005 A.D. The campaign's success made Porre the most powerful nation in the world...and also the most feared.

Porre has continued to strengthen its military and consolidate its power since then. It sees enemies and potential enemies everywhere, with a hostile Medina to the northeast, an influential Choras to the east, a mysterious El Nido to the south, a rebellious Guardia to the north, and a host of small, independent, and untrustworthy city-states scattered across the land. High Command remains divided between those who believe the best way forward is to create a lasting peace and those who argue that true peace can only come through conquest. Dalton, meanwhile, has earned a seat as a member of High Command but stays strangely aloof of the debate about Porre's future. Some say he is secretly plotting to launch a coup himself and declare himself supreme commander, but Dalton himself merely chuckles at this because his true ambitions are even greater than what the rumors suggest and his critics contend.

Cast of Characters (A Sample)

Valus Melchior's adopted grandson, Valus is a headstrong but gallant youth and skilled swordsman. All he knows about his birth parents is that they were killed during Porre's invasion of Guardia, and Valus has never forgiven Porre for this, vowing revenge and promising to one day see Porre fall. Melchior has done what he can to temper his adopted grandson's fury and counsel him against the path of vengeance, but whether Valus's hatred or inner nobility will ultimately prevail within the passionate teenager remains anyone's guess.

As Melchior's apprentice smith and a rare human magic user himself, Valus has fared better in Medina than many of his race and is considered something of a bridge between the Mystics and humans. When he's not being instructed by Melchior he often runs errands for people, doing what he can to help make the current tense situation easier for everyone. He also listens for news from the Zenan mainland at every opportunity, eager to know what's happening in Guardia and what Porrre is up to. His best friend is Nadia the Naga-ette, and he was born in 1005 A.D. Melchior knows but has not told him that he is the son of King Crono and Queen Nadia, Guardia's last rulers. Valus wears Marle's pendant and wields a special sword crafted by Melchior containing the master smith's hopes and dreams for a better world.

Nadia the Naga-ette Named in honor of Guardia's last queen, Nadia is Valus's childhood friend. She is affectionate and bubbly and has a secret crush on her longtime human companion. She is also skilled at fire magic and illusions and is more than capable of using her sharp claws to defend herself. She was born in 1006 A.D.

Icaru Icaru's dragonian parents fled the El Nido archipelago nearly a century ago when they realized their species faced extinction and after a long journey settled in Medina, hoping that in the land of the inhuman Mystics they would find sanctuary from humanity. No strangers to human oppression and prejudice themselves, the Mystics welcomed Icaru's parents to Medina and the two became respected members of the community as sages, teaching dragonian science and lore to the Mystics. The hatching of their daughter Icaru in 976 A.D. was one of the happiest moments in the lives of Icaru's parents and they started teaching her everything they knew at an early age. Above everything else, the young Icaru enjoyed hearing stories of her race's ancient homeland, a beautiful world of dragonians where everyone lived in harmony with nature.

Icaru followed in her parents' footsteps as a sage after their deaths, using her vast intellect to help others and holding true to the best beliefs and traditions of the dragonians. When Guardia fell and desperate refugees began to arrive on Medina's shores in 1005 A.D., Icaru argued for compassion when many Mystics were either indifferent or delighting in Guardia's plight. Her words ultimately prevailed, and while the influx of so many humans has created tensions within Medina's borders Icaru continues to be looked up to and trusted as a voice of reason and wisdom. Many believe that when the current Elder steps down he will appoint Icaru as his successor, but Icaru always downplays this possibility by insisting that she prefers teaching at Medina's Academy over politics and is too busy with research to lead the country anyway.
There is more truth to this than anyone suspects. Despite her great renown within Medina, Icaru is an intensely lonely individual and is weighed down heavily by the knowledge that she is the last dragonian in the entire world. She dreams of traveling to the homeland spoken of in her people's lore and being among her own kind again and to this end secretly investigates the phenomenon of time, hoping to find a way to traverse time's pathways and cross worlds. Little does she know that although she wants to escape the world of men she and her research may be its only hope against the coming storm.

Norris As chief of the elite Black Wind unit, Norris is currently on assignment in Medina to gather intelligence on the country's military strength and weaknesses. He hopes an accurate report will dissuade his country from launching an invasion, but privately he worries that High Command has already made up its mind and that the only effect his mission will have will be an easier victory for his country. He has also begun to hear troubling reports and rumors from his own private sources about a covert operation under General Dalton's supervision which might force him to take independent action again to uphold Porre's values when his superiors refuse to.

Serge and Harle For unknown reasons Serge did not forget his adventure that unified the dimensions like so many others, and although he waited for Schala/Kid in Arni for several months while he familiarized himself with the new world it wasn't long before he began to feel that someone was calling to him and he started worrying that something was wrong. Beginning a new journey, he traveled throughout El Nido and reclaimed the Mastermune, using its power to enter the sealed Sea of Eden where he sensed the voice that was reaching out to him. Much to his surprise, it was Harle rather than Kid who awaited his rescue there, and the enigmatic Dark Moon Dragon has joined him in his quest to find Schala for reasons of her own.

Like Serge, Harle remembers everything the way it used to be but is also strangely knowledgeable of the changes that exist in the unified dimension. She often gives Serge suggestions couched in riddles as to where they should go next, and it was at her urging that the two journeyed outside of El Nido to the lands of Choras, Medina, and Zenan. Where she will ultimately lead him and whether it will be to Schala or not is a mystery to everyone but herself.

Governor Marcus Kimble Marcus is a good man in the unenviable position of serving two masters. As a proud son of Porre his homeland commands his loyalty, but he owes the people of Guardia his duty as their governor. He has done his best to balance these often competing obligations for more than fifteen years, and the struggle has made him weary. He is despised as a foreign occupier by Guardia's people despite all the good he has done for them and his just rule, and he is distrusted by many of his superiors in Porre who suspect his true motivations for rebuilding and modernizing Guardia are to create a staging ground to launch a rebellion of his own against High Command whose decisions he has been known to disagree with. Fate won't make things any easier for this old soldier for soon he will be placed in the epicenter of events beyond his imagining and forced to make hard choices that could affect the future of the entire world.

General Dalton Dalton has come far since he first arrived in 1000 A.D., employing his vast magical might, knowledge of Zeal technology, and utter ruthlessness to become one of the most powerful members of Porre's High Command. His important role in the campaign against Guardia won him many allies, but his ego, blatant ambition, and mysterious origins have also made him a number of enemies within Porre's government. Friend and foe alike suspect Dalton intends to one day overthrow High Command and declare himself supreme commander, but Dalton himself has a far grander scheme in mind. He has discovered the ruins of the Ocean Palace and secretly begun to repair and repower it using the stolen Sun Stone. If things go as Dalton desires, the Black Omen will soon rule the skies again and nothing will stand between him and his dream of becoming the immortal king of the world. However, unknown to him he is a pawn in another man's plans...

King Lucian Zeal Long thought dead, this ancient king has returned from beyond the mists of myth and time with the intention of becoming nothing less than a god. He is subtly manipulating Dalton and a host of others throughout history to further his schemes to raise the Black Omen and capture his daughter. With Schala's magic to power the Black Omen, King Zeal plans to utterly destroy the timeline and smash open the gate to Zurvan, the Sea of Dreams, and there create a new world of his own design. Heroes will rise from across the ages to oppose his mad ambitions, but King Zeal is as patient as he is cunning and is well prepared for any who would dare challenge him.

Plot Overview

The game is divided into three acts. The first act is titled "Dreams of Nations" and takes place across Medina, Guardia, and eventually Porre. Players begin in 1022 A.D. as Valus and Nadia, and after an early mishap with one of Sage Icaru's temporal experiments that involves a Porre saboteur most of the action occurs in the present. There's apparently a conspiracy within the Porre military to start conflicts with the surrounding countries, and Valus and Nadia (along with Norris and eventually Marcus Kimble and others) slowly uncover this plot and follow it to its source as they travel. A lot of backstory on the Fall of Guardia in 1005 A.D. is given (including Valus's parentage), and for drama Act I focuses heavily on the question of whether what Valus seeks is justice or vengeance and the difficulty of either in a complex world filled with more shades of gray than Valus is initially comfortable with.

At Act I's climax Dalton is revealed to be the one behind the militarist conspiracy, and he was using the incidents and threat of war to distract his peers on High Command from the resources and manpower he's been diverting to a secret underwater base. The player returns to Medina to recruit Icaru and a submarine she's built to reach this base, and a short dungeon crawl becomes a much larger dungeon crawl when it's discovered that Dalton's underwater HQ leads to the Black Omen which he's been repairing and is about to raise again using the power of the Sun Stone.

The dungeon ends with an epic boss battle against Dalton who makes it personal by telling Valus that he's the one who led the attack against Guardia in 1005 A.D. and killed his parents, and in a fit of passionate rage Valus manages to strike Dalton down. Surprisingly, though, Dalton surrenders and begs for mercy before the killing blow can be made, and Valus is forced to make a choice between avenging Crono and Marle and the Fall of Guardia or murdering a helpless opponent. He ultimately makes the "heroic" choice, but then the Black Omen powers up and Dalton zaps everyone, explaining that he'd only pretended to surrender to buy time and that with the Black Omen functional nothing can stand between him and his dream of becoming king of the world now.
Cue King Lucian Zeal's entrance, mocking laughter, and comment that only a fool would set his sights so low. Dalton is shocked by his former liege's appearance, but before he can do anything other than gape King Zeal thanks Dalton for raising the Black Omen for him and says that as a reward he'll give Dalton a taste of true power. A snap of his fingers and a miniature inferno of magic later, Dalton's been completely obliterated and King Zeal turns his attention to the heroes to do the same. Serge and Harle (who've made cameo appearances throughout Act I) arrive in the nick of time to save the party, however, and through Harle's magic they're able to escape. King Zeal says something about having more important things to do than swat insects and, opening a massive portal in the sky, flies the Black Omen into it and disappears.

Act II is called Heroes of Time and opens with the protagonists regrouping in Medina along with Serge and Harle. Icaru confirms that the portal King Zeal and the Black Omen vanished into was a temporal gate and that in order to prevent potentially catastrophic alterations to the timeline they need to travel through time themselves, find King Zeal, and stop him. Icaru doesn't know how to track King Zeal, but Harle (in a moment of mysterious knowledgeability) recommends traveling to the End of Time where they'll be able to observe the entire timeline and search for disruptions. Icaru uses her lab and Valus's pendant to create such a portal and, with Serge and Harle both joining the party, everyone travels to the End of Time where Gaspar is waiting for them.

The first thing Gaspar does is explain who King Zeal is and how he disappeared thousands of years ago on the Zealian expedition that discovered Lavos. An explosion occurred that trapped King Zeal outside of time, but he was able to use the temporal disruptions caused by the defeat of Lavos and the unification of dimensions to reenter the timestream. He's now searching for Schala for some purpose Gaspar can only guess at, but whatever it is is causing powerful dimensional vortexes throughout history that could unravel the entire timeline. Gaspar then opens gates at the End of Time leading to several eras and tasks the player with finding and stopping the dimensional vortexes and locating King Zeal.

Basically, Act II lets the player assemble a "Dream Team" of characters from Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross including the likes of Frog, Glenn, Ayla, and Leah and revisit previous lands and eras such as Medieval Guardia, Prehistory, and El Nido. The player also has several opportunities to make changes to history, but the consequences won't always be predictable. Doing something "good" in the past can produce "bad" changes in the present/future, and doing something or letting something "bad" happen in the past can have a positive effect on the present/future. The goal is to make the player think and question his or her actions, somewhat like how Chrono Cross could make the player wonder at times if he or she was doing the right thing.

At any rate, Act II climaxes with the discovery of Schala and her reunion with Serge...before she's almost immediately thereafter captured by King Zeal and plugged into a recreated Mammon Machine inside the Black Omen. Cue another challenging dungeon crawl culminating in an epic boss battle against King Zeal and yet another setback for the heroes. They're able to overpower King Zeal but he refuses to give up and kicks the Mammon Machine into overdrive, sacrificing his daughter to channel her stolen power into the Black Omen and, as he reveals triumphantly, shatter the timeline. With time broken, the hidden gateway to the realm of Zurvan will be revealed and he'll be able to realize his dreams of becoming a god and creating a "better" world. He teleports away as the Black Omen begins to fall apart from the sheer force of the spell it just unleashed. Serge is distraught over Schala's death, but Harle reveals that the Dragon God created her in Schala's image and that there's a connection between the two of them. Using the last of her magic, Harle is able to combine her essence with Schala's spirit and resurrect her through fusion, similar to how Schala and Kid became one. Alive again, Schala fulfills the dreams of many a Chrono series fan by joining the party as a playable character, albeit in a weakened state because of her ordeals.

Act III Legends of Eternity

Schala/Kid/Harle may be saved, but the Black Omen is still falling apart around them as time collapses and things really don't look good for the heroes. However, a strange portal opens just in the nick of time to save them, and the protagonists hurriedly travel through it...and find themselves in the reptite/dragonian timeline a number of years after Dinopolis was hurled into the past of their world. Apparently the destruction of the timeline reopened the dimensional/temporal gateway Dinopolis traveled through, and now the heroes have to convince the dragonians to help them when they're still recovering from and bitter over the loss of their Dragon God and Dinopolis to a "corrupted" world. This is also a pivotal chapter for Icaru, who has to deal with the ramifications of her dream of being reunited with her people coming true and make decisions about her responsibilities to Medina and the world of her birth.

Eventually the player is able to return to the human world where the only things left are shards of history floating in the timestream that are slowly disintegrating. One of these is 1005 A.D. The Fall of Guardia, and it is here that the player is able to recruit Crono during his last stand against Porre. The rest of the chapter is taken up with the search to find the entrance to Zurvan, a fantastical realm of dream-beings like Masa, Mune, and Doreen that has been corrupted and twisted into something dark and horrific by King Zeal's arrival. He is bending the dream-beings of the realm to embody his dreams of godhood, and if he isn't stopped soon even the Planet's dream will fall prey to his sinister vision.

The game concludes with a final battle between the nearly divine King Zeal and Crono equipped with the Einlanzer, Serge wielding the Mastermune, and Valus with Melchior's final sword of dreams. When the heroes win Zurvan is cleansed of King Zeal's "nightmare" and the Planet's dream is rekindled, restoring the world and time to how it was and giving all the heroes the opportunity to live out their dreams in life. Crono stays behind in Zurvan, however, to protect the realm, and there's a poignant scene between him and his son where they say good-bye and promise to live their lives to the fullest.


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Re: Yet Another Chrono Break Concept
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2010, 03:53:46 am »
Very interesting ideas!

I'm rather tempted to sprite out some of these characters! I like the wide range of cast and the plot, and so far Valus is my favorite character :D

I like how players who do something good in past eras may cause a bad reaction in the future, and doing a bad deed in the past, may make a brighter future. Time travel is indeed sensitive! This would make a great fan game! Or at least fanfic!

Rowan Seven

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Re: Yet Another Chrono Break Concept
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2010, 10:40:14 pm »
Thanks! I'm glad you like the concept. It actually originally started out as a fan fic plot that's gradually expanded, and what I really wanted to accomplish with a third Chrono "game" is tell a story that combines and continues the tales of Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross and ties everything together so that the games make a complete trilogy. As for the unpredictable consequences, that was largely inspired by Chrono Cross and Knights of the Old Republic II. I liked how Chrono Cross would make you question at times whether you're doing the right thing, and Knights of the Old Republic II put a huge dramatic emphasis on the unintended consequences of helping or not helping people.


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Re: Yet Another Chrono Break Concept
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2010, 12:33:03 am »
You've put a lot of thought into this.  Do you intend to put these ideas into a formal narrative?  People not familiar with the world of Chrono may be a bit lost, but it's certainly worth trying.

I find it odd that Lucca isn't mentioned in this synopsis, given her importance to the mythos.  Is she alive or dead?  And where is Janus?  Maybe there's a reason you omitted them?

One other thing; I thought King Zeal's first name was Alphard, not Lucian.  I could be wrong.  It's been awhile since I've seen the Crimson Echoes videos.

Rowan Seven

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Re: Yet Another Chrono Break Concept
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2010, 11:56:49 pm »
You've put a lot of thought into this.  Do you intend to put these ideas into a formal narrative?  People not familiar with the world of Chrono may be a bit lost, but it's certainly worth trying.

Maybe. I mentioned this in my other response, but this concept started out as a fan fic plot for a Chrono Cross sequel that gradually expanded out. I don't feel comfortable enough with the setting to try writing an epic Chrono fan fic at the moment, but perhaps that'll change someday and I appreciate the words of encouragement.

I find it odd that Lucca isn't mentioned in this synopsis, given her importance to the mythos.  Is she alive or dead?  And where is Janus?  Maybe there's a reason you omitted them?

One other thing; I thought King Zeal's first name was Alphard, not Lucian.  I could be wrong.  It's been awhile since I've seen the Crimson Echoes videos.

Heh. The reason I omitted Lucca and Janus from the concept outline is because figuring out what to do with those two characters is tricky. Janus, for example, may or may not be Guile and even without that mystery there's the conundrum of what to do with his amnesiac state at the end of Chrono Trigger DS. Lucca poses similar problems because Chrono Cross strongly implies that she's dead, and using time travel to recruit her with the knowledge of her fate hanging over everybody's heads strikes me as a bit more complicated than...say, recruiting Frog 400 years ago, although it could be a good kind of complicated. These are challenges I'd have to confront and figure out how to deal with if I ever tackle this plot fully, but for an outline I figured I could let them lie to the side.

As for King Zeal, yes, his name is Alphard in Crimson Echoes, but I wasn't certain what the policy regarding borrowing names and concepts from Crimson Echoes was when I wrote the outline so I decided to go with an original first name just to be on the safe side.