Let’s talk a little bit about that most mysterious chameleon of villains, the Sheriff of Nottingham. While Robin Hood is consistently awesome – renowned lover, fighter, and leader – the Sheriff is anything but. He’s been alternately portrayed as an aspirant to the throne (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves) a bumbling idiot (Disney’s animated Robin Hood) and just about everything in between. Sometimes, he’s the sole antagonist in the story, and sometimes he plays a distinct second fiddle to the machinations of Prince John (while the origins of the Robin Hood legend distinctly predate Prince John’s rule, contemporary retellings of the story include him, and so did we).
The Sheriff is caught in the curious position of being both a representational villain – the appointed embodiment of English law – and a very personal villain – as in all cases, Robin Hood operates within his jurisdiction, and is therefore is his problem. He is never named, and his background is left entirely open to interpretation. To Robin Hood’s deeds of charity and kindness, the Sheriff is the quintessential foil, the negative force that brings Robin Hood’s goodness into focus.
In Nocked, while both Prince John and the Sheriff are present, it is the Sheriff who is your primary enemy (and what better way to emphasize this than to have him break into your home and hunt you down in the very first scene). We made him the blackest of villains, competent at what he does, and possessed of manifold mysterious motives that you have the opportunity to uncover over the course of the game. A perfect villain though, would see Robin Hood hung at the end of chapter 1, so splitting the difference on bumbling ineptitude we gave him a to-do list a mile long. In concert with evil masterminds and middle managers everywhere, to have any chance of keeping to his schedule he’s forced to operate primarily through intermediaries, and they’re idiots.
The Sheriff’s there at the beginning of the game, and he plans to be there at the end. He counters your every move with plots of his own, biding his time until the moment is right. Beware the time when he personally steps into the fray, because everyone knows that to do something right, you do it yourself. Do you have what it takes to avoid his final blow?
Announcement: We have a new feature in the Nocked universe: the Sheriff’s Butler, having survived firings and layoffs in the wake of Robin Hood’s raids, tweets for us from Nottingham Castle every Monday through Friday. Check him out @ManofNottingham, or click the Twitter link at the bottom of the page.
The Continuing Adventures of Development Robin
Your choices will decide Robin's fate each week.
Results from last week's adventure:
Where the Buffalo Roam
Part 5 - Backwards Day!
You move into Nottingham Castle and immediately begin redecorating, repainting all of those dank hallways in a cheerful Lincoln green.
The Sheriff returns from his honeymoon and, rather than find himself a guest in your renovated dungeons, flees to the forest with a group of disgruntled guardsmen. The Sheriff and Dark Marian – as she’s come to be known – immediately begin raiding your holdings from a hidden fastness within Sherwood forest.
Your Butler informs you that you have limited resources with which to focus your response to the Sheriff's attacks, and at least until this year’s taxes come in, you won't have the manpower to hunt him down in Sherwood itself. How do you respond to the Sheriff’s raids?
- Business is best. I increase the number of guards on every trade caravan moving through my lands.
- I fix the Castle’s broken defenses and secure my new home. Wouldn’t do to have the Sheriff steal it out from under me.
- Remember who got me here. I increase patrols around the villages on the forest border to keep the Sheriff from harassing the peasants.
- Governing is hard. I invite the Sheriff over for tea and suggest we swap places.
The Adventures of Development Robin are complete. Follow the story in subsequent blogs, or read the most recent blog to take part in our new adventure, Marian and the Sheriff, beginning July 26th!
This is the Nocked! True Tales of Robin Hood development blog. Every week I’ll discuss some aspect of the game’s development, show off some art, and give you the opportunity to create an entirely new Robin Hood story.