A Dance with Demons (update 2023-10-27)

A Dance with Demons

On the morning of your execution, you are spared by a demon that enlists you to dismantle the churches of seven dead gods.

Unite a team of misfits under a common cause, carry out the whims of a capricious demon, battle agents of the authoritarian Divine Right, and romance a host of eccentric fantasy characters in this bildungsroman about trying to convince people god isn’t real.

A Dance with Demons depicts themes of horror, violence, anxiety, abuse (both institutional and personal), torture, and supernatural events and characters. The story optionally includes explicit adult content.

You can find the password to activate explicit content for this game in the Adult Content section of the forum. If you have to ask, you’ve already failed.

Demo Link: https://dashingdon.com/play/will2/a-dance-with-demons/mygame/

Progress
  • 2023-03-19: Part One (92,500 words)
  • 2023-09-15 Act I complete (167,500 words)

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Romance



Portraits generated by modelling in HeroForge, processing through Dream.ai, and modifying with PowerPoint. They won’t be part of the released game and are just for illustrative purposes until I can scrounge up a grand for official art.
Feedback
  • Character, voice, and relationships.
  • Tone and content.
  • Pacing, timing, and scope.
  • Predictions on where the story will go.
  • Questions or misunderstandings.
  • Experimentations: the tag system, the fight system, the use of randomised outcomes, and the first- and second-person narration.
  • One thing you would most like to see in the next update.
  • If it’s useful for your feedback, please include a screenshot of your final statistics report at the end of the game and/or of specific bugs/typos/mistakes you find.
392 Likes

I am delighted to see this WiP, Will, and look forward to reading the demo.

3 Likes

Following.

OMG Its happening everyone! Places!

5 Likes

Congrats on the new project! Your prose has always been wonderful to read, so I’m excited for this next story!

  • As always, your writing is a joy to read. I felt very invested in the story and the characters, and I really love the blend of first and second narration. It feels very unique and refreshing.
  • The tags are interesting, and I hope that I become more fond of them as the project develops, but I’m not the biggest fan. I sort of feel like I’m stuck playing in a narrow characterization versus having the freedom to navigate this story. I also wasn’t a fan of having to choose between being serious, sarcastic, or clueless, since I don’t think clueless really fit well within those choices, at least how it’s presented when you’re making that choice. I actually restarted three times because I didn’t like the options all three restricted me with.
  • You did a great job of quickly and strongly establishing our connection with our parents. I feel very invested in keeping them safe.
  • I felt a bit confused about whether or not Weller was promising that renouncing my father’s name saved both of us. It wasn’t until I directly picked the option “I would never renounce my father’s name” that I realized it was a promise to save both of us. Though, I guess it ultimately doesn’t matter lol
  • I would prefer a more in-depth explanation of the combat system. It seems pretty similar to the Sorcery! games, but I could see it being not quite foolproof.
  • I think it’s something I can grow to enjoy, but currently I don’t like the randomized success for dialogue options, at least how it’s presented in the demo. At least the way I played, it meant that I had a very low possibility of moving forward with the discussion with Sylar successfully very difficult. I like how BG3 does it in that sometimes failure can be more interesting or even still potentially good, is that how you intend to do it in the full game?
  • I absolutely loved the way we met Dandelion (and Pon, to an extent). Please don’t ever change that scene.
  • Very interested in how the romances with Sylar and Weller work. Is it polyamorous, or are we taking part in adultery?
  • I…kinda wanna romance Nyeru again lol
  • Are we able to lose tags? Over the course of the demo I only gained them, even if they seemed contradictory.

All in all, I really enjoyed the story. You always have such interesting, extravagent ideas, and I love the way you write about them.

18 Likes

Just poppin’ in to say that those are probably the nicest beards/mustaches I’ve seen in any CS game character art. Best of luck in this endeavor!

2 Likes

AHHHHHH!!! Just saw this and am saving the demo read for when i am at the gym, because i know it’ll keep.me.on the elliptical, hahaha :heart: Congrats on new beginnings!!!

4 Likes

I haven’t played very much of the main part yet as my time was short when I saw this was up, but the demon section at the beginning is gorgeously written. Atmospheric, ominous and intriguing. I look forward to diving in further!

(Would you recommend that people play A Kiss From Death first, or is it purely standalone with a shared setting?)

5 Likes

Wow I would never have guessed there would be a sequel, everything seemed so final after all. Looking forward to more.

3 Likes

I’ve always hoped, without much hope, that there would be more stories to be told in the world of A Kiss from Death, so I couldn’t be happier (although I do hope to see Ansible Station 24 back in active development someday, too). I’m sure it will be just as philosophically and emotionally engaging as its predecessor!

5 Likes

I was suprised to learn that the Snows are married, the pictures have big sibling energy to me, lol

1 Like

Wait Nyeru is romancable? And she is from first game? I think I need a recap on what happened in the first game, maybe include it in stats or something.
Also i tried but it seems almost impossible to raise enough Dandy relation before romance lock with some builds, maybe lower the checks a bit. Also confused about how the fight system works except just abusing the save load to choose the option dealing highest damage. Also was confusing to read when perspective kept changing from my MC to Nyeru without any idicators, would be nice to have a heading indicating which charevter is being played.
Other than that, loved the demo, eager to see more

4 Likes

Oh hey, it’s a sequel to one of my favourite Hosted Games ever! What an excellent surprise, especially since I’m off work today and have enough time to actually play and comment.

So, feedback. It’s a fun adventure so far, though I’m braced for a huge perspective-shifting plot twist at some point ahead. Not that a bunch of misfits bringing down the Evil Oppressive Church Guys isn’t a satisfying narrative in its own right, but your works do tend to be more complex! It does feel like this has a lighter tone than A Kiss from Death, even accounting for things like the almost-execution.

The switches in perspective between the demon and MC were well handled, I occasionally had to pause and re-read a line, but not often. And speaking of the demon, it’s nice to see a familiar face from the previous game. When they started changing forms at the waterfall, I went ‘hmm…’, and then the name dropped! They weren’t one of my favourite ROs, but they are the one whose reappearance makes most sense, and I find myself liking them better in the consistent role they have here.

As for the rest of the cast, the female characters are winning me over more than the male ones currently. Dandy is fun, I’d probably be into Sylar if she wasn’t happily married, but Tiana is the one I’m expecting to ultimately romance, because a hot lady pirate captain is a hard concept to beat.

I also like Skye. I feel as if Skye is the sort of character that’s meant to be endearing so I can get sad when they die later on (or…stop existing, or whatever). Please don’t prove me right on that.

On the name selection screen, it was a nostalgic touch that the name possibilities for the old MC were listed. Congratulations kid, you’re named after the single biggest source of problems this world has ever known, hope you can do better.

A couple of bugs I noticed, in the stats screens. When looking back on past choices, the gates of Peridot outcome was listed as ‘You made it out with your father, having bested Sylar’. This was incorrect, I had no skills with a higher than 35% chance of success against her, so the father was captured.

Later, when choosing who to battle each paladin at the family home, I tried to seek Nyeru’s advice, and they talked about the elderly priest of Bo (who I’d already fought and killed, to rescue the aforementioned father).

As for the combat system, I can’t say I’m a fan, especially paired with randomised outcomes. I chose the Luck Bender ability, letting me see the likelihood of what enemies will do, but I still didn’t understand how to use that information to my advantage. I’m guessing it’s a rock-paper-scissors type deal, between striking, blocking or taunting? But honestly, in the end I just got frustrated and picked strike every time, and whatever happened would happen. Some clarification there would help a lot.

The revival mechanic, and getting bonuses when you die, is a good addition and takes the pressure off - but dying can also inflict storyline penalties, like being unable to rescue your father if you’re killed in the attempt, which adds the pressure back on again. While it’s still a WIP, this is a much smaller problem since the player can reload previous saves, but obviously that option won’t exist on publication, because Choice of Games hates save systems for ??? reasons.

I know the standard approach to combat is just a list of options like ‘I’ll overpower them with my strength’ vs ‘I’ll blast them with my magic’ and then you check to see if your strength or magic stat is higher, and it’s nice to see a fresh approach apart from that. I’m not keen on the possibility that a playthrough could be spoiled by sheer bad luck though, rather than set choices within the player’s own control. Maybe I’ll feel better about this as the story progresses, and the MC presumably gets more skilled and able to handle themselves.

One thing I’d like to see next? Possibly some of that skill improvement, like learning to cast more impressive magic, or getting swordfighting lessons from Ms Hot Pirate?

6 Likes

it stuck wont counting loading

Kind of? Nyeru is a somewhat multiple random-encounter character. Not an official romance I think, but someone who has a subplot and romantic content with

You do not need to play A Kiss from Death to enjoy A Dance with Demons.

If you do, you’ll

  • understand the context behind the prologue a little better
  • recognise a major character from the first game

and that’s pretty much it!

Guess official artwork of them from now on will have to involve them calculating their shared tax benefits. Gotta enjoy that D.I.N.K. life.

In this game, Nyeru’s pronouns are they/them. I don’t anticipate they’ll be romanceable due to the massive power dynamic between them and the other characters.

Their personality has also shifted quite a bit from the first game. We get hints of their old self now and then but something has changed them.

Sylar diegetically introduces random chance when you face off against her. It’ll be a fairly rare occurrence throughout the game, and always at a point where the story takes a big turn. This one determines a few branching paths related to Garrie.

I’ll include a little tutorial in the first fight. My initial attempt at it was pretty clunky but I’ll have another go. One of the main underpinnings of the work (and Nyeru’s general philosophy) is that action and violence are necessary: if you want change, you can’t just wish for it. You have to fight. Nyeru’s not a fighter, and hates violence; this is where you come in.

Couldn’t reproduce the error. It’s loading in a new scene, so just give it a second.

Tags are permanent. Losing one would be an awful penalty, like having a part of your personality stripped away. Some of them might be a bit contradictory, but if you show me a human being that isn’t a bit contradictory I’ll show you a demon.

Dandy’s pretty easy actually; you can get her to about 60-70 before that scene if you make all the right choices.

Pon’s scene is later on, but it’s a little bit harder to do, and it’s also easy to miss.

There will be multiple opportunities throughout to initiate romances if you miss your chance.

Yes. Even failing the one scene with random chance right now can give you like 10k words of extra content.

Various bugs

Awesome. I’ll get on those right away. Good catch.

6 Likes

I liked the other story but it was a story where everything goes wrong I get this is gonna be dark two but will this have different endings or just one true ending again and will it be possible to be with the romances at the ending of the story instead of no matter what they die

1 Like

My goodness I think this is the best demo I’ve ever read. I didn’t think this kind of story would be possible or work so well but our narrator is so good (solid presence, consistently fascinating perspective), the characterization is so strong, and the tags are so clever! It’s like Divinity: Original Sin II, Terry Pratchett, and the best table top game all mixed into one. I eagerly await for the next updates! One suggestion I have is that a better explanation of combat, I did die a few times before I started to get the hang of it, lol.

2 Likes

I really like the Demo and the style, but I can do without the weird combat system and no explanation on how it works. I just chose the ability to end it immediately after I died the first time because no matter what I did it was wrong??? It’s very confusing and I thought it was supposed to work like rock-paper-siccors but apparently not. Even with the luck bender ability I had no idea how I was supposed to react.

I kind if wished literally everything had a better explaination to be honest. Does magic even serve a purpose because I had no idea it doesn’t actually do anything until I tried using it the first time I was prompted to .-. And the tags??? Cool story and very well written but the actual game play, if you can call it that for CoGs, is going over my head ;^;

1 Like

So excited to be back in this world! I love your writing style. So many great moments like using cunning to lie to the Snows by changing my name, or responding to the guard asking who I am by shape-shifting into them “why, I’m you!” I’ve never laughed so hard while killing a mostly innocent guard and blowing my groups cover before. And of course making out with a donkey, really what more could I want from a demo?

Ok, full disclosure, I did spend the whole game waiting for the big twist where time folds back on itself and the gray painter kills me. Guess that’s a future chapter?

2 Likes