A Longship to Dyrrachion - Sail to the Byzantine Empire for Viking riches and glory! [HISTORICAL WIP]

Hi, everyone!

Game ideas have always popped in and out of my head like whack-a-moles, but rarely have I found the white-knuckled commitment (and time) to actually start writing any of them.

Today though, I started working on A Longship To Dyrrachion, a historical fiction story set in the 1000s that features you, a hopeful Viking who has just left home to seek fame, fortune, and glory as part of the Varangian Guard.

As a member of the Varangian Guard, your job is to get close, up and intimate with blood, steel, and protect the Emperor Alexios I Komnenos from harm…at least in theory.

This story is still very much in infancy - I literally started it last night and have not stopped writing since, so please bear with the shortness of it.

I’m still learning to code in ChoiceScript (am a programmer, but this is new to me), so there may be mistakes that appear every now and then.

If you happen to spot one, I will fist-bump my computer in thanks.

That also applies to things like spelling errors/pacing and continuity errors, or things you feel would make the story go better.

If you’ve see something historically inaccurate, or if I’ve inadvertently been culturally insensitive, please point it out to me, as I am not a resident of the areas depicted in this story, and may make missteps in this arena.

The demo is available here on Dashingdon, but goes up and down depending on what’s being changed.

Features:

  • Play as male, female, or non-binary.

Due to this being a fairly historically accurate Viking era story, people will notice and take your gender into account in their dealings with you.

  • Be gay, straight, bisexual, pan, asexual and or/aromantic.

Given that it is the Viking era, social mores do apply, but there is always the chance to find clandestine love…or something closer to the groin.

  • Play traditional Viking games like hnefatafl, dice, and tug-o-war! Loser provides drinks, of course.

  • Customize your appearance and personality.

    Do you…

    Solve problems with strength?
    Wisely reach for poultices to heal wounded comrades?
    Charm your way into the Emperor’s inner circle?
    Dodge Turkish assassins by hiding in shadows they didn’t even know existed?

    Fall over the side of a Viking longship like a proper drunk?

There’s an option for that last one, too.

Options. Many of them. Coming, to a longhouse near you!

WHAT WOULD HELP:

Pointing out errors: Spelling mistakes/continuity errors, coding breaking the game, etc.

Comments on stat balances are also sorely needed - I can handle most of the writing, but am not so sure about how to balance stats so each one gets a fair shot at usage.

Perspectives from LGBT readers.

I am myself an aromantic, bisexual woman, and of course, have my blind spots.

This is meant to be in the 10th century, so homosexuality/alternative relationships are far less accepted.

People may call you names in teasing manners, or scenes may change slightly for same-sex relationships.

Generally, I will lean towards the side of historical accuracy, but let me know if you see anything unacceptable.

EDIT: Just hit 5k words. So much backstory writing, bleh…

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It has potential, but it’s too short to judge it further

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Yeah, I started working on it today as a new project and wanted to create this thread as a “parking lot” to get feedback going from early on, before major plot developments. :smiley:

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The concept is certainly very interesting and there’s significant potential for various topics and stories to explored. There’s the whole being a Norse thing, in addition to being a fish out of water in the notorious Byzantine court with its backstabbing (though the Varangians are reputed for their loyalty) as the Roman Empire shudders under civil war and foreign invaders.

I am curious about the choice of time period though, given the lateness of the setting placing it at the end of the Viking Era.

Harald Hardrada, King of Norway and himself a former Varangian (arguably the greatest), has been dead for a decade, and in the wake of Hastings and Manzikert the Varangian Guard is increasingly populated with Anglo-Saxons. Scandinavia’s converting to Christianity, and the big expeditions are coming to an end (though some do still make the journey to Miklagard to serve the Roman Emperor).

Still, Alexios Komnenos’ reign was undoubtedly a momentous one. The Varangians fell around their emperor at Manzikert, there’s the wars with the Seljuks and then the First Crusade. It’s still a very promising era even if/arguably because the heyday of the vikings is passing. Anglo-Saxons could be a source of conflict within the Guard itself too, in addition to Byzantine intrigues and Alexios’ wars.

But so far there is little in the demo to get a sufficient impression, and it’s hard to gauge where the plot might be going.

Best of luck with your project!

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Concept is a 10/10. Can’t wait to try it out later.

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Thank you! That is helpful, and something good to think about, the dates.

Initially I thought about setting the full adventure in the Scandanavian region, but realised there wasn’t that much potential for strife, especially since (like you mention) Harald H is dead, and Scandinavia is indeed converting to Christianity.

One of the things I plan to have the reader notice is the amount of Anglo-Saxons in the VG and have there be some tension around it (who knew it was no longer your version of a Viking pension, and you now have to deal with weird Britons?)

In the more religious paths, there are likely going to be themes around religious conflict (a three way fight between the Muslims, Alexios’ Orthodoxy, and the MC’s native pagan religions.

One of the names you can pick out now is amusingly enough Tostig, which is for Tostig Godwinson, a few years away from dying alongside his homie HH in Stamford Bridge. There is a bit of flavour text and reference to this later on.

The rough timeline is right now

Alexios I Komnenos is born in 1048

– Tostig Godwinson dies alongside Harald in 1066 at Stamford Bridge, but has been Earl of Northumbria for quite a while. MC’s grandfather was a big fan of the dude, so names MC that (potentially) when they are born.
– Our MC is born in around 1062-1064, so they are about 18 - 19 when Alexios becomes Emperor in 1081 (they are not the first recruits by AK ever, but maybe second or third batch, so AK has settled into court some)

– First Crusade starts up in 1096, but am willing to play a bit loose with the dates here exactly.

– AK dies in canonically 1118 (or earlier, depending on MC’s actions and the global situation)

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Thanks to this WIP I learned about a new fascinating historical topic so first of all thanks for that!
Your writing style is really relaxing to read and well written and the promised historical accuracy regarding gender is adding, at least for me, a lot of replay value! (not me restarting the game to check out all the names lol)
Just cought a bug when trying to choose female gender: drinking line 135: Invalid option; conflicts with option ‘Johanna’ on line 132
When trying to choose the male name Farulf: drinking line 117: It is illegal to fall out of a *choice statement; you must *goto or *finish before the end of the indented block

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Oops! Thanks, I caught that - you didn’t see me with my names tab for Nord names open, did you?!

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Haha no worry, I am using baby name websites for my book characters names I get you :joy: good old Nord… now I have to think about my Khajit
But I am really interested in where this game is going, as I was never aware of that topic before (and I am a history student :smiling_face_with_tear:) and I am really looking forward to more historical accurate cyoa games!

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I am a bit hesitant to promise too much on the gender changes - what I can plan out so far is mostly flavour text, but there may be some different versions of events here and there.

(You can see a small example of different treatment between men and women in the initial recruitment - moms are pulling their horrified daughters back from going to Greece! :P)

NOT IN MY LONGHOUSE!

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I get that but so many games treat the PC gender just the same regardless of the sex, which is just a personal preference but it really bothers me because it is unrealistic (in games where we can do anything… I know how silly this sounds) but again thats just my personal hill to die on, no need to bother yourself with it :smiley:

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Say no more. I’m in.

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You actually have me thinking a bit about this here.

In this game, you have the option to be male, female, non-binary, etc.

If male, you will be more easily invited to “rabble-rousing” with the other men in the barracks, your interactions will initially be with more male soldiers, etc.

If female, villages you pillage (who have women and children) will give you a serious stink eye for doing this to them as a woman.

On the other hand though, other people, especially women will be more willing to share intimate spaces with you, share secrets seen as “women’s troubles” more easily that you can use, etc.

I’m still trying to think how to handle non-binary folk - the easiest way is to make them look outwardly conforming to one gender or another, but that is it’s own can of worms.

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Sry for opening that can, that wasnt my intention orz

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Should I rescue you after, or leave you to drown in your sea of ale? :smiley:

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Rescue please. So I can at least get more ale

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Hello, I am very excited and interested by this WIP not just because of how cool Vikings are but the unique idea you have with showing later vikings and the whole thing with the Emperor (that my simp self immediately though RO? even if it isn’t gonna happen :sweat_smile:)

Anyway, so far there ain’t much to judge but I like the style and I didn’t find any issues. I will be reading any new updates. Good luck and have fun with this :grin:

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aims tankard of ale at your flailing self in sea

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It is absolutely OK, and I am pleased you brought it up. I want things to be historically accurate, but neither do I want the experiences of NB and queer individuals to be marginalized. An aley cheers!

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There will be ROs, it is just a part of life.

Honestly? I have not thought about this Emperor-seduction-business.

Why do you want to seduce him, exactly? I wouldn’t mind romancing!

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