BETA TESTERS NEEDED: Pon Para and the Unconquerable Scorpion

Chosen by the gods, you must battle savage monsters, corrupt priests, and mad philosophers to save reality from the dark god of destruction!

Pon Para and the Unconquerable Scorpion is an interactive Bronze Age fantasy novel by Kyle Marquis, the second game in the Pon Para trilogy, where your choices control the story. It’s entirely text-based—731,000 words, without graphics or sound effects—and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

When the Stormraiders destroyed your home, King Hyras of Mytele chose you to unlock the secrets of the Great Southern Labyrinth and learn how to stop the invaders. You learned instead that the king of Mytele had brought this war on himself many years ago by murdering Stormraider emissaries—and your father, who wanted peace. Nonetheless, you saved King Hyras when the Stormraiders destroyed his city. In return, he denounced and exiled you, then fled into the wilderness with his remaining followers.

You have spent the winter just trying to survive, but you know the war is not over. The sage you met in the Great Southern Labyrinth has warned you about a new threat: the scorpion, Magdala. As the snows thaw and the Stormraiders return, you will have to uncover the truth about this new danger while fending off Stormraiders, trolls, and the increasingly mad and desperate King Hyras.

  • Play as male, female, or non-binary; gay, straight, bi, or ace.

  • Defeat enemies with sword and spell, or make allies with diplomacy, deception, and the miracles of your god.

  • Unleash new companions and train them in alchemy, infiltration, diplomacy, or the arts of war

  • Explore ancient cities, savage wastelands, and the glittering, deadly palace of the Desert Empress

  • Find friendship, romance, or rivalry with nymphs and satyrs, thieves and monarchs, dark warriors or holy sages

  • Bring peace to warring nations—or drive them to destruction for your own ends

  • Forge an army strong enough to stop the wrath of Magdala, the Unconquerable Scorpion

The gods are afraid. The Oricalchum is burning. How much of the World That Remains can you save?


Directions for beta-testing:

FIRST: If you can, please play and create a saved game for Pon Para and the Great Southern Labyrinth.

Email us, beta AT choiceofgames for access. (This changed several months ago, so take note if you haven’t beta tested in a while.)

Do not send DMs/PMs through the forum mail system, Discord, text message, carrier pigeon, or any other method than email.

When you send your EMAIL, include:

  • the game you want to test in the Subject line of the email.
  • your forum-name
  • your real name (first and last)
  • if your family/surname comes first, please indicate that. I will assume that your given name is listed first unless you tell me otherwise.

Do not email us multiple times about joining a beta. If you don’t email us as soon as we post a beta, you go into a queue. As we post new drafts, we admit more people from the queue. Eventually, we will get to you. When you have been admitted to the beta, we will send you a link, a username, and a password as a reply to your email.

When you have feedback to submit:

  • Return feedback to beta@choiceofgames, preferably part of the same email thread/chain, rather than a new one.
  • Please send screenshots or copy/pasted quotes as often as you can; it helps us track down whatever observation you’re making. In particular, the author may see things that you don’t, and/or the screenshot may contain more information than you realize.
  • If you’re submitting feedback using the Bug/Submit button in the game, make sure you include your handle/name in the body of the email. The Submit button obscures your email address, and I can’t give you credit for feedback if I don’t know who you are.

DO NOT POST ASKING WHAT THE BETA EMAIL ADDRESS IS. The first test to becoming a beta tester is inferring what it is based on the above paragraph.

Lastly, you cannot be testing two games at once. Send feedback on one and you can apply to another.

Tips on How to Give Feedback
I’m looking for “high level” and “low level” feedback. Not mid-level feedback.

Low-level = typos and continuity errors. A continuity error is when a character’s gender flips, or someone comes back from the dead, or you run into a plotline that just doesn’t make sense (because it’s probably a coding error).

For these low-level issues, screenshots are very helpful. If you see a problem, take a screenshot, or copy and paste the text that is in error, and email that.

“High level” feedback has to do with things like plot, pacing, and characters. “Scene A didn’t work for me because x, y, and z,” is useful feedback. “B character was entirely unsympathetic, because u, w, and v,” is also useful feedback.

“Mid-level” feedback describes things like grammar, style, word choice, or the use of commas. As I said above, I do not want mid-level feedback. In particular, DO NOT WRITE TO ME ABOUT COMMAS.

“I had a great time and saw only a few spelling errors,” is not useful feedback. In fact, it’s the sort of thing that results in you not being given access to future betas.

Some examples of useful feedback :
In Choice of the Dragon, you get to choose what type of wings you have: leather or scaled. Someone wrote in and asked about having feathered wings. Great suggestion! Done!

In “The Eagle’s Heir,” someone asked about Eugenie. They said that the romance moved too quickly–because she only appeared in the last third of the game–and wished they could have had an opportunity to meet her earlier. So the authors added an opportunity to meet her and start the romance earlier in the game (in a scene that already existed).

In “Demon Mark: A Russian Saga” several people commented on how the PC’s parents were unsympathetic, so the authors added a choice or two to deepen the relationship with the parents in the first chapter, to help better establish their characters.

Similarly, pointing out a specific choice and saying, “this is who I imagined my character was at this particular moment, and none of these options seemed right for me. I would have liked an option to do X instead,” is also really helpful feedback.

Another useful piece of feedback: if you choose an #option and then the results of that #option don’t make sense. Like, if you thought an #option might test one stat, but it seems to have tested a different one.

19 Likes

We’re seeing issues with game saving and loading saves, we know about it, just sit tight and we’ll get it fixed and push new versions of Pon Para and the Great Southern Labyrinth and the beta of Unconquerable Scorpion. If you had wanted to try a playthrough with a saved game and currently can’t, try playing Unconquerable Scorpion as a standalone or just sit tight for now :slight_smile:

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Save game issues should be fixed.

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…Ok really truly fixed now. Saves created yesterday weren’t working but possibly are working now, too. Apologies and thanks for your patience.

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New draft pushed!

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New draft posted! Look for version 24360.

This update should solve the restored-game problems. Some players were successfully restoring their game, then being moved through some “create a new Pon Para” content in chapter 1 that was overriding some of their variables. These fixes should prevent that.

Number of typos and bugs fixed.

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New draft posted! LOTS of edits. Now is the time for you to try loading a new or old save game from Pon Para and the Great Southern Labyrinth as we continue to root out save load continuity errors.

Look for version 24410 on the About page, clear your cache/refresh if you don’t see that.

  • Headers added!
  • Cleaned up numerous minor bugs/multireplace problems/etc.
  • If you import a game, condor_skill and condor_treasure are now integrated
  • If you import a game, starting troop loyalty/combat/wealth now based on your ending position in Pon Para 1 (knight, sage, crime boss, etc.)
  • Added more detail about which tablets you acquired in Pon Para 1 (if any) and how they affect the current game
  • Clarified Seilaq’s movements so he doesn’t seem to “disappear”
  • Cleaned up inventory (removed old and irrelevant items from the first game)
  • Fixed the logical problem in chapter 7 that forced you to guess in certain situations
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New Draft posted! v 24586

An uncountable number of fixes and bugs have been addressed, through some fairly extensive continuity testing. Please give it another try, with or without a save game.

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And another update! v 24594

Fixes a bug in Ch 1.