Blackwood Manor: Update (20th May)

Congratulations! After weeks of searching for a new job, you’ve found a position as a Housekeeper for Blackwood Manor. It might seem like an exciting proposition, at first… at least until you start hearing about the dark and twisted rumors surrounding this influential noble family.

The members of this family are four mysterious, charming and troubled people with a mysterious past. Will you be able to navigate feelings, desire and a dark history without getting overwhelmed-- or worse, disappearing like the previous Housekeeper?

Come and find out!


Hi everyone!

I’m new here, but have been a long time lurker of the forums, and have read my fair share of interactive fiction already.

I’ve been writing as a passion for quite a few years, now, and I’m excited to give this a try.

Blackwood Manor is an idea I’ve been brewing in my head for quite some time, and if all goes well, the intention would be to turn it in a series of multiple books (thinking 5 as of now).

This series will be focused on characters, relationships, and romance,, where the relationships develop organically throughout the books.

As for character customization, I want things to go as smoothly as possible, with big and small outcomes depending on a character’s choices and personality.

Each book will have mysteries to solve, and the themes can get rather dark, but there will always be a focus on romance and on the complications that come for a low class person with dating someone from an old noble house.

Features

  • Relationships that develop over the course of the books
  • Four romance options, (genders change dependant upon MC sexuality choice)
  • A variety of choices from minor to story-changing
  • Choose name, gender (male, female or non-binary), sexuality(straight, lesbian, gay or bi), and appearance!

Posted Chapters are available here: https://dashingdon.com/go/16104

Please, remember this is not the polished and edited version! I plan to keep improving every chapter until the whole book has been completed.

Find me on tumblr: https://ang3lwithapen.tumblr.com/

In depth info:

  • The romance options are the four Blackwood Siblings, children of a noble house that seems to have been going through a streak of horrible luck.
  • You play as a person coming to late Victorian London looking for a job, and take on the position of their Housekeeper.
  • While in later books you will have to lock on a specific RO, in the first couple of books you can explore romantic options with all four of the siblings… If you manage without making things too messy, that is.
    You will be able to make them jealous, but if you push things too hard, you might make them turn away from you, as well!

The Blackwood Siblings

  • Alice/Arlen
    The seemingly stoic head of the house, first heir of the family fortune.They’re dutiful and have a though exterior to crack. Despite their aloof demeanor, they possess a natural charisma that draws others to them, allowing them to command respect and authority. They can be ruthless and uncompromising, but also caring and protective.

  • Rose/Rowan
    They are a rather known member of society, being charming and attractive, with an amicable attitude that easily draws people in. They also seem to have rather… lascivious tendencies, as it seems they’ve had affairs with plenty of people in the high London scene. Because of this, drama seems to follow them wherever they go. Despite their outwardly carefree demeanor, there are whispers of a darker side to their personality.

  • Sabrina/Sebastian
    They are known for their reclusive nature and eccentric behavior, spending much of their time secluded in their workshop crafting the most gorgeous pieces of clothing. They consider themselves an artist. One could say their attitude might even come off as childish, when provoked. However, their arrogance and apparent disdain for strangers might conceal more fragile feelings.

  • Helena/Hector
    The youngest of the family also seems to be the most emotionally tormented. Knowing them, one might even define them as cruel. Locked up in the mansion, they spend their time haunting the place more like a ghost than a person. They care deeply for their siblings, yet their love is tainted by a sense of detachment and aloofness. They have a unique way of expressing their affection, often resorting to unconventional and sometimes destructive means.

This is my first IF, so let me know if you have suggestions or thoughts regarding it!

Hope you guys enjoy.

317 Likes

First off, this is awesome to stumble upon because character-focused, old-timey-ish things are great. And MC is a housekeeper, solving mysteries? I’m so endeared by all this (and by Mrs. Fletcher).
I also appreciate that you weren’t kidding about variety in your choices. I mean, just look at this, for example.
“You ignore his hand and get in smoothly.
You ignore his hand and stumble inside.”

In terms of anything potentially useful, I guess I’d (tentatively) comment on how, despite the ample choice, MC feels disconnected somehow? I think it might have to do with how text related to them is only ever triggered by choices. I do understand that this is a very, very short snippet—an unpolished one at that—but because the writing’s all solid, that’s the only slightly ‘off’ thing I felt.

Overall, I’m super excited to meet the other characters and follow the development of this obnoxiously closely.

13 Likes

Thank you so much for this lovely reply! I’m really glad you enjoyed the snippet I brought.

I really do try to give as much choice variety as possible, although also trying to keep most choices even a bit meaningful (such as the one you brought as an example, stumbling inside or being smooth varies your elegance skill).

I do absolutely agree with you that the MC feels a bit detached, as I had noticed this while writing. My plan is to make it feel like they’re more inserted and have more personality once their traits are more defined (starting as soon as next chapter).

The fact you enjoyed Mrs. Fletcher made me smile, she was a fun one to bring on the scene even if she won’t have a major presence in the story.

8 Likes

Super excited to see where this goes! Really enjoyable snapshot demo with lots of intrigue. Lovely style of writing and pace x

2 Likes

Thank you so much ^^

1 Like

This looks fun. I’d definitely like to see more.

You switch back and forth between Mr.Tobe and Mr. Hand in the text. Am I right in assuming that they’re supposed to be the same person?

2 Likes

I’m glad you’ve liked it! Tobe Hand is one person yes, I hadn’t realized I’d been inconsistent with the name. I’ll change it up to make it less confusing!

You could put housekeeper or butler so as not to confuse the men in the description. great game idea

1 Like

hello, I’m glad you like the idea! Do you think you could point out to me where the word you want changed is, so I can use a neutral term? I looked and I can’t find it (I’ve been careful to use the word Housekeeper for the MC).

2 Likes

Butler is the male equal to a housekeeper, as you see in Downton Abbey. Housemaid is a female title you could use in place of housekeeper if you wanted the latter as the gender neutral term, though housemaids are traditionally lower down the hierarchy of staff than a housekeeper. As in Downton head butlers run the male staff and housekeepers run the female staff, but since it sounds like the MC is by themselves it’s up to you!

2 Likes

Thank you for this information! I’ve never seen Downton Abbey myself, I’ll confess. I think I will keep using Housekeeper for every gender then because, as you said, MC will be doing everything by themselves (not counting the gardens at least). I was just confused on whether Fandeblacsoul had found a gendered term in the description/game that had escaped my notice.

2 Likes

No worries! I work at a Victorian era Museum so I know some stuff! :sweat_smile: Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management might be useful reading if you want a sense of the responsibilities of a 19th century household (or at least the initial chapters since much of it is cooking recipes).

https://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/10136/pg10136-images.html

13 Likes

Oh this will be really useful for sure. Thanks again :grin:

2 Likes

Woo!! I can’t wait for more. Also, will you be adding a save at some point or no?

3 Likes

Glad you enjoyed it! I actually had no idea adding a save was an option, but I’ll look into it and try to implement it for the next chapter, considering it’s going to be a longer one.

1 Like

Thank you for this. I truly enjoy Victorian Era period pieces. While I appreciate some literary license when writing a piece, I do hope that the story will adhere to a lot of the reality of the era. I am glad that another reader gave you a link to a reference source. You first posting was way too short and I am looking forward to the next update.

2 Likes

I’m glad you’re enjoying the concept. Even though I’m not planning for the story to be 100% historically accurate, I will still try my best to stay coherent with the time and setting.

Next chapter will be a lot longer than this one for sure!

2 Likes

This is giving me downtown abby, sherlock holmes, & twin peaks vibes. A nice blend of horror & mystery that I can’t wait to dive into

4 Likes

So you did go through with it after all. :grinning:

Typos:

Relief crashes over you like a wave. FInally, a job offer!

“I don’t believe it’s any of your concerns.”

The four of them are young— must be around your age, I believe. Perhaps a bit older.” The woman tires to take a sip from her teacup and then grimaces at the heat.

He very rarely comes to the center of London-- to solve some burocratic issues, I presume.

Mrs. FLetcher might be asleep, because you haven’t seen a sign of her all morning. You think it’s for the better

When you get the option to ask about the Blackwood siblings, it would be best if you could ask about all four of them. I get it, the character is busy, but being able to ask about more than one would be helpful to getting to know the story. (On a more practical side, this also helps to draw out the length of the game while still creating the illusion of choice).

5 Likes

This was awesome to randomly come across. I absolutely loved the perspective of the prologue, it gave an instant draw into the story. You had me hooked within three or four sentences. I am looking forward to seeing this WIP progress. great job