Brittleshade: Catalyst WIP [Small update July 17th]

Brittleshade, a city nestled in myth and legend. Magic and science walk hand in hand in a city unlike any other. Once ruled by dragons, the capital of a great nation, but now it was a conquered city in the Alfar Nation. It had become home to all manner of creatures from the friendly Golbry to the ingenious Tibareni.

But everyone knows there is more to Brittleshade than meets the eye. Technology offers convenience but the true lifeblood of Brittleshade is magic. Possess the right kind and you could carve out your place in the brightest jewel in the land. But beneath the shiny veneer of a city that never sleeps lies secrets that many would keep buried. One such secret is that of your sister.

A single life hardly matters in the grand scheme of the five million that live in Brittleshade. Will you find the answer or will you too end up as just another foolish tourist who got lost in the dark.

Game Overview

Brittleshade: Catalyst is an Interactive Novel set in a world of modern high fantasy. The player character is human with power who has come to Brittleshade to find their younger sister who came to the city to marry into the Goldman family. Only, she’s been missing for several weeks and no one seems to know what happened.

Play as a random character, a premade or customize your own. Find love, make friends, and even make enemies; all on the way to figuring out just exactly what happened. Just remember, in a city of power like Brittleshade, there is always something lurking in the dark.

Player Character

TL;DR: You have a weak power, your sister is missing and the rest of your family probably hates you.

You play as a Silverstein, one of five children, who had a rather terrible upbringing due to being weak in your power. The best part of your childhood was the bond you had with your younger sister. Even if you choose to be on good terms with your other siblings, she was the only one who really ever saw you as you.

At the start of the game, you will be able to choose from several character options or customize your own. Customization will only detail the physical description, power and background of the character. There will be storyline options that can change your character’s opinion of their sister, their family and even their motivation/goal for being in Brittleshade.

The stats screen will update as you play, detailing the player’s personality and they have been reacting to the people and circumstances in Brittleshade. Some stats you can see are “Honest”, “Aggression” and “Sarcastic”. You will also see a strength meter for your power which may potentially grow as you play the game.

Other Characters

TL;DR: Multiple main characters to interact with and keep track of. Romanceables are “player-sexual” and not all relationships are normal (or healthy).

There will be a multitude of characters to interact with in Brittleshade. You will be able to see the stats and opinions for the main ones. Should you pursue a romance with a character, their section will change to reflect that.

It is up to the player to decide whether they wish to pursue that relationship. Keep in mind, not every relationship is healthy or traditional.

The first three characters encountered in the game, in no particular order, are:

Rebecca Goldman, a human woman with the gift of necromancy. Romanceable.
A friend of your sister’s, she can be potentially met when you visit your sister’s apartment for the first time. She’s bubbly, and happy, and gives off the vibe that she may have been a cheerleader in High School.

Zachariah Goldman, a human man with the gift of necromancy. Romanceable.
A friend of your sister’s, he can be potentially met when you visit your sister’s apartment for the first time. A bit stoic, he tends to be the more serious of the two Goldmans you encounter. He definitely looks like he was born into a wealthy family but he’s not quite as terrible about it.

Xion, a non-binary Golbry shaman-in-training. Romanceable.
Xion is one of the first people you meet “off the bus”. Literally. Like all Golbry, they’re incredibly friendly (annoyingly friendly, really) and seems intent on worming their way into your life. However, it’s clear from that first meeting that they used some sort of magic on you. Which is definitely one way to leave an impression.

Neveah Kynrel, something something human? Romanceable.
A woman you encounter when you visit the Garden for the first time. Considered the ‘caretaker’ of the Garden. Doll like in action, she seems interested in you and why you’ve come to Brittleshade even if she does not show it. Upon your next meeting, however, she is vibrant and alive.

Soliathin, male Alfar. Romanceable.
An Alfar you meet when visiting the Embassy. He becomes almost instantly curious about you, and less so about your sister. Haughty and rude, he embodies many traits of an Alfar nobleman.

Anaisa, Unknown, Unknown, Romanceable?
Unmet Character as of yet.

Belcan, Unknown, Unknown, Romanceable
Unmet Character as of yet.

Keith Goldman, human Necromancer.
Keith was the man your sister came to Brittleshade to marry. The more you learn about him, the more you question that decision. Known for being cruel and ruthless. He is the current heir to the Goldman family.

Brief World Overview

TL;DR: There’s magic and fictional races but they still got phones and cars and stuff.

Brittleshade is a modern high fantasy world. It combines the technology of our world with magic and different races. Brittleshade, itself, is a large city with several million people. Magic is not commonplace but there are enough people with some manner of power that everyone knows someone with magic.

The city is in the Alfar Nation which is the supreme nation on the continent. The Alfar have conquered all the other peoples and rule from their own capital city. Brittleshade has been ruled by a nominated official for several centuries. This has led to the populace being very mixed but it is primarily Alfar, Human, Tibareni and Golbry.

Alfar are characterized by longevity and possessing abnormal beauty. Tibareni are industrious and inventive but possess no forms of magic. Golbry are naturally inquisitive and aggressively friendly. Humans are, well, humans.

Abilities are unique to humans. Abilities have become a point of pride for certain wealthy families. Some, such as the Silversteins (the player character’s family) and the Goldmans have endeavoured to increase the strength of their bloodlines by marrying other powered individuals into their families. However, having a power is not necessarily a good thing. Certain powers can attract the wrong kind of attention and some humans have been hunted down because their power has been deemed too dangerous.

Some abilities are Empathy (perceive and affect emotions), Pyrokinesis (control fire), Telekinesis (move things without touching them), Medium (speaking with spirits and ghosts), Necromancy (raising the dead) and others.

Magic in Brittleshade comes from pacts with spirits. The average person is capable of making a pact with one of the lesser spirits provided they know what the spirit would want in exchange.

Through playing the game, there will be tidbits of additional lore such as what became of the former ruling line of Brittleshade, what it takes to actually make pacts with spirits and more.

Some Game Features

Character generator – Play as a randomly generated Silverstein or a premade if you don’t feel like customizing a character.
Romance Jealousy – If you do pursue a romance with an NPC, it is possible to negatively impact their romance by spending time with other NPCs. Not every RO will become jealous as this is based on their personality.
Glossary – As you play, more words will be added to the in-game Glossary which can be found in the stats menu.
Dynamic Sats Menu – The sections of the Stats Menu will change as the game progresses. The more you play, the more it fills out. For example, you won’t have the option to see info about a character you haven’t met.
Comfort Switch – The game has a switch that can be enabled at the first of the game to reduce the level of violence. This might be expanded later to also include a switch for things people don’t like but I kinda prefer it to be a character-by-character basis and part of actual dialogue with them.
Character Death - Depending on your choices, your character can die. The game, however, will try really hard to get you not to choose the death option.
Autosave - The game will autosave at the start of every chapter. This fits with the potential character death happening as the story plays out.

Things I may add later

Trigger Switches - I’m hesitant to add these because while I do prefer readers to be comfortable, it changes the dynamic of the NPCs a lot (one character is very touchy-feely once a relationship exists, another is incredibly flirty). I included the violence/description one as personally, certain things squick me out.
Dialogue Notifications - I’ve tried to write the options to be obvious on what it might affect. Some are obvious with words like “Rudely” and “Sarcastically” but others are less so.

Currently, a random playthrough is about 11k words (with the shortest options selected in most cases). In total, the coding and writing equals about 60.5k words.

To play the demo, go to Brittleshade: Catalyst on DashingDon

Frequently asked questions can be found at Tumblr FaQ
Now with Snippet Sunday where I post a few lines that aren’t yet in the online demo.

Contains depictions of: Violence, foul language, corpses/zombies, murder and death.
Contains mentions of: Animal cruelty and nudity.

I also appreciate any feedback or problems. Like if I accidentally typoed a word, have the wrong pronoun or if something just doesn’t make sense. I only ask that feedback be polite. <3

Thanks for stopping by!


I was in character creation, and it assumed the gender I was attracted to. Went to change it, and got this error: “02_choices line 312: bad label gendercontinue”

Otherwise, looks rather interesting


Should be resolved now. I renamed a few things and forgot to delete that one.

Thank you for pointing that out!

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Yep, all fixed

EDIT: Amused that with a surname Silverstein, there’s the option for silver eyes. And better yet, comments about it later.

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The save system isn’t working

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Not really sure how to resolve that as the save system is through DashingDon.

Just to be on the safe side, I have reuploaded the startup file as it’s the only thing I can affect for the save system. Hopefully that fixes the problem.

It’s working now.
Also will the mc be able to get more powerful?


Awesome, I probably forgot the save innit code snippet last time. Sorry about that!

And yes, they can get more powerful. An increase in power can be seen on the stats screen if Telekinesis is the power picked as it’s the easiest to level up.


I was quite surprised during my first playthrough when I died. Although the warning signs were there, I ignored them, because it’s our baby sister. Didn’t help that I picked being the oldest sibling, so am playing as very protective


Don’t worry, that’s just me wanting to remind people that sometimes going to the obvious answer isn’t always the best one. =P

It’s also because I wanted it to be kind of obvious on who or what one of the evils are in Brittleshade. Which is why there is the redo option to send players back to the start of that day.

When I was initially writing that part about the eyes, it was just straight up silver for the whole family. So the whole Silverstein Silvers was the original. I should have gone for the Goldmans having gold eyes but well, that’d be too much alliteration for me.


Yeah, the redo option took out most of the sting. Made some of the conversation with Rebecca make so much more sense playing as an Empath.

Did like that even she seems to have that air of entitlement being a Goldman. I confronted her about having me followed as Not Cool and she seemed shocked. Apologetic, but shocked.

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The powers make things unique in their own way. Empath is technically the easiest way to play because you get insight on the characters that you won’t otherwise have.

That’s what I’m going for. =] She’s supposed to be cheerful but entitled.

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Another question: How do you pronounce Xion? My first instinct is Zion, but then there’s the way like Chinese President Xi, or the Greek way that’s more gutteral and sounds like you’re clearing your throat

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For me, it’s like Zee-on but as this isn’t voiced, people are welcome to have their own interpretation.

Fun fact, Sean (the male Golbry you meet off the bus) originally referred to them as Zee as a nickname but I changed that so I wouldn’t confuse myself later with the coding variables.


This is really well put together.

The city’s definitely one I’d love to see more of, even with the small amount we’re seeing so far it’s a really vivid image.

Your character introductions are pretty solid too, feeling immediately different from each other whilst not being too over the top.

I’ll be very interested to see how the ‘romantic jealousy’ feature plays out - I feel like we don’t see much of that in games, and it’s a very human thing to experience.

Great work so far, and I’m eagerly awaiting more :slight_smile:


Thank you!

I intend to have the story branch into different places depending on player choices. For example, more time spent with Xion results in knowing more about the Golbry and the Warren while more time with one of the Goldmans would delve more into the human side of Brittleshade.

The jealousy feature will be different based on the characters though so some might not even trigger it. I don’t intend to go too crazy with it as that would end up being a little too much writing but we’ll see how it goes if I get time and inspiration.

Thank you for checking it out!


It could just be me, but did I detect a hint of jealousy from Rebecca on Keith? That she might have a crush on your little sister?


My mc might be developing a crush on her completely insufferable brother, though he’ll be damned if he admits to it. Also because I chose the break with the family background, so after getting away from super elite families the last thing he wants is to be caught up with them again, particularly as just a disposable kept boytoy for Zach who in turn seems to want to marry mc’s little sister himself, so mc would just be a diversion on the side for him.


@Alley_Cat Yes. Whichever one you meet in the apartment will initially be jealous about the sister and Keith’s relationship.

@idonotlikeusernames He may or may not continue to be insufferable but at least he’s not Keith. For reasons that’ll eventually become clear.


Probably just me, but the MC having the option of being a weak telekinetic reminds me of a plotline from Babylon 5- Earth gov was trying to develop weak telekinetics.

It doesn’t take much force to squeeze a heart, it doesn’t take much force to close a windpipe. It doesn’t take much force to do plenty of extremely painful or downright lethal things to someone.

I doubt the author intends for us to be able to force choke anyone any time soon though. :slight_smile: