Checkmate in Three Moves (WIP) (A Drama in which you Inherit your Family Name) (05/05/21)

So. I’d never tried choicescript before in my life 3 weeks ago, but I’ve wanted to write a game on and off for about 6 years, and I finally found the courage and motivation to try it! This is Checkmate in Three Moves (not a chess-based game, in case anybody was looking for that niche) and the vibe I’m going for is sort of an indulgent thriller largely based on interactions with the characters as you navigate the plot. Set in a fictional world with real-world elements, the main motif is a Gatsby-esque Rich People Are Careless and I’d recommend listening to Sober II by Lorde for the atmosphere. (P.S. bear with me when it comes to the stats, they’re kind of a mess and I’m trying to figure out how to strike a balance between implementing them meaningfully and not making the game difficult to get through! I’d like to keep the personality stats as an indicator to how you act and people react to you rather than for checks if possible, but they’re pretty subject to change as I progress.)

4/21/21: It currently stands at about 21,000 words! So far it’s just the introduction to the main cast (minus a Noir, Twenty and Honey scene I’ll add soon) and an attempt at immersion-building, but the next one will actually focus more on MC and the details of their predicament.

Link: https://dashingdon.com/play/herbington/checkmate-in-3-moves/mygame/

Tumblr: https://checkmatein3moves.tumblr.com/

Blurb.

Your parents have been recently disgraced (and in your mother’s case, indicted) and it’s down to you to represent your family name. Both were notorious socialites largely blase to the concerns of others, and you know all too well just how common such an attitude is in your circle. But unfortunately, you are just a single person who can only minimise so much of the damage, if you choose to.
You have enemies, whether you want them or not, and it’s less about who they are than who they’re working with, who else they’re working against, and how you can possibly prove that such talented schemers have it out for you.

Your friends, however, will be the key if you let them. The moments of laughter and happiness in a world where none of you really know where you fit. Sure, your life’s hard, but you’ve got cake, wine, fancy clothes and mixers that last into the wee hours of the morning!

Just hope your house parties don’t turn out like a game of clue.

Finer points.
  • Play as man, woman or non-binary and choose pronouns. No defined sexuality.
  • Host and attend charity balls, galas and parties — though keep an eye out for what the pretty clothes and fancy decorations are hiding.
  • Find out who released the information that doomed your parents — at increasing cost to your safety.
  • Do what you can to alleviate the burden of those wronged by a careless government in a world where capital is more powerful than power itself.
  • Love your friends. Help your friends. Annoy your friends. Catalyse your friends’ growth. Your friends are important, and will largely shape your experience as they face their own challenges alongside you.
  • Fall for your best friend, thaw out an icy heart, dash the bounds of propriety and more.
  • Try to balance all these responsibilities with the effect so many consequences have on your psyche. Good luck!
Romance.

I know seven is AMBITIOUS, especially when I get so into them, but writing character relationships (all will be pretty involved in the story regardless of romance) is something I adore.

Hebe Romana Ceres Hale, 24, she/her.
Appearance: 6’, with her mother’s brown skin and her father’s square jaw. She bleached her dark hair in your bathroom not long after she turned 19, and keeps it cut to her shoulderblades. Her eyes are always lively, whether in fury or in kindness, both of which are common on her. Her long legs make her oft-likened to a model, and less-oft, by those that have seen her trip over her own feet, a baby gazelle.
Summary: Your best friend. If you lean into her, she’ll lean into you. Most people’s first impression of her is that she’s loud, snarky and has completely no regard for her personal safety — and these things are true. But what most people don’t know is that she learned to speak up because her little sister is afraid to, she defies authority because her father taught her that authority never forgives, and she likes herself the most when she’s standing in the shoes of a protector. She works as an art designer for a comic book franchise, with a saught-after talent for drawing and digital art.

Sailor Bones, 23, they/them.
Appearance: 6’2, with tanned skin and broad shoulders. Their black hair is often coiffed neatly at the beginning of the day, but they rarely finish one without most of the strands escaping and buttons undone on their uniform. Their full lips give off the impression that they’re pouting a lot of the time, but combined with their eyes that remain carefully neutral, it’s hard to tell whether they’re constantly judging or just stoic.
Summary: Your server. There’s always going to be an elephant in the room if you choose to offer your heart to them. Your family is the only one they’ve ever worked for in their five years of service, and you can’t really imagine life without the little songs they hum and inappropriate familiarity with you. What they don’t tell you is how strongly they return that sentiment — a soft heart hides behind their disdain for smiles and fun. They espouse resentment and complaints like it’s their favourite hobby, and you’ve heard them gripe about the armache from carrying a tray around at parties for so long more than a dozen times. (P.S. you can still romance them if you don’t do the ex route)

Jelly Sissel, 21, she/they.
Appearance: 5’5, with pale skin and a round face. Jelly’s hair is rich purple and would fall down her back if she didn’t keep it up with hairspray in either a high ponytail or voluminous pigtails. No matter the occasion, she’s always seen wearing bright colours or sparkles. Her near-black eyes are large and wide, making her seem always attentive or mildly surprised.
Summary: You know they don’t date because they’re afraid of being put in a box, but you’ve seen them look longingly at couples spinning around the dance floor before. They’re as sweet as anything if they like you, but if you mess with their best friend Twenty, you’re probably going to be on their shit list forever. On the surface, they seem perfectly outgoing and charming, but they have a disconnect with their emotions that they’ve been struggling with since they were a child. They care a little too much about everything but they rarely let anybody know when they’re overwhelmed. As if they weren’t stressed enough, they’re looking at a career in politics.

Twenty Zu, 20, he/him.
Appearance: 5’11, tawny skinned and angel-carved handsome. Twenty is a brunette with an unassuming fashion sense (he favours shades of green) and natural unruly short hair. His boyishness would make him cute if not for his strong aquiline nose and perpetual scowl.
Summary: Trying to love him will be like pulling teeth, if the teeth were actively clinging on for dear life and the gums were screaming at you. The youngest child of the Zu family, he’s well-known for being the affair child of Penelope Zu and the lover she betrayed her marriage for. He doesn’t seem to get on well with anybody other than Jelly, who attests that he’s a great friend despite evidence to the contrary. He mistrusts anybody that tries to get close to him but is otherwise oddly open about his thoughts and experiences. The word friend is incredibly important to him, and he won’t use it unless he really means it. It’s no surprise that Twenty wants to go into genetics, as he’s always been a bit of a prodigy, but it does seem to be a path at odds with his great respect for magic and the occult.

Honeysuckle Gold, 22, she/her.
Appearance: 5’7, with dyed ash grey hair and light skin. Her heart-shaped face contrasts her muscular build, and she looks like she gives good hugs even if nobody you know has any evidence to support that yet.
Summary: Honey works in the kitchens of Moon Tower. She’s hesitant when it comes to entanglements, but if she likes you, she’ll find a subtle way to show it. She’s an incredible chef that never raises her voice. Hebe likes to playfully get on her nerves, and there’s been a few times where she’s almost risen to the bait, but you can tell that neither of them mean each other any harm. Though she isn’t an expert when it comes to social interaction, she’s quietly considerate and masks her shyness when complimented. Honestly, you don’t know a whole lot about her — she doesn’t readily reveal information about what she does out of work, so much so that you’re not even sure if she has family or not.

Jareth January, 23, he/him.
Appearance: 5’10ish, with peachy skin and midnight blue hair that he usually keeps perfectly coiffed. He wears square rimless glasses that sit casually on a pretty curved nose, and his face strikes a perfect balance between beautiful, sweet and intimidating. You’d compare him more to an owl than a hawk, except when he smiles — his smiles usually make the knowing look in his eyes look a little like a threat.
Summary: You get the impression he doesn’t think very much of you, but there might be a reason his gaze lingers curiously when you turn away. A young actor, he’s never tried to hide or embellish the truth of his lower class upbringing as the son of fishermen. His pretentious attitude is one cultivated from hardening his heart to survive the world he has haphazardly torn a place in, used to being alone and convincing himself that he’d rather be a concept than a person. He has found small joy in provoking you, though it’s always difficult to tell whether he’s being malicious or just toying with you. Sometimes betrays a thoughtfulness you wouldn’t expect from someone like him, but it’s usually steeped in cynicism and gone within a minute.

Noir Zu, 27, he/him.
Appearance: 5’7, shares Twenty’s strong chin, but has a smaller face with a wider nose and jaw and paler skin. His hair is jet black and his smile is always slightly crooked as though he doesn’t know how smiles are supposed to look. His cheekbones are stronger than his brother’s, though his face is slightly gaunt from exhaustion and the dark circles under his eyes are still visible through makeup.
Summary: His attitude and manners are ghastly, but he’s been lonely for so long he can’t bear to let anyone in. The fourth and youngest legitimate child of Mars Zu, Noir believes he is broken beyond repair by his father’s emotional torture and mind games throughout his childhood. You know that he went from being rebellious and angry to bitter and cold when he officially cut ties with his family, and that his close relationship with Twenty dissolved. It’s no secret that he’s a terrible businessman due to his inability to sweeten his tongue and his clear disillusionment with the corporate world, but he persists in attempting to maintain his facade. He’s terrified he has nothing left without spite to motivate him, and in the case that he does, terrified to confront the four years he’s wasted on trying to be someone he’s not.

Update log.

5th May:

  • Wordcount is now 45,100.

  • All main cast is introduced.

  • Jareth’s scene is bulked up.

  • Chapter 2 begins, the plot kicks off.

  • New stats page, changed them up and added descriptions.

  • Sailor is now an inch taller because of a specific scene I was envisioning.

  • A little more lore and life in the universe.

  • Customisable appearance.

If I’m missing anything, please let me know. I’m pretty out of my depth here and pretty nervous to post!!! But I welcome all feedback, even if you want to call me a big fool for attempting 5 billion romance paths (which is totally fine because you would be 100% right) I’m already half in love with all of them.

303 Likes

I really like what I’m reading!! The characters are all unique, the writing is great, I’m already half in love with Sailor, and I’m excited to read more. I love how you create the atmosphere in the scenes, and you make everything intriguing enough that I keep wanting to learn more about everything going on — what happened to MC, what the rest of the cast is like, how we’ll all make it through together, etc.

Just a quick comment: it would be nice to maybe have character descriptions on the stat screen maybe? A lot of new people get introduced at once and I did have to come back to the forum post to see who is who a couple of times.

Keep up the great work :two_hearts::two_hearts:

9 Likes

Congrats on publishing your first demo! If you haven’t already seen this thread, it offers some insights regarding the patterns found in published games, one of which pertains to stats.

This is the world that you were born into, the one that forged you in silk, candy and gold.

What a great line. The inclusion of candy just sells it!

You don’t know if you can do this, but you have to do this, because the devil doesn’t wait.

Another really great line. Probably my only minor complaint is the second comma seeming out of place.

the premise was owners letting their pets choose their new significant others for a week, the kind of stimulating content all upstanding men of society needed

The snarky/sarcastic tone found sprinkled here and there is wonderful. I can just hear the polite sneer every so often. It’s delightfully ironic.

a bitter note creeps into his voice.

Missing a capitalization here.


With your explanation of the Gatsby motif and the descriptions of the characters in-game, I couldn’t help but picture a Gatsby era with the characters seemingly have walked out of The Capitol from The Hunger Games.

I also echo @Draconifors about character descriptions in the stat screen and why. With so many people getting introduced at once, it’s hard to keep track of all of them.

6 Likes

@AChubbyBlackCat @Draconifors thank you both so much!!! I’ll get the little errors soon and I don’t mind moving descriptions to the stats screen as well. tbh I also plan to add a description of the numbered stats but I just haven’t gotten around to that yet. I want to change the stats and the way they affect things as I really get into my style and start on more MC-based scenes past the initial introductions :smile:

5 Likes

Hebe and Jareth are hot. Kissable, from friends to lovers and the other, from enemies to lovers, how can you not attract warm feelings? It’s like the biggest problem in the game is: “who we want to kiss”, not our parents’ crazy shit. The story has an interesting flow and being an elite drama, with a focus on social interactions, it sounds very promising. It is an extremely detailed, immersive demonstration, a great job. X)

9 Likes

Looks interesting! (I like everyone :open_mouth:) I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on this.

1 Like

do you mayhaps have a tumblr for the game ? : )

I’ll keep this short.

It’s perfect.

12 Likes

It’s bloody brilliant and well written. @AChubbyBlackCat and @Draconifors already put together how interesting and good this is.

8 Likes

thay was really good. more then really good it was amazing cant wait for the next update.

2 Likes

I do not! I’ll consider making one when I get a little bit more out now that you’ve said this though :smile: I’ve never used a tumblr for this kind of thing before

7 Likes

Oooh I love this!

1 Like

I really love the vibe you have going on here! I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on this.

1 Like

I absolutely adore this story so far and I’m pretty much in love with it cause the way it’s a written makes them seem to be the type of friends to die for especially Honey and Hebe. I can’t wait to read more and see how this story grows and develops.

1 Like

This is a really great game! :heart_eyes: I’m looking forward to getting to know ROs better. They are so diverse interesting. I really like Hebe and Sailor :heartbeat: Good luck with the game!

1 Like

That was amazing! All the characters are so believable, I can practically imagine them all in real life, moreover their dynamics are just priceless! And I’m deeply curious how the plot will unfold itself, it certainly will be interesting to keep up with all the intrigues and such :wink: I wish you all the luck with this ptoject!

3 Likes

I’m so glad I decided to give this a go! The writing is great and I don’t know how I should decide one RO to romance, they’re all so lovely in their own ways. :two_hearts: Though I can already say that I love Sailor. But then again there is Jareth, I can never say no to the enemies to lovers trope…:eyes:

Anyway, good luck and keep up the good work!

4 Likes

I was really hoping this game would be about a magical game of chess to the death!

2 Likes

good work :heart_eyes: :shushing_face:

1 Like

i like this story so far :nerd_face: plot is very intriguing i’ll keep a eye out for sure .

1 Like