Choice of Rebels Part 1 WIP thread


#1

For the past couple of years, I've been working on a fantasy CoG called Choice of Rebels. Like all self-respecting epic fantasy, it's going to be a series... say, four or five games, when all's said and done? That kind of scale seems to be working out well enough for JimD.

Anyway, I've now got more than two-thirds of the first game written. It's enough to give a pretty good flavor of the world, characters, and plot -- but there's enough unfinished that I can still make major course corrections. (Indeed, I've just got through a pretty major overhaul based on helpful feedback from @FairyGodfeather on an early draft. Thanks, FG).

As a previously published author, I'm aiming to get it on the official games page. But unlike most "official" authors, I want to make sure I get feedback well before beta or even alpha testing on a complete draft. Let's get the criticisms out there while I can still respond to them without having to ditch three months' worth of coding!

June 3, 2017: just took down the alpha version link. We're passing Randomtest and on our way to beta at long last...

Here's the draft world map.

A couple disclaimers up front:
* If you complain when CoGs get too long and novelistic, this may not be the game for you.
* If genderswapping characters annoy you, just stick with a single sex and orientation. Bi MCs have a wider range of romantic opportunities than non-bi MCs, but otherwise you'll miss nothing in terms of replayability by not changing your sex and orientation.
* My goal is to get Game I finished by the end of the year. (Edit: Ha. Sorry.) That said, thanks to my day job, I don't expect to update this very frequently. Apologies to anyone who reads it and is hungry for more...

Thanks to anyone who takes the time to read and comment!

Edit: As the game is now being frequently referred to with our preferred abbreviation of "XoR" on other threads, here's an explanation for that joke.

Edit2: Thanks to Dashingdon for rescuing me from the demise of Dropbox...

Edit3: And we now have a Facebook page... https://www.facebook.com/jhavenstone/


Fatehaven
How did everyone find CoG?
What about PoC?
Older development thread (The Aegis Saga - Blood)
Do any of these sound good?
Does sexual orientation/sexual preference need to be defined at the beginning of the game?
Is being able to be Bi or Gay that important?
Opinions about Stats (Skills, Relationships and Personality)
Preferred scene length for all devices
Character and author similarities
Your Writerly Signature?
The Fight for Home (WIP) (UPDATED 7/30)
What is the longest CS game that has been published?
What is the longest CS game that has been published?
Thoughts on Beta Testing?
What do you do for a living?
Automatic hide_reuse?
Any recommended WIP interactive novels?
Are there choices that a game shouldn't give a player? (Was: Are games inherently trivializing?)
Feedback about the Beta Process
#2

WOOHOO!!! I'm so glad to see this here. Okay off to play it now to see what's changed.


#3

Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil.


#4

I bow to your ability to form verbose and informative pages.


#5

I think you need something to indicate that there's two different timelines being woven together, with the harrowing. That there's things on the day of the harrowing, and there's remembering disconnected scenes of the part. Without a date, or other indication it might be possible to get confused.

I played as far as the point where I have to decide about banditry. Again, it's such a difficult decision, but this time around I actually know the names of the people who're going to die as a result of my scruples. There's a human cost to it, there's the faces of all those children, there's some that are more than just numbers.

I think you've done a fantastic job of actually bringing everyone to life, of putting names to people, even in such a short space of time. It does feel like this is more than a game of numbers now.

And I'm paralysed by the tough decision. I wish I could ask for advice on it. I wish I could ask the others what they think we should do.

So I chose to attack the noble house, to beg for supplies, to set up a smuggling ring, and I think that was it. I may have forgotten one and that seems to have provided enough supplies with minimal casualties. Although I'm sure my cautious choices mean I've missed out on exciting stories.


#6

@Havenstone I haven't started playing yet, but I certainly will soon! I have a quick question before I do though: do you have a map of this world of yours? I understand if you don't, and you don't need to make one for the game if you weren't planning on it. I just really love looking at maps! They're so much fun!! That was the only thing I was looking for in the Index section since I am more of a person who would rather just be dumped into a place and a situation and figure it out, but I think maps are a lot of fun to have, and if they are there, if someone ever does get lost in the world, they can find their way! For me, they are purely for entertainment purposes, though because I find so much joy from looking at them and learning the features!


#7

Well that took me an hour and thirty minutes to play. I'm not sure if I was just reading slowly, and spending plenty of time to think on my choices, or if the game is already huge. I loved all the changes I've seen.

I seem to be missing Radmar's presence in the later scenes. I think he, and our other friends should be mentioned, at the party if not elsewhere.

I liked Suzanne a lot. I'd like to be able to make choices in regards to whether she sells her sword or not though. We didn't have any weapons at all. I'd still choose no but it'd be nice for the choice to be there. We're already making her part with her horse, although we have mules? I was a little surprised by her willingness to give up her horse, perhaps because I've read too many of those stories with knights who're great friends with their horses.


#8

@Galador You should love this game. It's absolutely amazing. It's one of my favourite games and it ends far too soon. I never read any of the background info, I just plunged straight in and found that everything was explained enough that I understood, but not so that it went into paragraphs that derailed the story.

There is some drinking of alcohol, and getting drunk. That's a point, perhaps we should have the choice not to imbibe ourself? Or at least not to drink to excess. There is a choice not to have the party that leads to the drunkeness.


#9

I have to say this is a very interesting and also complex game. I'll like to see it be continued


#10

I've been lurking on these forums for quite some time now, and can honestly say that this is the first game that has ever evoked a response from me. I'm currently fighting the urge to completely gush over every minute detail to lore, your ability as a writer, and the model of the revolution as a whole.

Every choice the MC makes possesses its own intricate ramifications as well as its benefits (more of the former than the latter), and it is my belief that that's what makes this game so compelling, the realism of the choices one is faced with.

I have oh so enjoyed this work of literary brilliance, and await it's completion with bated breath. Crap, I'm gushing again.

Anyways, that's just my two cents... :-\"


#11

I'll add my praise to the rest of the people here. You've got me hooked so far. The characters are all fantastic and the lore you've set up is equally great.


#12

i just started open the stats screen is amazing only with that. Now i have to read all the lore and the game smiley i believe i could be bad with this game. Mara happy


#13

Game Is amazing only a issue why character hasn't any bad karma option Im a noble from ancient kingdom why i reveal? FOR THE THRONE.

I don't care helots i don't care evil sins of empire i want POWER No, all options are for moral leaders more or less bloodthirsty i want to be a sly maquiavelian character a charming liar


#14

I love the Game, it's a fun idea, great story, awesome characters. Everything is fun and enjoyable. Keep up the great work. I am bookmarking this page. smiley


Stats and Index

Iasoun de Eramant the Open-Handed
Status: Aristocrat

Anarchy: 21
Ruthless: 22% - Compassionate: 78%
Skeptical: 40% - Devout: 60%
National: 47% - Cosmopolitan: 53%

Charisma: 1
Combat: 0
Intellect: 2

Wealth: 0
Followers: 289
Arms: 25
Blood: 0


Notable members of your rebellion

The rebels who will be remembered with you in legend include:
- Breden Reaper, charismatic and eloquent helot
- Radmar Millstone, physically powerful and short-tempered helot
- Elery Skinner, brilliant helot strategist
- Zvad of Whendward, outlaw and ex-mercenary
- Kalt Swineherd, passionate and vengeful helot

Those who have died for the cause include: None


How others see you

HELOTS:
You are rapidly becoming a folk hero to the helot classes.

ARISTOCRATS:
Most aristocrats abhor your rebellion, but a handful are growing cautiously sympathetic.

PRIESTS:
The priests of Xthonos dislike you for your impious offenses against the Imperial religion. In particular, your public displays of Theurgy have led them to accuse you of trafficking with dark powers.

MERCHANTS:
While most merchants think your rebellion is bad for business, a few of them see opportunities in working with you.


#15

I went through the game, choosing the most difficult, against the game choices that I could find and discovered that there's points where things just don't seem to work. I think if you're going to allow this sort of choices (and you don't have to) they should be fleshed out a little more.

If you choose not to go to the meetings, and then don't fight for Breden and end up being rescued from the prison you still have the following choices.

"Why weren't you up at the shack with the others?"
"Why wasn't I invited to the meeting?"
"How do you think the Imperials knew to go to the shack?"
"Why didn't you try to stop the Harrowing?"
I just stare at her, the doubts obvious in my eyes.

I didn't know that the shack was their regular meeting place. I wasn't invited to any meetings, I was avoiding them.

"Xthonos damn you. If the Alastors catch me, they'll gut me. But now I can't go looking for the outlaws either, because you'll call me a traitor to them."

The thing is, Breden is more charming and charismatic than I am in this playthrough. Why would they believe me, an aristrocrat, instead of Breden, a helot?

The jump from this path to meeting Zvad and being a leader of the bandits is extremely jarring. There feels like there should be something else in there. Hmm I see it does come later, the explanation. I think in a story that would work. In this game though it just leaves the previous passages being confusing.

Also, there shouldn't be the option to just not find any methods for getting supplies. I severely doubt that 41 bandits would accept me as their leader, and then die because I refused to tell them what to do. I think they'd overthrow me first.

There should be a choice other than seduce Suzanne/Simon, and leave them alone. As a noble, surely it would be good to have the only other noble as a friend? Especially if you've been nice and chaste too. Surely you could even hope something would develop between you.

Also it says Radmar's a member of my band, only I don't remember him being present and meeting up with us on this path. And I didn't know Elery's name. Speaking of which if she's such a brilliant strategist could I ask for her help on finding a way to feed everyone?


#16

Breden's throat works in silence for a few moments before she answers simply, "I was afraid."

When she says nothing more, you stop and stare at him, wracked by both angry disbelief and profound disappointment.

When she says nothing more, you stop and stare at her


#17

Terrific feedback as always, @FairyGodfeather -- thanks very much. Some of it's easily done, some of it I'll need to think about.

@MaraJade, there's a limit on how Machiavellian you can be in this game, and I'm afraid that's staying -- the main theme of the game is idealism and its limits, and trying to work in a pure will-to-power option would be too much extra work. Game 2 should have opportunities for court intrigue, however, for those who like that.

Thanks to everyone who's read it so far and dropped an encouraging word...

Edit - thanks Xt, I'll fix that.


#18

oh @Havenstone sadly this game is not for me i hate idealism always end in a blood bad like French revolution but put some cynical options this way i could have some fun . looking toward second part at least let me kill all my officers i don't trust them and all my bandits are stupid cowards and commoner.
Edit : the game stills being awesome only that i would hate my character like happen each time i forced to play like a good character Im used to it in videogames. Remember none idealism is still talking about limits of idealism just saying.


#19

I misread 'GAME CURRENTLY ENDS HERE' as 'GAME CRUELLY ENDS HERE' the first time I read it. The game is pretty well written, with choices that force people to think about the consequences in-game


#20

@Havenstone Some of it seems like it would be easiest to just remove the choices that lead there. I think it would be better if rather than crawling into the bandit camp, while injured, it would be easier if we were found by Radmar and the other helots. That then meshes in with the main path, and eases into the whole bandit thing more smoothly.

Speaking of Radmar, I would have liked to accuse him directly, and ask his opinion of who the traitor could be. If he thinks it could be Breden. (Actually I'd like to ask all of them.) Ditto for asking if Radmar is the traitor.

I like that the choices exist. I specifically like that you can just stand back, watch the harrowing. I wasn't quite happy with the forced choice to shout out things, I'd have liked if one of the options was something I thought was reasonable, but was misunderstood. I can see why we need to be seen as a figurehead there though, that we need to yell out something about the wrongs, otherwise we're not much of a legend. So even if it was something extremely selfish.