WHO ARE YOU?
Hi! I’m Josh Labelle, an interactive fiction author and narrative designer. Last year, my Twine game Tavern Crawler, about a fantasy tavern crawl with a severed dragon head in tow, placed first in IFComp. At my day job, I work on mobile games that have so far, regrettably, included far fewer dragons (Originals: Interactive Story Series, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood).
WHAT IS CROWN OF SORCERY AND STEEL?
"Swing a sword, delve dungeons, and lead the resistance against the tyrannical queen of a war-torn fantasy realm. Will you be an elf, orc, dwarf, or human?
’Crown of Sorcery and Steel’ is a 300+ thousand word interactive novel. It’s entirely text-based, without graphics or sound effects, and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.
For centuries, the kingdom of Kanda has been at war with Queen Nidana and her infernal machines. Each day, further reaches of the kingdom fall under her boot, overwhelmed by her enchanted army of iron constructs.
You’re an adventurer, caught in the middle of a war that began before you were born. Perhaps you’re an elf from the Sanctuaries to the west… which the queen’s machines long ago burned to the ground. Maybe you come from Ridgebank, one of the last human strongholds. Wherever you’re from, now you make your living helping people, plundering dungeons, or following the coin wherever it leads you.
It’s not long before you’re invited to join the resistance and battle back against the dark empress. But will you rally the resistance… or ally with the queen and snuff the resistance out?
- Play as male, female, nonbinary; gay, straight, bi, asexual, or poly. Or choose among the genders of elven, dwarven, and orc cultures.
- Wield a sword, master magic, or disarm traps as you travel Kanda, a teeming fantasy kingdom struggling against a brutal occupation.
- Engage in epic fantasy combat and turn the tide of the war as you battle side by side with a party full of fighters, spellslingers, and rogues.
- Explore the realm as a human, elf, dwarf, or orc, with four distinct backgrounds that change your adventure.
- Broker peace between the human cities and the dwarven mining colonies or side with the dwarves and take control of the mountains.
- Delve lost ruins to uncover ancient elven artifacts, and restore the elves to their former glory… or sell the artifacts off to the highest bidders.
- Navigate palace intrigue in the orc empire, and decide who should take the throne.
- Turn against the resistance and become the queen’s best-loved spy to experience another side of the story.
- Romance a human resistance leader, an elven Scribe, a dwarven bard, an exiled orc prince, a halfling thief… or the dark queen herself.
Will you unite the realm and end the queen’s reign of terror… or join her and rule by her side?
OKAY, BUT WHAT’S IT REALLY ABOUT?
With CoSS, I’m trying to capture the feeling of being part of the most epic fantasy tabletop campaign you’ve ever been in – without the scheduling conflicts, arguments over who’s going to bring the snacks, and the need to keep track of a bunch of increasingly stained and wrinkled character sheets.
Kanda is a realm of tangled history and conflicting cultures, but not racial determinism. Playing as an elf, dwarf, human, or orc is not destiny, and will have no effect on your stats, but each will give you different perspectives on the struggles that have shaped the realm, and open up special options and unique content in your playthrough.
OKAY, GOT IT. CAN I PLAY THE DEMO?
Presented here as a demo are the first four chapters, which amount to ~93,000 words.
I’m so excited to hear any of your thoughts and feedback as I start to craft the latter half of the book! Please feel free to leave a comment or message me if there’s anything you’d like to go into in more depth.
Otherwise, I hope you enjoy, and have fun uniting the realm against the queen or splintering it and taking your rightful place at her side.