Crown of Sorcery And Steel - WIP Demo

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.

https://dashingdon.com/play/jmlabelle/crown-of-sorcery-and-steel-demo/mygame/

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.

184 Likes

You work on Kim Kardashian games? Begone with you! :stuck_out_tongue:

Kidding. Welcome to the forums. This looks like an interesting take on high fantasy and I’m interested to see where it goes.

10 Likes

Yeah, we can’t have them create a story here, it will blow every other story out of the water with its quality, as long as it comes within 10% of the impressiveness of Kim Kardashian games :stuck_out_tongue:

The story does sound fun though and I will be keeping an eye on it, best of luck!

2 Likes

I love Originals!

It sucks that it shutdown :confused: it has the best quality stories and the graphics was great.

Now, I’m excited to play your game!

6 Likes

Wow, absolutely wow. I loved every second hearing about the game itself, but this part of the pitch just hit me square in my gut. You led me towards the snare flawlessly and now I’ve been completely captured by this WiP. I will have it on Watch and will be very eagerly diving in sometime soon.

As a passionate DnD DM struggling to bring everyone back to the table bacuse of both adulthood and COVID, you have appeared of nowhere with this singing my graces. I wish you the best of luck on this, and i hope to offer plenty of feedback.

11 Likes

Master magic? Somehow I missed that option in the game.

4 Likes

Just finished playing the demo and I must say I love the old school fantasy adventure vibe I get here. (Except the snooty elf have been replace by orc lol that’s new)

If I have one suggestion for now it would be with the stats. Could there be an option that show which choice raise which stats we could toggle on?
Because usually in COG game you chose the stats at the beginning and then they are locked or you get the chance to raise them later but the choice is clearly marked as such (well more imply sometime). But here a normal choice can raise the stats so I’m not sure which choice raise the stats and it’s a little difficult to make a good build.

May I also ask if it’s better to concentrate on two stats ? What are the max percentage we can have in one stats?
Also last but not least could you add saves? It would help greatly with testing the game and reporting errors or typos.

3 Likes

Originals interactive series had so much potential.

1 Like

It appears as if we’ll have to acquire arcane knowledge, my friend. I’ve seen a couple of possible hints, but it’s either that or it hasn’t been added yet.

1 Like

@JoshMLabelle This is really good. You should put it in the Works In Progress category though.

4 Likes

Same. I was so disappointed when it shut down.

1 Like

Welcome to the forum.

Aside from what others said: I think you’re in the wrong category ^^;

3 Likes

This is pretty great!

Loved the change of a snobby orc and a hardened elf, can’t wait for more!

4 Likes

Really want to try this but too bad there is no save system. Dont have time to binge read whole demo start to finish

2 Likes

Thanks, folks! I especially appreciate the kind words about Originals. It was the biggest professional bummer of my life that we didn’t get to continue making that game and take it to its full potential.

I’m trying to get the category issues with this post sorted out and will add a save system for everyone’s convenience tonight. I’ll try to address your more granular feedback as soon as I’m able.

15 Likes

Good saying that birth status does not determine destiny but rather an individual’s point of view for their perspective.

2 Likes

The game was fun and all. I really enjoyed it the problem was the author should seriously consider adding a saving system so the player don’t have to repeat from the start since it’s a hassle that’s all i can say.

Edit: i didn’t read the part about the author already planning to add the saving system my bad but oh well.:sweat_smile::v:

1 Like

In chapter 3, “As long as we know her army’s distracted with this,” Anattho says, smoothing his beard, “we might be able to go on the offensive and drive her back out of the Hollows some. Thanks, $[player_name]. This is useful.” . The $[player_name] should be ${player_name}

1 Like

This looks great I love these fantasy games and loved the first three chapters. I’m really looking forward to reading the entire story.
I’ll definitely check out Tavern Crawler as well.

1 Like

I’m sure the @moderators can help you if you need it.

3 Likes