Heavens’ Revolution: A Lion Among the Cypress (WIP)

That’s good feedback, thanks! I’ve toyed with the idea of changing the name of that variable.

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This is pretty good so far! I think you did an excellent job with worldbuilding, painting a culture that I’m really not familiar with at all and helping me understand it, at least a little.

I think the characters are pretty strong, particularly the astralchemist and his wife, but even the little moments other characters had did a good job of setting up their personalities and just generally how people talk and behave in this culture - the verbal courtesy duel was particularly great for that and I loved it. I also thought you did a very good job at the interactions with the brother, and setting up that relationship of the toxic but tragic family member that you can’t quite convince yourself to let go of.

I do agree with what others have stated that some more neutral responses would be nice. I personally have a rather negative view of both factions so far, so I don’t really like the idea of having to side with one - but I also don’t like the idea of playing them against each other, or making promises to people that I can’t keep and so forth. But I also also understand that this is a setting where staying neutral (i.e. making an enemy out of both factions) might just not be possible. So I guess I’m saying I want a true neutral path that’s presented evenly with the other options, but I understand if that’s just not possible to implement, especially if the story is primarily about the revolution rather than just about the character’s work and studies as an astralchemist.

Anyway, I think the writing and setting are fantastic, and I’m looking forward to getting to see a bit more of what lies ahead. :slight_smile:

…Oh, about the Pride stat, maybe you could call it Confidence? That’s also something I wouldn’t really call a “skill”, but it’s a bit more of a learned thing and has a more positive connotation. :man_shrugging:

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It’s stoped working for me two.

It’s here!

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I appreciate the feedback! Looks like I’ll have to go back and tweak a few things in these initial chapters, but this also gives me a lot to think about moving forward. Thank you! The story is primarily about the revolution, but I do want a true (or at least fairly) neutral path (even if that means a shorter experience for the player).

Good call on Confidence. I actually thought about changing it to this earlier! Boldness was another one I tossed around.

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Oh, that’s the end of the demo so far. The next chapter isn’t finished/uploaded yet. Rereading vaulthunter’s post, it seems like that’s the same spot. Maybe I should make it clearer that this is the end for now? Not sure what the etiquette for this is.

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Usually they end naturally with a play again option.

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I hadn’t realized it was the end. In that case, I loved the demo and really want to play more.

I ran into the problem with the game loading forever instead of ending properly with my story as well, and I think I found the solution had something to do with the scene list in the startup file. IIRC I had scenes listed in the startup scene list that I was working on but didn’t upload (for example I had ch1, ch2, and ch3 in the scene list but only uploaded ch1 and ch2 to DashingDon) and that caused the game to hang, trying to move on to a ch3 that it couldn’t find. Dunno if that’s what’s happening here, but it might be a similar cause?

Ah, got it. Thanks, everyone! I’ve updated the files, so it should give you the “Play Again” option at the end of the second chapter.

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Hey all! Happy Thanksgiving! As noted in the main topic, the next two chapters are live! Please (lovingly) tear them apart! Also worth noting is that I haven’t addressed a couple of the bigger pieces of feedback from the earlier chapters yet, but I’ve taken them into account with the new ones. Enjoy!

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I love this! It’s so rare to find work that is inspired outside of the Euro-American (and East Asian). I was really sucked in and groaned in disappointment at the end of the demo. Lore is beautiful and refreshing.

My only complaint is that I felt a wee bit railroaded at the beginning. I went either overtly revolutionary or loyalist for my play throughs. We were kinda forced into revolutionary work and helping the brother. As well as going with the daughter on a date. I could tell it’s setting us up to be a loyalist spy or snitch, but I’m hoping to soon see our choice in infiltration work out.

Other than that, I’m excited. At one point i was like “damn I need a glossary” only to see you already added one. Awesome work!

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Hi all!

I had a VERY busy start to 2021, but I’m back, and I’m hoping people here are still interested in this story and this world!

I’ve added @CJW’s save feature for folks who don’t have time to play through this all in one go. I’ve also added a 9k-word sub-scene where you can choose to raid a speakeasy or accept a bribe from the proprietor to look the other way.

For those who haven’t played the chapters I posted back in November yet, here’s a little tease:

  • Dive deeper into astralchemy, learning more about the individual disciplines and sub-disciplines, and dip your toe into studying your own chosen discipline!

  • Witness a protest at the University over the imprisonment of a famous poet. When you’re sent there to put it down, how will you respond?

  • Get your first proper glimpse of the Legion of the Black Lion. Will you help them or infiltrate them?

  • Discover two new potential love interests, one of whom will allow you to entangle yourself in the political aspects of the conflict!

As always, your feedback is most welcome. I hope to have the next two chapters up soon. Enjoy!

P.S. I’ve changed the name of the Sarbazi to the Chakkosh.

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Apologies for never responding! I’m so glad you love it. This is all excellent feedback, thank you!

Really thrilled to see a game with an Iran-inspired setting! The genre combination is super exciting too.

I played through and kept some notes – a few typos and some points where the text or options didn’t really fit how I imagined my MC. Notes below in case some of it might be useful.

I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next!

notes

• Farhad’s personality is really vivid and fun; he and Mahasti are both easy to envision right away.

• It’s great that the romantic- and sexual-interest choices have options that include nonbinary in different combinations – it’s not something I see a lot, and I always really appreciate it when I do!

• The food descriptions are really wonderful.

• I thought the story portrayed the tensions between the Vatani and She’ri very well, particularly as the MC has a parent who was part of each group. That gave my MC a good stake in the unrest, especially given the situation in our neighbourhood and of course Navid’s plight.

“Now then,” he says, blowing on his goblet. “Seems we both have our heads in the clouds this morning. What’s bothering you?”
“Nothing, agha, truly.”
“Everything, agha.”

The ‘Everything, agha’ option is great; it’s amusing and also suits my poor fretting MC really well.

Typos:

"Martial focuses on military applications, mechanical on engineering, medicinal on healing. mineral on purification.

*healing, mineral

A shamshir and a qameh, just in case you actually run into trouble.

*in case I actually [option text]

He gestures to the stack of paper’s he’s

*papers

“This seems like an 'obey first, discuss later” scenario."

*discuss later’ scenario."

“Yes,” Mahasti says. "And if it does, I hope you’ll look kindly on all we’ve done for you.

*for you." (Missing quotation mark at end.)

“Oh, it is, it is,” he says absently. we try a little project to whet your appetite?"

Some missing text.

You tamp it down. Now’s not the time.
“Thank you, rafiq.” You’re starting to hope that you might actually get Navid out of the qal’eh.
“Thank you, Sahar-jan.” Getting to spend more time with oun would be a bright side to all of this.
“Thank you.” You offer this begrudgingly. You don’t want to be here.

This set of options was in second person instead of first.

"May the Radiance shine upon you, one of the lounging Vatani Swifter than a sandstorm, silence sweeps through the room as all eyes fall on you and Babak. A few people hastily produce head coverings, as if this will make up for being caught drinking illicit alcohol.

Missing text.

• The transition to the bakery sub-scene was very abrupt; I wasn’t sure if it’s just up for testing or if I hit a bug.

• My play-through ended with this error:

Plot and character notes:

No matter how many times he comes to you for help, you know you’ll never turn him away. He won’t change. And neither will you.

I’d chosen earlier that I was nearly done with him. Now my MC is sympathetic because of thinking surely he was locked up by mistake – not because oun is necessarily intending to try to defend him if he’s angered some mob lender or whatnot. So my MC might well change, and very soon.

You took the bait. You always take the bait.

This also didn’t feel like my MC, who so far has been very patient and has probably had years to practice not rising to the bait with esh brother.

All three of them seem to breathe a little easier. Alaleh’s blade vanishes.

It was interesting that they just seemed to trust my word that I wouldn’t rat them out. Surely most people might say the same when faced with the possibility of getting offed at sword point for any other reply.

“That’s not good enough,” you say. “I barely know you, and you’re asking me to throw in with the Legion.”

My overly trusting MC was looking for an excuse to help the Legion (or at least try to help the Vatani) anyway, so I would have expected them to approach this from a different angle.

“I told you you can trust me,” you say.

“Words are meaningless,” she says. “I need certainty.”

I wish there were a way to convince Mahasti that me getting into trouble by being late is the last thing the household needs, and then quickly trot off to my duties. I also would have liked an option to say ‘anything I would do when forced is likely to be just as insincere as empty words’, or potentially even a chance to just bolt with a ‘sorry! running late!’ when she keeps talking.

“Swear to me,” she says, barely audible. “Swear on your brother’s life that you won’t betray us. Not to the Chakkosh, the Guard, the Demon…no one. Swear on something I know matters to you.”

You mouth suddenly feels dry. Why did she have to bring Navid into this?

I wasn’t entirely sure why we couldn’t refuse here, especially as my MC isn’t one to appreciate being pushed into corners. Would she really be able to boot us that instant because we wouldn’t participate in a forced oath, against the wishes of the others?

“These little acts of rebellion are what keep us alive. Maybe the same is true for you, but I don’t know yet where your loyalty truly lies.”
“I have no loyalty to the Chakkosh, if that’s what you mean.”
“My only loyalty is to Vatan.”
“My only loyalty is to my studies.”

More options here would have been nice…‘My only loyalty is to myself’; ‘My only loyalty is to [peace, kindness, some such]’, and possibly ‘When are you going to stop picking on me?’

• I would have liked a little more clarification on the star sailing earlier in the narrative. I was so curious about it that I was distracted, and about how it might play into my MC’s place in the setting (and future potential game end states), but a few chapters in, I still felt I hardly knew anything at all about that aspect of the world building.

“I like the old man’s suggestion,” he says. “But we need as many informants inside the Chakkosh as we can muster. What if you do both? Misdirection for money, and weapons for breaking your brother out?”
I sincerely agree to misdirect the Chakkosh and craft weapons for the Legion.
I agree to both, but I try to negotiate a better price.
I agree to both, but secretly, I might steal or sabotage the weapons and feed the Chakkosh information about the Legion.
I agree to help craft weapons, but not to misdirect the Chakkosh.
I agree to help craft weapons, but only if the Legion pays me for this instead of breaking my brother out.

My MC is not a fan of violence and wanted to agree to misdirect the Chakkosh but refuse to help with weapons, even if that jeopardises esh chance of breaking out esh brother. It was also strange for my MC not to have the option to decide that this level of dissembling and dishonesty was likely beyond oun (and frankly tell them so).

• Here are my stats at the end of the current demo, in case they’re helpful at all:


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Thank you SO much! This is an incredibly thorough and thoughtful response. I’ll be making tweaks based on your feedback over the next few days. I can’t thank you enough!

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By the way, it sounds like you hit a bug. The error you encountered at the end was just a syntax issue, which I’ve fixed, but the fact that ‘result_aragh’ was equal to 8 means that you shouldn’t have gotten to the bakery sub-scene at all. This may be why there was some missing text in that one section. However, your stats at the end suggest that ‘result_aragh’ was equal to 7.

I’m having difficulty figuring out exactly what went awry. Could I try to confirm some of your choices? It sounds like you chose to see if Behruz (the drunk) could lead you to the aragh den. Then, it sounds like you chose to try to talk your way in. Were you given an option after this to either accept a bribe (without entering the bakery), enter the bakery and merely sample the wares, or enter the bakery with the intent to arrest Shabnam (the baker)?

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I would put the transliterated Iranian words in italic and then follow with the explanation.

Like … dulband, a turban, …

It’s commonly accepted by editors all around the world.

Yes, I asked Behruz to show us to the aragh den, then tried to talk my way in. I failed the stat check and the person at the door slammed it in my face, more or less. I did not get a choice to pursue it further; Babak basically said ‘woops’ and we let Behruz go and quietly returned to our duties, and that was that.

I entered the bakery at the end of my play-through, after the meeting with the Legion – I’d actually wondered if the subscene was listed in *scene_list at the end, and I perhaps fell into it that way.

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