Hollowed Minds (3/19/21 Updated +44k words, ROs introduced, +Tumblr)

GENRE: Mystery, Action/Thriller, Romance

LINK FOR THE DEMO: Hollowed Minds

TUMBLR: Shai Manahan (tumblr.com)

Basic Premise

You will play as a disgraced detective, entangled in webs of conspiracies and betrayal as your character engages in a suspicious probation - with a whole lot of enigmatic hallucinations and explosions to deal with. It will be up to you to shape your detective’s perception and motivations. After all, Gaile City is a place full of secrets - some of them belonging to your own character’s family - and you’ll have the freedom how to act accordingly.

Maybe you can also discover the meaning behind the detective’s strange dreams.

Plot Summary

You were one of the most promising detectives within the city, bearing a reputation for exposing the crimes of influential people together with a partner.

However, after a few months break full of reflecting upon the tragedy that you may have caused, you are now forced to work for the marshal as probation, tasked to capture heinous criminals under the radar. You’re not supposed to question your orders, and you’re definitely not supposed to conduct investigations on your own.

But when you realize that your current task involves the mess that you’ve created in the past and someone unexpected surrenders for a certain crime, you are faced with a dilemma. Will you remain as the person you were? Or will you be willing to take vicious steps to achieve what you want? Conspiracies start piling up, and you will have to depend on your best skills and make wise decisions to discover the truth, especially now with the strange hallucinations plaguing certain people and the recurring explosions that may just change everything.

Maybe this is your opportunity to regain the reputation you have lost…or destroy it entirely.

Features:

  • Play as male, female, or non-binary.
  • Create your own character’s name, appearance, sexual orientation, and motivations.
  • Reclaim your reputation as the hero of the city or be viewed as a corrupt detective, while having the choice to hide your true intentions.
  • Cultivate your relationships (romance, friendship, alliance, hostility).
  • Let past sins be forgiven or slowly go down the path of revenge.
  • Develop favored skill sets.
  • Find out the secrets of the city and choose what to do with them.
  • Save people, harm people, or… kill people.
  • Learn the truth about your family.

  • Mysterious hallucinations, explosions, and more!

While there are skill checks present in the game, it’s not necessarily a win or lose situation. There will be unique content for every skill and every stat check outcome (definitely not as simple as the prologue) plus different ways to approach them. What matters more are the decisions you will make and the relationships you will have.

Stats Explanations
  • Reputation (Corruption/Valor)
    This would indicate how the public views your MC. Do you want them to be seen as the heroic savior of the city? Or maybe you want them to be seen as a corrupt individual who’s willing to have their hands dirty? (more explanations below)
  • Ruthlessness/Empathy
    There is a very important correlation between this and the Reputation Stat that would very much matter in making choices. It won’t always be Corruption=Ruthlessness and Valor=Empathy. You could create an MC who’s very ruthless but could appear heroic to the eyes of the public. And you can also be a good person while making the people believe that you’re a horrible human being (there will be interesting consequences to this later in the game). Either way, I think this a very interesting concept to implement, and I’m excited to show how it will work.
  • Impulsive/Cautious
    This pair is not only for actions, but also for the things your MC says, so there’s that to take note of.
    Don’t always assume that every choice that seems to be for this opposite pair is just a tool to change the stats. Some of them are choices with actual consequences, and you might have to consider the situation. I’d like to state what happened in Chapter 1 as an example so spoilers: if you chase after the dealer, you have a choice to rush at her or stay quiet. Your MC at this point has no weapon, and you’ve seen the dealer use one. So unless you have force stat as your main skill, you will get hurt. Also, being cautious at this point gives you the option to retrieve her gun if you want. Now, being impulsive can also have its advantages. The first choice in the prologue is one, though I won’t say anything beyond that.
    What I’m trying to say is that you have to read into what’s the scenario first, because not all choices here are simply for stat checks.
  • Conventional/Unconventional
    This would depend on how you would view the law. There are instances in the story where the MC would have to do things secretly and out of the radar, but the matter of fact is how you’ll approach it. Minimizing your MC’s not so legal actions, and leaving some things alone for the law, would raise the conventional stat. Your MC’s opinions would also matter in this stat, and how you’ll execute those beliefs.
  • Emotional/Composed
  • Arrogance/Humility
Romance Options

I’ll add more details next time when you finally get a chance to meet all of them in the story. I’d like to avoid giving too much spoilers if I can.

Finn/Faye Wesley

  • Age: 24
  • Appearance: Wavy light brown hair, hazel eyes, fair skin

Wesley’s a journalist who has been with you for a decade, getting into countless troubles since you were teenagers. Despite being groomed from a rich and privileged family, they chose to take on a different life dedicated on exposing crimes of influential people (including their own family). It was a partnership built on genuine trust, until it became clear that they knew more than they were letting on.

They know you won’t easily forgive them, of course. That doesn’t stop them from hoping. And now that the city is on the verge of destruction, they will invade your life once more, whether you like it or not.

Nevertheless, your brother will be keeping his eyes on them.

Ethan/Elyse Alonzo

  • Age: 30
  • Appearance: Short black straight hair, brown eyes, brown skin

They despise you, and you have no idea why. All you know is that they wouldn’t take their eyes off you…and not for a pleasant reason (at least at first). But beneath all the hostility and resentment, there are certain times where you could see them giving you a semblance of respect. It’s faint and deeply buried, but it’s there.

Alonzo won’t hesitate to kill for justice, as if they’re chasing something you’re not aware of. Maybe it’s all connected. Maybe you can either find out the truth on your own or break through their shields to know what they’re looking for. And what you did to make them loathe you.

And maybe - just maybe - it will be the start of a meaningful relationship.

Owen Russell (m)

  • Age: 26
  • Appearance: Short curly black hair, blue eyes, dark skin

Owen is a resident doctor at the hospital your father built. Unlike most of the people living within the city, he chose to be there. He chose to do his job at the worst possible place, and he doesn’t even regret it (for now). Selfless, responsive, family-oriented. He’s a man of integrity, and he would place saving lives above all else.

But of course, no one could ever be spared from the cruelty that the city brings upon its dwellers. As Owen gets entangled in the vicious cycle of crimes, his ideals will be tested and you can either stay beside him to help him remain the way he is, or push him toward the abyss.

Jade Stein (f)

  • Age: 22
  • Appearance: Long wavy auburn hair, brown eyes, brown skin

Even with the same background and struggles, Jade couldn’t be any more different wih her brother Richard. She’s a reporter, and while she didn’t have reservations targeting powerful criminals, she did so by planting rumors and evidence of her own.

Jade’s a blunt woman. She’ll always tell you how she feels about your every action. No hesitation. But that doesn’t mean she has no secrets of her own. Despite the strained relationship she has with Richard and the things he has done, she’ll never leave him to die, and she’ll do anything to ensure that.

Update Log

1/11/2021

  • 27,000+ words

3/19/2021
Total Word Count w/o commands: 73,632 words

  • Chapter 1 uploaded (44,633 words w/o commands)
  • Romance Options and family introduced
  • Choose appearance, sexual orientation, and motivations
  • Feedbacks for Prologue applied (additional choices and scenes)
  • More lore about the city
  • Choose your character’s cover
  • Confront Bale. Again.
  • Peek into the MC’s past.
Feedbacks Needed

GENERAL FEEDBACKS

  • choices that put you off or make you uncomfortable
  • inconsistencies in the plot or in the dialogue
  • grammatical errors or weird lines/ text - I’m a stickler for accuracy in this area and English wasn’t my first language, so this would be very helpful
  • lengthy and boring blocks of texts - I would prefer it if the readers would be able to pick up on the most important details, so if a segment’s long enough that it makes you skip some paragraphs, it would help me to know.
  • Are there scenes where you’d prefer to have more detailed descriptions?
  • Other feedbacks you could think of that aren’t specified here

PROLOGUE

  • There’s a larger chance that there would be awkward choices here since it was literally my first attempt, so don’t hesitate to say if you ever encountered some!
  • Was the car chase enough for you? Or would you prefer for it to be longer? I let it be for now because there is another car chase scene (sort of) in the future chapters that would be longer and more intense, and I didn’t want to put all the ideas in here. But if y’all think that the scene here is sufficient, then there would be no need for me to go back and make it longer.
  • Are the skill-picking scenes good enough for you?

CHAPTER 1

  • The conversation with MC’s mother - it had a lot of variations in dialogue so there could be portions that may not have made sense or felt odd.
  • For people who have tried both Owen and Jade’s routes, do you think one of them had longer content compared to the other, or did they feel like they had the same length?
Content Warnings
  • Mild violence and gore
  • Alcohol use
  • Hallucinations
  • Nightmares

Please don’t hold back on giving feedback and suggestions, especially if you spot inconsistencies. I’m also entertaining questions, if you have some. This would be the first book in a trilogy, but I’ll make sure that every part will still be able to stand on its own, each with its own secrets to unfold.

This will be a journey full of sadness, betrayal, clash of ideals, and reconciliations with the past. So brace yourself and enjoy the game!

463 Likes

this is so good! I can’t wait for future update and I’m shocked to learn that our partner- cough ex-partner now, betrayed us. I can’t wait to learn their reason on why they did that or it just a simple misunderstanding.

I’m looking forward for this!

12 Likes

10/10 prologue. Can’t wait for the next update.

2 Likes

10/10 will probably play every update of this demo 3 times

2 Likes

Really nice and smooth intro, love it!

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Sounds interesting

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This is amazing, I loved the prologue and your writing. I’ll be waiting somewhat patiently for the next update.

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:slight_smile: I cannot wait to sock Finn in the jaw. I literally do not care what his reasoning is, I will not hesitate if given the opportunity.
This is one heck of a prologue though! This is gonna be good, I can tell.

19 Likes

Excellent prologue. The flow was good, I got hooked by the premise, and the characters seemed interesting. Loved the pickpocket moment as well. I’ll keep an eye on this one. Cheers.

Wesley better watch their back. No mercy.

12 Likes

time to go back to my Ronaldo phase the man who always wanted Justice and did nothing corrupt to The Bitter End even if it killed him so f*** my ex you didn’t break me I’m going strong and who’s going to be my Joe who knows because reading this made me have that phase back

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I’m okay being betrayed if I’m the only one that but involving someone else who has a family really really wants me to punch him or her and the actions really put them in danger

Detectives? fightings? guns? betrayal? sign me up! :grin:

1 Like

This was amazing. Quite possibly one of the strongest prologues I’ve read.

You do a good job of introducing the world and set the pace of what kind of story we are to expect. Your writing style is very fitting too, although there was some instances where I would have like a bit more room to breathe. To really take in what is going on.

When we infiltrate the building, and we have a choice on how to deal with the goons, I felt like the whole scene was done in a flash. The explosion is also a good example of what I mean. I really liked how you described our senses, that disorienting feeling, the ringing in our ears. But then… It is over. And we’re casually speaking with Richard. Perhaps you could add a choice there? Something that relates to how we’re feeling but, most importantly, to give the reader time to really take in what has just happened.

I just really liked the first half of the scene and feel like it wasn’t as impactful as it could have been. I didn’t even realize it was a literal building that exploded until much later, when we’re escaping.

But speaking of Richard, he and his relationship with the Mc was really the selling point for me. I care about him, I care about his family, and at the end, I was right there with him. Furious at that traitorous bastard. You did a great job with him, I especially like how you described his mannerisms and way of speaking. If he’s a sign of how you write characters, then he’s a fantastic omen.

I’m very excited to see what happens next! I love detective stories, and it seems like we’ll be able to do proper detective work in this game - maybe even outside the law.

Wish you all the best with your writing! I’ll definitely be keeping tabs on this project :heart:

27 Likes

Thank you all for the kind words!

I was planning to do that before but it somehow skipped my mind. Thanks for that. I have a habit of rushing through the action whenever I get excited for the next parts I’m supposed to write (in this case, Wesley’s betrayal). The coding also overwhelmed me at the time since it was basically my first attempt. :sweat_smile: I’ll take note of that and include it for the next update.

The infiltration segment was a miscalculation on my part. I was afraid that maybe the pacing’s getting slow when I was writing it so I made it short. Will fix that!

You’ll meet more characters in the next update. Each of them has their own goals and motivations, and I’m very excited to introduce them into the plot.

11 Likes

Keep on writing man I enjoyed 100% of it Hope to see more from you.

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This was SO good. I really love your writing style and it reads so well. Also loved how involved and capable our MC was.

Richard :pleading_face: :pleading_face:

I’m sitting here still gushing over this. I’m excited :heart:

4 Likes

Oh wow this was amazing! Keep it up! I loved the writing, the pacing and especially the atmosphere so much!

I really like when in detective stories/ thrillers the villain’s goal isn’t necessarily to kill the protagonist, at least not from the start, (because you know, most of the time villains never actually get to kill them cause the story would end :P) but if their goal is to capture them or frame them and such I feel like it makes it a bit more interesting cause those things CAN happen, so that “not to be harmed” really piqued my interest!

I can’t wait to see where this is going! Very VERY promesing! (I can’t believe this is only the prologue and we already got such a shocking plot twist! I don’t even know the guy/gal and my heart is already broken ahah!)

2 Likes

Enjoyed it. Looking forward to more.

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Don’t worry. There will be more of those in the future. :wink:

4 Likes

I have to agree with all the previous commenters – this prologue was really good! I like that we’re almost immediately thrown into the action; that stuff really catches readers’ attention, especially if written well like yours!

As of right now, I think the only thing that could make this prologue better is if there was a little more clarity upfront as to what we (the main character) are. I would have loved to see a little more inner monologue on this:

Honestly just a sentence or two more on what our character’s relationship with the marshal/with the law is would be enough!

Otherwise, this is definitely something I look forward to reading more of.

6 Likes