In the Cards (WIP) Major Update - Chapter Five Up - Feb 28, 2024

Hello, all! I present to you “In the Cards,” where you play a budding psychic learning how to use your powers in a medieval fantasy world where spirits, fae, and humans live side-by-side - not quite intertwined, but not separate either. After being gifted your grandmother’s tarot deck, you discover the Butterfly Court is making spirits and fae run amok, wreaking havoc on the physical world. Will you be able to stop them before they overturn the laws of reality?

So far, I’ve written five chapters (~147k words) out of a planned sixteen chapters.

You can play the demo here: https://dashingdon.com/play/kalouco/in-the-cards/mygame/

Major Update - New Chapter February 28, 2024: Chapter 5 is up! Plus a few minor edits.

Detailed Summary of Updates
  • Added a new chapter (31k words total). Lots of branching paths, with two very different possible endings.
  • Added a single line to chapter 4 to give the sweeper in the sawmill some more personality since he plays a slightly bigger role than originally planned. (It’s nothing big, just him giving you a bit of side-eye cuz he’s a grumpy old dude. No need to replay chapter 4 if you’ve already finished it.)
  • Tried to balance the mental wellbeing fluctuations a bit better in chapter 4. Also took out the possibility of losing intuition early in the chapter - that was a dumb decision and I regret it. So I fixed it. :slight_smile:

Feedback Requests:

  1. Continuity! This chapter went through a lot of rewrites, so please let me know if there’s anything that doesn’t make sense or doesn’t jive with earlier chapters.
  2. There are lots of branching paths in the new chapter, so please tell me if anything seems out of place!
  3. New choice suggestions - places you wanted a certain option but there wasn’t one, etc.
  4. Thoughts on difficulty level. Too easy? Too hard? I’m especially concerned with the player experience during the “search” scene.
  5. Out of curiosity, which ending did you get for this chapter?
Changelog

November 23, 2023: Minor update with edits and typo fixes.
August 6, 2023: Minor update with edits and a few added choices in ch3 and 4.
July 20, 2023: Minor update with bugfixes.
June 28, 2023: Chapter update, deleted prologue, chapter 1 rewrite, chapter reorganization.
Feb 27, 2023: Minor update with an expanded scene in chapter two and misc adjustments.
Dec 31, 2022: Chapter two update.
Dec 6, 2022: Minor update with bugfixes.
Nov 23, 2022: Posted demo with the prologue and chapter one.

Summary

The story has a fantasy medieval setting inspired by Irish and Scottish mythology. Spirits, fae, and humans live side-by-side - not quite intertwined, but not separate either.

You’ve always had psychic powers. Reading auras, speaking with the dead, and channeling spiritual energy through runes - these number just a few of the things you’re capable of. The Sight is not an unusual gift in the kingdom of Khepris, though it’s uncommon enough that you’ve only met a few other people with such abilities in your small hometown of Blackthorn.

After a plague sweeps through the kingdom, unrest bubbles up in the realm known as the Otherworld, home to fae and spirits alike. A group of fae who call themselves the Butterfly Court are testing the boundaries between your worlds, spurring both spirits and fae to lash out at unsuspecting humans. And as someone with the Sight, it doesn’t take long for you to get pulled into the crossfire as well.

Eventually, you’re approached by two different groups - the King’s Guardians and the Hounds - to join them in taking down the Butterfly Court. Choose whether to join the kingdom’s elite team or an alliance of fae and humans and investigate the Court and whoever might be helping them. Act as a spy, uncover their plot, and save the kingdom - or sit back and watch the world burn.

Features
  • Select your own gender and sexual orientation
  • Befriend or romance one of four characters
  • Specialize in different psychic skills: intuition, mediation, or concentration
  • Perform castings - the human version of magic - to subtly influence the world around you
  • Collect tarot cards and consult with spirits
  • Uncover a hidden plot that threatens the border between your world and the Otherworld
  • Investigate the Butterfly Court by joining either the King’s Guardians, an elite guard loyal to the royal family, or the Hounds, an alliance of fae and humans alike
Romantic Options

Note: the story has a slow build-up, so you won’t meet half of these ROs until several chapters in. As of chapter four, you’ll be able to meet Rekai/Reika and Niran/Nira.

  • Rekai/Reika, the Free-Hearted Fae (m/f)
    R is young for a fae and enthralled with the human world. They enjoy traveling to different places and partaking in local cultures, particularly food and dance. They can get along with pretty much anyone and like to make friends wherever they go - but of course, that doesn’t mean they haven’t made a few enemies, as well.
  • Niran/Nira, the Gentle Acolyte (m/f)
    Kind-hearted and patient, N tends to be shy, especially when meeting new people, but can be quite talkative once they feel more comfortable. They believe strongly in using their gifts to help other people. When you first meet N, they’re studying to become an acolyte and later a priest of the World Temple in Tepar.
  • Deigan, the Stalwart Squire (m)
    Deigan is the sort to only speak when he has something to say, and being taller than most, tends to strike an intimidating figure. In reality, though, he is quite kind and considerate, and believes in using his natural talents for the sake of the kingdom.
  • Odissa, the Sharp-Witted Sage (f)
    Odissa is a firecracker with a wit as sharp as a knife and twice as dry. Despite specializing in runes and sigils, she’s not the type to hole up inside and drown in text. She has ambitions to become the city’s most in-demand sage and the drive to make it happen.
Obligatory Links

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Ko-Fi

Thank you for your time!

277 Likes

Wow new game! I like the notifications in the text and choices so far, they are informative and non-distributing. My MC asked a spirit for advice, though he said MC can be in danger, but it seems quite peaceful for now. Can’t wait to see more!

2 Likes

Seems promising, would love to see more!

3 Likes

Thank you for the feedback! That’s good to know. I personally kinda like the idea of game notifications so I wanted to try it out. Nice to know it’s not jarring!

Thank you, I’m glad! I’m working hard on the second chapter. It should be ready to go sometime late next month. So I hope you’ll come back then. :wink:

1 Like

Hello! It was a good read and a interesting subject.The stats check seems fine but sometimes I didn’t really knew which stat my choice would affect so I used the notification.

3 Likes

Ah, yeah, I can see how it can get a bit confusing. I hope the notifications helped there!

I loved,simply amazing and full potential, and look that i didn’t even played the other routes.
I hope to meet the RO’s soon and how they will react to my almighty magician :smiley:

About the tarot cards in the game, a question I have is if the cards will have any abilities or maybe our MC magic being attacched to the cards, or if they will only be for divination purposes, if there are abilities, even if are minimal, I believe it would encourage players to collect all of the cards.

And continue with your beautiful work author, i hope that this game has more popularity soon :slight_smile: .

Now about my MC i imagine he being pretty badass as a magician with his cards:

7 Likes

I’m glad you’re enjoying it so far! :smiley:

About the tarot cards in the game, a question I have is if the cards will have any abilities or maybe our MC magic being attacched to the cards, or if they will only be for divination purposes, if there are abilities, even if are minimal, I believe it would encourage players to collect all of the cards.

That’s a good question! In short: yes, I do have plans for the cards other than divination. One other use (that you do have a slight opportunity to use in the first chapter) is to perform castings using the cards instead of with runes. It’ll be explained a bit more in the next chapter, but basically, it allows your spells to be stronger. Don’t worry, there will be more opportunities to explore this in future chapters.

The cards have some other surprises in store, but I don’t want to give too much away all at once. :wink:

4 Likes

I just finish reading the demo and I like it; and can’t wait for the update.

The pacing of the story is really smooth. Good job.

No Grammer error from what I read or seen if there are then they are really minimal that I will need to reread to find. In other words an excuse to read the demo again.

And I don’t see any problem with the notification being displayed. I think it really helps in the decision making process specifically when it deals the MC’s wellbeing and spiritual energy; it will help readers in choosing between a small or big penalty concerning the two.

In all I’m hoping we get to meet our mother and our siblings again and finding out more about our grandmother.

3 Likes

This is a really interesting story, not only is it interesting but fantasy stories wise I think that this may be unique at least among popular series and the like. It’s a really unique read and so far really good.

4 Likes

So I tried the “rejection” route for the deck, and when talking to the Hermit later, if you decide to hear him out about it, the deck that was locked up all the way back in MC’s room magically teleports itself into the scene like it was there all along. :sweat_smile:

That was the only goofy error I saw though. I really like the whole setting, the characters, and the stat system you’re designing for your WIP. My MC is probably going to go the hard way for a first run through the whole of the WIP process. Which is too bad because there’s definite notes of humor in how we can interact with the deck so far. Throw it out the window huh? Why not!

1 Like

In a world where the human race is oppressed by oppressive and evil dragons, a group of heroes unite together including a rogue, a healer, a sorceress and an archer. They will have to put in all their effort in fighting the evil force that threatens the humanity.

Whoops! Thanks for catching that. I thought I’d tied up the loose coding ends there, but it looks like I missed one. :sweat_smile:

I’m glad you’re enjoying it, though! And I’m glad you want to try the “hard” route first - more thorough testing that way lol.

1 Like

Minor update as of 12/6/22: Fixed the bug that made the cards randomly appear during the “no tarot cards” route, along with a few minor typos.

10 Likes

Major Update as of 12/31/22: Updated Chapter Two! Features:

  • Two-year time skip
  • Finish character customization
  • (Very) brief interaction with one of the RO’s
  • (Sort of) sneak peek of another RO (depending on choices)

You’ll also get to meet a couple of new fae. Also, some of the choices you make in this chapter will play a big role in how chapter three ends.

Edit: okay it was 1am when I posted this, and I meant to ask. Should I add a skip menu at the beginning for people who want to go to the newest chapter right away? The main reason I hesitate is because quite a few things are dependent on choices you made in the first chapter, but I could just make some pre-made characters that reflect that.

23 Likes

I just finished chapter 2 and it’s wonderful as always, one of the things I love the most is the interactions with the fae, especially Pily( Our emergency food), and I saw that one of the RO’s is a fae which just makes me more eager to have more interactions with her , we met her at the festival but it was too short to get an idea of ​​her personality. The other RO we have “met” was Nira who, due to this brief interaction, I could already imagine what her face was like when the mc’s mother started talking about her😁.

About your question if you should add a menu to jump to chapter 2, I think it’s not necessary and it would just give you work, maybe it’s only necessary when you’re in chapter 6 or beyond, but still I would find it kind of unnecessary because there are saves.

And happy new year author :slight_smile:

I only had one problem so far with one of the options that didn’t load( the option below too), I’ll send the photo of the choice.

1 Like

Thank you for the thorough feedback! And I’m glad you’re enjoying so far. I actually wanted to extend the fae RO’s scene a bit, but was worried it might be too distracting since that part is relayed through letters. :sweat_smile:

Good to know re: the skip menu. I’ll definitely keep it in mind further down the line, so long as there are people who really want it.

I’ll check the code for the place you pointed out. I have an idea of what might be causing it, so I’ll hammer it out & update hopefully in the next day or so.

Edit: okay, I’ve fixed it. The problem was that I forgot to upload a file that was referenced in that particular option. :sweat: 'Tis what I get for uploading late at night.

2 Likes

Also have to say, I lol’d. :joy:

2 Likes

I like this WIP! The pacing is great, and the magic subtle but fascinating.

1 Like