Lady Blackbird: Escape the Hand of Sorrow


#1

Lady Blackbird is on the run from an arranged marriage to Count Carlowe. She hired a smuggler skyship, The Owl, to take her from her palace on the Imperial world of Ilysium to the far reaches of the Remnants, so she could be with her once secret lover: the pirate king Uriah Flint.

HOWEVER, just before reaching the halfway point of Haven, The Owl was pursued and captured by the Imperial cruiser Hand of Sorrow, under charges of flying a false flag.

EVEN NOW, Lady Blackbird, her bodyguard, and the crew of The Owl are detained in the brig, while the Imperial commander runs the smuggler ship’s registry over the wireless. It’s only a matter of time before they discover the outstanding warrants and learn that The Owl is owned by none other than the infamous outcast, Cyrus Vance.

How will Lady Blackbird and the others escape the Hand of Sorrow?

Play. And find out.


John Harper made a Roleplaying Game called “Lady Blackbird” back in 2010.

By the time I found out about the game it has already been four years. Practically speaking it is “old news” to the indie gamers, or at least it sounds like all the interesting variable plots have been “played out”. It’s hard enough for me to find the “right group” (with regard to attitude and commitment, etc.) to play story-games with, let alone playing an “old” game.

…So I’m trying to make a ChoiceScript version of the game, albeit a much poorer substitute, to bide my time…

Knowing my limits, I doubt I can write the entire story in CS. Thus this stand-alone game will only cover the first scenario of the original RPG (and maybe only from the titular character’s POV). If this were played in person, it would be akin to a one-shot (~3 hours) game session.

Feedback are welcome. I cannot spare too much time on this pet project anymore (lost so many hours of sleep and put other projects on hold), but I’ll try to polish the existing content. I pantsed this piece without too much pre-planning, so I expect continuity errors, out-of-character dialog, and even “unreachable branches” due to the stats not being perfectly calculated. If you have suggestions on better phrasing of things, or corrections on terminology/methodology, etc., I will consider them in edits.

If you have suggestions on an unavailable Choice that makes sense for a specific circumstance, I will consider them but cannot promise to implement them. I know that this game is heavy on the railroading and “speaks” on behalf of the player far more than most ChoiceOf games, as does the original that inspired it. This is not rich like Zombie Exodus or Guenevere. :wink:

Thank you.


#2

This looks badass so far, I can’t wait for the other characters to be finished


#3

Thank you (though major updates would probably not be any time soon, due to needing to resume other projects).


#4

Are your other projects also CoG WiPs?


#5

No. I have other “contractual” commitments that also take a lot of time. I was burned out on them and was in the mood for playing the tabletop RPG… so I dived into CS. I sort of let it took over my life for a bit. :slight_smile:


#6

So far I’m loving the game!
Just a few comments:
When you chose Naomi to be male, he later reverts back into a female (she, her, hers).
Does your ambition equate to how well you can perform your tasks? I kept on choosing to wait instead of using my power and that lowered my ambition to 20%. When I finally chose to use my magic, only the less successful options were open.
Why do you start with those specific stats? Like, why is cunning the lowest?
I would reconsider how you have the “How badly do you want this?” page, honestly I think it’s very limiting and frustrating as a gameplayer.
Why are you forced to use sorcery? If “your belief” is that nobles abuse sorcery, wouldn’t that make you more reluctant to use it? Maybe have the opportunity to use other skills instead.
“Squidworks, we need Wester to fix this…” lol I thought this said Squidward.
Is Kale and Mister Arkam the same person? Maybe make this clearer?
“Unfortunately I miscalculated the position of Mister Arkam and a rouge electrical current sends him flying into a guard’s firing range… A stray bullet hits his arm and he crashes to the ground.” rouge should be rogue.
Also, why is my ambition at zero here?
I feel like after you escape the prison, everything becomes a little muddled.

Otherwise, I like the concept a lot. Do you think you’re actually going to develop it? I understand making short CoGs just for fun too, but I hope you consider working on this. :smile:


#7

Thank you for your feedback!

  1. Natasha/narrator (in this POV) will always refer to Naomi using female pronouns (I’m letting Naomi’s gender identity be female either way). Other NPC may refer to Naomi as he/him. The Owl’s crew will adjust which pronoun they use in context. Or are you saying I made a mistake in other NPC’s dialog?

  2. Ambition may not be the right term. (I didn’t want the stat to sound so “game-mechanic-y”.) In the original RPG version it is the pool dice mechanic (7 to start, 10 at max), the more you use the more likely you may succeed at an action, but it depletes when you succeed. It replenishes when you fail (slowly, but better than never). Can you let me know exactly which “wait” option you used that lowers your ambition? “Whatever happens, happens” option should never lower that stat. It just means you "don’t use the pool dice at all."
    EDIT: I changed this stat to “Tension”. So when you succeed at an action, tension is reduced, when you fail, it increases. Does that make more sense?

  3. Those trait stats are straight from the original RPG (http://www.onesevendesign.com/ladyblackbird/ladyblackbird.pdf).

  4. The “how badly” check, essentially the pool dice mechanic, is also straight from the original RPG. It makes sure player don’t always get exactly what they want and nothing they don’t want, unless they are extremely lucky! It makes you consider how much effort you want to put into each action. Sometimes there is no need to do anything when you have allies, etc. But I understand your frustration.

  5. Can you tell me in which situation are you forced to use sorcery? Do you mean in the general narration when you don’t get a choice? Otherwise I try to always provide an alternative. Or maybe you didn’t like the alternatives? :slight_smile: I never disabled the sorcery option because it’s part of Natasha’s privilege/identity.

  6. “Squidworks” was my lame attempt at fabricating a curse word. :slight_smile:

  7. Ok. I’ll think about how to add it in. The full reference is on the first page but it’s gray and easily missed. The trouble is with Natasha’s “prim and properness”, not sure if she will refer to Kale any other way in scenario one. EDIT: Ok I added a full reference of “Mister Kale Arkam” in the Brig’s exiting part.

  8. Typo fixed.

  9. I hope it’s not a coding error. But maybe it’s related to the confusing term “ambition” to represent what is actually happening (see points 2 & 4 above). Maybe I should name it “potential”? Would that help? It’s like stamina but not physically, since that’s another stat I’m tracking behind the scene.

  10. I agree. I spent a long time fiddling with the first scene and the last scene. Then I started to panic because I couldn’t keep losing sleep and abandon my other projects for too long. Everything in the middle was done in a rush and is definitely “rough”. I will keep massaging it as I get more feedback.

  11. I have to stop major work on this because I’m burning out. But small edits here and there are manageable.

Thank you for your help!


#8

I really like the story can’t wait til the other characters become playable