LUCIDITY: Awakening (WIP- 1/8/21) - not everyone makes it to the afterlife

LUCIDITY tags: light fantasy, brief amnesia, dreamwalking, reincarnation

Not everyone makes it to the afterlife.

Legends tell of an island far beyond the boundaries of the Amaranthine Sea that death does not touch. But with such a ‘gift’ comes a price: not every soul can find a body, and not every body can find a soul.

But there is a middle ground. Souls strong enough to displace the newborn souls of infants, permanently altering the body’s aura, the ‘shield’ that binds a soul to a body.

Known as Sleepwalkers, these people live a life of extremes- without an aura to bind the soul to the body, the soul is free to wander, especially while asleep. The first sign of a Sleepwalker is the ability to walk through other people’s dreams.

The second sign is a unique susceptibility to being possessed.

You are a Sleepwalker recovering from a recent possession. Discover the extent of your newly-found psychic abilities, get to the bottom of who buried you alive, and go on your dream date (literally).

Features:

  • Play as male, female, non-binary (with options for 3 different gender presentations), or genderfluid. Your pronouns can be changed at any time and are selected separately from your gender.
  • Choose one of six pets (starling, fox, red panda, giant beetle, feathered dragon, or pallas cat), and romance one of five unique ROs.
  • Hone your abilities over time- learn to dreamwalk, astral project, and even summon things from your dreams- or even someone else’s nightmares.
  • Learn more about your hometown, The Last Stop, and work through the trauma of being abandoned there as a child.
  • Set your relationship with your family- do you get along with your adoptive brother, or did you fill his pillowcase with slugs one too many times when you were children?

PLAY THE DEMO HERE!

ROs

(listed in the order in which they are met; Leo and Nakoa will be included in the next update!)

  • Rhunea | female, romanceable by women/fem-leaning NBs
    • Local genius uses massive intellect, photographic memory to annoy local spirit watcher for her fantasy YT channel- more at 11. When she’s not causing problems on purpose, she’s probably napping. 4’9, but it just means she’s better at fitting into places she really, really doesn’t belong.
  • Finch | flippable, romanceable by same gender/same gender-leaning NBs
    • Finch is hot, and it’s not just because they were so overwhelmed by your flirtatious comment that they accidentally set their workbench on fire. But that’s probably a big part of it. Finch didn’t let their tragic dog allergy hold them back from being a dog person- they worked around it by using their tinkering skills to create a fully automated robot dog. Sarcastic at the wrong moments, licks things that shouldn’t be licked, that person who has a YT channel dedicated to seeing what can and can’t be microwaved.
  • Arbor | NB (they/them), romanceable by all genders
    • Do you look at someone over the height of 6’4 and immediately want to climb them like a tree? You’re in luck, because Arbor actually is a tree. Well, sort of. They’re a tree soul reincarnated into a human body (though you might think they’re actually a golden retriever instead). Sure, they might have a minor addiction to maple syrup, and yeah, sometimes they grow leaves instead of hair, but they’re normal just like you. If the word thembo existed in this universe, Arbor would have it on their tinder profile.
  • Leo | trans man, romanceable by all
    • A necromancer with a larger-than-life attitude. Never what you’d expect- the king of self love (but also bad first impressions). His habit of bragging about himself is annoying, not just because he’s arrogant, but because he’s usually right. Interests include hot baths, wine, skeletons, and you, if you’re lucky. (Or not so lucky- because once he’s adopted you, you’re his friend for life, whether or not you want to be.)
  • Nakoa | gender-flippable, romanceable by all
    • Ever fantasize about sleeping in a bed with your SO and your seven dogs? Nakoa might be the guy/gal for you. Soft-spoken, gentle, unexpectedly funny. Allergic to most things that start with C, including conflict, commitment, and cats (but they’ll still try to pet every one they see). An open book with a page torn out. (Their dogs probably ate it.)

(note: if I add any ROs, it’s probably going to be Salem, Salem, or Salem. She would be romanceable by the same category as Rhunea, but I’m not making any promises.)

Focuses
  • Ideally, I’d like to focus on making customization choices, as well as plot choices, feel impactful- for instance, different characters will react differently to the MC based on the MC’s background, appearance, gender, etc.
  • As I’m writing this primarily to explore my own characters as well as the arc of the MC, the plot is fairly character-driven. Romances will have a heavy focus, but each character has their own platonic ‘route’ as well. All romances are also ace-friendly.
  • All characters, even gender-variable ones, have established sexualities and were written with them in mind. Finch is always same-gender/same-gender-leaning attracted, and Nakoa is always bisexual.
  • Hopefully the world will feel unique & well-formed. If not, I’d love to hear your feedback! Worldbuilding is one of my favourite parts of writing.

Hey there! I’ve been working on this WIP on and off since June (interest check thread link- as you can see, a lot has changed) and decided that it’s about time I published it to get a little help from the community, as I’ve been rereading and tweaking what I have for so long I’ve basically forgotten how to be a human being. I’m planning on updating at least once a month, though right now the next update will probably be late February as my classes start up again, and right now, the demo is 4 chapters and ~13k words long. Right now, chapters 5, 6, and 7 are already about an additional 10k words, so hopefully there won’t be any roadbumps there.

I’m a sucker for any feedback, large or small, so feel free to leave any comments in this thread, or you can hit me up on my tumblr at lucidityawakening! (I’m likely to be a lot more active there as well!)

UPDATE LOG
  • Update 0.1. Corrected minor pronoun and grammatical errors, solved soul problem, added short fourth chapter to smooth the narrative transition between the first and second full updates.
209 Likes

I’ll write as I play.

Comments

I really like the character dialogues! Lmao when the MC is called an ‘it’, I felt that.
Why is it so hard to make an appointment?
I mean, Dirt is fine for a name, I guess… Could be worse.
Oh god, she’s a giant.
I got her name though! Salem huh
Ew worms are yucky
‘Fox’ being one of the name options is really funny to me for some reason
I love Rhunea already!
WHY AM I UNDER ARREST ?? :sob:
Pets should be allowed on trains.
omg I should’ve named myself fox and made my pet be a fox lol
lmao the option 'be normal and don’t do that (but contemplate it)
arbor the tree, perfect
Hmmm fantasia in different fonts… which to choose?

Aaand that was it! It’s really interesting and I love all the characters so far! Can’t wait for more updates!

3 Likes

very interesting plot and characters! had me hooked within the first few pages :stuck_out_tongue: gonna keep an eye on this one ^^

I can’t save tho…

2 Likes

Wow, this was great. Definitely unlike anything else I’ve read. Looking forward to more!
Surprisingly funny at times, but in a way that fits the atmosphere of the work. And the No-nonsense/Nonsense opposed stat made me snort.

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Don’t forget to activate the save slots on Dashingdon!

Congrats on the first demo release!

3 Likes

Wow, I loved this! I was totally hooked from the prologue. Your writing is just lovely and you have so many cool customization options packed in already.

Can’t wait to max out that awkward stat and I’m looking forward to seeing where this story goes!

2 Likes

ooo,
I can tell this is going to be fun

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Oops, I forgot I needed to add the plugin to my startup file. I’ll do that right now!

Edit: Well, I can’t seem to get that working…
Edit 2: I lied, I figured it out. Should be all good to go now!

9 Likes

Ok so first let me preface this with 1 the fact I have only read the description so far and plan to play the demo right after writing this. And 2 this is more an opinion on the amount of ROs and who can romance them than the actual sexuality of the characters. I have been seeing this in some wips recently where the author makes characters to romance but the amount of Mcs they can romance are all over the place and sometimes have a theme which isn’t a bad thing. However let’s go over them and their sexuality in a more basic binary way

Ro 1: female - can only be romanced by female characters

Ro 2: gender flips - only romanced by same gender character

Ro 3: NB - can be romanced by anyone

Ro 4: Male - can be romanced by anyone

Ro 5: Gender flips - can be romanced by all

Now let’s break this down in more detail.

Male Mcs have a total of five romances they are as follows.

Straight: 1
Gay: 3
NB: 1

For the female Mcs I can romance almost every character in the game excluding the gender flip gay male option. The totals are

Straight: 2
Gay: 5
NB: 1

Do you see my problem? I have a significantly more amount of options to chose from if I play a female with no real preference to gender than if I play a male with no preference. And a Non binary character can romance every single one of the ROs. Now there are a few ways to even the playing field and by no means are you required to take my advise as I’m still trying to make sure this doesn’t sound sexiest and like I’m talking out of my ass.

The first solution I though of was taking a wayhaven chronicles approach and making every character romance able by every Mc which in my mind (you know because I have so much experience with makeing a whopping zero choice games. Amazing I know.) is just a matter of a pronoun change.

Or the much harder idea is to simply balance out the count between male and female Mcs with more romance options aimed at leveling the playing field. So as to have an even amount between the genders. Not taking into account NB since so far the trend seems to be they can romance everyone since they aren’t bound by gender and that’s fine. The problem with this solution is if you have to create a character simply to even up the choices it runs the risk of these new characters being shallow and under developed.

Personally I am more partial to the former idea of just making everyone romance able by everyone but there may also be another option I’m not thinking of. But again just my two sense and a bit of constructive criticism. Take it or don’t it’s your call. Now I’m gonna go see what the story is like and I personally can’t wait since it sounds like a lot of fun. :slightly_smiling_face:

15 Likes

I think you may have counted incorrectly. A female MC only has 3 gay options (#1, #2, #5). And while I get your point, I actually do enjoy seeing games with explicitly same-gender romances. Straight romances don’t exactly have an underrepresentation issue, after all ;). Of course, it’s all up to the author in the end!

5 Likes

You’re right I did miscount the gender flips kept messing with my math since I did it all in my head at the time and I also agree but this isn’t about the straight vs gay choices it’s about the fact the male gender choice has fewer relationship choices compared to female and NB characters. It’s as if the Pokémon company made a new Pokémon game and in one game they had 150 monsters to choose from but the other version only had 100 with nothing to compensate for the lack of content and while not as extreme as that it’s still an unbalanced amount of content which I view as a problem albeit a minor one in this case if game freak and the Pokémon did this it would be pitch fork and torch worthy

5 Likes

Sorry, I should have clarified that the limitation for male characters was likely an effect of the fact that there are two options who are only same-gender romances. If this was not the case, then male and female MCs would have exactly the same number of choices, no matter their orientation. And even right now, the only advantage of female MCs is that they have one more straight option, which (in my opinion) isn’t an egregious difference.

Even if all RO genders were made flippable to increase the available options à la Wayhaven, in order to have all ROs accessible to every MC, they would necessarily have to be bi/pan or playersexual. Basically, there’s no way to do it without altering the orientations of the currently-gay characters.

In any case, if it comes down to one or the other, I think the author’s vision for their characters should override the desire for an equal playing field for male and female MCs. But if they decide they do want to make make modifications that would increase the options in such a way, they are certainly free to do so!

3 Likes

I love this so much!!! whole idea, every single character, the choices `∇´ everything is amazing i was really into it since the very beginning i wanted to know what’s going on and was excited. salem so fucking cool btw also the did i say the “i do not think ever choice was great

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Just finished, Impressive beginning. It’s really good, and the pace got me all anxious and I wanna know what gonna happen! And you write so well too! I could almost smell the dirt.AH! :sweat_smile:

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First, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I’m always open to feedback about the ROs. I do want to direct you to a few threads though, as I’m not sure this is the appropriate place to be discussing RO gender balance, as it’s a fairly common debate on this forum (and basically in all games where there are ROs):

  1. Gender-locking ROs and the importance of gender in relationships
  2. RO Design Theory
  3. Letting NB characters romance same-sex locked ROs

The third link is a post that I made when I was laying the framework for my game, and I wanted to bring it up to very quickly nip this in the bud:

I’ll put my response to this under a cut since it’s getting rather long and isn’t really ultimately relevant.

Non-binary romances

The way I decided to handle this was to add a presentation variable to player gender. The gender select screen in the game currently looks like this:

From a variable perspective, you set your ‘base’ gender as male, female, non-binary, or genderfluid. If your gender is male or female, you can also choose to be transgender, which sets the trans variable to true; if your gender is non-binary, you get a third variable, a presentation variable, which can be one of three things: masc, fem, or androgynous.

TLDR, someone who selects ‘a woman- or at least, that’s what people see’ would be able to romance Rhunea, but not m!Finch. A person who selects the last option (androgynous in the game code) isn’t able to romance either Finch or Rhunea.

As for everything else:

I debated putting this under features and ended up not including it, but I’ll go back and edit it to include this now:

  • All characters, even gender-variable ones, have established sexualities and were written with them in mind. Finch is always same-gender/same-gender-leaning attracted, and Nakoa is always bisexual.

This was my goal going into the writing of this WIP. While there’s some merit to the ‘playersexual’ approach, I personally feel like I don’t see a lot of games that have exclusively gay/lesbian RO options, or games that have characters who are written as explicitly bisexual and not just coded to be available to all genders. Rhunea being a lesbian is a key part of her character- not for any weird plot reason, but because it has shaped her personality and her views. Leo being bisexual is a key part of his character because it’s a part of who he is. If I chose to make Rhunea available to men, or Leo exclusively gay or straight, they wouldn’t be themselves anymore- they would be two new characters. Maybe if I chose to write all new characters, I might be more interested in balancing the ROs, but for now, these are the characters and stories I want to examine.

As for adding more romance options, it’s something I might consider as I continue to write. Adding Salem wouldn’t help balance the numbers, but there are other characters that will be introduced that could have interesting dynamics with the MC. I’ll very likely keep your concerns in mind as I consider who I might want to add. :slight_smile:

15 Likes

forget numbers, that’s just evil to depriving us of a butthurt character like that :smile: The legend goes when you meet someone who scrowl at you for greeting, look at you like they wanna kill ya, and may just bury you back in the hole you crawled from? yeah, Potientel romance right there and then :joy:

ahem…I have problems I know :sweat_smile:

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Completely understandable. I can’t even remember why I didn’t plan for her to be one of the ROs… probably because she would end up being a slow burn close to the scale of Ava/Adam… not sure if I want to write seven books yet, you know? :smile:

2 Likes

Ahhh…Ava…

I be happy to burn for her sake lol I’m like bring all the mojo! Lol

But yeah, I get you. But if you ever change your mind about her, then know there are takers lol

But the roaster seem fine from where I’m, then again as a Lesbian…I would know what it is like to be ‘Deprived’. But I’m enjoying the story though, so I’m looking more forward to the big mystery then anything else :wink:

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I actually had the thought that they were written with their sexuality in mind and meant to put it in my post but straight up forgot to and as for Salem she was my pick for best choice for a new Ro from the word go. She even seemed at least to me to be written with a romance rout in mind. All in all she gets a :+1::+1: from me :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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I lost it when MC tripped in front of the ROs, TWICE. Dang I can feel the humiliation :joy:

7 Likes