Mask of the Plague Doctor - WIP [Chapter Eleven now playable]

The Dweller plotline is getting more and more intriguing! The Dweller/mysticism bits of narrative are some of my favorites – they’re wonderfully visceral and descriptive, especially mystically investigating the rats/lichen in Chapter 8.

I’m definitely more comfortable with the way the first Ioco scene plays out now, and I’m looking forward to seeing if/how it changes in the future.

Typos

Ch 9 – Subject-verb disagreement for nonbinary protagonist:

“I believe they is telling you the truth,” they say. “The doctor here is quite devoted to their work.”

Ch 9 – Missing "s:

“Especially as the first infected person we encountered turned out to have been one of our underground travelers,” you add. "Eustace may have been a tanner, but I’m convinced he caught the plague elsewhere.

Ioco scratches his bearded chin beneath his mask. “Granted, that’s something resembling a pattern,” he says.

“Your bravery could save this town,” you tell the animals, without words. "And if it does, I’ll be sure to share your tale.

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I’ve re-uploaded Chapter Nine with all the noted typos fixed (changes have been made to typos found in other chapters too, they’ll show next time I re-upload the whole lot). Thanks again to everybody spotting those!

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Played the demo today, and I’m liking what I see so far. You can count on my purchase!

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Would it be possible to make a choice to keep on your mask at the mayors dinner party… it was kind of weird not having a choice to leave it on.

Edit: Like maybe the mayor bribes you to take it off? Or you get kicked out of the room?

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The demo just freezes the page at some point and starts indefinitely loading, other than that It’s pretty good

The current demo ends with “The Waiting is Torment” button.

Chapter Ten has been added to the demo, or pre-beta, or whatever you wish to call this first, playable draft! In this chapter, you can expect more ~romance~, and the possibility of death for you and/or people close to you (if the infection got out of control), plus a spot of revolution (or not, if you want to just stay indoors and let that pass you by.)

When you hit the line “Thornback Hollow Rests in Firm Hands” (or have died/fled), you’re at the current conclusion.

Word-wise, Mask of the Plague Doctor is now 265K, with an average play-through of 65k. Looks pretty likely that the game will fall in the 300-350k range when complete.

@Julie04 There is one path that allows you to TRY to keep your mask on at the Mayor’s place. When presented with the options for dressing for dinner, choose the final one (“I want something to match my mask. Which is definitely staying on.”)

It ends with her basically forcing you to take it off, but at least you get the chance! (and I’ll most likely tie one of the achievements to trying to wear it).

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So this time I played as the mystically-inclined doctor, and I enjoyed the descriptions and reactions from the other characters when choosing those options. I also liked how, even as the MC received help from the gods, there was still enough flexibility to have the MC be proficient in another talent. The Ioco romance continues to be interesting – I liked the banter between him and the MC when choosing the MC sketch, although I’ll probably visit Alice (who is testing the lichen) next playthrough. I kind of wish we could see the meeting between the MC and Alice/the other volunteers during the morning instead of it being summarized so the player and MC have to face what we agreed to/chose, especially if we choose to spend the day elsewhere. But I’m glad I decided to decline the invitation to the ball as the MC learned that mandrake root might help with the cure.

Typos

“You’d better have a spectacular explanation for what just happened, Daisy” says Alice, her arms folded across her chest.
It looks like there needs to be a comma before “says”.

Not sure if this is a problem or not, but I noticed that these choice options are in second person while the others are in first person:
Gesture at your plague doctor mask.

Try to convince the militia that some of your supplies are dangerous to touch.

I’m really curious about the fleeing ending. Does that require having the infection get out of control as well?

Oh wow, it’s been longer than I thought since I wrote an update here. Apologies!

That’s mostly because it would just say “I’m still writing,” but I can tell you all that Chapter 11 has been submitted for editing. This ‘final’ chapter was getting pretty massive, so it will now be split in two. Chapter 12 will follow, then Epilogues.

I’m visiting family in the UK for the first two weeks of September, but if Chapter 11 comes back to me, and if I get chance to address the necessary edits, I will post it up before my return. Otherwise, expect it… slightly later (I’m back on 19 September.)

@expectedoperator Regarding the chance to flee… Yes, that’s another branch from the level of infection getting out of control :slight_smile:

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I really love this. It truly makes me feel like my MC is a capable professional at their wit’s end, and the “maybe magic, maybe mundane” approach to deity worship and mysticism is very cool.

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Wow! Congratulations!

It’s hard to believe it’s just been under a year since you started this project! It’s been unbelievably cool to see this develop and give suggestions! Enjoy your trip to the UK!

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When I get to leave the town for the first time to report to the Baron, I have this encounter:

As you close in on the rows of canvas tents, the land around you grows even more barren. Every scrap from the surrounding fields has been picked clean. In the furrows and trenches you find yourself trudging across, nothing grows. All is bare, save for a lone tree or fence post that would once have marked the outskirts of peasant farmland.

A familiar face greets you on the edge of the camp.

“Deities…can it be you?” the man says, transfixed by your mask.

“Greetings, Rowan,” you reply. “And well recalled. Last time we met, you were feverish. How’s the leg?”

“Working,” he smiles, giving the limb a bump with the shaft of his pitchfork. “Thanks to you.”

“And Jarin?”

“Doing as well as any of us.” He suddenly looks troubled. “Times are grave in camp. I cannot imagine the suffering in Thornback Hollow.”

“We are doing what we can,” you say.

“That’s all anybody can do,” Ryia says. She dismounts and begins to lead the horse by the reins. “Keep this reunion brief, I have to get you to the Baron.”

“Doctor, one more thing…” Rowan says, sheepish in his tone. “I was wounded while poaching fish, you may recall.”

“I do. You broke quarantine.”

“Aye…as do many more, these days. Those fish are all some of us have left to eat.” His speech quickens, forcing the words out before you can cast further judgment. “Only, nobody is sick. At least not with your problem. Well, the problem. The lack of sleeping.” Rowan takes a breath. “S—so, I think the fish are safe.”

“Those who ate them took a terrible risk,” you say, stern. “Yet…there is nothing to be done for that now. This information may be useful, Rowan.”

He seems to relax, glad that your admonishment was restrained.

Which for my playthrough makes no sense, because I never met Rowan before. At the beginning of the game, while waiting to meet the Baron for the first time, I had a soldier come to me about someone with a bad leg. But I just gave a diagnosis based on his description without actually going to see the guy. And I never heard about him poaching any fish either.
The only one I met was that woman (Tace, I believe) that pretended to be a Hunter to flee the town.

Also in Chapter 1, right after the militia took away the supplies for the Mayor, I get this passage:

Faces dart away from windows as you pass by. A ragged urchin scoops up a cat and dashes down a side-street. Wind whips up dust around your feet. Somewhere to the east you hear the rhythmic creaking and banging of a door. Your colleagues are silent, fixed on carrying their supplies and their tired limbs along the street.

The prior descriptions of the surroundings mentioned that everything is drenched from the rain and that mud is everywhere. So suddenly having the ground dry enough for dust to go around seems a bit strange.

In Chapter 10, when Tace brings me the invitation to the masked ball and asks me for help in the uprising, I get four options that essentially all say that I will help them. Even though up until this point I’ve pretty much consistently to stop bothering me, I have no interest in their power games, and now let me treat this plague to stop this whole town achieving equality only by all being equally dead. And now the greatest concession I can make to this is “If my medical obligations allow, I’ll help the uprising any way I can.”
Which I wouldn’t do even if I were to go to the ball.

And while the actual choice on whether or not to go to the ball comes a bit later, I’d prefer to have the choice to say “No” outright, instead of lying to them that they have a supporter in me.

Very helpful observations, thank you!

Yep, that Rowan conversation was a bug. I’d used a basic “is he dead?” test to feed players into that, forgetting that he could still be fine via the path you took - it now checks whether you aided him in person.

You’re right, it does! I’ve changed that to be more weather appropriate.

Yeah, I get the frustration there. This might be a problem with you being pushed into a path you’re not interested in (there are variants with other people offering you the invitation, in which case I need to look more at the stat balancing) - but it sounds more like you weren’t really keen on engaging with any of the factions, so may have run into the same issue no matter what.

I’m not sure I want to give people an outright “nope, not coming” option here - in part because if you meet with Alice/Ioco/Lucia after this, you’ll discuss the invitation with them in a way that still leaves it as a possibility. However, I can definitely change/add some responses to make sure there’s always at least one with the tone of “I’m extremely unlikely to attend,” free of any suggestion that you support whichever faction is offering.

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Yeah, in my playthrough I was trying to stay away from all factions as much as I could.
And an answer like “I’m extremely unlikely to attend" would have been perfectly fine for me, and would just have seen that as staying at least somewhat polite. No need to burn bridges, as long as they leave me alone :smiley:

This looks interesting so far, I’ve not had time to read it all yet but I love stories like this

There are now eleven (all but the finale, and epilogues) chapters playable through the usual link. The 300k total word count barrier has been breached.

A couple of changes worthy of note…

Chapter Six

  • It should no longer be possible to find yourself conversing with Rowan as if the two of you had previously met (unless you actually did meet!)

Chapter Ten

  • Slight tweaks to the choices when offered a certain invitation. There should now be at least one “ehh, maybe, but probably not” response to select in each instance.
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This was a great chapter. I really liked all the medical aspects (like the autopsy and the decision of who to give the lichen to) and how we get to see the results of many of our previous choices (such as being able to tell the mayor about the fish for a further food source). The one thing I felt was missing was the mandrake – the previous chapter ends with the idea that it’ll be important, but at least in this chapter I don’t think it’s mentioned. It stood out to me because I made the MC a physician this playthrough and that knowledge seems like something they would use.

Typos

The Mask of the Sun
The Mask of the Hare
These options look like need a period at the end like the others in the choice.

“We still have a reasonable amount left,” she says. “I locked it away.” You follow her gesture to a small, carved chest sitting atop one of her benches. “There’s a small amount left,” she says. “It’s secured, and locked away.” You follow her gesture to a small wooden box with carved designs on its surface, sitting on one of her benches. “There’s barely any left,” she says. “Stems and powder, little more.”
I got this all in one paragraph.

The Mayor bangs her fist on the table, urging silence}.
Remove the curly bracket.

You speak of your expedition beneath Thornback Hollow, taking care to leave out key details pertaining to the Mayor’s guilt in breaching the town quarantine}.
Remove the curly bracket.

“…my family have not eaten in so…does the Mayor even care that we are…doctor,please…in need of…a bite, just one morsel….”
Add a space between the comma and “please”.

“Either he has killed before the Waking Death took hold, or he caught a weaker version and…recovered.”
Looks like “has” should be “was”.

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All typos found and fixed, thanks!

Whatever level of mandrake knowledge you have will (I suppose I should say ‘can’) be revisited in Chapter 12 :slight_smile:

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