Matters of Mettle (very early WIP/ideas/noob questions catchall)

Greetings folks! So after some encouragement in another thread I have decided to turn a story I wrote once into a full fledged CYOA.

This is a terrible idea for various reasons including but not limited to 1.) I don’t know the first thing about Choicescript 2.) I’ve never completed a CYOA longer than 15k words or so and this project will be HUGE. 3.) it will probably wind up locked to a single pre-established protagonist and people hate that here.

The story it’s based on is about 70k words from a couple of years ago when everything I wrote was hot garbage, BUT, most of the plot is still usable, and since then I’ve done extensive outlining and branch planning with an eye toward turning it into a CYOA one day. In addition I have bookoos of setting notes and my real motivation is in inflicting this big dumb world on you all.

Matters of Mettle (working title) will follow a 14 year old named Keza Aldale and cover the next seven years of her life. When the story opens, she has just finished six months of basic training and is ready to become an acolyte of the Church of the Oversoul. (both a peacekeeping institution and religious order, though it actually accepts people of most faiths as long as they adhere to four core Virtues the church is built around.)

Keza has excelled in the physical and basic defense training these last six months and for all her life has felt strongly driven to become a paladin, one of the Church’s elite warriors. But traditionally female acolytes are expected to serve in areas such as caring for the sick and feeding the poor, etc. (while the males go on to be peacekeepers and possibly, eventually paladins) and her desires are dismissed as the fanciful notions of a child.

There will be three major paths available to her, depending on how much she’s willing to rock the boat.

1.) Continue on with two years of schooling in the healing arts, philosophy, art, etc. as requested, then accept an assignment to the site of an abbey and orphanage being built to house recent war orphans in a valley near the Tagryn border. (the Tagryn are a loosely organized confederation of people with wolfish characteristics, there are a lot of superstitions and general dislike surrounding them, not helped by the war and the fact that a few of them aren’t accepting that it’s over.) The abbess has resisted the idea of soldiers or guards and so Keza was selected as a good candidate for actually being able to defend herself in case of trouble. Basic equipment is offered and the understanding is that unofficially, she’ll serve in the role of a peacekeeper there.

2.) Continue on with schooling as above, but reject the idea of being shuffled off to be a pretend peacekeeper in an abbey in the ass end of nowhere. Keza convinces the Church elders to let her take on the Trials. This is 3+ years of ‘practical adventuring’ taken on by male acolytes who want to advance as peacekeepers after their own two years of training, and is the standard road to eventually becoming a paladin. They travel to four cities housing Oversoul temples and in each one take on work emphasizing one of the four Virtues. (Steadfastness, Humility, Compassion, and Sacrifice.) She receives their grudging permission along with basic equipment and a small amount of money, but beyond that she’s on her own as far as funding.

3.) Rebellion path. This is Hard Mode. Keza refuses the two years of study and heads out in the world declaring she’ll prove herself worthy of being a paladin without any help. No starting money or equipment, very little education, not recognized at the other temples, and the only way to wind up a paladin is to distinguish herself MIGHTILY in valorous deeds and combat while demonstrating the Virtues and without falling to the temptation of just becoming another mercenary or bounty hunter for hire.

For an Easy Mode, and to add in another character choice, I might, miiiiight consider one other option. A young man named Komry Cairnbrook was a sort of rival and antagonist in the original story this is based on. He would receive standard fighter training without resistance and then go on to tackle the Trials. As a male acolyte not being set up to fail, in addition to starting equipment and money he is given letters with the Church’s seal that will allow him free lodging, food, and replacement equipment at various places.

If added, Komry will also have access to an exclusive plot line about ditching the Church’s teachings and joining a morally questionable group of mercenaries. (really, bandits in all but name.) He doesn’t possess Keza’s idealism and his motivation was more about a chance to travel and have adventures. It turns out he has an uncle in the mercenary band which means his initial encounter with them goes much differently than Keza’s.

Male option is very much up in the air however as Keza’s stuff already represents a LOT of writing.

There are four cities you’re led to on the Trials path, while the Rebellion one starts out with what’s in walking distance, but more of the world gradually opens up as you play. There are three other cities and a handful of villages and wilderness areas, and with enough rations you’ll be able to essentially fast travel to these locations freely. The intention is to have mini sidequests and a trading system available, while the Rebellion plot gets a few dungeons to tackle. (The abbey and mercenary paths will be purely story-based and won’t include any of this.)

Anyway, first major step is obviously going to be learning ChoiceScript, which I’ll focus on over Christmas break. The writing itself I plan to just do in Scrivener, and that will begin this weekend.

Feel free to hit me up with any setting or plot questions if any of this is remotely of interest to you. Otherwise I’ll be using this thread to post the occasional story excerpt or update and any noob questions that aren’t big enough to make a separate thread for.


I’m glad you decided to work on this project @Moxie - I look forward to seeing what you can do with it.

I also moved the thread into the correct sub-forum.

1 Like

Thanks on both counts, I wasn’t quite sure where to put this.

And if you need any help on coding, be it a basic or advanced one, just give me the signal :sparkler: :gun:

I hope you don’t regret that offer, because I may definitely be taking you up on it… :stuck_out_tongue:

1 Like

Coding is my middle-name!

Being a programmer myself, I don’t find ChoiceScript to be particularly intuitive but that might just be me. Regardless,not coding well really shouldn’t be a reason not to make a game.

And you know what they say, a concise and linear but well-made experience is always better than an open mess.

Seems pretty interesting so far. I like how all the paths sound fairly different from each other. Just try not to overwhelm yourself with too much since that tends to happen a lot to many starting out. Setting aside time to do everything is always an ongoing struggle.

If it starts getting to feel like it’s getting too much, I wouldn’t worry about the potential male option, since it would be better to focus on a deeper female protagonist (which you sound like you have the most enthusiasm for). People will still read it if its well written.


Nice to see you’ve already got so much prep work done! This sounds right up my alley. Great title too.

I think it’s interesting to have Hess different paths represent different difficulty levels, as opposed to being equal but varied experiences. Kind of reminds me of The Oregon Trail with the farmer and banker.

I do agree with EndMaster: the male path sounds cool in offering an opposing perspective on the same events in the game, but your passion for Keza’s story is really coming through in what you’ve written thus far. I’d see how you feel after you get going before committing yourself to a fourth wholly unique route through the game.

Looking forward to the first playable WIP!


I haven’t given a lot of thought to Komry’s path yet, perhaps I’ll drum up a little more enthusiasm once I do. I think it might be fun to explore a more morally grey character in the setting even if his plot line isn’t as extensive as Keza’s.

The plan is definitely to focus on her paths first, but that’s the bulk of the writing and once that’s done, unless I’m just utterly exhausted and burned out I don’t see any reason not to tack on one or two more paths.

I want to provide a character and gender choice but I don’t want to reuse any content and I want them to be genuinely different characters. Having lots of diverging paths was my goal when planning this (something I love about your own stories BTW) and even more so now. It came up in part of the discussion that inspired this, but I find a lot of the stories here to be more about being a customizable adventure than a truly branching one. If I’m tackling a project of this size anyway I’d like to do something that really takes advantage of the possibilities of the medium.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 91 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.