Mind Blind Genres: Alternate Reality, Science Fiction, Comedy, Mystery, Romance, Bromance, New Adult Fiction, Super Hero Fiction
(10/31) Demo Update #11 is live! (now 133k words)
The first third of Chapter 5. This update would’ve been a lot longer, except I reworked a bunch of stuff to delay RO selection until Chapter 6. Instead, you get a new scene! That peaks into the future! Average playthrough 33k words.
New to this update
New Material includes:
- Ghosty McBooface. Who ya gonna call?
- Misleading visions of the future
- A shifted paradigm
- A suuuuuuper awkward love triangle (which is avoidable, and only angsty if that’s the way you want to play it)
In particular, please let me know if there are any parts that feel overlong/boring or unclear, if choices don’t properly reflect your past decisions, if your MC’s dialogue doesn’t match your personality stats, or if there were any responses that you wanted to be options but weren’t. Also any broken pathways, etc. There’s a lot of options, and I want to make sure they all work.
Please let me know in the comments of any typos, coding issues, and bad writing, as well as what you did and didn’t like so I can make more of the first and less of the latter.
You’re special, and it sucks.
In a world of psychic heroes and villains, you’re a walking Achilles heel with zero mental defenses. Set in an alternate, near-future version of Chicago, Mind Blind follows your freshman year as a trainee at Unity, an international peacekeeping organization responsible for dealing with dangerous “Ments.” Your brain may be an open book to anyone with a modicum of telepathy, but the MIV Program is your chance to prove yourself capable to your famously superpowered family. As a future Manager in Vicinity (or, as Unity’s more elitist field agents may call you, a “Man in Van”) at Unity’s Aeon Academy, your decisions determine whether a mission succeeds or fails. Cooperate with your precog partner, uncover government conspiracies, and save your school from terrorists. . . or help blow it up.
- Choosing your gender and sexuality,
- Defeating your rival blindfolded,
- Moonlighting as an art critic to identify a terrorist,
- Channeling the spirit of Inigo Montoya, and
- Making out with one of five ROs on customizable bedsheets
Mind Blind is fully plotted out, with 133k words in the current demo (average 33k per playthrough). I plan on updating the demo as fast as I can figure out how to code.
To play the demo, go here: https://dashingdon.com/go/5902
For more updates, background info, and bad poetry, go here: https://mindblindbard.tumblr.com/
To view Mind Blind art created by people far surpassing my own stick figure skills, go here: https://mindblindbard.tumblr.com/tagged/amazing-art-that-made-me-cry
To finance my teal mechanical pencil addiction, go here: https://ko-fi.com/mindblind
(Please be warned the following tabs contain way more information than you ever wanted to know, poorly formatted for your nonconvenience.)
Confidence lets you bluff, barge, and bedazzle your way through life. Confidence projects authority and will make people listen to you, but being too cocky can come across as abrasive.
Humor lets you laugh, tease, and deflect yourself out of the most awkward of situations. Jokes can lighten moods, but constantly refusing to take things seriously may cause people to think you don’t care.
Morbidity has you embracing the shadows and hissing at light. Kindred spirit to Edger Allen Poe, soul sibling to Sylvia Plath. Your grim fatalism means that you aren’t easily phased or shaken, but you may also freak people out.
In addition to 3 main personality types (Humorous, Confident, and Morbid), I’m working on implementing “hybrid” types. For example, an MC with split scores in Humor and Morbidity might earn a reputation for telling dark jokes. An MC scoring high in Confidence and Morbidity, however, can creep someone out from across the room with a single unblinking glare (the ultimate goth gang leader).
Mini-maxing your personality scores will not necessarily help you succeed. In fact, some characters may be turned off by someone whose qualities are too in-your-face. Just pick the answers you want to, and enjoy seeing how people react.
Aka your MIV Stats, aka what kind of strategist MC can be:
I is for . . .
Where others see a packet of hot sauce, you see an opponent’s potential downfall.
Inventive, imaginative, and perhaps just a touch insane, the innovative strategist takes the tools they’re given . . . and creates bigger, better, more lethal tools.
A smile, a wink. A bribe, a backstab. These are your weapons.
Interpersonal strategists use their knowledge of others to achieve objectives. After all, the easiest way through a problem is through people, because there’s no more malleable substance than the human psyche.
Wise, versatile, and downright terrifying.
Be it a crack in a wall or an enemy’s childhood trauma, insightful strategists can pinpoint exactly where and how to push. They know which domino will send the others crashing down, and exploit vulnerabilities that are invisible to everyone else.
E is for . . .
Really, it should be “F is for Failure” because that’s how your mission ended. But Rosy grades on a curve. Effort rises when you try really, really hard . . . only to fall on your face. Either go back and rethink your decisions, or pray that your dogged persistence will eventually compensate up for your lack of competence.
Sometimes an option won’t work even it corresponds to your highest stat. Don’t expect jury-rigging a blackout to prevent a blind telepath from finding you. Be smart, and make a decision that might realistically work. Ingenuity can matter more than the stat screen, and even a nerd with a -5 in physicality can smash someone over the head with a metal baseball bat. (FYI, physical violence? Falls under the Interpersonal Stat.)
Pollard Score: 10, telepathy and low-grade telemetry
About: MC’s older brother, whom they live with. Nick’s combination of thought projection and psychic farsight make him a rarity even among other Ments. He currently leads Unity’s Crisis Response Team (UCRT, referred to as “The Ideals” by its fans, which Nick complains makes him sound like the main vocalist in a 1970s rock band). Nick took up baking as a teenager in order to surprise MC with cookies when they would come home after being bullied at school. He’s ferociously protective of his younger sibling, in part due his illogical guilt that he somehow “stole” their share of mental abilities.
Former Codename: “Justice”
Current Codename: “Dad”
Pollard Score: 10, telepathy
About: MC’s father, a special forces veteran of the Korean Reunification Wars and one of Unity’s founders. He led Unity’s military operations for years under the name “Justice,” deposing telekinetic dictators and empath warlords, before passing the role and title to Nick. His former codename comes from a corruption of “Just John,” his answer when asked by the media what they should call him. Reporters took the adverb as an adjective, and UCRT’s field agents have been assigned handles based off abstract virtues ever since.
Former Codename: “Hope”
Current Codename: “Mom”
Pollard Score: 10, telemetry
About: MC’s mother, a former UN diplomat assigned to oversee Unity’s creation. After receiving training from John, she began joining him on missions as an operative before the two eventually married. She delights in retelling the story behind her husband’s accidental “superhero callsign,” as well as rubbing in the fact that she still got to go by her first name even after UCRT changed its policies.
In addition to wooing their own better (or worse) half, the MC can also “matchmake” between two particular characters. Because of this, one of the RO routes will be more difficult to complete (since the RO is initially interested in someone else). I wanted to make sure readers could still enjoy a (hopefully) fun and fluffy romantic side plot even if they don’t find any of the ROs personally appealing.
Salomé Alavidze (f)
- Appearance: Untamable red curls, light brown freckled skin, and hazel eyes with Elizabeth Taylor-level lashes. 5’1” and curvy. Affects a French accent and replies “Martian” when strangers inquire about her ethnicity.
- About: MC’s best friend since second grade, when both she and MC were bullied (MC for their condition, and Sally because she was a year younger due to skipping first grade). She and MC applied for Aeon Academy together, and received a special dispensation to work as partners due to MC’s “special needs.” Sally’s brain works lightning fast, calculating future probability with a speed and accuracy that makes her one of the few recognized Precognitive Ments in existence. Her ability isn’t deliberate, however, and she often foresees more than she wishes. She copes by being an unrepentant troll, frightening people with dire futures that she’s 99.998% certain won’t come to pass.
Grayson Black (m)
- Appearance: Brown hair, serious brows over deep-set blue eyes, tan skin, and a constant five o’clock shadow that is the bane of his existence. Broad-shouldered and 6’2”, but sometimes pressured into saying he’s 6’3” so that Nick (3 inches shorter) can claim to be 6 feet tall.
- About: Despite his monochromatic name, Gray has a heart of gold and a pedigree to match. Upon his graduation from Eton at 18, Gray broke family tradition by eschewing Oxford for Aeon’s London Academy. Four years later, he transferred to Unity Headquarters in Chicago, where he and Nick almost immediately became best friends. He now serves as Nick’s second in command on the UCRT. Compassionate yet reserved, Gray’s sense of humor at times wars with his ingrained sense of propriety, causing him to blush at his own infrequent jokes. He is extraordinarily embarrassed by his repeated inclusion on The Buzzer’s ranked lists, including his number one spot on “The Top 20 Ments We Wish Would Save Us from a Fire.”
Kent/Kenna Zarneki (gender changes with MC’s preferences)
- Appearance: Soot black hair, steel grey eyes, with the flinty expression and pallor of a freakishly tall child laborer during the Industrial Revolution. Classically attractive, with the elusive allure of a tormented soul.
- About: The only child of Chicago’s current mayor bristles like a cat at casual conversation, and usually just ignores those who talk to them uninvited, especially if someone has the audacity to ask about K’s deceased mother. Despite being registered as an empath, K relies more on their exceptional athleticism and gymnastic skill than their mental abilities while in the field. With the help of Glitch, their MIV and only actual friend, K has held the top spot for successful missions since freshman year—perhaps in defiance over the inexplicably persistent rumors that Mayor Zarneki paid for his child’s acceptance into Aeon.
Taliaferro (“Glitch”) Parker (gender changes with MC’s preferences)
- Appearance: Shaved head, and hooded brown eyes that give the illusion of lethargy despite their high energy. Skin is as dark as K’s is pale (Glitch has given up trying to find a setting that will let the two take a flattering “bff selfie” together, much to K’s relief). Has multiple piercings that they take out before dinners with their mother.
- About: MIVs don’t receive codenames. Glitch considered this to be horrendously unfair and gave themselves one anyway. K (and only K) is allowed to use their first name. They are technologically savvy and defiantly smarter than nearly everyone around them. Although Glitch enjoys sarcasm, they also grow frustrated when people refuse to be open and authentic about their feelings.Glitch broke their mother’s tenured heart by enrolling in Aeon rather than following in her footsteps as an academic. Still, being raised by a Professor of Poetry left an impression, and Glitch recites as frequently from the works of Hughes and Dickenson as from Star Trek and Lord of the Rings .
Ambrose/Ambrosia Kim (or “Rosy,” if the MC is willing to risk being murdered)
- Appearance: Dark, penetrating eyes and immaculately groomed black hair either gelled back (m) or in a bun (f). Sharp bone structure offset by unexpectedly lush lips. Exudes an aura of authority that makes them seem taller than they actually are.
- About: A grew up amidst the turmoil of the Korean Reunification, the child of Northern refugees. Given A’s reluctance to discuss the past, all that is known is that A marked “none” for family when enlisting in the South Korean Army. Despite being only 18 when they joined, by the time fighting ended three years later, A had earned numerous medals and become somewhat of a legend for their daring infiltrations. A spent another six years serving in Korean Special Ops before retiring to work in the nebulously defined “private sector.” Now, A teaches hand-to-hand combat and sharpshooting at Aeon. As an instructor, A is strict and possesses zero tolerance for subpar performances. That being said, an urban legend on campus claims that A was once seen crying while watching Homeward Bound by a student . . . who was never heard from again.
Your Questions (that you didn't ask)
Q: Why Chicago? Everyone writes about Chicago. Why not Baltimore, or Little Rock, or Kathmandu?
A: Because I live in Chicago. Ever notice how evil Willis Tower looks during a power outage? I did, and it inspired this story.
Q: The MC doesn’t get cool powers? Like, at all?
A: Depends on your definition of “cool.” The MC’s brain is the way it is. (Broken.) How they use it is up to you—after all, faulty circuitry often shoots sparks.
Q: Can characters fly? Lift buildings? Breathe fire? Conceal their identity from law enforcement using nothing but a black domino mask?
A: No, no, no, and maybe (but only if it was super dark outside). Think less Wolverine, more Professor X. All powers in Mind Blind are based off parapsychology. Telekinesis is about as exciting as it gets, and moving stuff with their brains gives most Ments migraines.
Q: What is a Ment?
A: Ment is short for “Mentally Agile.” Ments include anyone with a Pollard Score of 6 or higher, so roughly 10% of the general population.
Q: Okay, but what the heck is a Pollard Score?
A: Pollard Score refers to someone’s score on Pollard’s Scale of Mental Agility, created by Maximus Pollard to measure of the strength of extrasensory abilities, with 1 being the lowest and 10 the highest. The MC scored 0.
Q: What if you didn’t answer my question?
A: Technically, I didn’t answer anyone’s question. I just manufactured a few of my own because social distancing has taught me to talk to myself. Anything else you want to ask, please do, and I’ll try my best to either give you a real answer or make one up!
Your Questions (that people actually did ask)
Q: How many chapters will be released in the open WIP demo?
A: Probably 10, with the final 2-4 chapters part of the closed demo. This is so that spoilers about the endings don’t get leaked before Mind Blind is released.
Q: Endings? Plural?
A: Four, so far. These endings aren’t “bad” or “good”—just different, depending on your decisions.
Q: Will there be an option to play as transgender?
A: I’m saying no for right now, although it’s something I’ll consider more after the first draft is written.
Q: Is Mind Blind the first in a series?
A: My goal is for it to be a stand-alone book. There is a slim possibility, however, that the story will be too long to fit a single volume, in which case it will be published in two parts.
Q: Is there a Mind Blind Discord?
A: Not currently, due to my time constraints from working and writing full-time. I’ll open one once Mind Blind gets submitted. (If someone would like to start a discord before then, I’d be happy to publicize it.)
Q: Do you have a Patreon or Ko-fi?
A: My Ko-fi link is https://ko-fi.com/mindblind (I give tips for tips, and use your gifts to take hours off work to write).
Q: How does Button’s mind blindness work? How is telepathy different from empathy? Why are there so many poorly-explained acronyms?
A: The final release will include an “Aeon Student Guide” in the stat screen. Until then, feel free to message me with questions! Knowing what people find confusing helps me figure out where I should rework the narrative, as well as what information should be included in the guide.
Q: Is there a way to win Rosy’s first assignment?
A: There are three (and a half) routes to victory. The easiest method is to convince Glitch to throw the match.
Q: Will there be any, uh, scenes with the ROs where we can, you know . . .
A: Mind Blind is PG13. Any woo-hooing on customizable bedsheets will be implied rather than described.
Various Polls (may contain spoilers)
For a poll on Chapter 1 routes, go here: Post 388
For a poll on the ROs, go here: RO Poll
For a poll on Sally and Nick, go here: Matchmaker Poll
Past Update Log
Update 1 (5/27)
- Having a traumatizing flashback
- Giving Nick a nickname (ha.)
- Defining your sexuality via shih tzu
- Winning a staring contest against your first RO
- (also, just a suggestion, go in the creepy house)
Update 2 (5/29)
- Driving to school, and arriving with various degrees of punctuality.
- Making a lot of wrong conclusions! So many. It hurts.
- Bonding with an RO . . . or pugnaciously staring out a window instead.
- Having your stats define your dialogue and flavor text.
Update 3 (6/2)
- Powerwalking to school (choose that option at the crossroads to read the new material)
- Meeting Cookie Monster (falling for Cookie Monster?)
- Defining your high school persona
- Having your stats define more dialogue and flavor text.
- Freaking out someone in a Starbucks
- A save system!
Update 4 (6/7)
- Go to school. Again. For the third time.
- But in a new way! By Metro!
- Negotiate with the pancake mafia
- Get revenge on Rhonda
- Collect a clue (or two)
Update 5 (6/27)
- Meet Satan.
- Also meet Glitch, Rosy, and Sally.
- Learn a bunch of terms in a hopefully not boring way.
- Potentially reunite with someone, or meet them for the first time.
Update 6 (7/31)
- Finish your assignment for better or worse
- Get asked out on a date
- Establish your relationship with Sally
- Go to the bathroom, a plot critical event
- Be indecisive
Update 7 (8/28)
- Rosy’s explanation in Chapter 2. Finally.
- Get feedback on your choices from Chapter 2.
- Steal a book.
- Pine over unavailable people.
- Witness Rosy make a bad pun.
Update 8 (9/09)
- Meet the family.
- Hate the author.
- Crockpots and despair.
Update 9 (9/30)
- A Therapy Shih Tzu
- Stat Page Stuff
- Eavesdropping like a Ment
- Swimming in Denial
Update 9.5 (10/18)
- Grayson, More Grayson, and Possible Rejection
- Minor tweaks to K and Glitch’s route
- Additional and more responsive dialogue options for Sleeping Beauty
- Sally’s foot
Update 10 (10/23)
- Lev and his corolla
- Sally being very sleepy
- A chance to change your mind (but only if popular)
Coming Next Time
Up Next (November 30):
The rest of Chapter 5!