New Atlantis - WIP

As soon as I heard the word Atlantis I immediately thought of my MC looking like Jason Momoa, then it said we were weak lol.

Same
com-optimize

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That was interesting although I am curious why has the royal family had to gouge out their eyes?

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I personally don’t know but if I had to guess it works like some monarchies of the past where if you had some disability like blindness or missing a hand you wouldn’t be a candidate for the throne unless there are no other members or because the more cones in your eyes their are the more royal you are and no eyes means no cones

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Okay, so far I’m loving the lore and worldbuilding in this story, but I must start with a few things I take issue with (so that I can end on the good stuff).

1. Ben

I felt way too confused when Ben started acting like he knew we were the prince all along. I feel like the player needs to have a small exchange like:

PC: “Wait, Ben, how do you know all about this?”
Ben: [insert justification here]
PC: “Whoa dude, hang 10”

Okay, that last part might be a bit off but you get what I mean. Either do it soon in the next part or preferably even earlier as it gets kinda distracting/off-putting to be frank.

2. My name!

I was really confused when my sister started calling me by my middle name cuz I made mine Michael, so if we could get a hint or something that we should make our preferred name our middle name, or maybe give us an option later to choose which we’d like to be known by (maybe even with some outrage from the nobles and people if we choose our fake name :eyes:). Please just help out dumb people such as myself from restarting the game due to our own stupidity!

3. MAP PLEASE

This is kind of a nitpick but I feel like the little history lesson of this alternate reality was awkward. It was so detailed that it made me want more, but not detailed enough to momentarily satisfy my curiosity. So to put it in normal words, it was an awkward size info dump to throw on the player in my humble, singular opinion. Also talking broadly about geographic things in CYOA games, maybe see if you could present a map of this alternate reality later in the game because I am way too curious about how large the island of Atlantis is as well as what exactly constitutes the empire’s territories. I’ve seen pictures in other WiPs but I’m unsure how to do it yourself, so don’t worry too much if you can’t do that. A really good detailed rendition of the empire’s holdings would suffice.

4. Railroading

Okay, this is where it turns more from critique into desires for the direction that this game is going. Off the bat, the plot seems like it’s going to force the player down some kind of moral path (hence the title railroading). I’m not saying that it will because I could be wrong, but that’s just what I perceive from the text. I mean I dunno if I’m the only one, but I would love to do a traditionalist run where I attempt to curb the power of the nobility as well as isolate from the rest of the world further. I felt from what has happened so far though that the only consistent path to take will be one of liberalization and modernization of the empire, just going off of how the text reads. I’d love to see lots of freedom in how the PC can impact their empire and the world as a whole. Who the heck knows, maybe even reinstate monarchies across the world or attempt to convert the world to the Atlantean faith. I just think it’d be funny to have some funky achievements for accomplishing really difficult and specific things such as that. :stuck_out_tongue:

Okay, now for the stuff I really liked about this:

5. The worldbuilding as ironic as that is!

I really love the random differences like the US Civil War and the absence of WW2 resulting in the British Empire still remaining at the very least partially intact. An amazing thing to explore about alternate history is not only what stuff doesn’t happen, but also what stuff does happen. I really hope you do enrich the lore of this world with stuff like that. Is Russia still under the rule of the Romanovs? Is Japan a world power? Who used the first nuke and what were its impacts? Juicy stuff like that would be awesome to discover as we navigate Atlatean cutthroat politics.

6. Iminika

I can’t relate to the feeling of wanting to slap everyone in this WiP because honestly I love Iminika right now. I can’t tell if she’s a loving sister happy to see her brother back again after not seeing him in many years or secretly plotting my demise and laughing at me deep down as she does it. And I really don’t want that uneasiness to go away. I want to always feel like I’m on the fence between wholeheartedly trusting my sister and seeing her as the devil incarnate. It really grants a vibrancy to our interactions that I love. Please make more characters as uneasily hard-to-read as her (except of course make them unique in their own right, as Iminika must remain #1)!

7. Personalities

Not much to say, I just appreciate the personality balances being relative opposites of each other. Can’t say too much since obviously we haven’t had many big decisions yet. Still though, know I appreciate that detail!

So yeah, that’s all of my half-baked thoughts on the matter. I hope you continue on with this WiP as it seems to be heating up and I can’t wait for more of it. Oh, also one last word of advice! To make it easier for people to tell when new content is added, update the title of the thread to something like “New Atlantis - WIP [Update XX/XX/20XX]” whenever you upload new stuff to dashingdon. Just keeps everything neater and also will attract lots of people to comment on the updates when they happen!

Once again thanks for allowing all of us to read your work and I wish you the best of luck in continuing this. Know that I’ll be commenting dumb stuff intermittently the whole way through. :smile:

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I really really want to like this game. I mean I kinda do but the railroading from the point you leave your parents home until the end is kinda ridiculous. I understand that you need it to create the plot but I felt as if the MC transformed into a 4 year old child. MC does everything without a real reason, we get several hints that something is wrong and still just blindly follow.

To name a few examples
Hm my doctor is on the very same special plane
Oh a completely different country than expected
Obvious military people with a bunker cosplayer
Suddenly surprise riddle
Drink a unknown fluid

I don’t want to come across as harsh. Ultimately it’s your game and you can do what you want, it’s just that these reasons are putting me (and maybe others, don’t want to assume) off to play this game wich is a shame because your writing style is solid and I like the idea.

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This seems to have some similarities with Return to Zemia, which is very good but currently stuck in development due to the author’s real life.
The big difference here seems to be that this poor heir is fated to be disliked from the start where in return to Zemia we’re simply a big, blank, “alien” (in practice and culturally, biologically the mc always was alien all along, just a near-human one) canvas.

Will actually read this one when I have a bit more time, maybe over the weekend.

Hahahahahahahah hah! No! Unless you want to end up dead very soon. Monarchs usually tended to be more restricted than rulers who could claim some sort of (democratic) “mandate” from the people.
Monarchs tend to be constrained, invisibly to the larger world perhaps, by a small number of oligarchs whether those people call themselves “nobility” or not. And that is in addition to whatever currents of civil society and delicate social balances they have to navigate.
Rule by (personal) might makes right tends to be reserved to warlords who rule over mostly small and insignificant backwaters and various criminal gangs that tend to disintegrate when the person who held them together dies for a reason. The more sophisticated the system gets the more the ruler tends to have to share power and the more checks and balances there are, even if they only stem from bureaucratic inefficiencies.

That not to say that some rulers cannot have a profound effect and change the course of their nation and history but it usually takes considerable finesse to pull such things off. Not to mention they require a significant amount of buy-in from either the elites or the people, or preferably both. That said the mc here cannot even read so we’re hardly in a position to try for a crown-commons alliance for social change against the elite. :unamused:
In any case trying to be a bull in the China shop usually goes badly and even Trump and Johnson can only do what they do because of their perceived mandates and because they have a hard core of enablers in positions of power and influence.

Coming back to it not educating the mc to read and speak and the language was the very stupidest thing our foster parents ever did even if the mc would have lived a normal life and the late empress’ opening to the world had succeeded we could have had a sideline as a translator at least. :unamused:
Lots of people after all simply like learning languages with no nefarious strings attached and if you’re raised bi or multi-lingual it becomes even less of an issue.

Okay I did play it briefly during my break, but my mc would be inclined to just order Ben to read the entire document out loud to him. Why Ben and not Jessica? Because my mc is convinced he knows the guy well enough to tell if he’s lying.

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I had that thought too, but we don’t know how knowledgeable Ben is of Atlantean anyway, so maybe he also can’t read or write the language, but knows how to speak it. It’d be a simple cop out for people wondering that question at least.

download

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I just realised today that I’m addicted to caffeine. I’ve stopped drinking coffee for like a day and I feel horrible…

Thanks. The reason why the MC has to be weak in the beginning is that your guardians would not have allowed you to put too much strain on your body. Think about it, if you got hurt or injured and needed let’s say a blood transfusion, it would have been a disaster as doctors will notice that your blood type is a new one.

But you can change this over time as the story progresses.

I wasn’t sure at first whether to include being a doctor, as I already had a science career path of a physicist. But at the end I decided to include it so I’m glad you find it interesting.

Hopefully I continue to write enjoyable content that you find interesting enough to dig into :grin::grin:

It’s more of a symbolic thing. One can’t be the monarch of New Atlantis if they’re blind. It’s seen as the better alternative to completely killing a rival. So you can imagine the shock of the Atlantians when the empress died due to a successful assassination.

You make a good point as Ben knew all along that the MC was of royalty. A conversation with the Ben is warranted and I’ll add that in next update.

Your middle name is meant to be your Atlantian name. Your guardians gave you a different first name so to hide your identity. But I can see how the player can become confused by this. I’ll have to think about a solution. Because your sister is suppose to call you by your Atlantian name and not any other. At the same time the MC is meant to be used being called by their non-Atlantian name.

This shouldn’t be a problem. After all, I can rip off the actual world map and do some edits to it. I should have it done by this week.

I admit that this first chapter is heavily railroaded. I did that in order to first lay down the issues surrounding New Atlantis. If you want to play an MC who wishes to democratise the nation, then good. If you want to act authoritarian that’s also an option. But you first need to know how the world sees the country and the factions within this nation. Whatever decision your MC is going to make, I want it to be difficult.

The MC is really a fish out water. They’re just a new adult who was probably meant to go to university. But now, they’ve been thrust into a new environment where their powerful and at the same time weak.
I think all my first chapters are railroaded but then later on start expanding for the player.

Yes, the Romanovs are still in power. Russia can thank Germany for stepping in. That’s the most information I can give without going full spoiler territory on everyone :grin:

I think everyone in New Atlantis will be difficult to read. In the next chapter, you’re going to meet your brother. And at first glance, you might think that he’s political weak. He’s after all, the Minister of Culture, but you might be surprised about the cards he holds.

I’ll make sure to do that when I update. Thanks :smile::smile:

I don’t mind harsh criticism, that’s how you improve at times. So the first chapter is meant to be railroaded but the later chapters are going to expand from there and give the player more autonomy. I had to find some way to get the MC from South Africa to New Atlantis, or else the story wouldn’t even begin.

I thought it wouldn’t that suspicious. Your doctor was selected by your scholarship. I should add that in the game.

Yes it’s a different country but the MC doesn’t know such. It was snowing outside, a sign of winter so the best inference one can make is that they’re indeed in the Northern Hemisphere since it was January. You’ll almost never see snow in Cape Town, let alone in January because of Summer.

Again. Even if the MC suspected they were not cosplayers, the belief that they’re actually generals would seem far fetched for a skeptical MC. Why would any army want you, you’re just a kid from a lower-middle class family? (At least that’s what the MC thinks)

I think the best analogy here is if the MC was the secret child of KIm Jong-un. So the MC has no memories of North Korea but is told by their scholarship that they’re going to South Korea. Even if you suspected you’re not in Seoul, the capital of South Korea, will you then jump to the conclusion that you’re in Pyongyang?

It was mentioned, in the story, that the MC is used to being sent riddles by the sponsor each year. So it wouldn’t be weird for them to get one in the bunker.

I take full responsibility of the weird drink thing. I made it so that if the MC is naturally cynical, they’ll put a resistance. Trust me, it won’t happen again in the story. But I used the MC’s natural trust for their doctor as reason enough to push down the doubts they have.

In the next chapter however, the story will be less railroaded. That I promise.

True :smile::smile:. Gone are the days of the absolutist monarchies like that of Louis XIV. But even he had some restrictions to his power. So long a king needs people to manage his realm on his behalf, there is some level of accountable restraining that ruler.

Your MC has to make their way up the food chain of New Atlantis. So you’re forced to put your trust on some people and that will have consequences down the road. Your MC is really powerless and at the same time holds the keys to the state coffers… at least on paper.

Sorry. Sometimes the most rational decisions don’t make an interesting storyline :laughing::grin:. We gotta have a bit tension in this story…

Your MC probably does know when Ben is lying. The issue is that Ben is Human. Meaning that he’s mostly familiar with the croele language in New Atlantis which is a mixture of English and Atlantian. But, he can speak the dialect spoken in the capital but he’s not so proficient to confidently translate it for the MC. Besides, the script that most official documents are written in is different from the usual script ordinary Atlantian use and certainly is different from the script Humans use.

In other words, Ben is illiterate at reading official documents.

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You could make it so that when the MC meets the sister the player gets met with

“She says a word I had never heard before, it’s…” then you’re given a choice of your Atlantian name.

Seems a more organic way to handle it than making the middle name (that you never even use anyway) as the Atlantian name.

Perhaps a way to achieve this would be to expand the preliminary chapter/prologue with tidbits of information regarding New Atlantis. Perhaps have a lecture in class or the MC overhears other kids in class saying “Woah wouldn’t it be cool to meet an Atlantian?” while some of them get blatantly racist by commenting how they’re fish people or something, which gets Ben riled for some reason and the MC has a difficult time pointing out why that is. Then the MC could inquire about their parents’ past life only for them to be dismissive or whatever.

It could also lead to a rather interesting piece of rebelliousness where the MC attempts to find out more about Atlantis behind their foster parents’ back. Food for thought.

All of these little blocks of information helps the player construct their view of Atlantis well before the narrative culminates in the Assassination. From that point on I believe it’s fair to make things move very quickly since there’s a palpable sense of urgency from everyone around the MC to get them up to speed as quickly as possible. The player would still have a lot of information gaps but it would be far from a complete unknown.

Of course I’m not expecting the MC to be able to do whatever the hell they want at the start. It’s obvious there will be people trying to roadblock your choices (be it Jessica, the foster parents, the doctor or Ben) but if people are paying attention they’ll learn a lot about what’s going on, at least I think that would be the case.

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Will we be able to learn the language soon?

Then they must bring over our former foster parents, for the exact same reason my mc thinks by now he knows the telltale signs that indicate “mom” and “dad” are lying through their teeth well-enough by now.
Else the only thing that he’ll sign is an abdication document in favour of elder sister on the conditions of safe passage back to where he came from and generous funding of his medical studies.
Really if elder sister wants the Kingdom all she has to do at this point is make a halfway decent offer. :unamused:

That wouldn’t exactly change with the ability to read, or else I’d be a senior partner in the firm already. :unamused: But I’m not because I don’t come from a prestigious background or university and took a rather circuitous route to get where I am today.
Plus it may not be exactly my ambition either as the senior partners are mostly senior managers in practice rather than jurists and lawyers. But that is besides the point.
Point is being able to express ourselves really is key to any sort of ambition and it still means we start at the bottom of the food chain, as even knowing how to read, like in Zemia, won’t give us connections or knowledge in and of itself, merely the tools to make them if we want to.

As it is right now the other reader who compared the mc to a four year old is right the trouble is that leaves us next to no real agency and little means to acquire it either.

That is a trope in all ruler games and real life politics as well. For example in Zemia my mc is gravitating to placing most of his trust in Sammy and the current Prime minister and I’m sure that will have consequences down the line too.

Which is simply stating the same thing twice, without the means and will to enforce it law is simply letters on a piece of paper.

I think there would still be plenty of tension even if the mc knew how to read. For starters they have no connections and don’t know how the government is supposed to work and certainly not how it actually operates in practice, which are two different things that can be in great tension, especially so in more authoritarian societies though it is by no means an unknown phenomenon in liberal democracies.

Yes, the particular dialect of North Korea, both written and spoken is a dead giveaway. Plus Pyongyang has a really distinctive skyline feature that even I would know without ever having been there.

No. Even if we’re highly intelligent making reading of complex government documents routine is probably going to take 2-3 years of learning. Actually comprehending the culture and society is likely to take far longer still.
Will we be able to start trying to learn? I don’t know. If we do I hope it is at least from competent adult education teachers as the methods used to teach little kids can be counter-productive in adults.
In any case being able to read their equivalent of “the very hungry caterpillar” isn’t going to do us any good. And even that “feat” is going to take a couple of weeks or even months most likely. :unamused:

The mc, even if intelligent is likely to veer more to the high end estimates for teaching illiterate adults as they do not even speak the language they’re trying to learn to read and write, unlike most documented studies into adult illiteracy who for the most part already spoke at least some of the language, even if only a highly localised dialect.
Since for the mc they must learn with what is a second or even third language now there are a host of potential problems for the illiterate adult to get over somehow as this 2012 article outlines.
That one does lean to the cynical side a bit in an attempt to obtain increased funding and attention and adults definitely can learn to become very fluent and natural but that needs dedication, expertise and a supportive environment. Things are not looking good for the mc here on those criteria I’d venture.

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Sounds great! I’ll start composing my royal decree banning anime now then :smiley:
But in all seriousness, glad to know you plan to take it in that direction since that lends itself to “replayability” if you will. Always fun to explore many completely different playstyles!

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I like this idea. I think the MC should be surprised hearing their middle name since they don’t use it. Maybe even how their name is pronounced will trigger something in their memory…

I’ll have to mull this over. But I see where you’re coming from.

It’s going to take some time before the MC is fluent in the language. Some people believe that limitations give rise to innovation :grin::grin:. So your MC will have to find some other ways to express themselves.

So I take it you didn’t sign the file the generals gave you :smile:? Your MC unfortunately doesn’t have the political influence to demand such a thing. Mom and Dad are staying put where they are.

True. Just as having a sword doesn’t make the person a great knight. But knowing the language is a useful tool to have.

The MC does have some agency. How you dress is really a statement of who you are. In the first chapter you have the option between a suit and robes but later on there’s going to be more. It may seem small but it’s something :grin::grin:

By the way, it was intentional to restrict the MC. I guess this was one of the reasons the MC’s mother wanted to have the MC live far away from New Atlantis and have a ‘normal’ life. But fate has other plans for the player.

Well… she’s not the only one who wants the throne. But I’m curious, if your MC could understand Atlantian, would you still want the throne? Or go back living a normal life. Wouldn’t a part of you still be tempted to grab hold of that much power?

Point taken. Let’s just say when the MC was leaving the plane, the snow obscured much of the scenery :sweat_smile:

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Then nothing is going to get signed for the next 2-3 years. Unless it is the aforementioned halfway decent offer by big sis. Which would still be safe passage back to where he came from and generous funding of his medical studies.

Nope, nor will he until he knows exactly what it says.

But she’s the one my mc would be willing to deal with. As far as bad people go she didn’t seem too bad. Still if after such a deal he never sees her again my mc wouldn’t lose any sleep over it.

Since this is our world and the mc had a future before, no not really. My mc was finally getting within spitting distance of realising his true dream of becoming a doctor, like his idol and helping people.

Part of him perhaps, but certainly not the dominant part. In any case that would actually be predicated on him at least being able to read and write the language and knowing the place a bit better than he does. As it is now the temptation is below zero. :unamused:
If he really wanted to try his hand at politics later in life, he’d try to run for city councilman or maybe mayor of Cape Town or something. Getting involved in the layer of government that actually affects people’s daily lives would be far more attractive to him than mingling with world “leaders”.

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Interesting start to the story!

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Again, I’m neither pushing you to do it this way nor do I expect things to be done this way. Whichever “solution” you decide to go with I’ll be happy with, I’m simply sharing how I - personally - would tackle this aspect of world building.

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What happens to New Atlantis’ judicial, legislative and administrative structures?

Really intriguing! Playing as a new monarch unexpectedly elevated isn’t new but in Atlantis it is! It shall be very interesting!
My MC was studying to be a journalist so after he manages to survive the initial power plays, he most certainly will be wielding his power in the best way he can! Although getting through the initial power plays will be… Clearly the military has its own agenda and the Imperial Family will be circling around him, not to mention the Nobles want to make a regency…

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Your mc is really a stubborn, headstrong person :grin:. I’m naturally a non-confrontational guy and so I’m more like to just sign anything in front of me if pressured a lot. But it’s going to be fun writing a head-strong mc.

I’ll have to keep this in mind. Having an mc who might want to mingle with ordinary people rather than the elites of Atlantian society.

So I take it that your mc doesn’t care either way about the lives of ordinary Atlantians or the Human subjects within her control? Or could your mc warm up to the idea of caring about Atlantians in the future to the point of not wanting to go back to Cape Town?

Thanks :smile:

You actually gave me some ideas on how I could change the first chapter of the story. So don’t worry, I know you’re not pushing me into a specific direction but rather giving me your opinions on the matter.

Currently, much power is centralised under the Imperial Crown. On paper, the mc has the power to rule by decree and doesn’t need approval from the nobles. The mc also is the final arbiter on legal issues. Much of the centralisation of power happened during your mother’s reign. While many had complaints, she was seen as effective ruler and so the nobles kind of stomached it.

But this will certainly change now she’s gone. The elites don’t know you nor do they even trust you. Add to the fact that you don’t understand much Atlantian and they’re more than happy to reduce the powers of the Imperial Crown.

There’s certainly going to be scramble by the Atlantian elites to get as much power for themselves, since the mc is in a rather precarious position. Hopefully your mc will navigate successful through this :smiley:

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