Phantasm (WIP with short demo)


#1

Hello again, everyone!

So after a few weeks of intense back and forth with myself over if and when I should start a thread and post a demo of the game I’ve been working on, I decided to go ahead and do it!

This is Phantasm, a game I originally started as a way of learning ChoiceScript, but ended up falling totally in love with. So much so that I decided it would be the first piece of my writing to be shared with the public in…a very long time.

Please bear in mind, this is my very first attmept at ChoiceScript, and I had absolutely no coding ability before I decided to open up a choicescript tutorial a few months ago. But enough about me.

You are a Shadow, a new recruit to your country’s intelligence and national defense force. Like all of your countryfolk, you have natural abilities known as phasmic powers, which allow you to (among other things) hide in plain sight and cause other people to forget they have even seen you. Unlike most of your countryfolk, you are going to have the opportunity to harness these abilities and use them in service of your country. And just in time, too…Riva has not seen a time of such political strife since its creation several millenia ago.

Learn your order’s secrets, protect (or betray) your country, and form relationships that could potentially change the world as you know it… But since this is a demo, we’ll mostly be working on your origin story.

Phantasm

What I’m Looking For:

  • Feedback about plot and story, characters, dialogue…all the good stuff

  • If you see any glaring grammar or spelling errors, feel free to point them out, but this is in very early stages and will be edited many more times, so it’s not the biggest thing.

  • Mostly, for people to have fun and tell me what they think! Something you want your character to be able to say or do? Tell me! Hopes for the future? Tell me those too!

Fun Facts

  • There will eventually be multiple backgrounds to choose from, but for now only one is written. If enough people poke around this topic, you can choose the order I write them in :smile:

  • Riva (the country in question) does not have the same gender norms and standards that we do. Almost all of their gendered language is a holdover from their ancestors (they’re big on tradition and roots), and as such does not relate very much to gameplay. You will choose your pronouns early in the game!

  • Follow up to the above: Inheritance in Riva is based almost entirely on one’s ability to continue the family line by bearing their own children (by which I mean physically carrying them and giving birth). This is not considered to be related to gender identity or pronouns, the two concepts are very separate in Rivan society. You will be asked about this, there will eventually be an opt out feature that allows you to not specify.

  • I’m trying very hard to make playing this game a fun, comfortable, and nonstressful experience for everyone. If there is something I can do to that effect, PLEASE let me know!

Thanks everyone, I’m looking forward to hearing from you!!!


#2

“Riva has been a matrilineal society since it’s creation, with family names, titles, and status being passed through whichever parent gave birth.”

The term I think is not matrilinieal but cognatic.

Matrilineal in terms of succession means that its women who rule regardless of their birth order. Cognatic in terms of succession means whoever comes first, regardless of gender.


#3

I did not know that word! Thank you!

Unfortunately, neither quite fit. Succession in Riva is passed to the oldest child who is capable of giving birth, regardless of their gender identity. This particular society sees physical bodies/reproductive systems and gender identity as completely unrelated (a result of the combination of two ancient cultures that came together to eventually form modern day Riva), and I’m not sure there’s an appropriate English word for that…

Sort of cognatic, because it is regardless of gender, but they still have to be able to have babies in order to inherit (don’t worry, you will have plenty of opportunity to express disagreement with this system in the game)


#4

How will they know if those who are to inherit can have babies?
Are there gynecologists, endocrinologist or doctors specialising in sexual health in your world?
Or is it magic?

If it is the former, do all heirs undergo medical checkups before they can be eligible to be the first-in-lines?
Or they only become heirs once they have children?

I don’t really have disagreements with it, just wondering because that could be a massive plot-hole in your story if not explained right.

The closest real-life counterpart to your succession law is cognatic and not matrilineal. But that is regardless if the heir could have children or not. If there is no direct heir, the title usually passes down to the closest legitimate relative of the previous heir.


EDIT:

Prodogenus-Cognatic, just made up that word.

It’s a combination of the Latin words:

  1. Pro which means ‘in favour of/ in behalf of.’
  2. Do which means ‘bestow/grant’
  3. Genus which means ‘birth’
  4. And cognatic which has already been explained before.

So ‘In favour of those who can give/grant birth, and those who are the eldest regardless of sex.’

Quite literal, and very fitting. Use it if you want. Hahahaha…


#5

I’m liking the concept of this so far! At times it did seem to drag on, like the long question/information dialogue trees that seem to be endless as they don’t disappear after selecting them (ie greyed out) and I was extremely overwhelmed by the sheer number of stats! There is a lot to take note of, so it’s very confusing and forgetful about them. Maybe combine or remove some to make it simpler?
Other than that, I’d love to see more!


#6

I agree with @Knightstrike that the in game culture needs to be explained more thoroughly. If people can just magic up babies then everyone could be a heir. Magic often raises more questions than it answers)If babies are has the old fashion way then it seems very important to know a person’s genetic (or physical? I don’t know the term for it) sex in order to mate and produce children rather (or in addition to) their pronouns. I’m also interested in how fertility is determined.

I suppose it has something to do with being mixed with the ancient magical race that gave them powers like how most animal hybrids are sterile or have diminished fertility.

I would like more information on the heirs and inheritance. Do my parents want me to be heir because they don’t want me to be homeless a la Pride and Prejudice style?


#7

Wow, thank you all for playing and for responding (especially considering the ridiculous time of night that I decided to post this)!

It’s definitely not magic, there’s actually not a huge system of magic in this world. There are doctors, but the answer is mostly that until they have their own children, they are only potential heirs. When the current Head of the family steps down or dies, the title will go to the oldest eligible heir who has children of their own. If none of the potential heirs have children yet, it goes to the oldest, with the condition that should that person not have children eventually, they will be expected to step down.

For this reason, families in Riva are often very large, to maximize their chances of continuing the family line. In the only background currently written, your family is unusual in that there are only two children in your generation, thus the pressure.

Babies are “the old fashioned way”! Yes, for this particular game, it is significant to know the MCs physical reproductive status, which is separate from their pronouns. I argued with myself for a long time over the most respectful way to ask that (“do you have a uterus”, while something that I as a player would not be offended by, seemed a little too blunt). I eventually decided on the below question, but it is subject to change.


#8

Sucks to be that sibling who is still single and/or still scared of the prospect of getting married, let along having kids. Hahahaha

Mum: Your sister just had her fourth kid, while you being the eldest son/daughter still don’t have one. When will you give me grandkids?

MC: …


#9

I like it but is one with the k name is it a girl or guy


#10

That’s…pretty much exactly it (can you tell I don’t want kids in real life? haha). Except that at that point you could just abdicate in favor of your sister, that’s totally allowed (your parents might be disappointed though).

(It’s also the basis for some pretty intense sibling rivalries…like your mother and her sibling :wink:)

Neither, Kaeldan is nonbinary (also an option for the player character)!


#11

What’s that mean then the person not gender


#12

It means they don’t identify with either “male” or “female”. It’s a personal identity that is separate from body type, genetics, etc.


#13

I like it!! I bow to your skill at coming up with words that make sense, and if it’s really okay with you I may use this :smile:

I have gone back and disabled reuse for those options to make the progression more clear, but unfortunately the hosted demo is refusing to acknowledge that I’ve made the changes, so I’m going to have to figure out what’s going on with that before I change or add anything else. I think I’m going to have to contact dashindon about it if I can’t figure it out…

EDIT: I fixed it, responses should grey themselves out properly now! @Terriermon50, I honestly would love to make this thing shorter, are there any other areas you recommend I cut down? I think sometimes I’m so nervous about it being too short and choppy that I overcompensate.

Believe it or not, this is actually significantly reduced from the number of stats it originally had… I admit that’s my personal bias. I love stat raising strategy games, and my initial intention with Phantasm was to write one of my own. However, if it’s too much for a game in this format, I don’t want that. Are there any you would like to see reoved or combined in particular? As I write, I’m planning on checking which ones I use and removing the ones that I either don’t use or have to force myself to include.


#14

Hey I’m going to send you an attachment later with the mistakes I find and ideas that I might have for the game okay with y?


#15

I love it so far, but the question segment with Kaeden (that’s their name, right) seemed extremely long. Maybe find a way to simplify the information?

ALSO! I love the character interaction so far, especially between my MC and Kaeden. I’m looking forward to see what you do next :grin:


#16

Firstly I have to say I love the detail and work you’ve put into the world. It’s evident you’ve put a lot of work into this, and you’ve done a great job of portraying a foreign society in a fantasy world without making it too similar or too alienated from ours. It’s loads of fun to see what you have so far. My only complaint is that questioning Kaelden seems to be too obvious and clunky an infodump. It could be a little more streamlined. Aside from that, this is a great WIP you’ve got here, and I can’t wait for more.


#17

This seems to be the number one issue people are having, so I’ll have to find a way to do that. I guess I figured it would be a sensible time for the poor MC to have a lot of questions, and there is SO MUCH about this society to include, it’s hard to figure out where to put it all! I welcome suggestions!

I’m so glad! I worry a lot about writing fun and realistic character interaction, and I love Kaeldan, so this is super great to hear!

@adamthecowdog Sounds great! I do have an alpha checker doing something similar, but the more the merrier, as he can only check over so many paths at a time.

THANK YOU everyone for giving me and my project a chance and for your nice comments!


#18

It’s less of removing and more of having similar stats, IMO.

For example, the “lore” and “history” stats and “reflexes” and “agility” seem to go hand-in-hand. For the first pair, lore is technically part of history, such as a civilization’s culture and religious beliefs. For the second pair, having choices that reflect these traits are very possible to be very confusing as they can be interpreted in one way or another.

MAYBE (but I’m not sure) “eloquence” and “etiquette”? They are related on-paper, but differ in practice; both are used in a political, appearance based sense, but to be honest I’m okay with them remaining seperate.

I also have a question: how important will relationships be in the game? And I mean relationships in general, not limited to romance. Considering at one point a character said close relationships occur but are not discouraged, IIRC, nor are they encouraged.

That’s all I can say; either way, I’m lovin’ this and excited for future updates!


#19

I actually think I’m going to have to reword that. It’s more that Your Bosses know that close relationships (friendships, romantic relationships, sometimes even family relationships) are going to occur but still expect you to be able to put your job and country above those relationships. Plus, like Kaeldan says, it kind of puts a damper on relationships when there are long stretches of time where you either don’t know where your friends are or can’t see them because you’d be breaking their cover.

In answer to your actual question, I intend for relationships to be relatively important, or at least satisfying in the amount of content they provide. Some will be more integral to the main storyline than others. There are relationship stats, they’re just hidden right now because I’m not sure where/how I want to display them.

I have a truly absurd amount of NPCs planned, and I want most of them to have relationship stats to track how they should behave towards you, so we’ll see how that works out :confounded:

I think I will merge lore/history and agility/reflexes.

What does everyone think of merging eloquence/charisma and etiquette/politics? (I know the second pair seems like an odd one, but in context they work together - someone with knowledge of the political scene is likely going to be more aware of how to behave around various groups)

THANK YOU! :blue_heart:


#20

One question before I go off to my day job :sweat:

I have tomorrow off, and will likely be putting in a considerable amount of work on Phantasm. Any preferences as to whether we move forward in the story with a continuation, or double back and add a new background for the next update?