Return to Zemia (WIP - updated 25 March)

A definite possibility! Thank you for your suggestion :grin:

There will probably be a handmade jewelry item

Not at all! It’s not a holiday gift, and someone suggested an animal figurine on tumblr too, so I think I’ll definitely go with that one. Thank you for your suggestions, I’ll keep them in mind!

And just as a small clarification for everyone, the MC gets to pick out the gift! It’s not a surprise that the mystery character brings to you

Don’t worry, these things don’t distract me from the regular work. Unfortunately real life does lol. Posting work on tumblr is actually really helpful to me because it helps me get to know my characters better, and it keeps me writing on days when I may not have a lot of time to devote to it otherwise

3 Likes

Accepting prompts for international women’s day! If you have a suggestion for our lovely ladies, send them my way :rose:

3 Likes

(Late to the party as always) Is a ladies’ night out with all our favourite gals a trope? Cause I may or may not dream of a ladies’ night out (the Lucifer tv series inspired me)

You’re actually the only one at the party! This is the only prompt I’ve received today, so happy international women’s day to you :heart: hope you like it, it ended up being really long lol

Obvious warning for alcohol (please drink responsibly when you drink irl) and weapons (also not a good combination irl so please don’t do dumb things)

Girls Night Out

“I don’t know about this…” you trail off, eyeing your reflection in the mirror. “Won’t someone recognize us?”

“Not when I’m finished with you,” Yusra mumbles. She grabs a can of hairspray from the table and begins to coat your hair in a glittery red film. When she’s finished you look like you murdered someone before jumping into a bucket of glitter. It’s not your everyday look, that’s for sure.

“Look up,” Yusra commands. You obey, and she begins to smudge cheap black eyeliner around your lids.

“I’m not going,” you hear Lia call out from the bathroom.

“Yes you are,” Yusra responds.

The door flies open, and your jaw hit the floor. You can’t tell where the leather begins and Lia ends. It clings to her every curve. She blushes at your reaction. “I can’t go out like this! Where would I put my gun?”

Yusra looks up from your makeup and raises a suggestive eyebrow. Lia’s blush deepens by a hundred shades, and she barricades herself in the bathroom again.

“Where are Carina and Kaya?” you as Yusra.

“They’re meeting us there. Best to go in smaller groups, draws less attention.
There,” she concludes, taking a step back to admire her handy work. You’ve got to admit, she was right. Nobody would recognize the face looking back at you. Yusra walks over to the bathroom door and bangs her fist against it. “Ay, I’m not letting you ruin the Princess’s birthday. Let’s go.”

While Yusra coaxes, or threatens, Lia out of the bathroom, you examine your reflection more fully. The denim mini skirt you’re wearing barely comes to the middle of your thigh, ripped fishnets the only other thing standing between you and the cold night. You pull a leather jacket off the vanity in front of you and pull it over your white tank top.

“Draw less attention,” you mutter to yourself. The three of you couldn’t blend in if you were a Vitamix. Yusra’s leopard print pants are as loud as your new, sticky hair, and if you couldn’t take your eyes off Lia, you can only imagine what a bunch of drunk men will think.

An hour later, the three of you find yourselves standing in a line outside of a brick building in the industrial section of town. The booming base, barely muffled by the building’s walls, prevents any conversation. Lightning crackles in the distance, and you hope you’ll make it in before the rain begins. When you finally get to the door, the bouncer looks you up and down before giving you a silent nod and opening the door for you. You make your way to the bar.

“How will we find the others?” you yell at Yusra, trying to overcome the music. Yusra nods her head, inviting you to follow. You weave through the sweaty bodies in the club–

“Carina?” you yell, and the woman turns to you.

“It’s Carrie tonight,” she responds, running her fingers through her obviously fake pink wig and winking at you.

“She’s already three in,” Kaya informs you.

“Well let’s see if we can fix that,” Yusra says, slapping a stack of bills on the bar and motioning the bartender over.

Carina spins around. “It’s my friend’s birthday,” she says, grinning at the bartender.

He pours a round of shots for the five of you. You pick one up and get ready to down it, but Carina interrupts you.

“Wait! We have to have a toast for the birthday girl!”

Even in the dim light of the club, you can see Lia roll her eyes.

“To, to, to friendship!” Carina finishes.

The rest of you imitate her and pour the liquid down your throats. This is the first time you’ve had liquor on Zemia. Only wine is served at palace dinners. The alcohol burns its way down your esophagus, but you’re undeterred. “Another,” you tell the bartender. He nods and pours.

As the night wears on, your lose count of how many drinks you’ve had, and you feel like you’re floating through reality. The music is softer, the lights dimmer, and your body lighter. You look around at your friends and grin.

“Let’s dance!” you say like you’ve had an epiphany. You pull your friends onto the dance floor, and not even Lia resists. You move your body with the beat of the robotic music, and Lia mirrors you. Carina watches fascinated and tries to join in, but it’s far too late in the night for her fine motor skills. Kaya giggles at her and grabs her hand.

“Like this!” she shouts, jumping up and down. Carina begins to laugh and follow her example.

“Seyvians,” Yusra observes sagely, shaking her head.

“Come on Yusra,” you beg, “dance! It’s my birthdayyyy!”

Yusra laughs at you and begins to bob her head with the beat."

“That’s the spirit!” Carina calls out, and Yusra laughs.

“Hey!” you say, turning to Lia, “what did you do with your gun?”

“You wanna see it?” Lia asks.

“Yes!”

Lia pulls it out from under her breast and hands it to you with a flourish."

“That was sooo cool,” you say solemnly. “You are the coolest girl I know.”

“Awww, that’s so sweet,” Lia says, hugging you.

“That’s your gun?” Kaya asks, joining your circle. Lia nods. “Wow. You’re such a bad ass!”

“Thanks,” Lia says.

“Can I see it?” Carina asks. You pass it to Carina, and she closes her hand around it. “Wow! It’s so light?” Lia nods sluggishly. Carina turns it over in her hands and points it at the ceiling. “Is it loa–” Carina begins to ask, but before the words can escape her mouth, she’s already pulled the trigger.

The music stops abruptly as the dancers begin to flee the floor.

“Not anymore,” Lia answers, unconcerned.

The next thing you know, a squad of armed punks has formed a circle around you. The one at the front is tall and pale. He has short green hair that clashes against his red plaid pants. Those gray eyes are unmistakable though.

“Arvin?” you ask.

“Happy birthday,” he says, snatching the gun away from Carina.

“Hey! That’s not yours!” she complains.

“Can you give us a ride home?” Kaya asks, yawning.

3 Likes

Happy (belated) International Women’s Day to you too -still best party ever-!

I don’t just like it, I love it! <3
Girl’s night out is always a dream (because I’m a sucker for female friendships), but drunk shenanigans were the true blessing and disguised!Arvin was the best thing I’ve read!

You, miss Author, have made me one happy panda!!

1 Like

Wanted to respond to this on here, I don’t think the Zemia mc fits the definition of the bumbling everyman with no hope of improvement and who only succeeds through copious amounts of dumb luck and his more knowledgeable allies.
Yes, the mc starts out with no knowledge, but if Hasan wasn’t being overly flattering the mc has a good head on their shoulder and once we overcome the current crisis and learn how to assert ourselves in our new position a lot of resources.
With those two the only “luck” I feel my mc would need is for the reign of daddy dearest to last just a couple more decades so we can catch-up as that would give my mc time to learn most things from his new friends as well as put himself through Alien higher education as a history major and complete a stint at the military academy. So with time my mc hopes to become as good or better than his late brothers at his new “job” in spite of his delayed starting position.

2 Likes

I agree completely! I didn’t mean that Zemia!MC was “average” in terms of intelligence/abilities/what have you–more that the MC is of average means. They were adopted and grew up in an average family, not particularly powerful, wealthy, or influential. The story I hope I’m telling is, what happens when someone like that, someone who lacks power/money/influence, is thrust into a situation where they can obtain those things?

It’s not so much a question of can the MC become powerful, but how will they react to the transition? How will they use their power?

Return to Zemia is not meant to be either a power fantasy or a farce, and that’s why it’s a compelling story for me to tell!

While I’m here, I might as well share my progress report ~

I have added 7000 words of content to the game since last week, finishing up one of the new branches last night. That brings us to about 16,000 words since the last update was published in December. It’s going really well

11 Likes

Update 25 March

I’m very excited to publish the rest of chapter two, and I look forward to hearing your feedback. The game has ballooned to over 60,000 words with the average play through coming it at 17,500!

Hope you enjoy, and let me know what you think!

Carina's mood board

18 Likes

Aah! I wanna play through the update reeeally bad. The thing is I’m not gonna be home for the next few days and my internet connection can’t handle going to the next page sometimes. So I was wondering will the save system be added back? I love this WiP but it does get tedious having to start over everytime I refresh the page.

1 Like

Arrrgghhh, I always forget to put that back in the code! I’ll add it back when I get home from work tonight!

It is nice to see this trucking along. I also really like the rewrite.

I don’t know how you feel with code lurkers so I’ll spoil, but I did lurk
and I got to say those 60 and that one 70 check is going to be really, really hard if not impossible to reach. (I think it might actually be impossible.)

While I can understand why they are high for a story stand point, I would advise lowering them to be just a bit more realistic.

1 Like

Save system should be functioning now

I did a test play through and re-calibrated the numbers–I may need to update them again, but I think it’s more realistic now, and feel free to take a look (and also thank you for your feedback and for checking out the game!)
though I gotta admit I feel kind of exposed with someone looking at the code
you can see all my secrets and incompetence

3 Likes

Really nice game you have so far.

As for anything I found

Hasan says they are taking the MC “home”

But then the MC says “Zemia” even though the MC never heard that word at this point in the story

One more minor thing, when dealing with the MCs height. I found it a bit jarring to have it so late in the game. It felt really out of place when all other choices about the MCs appearance are decided very early on.

I would think a better place to have the height choice is when the MC is at school or by the lake when the MC is reflecting on their looks.

1 Like

It think I spotted an inconsistency, my mc didn’t manage to get out of his room due to being clumsy enough to get caught by Kaya but the game still acts as if he has seen his dead brother’s room and I still get the option to return to it.

Also, why is the rebellious threshold to get Sammy’s so low now? :cry: It always feels good to stand up to Emperor in the council scene but doing so almost invariably boosts rebellious to above 60.

1 Like

I can see how that can be confusing, but it’s what Hasan means–to him, Zemia is the MC’s home, the MC just doesn’t know it yet

I’ll take this into consideration.

Thank you for taking the time to read my work and leave feedback!

Thanks for pointing this out, I’ll dig through the code and see what went wrong

Edit–I found it almost immediately and fixed it

Because Samir won’t trust you to behave if you’re too rebellious–he won’t put his neck on the line for you. I can decrease the rebellious boost for refusing to cooperate with the Emperor, but even as it is now, you have to consistently pick rebellious options in order to get that stat up high enough to get flagged

Hmm…I’ll see where else my mc might have tripped a possible rebellious flag in the code, as I had him dress fashionably, so it’s not like he wore the jumpsuit. I did take all of the more belligerent options with the Emperor, except for outright telling my mc would refuse to cooperate. :thinking:
Nor did I go with the rebels, so I don’t know what got my mc’s rebellious stat that high. :confused:

Edit, I can get to 62, by trying to fight off Hasan and Lia back in chapter 1, which raises rebellious when my mc was just trying to defend himself from unknown assailants.
Then choosing in order: “remain standing”, “you’re the man who destroyed my life”, “I pretend to cooperate to buy myself time until I know what to do.” and "“what happens next” will push my rebellious stat to 62 when most of it is either resisting the kidnappers, which seems reasonable at that point or lashing out against the guy who did abduct and ruin my mc’s life.
It obviously goes slightly higher when wearing the jumpsuit as a fashion statement to “father”.

1 Like

I am sorry I wasn’t more clear. I was trying to point out a continuity error as in that part of the story the MC has never heard the word “Zemia” but acts as if Hasan just said the word

Did you choose the hostile dialogue choices? All of those raise your rebellious stat, so if you consistently chose those as well as all the other rebellious options, then you’ll get up over 60

Thank you for the clarification! I will fix that

No, my mc tried to put on a brave face and at least be pleasant to the crew once he was stuck with them in space. Except for that initial act of trying to fight them off during the actual kidnapping.
My mc might have called Volk an “ass-et” though, that’s the only time I can think of that he was anything other than civil to anyone who is not the emperor.

Oh, just checked the code when talking with Hasan saying: “It must have been fun while it lasted–the freedom,”. While it doesn’t seem like a particularly hostile option to me it does increase rebellious by a lot. Nor does Hasan seem to consider it hostile as the line after still read: “The two of you fall into a companionable silence.”

Okay, it’s official I think, when avoiding the jumpsuit in the Kaya scene, it is Hasan you sneaky bastard you ruin my chances with Sammy just by making my poor mc a bit wistful for freedom. :disappointed:

Yep, seems the two dialogue options with Hasan and the one with Volk are what tripped up my mc when combined with verbally and non-verbally challenging his “father”.
I’ll choose another option in the Hasan convo next time around but I blame you for making the quip to Volk too funny to refuse, besides my mc was just threatened with a gun and had a bombshell reveal dropped on him, that quip seemed like a harmless way to blow of a bit of steam and Volk’s attitude was practically begging for it too. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Let me do a test playthrough and see what I come up with–I’ll be back

That is indeed not a hostile option. “Hostile” dialogue options only appear in the full dialogue trees (the ones that have 6 options, hostile is always #4). Not all dialogue options that increase rebellious are hostile, but all hostile options increase rebellious

It was wasn’t it that bitch

Anyway–I have tweaked the code a bit, so it should be slightly easier to get Samir’s invitation! My main goal was that if the MC was hostile to every character all the time that Samir would not look kindly to that, so hopefully this is a good medium

Officially fixed

1 Like