Revolution Diabolique - WIP

A terrifying new power has been unleashed in the French Revolution. Will you support the Republic or the monarchy, the peasantry or the nobility? Can you direct the course of the Revolution, or will you lose your head? Obliterate your foes with demonic magic, sway crowds with supernatural aid, or summon a giant monster to wreak havoc!

Will you join the Revolutionary Army and export the Revolution to every corner of Europe, with a little demonic enhancement, or betray it to advance your own cause? Found demonology as a new scientific discipline, launch a new cult centered around demons, or simply conduct your experiments in secret? Get involved in local or national politics, if you can navigate the turbulent waters of revolution without being pulled under the surface.

What are you willing to sacrifice to secure power and make the changes you want to see in the world: your friends, your reputation, or even your own humanity?

  • Play as male, female, or nonbinary; gay, straight, bi, ace, or poly.*
  • Restore the monarchy, defend the republic, or push for even more radical reforms.
  • Engage in political machinations, military campaigns, public service, researching demon magic, or a personal feud.
  • Identify and bind various demons, with different strengths, weaknesses, abilities, and needs.

*I want to support poly. Romances are still somewhat underdeveloped at this point.

So, here’s the thread for this WIP, now that I’ve finished chapter 6 of 8 (to include multiple chapter 7s, depending on choices.) I appreciate any feedback you can give, especially any continuity errors or pronoun/name problems you can find. Also interested in balance and difficulty feelings, because that’s pretty hard to eyeball from the outset.

The Dashingdon link is here: https://dashingdon.com/play/chrisc/diabolique/mygame/

If you find a problem, screenshots are best, or at least copied and pasted text from the game.

Thank you!

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I’ve been waiting for next project!

I’ll reserve some time later to read the demo tonight

:two_hearts:

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I love what you have so far!

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You had me at the French revolution and then demons was the cherry on top :heart_eyes:.

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Loving it! But I think I encountered a stat mistake; after choosing Gaudry, I chose a something along the lines of “a shared skepticism of organized religion”, which raised Mysticism instead of Empiricism.

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Throughout the entire story, I felt like I had no control. Literally (or close enough) every option I selected ended failing, somehow driving someone away, or doing nothing. It was not helped by my seeming inability to ever select options that my character was built for, with the sole exception of the duel with the rival noble, the one time I ever saw a successful stat check.
No idea how useless this feedback is, but it was extremely frustrating despite really waning to enjoy it.

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My positive and negative takeaways from the game:

Positive

  • The customization for who exactly the MC is is very well-put-together. There’s a wide array of options that really go a long way towards defining who the MC is. Although it would’ve been cool to have a few options to be from Eastern Europe or Asia, that’s not something worth holding against you. With that being said, I do find it curious that you can be fervently religious (or the opposite) yet have the prospect of demons not really impact you.

  • The setting is interesting. France is a fascinating country with a lot of history, and COG hasn’t covered it much save the Eagle’s Heir.

  • The concept is interesting. The idea of a demon summoner directing the course of history’s greatest revolution is an intriguing one.

  • The broad strokes of the story are well-written. Watching France fall apart is always bunches of fun.

Negative

  • It suffers from the same pitfall that almost all underwhelming COGs suffer from: the player doesn’t seem to have a lot of agency over the course of events. When the player’s decisions do matter, their impact doesn’t tend to stretch for long

  • There are too many choices, and too many occasions for you to change your beliefs. A lot of choices and the opportunity to reaffirm or recant upon your ideals can usually be good, but this is just too much.

  • The writing is inconsistent. Some passages are wonderfully narrated and fleshed-out. Other simply aren’t. A lot of the characters you encounter are just simply uninteresting. All in all, it makes for a jagged experience.

In conclusion, while I’d say you have a lovely, intriguing core to build it around, it needs a lot of work to be anything more than a potboiler.

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Nice! I’ve been curious about this one ever since I saw it in the company releases list. I’ll save some hours to read it and I might get some feedback in the thread this week, but I might not be very consistent as the weeks go by.

When I join the mob and reached the intendant’s gate, could there be an option to use demonic powers against the intendant’s guards? I’m on the people’s side, but not much of a talker!

Discovered something. When I meditate and discover something out there, it marks me as Empirical. When I study Enlightenment writings, it calls me a mystic. Shouldn’t that be the reverse?

…And when I tried to get Yvon to do an academic analysis, this increased further.

After the battle of Lyon, I get asked my opinion of Robespierre’s execution. However, I’m a Republican Authoritarian; why is there no option to say I supported Robespierre and am unhappy with the coup?

On another playthrough: I ask V for help, then to resign, after I disperse the mob. And I get:

The next few days are a whirlwind of activity, as the intendant resigns from his position.

A replacement that would appease the crowd turns out to be a long time in coming. The intendant’s mansion sits nearly vacant.

“Go on, then,” he says.

…and it recycles back to the discussion.

Just a short bit of feedback before I finish my read-through:

Concerning:

I feel “fatherland” should be replaced by motherland. The republicans always used the Maternalistic versions of personification to refer to their legitimate representation …

Marianne, the goddess of Liberty was the symbol of France, representing the Republic and the French state
The original reference to her was in 1775, but was further found on a medal upon the storming of the Bastille and subsequent adoption to represent the anti-monarchal nature of the Revolution.

Yet, the tradition is several hundred years older than this:

Related to the Joan of Arc stories of how France was saved by this miracle-working girl.

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Feedback from session one:

Tried playing a subversive royalist who tried to get into the army and establish my power-base to fight the excesses of revolution.

The personal stats all aligned well and true.

The skill-based stats seemed not to align with what I was attempting to do – I failed everything I tried doing in the game except I ended up surviving because the National Guard let me out of prison at the end.

I had 6 and 1/2 dots in the Malédiction et Ensorcellement stat, but none of my demons were effective… and that is all I practiced at.

Also I felt half of my story was missing. I got my audience before the army, got them excited and happy with the demonstration, got appointed lieutenant and was assigned my own brigade … but then the entire army aspect was dropped, I went back to living in the city with mobs basically taking me down and thrown into prison.

So, either I did not understand what was supposed to happen after I got my Army assignment or that entire branch went missing.

As always, I love your world building, your historical knowledge and your execution of time advance.

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No one else has mentioned this, but when I played yesterday I seemed to trigger the “choose your nationality” section twice? I chose foreign born, Spain if that helps (aside: María Laura is such a telenovela name, I love it :grin: ).

I also seem to recall that both sections had different options, like the second time around there was a choice to have one French parent that I think I didn’t see the first time around. So I don’t know if that was intended.

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Thanks everyone for the feedback so far. The empirical/mystical flip is an easy fix; somehow displaying stats in the right place on either side of a bipolar stat is a recurring problem for me.

Do you have more links on this? The sources I’ve found said patrie and fatherland. But I haven’t encountered this specifically republican usage difference.

Can you be more specific? I’ve tried to provide this, but I want to know where it’s not working out.

I don’t think I’ve heard “too many choices” before. It’s funny, in my last story I used *page_breaks all the time, which ended up being way too many. In my last revision I think I cut out half of them, and I probably could have gone farther.

Thanks, I think I’ve caught it now if you want to try it again?

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It’s a fun game! The only problem I found was in the duel:

"You respond to Mauriceau’s moves with equally bold gambits of your own. You don’t quite manage to pull it off, and her lead widens.

Mauriceau takes off in the second half, making desperate, risky moves in an attempt to retake the lead. And she is successful in this, at least at first."

Either she has the lead, or she’s trying to retake the lead, but I don’t see how it can be both.

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What were your main stats/character build? I’ve tried to cater to all stats, at least storywide if some may be less useful in certain scenes, but I want to know if some are really unbalanced. I’m debating whether to lower the target values across the board.

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Ah, good catch. That keys off of the player’s rank, and I updated the rank in one possible branch, but not the other.

I’ll probably have a new version up tomorrow.

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I thought I typed this in earlier, but did not… here are the links:

This is from the official French government web-page:

It is what was the deciding factor for me.

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I do not remember the specifics for stats, but I think it was something like

Contact 2
Contrôle 3
Malédiction et Ensorcellement 4 or 4,5
Incarnation 3

Négociation 2,5
Brutalité 4,5 or 5,5
Fussilade 3,5
Stratégie et Tactique 2

My character was a Prussian noble, anti-Revolution and anti-Republic, spiritual but not religious, and had a warrior demon (only one I ever got). I was attempting to build towards physical stats and was successful in being best with Brutalité, but I was very unsure as to why all the other stats were distributed as such. I effectively never saw opportunities to use the physical prowess she had, the duel being the exception with everything else I saw being focused politics or charisma of some fashion.

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I enjoyed this a lot. I’ve been reading around the French Revolution (and particularly the War in the Vendee) for a gaming project, and it’s nice to see the period brought to life here.

A few comments, if I may?

  1. I noticed a couple of continuity errors. For example, I summoned a demon to help Louis XVI escape (and was told that he was under my power). But this didn’t lead to any further interactions with the King, and I was later told that he had been executed anyway.
  2. It would be nice to have a bit more detail on what’s at stake in each scene - and particularly what the other characters we’re dealing with want. For example, the government official I was dealing with told me she was unhappy with me and cut off my patronage - but I didn’t have a clear sense of what she had wanted me to do, or how I had displeased her.
  3. As others have said, it would be good to give the main character a bit more agency. Particularly, as a Royalist it seemed my character was seldom able to do anything more than reflect on how unhappy he was with the way events were developing.
  4. When you read sources from the period there’s a real sense of wildness - with the country entering uncharted waters, angry crowds tearing people apart, widespread misinformation, panic over real and imagined conspiracies etc. I wonder whether there might be a benefit to playing some of that up a bit more to feed into the uncertainty of the times?
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Alright, so I haven’t got very far at all and I’m a little taken aback.

But first, let’s start with the positive! I love the setting and the addition of demons is such a novel and exciting flavor I’m all for it. There’s also clearly an immense amount of research involved which I respect.

So far, I have three criticisms (and so far I seem to be alone in these, so as usual, take everything with a grain of salt):

  1. This one you can happily ignore. It’s just a mild worry I felt when seeing all the different backgrounds you could choose. I love seeing my character recognized by the game and with so many histories to choose from this will be hard to do aside from the occasional flavor text.
  2. This is a personal impression: I don’t get the stats. I’m simple in that I always want to play a charming and persuasive character. Aaaaand… I don’t know how to be that in this game. I wanted to “flatter and appease” Mauriceau in the beginning and it failed - and that’s fine. But I don’t know why or what choice I’m supposed to make before that so I can pass the check.
  3. I stopped playing when I reached the intendant’s mansion. I hadn’t planned to go there with my MC, but I understand the need to follow the story. But I quickly reached an impasse when trying to decide what to do next and I realized I don’t actually know all that much about the world. I don’t know how the nobility acts in this world and how the peasants are treated and the game hasn’t established my experience and relationship with these parties. This somewhat involves my first point because different backgrounds will influence the MC differently, leading to very different views which would make picking a choice here much easier. I would very much appreciate a few extra scenes that could establish the world and the MC’s place in it!

I may try this again later when I’ve adjusted my expectations / maybe have a sudden moment of clarity and understanding :smiley:

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