Runaway [WiP] [New Chapter Out: 26 February 2021]

Hey guys, longtime lurker on the forum here. Recently I’ve been writing out some concepts for fun, and I stumbled on one I’ve liked a lot and want to turn into a full game.

*edit: Check notes on worldbuilding/lore for some small updates on approaches to game lore

Small summary

You are the only offspring of a prominent noble family in Luce Prima, when you are tested for high latent magical ability. In this world, magic is unlocked in individuals through highly traumatic or stressful events, dubbed an awakening. Due to potential conflicts in the future, high ranking officials decide to force awaken you through inflicting mental trauma. You overhear this plan ahead of time and run away, hoping to find a lead to awaken through untraditional methods. This leads you to a chase after the myth of the first mage and to the undiscovered secrets of magic itself.

What you can expect
  • Character-focused story - One of my favorite things while reading is to watch different characters grow and change, so I hope I can bring that into my own story. The plot will be focused primarily on driving forward character development for both the MC and the other characters.
  • Romance options - I haven’t made a final decision yet on ROs, but there will most likely be 3-4 options.
  • Ability to customize your MC’s gender/orientation/appearance, etc.
  • However, small note of warning. For people looking to play around with powerful magic from the beginning, this story might not be for you. One of the main conflicts of the book is you avoiding becoming a mage through traditional methods.

You can play the current demo here.

Notes on worldbuilding and lore

Currently, I feel a little conflicted about worldbuilding. I want to introduce it organically throughout the story without a big lore compendium in or out of game, but I also worry that some ideas or concepts will be unclear.

For now, I’ve settled on a bit of a compromise - I’m going to not put in any extraneous lore/worldbuilding in the demo. If there are any concepts you have question about or need clarification on, please tell me, and I’ll see if I can either implement it into the current demo organically, or give an answer on how/why it will be revealed in the future. In the case that neither can be accomplished, I’ll add a section here detailing what and how it works, but I’m hoping that I can avoid that in a lot of the cases.

*edit: I still want to be able to introduce everything organically in the game, but I will provide some of my thoughts on lore, etc. here so anybody that wants to access it in this manner may still do so. There will be spoilers in here.

Lore
Luce Prima

The city of Daybreak. Capital city of the country with the same name. Ruled by the Senate, a group of influential nobles that set laws, handle diplomatic relations, and manage finances. Most of the country is set in fertile lands with mild climates. The general population, as such, tends towards peaceful self-isolation, with a focus on literary and academic progress.

Noctem

The city of Nightfall. Capital city of the country with the same name. Ruled by the First, a king selected every eight years based on a combination of martial prowess and general popularity. Most of the country is set in harsher lands with more extreme climates. The general population, as such, tends to be more physically fit and developments trend towards military advancements.

Senate

The seven most influential noble houses in Luce Prima. House Desroches, House Mendacium, … (haven’t quite decided on the other ones yet).

Major Arcana

Generals of Noctem. Twelve in total, ranked in order: The Fool, The Magician, The High Priestess, The Empress, The Emperor, The Hierophant, The Lovers, The Chariot, Fortitude, The Hermit, The Wheel, Justice, The Hanged Man. (yeah, before anyone asks, inspired by the tarot cards.)

Characters

There are currently only 3 RO’s planned out, but the final version may contain more as the story evolves. All 3 are gender-flippable.
ROs:

Nikolas/Nicole Caelum
Pale skin, toffee-colored hair (cut short or in a braid depending on gender), blue eyes.

A close friend of yours from childhood who is now a Mage Commissioner in Lesrien. Friendly, sunny, and a constant jokester, they are the first person you contact after running away. Currently heading the Mage Council’s investigation into following Zorah’s whereabouts.

Ezra/Esther Baek
Olive skin, dark-brown hair (ponytail), hazel eyes.

Eighth of the Major Arcana, Mage General of Noctem. Proud, ambitious, and a little flirtatious, they are the ones that provide the lead on the Zorah investigation. Notorious for being incredibly powerful as a mage and a highly intelligent field commander.

Arlen/Arlene Nett
Naturally tanned skin, curly black hair, black eyes.

Librarian of the Mage Council. Gentle, caring, and soft-spoken, they are enlisted for help in the investigation by N. Has a small addiction to sweets.

All current and future ROs will be mages - this is important to the plot/character development of each one, and practically non-negotiable.

Non-ROs:

Adrian Desroches

Your father, Marshal General of Luce Prima. Duty-driven and rational, famed as the cornerstone of Luce Prima’s military strength. Currently unmarried, first wife died years ago from unknown reasons.

Edgar Mendacium

Head of the Luce Prima Senate. Cunning with a ruthless streak to perceived enemies, he has a hand in most major events in Luce Prima. Has control of the Luce Prima spy network.

Zorah

Said to be the first mage to exist, hundreds of years ago. Rumored to have eternal life (not to be confused with immortality). Many modern-day myths and legends are based on her life.

Currently being worked on
  • Adjusting pacing for demo → adding moments that can provide extra characterization or insight
  • Taking another look at how certain characters interact → trying to make reactions seem more natural
  • Adding some more interactions in chapter 1 (heard you about the bard :stuck_out_tongue: ) and fixing some pronoun errors (I hate coding pronouns, send help pls) :sweat_smile:
Feedback I'm looking for
  • General writing style (i.e. am I being too flowery, too plain, not enough dialogue, etc.)
  • Lack of or unimpactful decisions (i.e. you felt like your character should be able to make a choice here, but that doesn’t happen in the current demo)
  • Or just simply drop by and tell me if you liked or disliked the work :rofl:! Any and all feedback helps!
Update Log
26 February 2021
  • Added in chapter 2
18 February 2021
  • Fleshed out some of the prologue and chapter 1
  • Added a rough outline of the second part of the prologue to better introduce MC
  • Fixed some bugs and various issues brought up from day 1
17 February 2021
  • First draft of prologue + chapter 1 uploaded
  • Fixed some initial feedback
    In this update you can:
  • Overhear a conversation between your father and the Senate Head
  • Watch a spellbinding performance
  • Meet up with an old friend
  • Get introduced to a new “enemy”?

My friend helped me set up a tumblr! You can come ask me questions here!

202 Likes

I really like the plot of the story! I haven’t read something like this before, with the mc running away from home. I like the why you write so far, to me it flows nicely. Keep it up!:+1:t5:

2 Likes

This is a really cool premise! I like what I’ve read so far. Your writing style really helps me visualize the scenes, and I think you have a great way of describing the mood, especially in the first scene. The magic elements are really interesting so far, and in particular the bard’s scene was like living in a music video in the best way. :slight_smile:

Feedback

In response to your question at the end of the prologue, maybe you could write something about what the MC thinks about their father and/or remembering their mother? Looking back on their family life, what they’re about to lose as they run away? I don’t know if there would be a great way to write choices about that, besides maybe a reaction to the father specifically, whether we’re feeling understanding or betrayed, etc.

For other feedback, I felt like the alt text on the page breaks was too frequent and too long. I get not wanting a bunch of NEXTs, but most of these felt jarring, especially the ones that were dialogue. I’d personally recommend switching at least some of those to normal text.

I feel like given the circumstances, visiting Nikolas at the Mage Comissioner’s office seems really dangerous. Would it be possible to have them discuss why Nikolas wants you to visit in person more, and/or have more reluctant or suspicious choices about it? To be honest I thought it was a trap and was kind of surprised when it wasn’t :laughing: It’s cool if you don’t feel like that would work well, though.

Finally, I did a quick run through with some gender switches just to check stuff out and found an instance where Nicole’s name didn’t appear. [“Hey there, Elaine,” calls out as she greets you with a smile. “Glad to see you’re on time.”]. For reference, this version happened when I chose not to spend time with her after meeting at the tavern.

I think that’s about all I’ve got for now. I’m looking forward to what’s next!

4 Likes

I remember this from the interest check thread! I see a few more choices have been added, and I’m excited to see where you’ll take this story.

2 Likes

This seems really cool so far! The premise is really interesting, and I’m excited to see where it goes.

Feedback

I’ll add more once I get a chance to do a more thorough playthrough, but so far your writing style has set the scene very sucessfully! The opening scene in particular felt like a really nice gateway to the world and general tone of the setting.

I may not have caught this originally, but when we find out about Aidan deciding to forcibly awaken us I think an option to be angry right from the start could be interesting. I noticed some more unforgiving options speaking with N in the tavern, but the three original options when MC runs away didn’t read that way to me- though that could just be me reading in the wrong tone :slight_smile:

Overall I found the world very engaging, and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read so far!

Pronoun switch

I did notice Nikolas’ pronouns switch when he asks you to meet him at his office. I’ll add any more if I find them!

2 Likes

Hi! Well, I’ve gotta say, this demo is really entrancing! Your writing style is to die for, and your characters are already endlessly intriguing. (Your bard genuinely had me interested in the story! That’s how good your writing is!)

Anyways! I have more to say under the summary cut! — just so it’s easy to scroll through on the forum.

Summary

Firstly, great character building! I already feel like I know a thing or two about the MC’s dad and we only have the first scene to meet him. Same goes with Nikolas who I already can’t get enough of!
The story itself, too, is really interesting. Running from our dad to keep from being awakened in what is surely to be a horrific scene. Then we get news from an enemy of our country (country? If I have that right) about the whereabouts of the first mage who could help us awaken! Or better yet, help us escape the likely horrific awakening process!
This is the exciting first bits of an adventure, and your descriptions of the world and interactions between the people really make it come alive!
With all the gushing aside, I did find a few possible coding errors ( two of which I think are the same as the coding errors I fixed on my own mock-up a few days ago).

Screen shots

One thing I think you should know is that I play as a female, so in some instances Nikolas’s actions are referred to as “she” and because he’s set to male (in my play through anyway) I figure this could be a pronoun error where it’s placing my characters pronouns down for him. If I could look at the code I would be better help, but I have no idea how people do that. (There are so many cool people in this world).
In one of these the dialogue is missing a name. So it should read “calls out as he greets you with a smile.”

One of them reads: “you sit back and wait for his to gather her thoughts.” — where his should be him and her might be a pronoun error. It also has “their” in context as “He doesn’t elaborate further;however, instead furrowing their brow in a rare display of silence.” Which might also be a pronoun error. (I think it should be “his brow” because “their brow” makes it sound like he’s moving someone else’s eyebrow.)

The last one should say, “She says, gesturing to the chairs.” —which should be “He” because of Nickolas selected gender. — Again, I think it might be the same mistake I fixed in my own code a few days ago, but that’s just a theory.

Thank you for humoring my critiques. I hope I was able to help you in some way (and that I wasn’t too blunt). I’ve really enjoyed your story and I look forward to future updates! :smiley:

3 Likes

This demo really is an intriguing one so far…

3 Likes

Thanks a lot for the feedback everybody! I really appreciate both the encouragements and the criticisms! :grinning:

I’ve uploaded a fix to the demo for most of the pronoun errors you guys pointed out, and I’m going to take some of the more general feedback, try to incorporate it in the game and push out a new version by the end of the weekend!

Thanks for the encouragement, I hope to keep the story unique and engaging for everybody!

Thanks a lot for the in-depth feedback! I’m definitely going to look at point 1 and point 3 for editing in the draft this weekend. Regarding point 2, since you seem to find it jarring a majority time rather than a minority of the time, it would be really helpful (if you don’t mind of course :stuck_out_tongue: ) if you could point out maybe one or two instance where you think it worked, so I could try to either model the rest of them to follow it or simply cut them out and put them into the text itself.

Hey there, I remember you too! I haven’t made all the changes I promised you yet sorry, :sweat_smile:. But I’ll definitely look to get them incorporated in soon, and hope you enjoy where the story keeps going!

Not blunt at all! Thanks a lot for pointing out so many mistakes that I didn’t catch.

Thanks, I hope you enjoy it too in the future :stuck_out_tongue:

7 Likes

Ohhhhhh this is I think as far as I know, the first time that I have encountered this kind of premise. A character running away from home? That’s interesting. :laughing: Anyway, good luck to you. Looking forward for your work. :revolving_hearts:

2 Likes

You’re very welcome! Let’s see, for the alt text that I liked…“The smile stalls” during the scene with Edgar and Adrian was good, it’s punchy and meaningful and highlights a shift in the interaction between the two characters. The “It doesn’t take long” at the tavern was also fine, working as a sort of temporary fade to black as the MC describes stuff we already know. The “You step through the doorway” into the library was also a good transition from one scene to another.

2 Likes

:revolving_hearts: right back at you :stuck_out_tongue: ! Thanks for taking a look!

Thanks for the feedback! I’ve just uploaded a fix to the demo for the page_break texts, I would love to hear your feedback.

More general updates, I’ve pushed out a rough version of how the end of the prologue might work to give you a little more insight into MC thoughts. At the same time, this will make the scene in chapter 1 where N asks you how you feel a little redundant for choosing your attitude towards the event? I’m not too sure how to approach this, so I’m going to throw out a small poll about that

Chapter1 Scene
  • Leave it as is
  • Remove the choice and instead have the MC react based on the choice in the prologue

0 voters

In MORE related news (sorry guys for the long post :sweat_smile: ) One of my friends pointed out that me refusing to give any worldbuilding can actively exclude some people who enjoy talking and discussing that, something I hadn’t quite realized. With that being said, I’m going to update a lot of the original post tonight once I finish class (Zoom university anyone? :clown_face:) with lore and RO/character details that I’ve planned out.

P.S. does anybody know how to edit my original post? I can’t quite figure out how to do it.

4 Likes

I think editing opening posts is locked to users of Member level or higher? I’m not sure though. You might be able to contact a mod to update it for you.

For the poll, I’m fine either way really, but I think having two different points where you get to express yourself is fine, especially since they’re in different contexts (how do you react in the moment by yourself, how do you react two weeks later to another person).

Skimming back through real fast, I liked the page_break changes, and the ones that you kept all seemed worthwhile. Thanks for taking the time to do that. :slight_smile:

3 Likes

Thanks for the input, and I’m able to edit my post now following your suggestions :joy:.

It says his instead of her

3 Likes

Thanks! Should be fixed now.

2 Likes

So much attention! I love the details the player can make on the m.c. Thank you author EricClem!

3 Likes

I like the soft-spoken MC. We don’t seem to get many of those types for some reason.

1 Like

Just this first chapter alone makes me feel for the character. Nice job mate.

1 Like


Shouldn’t it be “whose”?

Apart from that, it was a good read. The story is well writen and it flow nicely. Keep it up!

1 Like

Thanks for the correction! Should be fixed now.

Thank you for checking it out!

I’m hoping to make most of the choices realistic to how people might act in real life. I’m glad you liked those choices!

Thanks :stuck_out_tongue:

3 Likes