Runt of the Litter — Steal and raise a baby war gryphon!

We’re proud to announce that Runt of the Litter, the latest in our popular “Choice of Games” line of multiple-choice interactive-fiction games, is now available for Steam, iOS, and Android. It’s 25% off until Mar 2!

Steal and raise a baby war gryphon! Will you fight dragons together to save the empire, or defy the empire and lead your people to freedom?

Runt of the Litter is a 150,000 word interactive fantasy novel by Kelly Sandoval, where your choices control the story. It’s entirely text-based—without graphics or sound effects—and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

The gryphon keepers hold all the power in the Empire of Vaengrea. They make the laws, patrol the borders, and only give gryphon eggs to their chosen heirs. As a poor stable hand, a “thrall,” you know you’ll never have a chance to prove yourself.

But then, you find the egg. Small, neglected, nudged out of the nest by a disapproving mother. But you can feel warmth growing inside.

Now your gryphon is in terrible danger, both from the other gryphon keepers and from a deadly plague that’s wiping out the Empire’s gryphons. Can you keep your gryphon safe? Where will you hide your new hatchling? Are you skilled enough to hunt its food or clever enough to steal it? Which of the gryphon keepers can you trust? How will you shape the young gryphon’s mind?

Wyrm riders invade from the north on their fire-breathing dragons, the natural enemy of the gryphons. Will you and your gryphon fight in the war, seizing your place among the elite? Or will you defy the empire and lead your fellow thralls to revolution?

Can you keep a runt gryphon safe with the whole world against you? The life of your gryphon, and the fate of an empire, is in your hands.

  • Play as any gender and as gay, straight, or asexual
  • Choose from a variety of unusual gryphon breeds
  • Raise your gryphon with a gentle hand or demand obedience
  • Find romance among your fellow thralls or steal the heart of a gryphon keeper
  • Rise to the rank of gryphon keeper or lead your fellow thralls to freedom
  • Battle fire-breathing wyrms to protect your empire
  • Find a cure for the devastating gryphon plague

We hope you enjoy playing Runt of the Litter. We encourage you to tell your friends about it, and recommend the game on StumbleUpon, Facebook, Twitter, and other sites. Don’t forget: our initial download rate determines our ranking on the App Store. The more times you download in the first week, the better our games will rank.

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I’m not sure if it’s just me but I can’t finish the game. I keep getting errors that keeps me from progressing.

Please take a screenshot of those errors and send them to us at support-runt@choiceofgames.com

Played the first three chapters online and fell in love with it. I absolutely adore the story. I will be purchasing it.

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We found a bug in the Steam version; it should be fixed now. You might need to restart Steam or reboot your computer to access the updated version.

Finished it already since it came out a day early on the App Store. I enjoyed it overall - not the best CoG I’ve played but not a purchase I regret either. I did have a few major issues with it however.

I felt that the game ended very abruptly. The whole exile and earning your way back story seemed to be building up to some sort of final showdown with the wyrm riders, but no, turns out it just ends as soon as you’re accepted back in. The epilogue was a consolation of sorts but the main conflict was never really resolved. Maybe you get a more satisfying ending if you choose to rebel but the one where you become a keeper was very disappointing to me.

The romance was fairly shallow. I can’t speak for the other options, but I romanced Neeris and she lost all personality as soon as I began the romance. The game portrays her as cold, distant, and very intelligent yet all those traits disappear once you get close to her (Yes, I understand she would naturally warm up to you as you get closer, but this happens instantly and with no character development whatsoever). You barely get any meaningful scenes with your RO either. I knew nearly nothing about her other than the basic details I was given at the beginning of the game, despite apparently being in love with her. They’re very involved with the story of course, but it all feels very generic. Her name could have been replaced with any of the other potential ROs and it wouldn’t have felt out of place. With a certain few games, I can still remember the romances months or even years after playing them. This game is most certainly not one of them.

The description touts your ability to “Choose from a variety of unusual gryphon breeds”. This mislead me into thinking my choice of gryphon would actually matter. As far as I can tell, the only thing it did was adjust the starting stats my gryphon had. It’s never brought up again in the story, it does absolutely nothing other than change some text on the stats screen. It’s a shame because the idea has so much potential, different types of gryphons could have different abilities and mannerisms (which is hinted at when you first find your egg, unfortunately it never comes up again), or they could at least interact differently with other gryphons. Say if I choose a snow leopard gryphon, it could have a closer bond with Neeris’s Coldtalon due to the shared breed. But no, it’s a purely cosmetic choice. Hardly more important than the games that give you an option to choose your eye colour.

Now, with those criticisms out of the way, I’ll talk a bit about the positives. The game was a decent length and it seems to be fairly replayable. It didn’t capture my interest enough for a replay, but I imagine the rebellious and obedient routes would offer at least two substantially different stories. The setting was especially intriguing, although some more depth would have been appreciated. The game never really explains why these two empires are at war, other than a mention of gryphons and wyrms being natural enemies. It only brushes over many important details, yet I was still invested enough to want to know the outcome of the war and what would happen to the characters. The writing was of good quality, as you would come to expect with a CoG title. The gryphons, of course, were a fun twist. I liked the idea of combining a bird and feline breed. The length and subsequent lack of depth seriously hampered the potential of the game in my opinion, yet it was still a good experience. Nothing especially memorable about it, but it’s a fun game and something to entertain you for a few hours. A solid addition to the CoG library.

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Oh I saw this in the AppStore at an ungodly hour of the morning and I wuz like
Griffins, baby griffons… processing

ASDFGHJKL KXOWONZNXOAKXMOSKD
YAS.

Ty

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I definitely liked this CoG, though it isn’t flawless. As others have said, the ending seemed to be really rushed, and it never really established why the two empires/countries were at war.

And the romance was definitely sparse, as if an afterthought.

However, I did love the raising gryphon parts, and the idea of combining different felines and birds is a good idea.

Then again, I admit I would predisposed to liking a game like this since it reminds me of a bit of fanart I had commissioned last year, something I hoped to incorporate in a game in the future.

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Was the picture in the post you withdrew fanart of Loren the Amazone Princess? The older girl in it looks familiar.

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Can’t wait for this to be available on the site though I don’t know when that usually is. Anyone know?

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Yes, the older one was a rendition of the Captain of the Guard, but in a much better mood. I hope I will get a chance to write part of a game which takes place in the main characters origin, such as raising one’s own gryphon, but I’m busy wrapping up a couple things for Winter Wolves.

Which site? If you are asking about Choice of Games, you can find it here:

It’s also out on Steam, as well as other places.

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Ah I should have been more clear I meant available for purchase on choice of games seeing as it isn’t right now. It is on steam and such but I get these games on choice of games.

Hmm, and I apologize for my misunderstanding. If it isn’t available on CoG yet…well, I think CoG sometimes they try to push other platforms like Steam first to give it more visibility.

Really enjoyed this - some gripping and quite emotional moments :blush:

So… having finished the game… i can only say i was not fully satisfied. It really actually bothers me that i had to pay 3.29 euro. I liked the whole idea and all but it was just not enough. Then you get exiled, i thought it would be like another 5 chapters of just wandering with your griffon and bonding with him and all, but it just ended there. Almost like i just got out, i found a way to get in. And i was hoping that maybe there was a chance of me joing the opposite side…

Romace is also a big part for me, like some already said, it was brief… i didnt even got to know good the character and it was already over. They could die and i wouldn’t notice it.

I liked how it was going but when i realized that it was it, no big fight… no emotional breakdowns, no saving your loved one, no fight with my griffon and how he bravely fought… nothing epic, i was disappointed.

But the writer did have good skills of writting and describing. I like the characters how he/she showed them. And most of all i really loved that in the end it was describing how my actions influenceg the griffon and all… but thats it. And it really felt short… i have read a 80.000 word story and it felt like eternity.

But nonetheless, it was something nice to sped your evening.

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Me too, after all since he was just a lowly slave back in the Empire and why would my mc choose to go back after he was free of them with his Gryphon to boot? Maybe if the romances had been better/more involved them holding my mc’s significant other effectively hostage would have provided sufficient motivation for him to return, if only to rescue the boy, but the romance was too sparse and uninvolved for that. Overall I liked some of the concepts and the basics well enough, but the whole thing just felt like a rush job to me, which is a damned shame.
Also with the colony ending I wouldn’t call a tiny colony a “buffer state” quite yet and my mc was certainly no king or president. Maybe it will eventually grow into one, but that would take a couple of generations, I would think. It also felt like a missed opportunity that our colonists were only drawn from the former thralls of our original homeland and that we couldn’t get some of the oppressed underclasses of the rival empire/kingdom to join us (and eventually create a truly new, mixed culture).

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Tottaly… it indeed felt rushed. If the writter took at least another three or four months i believe it would be better.

And true, i thought at least i could make them unite. Or maybe take the responsibility of having serpent egg… and trying to like live with it. Or even destroy the empire and having on knees everyone who judge me… and of course my love choice Nerris. That would be dramatic…:joy::joy::joy:

I dunno i feel like the story could be evolved into so many options and the writter took the simplest and shortes. But i cannot complain since its 150.000 words and it was still nice. Bud dude! Overpriced!!

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I noticed a lot of pronoun errors with the gryphon. I chose female, but she was referred to as male like 10-15% of the time.

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I thought it was fine. Not the best game I ever played, and I definitely thought the romance fell a little flat, but I went in just expecting a game where I got to have a gryphon and that’s what I got. It could have definitely used some beefing up–the lore seems fairly extensive and the exile could have been much more interesting. I expected a lot more difficulty when I chose my goal, and instead you just sort of go do the thing and then come straight back, and all the difficulty of it is in narration. Like, I chose to go find the hermit, and then I got to the hermit. I assume it was just a lot of trial and error, getting lost and lucking out. But in the text you just decide to go, and then you’re there. It feels like a walking montage instead of a journey, and while the story talks like you’ve been gone for a super long time, that doesn’t come through very well. I met back up with Neeris heading back in, and my character was concerned–did she wait for me, did she forget me, does she still have feelings? And my gut response was “you were gone for ten minutes she’s fine.” Which shouldn’t be the case.

Most of the flaws I think just come from length–the ideas were solid and good, and the lore was interesting, but a lot of stuff should have been made a lot longer. Parts of it felt like more of a summary than a story–you decide what points you’re going to hit, you hit them, you’re done, with minimal connection. Get egg, decide how to hatch egg, egg is hatched. Meet romance option, decide to romance, person is romanced. Get exiled, decide to meet hermit, hermit is met. There’s a few stat checks (that through me for a loop a bit, since it felt like the stat system was just a bit off? Maybe inconsistent? I had a hard time telling how what I was doing was affecting my gryphon, and especially my own charm stat seemed to fluctuate a lot) but that’s the only time you really feel like there’s a struggle there, otherwise you just sort of cruise through.

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This is another case where I bought the game after loving the demo. The game did have some flaws. First, as previously mentioned, the romances were a bit shallow. Second, the game was very linear and replay value is limited to selecting different plans for being re-accepted back at the Aerie in chapter 8, each of which has a different scene associated with it, as well as changing your stats and final request to get different epilogues. Third, the game felt like it was missing a big fight scene near the end between the MC’s return and the epilogue where the MC and their little gryphon would be able to really shine. Fourth, I know all of the ze’s and zir’s are an attempt to be inclusive, but given that the occasional cog game is the only place I ever see them used, these pronouns can come across as strange and off-putting, and only reinforce the unfortunate notion that these characters aren’t the norm.

All that said, I still liked the game overall. The story idea was an intriguing one, and the game itself was a fun ride. And let’s face it, like tiger and wolf cubs, baby gryphons are atrociously adorable and playful, but even more wondrous due to their ability to not only fly, but also to (eventually) take their caregiver along for the flight.

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