Hi! I’ve recently been reading those Foreign Legion novels by P. C. Wren, and they’ve inspired me to try my hand at writing. I’m more of a short story/article writer, and this is the first CYOA I’ve ever tried writing, so I’d appreciate any feedback you can give me! I enjoyed writing this and I hope you’ll enjoy reading it too.
If you have any questions about the universe this is set in (parallel to Beau Geste) or the characters, ask away, but I can’t promise a spoiler-free answer
Dashingdon link: https://dashingdon.com/play/armadillidium/sahara-wip/mygame/
Enjoy, and thank you in advance for any feedback!
You are an ordinary young man living near the end of the 19th century when your life is suddenly turned upside-down by a scandal. Hoping for a new start, you have fled home and enlisted in the French Foreign Legion. Posted to the Sahara for five years, you will have to make the best of your time here.
February 2, 2021: Revision of Chapter 1 finished in context of Chapter 2 edits. Chapter 2 changes in progress, but major pacing issues because of using a Mr Exposition hopefully removed. Looking for suggestions on what you might like to see in the game (see post #25). 23k+ words in the two chapters so far including code.
I tried changing the cover image but it appears I can’t overwrite the dashpic for some reason? So made a newly named file for that instead… Subtly changed his face and I wonder if that’s any more recogniseable now. Guessing game still on.
January 29, 2021: “Handbook” containing important background information (3000 words) added under the stats screen, so they won’t need to be fully explained out in the narrative (like who cares how many buttons are on your gaiters, right?). Also, I am amused at how French money is nice and round and decimal in weight… until the gold coins, which have 5 random decimal points behind them.
Rewriting Chapter 1 and 2 in progress.
January 26, 2021: First two chapters posted, 25000+ words including code.
By the way, that image on startup is modelled on a real person. Guesses are welcome but I’ve drawn (traced) him so badly, I’d be surprised if anyone guesses right.
I’ve tried keeping the descriptions to a minimum but it might still contain spoilers. Considering the men who come to the Legion of lost souls are running away from their past…
Thomas Jean, recruit
A very quiet… boy? He was a street urchin, very small and scrawny, appears underage. It’s difficult to hold any meaningful conversation with him.
Franck Moreau, recruit
A cocky, tough-talking, bearded, mountain of a man. He’s somewhat of a showoff, and his overconfidence means he gets on Lesauvage’s bad books very quickly.
Oscar Leblanc, soldat 2ème classe
A lanky redhead about your age who gives you the impression that he is a highborn man. He is bullied by the other legionnaires, making you doubt how well he is accepted here. His bunk is next to yours.
Guillaume Roux, soldat 1ère classe
The ex-German officer with a French name. His duties include helping the corporal train up recruits, except the corporal is so lazy, he has to do it alone.
Mathieu Poulin and Joachim Palomer, soldat 2ème classe
Two very similar-looking young men across the barracks-room. Nobody seems to know very much about them.
Sergeant Séverin Lesauvage
Your company’s sergeant with a penchant for brutality. And overacting. Which makes him even more brutal.
Corporal Isaac Petit
Lesauvage’s lazy yes-man, nicknamed “the lapdog” (although not to his face). He can be lazy all he likes, Lesauvage is in charge of punishments, after all…
Lieutenant Edgard Chevalier
Reputed among the ranks to be a fair man, but his drunkenness over the years has resulted in his superiors no longer taking him seriously. Wears an eyepatch over one eye.
Captain Casimir de Comtois
The absent captain of your company. Is he even going to show up?
Other legionnaires in your barracks-room
I don’t think I’ll be naming all 20 characters in there, since they’re only part of the scenery…
So far the named ones are:
Cecil Pryce, soldat 1ère classe
A Britisher who is the orderly of your barracks-room and the best shot in your company.
Israel Freeman, soldat 2ème classe
An American southerner who plays the trumpet in the regimental band.
Igor Novikov, soldat 1ère classe
Lesauvage’s sadistic “attack dog” for when he wants to be brutal but doesn’t want to dirty his own hands.
Other characters in the fort
Madame la Cantinière
A friendly woman who runs the canteen, selling wine to legionnaires.
Seeking feedback on…
February 2, 2021 (see post #25):
- Pacing: Is the pacing better now? Tell me if the scenes about routines or with Oscar are still too long. I still need to think up of a good ending to Chapter 2, too.
- Choices and stats: Added more choices so that they’re not just a binary choice, and choices affect the Adaptation/Comfort stat where applies. Also added text of what stats change. Are there enough choices? Tell me if you agree or disagree with the stat changes presented so far in context of the narrative.
- Characters: What would you like to know of Franck and Thomas? You’d get another chance to interact with them during soupe, and you might ask them questions. Though nothing about pasts, that’s a faux pas to ask the Legion unless they volunteer the information themselves. You’ll also get an opportunity there to learn Mathieu and Joachim’s names from themselves instead of asking Oscar later.
And of course, any bugs if you encounter them.
January 26, 2021
Characters: What are your first impressions of them? Your friends, your officers, the other people in the barracks-room?
I’m aware the player character is spending a lot of time with Oscar now, but that’s more of a consequence of being bunked next to him than anything else at this point.
- Setting: What’s your impression of the area? The surrounding city, the barracks? Depressing enough indoors making you long for the outdoors again?
Style: How do you find this writing style? It’s meant to evoke writings of the early 20th century where everything is described in visual detail. Do things flow well so far? Is there too much exposition, are there enough choices, and so on?
Also remember this is your literal first day in the barracks - you’re still pretty helpless as things go.
- Names: Let me know if names sound too close to each other and confusing. This is the problem with a big cast that needs translatable names in seven languages…
- Stats: Do the stats currently up on the stats screen make sense depending on your choices, and do they look manageable during a playthrough?
- Bugs: Any bugs, or things saying something that’s doesn’t appear right based on your choices, please let me know.
Word choices: Please let me know if I’ve used any offensive word choices in my narrative. While I do use English at a first language level, it’s not my first language.
I’ve massively toned down the language found in Wren, Rosen, etc., but what’s your opinion of including some period-accurate words in this story? Words and descriptors that were correct back then but no longer today, out of the mouths of some NPCs (that evil sergeant, for one)?
Yes, I’m aware that I’ve left some placeholder text on some exposition near the end where you’re talking to Oscar (because those are long expositions to write), and I’m sure I didn’t use French swearing correctly, either. But this being an early sort of draft, I’m not going to focus on looking for typos or grammatical edits yet at the moment (unless they’re especially bad, then let me know), but more on overall style and characters.