Shengzhang: Journey of the Immortal [WIP] [Chapter 2 Part 1: Febuary 16th, 2023!] [63k Words]

I’m going for all Pīnyīn. That’s my only hope for having any idea how to pronounce anything. I’ll probably fail miserably, but at least I’ll recognize some of the letters :joy:


I respect whatever people choose! I am wondering if, when the project is completed, I should include a different version of the dictionary system I’m using that lets you choose subcategories or allows you to see definitions for words or the like. Future ideas, I suppose, but I actually really enjoyed the process of putting the dictionary together! I am excited for the fruit it will bear in the future!

Honestly I’m excited that there are people planning to use that option since I worried the first two options were purely made for my own peace of mind rather than anyone else!

Response to @Starwish_Armedwithwi :
I would love to see what you think when the update comes out, the glossary got some refinements with it! I will just reiterate for posterity that while the class system has some more direct influences from history, including the examination system for the Shi, a lot is complete fantasy. [The Cardinal Spirits are from history, while the deities are more literal in a way not dissimilar to Shintoism though I deliberately didnt want the religion to be reflective of one specific one in the deal world.]

Title Names are also different from how your second name was given in China in the real past. If I remember correctly, second names would have been given upon adulthood, and would be chosen by a singular Sage in order to reflect your character. Title Names are given in time by a community, though their goal is similar.

I could ramble for ever, this is a more general explanation of why its a fantasy inspired by and not entirely reflective of Tang dynasty China, I guess.


As a native Chinese speaker, I honestly don’t care about character names, but I can see how it would be hard to remember for English speakers…

I really like the current glossary system though, mostly because I don’t know anything about history.


Progress Update (March 27th, 2023): I’m wanting input on an issue that I am figuring now that I have returned to this project has granted me a clarity/hindsight. I was thinking that shifting the focus from the kid for now in favour of focusing on what is in front of the Immortal.

My reasons for this are complex, but the primary one that jumps out at me is that the Immortal has a lot of issues to work through, particularly with the recent news. I think that the Main Cast would be aware of this in varying degrees, and it felt incredibly out of character to think of Zhēn as the kind of man who would see someone hurting and let them walk off with a child more or less dependent on them. My original framing of the story was entirely around this relationship between Immortal and Child, but I realised that currently forcing it felt very out of place with everything else that is/will be occuring within the narrative.

The Immortal has a lot of things to contend with, working through their feelings regarding Rú, potentially connecting with one of the four in the cast and attempting to open up, trying to put the demons of their past to rest, and this isn’t even getting into the elements regarding how or why Rú ended up killed.

I would love thoughts on this, but I think that they have a lot to worry about without factoring a dependent child on top of their issues [not to mention-- how would they reasonably manage that with all that floating about in their head and their dissociative episodes?]. I also think that trying originally I was trying to intermingle too many ideas in a singular book. So, I’m thinking that the humanity-connection focused content [in a more broad sense than just forming connections with the Main Cast] might be better off in a potential sequel. This would also means I will probably be considering again what age to make the kid, since their role has changed again in the narrative.

Anyway, I am basically looking to see if I can gauge some of people’s opinions on this… Would it bother you if the Child’s role ends up smaller than originally planned? I’ll probably lean more into the Mystery angle and the connection between the Main Cast [The Child will still have potential a lot of interactions, particularly within Zhēn’s route, but won’t be immediately pushed on the Immortal.]

  • I think it’s fine [The Immortal/Child Dynamic wasn’t the main draw to me]
  • I think it’s fine [The Immortal/Child Dynamic is interesting, but can wait]
  • I’m indifferent [I don’t think it really matters either way]
  • I don’t like it [It changes too much of the narrative]
  • I don’t like it [The Immortal/Child Dynamic was the main draw]

0 voters


The story is fascinating and i hope to see more of it in the future. I played through many times to see everything.


Anyone still alive here?


Yeah, this project isn’t being abandoned or anything, author just got some things to deal with,


Yeah, I am still very motivated to continue working on this project, just working through some medical issues. I have some planned changes for the earlier parts of the story after I finish the chapter I was working on prior to me breaking from the project.

I am planning on making some changes after I finish the second chapter. I know my progress slowed quite a lot but it doesn’t mean I am any less passionate about the story or my characters. :blush:

Response to @Starwish_Armedwithwi :
Thanks for taking the time to clear it up in the interim!


Just make sure to get plenty of rest and take as many breaks as you can! The project won’t go anywhere, and neither would your fans :heart:


I’m copy pasting a poll I posted in the Interest Thread here since I think it would be interesting to hear from people specifically interested in this series. I am working on something related to Shengzhang, and during this process was considering whether or not I should even really have mortal ROs? It would mean changing a lot to remove them from Shengzhang though, in other parts of the story where the focus is different should I still have them even if the outcome might be… tragic?

Should a romantic option be considered as such if you only get to romance them up until the end of that game? Would you prefer to not have a romantic option at all if the main character is guaranteed to outlive them throughout the series? (AKA no mortal romance options)?

  • I think RO’s can and should include mortals, even if the fate of the relationship is bleak.
  • I would be interested in mortal ROs, though am concerned about the dynamics for their relationship.
  • I would rather have a focus on my character romancing other immortals.
  • I’m not really interested in the idea of romance for an immortal character.

0 voters


I think that a romance in any IF game is an opportunity to grow the MC that you create in a certain way, and having a mortal romance definitely can help with that growth. For example it could spur an immortal who is cold towards mortals and the general populace to grow kinder and be more patient out of consideration to their lost love in order to honor their memory. Or it could equally be the opposite, a once kind immortal turns evil after other mortals killed the tiny bit of momentary happiness that they could have thus turning them away from kindness towards the general population.


I don’t think there’s anything wrong with an immortal romancing mortals. Mortals also have their partners die on them half the time.


Mortal /immortal romance having the potential for future tragedy is part of what makesnit so good! Bittersweet, i guess, but still a fun option for a playthru


Discussion & Polls: Redrafting Thoughts and Contentions (August 28th, 2023)

Author Discussion: I know I haven’t been working much on this project, lack of major updates and all that. In reality along with the health thing, I have also felt fraught with indecision for what to do with it. There was something which irked me deeply about it thus far. Well, less a ‘something’ and more a combination of things I suppose.

  1. Currently, the MC has no connections to anyone at the start of the story. While the intention was for them to feel alienated, I feel this also works to the detriment of myself since there is no one for them to implicitly trust or the prior established relationships at the beginning of the story. It feels hard to understand how the MC would begin to trust literal strangers.
  2. I feel like the death of Ru holds little significant weight to the reader due to the fact that it is so early.
  3. The dynamics of the relationship between the MC and Ru feel too ill established for me.
  4. The focus of the story felt like it shifted less and less from managing the feelings associated with their death, and the nature of immortality more and more towards a generic ‘mystery’ plot regarding solving their death. This is counter intuitive to my feelings regarding what interested me to begin with, and honestly I am not a huge fan of this direction.
  5. I was unsatisfied with the integration of some elements into the story (the lack of an option for reaching Immortality through consumption of elixirs and rigid religious practice for example.) Deeper consideration made me realize a lot of things I missed.

This all brings to question how or what my intentions are for the future of Shengzhang? I have done some thinking on a solution for these problems, and it has slowly settled on one major realization, so I would like to gauge the general opinions of people. Warning for spoilers of the Demo if you haven’t read it, I would recommend playing before responding to the poll.

  • Ru’s fate is changed to die later in the story, allowing for a connection with them more directly. I think this would introduce a few potential new issues. Still, it would allow for us to get a view of Ru’s dynamics with the rest of the cast, and to get more directly impacted by what happens since you would be there for when it happens rather than hearing about the aftermath from others. I think this is the most direct way to fix the story but would basically involve completely redrafting from the first chapter on.
  • There are a number of other changes I would like to think over, including changing the origins of the Immortal and Ru’s connections to one another. At one point I began planning for a potential prequel, the subject of the prior poll perhaps. However, I have currently come to the conclusion it ends up retreading a lot of grounds I was glad to avoid unnecessarily jumping into. It felt necessary just because you don’t know Ru really, or the context of their relationship through this story.

If anyone has ideas other than what I came up with I would love for the opportunity to hear them! I am currently in a state of conflict regarding the current solution I settled upon. I am also open to revisiting the child’s role in the story depending on how I feel once I write them more in this iteration. Though I’m curious what perceptions would be of a change such as this? I think the amount of changes would necessitate a new forum board for it, since I’m going to be making many major changes.

Anyway, now for polls!

Poll 1a: How did you feel about Ru’s death?

  • I felt very moved.
  • I felt saddened because of the Immortal’s reaction to it.
  • I didn’t really feel much of a reaction to the scenes involving their death.
  • I felt alienated from the way the main character reacted to their death.
0 voters

Poll 1b: If you had an issue with the delivery of Ru’s death, can you place what the problem was?

  • The death occurring before the Immortal gets there makes it feel disjointed.
  • It felt too sudden, and thus lacked weight.
  • I didn’t really know Ru as a person.
  • It felt too obvious, thusly it took me out of the story.
  • I don’t understand why the main character felt that way.
  • Other (Please feel free to expand in a comment! Your opinion is important!)
0 voters

Poll 2a: Thoughts on Character Customization: Good amount? Too much? Too spread out?

  • I would love more options such as body type, and integration of these elements even more into the story.
  • I liked the integration of character customization and wouldn’t change anything regarding that.
  • I would prefer if there was less overall customization to key elements, even if it will be integrated throughout the story.
  • I don’t have a strong opinion about the customization elements, they were fine as is.
  • I don’t have a strong opinion about customization elements, though it was a bit too much.,
0 voters

Poll 2b: Opinion on method of customization.

  • I prefer having the customization focused, then more spread out as relevant to the story. (current method)
  • I would prefer it to be more spread out, only coming up as directly relevant.
  • I would prefer a more condensed system of customization only in the prologue and first chapter.
  • I’d prefer having condensed customization at the start of the story as an option, or premade characters.
  • I’d prefer having the options for condensced customization or premade characters for subsequent playthroughs while the default is the current method.
0 voters

Poll 3: Thoughts of the suggested changes?

Honestly, I find the likelihood that disregard for an interest in the changes would actually impact whether I do them or not to be low. Still, I feel I want to understand what I am getting into with the concept of making the changes. I wish I had further considered the story before beginning writing and releasing the demo, but alas we live in this reality and not one where I had taken that path.

  • I like the idea of the changes, I think they would improve the story.
  • I think the changes would make sense.
  • I feel indifferent about the idea of the changes.
  • I don’t think they would solve my issues with it.
  • I honestly don’t think changing it is needed.
0 voters

Poll 4: What scene(s) would you be most interested in being added to the redraft? Which would offer the most impact?

The options would be as follows:

  1. The Immortal’s entry to the city is amidst the New Year’s Festival, your reunion with Ru painted with a poignant reminder of the changes since the origins of your relations.
  2. A visit to the manor, allowing you to meet most of the cast within the context of their relationships around Ru.
  3. A possible scene for Ru to introduce the child to you themself, if they trust you enough upon your reunion.
  • Option 1: Festival Reunion
  • Option 2: Manor Reunion
  • Option 3: Reunion with potential revelation
  • Option 1 + 3
  • Option 2 + 3
  • Give me them all or give me death!
0 voters

I didn’t finish reading but the story seems interesting.

1 Like

MC could be out doing something “more important” when that happens. I’m not opposed to it being something as bland as grabbing dates, and red beans for a mooncake filling, to give an innocuous example. Ru having a preset destiny may cause a fair bit of anticipation on the part of us readers, but I’d say this actually allows for a bit more flexibility because if it is important to our MC’s, then there’s no reason why Ru meeting their fate while MC is otherwise engaged has to be a bad thing.

Bad in the sense that we may be attached to them by then, but good for a sort of narrative kick in the rear to care about the whys and such. I mean, there could always be pushback against this change anyway because being closer feels like a black mark of impotence to some, but those are the breaks when a character has to die for the plot to move. It doesn’t have to be graphic, nor gratuitous, but it has better odds of being even more moving as a potential future scene when we have a chance to confirm “on screen” that they aren’t with us anymore.

Even saying all that, I think you have your own ideas well in hand about how you want to go about it, and since I like what you have already, warts and all, I am pretty confident any changes you make will have the same level of care you already brought forth. You got this! :wink:


Response to @Carloshmc2812 :
Thanks for checking it out! I’m glad you liked it, though I’m planning to make some big changes! (Hopefully for the better!)

Response to @LadyUmbreon89 :


I didn’t mean quite literally being ‘in the room,’ so to speak, or anything. I moreso meant you would be within the city, and have just seen them. I obviously don’t intend to change their fate from the beginning of the game to the end or something, it would still probably happen within the first third of the game?

But I think that I had rushed the ‘twist’ so to speak and in the process ended up kind of ruining the impact it could have had. Like I know Ru deeply so it actually was a bit emotional for me writing out the scenes of the reactions but for most readers you just get like… half of a scene? And a bit of description telling you what their relationship is like, and you are told through the Immortal’s reaction how important they are.

I am just so… disbelieving… of my own lack of consideration for the point of view of the reader? I mean, I did consider it, but what reason does a reader currently have to feel much toward them outside of what they are ‘told’?

Like I said before though I don’t want this story to become the ‘mystery of solving the whys,’ or a ‘revenge’ plot or the like. I think I want it to just focus on the rawness of grief, of trying to find meaning, of connecting to those around you. The experience of writing this has reminded me time and again why it is many authors just… don’t post anything for years while they develop the entire story, though I don’t think I could get away with that, I’m too eager.

Thank you for the kind words, by the way. :flushed: I am undeserving.


Personally, I’d say it’s because I learn of their death WAY before the Immortal does, it make me feel a bit disconnected from my character.


can’t wait for more of this storyline :smile_cat:

1 Like

I had to pick “other” on this one, because what bothered me wasn’t that I felt I didn’t know Ru enough, it was that I felt I didn’t know the immortal well enough to judge whether or not this was something out of the ordinary for them. It didn’t seem to me that there was enough of a picture of their inner emotional life given to us to put feelings about other immortals into context. We only really had context for their feelings of displacement when losing a home, not when losing a companion or a friend.

Personally, I’m perfectly happy to have Ru’s death come as a complete surprise to the immortal, and to have no “personal” connection to them as a reader. I understand that the murder mystery feel it was picking up is something that you disliked immensely, but you don’t have to write it as a mystery to be solved in order to keep the death’s reasons and causes an unknown. I thought, the first time I played the demo, that it was a story about the immortal dealing with grief and unresolved feelings while attempting to raise a child that had been left behind and I was perfectly okay with (looking forward to, actually) that as a story. Just keep all the “why” questions away from turning into “who’s responsible” instead of just more of a “why death” in general and the mystery goes away. Of course, you may lose some interest, but that’s likely to happen with any rewrite. :woman_shrugging:t5:

If you’re really worried about us not being able to connect to Ru, maybe some memories or dreams of memories for the immortal during the journey to the city could help?