Talon City: Death from Above (totally rewritten from 2019)

Logline: You’re a self-absorbed and nearly friendless owl on the verge of losing everything you’ve struggled so hard to earn. With ruthless vulture creditors on your tail, you must track down a missing client whose case can save your career. But when your investigation takes a horrific turn, can you avoid becoming the killer’s next victim?

The MC: You’re an owl lawyer (Caller) struggling at the bottom of Talon City’s legal community, ridiculed by eagles, hawks, and other more important lawyers (Champions). Your owl character is partially developed, and will always be a bit sassy and egotistical, so this is no ‘blank slate.’ But you will mold the MC’s appearance, strengths/weaknesses, relationships with others, and ultimately their motivations.

Setting: Welcome to Talon City, where nine Wards sprawl almost as far as a bird can see. Thousands of trees serve as homes to tens of thousands of citizens and almost as many nests, some serving as homes, others serving as places of commerce. Magnificent hickory trees, cottonwoods, oaks and spruces teem with life. And death.

Mechanics: Talon City is heavy on story, but it includes standard Establishing Choices to build your character and relationship/motivation bars. Testing Choices rely on die rolls, modified by your Primary Stats. Passing Testing Choices gains you Experience Points, which you can use to pass four different “Boss Scenes” in the story.

What I’ve posted thus far: This is just Act 1, about 21k words total. It focuses on world-building, MC-customization, and building up the narrative to launch into Act 2. No Testing Choices are included in Act 1, so you won’t encounter any die rolls yet.

Why I’m posting this: I won’t have time to add to this story right now, as I’m wrapping up Community College Hero 2.5 and then I have to spend the rest of the year to finish Part 3. But I’ve been sitting on this version of Talon City for quite a while, and honestly I just want to see how people react to it. Is it worth pursuing? Should this be the project I tackle after I’m done with the Community College Hero series. This is VERY different, with a non-human MC who starts off with a personality and a history, and there’s a lot of world-building I’ve yet to been able to write, so the lore would be pretty deep. But I realize many readers want romance, specifically human romance, and I’m concerned that they may not flock, pun so intended, to a more philosophical story about the nature of animal conflict.

How is this different than the previous versions I posted?: This is a total-rewrite. I realized that my previous versions were really the last part of the story; I wanted to start at the beginning showing the MC’s friendship with Ayvex and how the MC meets Concordia. I have a whole trilogy mapped out, but that was probably getting way ahead of myself.

What feedback is helpful?

  • I’m seeking ‘high level feedback.’ I don’t want people to report typos and simple stuff like that because if I don’t move forward with this project, that will just be wasting peoples’ time. So don’t report misspellings or missing periods or stuff like that, please.

  • “High level” feedback is stuff like narrative and mechanical structure, pacing, world-building, characterization, plot, conflict, the big meaty parts of the game. I’d love to hear your feedback on that type of stuff. Would you want to read more of this? Why or why not?

Here’s the link: https://dashingdon.com/play/ericmoser/talon-city-death-from-above/mygame/

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what’s the story about

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@DarkSaber If you read the outline, usually you can find a synopsis :grin:

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Oh, I remember this from a while ago! I liked it then, but I love it even more now! The setting and plot is set up very well. I especially love the strange nature of this city, where birds of prey live alongside their actual prey. And then occasionally, they’ll have a night where it’s basically the purge haha, where the predators are allowed to eat the prey. But what really sells me on this is that you can see this strange relationship on normal days as well. For example, how the Hunters are given first right in flying through the sky. How they often look down on the Feeders, and how some Feeders’ take thrill just in existing in the same space as the Hunters when they know they are safe from being hunted. This inequal relationship between these two groups perfectly serves its purpose to set up the dilemma our MC faces with their client, especially after we get to see the Balancing for ourselves. I can’t wait to see where it goes, especially if it’s going to show us even more of this strange, lively bird city.

Also, the hummingbird (Concordia, if I remember right?) is already very cute even if we just met her. <3

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Ahhh!!! YES! This story is back!!! Woooo!

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@ChibiKittens I’m glad you enjoyed it! Yes, I thought a LOT about what interactions between predators/prey might look like as they live side by side. It’s something I haven’t seen developed a lot in these sorts of stories (probably because it’s too gruesome for kiddos to deal with) but I think there’s a lot of tension to explore there! And yes, Concordia is supposed to be cute! :bird: (I swear I thought we used to have a humming bird emoji!) And she will be central to your MC’s development.

@Dragongodess lol it keeps coming back and coming back and coming back. I’ve been playing with this concept since like 2017 or so.

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Beautiful, I actually felt like an owl lawyer (caller) as I play through this demo.
Hoping to see more when the next Act comes out.
Good luck with Community College Hero 2.5 and Community College Hero 3.

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Welcome to the forums!

I’m glad you felt some immersion; that is one of my main goals, to pull the player into the mc and into the setting.

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