The Golden Rose: Book One by Ana Ventura

Hi @Anathema! Thanks for posting such a great project for us all to enjoy~

I’m loving the world you’ve created: a sort of AU medieval Europe deliciously flavored by ancient Rome, Christian domination, and magic and gods. Your worldbuilding is lush as well as detailed: I love that the culture colors the language, so that the idea of God (versus gods) is constantly on everyone’s minds and the character think of time in “moons” and “summers” instead of by a calendar that hadn’t been implemented yet!

I think the characters are your strongest point in the story so far: Alessa and Hadrian are vivid and unique. (Thank you for giving us the option to thorst for Hadrian so early and to have such disparate relationships with Alessa, from outright hostile to flirtatious.) I can’t wait to interact with them more and see how the story unfolds!

The MC’s personality, too, is wide-ranging and flexible: you put a lot of work into writing many different responses to situations for the MC, and it really adds to the role-playing experience!

My only quibble was that I found myself a little disorientated in the beginning of the labyrinth sequence. There’s a bit of narrative distance between the MC and the readers so that the MC seems to deliberately conceal information from the reader, so that it’s hard to ground ourselves in the situation. There were a lot of questions of “how did I get here? what am I doing? who are these companions? who is Tarek and what is the White Guild?” to “who is ‘he’ and what is his relationship to any of this?” that occasionally pulled me out of the story. If I had any suggestions for the demo, I’d recommend allowing the MC to think to themselves more exposition about their place in the plot: if it starts off too in medias res, the constant mysteries of the situation could be distracting.

All in all, this was a great start to a fascinating and creative world: I can’t wait to read more! I’m dying to know what far-reaching consequences my actions will have, like sparing Garrett the thief… Keep at it, and thanks for sharing!

Typos
  • He could not remember if he had locked the door, but he doesn’t dare to look up. (tense change: past to present)

  • A single dying candle fights the surrounding darkness, its fading orange glow so weak it left (tense change: past to present)

  • Heavy-lid eyes stared at her image (heavy-lidded)

  • The last remains of the once magnificent door fall to the polished marble stone floor. The crash is so violent it shakes the ground and dust rises like an ethereal cloud. Claws scrape the debris as It sprints towards him, desperate, famished, ravenous for blood, and flesh, and bone. (tense change: present when it should be past)

  • Silence reigned inside the tombs, its oppressive weight almost physical in the set of your shoulders and the space between your ears. Your own heartbeat feels like an insult and you barely resist the urge to hold in your breath. (tense change: present when it should be past)

  • it’s scarce heat gently licking your cheeks and the soft flesh of your lips. (should be its)

  • You bend down and bring your torch closer to the floor to inspect the olden rug. (olden is applied almost exclusively to descriptions of time and is not used for objects–maybe ancient would work here?)

  • “Better now”, you say sincerely. “Thank you.” (the comma should be on the inside of the quotation marks)

  • “There is no need to thank me. I am glad you are feeling better.,”

  • Wandering alone it’s just something you do not do.

  • “Help thyself, and God will help thee”, you quote and nod your head in agreement (comma should be on inside of quotes)

  • Hadrian flusters (grows flustered is more correct–if he flusters, he flusters someone else)

  • When choosing a weapon, Battleaxe and Spear are capitalized while the other weapons are not

  • Feeling slightly guilt, you tell yourself to focus back on the task at hand.

  • five silhouette’s stand perfectly still

  • The hours drag sluggish by (should by sluggishly)

  • What’s your name, child?" you ask him pleasantly and squad down to his level (should be squat)

  • Let Garrett go and borrow him a few coins. (should be lend)

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I finally read this and now I’m kicking myself for not reading it sooner, it’s so good. I love the world, I love our role in the world, I love Alessa and Hadrian (especially Alessa).

My favorite thing about what’s there so far is how…lived in our relationships with our companions feel. The choices and the writing really sell that we are settling into an ongoing relationship with these people.

I’ve never been more interested in someone taking off a glove than I am about the MC and theirs…

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Am I dreaming?! WELCOME BACK! I’m in love with your writing and my MC!

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UPDATE :confetti_ball:

Hello! I know it has been a while, but The Golden Rose never died. Life and university have limited my time to work on it, but progress was made. Even if a slow one.

This update contains:

  • Chapter 3

  • The Second Interlude

  • The very beginning of Chapter 4

Current word count: 188k
Average playthrough length: 38k

I would advise not to use old saves, since I’m pretty sure those will be corrupt/ bring up new errors. So a fresh playthrough is recommended!


Regarding feedback, I could really use your help in a couple of things:

  • As always, I would really appreciate being told of any spelling mistakes, typos, incorrect wording, etc that you may find. Preferable with a screenshot.

  • Also, any big walls of text, or sentences sticking together when they shouldn’t. That means I’ve forgotten to put a line_break or page_break somewhere!

  • Continuity errors spotting would also help me a lot! I’ve playtested many times, but those can - and often will - slip through the cracks. So if a character you’re romancing suddenly acts cold towards you, or you find yourself carrying a weapon you choose not to bring along, or a character is pronounced dead when they really shouldn’t be - please tell me!

Those errors are the hardest to find but ironically, the easiest to fix.

Regarding more advanced feedback, I’ll ask some more specific questions under details. It is thus advised you only read it after playing through the update, for they contain some minor spoilers.

Spoilery Questions
  1. I love character interactions in these type of games, so I wrote what I like. But do you find it too long? Are you eager to just move on with the plot? I wanted this chapter to settle things between you and your companions (not all things, but some) before the plot really kicks off in the next one.

  2. Also, I wanted to give a sense of how Tarragona is like. Not only in landscape but its people. That’s why I wrote that headache-inducing ride scene through the city. I wanted to layout a feel of Tarragona. But, did you find it boring? Unnecessary? Do you think the story would benefit if I just cut it?

  3. How’s the character customization? Do you have any suggestions? What to add, what to take? I was honestly struggling to think of what things you’d like to choose for your character.

  4. Do you believe the MC has a good enough range of reaction/responses? Did you feel like the MC was “yours”? Was there ever a point where you thought “my character wouldn’t have said that”.That’s something I want to get right, so any feedback would be appreciated!

  5. For those of you who tried the romance routes, were you satisfied with the interactions? And for those who want nothing to do with romance - did you like to get a chance to tell them so?

Also, here’s a little poll. I’d like to know what “endings” people got. :blush:

  • Hadrian Romance scene.
  • Hadrian Crush Confession scene.
  • Hadrian Romance with a Male MC scene.
  • Hadrian Garrett confrontation.
  • Alessa Romance scene.
  • Alessa Crush Confession scene.
  • Alessa Romance with a Female MC scene.
  • No one approached/ you didn’t approach anyone.

0 voters


The new chapters don’t have fancy headers because I don’t have access to my desktop at the moment, and the images are there :sob:. I’ll have them in the minor update that’s coming.

Also, a BIG thank you to @Viking7373. Because I cannot write poetry for the life of me, he was kind enough to write a ballad for me. It is in the scene in the tavern, the first song the minstrel sings. I’ll leave the poem’s entirety down below :slight_smile:

Ode to the Open Road

The road it ever onward goes,
Through summer’s heat and winter’s snows,
By light of sun and ray of star,
The road stretches out far,
Over mountains the swift paths roam,
And down beside the white sea-foam,
Through forests deep and dark and green,
And over plains where miles are seen,
Far afield the pathway flies,
Under bright and stormy skies,
And down the road many feet have tread,
In times of joy and of dread,
Still the road ever onward strays,
Ever onward till the end of days,
Until at last homeward sped,
To rest your feet and weary head,

Last but not least, my sister was kind enough to draw a portrait of a new character you meet this update.

I have more incredible art of The Golden Rose on my Tumblr, from amazing artists who I’ll try to get permission to post here on the forum.

I think that is all. Again, I cannot thank you enough if you decide to take the time to play through the demo and provide me some feedback. Every comment helps me improving my game.

I hope you enjoy the update! :rose:

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Gaaaaah, it’s here! Glad to see you doing well, hope things haven’t been too exhausting for you.

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I have this on Watching so I got a notification and I was like What’s this?, and then I realized what it was and that best girl Alessa’s back and now I’m crying.

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How do you get the Alessa crush confession scene?

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So glad to see you back. :relaxed:

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. I don’t think this had been posted yet. I was playing as a female and it said “I can barely connect the man”

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Also I love the fact that you can just ignore everyone and just love on Billy. I’m sorry to everyone my character romances Billy comes first!

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Ooo, such a good one, this update. :relaxed: Will play again tomorrow, took the shy route this time, it was so cute. :grin:

Made me stay up past my bedtime, you did, @Anathema. :sweat_smile:

Spoilery Answers
  1. I love it too, and I love the approach you have taken.
  2. I also loved the ride through Tarragona.
  3. The customisation was fine, I feel. Possible body type, but that is probably just me loving these things: :grimacing:
  4. Hmm, I have to play different approaches to test this, will do so tomorrow and see if another type of character will work as well as my ‘default’ approach.
  5. I liked that I could do the shy, awkward approach and get the interest confirmed, have yet to try beyond that, again, will do so tomorrow. :wink:

I so enjoy this WIP. :hugs:

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@anon57188313, @Fish_Moby Thank you for the warm welcome and your kind words :relaxed:

You can’t have any romance points nor flat out rejected her at any point.So basically, remain oblivious.

Thank you for the catch! Will be fixed in the upcoming update.

Billy is as much a part of the team as the others! :horse: If your MC wants to focus on him, your MC should have the option.

Thank you, Taylor! :sparkling_heart: I would say I’m sorry to keep you up past your bedtime, but I would be lying! I am glad you enjoyed it, however. And thank you for the detailed feedback. Body type could be added, but I honestly don’t know if I would ever use it again.

I’m generally not a fan of “empty” choices, but if people don’t mind it just being mentioned once or twice… it’s a possibility. :thinking:

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catch! col > cold

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Oh, so glad you are back! And your sister is extremely talented, what beautiful art. I’m very excited to check out the new update. :grin:

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Oh, Lord. So, I actually looked at your error and realized: You shouldn’t have gotten that scene.

That’s the Male Romance scene. The Female MC scene is very different. So! It’s now fixed. You should get the proper ending with Alessa.

You can now play the real Female MC Alessa Romance scene.

I’m sorry everyone who has already played! I’ll test for the Hadrian Male MC scene next. Hopefully, it doesn’t have the same issue.

Edit: To read it, you will have to start a new game. No old saves.

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Man I really love playing as a sarcastic person. These scenes with Master Vaughan was pure comedy gold! And the slow wearing down on Alessa was amazing as well.

And it appears that I just jumped onto the Billy bandwagon. No one touches Billy.

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GAH. I love this project so much! I can’t believe I just found it.

I had a question that’s hopefully not spoiler-y. Do we get Juturna’s Favor in that first part of the game or later on? I just want to make sure I’m not missing it somehow.

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In the very beginning. Juturna Favors you with a gift long stored in a forgotten ruin.

Rush through the halls of the tombs and then explore the room. When you find an altar, approach it.

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