The Porthecrawl Witness - a WIP (Chap 4 of Demo added - 3/19)

romance
gender-choice
nonbinary-inclusive
#1

The Porthecrawl Witness

The town of Little Porthecrawl’s idyllic existence is under threat and it’s up to a small-time columnist to stop the town’s unraveling. Between tears in the timeline and a radical occultist, it may just make the front page.

For two hundred and fifty years, Porthecrawl’s colonial ancestors have watched as modernity has improved the lives of their descendants - that was the deal they made and they have accepted it with hands clasped and heads bowed. But something is changing in the past as an enigmatic young man emerges from the shadows, intent on saving his people from a sweeping plague - and quite possibly condemning yours in the process.

Secrets can’t stay hidden forever, it seems, and Little Porthecrawl’s are starting to whisper from the town’s ancient shadows. As bodies start dropping, a group of newcomers means to find out just what those secrets entail.

Challenge tradition or support it. The choice is yours, along with the consequences.

:arrow_right: About the game:
The Porthecrawl Witness is an in-progress interactive mature fantasy novel. It is best enjoyed as a romance. Your choices control a story in which you will be able to experience the adventures of a small town reporter as you try and stop a radical occultist from threatening the idyllic community of Little Porthecrawl. It’s a task easier said than done when there’s two and half centuries between you.

  • Play as female, male, or non-binary with options including straight, gay, or to pursue an asexual romance in a story that centers around developing personal relationships.

  • Define your relationships with various characters, many of whom have secrets and motivations of their own. Cultivate these or don’t - choose your friends and enemies wisely!

  • Question the secrets you’ve sworn to uphold or support tradition as a member of one of Little Porthecrawl’s Old Families.

  • Decide your priorities! Will you form a lasting romance or two? Rip the timeline to shreds? Your playthrough and the secrets you uncover are dependent on your personality and decisions.

  • Decide where your loyalties lie! Past or present, love or sacrifice, and more.

  • Uncover the truth with traits and skills including Occultism, Insight, Empathy, Charm, and others.

Currently, the story is about 40,000 words / 4 chapters done, and I plan on updating the demo as I complete the chapters.

The three chapters of the demo are up now and my primary concern is making certain that my coding hasn’t accidentally set something on fire. If you discover a problem with the variables (i.e. an error code of any kind) please let me know!

:arrow_right: Links:
To play the demo, go here: https://dashingdon.com/play/coy/the-porthecrawl-witness/mygame/

:arrow_right: Let’s play…Name that character!!!
The name with the most votes wins. No ifs, ands, buts, nors, or fors.

  • Dael
  • Gil
  • Cal
  • Sasha
  • Quinn

0 voters

191 Likes
#2

I think it need more of a Sumary

1 Like
#3

Wow
The first chapter is so well written that I can’t help feeling excited for the next update.
I have some questions: how and why was the timeline divided? What was the involvement of the old families in the event?

11 Likes
#4

Oh, yes! Definitely. I’ll add one both here and on the demo so that people know what they’re getting into.

#5

Has the stats screen been made yet? Otherwise I’m getting endless loading while trying to check that out.

#6

Hi, just wanted to say that your writing is quite lovely. It flows well and I really enjoyed reading. Plus the story has already caught my attention and I don’t feel like I have to “go through” the beginning to get to the good stuff. So yeah, it’s great!

I didn’t encounter any coding issues but I did get confused

here

It’s very likely that this is just my Peanut brain malfunctioning but I wasn’t sure which option was for shortest and which for average height at first. I think the order threw me off a bit since the choices usually go from tallest to shortest or the other way around. Either way it’s no big deal and takes nothing away from how much I enhoyed reading.

I’m definitely gonna follow this, I can’t wait to see where the story goes!

1 Like
#7

Thanks so much! So…some of that will be discussed in the next chapter and some of it will be revealed as the MC makes discoveries, but the short, non-spoilery version is that an illness swept through Old Porthecrawl back in the day and killed a large portion of the town. Enter a little ‘magic’ and the town and plague were both ‘contained’ in time. The nature of that containment will be revealed further in.

One of my major concerns with these early chapters, particularly the first three, is ensuring that the very basics of the wards and the dual towns are clear to the reader - that way people aren’t overwhelmed as discoveries are made.

1 Like
#8

Not yet! Stats are still being sorted out and their values added where appropriate. The working list is as follows, not counting hidden variables:

SKILLS AND TRAITS - A WORKING LIST

Traits:

  • Empathy/Cynicism
  • Sarcasm/Heartfelt
  • Thoughtful/Action
  • Tradition/Reform
  • Reason/Occultism
  • Charm/Abrasive

Skills:

  • Strange Insight
  • Investigation
  • Ward Sensitivity

Relationships:

  • Little Porthecrawl Reputation - your town is a strange place and its position in the world is delicate; the question remains - just how far are you willing to go to protect it?
  • Old Porthecrawl Reputation - your ancestors incurred a terrible burden to ensure the survival of their families - perhaps they have suffered enough.
  • Sasha Amsler - awkward but charming, the doctor’s amiable character may camouflage a damning curiosity
  • Talbot Rathmore - Anyone who believes curiosity killed the cat has never met Talbot; whether that strange mystique is malicious or helpful is entirely unclear.
  • Staci Godbolt - life hasn’t always been fair to Staci, tempering a down-home kindness and wasting a capable scientific mind, perhaps with dangerous results
  • Asher Dye - the Dye family problem child means well, provided you don’t mind some light murder and occultism.
18 Likes
#9

Thanks! Good point, it would make a lot more sense for me just to organize that particular choice tallest to shortest. It’s an easy fix, so I’ll go ahead and incorporate that and clarify things just a smidge.

2 Likes
#10

That was a fantastic demo, I’m definitely hooked. Loved the way you incorporated exposition seamlessly, too many games just dump it all in the beginning.

I am curious, is there a reason we can’t be bi/pan?

2 Likes
#11

I love this! Love the small town setting, the dialogue options and the characters all have their own distinguished personalities. I already love the dear old Aunt. I was a little confused at first, but the lore is interesting as well, [spoiler]two eras existing side by side (If I understood correctly)? Recipe for disaster.

There’s a few things to keep track of as well (Faye being the descendant of the murdered, and from what I think was implied, the killer being the person we saw in the morning?) I could be wrong about the latter part, but I can’t wait to see how it all comes together.

Also, probably a dumb question but why exactly is the time warp kept a secret from all except the Old Families? Is it a pride thing or paranoia/distrust? Did I miss it or will it be explained later on?

No bugs, but a few issues:"

There are five original founding lines, or the Old Families, as some members are fond of calling us, usually with too much reverence and snobbery.

There is an abrupt leap from second to first person narration here. Not sure if it was intentional, but it took me out of the immersion for a moment.


Faye steadies herself, the way she does when she’s got plenty to say. Some people think she’s simple, which is hardly the case, and you had heard her ex-husband took advantage of Faye’s stutter, a rumor of which you’re glad you never saw proof. Otherwise, there may well have been an article about you in this paper the next morning.

I apologise if this is just me being stupid or not getting what’s being said (English isn’t my first language :sweat_smile:),but I didn’t quite understand why there’d be an article about me in the paper if those rumours proved true?


IMG_20190204_030438_770

This sentence felt off to me. ‘I haven’t been…’… been what? Am I not interpreting the text correctly (again)?

That’s all I have to say for now, and again, I loved the story so far! Looking forward to future updates :slight_smile:

2 Likes
#12

Hi there! Thanks for reading.

So…I’m still figuring out just how capable I’m going to be with manipulating some of the NPC gender variables. Given that this story is primarily a romance, I want to make it as open to as many orientations as I can. My goal is to go back and adjust once I’m not afraid the whole thing is going to collapse under me.

As it stands, the 3 (potentially 4, depending on player choices) romance options are all playersexual. They’ll flirt or you’ll have the option to flirt and they’ll always initially be open to your advances. What I need to figure out is the cleanest way to give some variance to their genders. Right now, depending on your initial choice of “oh, I like men or women,” that sets the gender of the 3 romance options to be either all three men or all three women.

To me, that’s…not ideal. I think what I’m going to do is expand on that choice, and maybe include a specifically Bi/Pan option that will simply result in one or two of those RO’s genders being varied. That way people can have a more tailored experience.

6 Likes
#13

The way you described it, i get The Shadow over Innsmouth by Lovecraft vibes

2 Likes
#14

This seems very interesting. It’s definitely got me hooked so far!

I love how full and alive the town feels. All the little interactions (Faye talking about the doctor, the Mayor personally reminding the mc about the gathering, the worker having gone to high school with the mc, meeting with the aunt) all make it seem like there’s rich history in this world and with the mc themselves, and yet it doesn’t take away from customizing your character–from what we see so far. It feels like the mc is important and in the thick of things already. I always love a story that really focuses on the characters (also, you have great dialogue between characters.) Plus, the way you write and desrcibe everyting really pulls you in, too.

And the concept alone, of this town being split into past and modern timelines, with secrets to learn and burdens to bear and everything all that entails, is unique and fascinating. I can’t wait to learn more.

Edit: I saw that you said this story is primarily a romance and just–I knew one of the tags was romance, but seeing you say it feeds my fictional man loving heart :laughing: I’m a sucker for romance, so I’m super excited now.

6 Likes
#15

Thank you so much for pointing those things out! I originally wrote the first three chapters in first person POV. When I switched over, I clearly left some of those pronouns behind. I’ll also go back and clarify some of those sentences.

Also, the meeting in Chapter 2 will clarify some of the secretive nature of the Old Families, but in short, the ancestors made the decision to sort of freeze themselves in an eternal loop without consulting any of the outside population in Old Porthecrawl. The reader can certainly choose to take issue with the classism of Old Porthecrawl.

I’m also so glad you like Aunt Eleanor! I was hesitant about including a relative, as I think sometimes it can pull a reader out of an experience, but I felt she was needed. I’m determined to make her as likeable as possible :grin:

That was very helpful of you! Thanks for taking the time to point those things out!

2 Likes
#16

Cthulu blesses you…

I love the short stories of Lovecraft, Blackwood, and Bloch! Those are definitely an influence. If a achieve a fraction of the chills in this story, I’ll be more than pleased.

#17

Me too! I’ve fallen head over heels in love with too many characters from these Choice of Games.

It’s definitely going to be a romance first and foremost - though I hope that people who want to play through without that aspect can still feel satisfied in developing close friendships (or, you know, watching them deteriorate in front of you). You’ll be properly introduced to the ROs before too long!

Thanks so much for the feedback. A big concern of mine was overwhelming the readers early on with too much lore and having people feel like they weren’t a part of things - so it’s a relief to know this initial chapter has been well-received.

6 Likes
#18

“Over the years the foundation of the building must have shifted and the building is slightly off-kilter now, twisted like a carnival funhouse.” Love this line.
The first chapter is so good! Your writing is excellent, the premise is fascinating and the emphasis on characters and relationships (according to the blurb in the first post) is right up my alley.
I’m so looking forward to seeing where this goes :slight_smile:

1 Like
#19

Great story and start here, the style of conversation is very much along the line of Weyhaven and I think that works just as well here. Interested to see what comes next.

#20

Thank you! I think once the ROs (or friends, depending on your preferences) are introduced, things should really pick up. I’ve always appreciated the Choice games with a focus on characters so we’ll see how this one goes!

2 Likes