First off, I want to echo what’s been previously said about this setting being really intriguing (always loved me some Innsmouth) and how it’s more nice & unique that we’re not playing the stranger to the insular town with secrets. Normally the protagonist would be part of the Soon-to-be-renamed?-Sasha/Staci/Talbot crew, but instead we’re actually one of the elite townees hiding secrets that a normal protoganist would be hounding/flirting/interacting with. (In which case, my MC would totally be up for taking the role of the enigmatic potential love interest in this scenario that plays along with the group, dropping cryptic hints and being all ~mysterious~.)
Also, I wonder if anyone has ever tried communicating across the wards by using signs? It’d be pretty hard to do with the random sightings throughout town, but it seems feasible to pull off during the big meet-ups where people keep reappearing in the same area for an extended length of time? Tongue-in-cheek imagining the MC attending the meeting with a “Do you recognize this guy? [insert-description-of-Asher]” sign.
That said, in contrast to the people who were playing a town-sympathetic MC determined to hide all the secrets, my playthroughs of a non-traditional (non-flirty) MC who was disapproving of the Cleave/wards and all the secrets kept hitting a wall once the ROs have been properly introduced.
In Chapter 3, there are so many options that amount to worrying over keeping the town secrets or being negative regarding the potential of the ROs investigating things, that the only one way to avoid those options is to pretty much start randomly flirting with people. In general, I wish there was a way for the MC to be more internally amused/intrigued/positive towards the thought of the outsiders investigating. (Not that they’d just go blabbing all the secrets, but that they would be internally approving of the outsiders as they were internally disapproving of what Porthecrawl is doing)
For example, say the MC has taken the previous (summarized) choices of…
- small town life is not for me/planning on leaving
- does not like keeping the wards secret from the other townees who deserve to know the truth
- angry at what the ancestors forced on Old Porthecrawl
- condemning your people is not a cure (or let fate take its course)
- not sure about keeping secret from partner
…thus establishing that this particular MC would not be the type to naturally be going “oh noes! i must protect the secrets that I never approved of!”. And then the final choice of Chapter 3 is…
- your eyes find Staci’s pale gray ones and you feel excited at the prospect.
- your eyes find Talbot’s dark blue ones and you feel excited at the prospect.
- your eyes find Sasha’s bright green ones and you feel excited at the prospect.
- you frown, unsure whether or not these men will prove to be new friends or a problem for Little Porthecrawl.
Basically ogle one of the ROs or show disapproval about the outsiders potentially investigating the secrets.
There’s no way to show approval to the group as a whole (singling out one person here comes across as rather romantic with the blushing & everything) or to find the prospect of them being a “problem” to the Porthecrawl secrets as a positive (or at least a more general “well, this could be fun!” reaction).
If the MC has to be all about protecting the town’s secrets & such, I think it needs to be made clearer earlier on as you don’t really have to play that way at all until Chapter 3.
A few more examples that popped out to me under the cut (so as not to take up so much room on the thread)
While getting introduced to Staci…
- Accept his hand. “Sasha?”
- Don’t shake his hand. Something’s not right.
Any way the MC could have an option to be internally suspicious/catching on that Staci has a secret motive/“something’s not right”, but still be outwardly genial? For easy coding this option could just point to the normal accept option.
And then the group’s “nefarious” ghost-hunting purposes have been revealed!
- “Why didn’t you just say so?” [Ignores the danger an investigation represents]
- “Folklore?” In Little Porthecrawl? That can’t be good. [Acknowledges the danger, negative reaction]
- No harm in that. Porthecrawl and Easthallow have plenty of legends that don’t involve wards and time warps. “Neat topic. Our articles go back years.” [Positive reaction, brushes off the danger an investigation represents]
- You’re not encouraging this – time to go. [Acknowledges the danger, negative reaction]
- So they need a favor. You knew he was being too friendly. “So that’s why you came over. We do keep records.” [Ignores the investigation entirely to focus on the motive]
- So they need a favor. Not going to lie - it stings a little knowing that’s why they were so interested. [Ignores the investigation entirely to focus on the motive]
So the positive and neutral reactions to the group are basically ignoring or brushing off the dangers a folklore investigation might prove to the town’s secrets.
Any way the MC could acknowledge the danger of the investigation, but still be positive about it? Basically a [“Folklore?” In Little Porthecrawl? Oh this could be amusing!] type reaction. A more neutral “yep, there’s the expected hidden motive for approaching you” option without getting upset/accusatory over it would be nice too.
And absolutely nothing to do with town secrets, but during Staci’s introduction to the MC…
- “I’m sorry, what?”
- “You…lost a fight with a sleeve dispenser?”
- Caught off guard, you blush. “Uh, sure. Here you are…”
- “Here, take mine.” You grin in a way that’s a little more than friendly.
- Whoa, you completely missed that. Poster models for the Lumberjack Singles dating app shouldn’t go around jumping people this early in the morning and expect to get answers.
Could we get a non-flirty option for handing the sleeve over? The non-flirty reactions seem a bit ditsy (for a writer not catching the fighting the dispensor metaphor) or rude. Also that last option is just hilarious.
And here are a few random typos that I noticed…
You take the coffee on your way out [of] the car and, with a final glance at the square behind you, shoulder your way through the red door of the Witness.
It’s an exciting time a year, meant to bring together the old bloodlines and those families who came after the Cleave. [an exciting time of year]
She looks every part a mayor’s wife, with not a hair is out of place and not a wrinkle in her satin blouse. [with not a hair out of place] or [not a hair is out of place] (Both “with” and “is” in that part of the sentence are conflicting. Since the next sentence starts “With dark hair”, I’d suggest dropping “with” and keeping the “is”)
you could run draw attention in your column to any issues he would rather avoid during his campaign [draw attention in your column] or [run your column drawing attention]
you hope it’s large enough [You hope it’s large enough - missing capitalization]
In conclusion, great game so far and it looks like I may be changing my vote from Dael (I like it the most since its spelling is the most unique, if we were discussing ROs on the CoG forums and this name came up, no one would be mistaking them for someone else) to Quinn (whose currently in the lead), since I also messed up Sasha/Staci while writing this.