Thin Slice of Lamb (WIP)


An insurance adjuster, armed with an Arcane Forensics degree and surrounded by a group of loyal colleagues, investigates the strange events unfolding in Universe, a city transitioning from flintlock pistols to magic-powered Automations.

Currently sitting at roughly 20 thousand words (~11 per playthrough), this serves as an introduction.

Demo: https://dashingdon.com/play/msworn/thin-slice-of-lamb/

What to expect
  • You are not terribly special.
  • Romance is present and is going to be an important part, but not the main focus.
  • Stats are usually more descriptive than prescriptive. Your abilities are limited mostly by specific decisions that you’ve made throughout the game rather than a stat check.
  • Alternate History 19th century
  • Not unlike Victorian England
  • Some magic but it’s very limited. E.g. you can light a candle, but a bonfire would be a challenge.
ROs
  • Three Bisexual ROs (one female, two males). There might be new ones in the future.
  • Ophelia (F) - sits at your reception desk, draws chalk-on-blackboard advertisements, binds policies. […Ophelia’s used to hearing men’s opinions on what’s best for her. And to ignoring them all the same…]
  • Jeremiah (M) - young and promising adjuster working at your office. [If you were born yesterday, you would probably be moved by the devilish smile and the half-closed sly eyes that the dark-skinned 20-something employs to trick other people into liking him. Not to mention that the image of impeccable appearance that he maintains with his pinstripe suit is definitively incongruent with his brattish arrogance. ]
  • Anselm (M) - stoic adjuster working at your office. […soldierly figure towering over you as if a pillar you could hold on to…] […they will see the same lopsided widow’s peak governing over his tall forehead and flowing into a wide, beastly jaw. A face that’s too well-defined to be ugly, and too long to be conventionally handsome.]
Links

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Dashingdon

Very excited for your feedback!

UPD: Following the completion of the first draft (~50k words per playthrough), I’m taking a break from this novel to figure out whether to continue it or not.

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I cannot edit my own post since I’m a new user. Please ignore the “you play as” start since it makes the sentence ungrammatical. :man_facepalming:

Edit: removed the cover art since it was blocking the edit
Edit 2: ignore this message, I’m really new at this forum thing :smiley:

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@msworn – I made your first post a forum wiki, so you should be able to edit the post going forward.

Once you achieve Trust Level 2, you should have no issues editing it.

Here is more info on user trust levels.

If you have further questions, please contact the moderator team at @ moderators (remove the space between the @ and the moderators), or dm me if you desire.

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@msworn saves are disabled.

Oh, thanks for the heads up, didn’t realize you need to init the plugin for it to work on Dashingdon.
Should be fixed now as long Dashingdon doesn’t serverside cache the file like it sometimes does

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Hi! I found an interesting bug, if that’s truly a bug. As I was reading the first few pages, I chanced a look on the stat screen and I thought I had to be playing an established character. That impression lasted until the customization part.
In any case, I’m enjoying myself a lot, that’s an interesting setting you got here - any chance of a codex?
I hope you’ll continue.

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Thank you for the feedback! I’m glad you like it, and I assure you that I’m planning to continue. A codex is a possibility.

There was definitely a bug, but I’ve already fixed it. It looks like you are still seeing the old version of the startup and stats files from the Dashingdon cache. I think it should resolve automatically after a while. Hopefully, this doesn’t detract too much from the experience.

A few issues:

Regarding gender

Saw several instances of the MC being treated as male regardless of choice. Off the top of my head:

  • During the assault, if you choose to intervene the man with the knife taunts you and Anselm about what happens to “little boys” playing heroes
  • In the conversation with Bertram near the end of the demo, he refers to the MC as “a successful man like you” and “the guy I wanted to kill the other day”

I’m curious, also—will there be significant differences in the story if the MC is a woman? I assume that the setting must be less sexist than real-life Victorian England, but based on Ophelia’s description, it seems to me that sexism must still exist to some degree, and a female boss must be noteworthy on some level. Will this will be addressed in the story?

Regarding files

Right now you seem to be containing the story to just one scene file titled “game”. This is a problem for the save system, which works by kicking you back to the beginning of whatever scene you’re in whenever the file gets updated (presumably because the save system has no way of tracking what “page” you’re on when you save, or even if that page still exists after an update), and since you only have one file, this effectively means people will always get sent back to the beginning of the whole game and the saves aren’t going to do anything.

My recommendation would be to create a new scene for each chapter and label them appropriately. This will also make the game easier to read and manage in the long term.

Regarding money

Besides Bertram’s claim (where your decision is tracked by a variable), there are a couple instances where you have the choice to pay money (and receive nothing in return) or not pay money (and nothing changes). What this suggests to me is that there’s no mechanical reason to ever pay for minor incidents like the pipe incident or delivery boy, because there’s no consequence for being stingy, and any positive feeling you may get from being generous is short-lived, because nobody will remember that you did it, and ultimately the only consequence is lost resources.

Perhaps there could be a reputation stat to track how people feel about your company, which could affect future interactions? That way it would at least feel like something is being accomplished by giving money.

Another thing I notice is that you lose the same amount of money for tipping the delivery boy as you do for paying out for Bertram or the water damage claim, which seems quite disproportionate to me. In fact, I’m not really sure the tip even needs to be tracked, given that it must be several hundred or even thousand times smaller than any insurance claim would realistically be.

Regarding the stats screen

Are you sure about that? In my experience Dashingdon tends to update for the reader almost as soon as a new version of a given file is updated on the writer’s end. Unless I am, indeed, looking at an old cached version of the files, it looks to me like certain stats (like sex, hair color, and eye color) are set to a “default” value, and that’s how they show up on the stats screen until they get overwritten. The stats are hidden prior to the MC’s name being set, but there’s a period of time between the player deciding on a name and deciding on the rest of their appearance, during which time their profile will come up as male with brown hair and brown eyes.

Anyway, that all aside, the setting seems pretty interesting and the characters likable, so I am interested to see more. I wasn’t too sure what to make of the premise of being an insurance agent (it’s an oddly mundane occupation for an IF protagonist), but after seeing the concept in action, I think I do see some interesting potential in the concept of ascertaining whether or not an incident qualifies for the MC’s support. You’ve got me curious to see where the story goes from here, at least.

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Awsome reply! Very good points, especially on gender, can’t believe I didn’t catch those. The money stat is planned to be a little bit of a slow burn that doesn’t really come into play at first.

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Something came to my mind as I finished this game and then code-dived.
As per the request for feedback, I’d like to mention that readers of these books, from what I noticed, tend to want their MC to do things (competently at least sometimes) and to feel they have some agency every now and then.
Right now MC isn’t terribly special - and probably won’t be, and that’s alright - but they should have something going for them, some kind of strength or this company would be better off if it run itself.
Anselm has military experience, Jeremiah is uhh charming? and a genius if he wants to be and Ophelia’s the marketing including being an artist.
MC can be soft hearted, but that seems to be a hindrance and very brave - but that’s not an unique trait (and Anselm has a gun, so suicidally throwing yourself at danger only seems to make him worried, he’ll be fighting the fights here).

What can MC do? Why are they in charge? They have to have something, other than the ability to make decisions. Right now there is no mechanic for any such trait and Jeremiah seems to be rather right that they could take over their job eventually.
By the way, will the gameplay be about refusing or taking claims or is there another mechanic you are considering?
Final note, I have to be honest about the writing and pacing: it’s brilliant. The characters are also very likeable and well integrated with the plot. I hope I didn’t put you off with the rant above.

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I feel you. I also wonder how much of what you’re saying is due to me being in the minority of people who just want to get lost in a mostly premade story with dynamic elements and solve mysteries as opposed to answering open-ended questions in an elaborate fictional world. Not to say that the two can’t co-exist, but the way I see this continuing — the accent is heavily on the former.

By the way, will the gameplay be about refusing or taking claims or is there another mechanic you are considering?

To be honest, I’ve never even thought of it as much of a game mechanic, I just want to take the reader for a ride. Your company balance defines your options a bit later in the story like any other decision with long-term consequences.

Final note, I have to be honest about the writing and pacing: it’s brilliant. The characters are also very likeable and well integrated with the plot. I hope I didn’t put you off with the rant above.

Thank you! You didn’t put me off at all, it’s fine. I see where you’re coming from and I think your criticism is valid and I appreciate it. I hope I didn’t come off as dismissing your concerns.

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