Thoughts or Feelings about Tragic ROs

Thanks for making this thread! It’s especially helpful to see the varying opinions on tragic romance, since 3/4 RO paths in my WIP have tragic routes. I personally like tragic romance, be it forbidden lovers, right person wrong time, even the controversial dead spouse, an immortal watching their soulmate die… can’t get enough.

However if there is anything I learned from this thread, it’s that readers want agency and that’s understandable for this medium.


I love Chandler Groover’s work and his insights on writing and design are always worth a look - thank you for reminding me of this article! That one’s especially interesting in how it examines how the mechanics both support and subvert how players interact with Fallen London. ChoiceScript is less mechanically complex, but perhaps someone writing a tragic ChoiceScript game could make use of things like greyed-out options or do something unexpected with stats to foreground an inexorable feel.

A Study in Steampunk has a couple of excellent tragic events and paths, which also may be of interest.


I was crying my heart out from Choice of the Vampire and still traumatized, but a good romance is always worth it!

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That sounds super reasonable to me. It reminds me of the beginning of Serenity when Wash gets impaled out of nowhere (iirc).

Joss Whedon is kinda famous for that isn’t he? Unexpected things happen, that’s just life. And it helps the audience remember that there are real stakes involved.

Unlike say the early MCU where it feels like absolutely nothing matters or is at stake because the character will just get resurrected or something.

There’s a place for both stories. The first is more engaging and impactful IMO but the second is definitely more of a chill escape.

But it might be worth considering pulling a Joss Whedon and doing something dark and unexpected early on to establish tone.


Preferably before the reader gets too invested in the tone-setting sacrificial character, I’d say, but your mileage may vary.

(Also I keep reading this topic’s title as “tragic thoughts about ROs” instead of “thoughts about tragic ROs” every. Single. Time. It’s distracting.)


There, I fixed it!

Pretty close to the end, actually. But yeah, great heartbreaking moment.


Whoops thanks for the correction, I’ve only seen that movie once but the moment definitely stood out.

I still stand by the recommendation to do something tragic early on to establish what kind of story this is, even if that’s not what Whedon actual did :laughing: