WiP Idea: "Snake in the Grass" (MC is a snake)


#1

EDITED: Okay, I’m starting my post over to be more specific about my story idea.

MC: A snake, specifically a rat snake. Middle of the food chain. Gender is just a skin variable.

Setting: Unidentified forest, perhaps in Kentucky in the USA. The year is unknown.

Issues: The MC explores what it means to be “civilized.” Think “Jungle Book meets Zootopia meets Orwell’s Animal Farm meets Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle” (yes, I know that last one features an all-human cast but I love the themes) :slight_smile:

Basic Premise: An idea is introduced to the animals of the forest. A dangerous idea called “civilization.” One of the other animals has ventured into the human habitats and reports back with how much easier they have made things. Perhaps the animals should adopt a similar system.

So the different animals (prey, predator) debate and create a system. The MC, being in the middle of the food chain, and because no one else wants the job, is selected as “magistrate,” settling disputes between parties as the animals develop and fine-tune their new “civilization.”

But problems emerge immediately, the main problem being: How is the food supply handled? (this problem is ALWAYS ignored in movies like Jungle Book and Zootopia).

And the MC’s nemesis, a red-tailed hawk who would love to dine on some rat snake, tries to convince everyone of the follies of this new system.

And it goes on from there. Explorations of the brutality of nature, how resources should be gained and controlled, and the intrinsic value, if any, of any individual animal.


#2

I figure you’ve already read?

The question does crop up every so often. The answer’s generally a resounding yes.

  1. A snake, however, wouldn’t interest me. I don’t particularly care about snakes, I can’t really see myself wanting to play one, or seeking out a story about snakes.

  2. I think gender’s important in so much as some animals genders behave differently. And also undoubtedly this type of game will having mating and raising young vignettes. So, I’d think, gender would be important if you include those.


#3

I’d like it! I’ve always wondered what playing the Jungle Book would be like as one of the animal cast, for instance.

Besides, writing quality is usually the deciding factor for me, not genre or subject or MC as much, for whether I’d play a game at least once. The other factors more effect how likely I am to replay.

I also don’t mind unspecified gender (in fact, I rather like it) if the choice is purely cosmetic. I’m distinctly less fond of assigned gender in ChoiceScript games.


#4

A story with an animal MC is neither more or less appealing - the subject matter of the story would matter more no matter the “species” of the MC

Why or why not - Because there are wonderful stories with animal main characters and some not so great ones as well. A Watership Down, a 1001 Dalmations, or a Secret Life of Pets story would be great to translate into the CoG platform.

Gender is something that would add “hooks” into the story so might be needed if the story was not strong enough on its own.

In the Secret Life of Pets use of gender helped with tropes such as a Latin/Spanish drama spoof but it wasn’t central to the story. I am not too addicted to RO relationships so I can do with or without them.

If you were to give the animal MC an inner-city make-up, I’d have trouble identifying with that, regardless of any other factor such as gender.

Edit: Here is a game just about to be released I think is cool where you play as a vixen (female fox):

The First Tree


#5

1-No i don’t want play as a animal and less like a snake. I role-playing a snake is an animal with no personality not perspectives and not morality. Go sliding everywhere and looking all in thermal light … I won’t enjoy that in a million of years.
If snake has awareness you still can’t talk can’t lie or can’t grab a thing because you have no arms. No romance; no love no anything.
2- The gender in animals like Snakes matter. Because i will end as female forced by several males trying to have babies female snakes have a terrible life many die by lacking of oxygen by the tons of males over them.


#6

@FairyGodfeather, Yeah I know snakes aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. I think it’s easier to write about a cute animal, or at least a mammal. But I want to write about a less cuddly animal, one that is usually the “villain.”

And there wouldn’t be any mating. The story would focus on philosophy, politics, and what it means to be “civilized.” So gender would just be a skin. No romance in this one.

@Fiogan, Yes I was thinking of it as “Jungle Book meets Zootopia meets a big helping of Orwell’s Animal Farm and perhaps a little bit of Upton Sinclar’s The Jungle.”

And yeah I had envisioned just skipping gender as a selection, thereby letting the reader assume the MC is whatever gender they wish.


#7

Of course, now I remember I’ve actually a part-written story with a snake character, which I’d been working on for the Poisonous Intent theme. It was Garden of Eden, Aesop’s Fables, Just So Stories, Watership Down, Brer Rabbit and Coyote Tales inspired, and playing with themes of prejudice and discrimination. (The protagonist was human though, just surrounded by animal-people.)

It’s just being a normal snake doesn’t interest me so much.

And skipping gender works for me.


#8

Oh well that’s different but still a snake has no arms or hand. My problem with Orwell farm is that is not believable at all, animals walk like people grab things etc… Have philosophy… I read it totally out of the story rolling my eyes . A cog except they were in other planet were snakes are self awareness and have a civilization i don’t believe i could enjoy it


#9

I dont like playing animals. Or aliens, for that matter. :sweat: but your stories are always great so I’m sure this would be too.


#10

I thought the animals didn’t walk around until the end. Wasn’t that the point? And it’s an allegory.

With the story being about anthromorphic animals though, that’s slightly different, I was initially thinking it’d be more Watership Down and less Redwall. Or if we’re going Disney, Fox and the Hound, not Robin Hood.


#11

But they grab stuff in a way a pig or a horse can’t. The allegory and political manifest is wonderful. However the animals are not credible. And if the animals are anthropomorphic then what’s the point? That way just there are people with furry or scales not animals.


#12

Can we still be the villain if we choose? My biggest problem is that I am not sure if this would make a better story or a better game. From what you’ve said above, it seems like we would have to play towards a certain personality type in order to make the game work, which I don’t particular like. Could you explain more about where the choices would come in?


#13

Oh most definitely you could become a “villain,” although you’d have to decide for yourself what that means.

I like the whole premise of this story because it’s designed to be self-contained, with no sequel or anything. Just a buttload of different positions to take on many of the central issues. And of course the last third of the story transitions into a quest type of story, because tropes.

Possible choices/paths:

  1. first of all, you’ll have to rule on many disputes between animals, so there will be some tough choices

  2. then throughout the story, you’ll have choices to influence the overall system put in place. Do you favor capitalism or socialism? Utilitarianism or natural law? Do you want to overthrow the system, change it, or become the leader? Are you motivated to help others or are your interests more selfish?

  3. then as the story progresses, you must deal with your enemies. For example, that pesky red tail hawk (your mortal enemy)…do you try to kill him or win him over?

The reader would push the narrative, meaning that I wouldn’t worry as much about stats or mechanics. As I envision it, you would push the story in the direction you want to see it go. Instead of wondering, “Is my x stat good enough to do y?” I’d want the reader to ask, “Is y the right thing to do in this situation? why? am I justified in taking this action?”


#14

I instantly feel much better about this idea. :slight_smile:

I’d definitely give a game like this a try, at the very least.


#15

For what it’s worth, I also love the sound of the premise and think it could turn out really well. Animal protagonists, anthromorphised or otherwise are no problem for me and are actually an interest of mine. A holdover from the Redwall series I loved. I’d advise giving it a go just for the exercise of writing something different. I once wrote from the perspective of a rat and that was challenging but also fun. So yeah, I like this idea.


#16

I think it’d be cool to play and try to improve society as an animal that’s usually typecast as the bad guy.


#17

(Sorry awful old memes aside it does sound like a cool idea)


#18

@Sleepyowl, Thanks for the vote of confidence! It would definitely be challenging to shift gears and write as an animal character. What kind of project was your rat piece?

@Giratina, Yep that’s why I chose a snake specifically. I just thought that “warm and fuzzy” animals, or really any mammal or even bird, was just too easy. I viewed them as a bit overdone, sorta the “low hanging fruit” of the animal word. I can think of a snail movie (Turbo), a fish movie (Nemo and sequel), several insect movies (Antz, Bug’s Life), birds (Rio), and even a chameleon (Rango), so yes there are some that steer clear of mammals, but not many.

@Isabella_Welch, That’s photoshopped, right?? And not only did I choose snake but I chose rat snake, which is a fairly unimpressive medium-sized snake, so it’s not like you’re some awesome king cobra, or python, or anaconda, or something like that (or whatever the hell snake is in that pic). I think “awesome” MCs are much less interesting than more modest MCs.


#19

Don’t take me too seriously it’s just a snake meme :wink:
Who doesn’t love snakes? I love snakes. It’s about time we had a snake game that was more than just slither or classic snake.


#20

It sometimes astonishes me how finicky people can be about things like race, species, gender etc. Perhaps it’s indicative of a prevailing lack of empathy, I dunno. For me a character is a character, they’re either relatable, sympathetic, interesting or they are not. I mean look at Tyrion Lannister, the ugly dwarf who won everyone’s hearts. (Although book Tyrion is admittedly much more of an asshat.)

The thing that really bugs me is that in a choice of game or any role-playing game you can be ANYBODY so why just be yourself? Or someone like you? I mean obviously there’s nothing at all wrong with you, but why not take the opportunity?

So yeah, I could go for something like this and no genders not much of a hangup.
And yes, snakes are awesome so long as they’re not in the room with me :sweat_smile: