(WIP) Magician's Voyage | Now Seeking Beta Readers

(WIP) Magician’s Voyage: A High Fantasy Solarpunk Adventure Game

Hi everyone! I’m finally ready to share the demo for my WIP. It’s my first attempt at choicescript and I had a lot of fun with the worldbuilding. In terms of the general tone and atmosphere, think slice-of-life in a fantastical setting. Lots of cozy vibes, but also plenty of adventure✨

Demo: https://dashingdon.com/play/arlo-elm/magicians-voyage/mygame/

Description:

It’s your first job as a full-fledged Green Magician! The Magicians Order has hired you to transport magical artifacts across Midland, where they will be studied and their true natures revealed. You must travel to The Library with a band of magic users, making friends and enemies along the way.

This game takes inspiration from solarpunk, steampunk, and high fantasy. Explore a world where life runs on magic or the power of the sun, where flowers grow from magical influence, ships sail on golden wings through the sky, and where everything is under the watch of the Magicians Order. Will you join the Order, or rebel against them?

The demo covers the first three playable chapters, at 76,000 words, with an average playthrough of 20,000 words (This means there are a lot of different paths to explore, so feel free to play multiple times to test out multiple branches, if that’s your thing).

You can leave feedback here, or email: magicians-voyage@protonmail.com

You can also follow my progess and updates on the game’s blog: http://magiciansvoyage.tumblr.com

Features
  • Play as woman, man, or nonbinary; straight, gay, bisexual, or asexual; polyamourous or monogamous.

  • Follow the law or break it. Stick to tradition or forge a new path.

  • Perfect your plant magic with knowledge gained from books, gardens, and hedge witches, or learn technological magic and shapeshifting.

  • Watch airship races, fight using magic swords, and cook a meal with enchanted ingredients.

  • Guard magical artifacts and uncover their mysteries. Visit a Solar Commune and use your powers to defend it.

  • Explore themes of trust, comradery, and friendship. Relax on cozy, sun-filled afternoons, fly through the air during spellbinding battles, and unravel cryptic secrets with the help of ancient wizards.

Explanation of the Magic System

Types of Magic

There are three major disciplines studied by magicians in Midland.

Greening: Plant Magic. This is the magic the player character studied at The University. Greening can grow and manipulate existing plant life, to the extent that living plant matter may be used to build structures or function as weapons. This magic can also improve crop yields and develop new plant variants.

Fielding: Energy magic. Fielding involves the manipulation of raw magical energy. It can create energy blasts to attack enemies in battle, as well as form defensive magical barriers. Fielding also covers the study, creation, and maintenance of magical items, and machines that run using magical energy.

Shaping: Shapeshifting magic. Shaping is used by its practitioners to transform their own bodies. Alterations may be purely cosmetic, but Shaping is more often used to perform feats of strength, or to transform the magician’s body into a weapon.

Magicians are generally discouraged from studying too extensively outside of their chosen discipline, and combining magical disciplines to create unique hybrid enchantments is strictly forbidden.

The Source of Magic

Magic is performed by drawing power from ley lines, concentrated areas of magical energy that flow through the sky like rivers. This magic is accessed via a wrist bracer worn by the magician.

Bracers are licensed by the Magicians Order, and allow a magician to bypass the protective wards placed around the ley lines. In this way, the Order controls access to the lines, and the power contained therein.

Ambient Magic

In addition to the ley lines, there is also ambient magic, which is much less concentrated and powerful. Ambient magic is used by some to perform small enchantments, but in a very limited capacity compared to those performed by licensed magicians.

For example, a gardener may use ambient magic for a small increase in plant yield, but not to make plants grow and mature instantaneously, like a Green Magician might.

The most powerful effects using purely ambient magic are said to be those achieved by SolGuard Healers. Their exact methods, however, are closely guarded secrets.

List of NPCs

Main NPCs/Potential ROs:

These, subject to some change, are the main npcs/potential ROs in the game. The player can pursue friendship or romance with these characters. There are no penalties for dating more than one npc, and if the player pursues relationships with more than one, unique character interactions between those npcs may be unlocked.

Fielder Aja
Gender: Woman
Description: Specializing in Field Magic, Aja is the archivist in charge of the artifacts during the journey, and she plans to stay on at The Library after the delivery of the objects to aid in their study. She and the Player Character both graduated from The University in the same graduating class.
Appearance: Short and fat, with dark skin and glasses. She usually wears her hair in braids, and always has enough pockets for all her tools.
Character Traits: Outwardly chill/internally anxious, huge nerd, gets along with everyone.

Shaper Rem
Gender: Yes, lots.
Description: Another magician in the Player Character’s party, Rem was also hired by the Magicians Order to help deliver/guard the artifacts. They knew both the Player Character and Aja at The University, where they studied Shape Magic.
Appearance: Highly Variable. They usually change their form to best suit their current outfit. (Rem naturally has straight brown hair and dark brown eyes, but they often opt for something more colorful.)
Character Traits: Flamboyant, knowledge-seeking, impulsive, gregarious.

SolGuard Kel
Gender: Man
Description: Kel is a SolGuard Healer. He was hired by the Magicians Order to provide Healing to the party in the event of an emergency.
Appearance: Brown skin, wavy, slightly curly hair, which he wears short and usually hidden under his sun mask, and brown eyes. He wears Healers robes.
Character traits: Stubborn, idealistic.

Fielder Grusk
Gender: Woman
Description: A representative from the Magicians Order who will be traveling with the party to ensure the delivery goes smoothly. She is a magician who specializes in Field Magic.
Appearance: Very put-together with immaculate makeup. She wears blue Fielders robes and has black hair and hazel eyes.
Character Traits: Ambitious.

Luc
Gender: Man
Description: He is the mechanic working on the airship the party takes over the mountains.
Appearance: A large bearded man with a mechanical arm and leg, which are outfitted with slots for his tools.

Ines
Gender: Woman
Description: She is the swashbuckling pilot of the airship.
Appearance: Willowy, graceful, and wears a sword at her hip. She’s beautiful in a sharp, kind of cutting way.

Minor Characters:

These NPCs can be encountered in some playthroughs, and may show up later in the game. A * by the character means they are romanceable.

*PlantGuard Alma
Gender: ¯_(ツ)_/¯
Description: A PlantGuard and polar nomad, Alma is visiting Midland when you met them. They, like you, are skilled in Green Magic, and employ it in their work for the Sunkeepers, as well as in their projects with Arabella.
Appearance: Short curly hair and glasses. They wear PlantGuard robes.

*Arabella
Gender: Woman
Description: A seamstress and designer working on a clothing line for magic users with PlantGuard Alma. Arabella is Rem’s friend (and ex-girlfriend).
Appearance: Long straight hair, average height. She dresses elaborately, with many trinkets and jewelry.

Fielder Krumpus
Gender: No thanks.
Description: Krumpus is a Fielder working for the Magicians Order. They were freelance, like you, for several years, before joining the Order as a full member.
Appearance: Bald, fat. Wears glasses and Fielders robes.

Shaper Guy
Gender: Man
Description: A prospective member of the Magicians Order, Guy has been shadowing another Shaper, hoping to gain enough favor to land a management position in the organization.
Appearance: Scruffy. He wears a worn-out red coat to signify his occupation as a Shaper.

Fielder Damien
Gender: Man
Description: A Fielder working on a new energy project for the Order, called Ambifield.
Appearance: Cool grey eyes and a short frame.

*Fielder Mandrake
Gender: Man
Description: Another Fielder working on the Ambifield project for the Order.
Appearance: Tall, muscular.

*Greener Itzel
Gender: Woman
Description: A Greener with the Magicians Order. She works primarily on the Order’s agricultural projects.
Appearance: Tall, charismatic. Dazzling smile and a shock of dark, curly hair.

Content Warnings

The tone of the game is generally pretty light, but there will be occasional serious subjectmatter.

Content warnings for:

  • Fantasy violence
  • Alcohol
  • Body horror
  • Xenophobia and religious persecution.
Some art

Only have the one pic so far, but I’ll add to this as I make more :slight_smile:

[Image ID: A golden sun mask is suspended against a blue sky. The mask is held aloft by magical vines, which wrap themselves around it. /End Image ID]

I’d appreciate feedback on:

  • Spelling errors/typos.
  • Coding errors.
  • Pacing/Clarity (Does the speed at which the story moves along work for you? Were any parts difficult to understand?)
  • Screenshots of your stat screen when you complete the demo are always helpful! If you share these, I can use them for stat balancing in the next update(s).
  • Anything else you liked or disliked, or just feel like sharing.
148 Likes

Congratulations on getting the demo out! I had reblogged it on Tumblr a while ago, but I forgot to check on it until yesterday. So happy that I got to play almost instantly ^^

Your writing is just, wow. I admire the attention to detail and vividness! Not to mention the depth of the worldbuilding, too! I can’t wait for future updates.

Some miscellanous thoughts I had while playing:
  • I’ve only known Kel for 5 minutes but I love him already.

“I want you to think of us like a family, ok? A special family.”

  • When Grusk said this, my first thought was “Oh boy. We’re in for a trip of corporate inhibition and inappropriate hushing up, aren’t we?”

  • I WAS REALLY TEMPTED TO KISS KEL BUT I WANT THINGS TO GO SLOW, AAAAA

Gameplay feedback:

Perhaps this is a bit of a nitpick, but can you maybe break off some paragraphs to even out the paragraph lengths? It also helps for those reading on smaller devices. Some examples of paragraphs I found lengthy:

  • When Grusk was explaining the plan for the job
  • When Kel takes the MC’s Impression
  • When Kel was trying to heal Rem
  • When Kel talks about why he wants to join the polar nomads

  • I like the clothing customisation options!

  • I like the clarity of what skills are required for the choices.

  • I LIKE THE COLOURFUL CAST


For Kel’s path at the commune, could you add an option where the MC shows interest in him but not so directly? Something like, “…Is there anyone here that catches your eye?” haha I’m not sure if that’s indirect enough, I just don’t wanna outright ask him to bed or tell him I want to kiss him


Anyways, if it’s not obvious enough already, if you would ever like a beta reader/tester for Kel’s route, I would gladly volunteer as tribute.

7 Likes

Thanks so much for the feedback. All of this is really useful. I agree with you on the paragraph-length. I’ll take another look and see if I can break it up more for better legibility.

Also glad you liked Kel! I can definitely use beta readers so I might just take you up on that. And that’s a good suggestion. I’ll see if I can add some more subtle/less direct options for his romance path in the next update.

6 Likes

I really like the setting and the pace it’s been presented to the reader.
However, I think the game would benefit from adding few more reactions here and there, where the choice is just binary now (where we somehow react on the happenings).
Good luck, will check out next updates!

6 Likes

Thanks for the feedback! Glad to hear the pacing is generally working. I’ll see about adding more reactions/responses

4 Likes

I said this when discussing politics in the first part:
“I think the Magicians Order is overreaching on this. Just because they can limit our use of magic doesn’t mean they should.”

It gave me a boost to Collectivist. I really don’t see the connecting logic there, can you explain?

Also, really minor issue: The stat names aren’t capitalized.

1 Like

I just finished my first play through, and absolutely had a blast with it! I’m excited to see where this will all go!!

The premise seems simple, but the way you use it works amazingly! I can easily say it’s a refresher from other fantasy stories that are way too heavy-hitting with excessive terminology and trivial details that can make it feel more like I’m reading a history book than playing an exciting fantasy IF. It was very easy to get into this world and I’m super thankful for that ^-^’

When I was speaking with Aja and she showed to me her hybrid magical coin, and I found a new skill had unlocked in the stats menu, I honestly felt a childish thrill of excitement. I honestly don’t think I’ve seen that been done before? It makes me excited to see if I can learn the other hybrid forms of magic in time too!

You know it’s a good fantasy IF if it can start out without needing to blast you with all its magical glory right off the bat. The intrigue of the mysterious objects, and the potential friendships between the player and the characters, is definitely intriguing all on its own. I unexpectantly found myself drawn to Aja a lot, personally I just love her chill, yet passionate personality.

And then when we DO get to our first major battle/ use of magic, finally getting to see extensively what it can all do, was great! My secondary magic was Shaping, so I had a blast flying around swatting shrikes around before ultimately getting into a bit of a mishap with the largest shrike, heheheh. The cliffhanger makes me wonder if we succeeded, and also on how the artifacts were affected by the ley lines from a moment before the shrikes arrived.

Also, that minor body horror moment when you realize what you can potentially do with Greenshaping… O_O

I’ll for sure be keeping my eye on this one!!!

1 Like

Looks interesting! I love your profile picture too

2 Likes

Ah, that’s probably a mistake. I had renamed that stat pair, and I think it likely doesn’t fit that choice as well anymore. Thanks for pointing it out.

And good thinking on the stat capitalization. I’ll fix that as well.

Thanks so much for the kind words! I thought I might have made the intro too heavy with new terminology (like you describe a lot of stories doing), so it’s nice to hear you didn’t find it too cluttered with information.

I tried to write Aja like someone I’d enjoy hanging out with, so glad you liked her sections :blush: And the GreenFielding stat screen addition was fun to implement. Definitely wanted that to be a nice surprise for readers.

And glad you found the buildup to the airship battle satisfying. I tend to enjoy stories that start more quietly and work up to the more exciting parts like that. Wasn’t sure if what I had been doing was working haha.

Re: The GreenShaping stuff, there will definitely be more of that kind of thing coming up, and it will probably get pretty weird lol. If it’s possible to do “wholesome body horror” that’s what I’m aiming for in some branches of the later chapters.

2 Likes

Thank you for showing us your demo and letting us help you! You’ve for a really good cast of characters, except one, which I’ll get to down below.

I relate most to Rem. I don’t define myself with labels, so having a character with the Them/They prounouns is golden for me!

Kel is amazing! I’m a sucker for strong clean-cut personalities. A little more time with him would be awesome in the train car.

I love Aja. She has that strong, capable and independent feel to her personality, yet you can tell she’s very compassionate.

The rest, I need to see more of them. I’ll try more playthroughs.

The only character I didn’t like, is the MC. My dialogue was very passive, and I would have liked more personality to be shown. I did like the choice to be insensitive and ignore Rem’s obvious illness. Things like fleshing out the option to be concerned for them would be awesome!

Another thing was the interactions with Aja and Rem felt… Distant. They were supposed to be my friends- at least acquaintances from university, yet I was so cold to them.

The world building on the other hand is *chefs kiss. The magic system doesn’t feel overpowered, and the laws and restrictions make it feel so special. You’ve got an awesome imagination on you!

I want you to use your Green Magic and grow this story into the jewel it’s going to be! I’ll bookmark this thread and I’ll keep watching for more updates!

4 Likes

Definitely fair criticism! I think I fall too hard into the “make the mc a blank slate” issue in a lot of the game, especially the earlier portions. The parts I enjoyed writing were definitely the parts where the mc had more personality. I’ll see if I can incorporate more of that going forward.

And glad you could relate to Rem! I’m nonbinary and hadn’t played many games with a nonbinary cast member who was a big part of the story, so I wanted to try that out for this WIP.

2 Likes

Thanks! I’m hoping to make at least a couple more pieces of game-related art before the whole thing is finished :grin:

“wholesome body horror” I thiiiiiink I know what you mean? And if so then heeeeell yeeeeah!! it’s time for some unrestrained summertime cryptid fun!

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Yepppp you got it lol cryptid summer here we come :grin:

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I’m curious what peoples’ thoughts are on minigames? I’ve included one so far (betting on airship races), and I’m thinking of having more in later chapters.

I’ve been playing around with the idea of a canning minigame, where, if you don’t follow the process correctly, all the jars explode (I just learned this is a thing that can happen in real life, but in the game it’d be more dramatic because magic, lol :exploding_head:)

Is this kind of thing something folks would enjoy? If so I may slip in a few others minigames in later chapters.

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I don’t care much for minigames, personally. As long as it’s somewhat relevant to the story (enhances worldbuilding, builds relationships, etc. etc.) then I wouldn’t mind.

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That’s fair, and a good point. If I do end up adding any more, I’ll make sure they’re related to existing characters or plot points so they don’t feel tacked-on

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Just edited the post above to include a more detailed character list (including expanded descriptions and list of minor/side characters) and an explanation of the game’s magic system.

Also edited to add, screenshots of your stat screen upon completing the demo are very helpful. These can help me balance stats better in future updates✨

I’ll be posting a small update to the game with typo corrections in the next week, and then on to writing new sections!

1 Like

Just published a small update to the demo with minor bug & typo fixes!

  • Fixed bug where Itzel, Damien, & Mandrake don’t show up in the character list if you meet at dinner for the first time.
  • Capitalized stats on stat screen.
  • Fixed some typos (thanks to those who pointed those out!)
  • Broke up paragraph lengths to increase legibility.
  • Additional romance options for each RO, for players who requested options to move things along at a slower pace <3

Next I’ll be moving on to new sections! Planning on tackling Ines & Luc’s routes next. I have some fun stuff planned for those two, so I’m excited to start writing their paths and fleshing out their characters more.

6 Likes