[WiP] Not Your Mother's Shire (RO Gender Swap Update)

Sorry to be neglectful. The logistics of the book giveaway trailed off longer and further than I expected. I’ll be closing that out today and then be promptly back on track. Thank you all for your patience and support.

P.S. @q_riley Noticed you lurking for a while. Like this post if I can name a desert raider after you.


Hey, I’d be honored to be named after something in this story

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please not Yester

I’d def still love them! Love does go deeper than just looks, right? It doesn’t really matter about looks; it’s about feelings.

…that was quite poetic.


This game really tickles my fancy. I’ve been replaying the legendary Fable 2 recently and this hits me right there in my love for silly fantasy.

Will be posting feedback soon.

Edit: @dwsnee I’m back. Damn. Where to start?

I elbow-dropped a cyclops, slayed a giant land eel, waterbended on a pirate ship, and swore allegiance to a giant frog-dragon king (best boi).

This is some highly-entertaining and uplifting interactive fiction, here.

I noticed you’re a new author and my man, I gotta say, what an impressive debut. You’ve crafted a gutbusting fantasy trod with some equally epic serious moments and lore in between.

I found my favorite side characters to be between Saz and Trudy. Trudy is absolutely adorable and I’m always into the Catwoman-esque badass with wavering loyalties and a chaotic mindset. Saz is a born warrior through and through, and he is a total rolemodel of sorts to my character. I can’t wait to romance the first and be best buds with the second. I just hope they’re both on the Dragonsworn side with me in the end…please don’t be mean…Big Frog Boi is king…

Seriously, can we ride him? Or did the game merely tease us for nothing? I’ll be the one to ask bluntly, haha.

I also really enjoyed Vexius. He’s one of your most interesting characters, in my opinion. I loved the funny scenes between him and Llorick, but the story there is actually touching and I found myself protecting my elf friend while also feeling hard for the brother-sister couple, as weird as that might make me sound. :joy: I hope we get to bring Vexius’ lover back but also keep Llorick alive and return him to normal. I also can’t wait to see what Vexius can do during some real action. That’s gonna be sweet.

Also, glimpsing into Vexius’ future and learning how devoted he is to his partner, relative or not, makes him so rootable in my book. Great job on his character. Y’know, incest aside.

What else? Oh, yes, the customization in this game is insane. My two favorite fantasy races are Elves and Gnomes, and both are present here. The beginning clothing options are just the right amount of fashionable, and I was so excited every time we got new options down the road, that’s a very cool and enjoyable feature, allowing us to switch up. I also appreciate the selection of weapons. I went from a hooded cloak and frying pan to a yak-skin vestment with shoulder pads (hell yes) and a Goddamn ice dagger that has some seriously cool backstory. Here’s hoping for a delightfully villanous scorpion-chitin cloak complete with shoulder spikes from the claws. Maybe from the upcoming desert duchy. Not a request, just an idea from a fellow fantasy fashionisto.

Now onto negatives. I offer those too, don’t worry.

  1. I couldn’t cuddle Trudy whatsoever in the Blizzard duchy. I don’t know if you meant to make me cry in frustration, but I did. I hope you’re happy.

  2. Another irk during the Blizzard duchy. I’m a very strong character with an ice dagger and destruction powers…but it felt like I couldn’t really do anything here? Maybe it was the choices made, but I could do a lot with the eel and this fight felt outta place compared to that. I feel like strong characters should be able to hurl weapons, enviroment pieces, or even allies at the thing. Or maybe even grapple with it. With the game being on the silly side, I just felt rather limited, here.

  3. Another thing. Dialogue felt pretty forced when interacting with Trudy, too. I was expecting some funny options about forgiving her for her actions if we like her even though we almost died, but those weren’t present. Also, when we are first reunited, my reaction felt forced there, too. Feels like these sections could use some reworking to feel less railroady. We have total freedom in other situations. Just felt…not rushed, just yeah, railroady, I guess. I was able to forgive Vera and everything before this.

  4. Wished there were more tattoo options with the pirates, although I concur this is a nitpick. I ended up going with the drinking time tattoo, which was funny, but I would have liked to see some crazier options. Don’t know if you had a poll on that, I’ll check and see, but I was expecting one of the dragons or maybe even faction symbols. I’m just a big ink guy, and thought the options here could be better.

  5. I’m glad to see hugging or being close in general with a character doesn’t always mean romance. This is a big thing for me personally. I hug all my friends in real life, even my heterosexual male friends (they’re comfortable with it, obviously) and so it’s good in my book that I can be close like that with a character and it doesn’t define my sexuality or lock me into romancing them. I just wanted to mention that and say that I hope that continues.

That’s all for now! What a book so far. Congratulations on your success and I hope you only find more with it. It’s definitely deserved.


In regards to possibly introducing Yester as a sequel love interest—I think that it’s a totally great idea! She’s a very important background character who made one hell of an impact and set an ‘oh, you’re a cute idiot, let me dom you’ vibe that I’m signing off for.

Superstition is an IF game on itchi.io that did exactly this, successfully. Bringing a mysterious character from the first book into the second with a route.


@Voldy Wow. Thank you for such thoughtful and detailed feedback. I’m really going to spend some time with it, but some hipshot banter:

Fable! I’m impressed by the number of people who have come to like Saz. Since the first thing he/she does is shoot you through the lung with an arrow. I’m pleased; I just thought it would be a deeper hole to dig out of. I wonder if his/her “ordinariness” helps ground the zany narrative.

Re: Dragonsworn-Dragonfall sides. Between c8a-b, a couple switches may happen. So, I’ll be interested in how those are received. GRRM is a pretty formative influence on me. So, if all my ROs are intact, alive, the same, or on the same side by the end, I will have failed.

At the moment, Bunkisi is unridable. :upside_down_face: He’s not super secure about being the least obviously scary dragon. I think, probably, he’s the most scary. Hashtag pygmy pachyderm army.

More people are sympathetic to Vexius than I thought would be also. He’s kind of intellectually superior. Like Rick from Rick and Morty. He is pretty hardcore loyal though.

Trudy is supposed to be pretty elusive. You get to make your first advance-ish in c8a when she asks who the cutest short member of the party is, him/her or Vera/o–so be careful. Her relationship arc mirrors Jane (Natalie Portman) from Closer, in that, the closer you get, the farther you are. We’ll see if I can actualize. Good to hear there wasn’t enough combat in c7c. I dialed it down due to wall climb and falling through a frozen lake, which I considered action-y. Wanted to spotlight Trudy’s avatar status (Yolo) and the way it siphons luck, which can be bad for anyone nearby. I’ll probably add a combat action or two on my first edit, to make it more like the c7a w the land eel. I’ll think you’ll find c8a to be pretty combat heavy. I’ll look again at Trudy’s dialogue–definitely don’t want to railroad anyone. She is a little meek after almost killing the entire party, out of a desire not to get kicked, but I want to make sure she isn’t too cow-ed.

Those are great ideas for tattoos. I will probably go back and add a bunch. I figured more would come to me, and then I’d loop back. I’ll keep the hugging in mind. Not a hugger myself. Funny you should say so. Thought about making an option to hug Saz, where he/she reflexively dislocates your shoulder.

Thanks so much for your support.

@Mistyleaf123 @Lea_Boucher Welp, it looks like the fans have saved Yester. He/she was supposed to die this chapter. Spectacularly. See? I do listen. I’ll definitely check out Superstition. Need all the help I can get. I started plotting the sequel and am seeding the plot this chapter. But . . . I’ve also been thinking about writing Starship Bloopers, so . . . any way the wind blows. Or something like that. You saved Yester!



What’s with you and making me cry? At least we got to hold a mini-him. I don’t recall being able to pet him, though. :expressionless:

My character Voldy in Breach is exactly this. I greatly value loyalty in real life, so maybe that was one of the big attractions there, sub-consciously. Dude is badass. I’m still wondering his exact power level. May I ask who inspired you to create him?

Hmm. Very interesting. I’m normally not a fan of slowburn ROs, but you’ve kept her amusing and intriguing so far, so I’ll hold fast and see what’s in store. I thought keeping warm with the group in a big animal carcass was pretty romantic. Whatever, Trudy.

I understand! If you would like any ideas for that fight, DM me. The Yeti is my favorite cryptid! So an encounter with one tingles my DM senses, if you know what I mean.

Oh, it was more what the player gets to say to her. I’ll go through it a second time, but it felt like I was forced to be annoyed at her? So I didn’t vibe with it at all.

If you DM me, I’ll shoot you some more tattoo ideas i had. Some are actually spoiler-ly, so I wouldn’t want to just throw them out.

That would be amazing.

Thank you for the content! Bad times recently, so this has really helped me out. Honestly needed it.

Will post more feedback tomorrow.


:joy: good. had a feeling they needed saving lmao

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Good news for Yester I would not have been prepared for that :sob:

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Okay so, here’s some second thoughts after a second playthrough:

The previous thoughts I had before that I was unsure of, are all confirmed. Specifically some of the player dialogue choices at the beginning of the Blizzard duchy section, and specifically with Trudy.

Now onto some new insights I have.

I actually thought this my first go around last night, but I thought it was just me since I enjoyed so much. But after going through again in a more controlled and thoughtful manner, I reconfirmed that feeling: the pacing feels very, very fast from 7 onwards. Very fast. I know you mentioned some vacation day style side interactions you want to add? Those would help flesh this whole area a bit more. Like I said, I did register the same thing going through the first time. When I, personally, hit 7a (I just played things in “order”), the game just felt like it was speeding up a ton. I know it’s the climax of the story, meeting all of the dragons and factions and cast, but I’m glad chapter 8 is going to be combat heavy, because, yeah. 7 feels fast. If that’s your intention, obviously you just succeeded and it’s okay. But if those hangouts are going to be in 7, I feel they’re going to relieve some of that well. Unless, of course, I’m wrong about the hangouts. :joy:

Something else I noticed: this probably isn’t even an issue, but to me it is, haha.

We never really got to use our first selected weapon.

Now, as you know, I gleefully moved onto the ice dagger you created. But I couldn’t find, both playthroughs, a single option to actually swing my pan once.

This is a massive, unbelievable oversight. Are you trying to get HG to reject you? Because they might, over this. Just sayin’.

Now, onto some more findings.

  1. Not enough gnomes in story overall. Another possible publishing obstacle.

  2. I feel like choosing Yin (destruction) needs a bit more umph. But I’m guessing it’s because we’re new to our powers, still, and you’re saving the cool stuff near the end during the huge battles.

  3. We need more random magic items like the pocket goat. It was hard choosing the ice dagger over him. I almost didn’t. Those were very funny things to stop and read about and they offered some more insight into what type of world you are building. I just feel they are great little tidbits of that and amusement, taking advantage of the whimsy fantasy setting.

  4. Custom tattoo ideas, if you’re up for those. Cute Bunkisi in a top hat. Dragonsworn across our neck with a mug of ale on one end and a pinup androgynous fairy on the other. Dragonfall upside down on our forehead with tears under each eye because they suck and can go cry in the corner.

  5. I just read about the RO scarring. You’ve excluded Saz, Llorick, and Trudy, right? Of course you did. We’re friends. :grinning:

That is all for now.

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@Voldy Sorry about the bad times. Vexius was designed by a reader @Waylon_Royce. A bunch of people have helped with stuff. I just kind of wing it. Waylon wanted a snow elf ice wizard who served Bunkisi. I integrated it into my story w incest.

Yeah, I need to go back and make a bunch of choice more meaningful (e.g. frying pan). Figure it’ll be easier once I’m done to go back and then add, like, a 5th choice to a four-choice decision. Some stuff will probably stay random, though. I like to keep people guessing. Myself too.

I’ll have to look at the pace. I like to get out of there once whatever’s going to happen happens, so that I can get onto the next thing. I have a peeve about lingering. The vacation days will come once you have a full party and revisit each duchy. Still a couple off. Desert. Swamp. Crisis. Revisit the 5. So 8 chapters and 5 vacays left–most of 1 ch done.

I’ll probably do a running meter on YYY powers. +1/use for later skill checks. Everyone’s getting scarred by the end–suffering enobles and changes and what not. Or something. Trauma bond! Little worried about the RO pace. I think people maybe wanted more romance sooner. Saz and Trudy are really the only ones around for the 1st 3rd. Yester disappears for part. Octo and Zale are about to enter in a big way, but like 300k words in. At least no one will be able to say it sounds planned . . . :upside_down_face: Had you pegged for a DM.

@Frieza @Mistyleaf123 I’ll make sure Yester thanks you somehow. " . . . returned from a MISTY FREEZING land or something."


:joy: yes

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Well, that’s definitely the only flaw your snow elves have. Vex is a real OG so far.

Makes sense! And yes, such is the nature of your game. We’re here for it!

Whoa, this game is going to be bigger than I thought. We’re going to get a lot more of this? Mate, count me in till the end!

Buckles seatbelt.

Hmm. I’m a fan of these but past games have refused to give the reader any real number of chances to increase said skills and truly let us decide what to focus on. So just be sure to keep that in mind if you’re going that route. I said this as a fellow game writer (non-Choicescript).

Whoever hurts Trudy is getting fireballed so fucking hard. Same for Saz and Llorick. Oh, and Vex. And Bunkisi. I will turn into a dragon myself if that happens. You think I’m joking? Huh? Watch me. Watch me.

I completely understand the elusivity of Trudy, but I think I still could have been allowed to flirt with her, at least. :stuck_out_tongue:

Dragons are my thang, gnomes are my main! :sunglasses:

Bah, it’s all good. I’ve been playing the Keeper of The Sun and Moon series for the first time, and what a great damn trilogy so far. Playing the current two back to back and, wow. I love that world and it’s characters. Have you played it? Astrid is melting my heart and is so wholesome, and I have a baby pet dragon named after my favorite Dark Brotherhood Assassin in Skyrim, Veez. There’s nothing like good fantasy. Nothing. Even modern.


Awesome :cold_face:

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Just found this the other day and let me say… this has absolutely made my week!

It took me a while to get through my first playthrough (mostly because I had to stop or I would die of laughter) but man… I can safely say this is one of my favorite WIP’s so far!

Favorite parts were probably meeting octa (and fighting her with my double shields) and anything to do with Saz… even the getting shot part. (Ok, maybe not that part I guess)

Every character is interesting in their own way and makes me feel something towards them (even if it’s dislike, which is good as well) and I don’t feel railroaded one bit throughout the game, which is usually inevitable in these games but hasn’t happened so far.

Also, I love your writing style and humor. I’ll have to go over it again because I’m sure there were jokes that flew over my head because I was still recovering from laughing.

Great work and I can’t wait to see what happens next in the story!


So good to hear it. It’s easy to lose steam when you go it alone. I have a dozen unfinished projects in other forms which can attest. Ending today with 284,397wds with c8a at 37,634wds. Aiming for 40k but might go over. I’d be finished except I keep thinking of cool things I want to add. That, and I’ve been playing an unhealthy amount of Mass Effect: Legendary Edition. At this point, I only respond to the name “Commander Shepherd.” I will add more flirting with Trudy. Also, I’ll check out Keeper of the Sun and Moon. I think the Dark Brotherhood quest line in ES Oblivion is some of the best writing in games. :hocho:

Wow, I’m flattered and humbled. :blush: I’m used to being the only one who thinks I’m funny irl, so it’s nice to hear. Thanks for sharing. Any other feedback you have to share, I’m all ears. I really just want to make the best game I can. Cheers!


Oh, mate, you’re speaking to another expert on unfinished projects, I’m afraid. :sweat_smile:

The final game is currently in development, but I think it’s more than worth it to check out the first two anyway! Try to play 1 then give 2 a chance after. View it as one long, epic game. I believe your experience will be incomplete otherwise.

I still faithfully serve Lucien Lachance to this day. Sithis preserve his undying spirit.


I already feel the love to the project and didn’t start with the project awesome


Getting really super close, here, to finishing c8a Temple of Dune. Shot way past 40k target–at 48,746 now, with two events left, so . . . yeah. Part of the trouble is that your traveling party is twice as big–where it was Saz and Ver(a/o), I’ve now added Llorick/Llivete and (T)rudy. Plus, you see lots of Oct(o/a). Anyway, I think you’ll find it’s worth it. Maybe a couple more days of writing and then a couple days of editing. I’ll aim for next F and try to be faster w the next one. Cheers!

We know. :raised_hand_with_fingers_splayed: @Voldy

*sings: Can you feel the love tonight? @Colshot


…You just became cooler.