WIP Those Betwixt

Update Chapter 3.3
16/03/2021

Hi guys, longtime lurker here, who has been around for years and played a hell of a lot of games on this forum. I decided a few weeks ago to write something of my own. I have always loved character focused WIPs, like Guenevere (which is amazing and a big inspiration) but found that there weren’t as many available as I was wanting.

This little game, currently called Those Betwixt, is a vampire character based story set in early 90s Manchester. It was initially heavily inspired by the World of Darkness and specifically Vampire the Masquerade, as you will no doubt be able to tell as you read. However as I started writing, the story started drifting further and further away into something entirely different.

I would love if you could read what I have written up to now. This is my first foray into solo writing and choice script coding so any comments, feedback and aide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks :slight_smile:

Word Count:

158K ~

LINK: https://dashingdon.com/go/6299

Plot Summary

Changed illegally into a vampire of one of five bloodlines you find yourself thrust into a complex political situation centuries in the making. With your maker having been summarily executed you find yourself at the mercy of Julian/Juliana, a fascinating person of great power within the province.

Spared by Julian/Juliana who subsequently bargains your liberty away, you are taken under the wing of Calder, a quiet mysterious young man and his two progeny, Jack and Andreas. You are given an option, join their coterie, or die in exile; orphaned and alone. The choice being clear, you begin your life as an undead immortal; fate tied to machinations yet unknown.

The final nights approach their end. The vampire population at an all time low, from mass executions, deadly blood born pathogens, institutionalized witch hunts and fear of technological exposure. You are born at the precipice of vampire extinction. Will you aid the vampire hierarchy, the shunned fifth sorcerer bloodline or bring about both their demise?

Key features

  • Five romanceable characters with a multitude of poly combinations.
  • Romances which are evolving throughout the game and heavily included throughout the main plot.
  • The ability to play as one of five clans who have their own abilities and powers.
  • The ability to sway your companions morality and have them change their alignment in response.
  • Be totally evil and have the ability to kill three of your companions.

Characters and Romance

...

Julian/Juliana

A Fascinare of royal descent who holds power over the province of Manchester. They are a person of great beauty and inconsistencies, whose actions and motivations are difficult to predict and decipher.

Calder
An elder Veneficus of great power who is actively in rivalry with Julian/Juliana. He owns the nightclub Gjöll and is the sire of both Andreas and Jack, with Andreas being his longtime romantic partner.

Calder is a man of quiet and inanimate nature, who has both great ambitions and the determination to see them to fruition.

Andreas

Andreas is the nonbinary (although initially identifying as male) Veneficus childe and lover of Calder. They are the jovial and free spirited sorts who embraces those from all walks of life.

They have a deep affection for their coterie and will risk all to protect their family.

Jack

Jack is a young woman of Unremarkable nature, created in the last century, she differs greatly from the others in her coterie as she yet retains a human moral compass.

Despite her brash and hostile mannerisms she cares deeply for Andreas and is incredibly protective of them.

Arcadia

Arcadia is the human assigned to you. Louisiana born and bred, they left their reservation for New Orleans, hoping to escape their troublesome home life and make it big as a musician. But all their dreams turned to dust when Calder abducted them, condemning them to a life of servitude and abuse.

Romance

Since this game is heavily character focused, romance plays a large role. You will be able to romance each character individually. In addition I wanted this game to focus heavily on the coterie and a sense of forming ones own family units so there are a few poly romance options available which can also be pursued in an asexual capacity. These are the possible combinations:

  1. Calder + Andreas
  2. Calder +Jack + Andreas
  3. Julian + Andreas
  4. Human + Jack

Oh and FYI, all romance options will be available to every gender selection.

Character Playlists

...

Remember to hit that shuffle button…

Calder: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5IsuAPDbMxo9kaBkm8ca3u?si=hVZyHNbnTYGdH0of8bnj1w

Andreas: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/0ADhkfvbfneKx45kJ1TGcH?si=Kn9530B3SKiQzY40jbuY3Q

Julian/Juliana: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2w8I7yh9b3zvZfg1mY3OYT?si=UupjBstuRue4Sh1ekvvdcQ

Jack: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3unbeypFikvGLacFQAqUMw?si=IvxqZ2QkSoCZVPSYXVl1Ig

Arcadia: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1q3dOHvKrTbXzRjeQo8Bje?si=F-rT8mJ1RWimzbfuz2xr-A

Mind Maps

...

Task One: http://go.bubbl.us/a88642/a323?/Task-1

Disclaimer:

Strong language, sexual references, abuse, sexual abuse, violence, gore, drug misuse. Oh and temporary amnesia :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

277 Likes

Hi! Very interested in this one, more vampires are always good. Just a question: if we romance Andreas individually, will they still be with Calder? :pensive: Because I really don’t wanna share :joy:

1 Like

I definitely like the spin you have their. Their are elements their that makes it familiar and yet elements that are so different that it seems takes a new perspective. So fair I am liking the character Jackie.

Thanks for bringing this, it is like playing the game once again, but with a new way.

(Hopefully it makes some sense of what I am saying.)

The story is really enjoyable, though I’m not quite sure how I feel about it being in past tense. I’d probably just need to get used to it. It has a lot of potential, and I certainly liked all the characters. They seem unique and keep you engaged.

Also, I found just a few mistakes. Nothing serious.

  • The save system isn’t working for me.
  • “I’m surprised your going to use your leverage on an Omnituens, considering your widely recognised disdain for my Brothers and Sisters.” *line_break
  • Julian spoke with soft kindness, convincing you of the sincerity of his words. You would reuniting in the near future with Julian once more.

Keep up the good work! :relaxed:

“I’m surprised your going to use your leverage on an Omnituens, considering your widely recognised disdain for my Brothers and Sisters"

Julian says this if you’re a Fascinare which makes no sense.

Ahh yes, put in the wrong bloodline name, will get on fixing that now. Thank you for the tip :slight_smile:

1 Like

Thanks so much! And I totally agree I’m still sooo conflicted about it being in past tense, I think I’ll write the second chapter in the past tense and see how I feel at the end of it, maybe edit it over then.

I will get on fixing those mistakes right now, I have terrible eye for detail :sweat_smile:

1 Like

Of course it does, thanks so much for taking the time to give me your feedback. Right now the most differing bloodlines to play as are the Veneficus (Shameless VTM Tremere copies) who have a unique stat and interactions(sorcery), and the Omnituens (VTM Malkavians), who have a unique stat, Insight.

I suppose I should have explained how one achieves these bloodlines, as it isn’t obvious. Basically at the starting 4 options, you need to select each and every one that corresponds with the aforementioned two bloodlines to be assigned that bloodline. In order to be a Fascinare or Prodigium you just need to pick three of the corresponding dialogue. To get assigned Unremarkable you need to pick conflicting options.

I should probably pin this post lol

Thanks for taking the time to read! You will only be able to romance Andreas individually under certain circumstances, for this to happen Andreas and Calder will have to be estranged. So no you don’t share :slight_smile: There is no way Calder would ever share his toys with someone else wherein he isn’t the one in complete control, as he would be, to an extent, in a poly route with the PC and Andreas.

Wow I didn’t want it to end its really incredible

1 Like

[/i} Jack teased the man with a wink, the man seemingly responding in kind as he gave Jack a playful nudge from across the bar.

Think this should be in italics.

Thank you so much! :grinning: If there is anything in particular you really want to do in the story and want me to consider adding, or if you have any ideas, don’t hesitate to shoot me a message.

@domthestar Ahhh yes thank you so much for taking the time to let me know. I have just updated the link to rectify all the issues which have been pointed out to me in this forum. I have also modified the styling so as that the speech is not in italics as was suggested.(Idk why I did that, just to easily distinguish between descriptive text and dialogue I guess)

2 Likes

It’s very interesting to me that you can be in a poly with Andreas and Julian! There must be some serious drama between Calder and Andreas for that to happen? But this type of character driven game with the Vampire The Masquerade setting is soooo good! I’m definitely keeping an eye on this one! <3

1 Like

Thank you kindly for all the encouraging words! And yes you are right, much drama will ensue if you manage to get Julian and Andreas into a poly relationship. At the end of chapter 2/beginning of chapter 3 the main story branch will be having the opportunity to report and work for Julian secretly instead of remaining loyal to Calder. You will be able to initiate a poly romance with Julian and Andreas only if you: have a high enough opinion with the both of them; actively degrade the relationship between Andreas and Calder; and then ultimately side with Julian and remain loyal to his cause.

3 Likes

While playing as an Omituens I can’t get passed the page that ends with “Julian let out a toothy smile which this time, without a doubt, let loose his pair of alarmingly sharp looking fangs.” It gives me an error code - ClanSelection line 606: invalid ${} variable substitution at letter 298 - and freezes, preventing me from clicking on anything until I refresh the page.

@mxchief I just fixed that now, sorry! When I went and removed the italic editing I messed up a variable by accident. The quicktests are all clear now.

Played the current WIP!
I’ll admit I’m a bit conflicted though, which is rare. I like the overall story, of course - I wouldn’t have tried it out, otherwise, but I didn’t feel any connection with the characters - nor am I a huge fan of any of the love interests. But what mostly bothered me was the general lack of choice. It seems weird to say, but I feel like most of the time, the dialogue choices didn’t match what I’d like my character to be - I like to play mild mannered and quiet characters, more often than not, but most of the answers were too agressive, too flirty, too funny or other things. That made me feel disconnected from my character too - I guess if I wanted to play one of the archetypes present now it would have gone better, but that’s not my style.

Honestly, I’ve REALLY enjoyed the end of the demo, but that’s because I could chose to refuse Calder’s offer and leave, and that was a blast. I’m sad you can’t continue playing if you select that option - I’m sure I would have liked the game a lot past that point if that was allowed. Heck, I think my MC would have been okay with going with Julian, if that was allowed - refusing Calder’s offer was simply the closest thing to what my MC would have done, ideally.
Still, I’d like to point out I KNOW an author must make their story manageable, and sometimes it means forcing the players on certain paths. I usually don’t have issues with that. It’s just that in this case, Calder is really unsympathetic and none of the things he says makes me want to agree with him. And it feels weird no other vampire would want to take the MC under their wing, since there’s such a shortage of new blood.

Also, there’s another thing - I would have loved to have a warning about the whole amnesia thing. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves in fiction, and something that genuinely stresses me out - forgetting oneself is seriously one of the worst things that can happen in my opinion. Or well, even better would be to have an option to actually have an MC who remembers their life, even if it’s something that shouldn’t happen. I’d much rather have an MC who deals with the fact they can’t see their family anymore than one who doesn’t remember who they are. But well, I don’t know how difficult it would be to implement or if such an exception would be possible in the setting you created. A warning alone would be great as it is. Or to include that fact in the plot blurb. Though I guess I wouldn’t have played if I knew… oh well :laughing:

Still, as I say, I don’t dislike the game, but a lot of things prevented me from truly enjoying it at the same time - that’s why I’m saying I’m conflicted. I’m still curious about how it’ll unfold.

Ah, could you tell me if there’s a lot of content past the game over I got? I’m unsure if I want to play while being forced to agree if there’s not much to do for the moment, so I may hold up until the WIP is updated with more content.

I’ve also spotted various mistakes or other things, so I’ll just put that down there!

In one of the first pages, there's this bit:

“As half the crowd assumed a reaction of horror and the other of delight, the Prince’s coal-black pupils dilated with glee.”
But at this point, we shouldn’t know anything about anyone being a “prince”, I believe? Or maybe I misunderstood the situation.

If the MC is Unremarkable:

Once Julian told them you can ask “So if I’m a Unremarkable, what other type of gifts are there?”
But it sounds strange to say “what other type of gifts” if what MC is isn’t a gift. I think it should be rephrased for Unremarkable MCs.

Because of that, it’s also weird for Julian to talk about the Unremarkables at the end - “Oh right, there’s a fifth kind of bloodline. Well I suppose you can’t really call them a bloodline. You see, for the past millennium or so those who have been newly turned very rarely would turn out not to have a gift, those unfortunate souls were and are referred to as Unremarkables. It used to be an incredibly rare occurrence but recently it seems as if over half of our new recruits have in fact turned out to be Unremarkable.”
It would make more sense for this to be explained when saying the MC is Unremarkable.

If allowing Julian to select MC's name:

You can change your mind and select yourself, or agree, which means this choice - “Your right, what an inspired choice Julian. Bring me the contract, let the binding process commence!”
It should be “you’re right”.
Also, I would love to be able to agree on the name without being so over excited about it. But it stems from the issue I’ve mentionned before.

About Andreas:

In the love interests’ descriptions in this thread, Andreas is first referred as non binary, then male. And in the game, he’s always male.

When Andreas talks to Calder:

He says “L’amour de ma vie (love of my life), isn’t there something you’d like to say to our new friend?”
It sounds a little strange. If he calls Calder love of his life, it should be “Amour de ma vie” when adressing him, without the “L’”. As it is, it’s “The love of my life”. But you rather won’t adress a person saying “The love of my life” - it’s awkward - you’ll use only “love of my life”.

And well, saves don’t work.

I think that’s it. Again, please excuse me if my comment seems harsh. I’m still intrigued by the game, but it IS totally possible it’s simply not for me. But I’d feel bad for giving up on it so early - I’ll stick around for at least one update or two before deciding.

2 Likes

@Konoi

Thank you so much for taking the time to play and write up feedback :slight_smile: . I don’t at all think what you said was harsh, and I’m super open to criticism. I want to address each of your points so here goes:

  • Regarding feeling as if you could not RP in a polite well mannered way. Yes I totally agree, and I only notice now you mention it. When I play I almost always play as ridiculously Machiavellian characters who are in no way mild mannered, so I totally just overlooked accommodating a play style which wanted to act in a mild/polite manner. I will for sure be including updated choices to hopefully rectify this with my next big update.

  • Regarding feeling no connection to Calder and not wanting to be taken under his wing. And finding it strange that no one else wanted to take your PC under their wing, some spoilers:

Yes Calder is an unsympathetic character, who is domineering, controlling and mean spirited. Thats why I never planned on including a solo RO for him. Big spoilerinos, but he is sort of the main antagonist for the PC. In the next chapter you will get the option of working against Calder in secret and helping Julian instead (although you can also choose to not help either of them and go your own path with a RO towards the end of the story). You can also use your influence, should you chose, with Jack and Andreas to have them become disillusioned and eventually betray Calder.

Right now most of the romance options are not good people inherently (except for jack) so I know that it might be difficult for a PC, who is RPing as a good moral character, to connect with people who are at best morally grey. That’s why I decided on having a human gender swap character, to fill that void, hopefully that is. I hope as updates come out you might warm up to some of the other characters. If you have any suggestions for what you think is missing so as that you cant seem to connect, please let me know.

Oh and also, the reason why Calder specifically takes you under his wing and not anyone else is because he was holding leverage over Julian’s head, forcing him to hand you over, more info on this will be revealed in future chapters.

  • Regarding the amnesia thing. First of all sorry I didn’t put a trigger warning about this lol. I totally get where your coming from with hating amnesia cliches, I adore being able to chose backgrounds, ala Dragon Age Origins,when creating a character. And it would be a missed opportunity to have a vampire game and not explore that disillusionment and conflict that arises when you are forced to betray and leave behind your past in order to survive. So spoilers:

You will actually regain your memories much earlier than most do, and the story will allow you to resolve this in a multitude of ways. I hope this alleviates some of your issues with the amnesia.

  • And no there isn’t much more content after that, just a few dialogue scenes and a portion of the game where you clarify how you feel about the NPC’s and the whole losing your memories thing.

Again thanks so much for your input, I will be correcting those continuity mistakes right now. I hope all that made sense, I’m so tired, forgive me if it did not. :sweat_smile:

5 Likes

Oh I see - well, the clarifications shine a much needed light on that!

  • First of all, I’m glad you’ll add milder and more polite answers to things! That only will help me a lot in getting immersed!

  • About Calder, I don’t actually mind him being a “bad person”. Same goes for other characters. I actually LOVE to play a gentle and nice MC and romancing a way more edgy or bad love interest. Even the main antagonist, if that’s an option! As long as the romance doesn’t force me to go on an evil route myself. I’ll probably stick with vampire love interests. I guess unsympathetic wasn’t really what I meant, since well, he’s meant to be. It’s more like, I didn’t feel the charisma he should have, and I basically didn’t care about what he was saying. So I didn’t really feel compelled to obey, be it because of intimidation or because of caring. Then again, I think if I could RP as my favorite type of character, I’d feel more connection to the ROs too.

  • I’m sooo happy to know about the memories, then! That too helps in connecting with the MC. Besides, I CAN play games that feature amnesia if I know about it, but one important thing is that when one of the goals in the game is to be able to remember things, then I feel like this is a thing that’ll be solved. In this case, the MC is basically told he won’t remember until everything that made his previous life is basically gone, so it left me with the feeling it won’t be adressed anymore: “accept it and go on with your life” kind of vibe. So it made it all the more upsetting.

That definitely made me more excited for the future. Though I’ll certainly wait for the update that’ll allow me to RP the way that makes me confortable!

Thanks for your answers!

1 Like