15 comments

  1. Nice! I love Divinity 2, put over 100 hours into it.

    Were the demons a nod to The Thing? If so that’s a hella cool crossover idea.

    You’re really great at these. I tried writing text adventure games during high school, could never come up with anything good.

  2. That was fun! It reminds me of the Deltora books I read as a kid – lots of glamours and weird monsters in that one. Strangely enough, though, the part that horrified me most was imagining ‘bowels’ of stew…

      1. I slavishly watched every single episode. The ‘Sorceress Thaegan’ song will still be earworming me to my dying day.

  3. I’ve had a busy week at work (and have to cover extra shifts for the holiday period, yay work) so I’ve only played this game through once, landing the Aethra ending. So apologies if any of my in-coming comments are addressed in the other route endings!

    So, overall? I enjoyed this. Between this, the Ebon Death, and Not-even-gonna-try-rattle-the-Victoriana-name-without-checking-it-out-again, you seem to have a passion for horror writing. To an extent, that kind of surprises me, since I peg you mostly for the comedy thanks to your blog.

    (And yes, Victorian-book was also, or even mostly, comedy, I think ya’all know what I mean.)

    Horror normally isn’t a genre I read much of or can comment on, though, so any input I have might be kinda limited. I AM an avid reader of fantasy though.

    The Carpenter feel’s like an interesting idea. He kind of reminds me of shamanistic culture, which -between the wood carvings and the spiritualism- I assume was the intention. The fact they have a rather vampire-esque look to them, making them their own unique thing, is pretty cool, mainly because it feeds into the subversive thing about this story.

    So, to be totally honest: when you mentioned a dwarf behind the bar, my heart kinda dropped a little bit. Because the Par’thee aren’t a typical fantasy race. Yes, you mention elves on the opening card, but most of the introduction is about the Par’thee and their culture, and what makes THEM different from others. Moving from “here is an example of the race I can create,” to “and now, stock fantasy race #3,”* felt a little disappointing.

    Of course, that was kind of the entire point, as the bounty hunter pointed out. The whole sequence was just the kind of stock, generic, boring fantasy clichĂ©; “Here is an inn in an area which can’t possibly support it’s upkeep and maintenance, filled with a jolly waiting staff!” My minds eye immediately filled in the blanks, and pictured the Prancing Pony, and adventurers huddled over tables and the clink of gold. Even the bounty hunter’s introduction kind of struck me like a group of friends at an RPG table having their characters meet up and immediately talking about themselves fairly openly.

    (Slight side-track: Ulla Dee’s introduction, sitting in the corner watching the hero, really reminded me of Strider. I mean that in a good way, because Aragorn has a pretty awesome introduction to the story)

    The above, hopefully, doesn’t sound too critical? It was fine fantasy stuff, it’s just that after a few years, those tropes kind of burned me out a little bit…
    …at which point the body horror started and HOLY —-

    Sorry, not sure which expletives are allowed in the comment section, so substituting dashes, ’cause damn. I did suspect there was a twist coming, simply because everything had been going so “standard” thus far, but the writing involved in it? The dwarf with the distended stomach, crab-walking across the table is a really, shockingly unsettling mental image. The waitresses mouth opening like a FLOWER was an interesting and -again- unsettling choice of imagery. The inn itself being a demon -with more of that flower imagery in describing it as a pitcher plant- was cool, and again, very RPGish. This whole thing strikes me as an RPG encounter, and makes me wonder whether or not you have any roleplay or GM stories behind you…

    The only other major point I want to say is, I kind of felt like there was something of a celtic vibe to this. Your background might be colouring my impression a little bit, but there is stuff in it which makes me think of the fae and those kinds of cultural connotations; the idea of true names, for one, but also the fact that the first thing the Carpenter does is not eat the fairy food.
    I’m pretty sure that it’s never a good idea to eat the fairy food. Even if it’s not a thing in Celtic myth (I THINK it is?) it also has that impression of Persephone and Hades and the Pomegranates.

    I kind of feel like clash of cultures is an underlying thing here, since Carpenter feels like a non-RPG character, walking into an RPG world. And I mean that in the best of ways; I’m a fan of stories which manage to make ‘RPG setting’ into a viable thing.

    My main takeaway, therefore, is that this feels like the start of something bigger; that it’s something I can see getting a sequel and a part two (or, like all great fantasy stories, a trilogy). The biggest complaint I can level at it is that while you’ve set up two characters and their goals and given them an opportunity to show their skills, their stories – Ulla finding her mark, and Carpenter finding what happened their people- are only just starting. I really, really want to see a sequel to this, where you continue those stories and themes.

    (Actually, this kind of makes me think of a visual novel. I’m sure that’s the kind of thing Twine is meant to be emulating, along with choose your own adventure books, so I’d be kind of itnerested to see you go all-in and create a full-on VN. Lord knows we could use more good ones translated into English that aren’t about romance and shipping…)

    So… yeah? I like this. Sequel please?

    *Orcs are the number two stock fantasy race, while Elves are number 1. Because elves are always number one. Ya can’t argue with elves.

    1. So I wrote this as part of an application to Larian Studios who made Divinity: Original Sin. It had to be set in their world, hence dwarves and elves (I cheated a bit with the Par’thee, they’re elves but weird elves). I’ve never actually played D&D though I’ve often thought I’d like it. Good catch on the Celtic influence, eating food in a fairy fort is a big no-no. If and when I do another twine game it’ll probably be a greatly expanded Ebon Death sequel as that’s my most succesful game so far.

      1. Heh. The north might not be as big into Celtic myth as the south, but we ARE the guys who have Irish Hercules. Also I ended up researching Celtic stuff for some prospective fantasy/novel-writing, and a lot of A Song of Ice and Fire meta-analyses references it, so osmosis and what not.

        Looking forward to the sequel though! I shall now start a betting pool on whether this will be an actionized sequel alá James Cameron, or if you will make the Predators the villains as part of the Unshaved Mouse Twineverse, complete with post-credits sequences building up to a version of Alien vs Predator that doesn’t suck.

        My only major comment? If you do want to expand, I’d suggest looking into visual novels! I’m totally being selfish here, since I want more of those that don’t suck, but one of the problems I find with Twine is the lack of a save function. I feel like that kind of bottlenecks the story some; if you include too many scenes and make the script too long, it can end up making it difficult for the readers to replay it and get all the endings, I think.

        …then again, I’m speaking from a position of absolute ignorance, so probably best to ignore me :p Point is, more games please. Also more reviews.
        Basically, more of the things. More of the things is good.

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