I've had a hell of a morning. I haven't even eaten breakfast yet. I don't care if Baba goes back to the third hell, he's going somewhere that's not here. So I eye up the two lizard-beasts, which are sitting quietly in the middle of the path, and decide that the one the clever scout was riding is fatter. Working as fast as I can, I cut its throat as blood-offering to my father. Does Baba take it and go quietly back to his rest? Anyone should answer.
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When I bound my father's spirit as an instrument of death, I knew what I was getting into. I was so sure of myself. I was a fool. "Baba," I say, standing firm against the storm. "It's time to sleep now." Does he heed me and go quietly back to his rest? Anyone should answer.
They might kill me here. I throw my head back and howl the summoning-name of the ghost I have burned into my mind, and it rises around us, ashen and terrible, ready to do violence to everything in its path. Do I have a chance to get away? Anyone should answer.
Then gods never have. I barely parry the other scout's sword, and they knock me off of my lizard, so that we're both sprawling in the dirt. I might be able to fight free. I throw a handful of dirt in their eyes. Do they recoil and let go? Anyone should answer.
This is the first killing I've done since I embarked on my pilgrimage. I haven't lost my touch, I see. I take the lizard-beast's reins and pull it to a sharp halt. How does the other scout react to their partner's death?
My sister died at the Battle of Lion's Jaws. She was always a far, far better warrior than me, but I survived, and I watched her body burn with the rest.
I put this aside. We were just girls.
With my muscles protesting the strain I've put them through already today, I choose my moment and drop down onto broad back of the clever scout's lizard-beast. The animal merely grunts at the added weight--but the scout, for once, looks surprised. My knife is drawn, and I might be able to overpower her. Does she die?
I look back and realize what I've done. I've got a choice: turn back, cower, and wait for them to pass, or face them down. If I can take the clever one quickly, the dull one may be too frightened to face me. I draw my knife and get into position above where their lizard-beasts will pass. What about the clever scout seems familiar to me, in the heartbeat before I strike? Anyone should answer.
I look up and see the point. I don't like my chances, but I can't risk losing them, only to have them come back en masse, and with some idea of the direction I'm heading. I think, briefly, on summoning the ghost I've bound to me--but the situation isn't that dire, not yet.
And if I kill them, I can take their lizards.
I'm going to kill them. It's nothing personal.
As I scramble up to the top of the boulders and watch their approach, the focused scout looks around as though she wants to rein in her lizard and turn around. What has alerted her to the danger about to befall her? Anyone should answer.
As the scholar-poets say: sometimes it do be like that.
I rest in the hollow of a rock and peek out at the two riders who have emerged from the grasses to hunt for me: the one whose beast did not become distracted is loudly admonishing her partner, the one who did. I begin scrambling up the hill--if I can lose them on the other side, perhaps I'll have another half-day before they can catch up to me. Is there a place ahead where I might ambush them?
The codes have changed since I was a young woman in the army, but the great beasts have not: inevitably, one of them becomes distracted by some passing breeze, its rider has to rein it in, and I take the chance to run for the low, rocky hill I see in the distance. I catch my breath. Two months on this pilgrimage, doing what penance I can, and I've been hunted like a dog every step of the way. I served the young king's mother faithfully, I think--why has he sworn vengeance on me?
I fought for the old queen’s army, I should know their whistles and calls, but their meanings elude me in my old age. The night was long and sleepless, and I am exhausted. I stay low and move slowly, but I can hear their beasts moving near, crushing the grasses under their massive feet. Is there a place ahead where I might lose them?
The ravens flew northward, in the direction of safety from the king's riders--but the City of Gulls is far to the south, and to the south I must go. I start off cautiously down the narrow path, shouldering my pack and making sure my old knife is strapped to my belt. Have the riders definitely seen me?
I’m a warrior seeking peace and an end to bloodshed. I’m on a pilgrimage to the Temple to No Gods in the distant City of Gulls. My pilgrimage has brought me to the Gray Hills, inhabited by the encamped army of a king who has sworn vengeance upon me. My goal is to pass safely through and continue my pilgrimage.
You, my friends online, play the world. Your goal is to see me to my doom, instead of safely on my way. You’re allowed only to directly answer my direct questions, though, so you might not be able to do it.
1. Only answer my questions.
2. If you don’t already know the answer, make something up.
3. Keep your answers short.
4. If your answer’s disruptive, I’m allowed to ignore it.
5. Otherwise, I have to go with the first answer somebody gives. I’ll like it.
6. You may subscribe to this thread if you like. Please use the sentence ‘no gods watch over you’ to do so.
I have the summoning-name of a ghost burned into my memory and instincts honed by a life of violence. I have been walking through the Gray Hills for two days, and I am packing up the meager camp I've made in some tall, stooped grasses in the shadow of a gutted sentry-tower.
Something warns me of approaching danger. What warns me? Anyone should answer.
Wow, that hack sounds incredibly like my shit! If this mystery individual would like playtesters at some point in the mystery future... dot dot dot.
I just bought and am reading through Polaris now, and first of all, I want to play the heck out of this--I know I've watched like the first hour of a stream of it, but it was a million years ago--and am wondering what a hack could look like. I'm thinking "outer space!" but that's always my first thought.
I mean, we've all had ideas for PbtA or FitD or Belonging Outside Belonging or Lasers & Feelings hacks, but there's tons of systems out there that don't have a thousand hacks to their names. What are some of the ones you wish would get hacked a little more often, or at all? Here's mine:
- Psi*Run: I think interesting things could be done with the Risk Sheet! There's an alternative universe where this, and not PbtA, became the Big Indie Hacking Phenomenon, and I want a peek into that universe.
- Downfall: I'm biased because I've hacked it. As an engine for telling sad stories about inevitable doom, it's calibrated to perfection.
- Questlandia: I've only read the book and listened to an actual play of Noirlandia, and it looks like it'd be long and involved to hack (not unlike at least one popular engine I can think of), but I think it'd be cool to see!
- The Quiet Year: I wonder what a full-fledged hack of this would look like. Lots of list-making, for sure.
I don't think I've regularly used a forum since... junior year of high school? Maybe? So like 2007. I was obsessed with the work of some author and got Involved with her forum for a few months. I used forums all through junior high, though, starting in like seventh grade, and then I fell off them for other platforms.
Games... If you absolutely have to play a game, the trick is to salt it at least an hour before cooking, but preferably more, even overnight; and then to pound it out to about 1/4-inch thickness. A mallet works best, but honestly, if worst comes to worst, just get a big can and beat it up until it's where you want it to be. But honestly, why go to all that effort?
6079 words. Guess who got sick and had to work through being sick!! Guess who has come home exhausted for the last three nights. Me. It's me. Tonight I managed to scrape together enough brain cells to know that I have to scale this back one more time--what I scraped out is assuredly going to make an interesting game someday, just not this game, and that's okay. Visions are meant to change. I also know sort of how this ends, and that is in blood, tears, lesbians, and fungi, but not necessarily in that order. There's an outline. I'll have it done by the deadline.
That second picture up there is last year's Big Twine Game vs. this year's Big Twine Game. Haha! Bye. Today I finished sub-story (route?) 2/4. I also got my roommate to play through it and see if she could find any formatting errors
- Re-write the whole ass beginning
- Write stories 3 and 4
- Add cross-referential bits to the various sub-stories
- Cry because I'm a withered husk of a person
Eventually, you come to a place where the walls of the chasm are so far out you can hardly find them, and your hand brushes something. You scream and wake <<$compn>>, who grabs you around the waist and tries to haul you up.
But you don't let her. Your light is nothing, in this leviathan blackness. You push more power into it, and you see that what you've found is not the end of the chasm, it goes down beyond this, it never ends, you're sure of this by now. What you have found are [[tree roots, infinitely long, stretching out from the dark.|river19]]
4,039 words. Today: we grind. I fixed my dang CSS, got everything I'd written in google docs into Twine, got it formatted, and wrote a shitload more. To have a functional game by the end of the work period, I may have to scale it back again, but you know what, I've got until next Sunday, I can pull this off.
Oh hey! Someone else doing a twine game! I agree on super-long paragraphs and bad formatting in general being a thing that makes me back out of twine games; passages should be... digestible, imo. (This is not to say that I'm not guilty of long ass passages, but.) This looks really cool so far!
Word count: don't look at me, I'm so tired. No, uh, I sat down and wrote 550 words in an hour after work, which is pretty much on pace for me. Here's a problem I've identified: theoretically, someone playing this can play the routes in roughly any order (1 or 2 first, or 3 and 4 first.) But! I'm writing them in an order. I guess the challenge is in revealing different parts of the world in each without rehashing things I've revealed in other paths.
- Finish the river path
- Write the clearings, valley, and cave paths
- TOMORROW NIGHT: start getting what I have into Twine, ffs.
I did not do a thing today except make a draft of what will eventually be the game's cover image. I like it so far, but I will probably change it like five times before I post the game!
Uhhh like 1000 words? As it turns out, writing this in google docs was a good idea. Probably? I can code later. In a perfect world I'd be doing in Notepad++. The "bit of code" I was talking about yesterday was the cycling link macro from here, which is a blessing and which I'm linking here so I don't lose it. Anyway, it's going fine. I want to start putting this into twine proper by the weekend. Today I figured out the structure of the thing, which looks like this aggressively garbage MS Paint diagram:
- Keep writing, mostly. I need to be at my actual computer before I start putting together the game proper.
Thank you! I'm trying to take all the lessons I've learned from simpler games and apply them to this more complicated one. (Also, if you want to play a quick one, try "The Sun in High Dignity"! You can get through it in under ten minutes, I think.)
303 words. I'm not on my actual computer, so instead of writing this directly in Twine I'm doing this in a google doc. I don't know if this is going to make it take longer, but I do know that rearranging text will be a lot easier if it's not stuck in tiny boxes.
- write more.
- hunt down the code I used for "a planet of certain mass," you know, that one, with the clicking
- figure out how to do whole ass image backgrounds in twine 1 for the aesthetic (this should not be hard)
- implement having a choice of a chill butch swordswoman assistant or a nervewracking sorceress assistant, which will change the story in small ways here and there
Wow this is cool! I've never played anything like this and I look forward to it. I make games in Twine, but I've looked at Ren'py as the next step up... anyway, hope your back injury feels better and that things go smoothly!
Wow, that prose is rough. Whatever. Here we go.
THE ENGINE: Twine 1.
THE PREMISE: Some sort of fantasy vaguely 1890s-level tech city. A mysterious greenhouse emerges from the ground, magically displaces an entire factory district, plunks itself down, and does absolutely nothing. You're a wizard professor sent by the city and your university, along with an assistant, to investigate the greenhouse, assess whether it's a threat, and take samples from the inside.
Needless to say, It's Much Bigger On The Inside.
Well, I'm starting this on vacation, which is nice. (The not-nice thing is that my internet access in the place I'm staying is garbage!) I've been brainstorming this for the past week, and I've spent the last two days doing further brainstorming/outlining. What I want to do is model this as a severely scaled down version of porpentine's howling dogs--in the sense that it's a series of... stories linked by a central hub that you return to, and which changes gradually as you go through the sub-stories.
The original plan was to have there be three sub-stories: a trip through high mountain, deep forest, and the chaparral. I was sitting down and working out story beats for each one, and went, "oh, this is too much, I should scale it back, I only have two weeks to do this shit," so it may be only a trip through the forest and a mountain. The chaparral is fascinating, though, and if time permits I may put it back in.
I've only barely started putting this into twine. I'm excited to do something a little more complicated than just a short story with some clicky bits!
p.s. it's gonna be gay