On the grounds that many of you are not going to be buying a CoG game, and on the grounds that I want to show you how ChoiceScript does cool things with choice design and branching, I will be running Tally Ho here, my own game.
If you would like to play, just chime on what choice you'd like, and when I feel like it (I'll do it a few times a day if at least three people voted) I'll post the next section and update the stats.
Let's Plays are the most fun when people talk about their choices and why they are making them, but there's no pressure--you can simply vote if you like. Anyone can join in or drop out as they wish.
The rule: Vote by replying to the section with the choice you are voting on. Votes elsewhere will not be recorded. General comments can reply to this initial message.
Don't reply to this messsage. I will update it as we go along.
We have stats in this game. Feel free to ignore these if you don't care about stats.
Soothing: 41%/Abrasive: 59%
Aunt Primrose: 46%
Ready Monies: 65
Bold is a measure of both your physical derring-do and your ability to act in a vigorous manner. It would include both leaping from high places and interrupting the prime minister.
Culture is a measure of your aesthetic sophistication, your etiquette, and your ability to act. It would include impersonating a duchess, setting a table correctly, and quoting a poem accurately.
Intellect is a measure of your raw problem-solving ability, including your ability to put clues together and play chess. It would include recall of important information, and solving a puzzle.
Observe is a measure of your ability to spot things or to read subtle behavior cues. It would include noting a tiny but telltale mud stain on a cuff and finding the apricot preserves way in the back of a crowded larder.
Persuade is a measure of your overall ability to get people to see things your way, a key skill for anyone in domestic service. It would include getting someone to discard an offensive pair of shoes.
Skullduggery is a measure of your ability to do all of the things you aren't supposed to do, or doing things in a surreptitious manner. It would include elaborate ruses, lock picking, or sleight of hand.
Soothing/Abrasive is a sliding measure of the way people perceive your general affect. A Soothing servant puts people at ease, often telling them what they want to hear, while an Abrasive servant challenges people and is more willing to buck social norms. Some people like one, some like the other, and some like it in between.
The above qualities are very often tested together. So, for example, trying to publically humiliate someone by outsmarting them might be Abrasive and Intellect. A particularly bold lie might be both Bold and Skullduggery. Attempting to pass yourself off as the mayor might be a combination of Culture, Observe, and Persuade.
Expect to see these qualities rated between 25-75 for most of the game. Lower than 30 is subpar; a 40 is above the norm; a 60 is notably good; a 75 is breathtaking and worthy of approbation in the finest clubs and dining establishments.
Readies is a rather abstract measure of the amount of money available to you at the moment.
Renown is a measure of your astonishing performance as a servant. Doing something striking, glorious, or simply intriguing will raise Renown. Doing things that make you look foolish will lower Renown. A servant with high Renown will eventually find that they have doors opened to them that otherwise would remain firmly closed.
Tranquility is a measure of your ability to make things easier for people. It is a wondrous and ephemeral quality, which can accrue even when nobody is looking, when you do a deed to ease someone's path.
Suspicion is a measure of to what extent you are seen as a potential criminal by those in authority. A high Suspicion may have an unfortunate effect on your future employment.
Standing at the front window of your employer's flat, you take a moment's respite from your cleaning tasks to enjoy the sights and sounds of a late October afternoon in the better part of London.
A cool breeze wafts through the window almost playfully, as if to say all is well with the world—but the moment does not last, as a groan issues from the master bedroom, followed by a muffled crash and then a sort of whimper.
Your employer, Rory Wintermint, was out quite late last night, and was helped back to the flat by some friends, in what might be termed an "impaired state" after an evening's carousing. You have taken advantage of the morning's quiet to do some tidying, all of the ironing, and the dishes. Now it is late afternoon, and your employer appears to have finally awakened.
Another groan and some incoherent gurgles emerge as you stride to the kitchen and prepare Rory's tray.
What is on the tray you have prepared?
1. A hearty platter of seeded rye toast with butter, three link sausages, four scrambled eggs with a dash of hot pepper, and two large mugs of extraordinarily strong black coffee.
2. A calming cup of chamomile tea and an antacid tablet.
3. A cocktail cunningly designed to ease Rory's hangover.
4. An attractive iris in a bud vase and a cup of fragrant oolong tea.
My guess is that Gower wouldn't swoop so low as to have predictable stat padding choices, that is to say, I don't think these four tie to the first four stats.
I imagine it might be something like:
Granted, I have no idea, and feel I could swap some things, but I guess we'll find out soon enough...
Anyway, because the choice is already clear, I'll just go with Option 3. They all have their appeals, but I do think establishing a cunning ability to solve problems is good... but I won't complain about the first option winning.
e - although I will say that looking at the stats again, I might've been trying to overthink it...
I want to increase our skullduggery stat so 3.
And everyone else playing should do likewise.
Awh! This looks fun!!! I'll go with 1, because if Rory's not particularly hungry, then I can steal the leftovers! ^_^
Probably 1. But hey, he may pitch a fit that we didn't supply him with his favorite oolong tea. Only time will tell.
After a night on the town, Rory will need a hearty breakfast and a great deal of coffee to get through the day with some measure of coherence. You ensure that more water is boiling, in case additional coffee needs to be brought to bear.
You began working for Rory about five years ago, when you answered an advertisement in the back of a fashionable monthly magazine asking for…
1…a man who could serve as a gentleman's gentleman.
2…a woman who could serve as a lady's maid.
3…a person who could serve as a lady's servant.
4…a person who could serve as a gentleman's servant.
This choice will set our character's sex, Rory's sex, and also make some other changes in the game. The "person" choices are nonbinary.)
(Bold +11; Soothing -5)
Well, I would go with 2, but it looks like I'll be very highly outvoted, so I'll back Mayana and go with 4. Nonbinary butler FTW! ^_^
Option 1, very clearly. Trying to be the very best Alfred I can, sounds grand.
…a man who could serve as a gentleman's gentleman.
Rory Wintermint was a young man of the leisure class, known amongst those in service as a person of whom something might be made if the right valet took him in hand firmly.
The advertised position noted that the position would require some simple cooking and light housekeeping, in addition to maintaining Rory's sartorial elegance.
As the position looked acceptable, and you were presently in search of gainful employment after leaving the Cygnet-Signet family's employ, you wrote a letter of interest, and were gratified to receive a request for an interview.
The interview, as you recall, was not a grueling one. Rory was sitting at his piano, idly playing the first few notes of a popular tune, sipping a clear cocktail, and glancing briefly at the letter you had written.
"Good morning," Rory said. "Now, I'm not really what you would call an interviewing expert. But let's have a go and see what you're all about. You can't be worse than the last three blighters. If I seem out of sorts, it's because my well-meaning-but-meddling Aunt Primrose has wagered that I would be unable to quit smoking, which I have done successfully. Indeed, I have quit smoking every day for the past two weeks. Today makes two hours in a row that I've gone without. But she seems to feel that she's won the wager. Tell me, what is your opinion of interfering aunts?"
That was his first question to you when you met five years ago. How did you respond?
1. I sympathized with him regarding this Aunt Primrose, saying she sounded difficult to please but clearly loves him.
2. I spoke out rather directly on how sensible such an aunt sounds, and that she ought to be obeyed.
3. I told him in no uncertain terms that Aunt Primrose sounded like a menace to all right-thinking people.
4. I said, "Indeed, sir?"
My apologies Master Rory, I have no previous experience with interfering aunts, as all my previous Masters have been orphans with no other family connections and a penchant for destroying all my well-polished furniture with their bat related antics... So, 4 it shall be.
(Also kind of hoping that "Indeed, sir?" is going to be a viable option for every dialogue choice.) ^_^
After long contemplation, I'm also going to say Option 4. I'm not sure it's what Alfred would say, but since he doesn't have a relationship with Rory yet, he has not yet built up positive regard, I'll say the more hidden response. When Alfred had something negative to say, he rather didn't like to say it.
To me, "Indeed sir?" sounds like a butler's go to option when what they really mean is, "Sorry sir, I wasn't listening, but you're my boss, so I agree with whatever it is you said."
I said, "Indeed, sir?"
Rory paused to see if you intended to continue, and seeing that you were remaining respectfully silent, charged forward. "Very much indeed, I should say. I'm in my prime, and she need not make idle wagers with me to influence my behavior."
Rory looked around for a pen to make a note and, finding none, took a drink. "Now, let me see, what did you say your name was? I suppose I should have asked that first. I imagine it says somewhere on your letter, but I seem to have misplaced it."
"My given name is…"
5. I'll make up my own first name.
Do you even need to ask? :p
"My given name is Alfred," you said. "However, naturally, I am accustomed to being addressed by my surname, which is…"
5 I'll make up my own last name.
Hmm... I don't know. Alfred Poppins actually sounds kind of tempting. :p
But... But he could have a flying umbrella and everything!
And apparently he can fit, maintain and repair stoves too. ^_^
Outstanding. 5: Pennywise.
"Very good, very good, Pennyworth," Rory said. "Now let me see. There are particular sorts of questions one asks in this situation. What would you say your best quality is?"
1. "People find themselves fond of me. I have an inimitable way about me that is difficult to resist."
2. "I am well versed in the liberal arts. One might call me something of a polymath."
3. "It has been said of me that I have a keen and penetrating mind. One that I would be pleased to use in your service."
4. "Very little eludes my notice, sir. You might say that I am rather detail-oriented."
5. "I speak my mind in nearly all circumstances."
3, because we must impart our genius onto Rory so that he can become Batman. ^_^
1 because who the hell doesnt love Alfred, or Pennywise.
Same reason as Mizals reasoning for Chris reasoning
5. An unending supply of venomous sass is an adventurer's greatest resource.
... However, if this option never comes to a head (and it likely won't) consider this a vote for 4, as was government mandate.
"Very little eludes my notice, sir. You might say that I am rather detail-oriented."
"Is that so? Then perhaps you wouldn't mind a little test?"
"Not at all."
"Where are my slippers? I've been looking for them all morning."
"They are wedged beneath the cushions of your sofa, sir. I noticed them when I first stepped in."
"Is that so?" Rory turned around, spotting them. "Why would they be there?"
"I could not say."
"I think you've demonstrated your skill. Impressive."
Rory thought for a moment. "Ah, I have a firecracker of a question. This is a real tough one, so prepare yourself. What is your worst quality? Be honest now."
1. "I have an unfortunate habit of lying and stealing, given the opportunity, often without due thought or reflection."
2. "My work consumes me at times, to the exclusion of other things."
3. "I'm reluctant to challenge authority at times."
4. "A tendency to become overly…emotionally involved with my employer. And I just cannot hide my emotions when they arise."
This is a tough one. I feel like 3 is the most interesting flaw out of the bunch for a protagonist to have. 4 feels like it could lead to some entertaining circumstances, too. I get the feeling that 2's going to win because we must be batman, but my vote personally goes to 1, in the interest of being skullduggerous enough to support the sort of options that I might vote for in future.
We appear to have a defective Billionaire.
Option 2 is a definitive Alfred fact.
4, im playing me not alfred
Option 3 is the most interesting and enjoyable IMO. Let's be a proper butler.
Let’s go with 2.
"My work consumes me at times, to the exclusion of other things."
"Work too hard, eh?" Rory said. "You know, that's actually a good quality, when you think about it. What a clever answer. You've managed to turn my difficult question regarding your potential flaw into something that speaks well of you. Well done, Pennyworth. I like a focused worker."
Rory briefly considered, and then stood. "Well, I feel like I've gotten a fairly good sense of your personality. Now, I seem to remember that you have a fascinating hobby. Tell me about it while I put my shoes on."
"Indeed, sir, before entering service, I developed an interest that might have some slight bearing on this position, which I thought worthy of mention."
What was your fascinating hobby?
1. I have had some training in boxing.
2. I assisted my cousin in her art gallery.
3. I was a jewel thief…which perhaps I won't say outright.
4. As a child, I was a performer in a traveling circus—a lion tamer.
(Note that this choice, in addition to stat changes, will open/close some options and affect the story)
(Also, hilariously, the weakness you chose harmed your Observe stat which you chose for your strength. So you have an all-rounder, which is actually not at all a bad thing. But your hobby choice will affect stats as well.)
Sounds like we're minmaxing.
By the way, if I may shamelessly hijack my own thread, if you are reading this, and you haven't yet, please rate my CYS storygame unless you hate it, in which case let us pretend we never had this conversation. I want to get to 50 ratings! Here.
I mean, 1, of course. But 3 is a close second. 4 is pretty cool too. Really, anything but 2.
I have had some training in boxing.
"I could offer some measure of personal protection, having had some experience in fisticuffs, sir."
Rory considered carefully. "This is most unusual."
"Yes, sir. I do not suggest that it is typical."
"I'm not often involved in what you would call melee, or a fracas. Is fracas the word I want?"
"I believe so, sir."
"And yet it doesn't hurt to be prepared. Your experience interests me strangely. Consider me intrigued."
Rory paused for a moment with eyes closed, seemed to make a decision, and then stood up.
"I say, I'm going to pop round to the tobacconist's for a moment. It's just downstairs. Make yourself comfortable. I won't be a moment."
Rory was out for ten minutes. What did you do in that ten minutes that made him hire you at once?
1. I tidied his living room, making neat stacks of his papers, carefully organizing the sheet music on the piano, and arranging his books by author and subject.
2. I mixed him a refreshing pomegranate champagne cocktail, a popular drink amongst the cognoscenti.
3. I followed him, and convinced him not to purchase cigarettes.
4. I simply began unpacking my belongings in the servant's room and making myself at home.
This decision is really interesting. I want to give this some thought. If we can assert that our Alfred can compell Rory to change his lifestyle and make better decisions, we might should do so.
I don't think there is a bad option here, but Number 2 isn't an Alfred thing to do.
Let's go with 4
1. I normally hate when people come organize my shit for me, but obviously we have some sort of superpower if we can do that all in 10 minutes, and it's a superpower I want.
I tidied his living room, making neat stacks of his papers, carefully organizing the sheet music on the piano, and arranging his books by author and subject.
Mr. Wintermint had a decidedly eclectic attitude towards decoration. Most of his belongings seemed to have been acquired on impulse from persuasive door-to-door salespersons. A trombone, for example, stood leaning against the wall, next to a slightly spindled original replica print of an etching of a water lily. An overturned teacup threatened to drip tea on the print, so you mopped up the spill, and dried the floor.
Stacks of books, many of them long overdue to the circulating library, filled the floor. Many of them had bookmarks in them at about the tenth page. You organized these, and put the ones that were due to be returned in a stack by the door.
You were sorting his papers by urgency, amount of money due, and the party to whom the money is due, when Rory returned, cheerfully puffing on a cigarette.
"Good Lord," he said. "You are a wonder, Pennyworth. You're hired."
"Thank you, sir. I already took the liberty of discarding the other applicants' letters."
And Now, Five Years Later
Laden tray in hand, you open the door to the suffering Rory's bedroom.
"Your tray, sir."
"Oh, thank heavens, Pennyworth. You are a celestial messenger bearing tidings of great joy unto me."
You place the tray on the bed, and Rory attempts to heave himself to a sitting position, but then flops back on the pillow, clutching his head.
"I am not well, Pennyworth," Rory intones. "I will likely die before sundown. If I die, I leave you half my kingdom."
"Very good, sir. But before that dreadful event, I wonder if you might care for a beverage."
Rory catches wind of the feast you have arranged for him and seems to perk up.
"The coffee…is that freshly ground?"
"Of course, sir. Finely ground, a dark roast, from Colombia, I believe."
Rory makes a mighty effort and grasps one of the mugs of coffee, drinking deeply. After a deep draught, Rory tucks into the food with a will, while you replace various things knocked off shelves since your last tidying.
"That's the stuff!" Rory says at last, with a contented sigh.
Rory suddenly makes a sour face and claps his hand to his forehead. "Is today Thursday? I had completely forgotten. Aunt Primrose is coming to dinner tonight! She rang up the other day and, like an ass, I said, 'Very well.' We'll have to work swiftly, Pennyworth."
He leaps up, and you whip the tray away so that its contents don't spill. Rory rushes to the vast wardrobe and begins to pull clothes out of it haphazardly.
"As you well know, Pennyworth, thanks to the proviso in my father's will, my Aunt Primrose holds control over all of my money whilst I remain unmarried. Now, this is not usually a problem, as Aunt Primrose sends off my monthly checks as steady as can be. But, this month, I seem to have dug myself into a bit of a trench, debt-wise."
"How so, sir?"
"It's a funny thing, actually. I was absolutely certain of this one particular horse in the third race. They called him Surefire. Can they do that? Isn't that false advertising? At any rate, I spent the whole monthly check on Surefire, and it was not to be. And now the bill collectors are coming round and demanding that I render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, as the fellow says. We may have some small risk of having thuggish debt collectors arrive with lead pipes."
1. "If it helps in any way, I would be willing to work for free this month, sir."
2. "If any debt collectors show up, I'll see them out. Never you fear about that, sir."
3. "Ah…I understand the importance of Aunt Primrose's visit."
4. "Most distressing, sir, to be sure."
Option 2, sir. Might as well put those boxing lessons to use. I'll give them the old one two, by Jove. ^_^
It has been. Taking the boxer background hurts your intellect (clearly some blows to the head over the years), but buffs your bold and your observe.
2. Let's put those boxing skills to use!
EDIT: Briar had the exact same idea. But the point still stands!
Two votes for #2, two votes for #3, one vote for #4.
#4. It's the most soothing option and our butler could be like a nice cup of liquid Xanax.
I declare that in the case of intractable ties, the person with the most points voting for one of the tied for first place option wins. That is Avery, voting for #2. So #2 it is.
"If any debt collectors show up, I'll see them out. Never you fear about that, sir."
"I have no doubt that you will protect my person," says Rory, gently, smiling at you. "But the issue at hand is deeper and wider. No, Pennyworth, we need money, and lots of it, quickly."
"I see," you say, considering carefully. "If I might make a suggestion: your aunt might be more inclined to be generous with her funds, were we to offer her an exquisite dinner. She is known to appreciate a hearty meal."
"Hm," says Rory, mulling this over. "Get her in a right jolly mood with refreshments, and then touch her for the money to the extent possible. I think we should be able to handle that. Now let's see about some clothes."
Rory considers and rejects a number of articles of clothing one by one.
"Pennyworth, where on earth is my lavender plus fours with the checks? I want to wear my spats with it."
You take a moment to consider your answer.
1. "I took the liberty of discarding that outfit with yesterday's rubbish, sir. May I suggest an outfit less…sudden in its effect?" I say, calmly.
2. "Yes; note carefully, sir: it is of course mixed in with the outfits for fancy dress balls. Permit me."
3. "An unstylish choice, I'm afraid, sir, but would you permit me to offer a more modish selection?"
I'm going to choose Option 3
Option 1, sir. It is my belief that a true gentleman always wears black. (And sometimes very, very dark grey) ^_^
Yey for Lego! ^_^
"I took the liberty of discarding that outfit with yesterday's rubbish, sir. May I suggest an outfit less…sudden in its effect?" I say, calmly.
"It was the only way to be certain that it was gone forever, sir."
"That was my favorite outfit!"
"It was most unsuitable. It offended the eye, and repulsed all who beheld you. I held my tongue, but I feel now it is my duty to speak up."
Rory seems rather irritated, and finally pulls out a simple waist-seam coat and white flannel trousers.
"I am unaccustomed to having my clothing discarded," Rory says. "I assume you approve of this ensemble?"
"Much better," you say, and help Rory into his far more appropriate outfit.
Finally dressed, Rory strolls into the living room, and slumps onto the easy chair, plucking up a book from the end table.
"We have plans to make, Pennyworth. Dinner must be cooked, and I must finish this god-awful book."
Rory holds the book up. "Releasing the Hidden Potential of Your Hitherto-Unawakened Mind in 12 Easy Steps, by Professor Clarence Q. Hickory. It's my opinion that this Professor Hickory is an ass of the first order. Listen to this excerpt."
"…there are several primal mechanisms by which emotional energies that lie dormant, perhaps suppressed by the desire to cleave to social norms, may be brought forward and thus integrated into one's personality. However, in order for psychoanalytic intervention to be effective, the patient must regress through a series of archetypical stages, to shed or replay four psychodramatic stages, to recapitulate one's phylogeny via ontogeny, as Ernst Haeckel has demonstrated."
Rory looks up. "Why Aunt Primrose felt I needed to read this drivel is beyond me. It seems to be in no particular order whatsoever. Just a series of words helter-skelter across the page. She's certain to quiz me on it, and I need to have some semblance of an answer. Does it mean a thing to you at all?"
1. Volunteer to read the book myself and give Rory the highlights.
2. Aid Rory in bluffing his way through a discussion of the book.
3. Encourage Rory by saying that the book is surely within his capacity to read and understand.
Sounds right to me
Option 3, sir. I shall fetch the thesaurus presently.
3. While I'm not sure about this whole Batman plan, we'll definitely have to make Rory our foil. He can be the smart, fast-talking, but ultimately clueless everyman, while we can be the big dumb badass with a taste for the finer things.
Encourage Rory by saying that the book is surely within his capacity to read and understand.
"But surely you should be able to read and comprehend it given enough time," you say. "It may be complex, but it should be well within your capacity. At least, to a certain extent. Or, to put it a different way, it's well worth the effort, even if you fail." This isn't quite coming out the way you intended it.
Rory flops down on the sofa. "It's no use, Pennyworth. I can hear your meaning behind the mask of your well-meant words."
"I didn't mean to suggest…"
"No, no." Rory waves your words away. "You spoke from your heart. I am not learned. Aunt Primrose—and you—will have to accept me, warts and all."
Tying on your apron, you step into the kitchen and begin to consider your options for dinner. You make a quick calculation, taking into account the ingredients at your disposal and the time you have remaining before the arrival of the notoriously punctual Aunt Primrose.
As you see it, you have three options. Aunt Primrose's favorite dish is veal ragout with truffles and apricot compote, but she is finicky about it, and it is not a simple dish.
You could also make roast beef au jus with haricots verts, which is certainly simpler, although less impressive.
Finally, in a pinch, you could make a cheese omelet, and shave the truffles onto it. Aunt Primrose might be unimpressed, but at least it's quickly cooked and difficult to make badly.
What should you cook?
1. Veal ragout with truffles and apricot compote.
2. Roast beef au jus with haricots verts.
3. Cheese omelet with rosemary and shaved truffles.
Option 1, sir. How hard can it be? I'll just shove some mince meat in the oven, put some alphabet spaghetti in a pan and tip a couple of petit filous on top. ^_^
I looked it up on google and it said "The french expression they use to describe your body type", so I guess deepmind knows too much.
I'd prefer 2. Not because we have a higher chance of success, but because dammit, that sounds more delicious than either of the other dishes combined.
Roast beef au jus with haricots verts.
The roast beef is clearly the best choice. While it isn't Aunt Primrose's favorite, it is a significantly less fussy meal to cook, and as you know all too well, a poorly cooked meal would be certain to put Aunt Primrose in a truly grouchy mood. It would be wiser to cook a simpler, more dependable meal.
You begin to gather the ingredients for the roast beef. Wait a moment. What about dessert?
1. Chocolate mousse would go well, and it's fairly easy to whip up.
2. A port-poached pear tart with homemade raspberry-streaked crème fraîche.
3. Let's skip dessert.
2, again, because I don't care if it's fancy. It's clearly the most delicious one!
2 Obviously, 1 is inhumane save the turtles!! I mean mice. And skipping desert is also inhumane.
A port-poached pear tart with homemade raspberry-streaked crème fraîche.
A fancy, complex dessert will be just the thing to mollify Aunt Primrose, and a tart is both visually pleasing and a tasty conclusion to the meal.
You square your shoulders, take a deep breath, and begin to cook dinner, as Rory paces back and forth in the living room, gnawing on a fingernail, and looking out the window tensely.
You pick up the knife, and…
…what would you say is your general approach to cooking?
1. Playful and improvisational.
2. Careful attention to a popular recipe, ensuring a comforting familiarity.
3. Irritated and slapdash, filled with shortcuts and work-arounds.
Option 2... And tehehehe... Tarts are visually pleasing. ^_^
2 without a doubt.
Careful attention to a popular recipe, ensuring a comforting familiarity.
You pick up the knife, and with no small measure of precision, you begin to finely mince fresh herbs, sorting them into carefully organized piles; you then measure out all of the ingredients and place all necessary utensils within easy reach.
After a great deal of hard work, you have a dinner to be proud of. Your roast beef looks just like the roast beef in the cookbook you referred to as you worked. It may have taken you a while, but you are confident in your results.
You smile with satisfaction as all the ingredients come together to make a feast that is certain to please.
"My word, Pennyworth," cries Rory, peeking into the kitchen. "You've outdone yourself! The aroma alone is feast enough. Hordes of angry men, women, and children from three blocks distant must be fetching battering rams to force entry and take a seat at my table." As Rory watches, you plate the roast beef with enviable precision, and add the garnish, per the recipe.
"And dessert, too!" Rory exclaims. "Aunt Primrose is bound to practically levitate off her seat with delight and whimsy. Well, well, well."
Forty minutes later, an imperious ring of the doorbell announces the arrival of Aunt Primrose (or as she is more correctly addressed, Mrs. Primrose Patterson, née Wintermint, the sister of Rory's father). Rory leaps up as you open the door for Aunt Primrose.
She strides into the middle of the room, in her rather smart-looking long, dark green jacket with brass buttons and dark green skirt, and a broad hat with flowers on it. Aunt Primrose is a tall woman who gives the impression of taking up thrice as much space as she rightly ought to.
"Hallo, Rory!" she barks cheerfully, handing you her parasol and hat. "Good day, Pennyworth. You're looking well. Better than Rory, at any rate, whom I see you have managed to drag out of bed before nightfall. Well done!"
She casts a critical eye up and down Rory. "You look less foolish than usual. I assume that's your doing?" she says, looking at you. You give her the most imperceptible of nods. "Well, well, well. You look somewhat presentable."
"Now, I say…" Rory begins, but Aunt Primrose hushes him with a wave of her hand as she eases herself into a chair.
"You're looking very well, Aunt Primrose," Rory says.
"And what is this?" she says, ignoring him. "What sort of trash are you filling your mind with?" She leans down and plucks down a slender, garishly illustrated novel from off a shelf.
"It is a very well-regarded piece of literature, perhaps the best-selling series there is right now," Rory says.
"Although She Knew Better, by Miss Fifi Buttercup. The sixth volume in the How Wicked Was the Earl? series," reads Aunt Primrose, holding her lorgnette to her eyes. "Shockingly bodice ripping. Pennyworth, what do you think of Rory's taste in literature?"
1. "Actually, madam, that novel is mine, not Mr. Wintermint's. I find the work of Fifi Buttercup most illuminating."
2. "Deplorable, madam."
3. "I prefer not to say, madam."
Note that we now have a new Relationship stat: Aunt Primrose.
I don't know much about Alfred or butlery in general, but I feel as though being willing to put your (impeccable) reputation on the line for your employer is part of the job description. And if it isn't, it is now.
1 Seems like the best answer.
"Actually, madam, that novel is mine, not Mr. Wintermint's. I find the work of Fifi Buttercup most illuminating."
"Do you now?" Aunt Primrose's eyes narrow, and she shakes her head, tossing the book aside. "I must say, I had the impression that you had more sense than that. These stories of young men and women cavorting around in hedge mazes and sneaking in and out of bedrooms in the dead of night are what I would call tawdry. I did not expect a taste for the tawdry from you, Pennyworth."
"I will return it to the circulating library at the earliest opportunity," you say.
"See that you do," she says. "And see that you do not taint Rory with your ill-advised literary taste."
Rory stretches and smiles at Aunt Primrose. "Well, now, Auntie. I suppose you look pretty foolish right about now. No, my taste in literature tends towards the complex, not this sort of paltry time-waster."
"Speaking of books," Aunt Primrose says. "Where's that book I loaned you? What did you think of it? Did it stimulate that so-called brain of yours?"
Rory steeples his hands and assumes a thoughtful expression. "Ah, I believe you are referring to Releasing the Hidden Potential of Your Hitherto-Unawakened Mind in 12 Easy Steps, by Professor Clarence Q. Hickory, are you not? I have it for you just here." He hands her the book with a flourish. "Wonderful book. Excellent binding."
"Yes, I know bloody well what book I loaned you," snaps Aunt Primrose, drumming her fingers on the table. "Let me make it quite plain. I asked you to read this tome because although you have little to no intellectual merits, you have in the past demonstrated a certain honesty in your evaluations, however inarticulately expressed. This Professor Hickory approached me several weeks ago bearing a copy of this book of his, and wanted to know if he could address the Ladies' Intellectual Society, of which you know I am chairwoman. But I wanted another opinion, and you, poor sap, were the only person I could think of to ask at a moment's notice."
"And it was my pleasure to offer my assistance," says Rory.
"Did you read it?"
"Aunt Primrose, the facts of the matter are this. I was unable to satisfy you vis-à-vis the book in question."
"Specifically…I didn't read it."
"Not a word?"
"I gazed upon some of the words for a while," Rory says. "For what that's worth."
Aunt Primrose throws up her hands. "Well," she says. "What more did I expect? I only wanted a second opinion on this Professor Hickory fellow and whether he seems a good candidate to invite for a talk, but you have been no help whatsoever. Oh, buck up, young egg. You needn't weep. Auntie Primrose isn't going to scold you. Didn't I watch over you when you were a mere tadpole, and shake a rattle at you hundreds of times?"
"There now. I'll simply know better than to ask you to accomplish intellectual tasks, that's all."
Rory looks rather unhappy, and he shakes his head slowly and mournfully at you.
"Where's dinner?" cries Aunt Primrose. "I'm famished. All I had today to eat was a buttered roll at the train station."
1. Commiserate with Aunt Primrose regarding the buttered roll.
2. Inform her that she will not be disappointed about the evening's repast.
3. Offer Aunt Primrose a glass of wine as she sits down.
1 is the funniest option, I think. None of the other options imply that dinner is going to be finished anyway, so I think we should just have fun while we wait.
Read 2 as informing her that she will not be disappointed about the evening’s rapist, but then I was disappointed that was not in fact what it said.
Anyway picking 3 in the hopes of getting her drunk and being less unfun.
1. Alfred doesn't care about Aunt Primrose but he does care about the careful art of fine cusine (and I guess buttered rolls are close enough to that).
Option 3, sir. Perhaps Aunt Primose may find herself in a generous mood if we get her a little tipsy ^_^
Commiserate with Aunt Primrose regarding the buttered roll.
"Station restaurants are not what they once were," you say, as you prepare to bring out dinner.
"No, they are not. When I was a small girl, one could order pheasant under glass with cranberry preserves at the station restaurant."
You make a tsk-tsk noise as if to suggest that the glories of the world have passed you all by.
"But enough lingering over past times," says Aunt Primrose. "Let's eat."
Rory and Aunt Primrose arrange themselves at Rory's small table.
"Now, tell me, Aunt Primrose," Rory says. "Not that I do not relish the pleasure of your company with all familial duty and so forth, but why the sudden trip to London?"
"I have some things to ask you, and I wanted to ask you to your face," she says.
"Ah, that's lucky, as I have something I wanted to ask you as well," Rory says. "By way of background information, I don't suppose you've ever heard of the horse, Surefire, which ran in the third race a few days ago?"
"What are you talking about? None of your nonsense until after dinner. Ah, thank you, Pennyworth—just in time."
You bring out the food, but you are very much aware of how tense Rory is. As you serve Aunt Primrose, and then Rory, you…
1…break the tension with a conversational gambit.
2…put your hand on Rory's shoulder to comfort him.
3…stand at attention, awaiting further orders.
Option 1, sir. I do know an absolutely riviting story about a bridge. ^_^
3. Alfred is British and a British butler would never talk or touch people unless strictly required.
Cant become the dark knight of tea and crumpets if he is constantly being babied.
1, for the sake of argument!
Option 3 is the only proper butlery thing to do.
…stand at attention, awaiting further orders.
You stand respectfully behind Aunt Primrose, scanning the table to see if anything is missing. Rory is very anxious, but there is little you can do about that now.
Ah yes, you think, as you consider the table. Aunt Primrose is missing a fork. With lightning-like reflexes, you dart back to the kitchen and slip one under her hand just as she reaches for it.
"Ah, roast beef," Aunt Primrose says. "with haricots verts, eh? Nice, hearty fare. Well, let's see if it's any good."
Rory leans forward, holding his breath.
"Mmm, mmm." Aunt Primrose makes approving noises as she chews. "Very good. Very good indeed. Well seasoned, too. I shall enjoy this immensely."
Rory nearly laughs out loud from relief. "Enjoy, Aunt Primrose, enjoy."
An hour later, Rory and Aunt Primrose are sitting on the sofa with a bit of port. It is beginning to grow dark, and the wind is picking up.
Rory clears his throat. "Aunt Primrose, I have a matter of some import to ask. A bit earlier, I may have mentioned the horse, Surefire, who ran in the third race…"
Aunt Primrose ignores Rory, and looks to you. "I'll just take the dessert here on the sofa," she says.
You offer Aunt Primrose a generous helping of the port-poached pear tart, a dollop of raspberry-streaked crème fraîche adorning it.
Aunt Primrose takes a taste, and then another. Her eyes roll back a bit. "Hits the spot," she declares with gusto, and then continues to devour the tart.
Aunt Primrose seems in a hearty mood, and over the next hour or so, she chats amiably with Rory, cheerfully reminiscing about times they spent together when Rory was young, and trading anecdotes about mutual acquaintances.
Her cheeks a bit flushed from the port, she turns to include you in the conversation.
"Pennyworth," she says, "We've known each other for many years. You've spent a good deal of time on my estate. I like to think that you have had the opportunity to see me in my many moods."
You nod to acknowledge this truth.
"And I have always thought of you as a pull-no-punches sort. Someone who says what they mean. That's the sort of man I need to give me some advice."
"Of course," you say, perching on the edge of the sofa. "Go on."
"Well, it's a knotty problem. It's a problem of young, untamed hearts."
"Will swift, decisive action be required?"
"Well, Pennyworth, let me explain. You know, of course, my young and tenderhearted niece Mopsie?"
Of course you do. You think about the young woman who you have known since she was fifteen—an energetic, loud, and emotionally voluble girl who saw you as a trusted friend and adviser from the moment she met you. Although you haven't seen her in a little while, you remember Mopsie as…
1…the most annoying young woman you have ever met.
2…a charming and clever young woman with whom I have enjoyed spending time.
3…a disobedient, willful, and mischievous young woman.
2 because if we're going to be molding someone else into a hero it mind as well be someone we like
I think we have enough annoying characters. Clearly our billionaire is busted. We'll have to make due and have someone we actually like.
Option number 2
yes but if we're gonna mold someone they might as well be more inclined to listen to us in general
If you think of this in CYS terms:
Option 3, sir. I have a long and painful history of minding willful, disobedient children. >.<
We are tied with 4 votes for #2, and 4 votes for #3.
Miz has the most points! We win! ^_^
Option 3, please don’t kill me!
Oh I'm sorry, I should have paid more attention to the whole thread. That was extremely clumsy of me.
Wish you courage to go through all of this and be sure that even if it isn't much we think of you and we're here to talk if you need to.
I had not intended to post again but this is just sad. Gower, you're the only mod I like. Hang in there man,
Oh God, that's horrible. Really hope that Gower's going to be okay.
Gower wanted Kelly Unicornstrider to have 50 ratings. Let's make sure it's there when he eventually returns. Here
You do that and I'll get Love is for the Birds up to 49.
First of all, thank you for all the love and support. I cannot believe that this site, in just six months, would become such an amazing support for me. I would make some sort of cynical joke to undercut the raw emotion, but I don't quite have it in me yet. Today I mourned my dad, and tomorrow I'm going to be with my family. But I *will* need to be entertained while I'm away, so I'm going to update this thread when I can. Thanks, everyone.
I joined the forum end of March, but the Discord in January. Yeah, it feels significantly longer.
I'm really, really sorry about your Dad, Gower. We're always here if you want to talk at all.
…a disobedient, willful, and mischievous young woman.
"How could I forget her?" you ask.
You think back to the time that she borrowed her parents' roadster without leave, and crashed it into the side of a barn, destroying a good deal of property in the process. Granted, she was only fifteen at the time, but she has learned little since then. Luckily, she has a great deal of charm on her side. It's hard to stay mad at Mopsie.
"I seem to remember that you and she got on all right, Pennyworth."
"Reasonably so, madam."
"Well," says Aunt Primrose, "The problem is this: young Mopsie has become involved in an ill-advised love affair. She has become enamored of a local ne'er-do-well by the name of Figaro Fairfield, and he is completely unsuitable."
Rory goggles at this news. "Did you say, 'Figaro Fairfield'?"
"I did. Do you know him?"
"Of course I know Figs!" cries Rory. "We were at school together. I haven't seen Figs in years. Whatever is he doing now? He was nice and all that, but not what you'd call strong of mind."
"I will have more to say to you on the subject of ill-advised romances in a moment. Now I am speaking to Pennyworth." She turns back to you. "This 'Figs' is what is called a bohemian artist. He lives in a garret atop a thrift shop. He produces completely rubbish art that he tries to pawn off on unsuspecting tourists."
"Now that's not quite fair," Rory interjects.
"The man has no talent, no prospects, and no money. Therefore, Mopsie is completely head over heels, the more so because her parents have strictly forbidden them from seeing one another. And so they've sent her to my estate, that she may recover from her unfortunate affection. But so far, she has not recovered. In fact, I have reason to believe that she has been attempting to sneak off of my property and elope with this man in the dead of night. And so I ask you, Pennyworth, what am I to do? How can I ensure that a young, resourceful woman will be unable to sneak off with her would-be lover on my watch?"
1. "Perhaps appoint some guards? Some trustworthy people who can patrol about the property, who will alert you if she does something rash."
2. "I know you have an enviable collection of hunting dogs: perhaps allowing a few of them to roam about at night? They would let the household know at once if Mopsie were trying to sneak out."
3. "This isn't a case for increased security at all. Instead, simply tell her you trust her."
Option 2! Avoiding guard dogs is a vital skill fo Catwoman!
Infinite Points breaks the tie: "I know you have an enviable collection of hunting dogs: perhaps allowing a few of them to roam about at night? They would let the household know at once if Mopsie were trying to sneak out."
Aunt Primrose snaps her fingers. "Of course! I knew you'd think of it. She won't be able to sweet-talk a dog, and their barking would wake us all up and then we'd catch her in the act. I think it'll work…yes. I like it." Thank you, Pennyworth. I may ask you for more help, of course, when you get there. But this is a good start."
"Of course," you say, and begin to clear the port glasses.
"Did you say, 'when you get there?'" Rory asks. "Whatever are you talking about?"
"Oh, didn't I say? You are coming to my estate for several days. Arriving this weekend." Aunt Primrose folds her arms and pushes her chin out as if daring Rory to gainsay her words.
"No, no, no, no." Rory holds up his hands. "You have this all wrong."
"I do not. You will be coming to my birthday celebration this weekend, so that I can have the pleasure of seeing you together with your new fiancée, Miss Frankincense Cygnet-Signet. I have taken the liberty of inviting her as well, that I may have the dubious pleasure of seeing you two together. Now, when precisely were you thinking of telling me? I had to hear that you became engaged from her mother, whom I met just the other day."
What do you do upon hearing that Rory has become engaged?
1. Drop one of the port glasses that I was clearing away.
2. Offer Rory my formal congratulations.
3. Bite my lower lip ever so slightly.
4. Continue clearing away implacably.
2. Any good butler would congratulate his master about getting married.
1 and 3 imply some sort of hidden gay feelings for Rory so not surprised Fisted Dave picked one of those.
2 is showing too much emotion for an upstanding reserved butler like Alfred.
So the only proper answer is 4.
This is a tough one. I'm trying to remember how Jeeves handled it every time Wooster accidentally got engaged to some girl or his Aunt Agatha tried to marry Wooster off, since this story reminds me so much of that dynamic.
I'm going to go with #2, but it would probably be in some sort of subtly sarcastic way implying that Pennyworth doesn't actually believe the engagement is a real thing or was Rory's idea. Mostly because Rory could be expected to get moony and sappy over any girl he actually liked and not hide it, but might be oblivious to a girl with designs on him.
3 does sound pretty gay, but 1 could also be like *CRASH* "Rory!? Are you shitting me right now!? The only household with eligible bachelorettes he frequents is the streetcorner!"
I feel like 4 is also something that a gay affair guy would do just because he's mad that Rory's engaged and trying to hide his feelings, so, in truth, 2 strikes me as the option furthest away from Romance with Rory, since Alfred goddamn Pennyworth romancing some young english dude is a mental image we do not need. But it's also going to confirm that this was a secretive engagement in front of his aunt, so there will be drama either way. I prefer this conflict.
With that reasoning, 2 gets my vote.
I adore how this is written. The narrator's tone is wonderful and consistent.
Option 4, near nothing rattles Alfred. His knowledge or lack there of on any topic should be imperceptible to the eye.
Continue clearing away implacably.
You offer no visible response to the news. Rory looks over at you, obviously embarrassed that he did not tell you.
"…I suppose, in some sense, I did become engaged. Did I? It all happened so fast the other day. Frankincense and I met up purely by chance at a bistro, and we got to talking, and she brought up the subject of love, and I said love seemed like a perfectly nice thing, and then she said that I was quite a sweet-talker, and then I said that she was such a kidder, and then she looked at me for a very long time and said that she knew that I had been in love with her for such a long time, and that finally she would relent and agree to take my hand in marriage, as it were, and I didn't know quite what to say, so I said I would order some champagne, and then she said, yes, champagne, just the thing to toast our mutual alliance, and then, er, then she kissed me, and everyone applauded. But we haven't made a formal announcement. So…I'm engaged now, am I?"
What are you feeling right now?
1. I'm…in love with Rory.
2. I feel an odd, wistful feeling of pain or some strange jealousy at the thought of Rory's engagement.
3. I am consistently amused by Rory's ability to get himself into ridiculous situations. It is all I can do to keep from laughing.
4. Miss Cygnet-Signet is a most unsuitable marriage prospect for Rory. This alliance should probably be broken off.
5. We will need to pack and make the arrangements for the trip at once.
Option 3. Rory is really such a fuckwit.
1. (No homo)
1. So real.
OK, last update before I leave for the airport.
I am consistently amused by Rory's ability to get himself into ridiculous situations. It is all I can do to keep from laughing.
You attempt to compose yourself, but your lips quiver ever so slightly as you try to keep yourself from laughing out loud at Rory's explanation. Rory looks so put out that it is impossible to maintain a straight face, and so you turn away slightly, to avoid being caught in the act of being amused by the situation.
"In my opinion," says Aunt Primrose. "You've done the family proud. Whereas your cousin Mopsie attempts to ally herself with a starving artist, you have found yourself affianced to a Cygnet-Signet, a family whom I understand has untold wealth and prosperity. Although I am a touch miffed that you neglected to inform me or ask my advice. Pennyworth, you used to work for the Cygnet-Signets before coming to work for Rory, didn't you? What do you make of Frankincense?"
1. "Frankincense and I had a reasonably pleasant relationship with each other."
2. Frankincense and I had a torrid and passionate affair, but I cannot say that.
3. "I was not among Frankincense's many admirers, let us say."
4. What they do not know is that Frankincense and I had fallen deeply in love with one another, but I cannot say that.
5. But I was still reeling from the news of Rory's engagement, and could not respond.
2. But make Frankincense secretly a guy.
NO WHAT ARE YOU DOING??
You're turning our butler into a passionless bot :((((((
Let's make our butler the best homewrecker chad on Earth.
3, and im really gay not even close to straight
1 is perhaps the most batman-like of the options and will get us closer to catwoman, but 3 provides us with more drama, and of course I'm not the most fond of this whole megachiropterous nonsense anyhow. As always, Alfred being romantic is not a mental image anybody wants!
#1, since it seems the most butler-like response regardless of the truth. It would be interesting if Pennyworth had done something to make Frankinscense dislike him, though. Maybe he took the liberty of burning her favorite bonnet as a crime against fashion.
1 is good because Batman always has absurd amounts of money!
Frankincense and I had a reasonably pleasant relationship with each other.
"I found Miss Cygnet-Signet both kind and warm to me. I am looking forward to seeing her again."
Aunt Primrose stands at last and smooths her skirt briskly. "So, it's settled then. You'll come for a nice visit and Pennyworth will help me figure out how to keep Mopsie away from her beau, and then I can be the judge of whether Frankincense and you are a match that meets my approval. Then, for a special treat, if you please me, which I have no doubt you will, you can come into the village and watch the home team win dozens of blue ribbons at the Harvest Festival."
"No, no, no, I…"
"Now what was it you wanted to ask me about the horse, Surefire, in the third race, if I remember rightly?"
"I simply wondered…"
1. Let Rory finish.
2. Smoothly break in and make the request for a loan on Rory's behalf.
3. Offer Aunt Primrose a respectful compliment before Rory asks for money in order to smooth his path.
#1 Rory is bumbling, but at least he's finally got a word in edgewise and he's started to actually answer the question. If Pennyworth interferes now, for good or ill, Rory might not get a better chance to ask.
Plus, if it really all does go down in flames, maybe Rory will learn the perils of gambling. If Pennyworth rescues him too easily, he might just do the same thing next month.
1. We're not on good enough terms with Aunt Primrose, and a compliment would be too transparent.
Let Rory finish.
"…if you could see it clear to loan me…that is…if possible, a bit of the readies to pay the piper, and tide me over until next month," Rory says. "I'd be ever so grateful."
Aunt Primrose laughs heartily. "Oh, you," she says, playfully batting at Rory's hand. "Well, how can I say no, when you've given me such a lovely evening? You outdid yourself tonight, by which I mean that you have exceeded the extraordinarily low expectations that I had for my entertainment here."
"Glad to oblige," Rory says.
"Yes, yes, I'll send you the money you so foolishly squandered, and give you a bit of walking-around money in the meanwhile." She gets a cagey look in her eyes. "But you'll still come over this weekend. You wouldn't take money from my hand and then reject me in my time of need."
"Never," Rory says, although you can see that the thought had clearly crossed his mind.
"Good," she says. "I expect you with all promptness. Will you fix the problem with Mopsie and her most unwelcome suitor?"
"Between me and Pennyworth, consider your problem solved."
"And will you come with Auntie when we go a-hunting, without complaint, and lend a hand at the village Harvest Festival?"
"All this we swear," Rory says.
"I will see you tomorrow," she says. "And may I remind you that I will be celebrating my birthday. I will have several respectable guests there, and you may wish to put more thought into the gift you bring than the one you offered last year."
And with that, Aunt Primrose departs, waving over her shoulder. Rory waves and closes the door firmly after her.
Rory turns back to you.
"We've done all right, Pennyworth," he says. "A bit of money in the black ink portion of the ledger as weighed against the prospect of having to dance to Aunt Primrose's tune this weekend. But that's all right. There's always something pleasant enough to do there, even if I'd much rather simply stay home. But it is not to be."
"I fear not, sir. I recommend a good night's sleep. There is a great deal of packing and preparing to do."
"Oh, very well." Rory clasps his hands behind his back. "Very strange, this being engaged thing. 'Till death do you part' and so forth."
"I understand it is the marriage itself that is described in so permanent a way, not the engagement."
"Hm," says Rory. "Hm," he says again. "I have a lot to think about. Thank you, Pennyworth. That will be all tonight."
"Good night, sir."
(end of chapter one—I will continue this in the chapter two thread)
It was totally worth the full half hour of rereading the entire thing.
This is all so Wodehousey, I absolutely love it!
As we finish each chapter, it was my intention to write a bit about the structure of that chapter, just for interest--usually I'll do it right after we finish each one.
So this chapter is the simplest chapter, structurally.
Aside from the stat building, it is built around three big challenges. It's hard to build a character who can succeed at all three challenges the first time around. The challenges are Rory reading the book, making the meal, and Rory getting the debt taken care of. The first two challenges, though, are important in that they modify the chances of Aunt Primrose paying the debt. So you passing the crucial one.
Lots of little things feed into those three challenges (Rory's appearance, your attitude towards the two of them) but the endpoint of the chapter will always hit either a full success (debt paid); partial success (partly paid); or failure (not paid) which matter to the player in terms of Rory's mood, the amount of money you start ch.2 with, and which class train car you are allowed to pick.
So in a standard branch and bottleneck, you might look at the challenges as just funnels that take you to one of the above results, and then channels you into the start of ch.2, and only the stats are different and a bit of flavor text.
However, Tally Ho does a lot of delayed branching. The choices you make in ch.1, some of which seem like they are stat building are actually building up ramifications for later chapters.--obviously your previous relationship with Frankincense; whether you are romantic with Rory; (or with both); how you advise Primrose to deal with Mopsie; your previous occupation, and your weakness--these things create branching and additional options later on in a delayed fashion that the standard branch and bottleneck can't quite capture.
My general goal is to have every choice mean something--at minimum a stat change, but as often as possible opening up branches. I actually really like delayed branching rather than immediate branching, because I like to create the feeling in a player of, "...oh. Yes. That is exactly stemming from the choice I made three chapters ago, and this has ended up entangling me in a predicable manner." I think of this as the make your bed/lie in it structure.