So quite some time ago I posted here about my first storygame in development, a Game of Thrones alternate story. However, I then forgot all about it. Nevertheless, I've recently continued where I left off and was wondering what you guys would think of it. I'm way too lazy to look for my original post so I'll instead put it here for all to see. The first "scene", titled "The War Council" is an optional choice in the beginning of the story which then takes you the following info dump, intended as a way for the player to learn more about the story and some of the important events, houses and characters. The second one, titled "Nightfall", is the opening for the first battle described in the story. The next pages I'll be posting later will be the continuations and possible outcomes of this battle. Anyway, feel free to comment on anything you feel the need to and add in any suggestions, criticisms or vulgar insults. Cheers.
The War Council
Before you and all standing around an improvised table made using a large log is your father's War Council, a collection of powerful and influential lords, knights, commanders and allies that over the years have earned your father's trust, gratitude, or at least haven't managed to completely piss him off. Some of them are vassals of House Purell such as the Bryants and the Hardwoods, though others are equal allies of your family, either through ancient treaty or through marriage as is the case of House Spearbright, the maiden house of your mother, Greta Purell.
At the head of the Council is Lord Garret Purell of Highrise, head of House Purell and the man you call father even though he actually isn't. Even now you don't know the full story, but apparently when your mother was promised to him, she had already given birth to a child from a mysterious lover. Through intelligence, wit and the right friendships she managed to keep her motherhood hidden from common knowledge, but fearing the dishonor such an act would bring her and her family she begged to her new husband to claim the infant girl was his own, conceived before their union was made official. This would not remove your bastard status as you would still have technically been conceived outside of marriage, but it would split the blame evenly between both families, thus ensuring that neither would decide to call off the marriage. Your father must have really loved his bride because not only did he promise to do so, he also swore that he would love you as if you were his own even if you did not share his blood. And now, almost twenty years later, he hasn't gone back on his promise.
At either sides of your father stand your brothers, Dan and Eddard, named after your father's friend and Warden of the North, Eddard Stark, with whom he fought side-by-side during Robert Baratheon’s rebellion against the Targaryen rule. Dan is the oldest of the Purell children and only one year younger than you, making him heir of Highrise and future head of House Purell. He is everything a lord would want as his heir; tall, handsome, charismatic, fearsome in battle, wise when making decisions and utterly devoted to his family. You and Dan have always been close and he probably sees you as another brother and treats you as such, as opposed to the attentions and cares he gives to your younger sister Nerissa, for example. His strong relationship with you is only strengthened by the strained relationship you both have with your younger brother.
Eddard, or Ned as he is often called is quite the polar opposite of Dan; He is reckless, rebellious, disappointing with both blade and bow and worst of all, he is always trying to "prove" himself to your father and those around him which generally involves a lot of unpleasantness that is unfortunately often directed at you. You've never quite understood why he hates you so much but he does despite the fact that you've been nothing but loyal and helpful to him. He is very vocal about his disdain with insults, crude remarks and by constantly reminding you and others of your bastard status, openly disregarding you as an equal. Still, he keeps most of his attacks on the verbal side knowing full well that you could easily hurt him badly should things get physical. The few times the two of you have come to blows have ended with you having to be yanked away from your cowering brother which has only fueled his dislike of you. Still, growing up you have learned to control yourself on such situations and to pay little attention to Ned. You’d wish things could be different between the two of you, but knowing Ned that is likely never going to happen.
Aside from his own children, the man your father trusts the most is without a doubt Ser Ronwald Foster, a knight sworn to the Purells and master-at-arms of Highrise. Born as a commoner, he was fielded as a soldier to fight in Robert’s Rebellion against the Mad King when your House followed the rulers of the Riverlands, House Tully, in supporting Robert Baratheon’s efforts to end the Targaryen rule. He quickly distinguished himself above the rank and file of the soldiers and thus was given command over a small part of the Purell cavalry by your grandfather Artemis Purell, who was Lord of Highrise at the time. Needless to say, he excelled in his wartime duties and forged a close bond with your father at the same time. Once the rebellion ended Artemis Purell knighted Ronwald in recognition of his service, who wasted no time in swearing himself to the service of the Purells. Now, many years later, his loyalty to your House and it’s members has not dwindled. In fact, it was Ser Ronwald who first suggested to your family that you be trained in the ways of combat when you began showing an interest. He then proceeded to actually train you along with your father once your parents were convinced and thus most of what you know you learned from him.
Next to Ronwald is his own son James. A formidable fighter in his own right, he has always been a close friend of yours and is one of the few people who are friendly towards Ned. Appointed as Captain of the Guards by your father, he has always served your house loyally and has always shown a particular devotion towards you. In truth, for quite some time now he has harbored romantic feelings for you, and even if you can't return them you are still happy to call him your closest friend.
Nearest to you is Lord Desmond Bryant. The Bryants are loyal vassals of your house and have been so for centuries since their Lord at the time bent the knee to your house. They seat on the walled town of Saltcrest, and used to command a fairly good sized amount of ships until two days ago, when they were all but destroyed by the ironborn that now lay siege to their home. Lord Desmond was known as a fierce fighter back in his day, but old age has caught up to him and he now commands his small forces from safety. You have often heard your father praise his honor and wisdom, though you know the man very little.
Next to him is Lord Silas "The Tree Bark" Hardwood. Living up to both his nickname and his family's name, he has a reputation for being tough as wood and having sustained injuries that would have killed lesser men. None of these have held him back, though, and he leads his men from the front like every Lord Hardwood has done before him. In fact, for Hardwoods, a man who is still of proper age and doesn't fight among his men is considered the worst of cowards and extremely dishonorable.
The Hardwoods were once enemies of the Purells and a long, bloody war was fought between your houses when the Hardwoods, conflictive by nature, began a campaign of aggressive expansionism around their lands during which they completely destroyed and consumed several towns and small lordships, shortly before the crowning of the Mad King. A young Artemis Purell valiantly led the Purell men to victory, defeating the Hardwoods who, respecting honor and strength above all, were gracious in their defeat and bent the knee to your grandfather, becoming the most recent of your vassals. They respect your father since he used to lead his men from the front, like them, and understand that he can no longer do so because of his injuries. The same is true for Lord Desmond. The Tree Bark has a special admiration for both you and Dan, and has already sworn that when Dan becomes lord, he would follow him down through the Seven Hells and back. He, however, hasn't a shred of respect for Ned whom he has openly called a coward for his disappointing fighting skills and his tendency to hide behind the Purell men despite being physically fit. Despite your brother's complaints your father has always told him that if he is unwilling to fight then he must deal with the consequences that brings, the Tree Bark's disrespect included.
Your mother's twin brother, Lord Francis Spearbright stands with his eldest son Jowell. The late Lord Howard, your mother's father, was always cold towards you and rarely spoke to your mother after she gave birth to you. However, he was killed when defending his lands from ironborn-backed raiders and thus his sons and grandsons bear a deeper hatred for them than most other houses in the Riverlands. Fortunately, both Lord Francis and Jowell have always been friendly and caring towards you, and Francis is extremely close to his twin sister and thus to your house as a whole.
Also present is Lord Jaan Rüdiger, head of the feared Rüdigers and vassal to your house. The Rüdigers swore fealty to your house during the Hardwood’s aggression in order to enlist your help in driving out the invading Hardwoods. Jaan is a fearsome, calculating man who commands the hardened, ruthless Rüdiger troops, the only ones not to fall to the violent Hardwood expansion which is undoubtedly a testament to their strength. As a side effect of said events the Rüdigers have a very shaky relationship with the Hardwoods, although both Jaan and the Tree Bark at least respect each other. This old feud can sometimes turn simple word exchanges into messy altercations, though thankfully it's been a while since Rüdiger and Hardwood forces have come to blows with each other.
House Rüdiger is somewhat of a black sheep among the noble houses along Ironman's Bay. They are exceptionally militaristic and dictatorial, their smallfolk being little more than forced laborers. Most of their sustenance comes from the heavy work their peasants are pretty much forced to do in the iron mines which surround the Rüdiger's home, Hollow Point. Additionally, their soldiers are often of dubious origins, many of them being criminals who were offered the choice to either serve or lose their heads, most of them obviously taking the path which involved keeping all of their limbs. As such, Rüdiger troops in general lack any sort of moral compass and the honor and chivalry that is expected from a noble house's standing army. All of these traits are enough for most members of your small alliance to distrust Jaan's household, though they also recognize that the Rüdigers are nevertheless valuable allies for their vast resources and effective soldiers, thus making their acceptance a necessary evil.
Last but not least are the Buckshorns, the Purell's oldest allies led by the young Lord Martinus Buckshorn. Little Marty is only a kid, but is already shaping up to be a fine Lord. His mother, Beatrice Buckshorn rules as Lady Regent until he comes of age although for these kinds of situations the young Lord's uncle Dylan Buckshorn represents his kin and leads the Buckshorn men into battle. With the pass of the centuries, the exact terms and circumstances of the original pact of friendship between your houses have been lost to time. Regardless, your houses have remained allies ever since. By now though, your alliance is merely symbolical and thus the Buckshorns commit only a handful of men to a call-to-arms such as the one that has been issued to defend Saltcrest. Truth be told, the Buckshorns would much rather not have to get involved in the squabbles of your Houses, especially considering that Bloodwater Pass, the ancient home of the Buckshorns isn't even close to Ironman's Bay and is thus rarely threatened by ironborn. Nevertheless, bound by ancient treaty they have no choice but to comply for now.
Each Lord brings with him some trusted advisors who you don't know, and don't really want to know. What you know of each of these men you learned more out of necessity than curiosity. Still, your father always told you that after a sharp blade always came the sharpness of the mind, though you still don't know how storing all this stuff in your brain helps you fight or such.
Maybe you'll find out some day.
The darkness that the night brings now looms all around, only countered by the torches your men carry. You stand side to side with the Tree Bark with some thirty men standing in formation behind you. A few meters to your left is Lord Rüdiger with his men standing alongside Ser Ronwald, who notices your stare and confidently winks at you. You do likewise. In front of the foot soldiers lies the cavalry, made up from barely some twenty something mounted soldiers and led by your brother and cousin. You can barely hold your breath at the anticipation of the fight that is to come. It'll be the largest you've ever been in, for sure, but you still can't help but wonder what it would be like being in the thick of the Battle of the Trident, for example, where Robert Baratheon famously slayed Rhaegar Targaryen and tipped the tide of the war in his favor. You can only imagine: Rivermen, Northerners, Valemen, and the Storm Lords all fighting together against the Targaryens and their loyalists. You would give anything to have been born during that time. A voice suddenly breaks the silence that had prevailed for a couple hours now.
"Everything's ready my Lord."
"Then let's do this." Your father answers.
It's time. In a couple of seconds, steel will clash against steel and flesh. You turn to the Hardwood infantry under your command and begin addressing them.
"The assholes who now rest just outside this town have lived their entire lives following only one way of life; to take that which is not theirs. To raid, to murder, to pillage and to plunder lands that they hold no right over. Our lands! And today, we are here to show them that they can't take whatever the fuck they want! We are here to kill as many of these fuckers as we can, and send the rest on their asses back to their islands! Those cunts like to tell themselves that what's dead can't die. Well, I say that what is dead is already fucking dead, and we're just here to finish the job and send them down to meet their fucking God right where they belong: In the bottom of the ocean!"
The Hardwoods break into a series of cheers, clearly motivated by your little speech.
"Forever Tall, Forever Unbroken!" You shout the Harwood words, which they answer in unison. "Forever Tall, Forever Unbroken!"
You then follow with your House's own words. "From The Seas We Rose!"
The Hardwoods respond again as your father tells everyone to be at the ready and finally orders the gates to be opened by the few Bryants that survived the initial attack along with their Lord.
As soon as they do, however, you are all met by a rather unpleasant surprise. A recently and hastily assembled battering ram is standing just some steps away from the now opened gates with ironborn all around it, who look just as as confused as you. It would seem that they thought to covertly begin their assault on the main forstress on Saltcrest during the night and definitely weren't counting on the gates to open by themselves, and with an army of Rivermen behind them at that. You certainly weren't planning on them being here either, but in between the confusion your brother Dan takes the indicative.
"CHARGE!" He screams as the entirety of the cavalry follows his lead and begin impaling and running over the ironborn closest to the gates. You give your own battlecry and charge right behind the cavalry along with your men. You cleave your sword into one of the ironborn holding the battering ram, causing the others to loose their grip and sending the massive cylinder rolling downhill, taking both Rivermen and ironborn lives with it. You hadn't actually realized just how steep the hill that leads to the gates you came out from actually is, until you see several of your horses loose their footing after running down too fast on such an inclined surface, sending their riders into the dirt along with them where they become easy prey for the ironborn. You sprint down the hill to join the fighting in the camp, which is your objective in any matter. The ironborn in and around the camp were already armed and armored by the time your forces came out through the gates, no doubt preparing to sack Saltcrest with the cover of night. You and the Hardwoods begin helping the few mounted men who made it to the camp, including your cousin Jowell. He is doing pretty fine himself, easily fighting off several ironborn from atop his horse. You parry a swing from a sword and deliver an oblique kick to your opponent's leg as your blades are locked, causing something in his limb to snap and send him to the floor in a cry of pain where you proceed to finish him off by sticking him in the heart. Just as you pull your sword out, you hear a grunt from behind and turn just in time to see a particularly large ironborn with his sword up in the air ready to bring it down on you.
Sooo much... very good! Disclaimer, this is all my opinion, just hopefully something I mention might help you make your story better. Also, you have a better idea of where this is all going than me, so some of the things I mention might be completely irrelevant on the next page (etc), just something you should keep in mind.
The War Council Ok nitpicking. Paragraph 7 mentions the 'ironborn', I think it should be the 'Ironborn' as it is the name of the group. So capitalise the first letter. Worth doubling checking I am not being an idiot, the only reason I mention this is that if the Ironborn are who I think they are (I read the books a while back) they deserve the respect of a capital 'I'!
Paragraph 9, the 'Seven Hells', just make sure that in 'A Song of Ice and Fire' (or the tv show) the people believed in Seven Hells. Just figured I'd mention it... I don't personally recall, and heck you could add it in even if it isn't 'cannon', but figured I'd mention this anyway. Something to think about! Mainly, how much new stuff will you be adding, or will you try to stay as true to the source as possible. You already used names from the original which is why I am bringing this up. Pretty important to keep in mind when writing stuff based on other fiction.
Some minor comments. You used some good words in this, which is definitely a plus. Good to see it wasn't all exposition but also had some flavour to it. The line you end on worries me slightly, is there going to be a quiz segment!? Joking aside, it is good that you know your exposition is an 'info dump', but with that said it definitely is on the good side of info dumps. Since you know what it is, I won't ramble on about exposition and stuff relating to it. However I do have a question, are you using the Advance Editor? Scripting/variables/items? Mainly, I am asking just because I'm curious.
Another thing to mention, when you mentioned the Ironborn(/ironborn) again you used lowercase again, which is good since consistency is very important. Just mentioning this since I might be wrong about capitalising the 'I'...
Oh another thing, it sounds like there is a page on which you pick between the info dump or plot continuation, what happened to it? Also, no one talked in the war council. Just mentioning these thoughts, you would know they are issues of any kind, as you know what happened before/after, which matters a whole lot really. Come to think of it, is that 'first page' the thing you posted before? Because I should probably read it so I ain't pointing out stuff that is really irrelevant at this stage...
Anyways, moving along.
P.S. One of the Lords was a common foot soldier and through skill got to lead cavalry? Just seems a little weird to me, but I might have misunderstood. Then again he might get to lead them because his skill is more suited for it, namely being a good leader, as fighting really good won't really matter if you can't give orders, right? Anyways, just mentioning my thoughts.
Nightfall Couple hours of silence sounds... painful to endure in formation. Anyway, going to finish reading before commenting on this more. Ok I lied, more commenting. A speech after silence seems to make the silence a little pointless, mainly mentioning because I saw some exclamation marks in there. Also, if they are fighting on land (they have cav) how will they send them to the bottom of the ocean? Is the town/place near the ocean? If so they will just rest in shallow water, also dumping corpses into water anywhere near your town could leave them washing up on your shores, which sucks for a lot reasons. Hmm I'm ranting without much direction, so just keep in mind I am giving my thoughts here. You definitely don't have to change things, the writing and all is still very good.
Ok I am an idiot, should have read the rest of it. Now instead of editing what I wrote above, I will continue on. Ok makes sense now, you were defending. Inside the fort... in that case it makes much more sense, but now I have other (pointless) complaints! Why is cav being used through the main gates on a steep hill! I mean, I am no military strategist, and I guess they could be used well in this scenario, just mentioning this in case them being used here really is foolish move (and again, it might not be, this is really up to you, the writer). A thing to keep in mind with pointless complaints, they can usually be solved with a single line that points out that no, it does actually make perfect sense. As a pretty bad example, say cav being used in this encounter on the hill. Their speed and force was necessary for the plan to work properly, despite the risk the hill poses. Boom, solved. Not the best, but still explains the use of cav on a hill.
I am guessing there will be a choice regarding the guy swinging at you, or this is just where you stopped writing for the moment. Either way is fine, really, just if it is a choice I hope one of them isn't "Stand still and die". But I guess choices and their use is really a matter of preference, like I prefer if all choices matter, but that is a lot of work (as there would be no 'early game overs', which makes writing the whole thing soooo much more difficult). And again, death choices actually serve a purpose, they have their uses and can be great. So my question is, what were you planning to happen next?
This scene gives me a feeling that my (characters) side will win rather easily, namely because a call to arms was answered, and the fact our plan involves charging at the enemy, from outside a fort. However, depending on where the scene goes this feeling could easily be flipped on it's head, heck some guy is about to drop a sword down on me! That is pretty tense on its own, but again, depending on what happens next this might not be tense at all.
Overall I'd say the exposition is good, makes sense and it isn't forced onto the reader so it's fine that it is a bit on the heavy side. Just make sure character names are still mentioned outside of it, since if someone doesn't click it you don't want them being confused about some random kid suddenly calling you a bastard. That would be pretty confusing...
The Nightfall scene feels solid, and rather fast paced after the attackers are shocked by the gate opening. This is good, also I like that the player talks. Makes them a much better character in my opinion. I guess the 'mostly quiet' protagonist can work, but reading two pages of a 'mostly quiet' protagonist is certainly a lot less likeable than one who says things outside of player choices. Just my opinion.
So, overall, I quite liked this. I would definitely keep reading since I want to know what happens next! As such, I highly encourage you to keep writing. I also encourage you to post more of what you write, the more of it that you put up, the better the feedback I can give (if you can call it feedback anyway). So far, I'd say you can write a pretty good storygame. Whether it can be a great one really depends on how the whole thing fits, but really, writing more will likely make it better, as long as you aren't just churning out words (unless you edit them later). With that I'll mention that proofreading is great, just to make sure there aren't any mistakes. I am not very good at spotting them, so don't rely on me for that too much.
Do you have any specific questions you would like my opinion on? I feel there is more I could say about this...
EDIT P.S. I do feel like I might have read what you put up before, but I don't really remember it anymore (or if I even commented then, sorry if I did and forgot).
TL;DR So far so good! Keep writing! The story has barely begun, but the backstory seems to all be there (with some blanks left to explore), so you definitely have directions open to take. So keep writing! (Also this was all my opinion, try to find something useful among it if you can be bothered, but don't worry too much about anything I mentioned).
Thanks for taking your time to read trough it and sharing your thoughts, they are much appreciated. I'll try to answer your observations to the best of my ability. Firstly, regarding the War Council.
Now, for the Nightfall page.
So yeah, again thanks for your insight and I'll make sure to take your comments in account for fixing some stuff here and there. Cheers.
Before I comment on Chapter 1: What Is Dead Is Already Dead I would just like to mention a few things:
War Council 1-5: All this gets rid of the worries I expressed earlier, definitely sounds like you know what you are doing in regards to the finer details and backstory, which will go a long way to making the story and world feel a lot more concrete. Also do note that while I pointed out some of those things (stuff like capitalisation/7 hell's/Ser Ronwald) they weren't really 'bad', as in even if you didn't just explain it to me it wouldn't have made the story worse or anything. The fact that you can explain it is what really matters (in my view), as it shows that you aren't just throwing random stuff in there, it fits. What I mean with all this is that explaining everything isn't necessary, just make sure it makes sense to you. (With that said, not explaining anything likely wouldn't end well, so I suppose a balance is needed?).
2: Ah I remember a bit about that now, definitely makes sense (and as mentioned earlier, you knowing what you are doing regarding the finer details is important and great).
3-6: To be fair, cavalry being used could be explained by the fact that the Rivermen were expecting to catch the enemy unaware, in which case having horses suddenly running around you just as you wake up would be pretty demoralising, also cavalry would be useful in catching any of the enemy who tried to run away. In regards to the way you are going to handle combat, sounds pretty interesting but as you aren't using the advance editor I'm slightly curious how it will go (as not using it could make it more difficult, but depending on how you go about it implementing it the advance editor might actually cause you more trouble than if you weren't using it). So mainly, good luck, also sounds like it'll be engaging. Finally it's good to hear that you have plans for Josephine's character ("wild personality to boot", sounds fun!) as such it will be good to see what you manage to do with her.
P.S. Again, just my opinion. Hopefully you get something useful out of it.
TL;DR The reply you wrote gets rid of all my worries, which is great.
The following is the opening page for the storygame. Two choices are presented at the end; one is "The Battle Plan", which directly continues the story and the second one is the already shared "War Council", an optional additional info page. Again, feel free to take a look and comment on anything you want.
Chapter 1: What Is Dead Is Already Dead
You awaken to the sounds of war drums echoing their militaristic tunes all across your tent. Elyssa's naked body is still intertwined with yours and you can feel the warmth of her body against yours. You don't want to get up. You'd like to spend the rest of the day here with her, savoring every moment of her presence. The touch of her fingers. The softness of her snowy white skin and the delicious smell of her brown hair. You know you can't though. Your father has marched a great deal of House Purell's men here, to the port city of Saltcrest to help defend it and fortunately or unfortunately you are in charge of a great part of that force as his offspring. Cursing under your breath, you slowly shuffle away from Elyssa's embrace and sit on the edge of the bed. While you are gathering your thoughts, you hear someone entering the tent and a familiar voice soon follows.
"My Lady, sorry to disturb you but your father has called for... Oh! I... I am quite sorry! I thought you were alone. I didn't..."
"It's quite alright Andere. And I've told you countless times, I'm not your Lady. I'm not even a Purell."
"My Lady, I'm so sorry. I... I should leave."
"Why? Am I that bad looking without my clothes on?" you chuckle.
"Of... Of course not my Lady! I simply meant that... By the Gods, I'm making a fool out of myself!"
You can't help but laugh. "That you are."
Andere is supposed to be your handmaiden, though considering your duties, she serves a role more like that of a squire. You were actually surprised when your family assigned you one, considering your un-ladyness and particularly that your upbringing wasn't that of a Purell but of a Rivers; a bastard. Still, you have established a very good relationship with her and she probably appreciates being in your service unconventional as it may be as opposed to serving some stuck up highborn Lady. That said, Andere is looking even more red than her own hair and is muttering almost incomprehensibly, stumbling over her own words at the awkwardness of walking into you nude and sharing your bed with another woman, no less. Predictably, the whole situation is amusing and hilarious to you but still, you figure you should try calming her down so she can help you get ready for today's events.
"Look, it’s just me and another girl without clothes. How many times haven't you've seen me like this, anyway?"
"It's not you, my Lady, it's..."
"Her?" you interrupt. "She's not even awake! And for fuck's sake, I'm not your Lady. Though I definitely wouldn't mind you calling me that for a while." you wink at her.
Your comment makes her smile and she turns a different shade of red, but to her credit she quickly composes herself. You take note of her smile and make a mental note to discuss it further later, but for now you have to get ready right now if your father is already calling for you. It is not the best of ideas to keep him waiting.
"Look, let's just pretend this is an everyday morning and help me get ready, alright?"
She sighs "Alright my La... Josephine." She says with a smile.
You smile back and she immediately begins the process of dressing you up. She starts with padded overalls and trousers and quickly moves on to the armored plates. They are relatively light compared to the heavy armor the mounted knights of the Vale wear and they barely restrict your movement. You fight amongst the men on the ground, after all. Your family was always weary of your growing interest in the use of swords and the stories of great battles, which Maester Harrold was always happy to share with you. Despite your mother and sister attempting to mold you into the perfect lady in the end they simply gave up, coming to the conclusion that as a bastard you probably would never be married off to some lordling, and thus it meant little if you refused to learn the "arts" of being some scumbag's mistress.
Your father and other members of your House began teaching you the way of war and you actually became quite good at it, to the point that you were allowed to ride alongside them whenever the Lords Paramount of the Riverlands, the Tullys, rallied their bannermen or whenever your lands and allies needed defending like they do today. Still, leading men wasn't easy for you at the beginning. Most of the men initially didn't respect you due to you being both a bastard and especially a woman. You had to bash more than one skull in and smack down more than one insubordinate soldier, but after a couple of skirmishes and brawls, the men came to acknowledge you as their leader, and even to respect you eventually. In fact, you being a bastard and not really a highborn probably helped in the end since they saw you as "one of their own".
You are so caught in your thoughts you don't even realize that Andere has all but finished putting your armor on. Finally, she throws the traditional garment of every Purell over your shoulder; a small cloak made of the hide of the first shark you ever killed with your own hands, perfectly representing both the Purell sigil, a grey shark over a black and blue background and also the ancient tradition of shark hunting which has been carried out by your house since its inception. Clad in your House's colors, you grab your longsword from its resting place and make your way out of the tent.
Outside the drums continue to sound and the entire war camp is in constant movement as men run around grabbing their weapons and some of them mounting their horses. Right across from yours is the War Tent, were your father and his closest allies and advisors are no doubt conferring and discussing the plans for today. To your left, you can see the outskirts of Saltcrest, the seat of House Bryant. It is not a pretty sight. Many houses and ships are on fire and several ironborn ships now rest at the ports.
The ironborn have been a constant pain in the ass for the entire region of the Riverlands, particularly to Houses like yours due to your close proximity to Ironman's Bay. Some could say that you are at war, though there's never been an official declaration and both the usually small Houses that border on ironborn territory and the Houses of the Iron Islands know that neither have enough men and resources to lead a full scale invasion into the other's lands, so the ironborn instead raid the smaller towns in the coast under your rule and sometimes engage your small fleets in sea-based skirmishes, from which they always come out victorious due to both their superior ships and sailing abilities. Thankfully, ironborn raids are often short lived due to the small numbers of men in their raiding parties and the superior equipment and discipline of the Rivermen.
Slicking your dirty blonde hair back, you enter the war tent quietly in an attempt not to disturb your father's profanity-ridden rant which if you didn't know any better, you'd swear even the ironborn outside could hear. Actually, as a matter of fact, he's ranting about you.
"- and where in Seven Hells is my daughter?! Fucking around with some tavern wench, no doubt, when I need her HERE!"
"Close. Stone mason's daughter." you say with a grin as you join the men discussing around the table. Your comment causes a fair amount of laughs among the men and a knowing smile from your brother Dan. However Eddard, the youngest one, isn't as amused and gives you a disapproving stare. Your own father sighs and finally continues.
"Well, now that "Lady" Rivers is here, we can finally get on with this."
Firstly, an extract from the Nightfall page: "Those cunts like to tell themselves that what's dead can't die. Well, I say that what is dead is already fucking dead,..." I like this reference, even if I am looking at in the opposite order to which it will be in.
Now for my thoughts, Chapter 1: What Is Dead Is Already Dead
Opening Paragraph: The description is detailed but also gives us some insight into the character along with why we are here. It also tells us what our role is and leaves the reader (or me at least) thinking that there will be a fight soon. Honestly pretty surprised by how much you managed to tell us about the protagonist and the situation they are currently in with just the opening. Great job. I also feel like mentioning that the sentence structure seems to be sufficiently complex, as in it isn't all just single lines with no commas and what not. I might have explained that pretty poorly, and I am no expert on the whole thing, but just know that it makes reading the paragraph a whole lot better than if the lines weren't structured like this.
Exposition, Dialogue and Pacing: We learn quite a bit about the protagonist here, which is good and to be expected from opening page. We also get to learn more about the world, namely about the 'good guys' and 'bad guys', or at least the current ones (this is based on Game of Thrones after all).
I quite like that you mentioned the mother and sister (and father too) but didn't drop their names. This is good since despite this being the opening page, bombarding the reader with a bunch of names isn't always the best idea as it isn't that likely that they will remember them all. The names you do mention are followed by information, so the names can actually be applied to something. Like the ironborn.
It is worth mentioning that you do mention the names when the protagonist enters the tent, however this is done well and again, the reader isn't bombarded.
The pacing of the scene feels rather slow, mainly due to the exposition, but (to me at least) it doesn't drag on and the protagonist is still doing things. The exposition seems to fill the gaps of walking from one point to the other, while also looking around.
Page End: There is a minor cliffhanger here, namely your father needing you HERE!, but due to the exposition it is pretty easy to guess why. I would like to mention that this makes it seem like something is about to happen, as in, the people in the war tent 'can finally get on with this'. This suggests a form of action is coming up (as in dialogue, seeing as they are all gathered in the war tent after all). What I'm trying to say is the scene seems to be setting up for something.
Note: By action I mean the character actively doing something / being involved in something. Not just fighting.
Grievances: I'm given the idea that the protagonist rather cares about Elyssa, due to the description and wanting to be with her, but when she is summed up as a 'Stone mason's daughter" this is sorta distorted. Just figured I'd mention this, but do note this isn't really something bad. The fact that the protagonist called her that in this situation could mean a whole host of things: Cracking a joke. Actually doesn't like her, just likes to bang. Said it due to the people in the room. The reader will get to choose whether they like her or not, thus it isn't that concrete yet. Etc etc etc.
I mentioned this just so you keep in mind how character relations are portrayed throughout. This can vary depending on who is in the scene, what happened and stuff like that. For example, it'd be pretty weird if on the next page the protagonist professes their eternal love for Elyssa to the council... So I guess just be careful not to jump a whole lot between the character's outlook on others (without a reason). Again, you haven't actually done this, one shift in tone (maybe tone isn't the right word), which isn't even in the same medium (as in thoughts vs dialogue), isn't something bad, in fact it can add depth to the character's relationships with others, by showing they don't always act the same way.
That's all I really have for grievances, I could probably try to dig more up but they wouldn't really be that reflective of what readers would think while reading, and would probably just end up being pointless nitpicking (as in, it wouldn't lead to you changing the writing or story for the better).
Further Comments: I feel that because I read the other two pages, some of the things I might have complained about don't hold any water anymore. This is good, because it means that it doesn't need to be changed, as it is addressed (in a sense at least) later.
If you would like further 'feedback' on something a bit more specific, I could probably try and give my thoughts in a more structured manner (but I must say that I feel as if I rambled a little less this time).
One more thing, if you manage to keep this quality of writing throughout the piece, along with adding a few meaningful choices (how many really depends on you) this story game will be great. Choice wise I can't comment too much, as I haven't actually seen options that branch the story to any great degree. I don't know how much impact the combat choices will have.
But I should mention that it does sound like you have plans for some major choices, at least that's the vibe I'm getting.
So again, I highly encourage you to keep writing, you could make something pretty awesome with this level of writing. Oh also keep in mind this is still just my opinion, but hopefully you manage to get something useful out of it.
TL;DR: Quality writing here, looking forward to see where this story will go. I highly encourage you to keep writing!
He is, but I can’t imagine ol’ George is going to find this place, make an account and yell at DarkSpawn.
Though if he did, that would be pretty cool so it might be worth it just for that to happen.
Yes, he is. My story however is based on the world and characters depicted on the HBO series, not on the ASOIAF novels. As far as I know, HBO doesn't hate fanfic and there are thousands of works from their various shows. Granted most of them are on kindergarten level, but they're there. I also think that my story actually borders on the line about fanfic, since most of he characters are my original ones, and any major characters are only mentioned in passing or make cameos that don't interrupt their appearances in the show. Especially onsidering most fanfic absolutely takes over characters from the work itself and has them doing completely inconceivable stuff or turns them into the unwilling participant of some weird sexual fantasy. Idk, I'm probably rambling by now. Just my thoughts on the matter.
Out of curiosity, whereabouts is this on the GOT timeline?
It begins shortly before Eddard Stark's execution, and is intended to cover the events up to the battle of the bastards, provided I manage to keep writing for that long.
Welp, I'm going to throw in my two cents here, keeping in mind that I've only read ASOIAF and have watched very little of the TV series. Hopefully my opinion helps out.
"Before you and all standing around an improvised table made using a large log is your father's War Council, a collection of powerful and influential lords, knights, commanders and allies that over the years have earned your father's trust, gratitude, or at least haven't managed to completely piss him off."
I can see what you tried to say here, but this is both wordy and awkward. As the first thing I read, that didn't set a good expectation. In red is the 'worst' part of this sentence. An easy way to make run-on sentences shorter and 'to-the-point', which 'sharpens' what you've written, is to break it up. For example,
You strode into the tent, and before you stood father's War Council. Over the years, his gratitude and trust has bought himself strong allies. *Appeasing these powerful men will be - and always will be, a touchy business.*
* * = 'This sentence could be moved elsewhere further down the paragraph.'
What I've set out to do is establish a mood of tension by addressing this scene with an 'air of reverence' towards the War Council. Seeing that they aren't an inept or light-hearted entourage (that only follows MC's father around for his favour), I removed the line "or at least haven't managed to completely piss him off". 'cos, y'know, it won't fit. By splitting the sentence up, there's greater strength behind the utterance of these words compared to its arduous counterpart. If you want to manipulate the sounds of words etc. to create mood, reading it aloud helps out. A lot. I could apply the same method to the next sentence, which is:
"Some of them are vassals of House Purell such as the Bryants and the Hardwoods, though others are equal allies of your family, either through ancient treaty or through marriage as is the case of House Spearbright, the maiden house of your mother, Greta Purell."
Some are tied to us by marriage and tradition, such as House Spearbright. Others are benefactors of our generosity, which is the case for House Bryant and House Hardwood. Father believes that all of them are our blood brothers, but *appeasing these powerful families will be - and always will be, a touchy business.*
The structure of the following is truly an info dump. Since this isn't a part of the present story, I'd only describe the relationships between MC and her family using 'story-writing' AKA sentences and paragraphs. Although it's not as confusing as the first sentence, when you're editing this it would be wise to approach the segments about MC's family with a similar approach to mine - and make sure it all flows smoothly and reads well. If it isn't fun to read then you might as well leave the info in dot points.
That leads onto my second suggestion, which is to summarise father's allies using separate pages for each - with a contents page beneath the writing linking to each page. Doing so breaks down the writing into shorter and separate works, which could be more interactive and engaging for the reader. Furthermore, doing so may give each House some sort of distinguishing trait/make each one more memorable. Point is, breaking up this info dump would be more appealing. As a rough draft, this clearly conveys what you've set out to write about. This would, however, greatly benefit from some more proof-reading/editing. Nice work!
Also, I'd think you would benefit from reading through ASOIAF if you haven't already. Martin is a god at making words flow seamlessly.
e: rip editlock, now I can't reword my points. Oh well.
Consider this, if each word is used alongside a justification for its existence, then your writing style (and so forth) would come through invariably.
Proof-read work by checking for good flow in your writing. I do so by reading the text aloud.