pugpup1, The Dramatist
“He can’t think, he can’t write. There’s no discernible talent.”
Someone cut the wise old priest's throat, and everyone at court is a suspect. Who murdered him, and how will King Alfred fight the Danes without his right hand man?
Written for Mizal's 2019 Lone Hero contest.
What could be better than a night at the inn, tankard in hand, listening to a bard tell tales of faraway lands and great heroes? His story has it all- brilliant wizards, beastly monsters, and buxom lasses always ready for a smile and a good time. Alright, so I made up the lasses, but the rest is true.
The Butter Bear is friendly, he's adventurous, and he's got butter in his hair. You never know what will happen when you meet him, but it'll be an experience you'll never forget!
Originally started for the children's contest but finished much later. This is very much a children's story, but I hope it's entertaining for adults.
Daemons have preyed upon humans since the Fall of Man, but in the civilized world they must first fight the daemonologists. Armed with knowledge, they wield learning and magic to protect the innocent from the dark spirits that would do them harm. It has been your dream to join them, to study at their College and then go forth to do battle with infernal warriors, but lately you've had to contend with other dreams, nightmares of a mysterious woman, pale and strange and beautiful. Who is she, and what role will she play in the great unfolding drama of the daemonologists?
Recent PostsI Can't Find the Motivation to Write on 10/9/2019 12:56:04 PM
I've found this list of techniques to be helpful, some of which have already been mentioend. The key is to figure out what works for you, which is probably going to be different from what works for me or anyone else. I think that the problem of wanting to constantly edit or critique your work while you're writing a first draft can stem from writing on a computer, where it's very easy to change any word or phrase that doesn't sound perfect. Writing by hand (or, I assume, with a typewriter) makes it easier for me to ignore the imperfections in my first draft and just get something down that I can polish up later.
I find connecting the dots in an outline to be tricky too, which is why I tend not to plan my stories out much in advance, whether for this site or in my non-CYOA. But again, this is very much a personal thing- you might find that kind of freewriting harder, since you don't have anything to go off of besides an empty screen.
Finally, contest deadlines have a wonderful way of curing writer's block!
Immortal means Immortal on 9/21/2019 9:25:29 AM
My Dear Wormwood,
By now, even you must be familiar with Mr. Gower's recent frustrations, but I know from past experience that, without my guidance, you may be trusted to draw precisely the wrong lessons from his misfortune. I can hear your protestations even now. No doubt you are saying to yourself "If my cloven feet had been in his shoes, things would have been different!" You believe you could have been cleverer, stronger, more dishonest and diabolical, and you imagine that some lack of these traits doomed Gower to his fate. In short, you blame his unpleasant situation on a lack of means.
This is frightfully wrong. In the first place, it betrays a crucial ignorance of Mr. Gower himself, who could hardly be a more devious plotter. But if even his enviable powers (and how I do envy them!) were insufficient to topple Endmaster from his dark throne, then what chance do any of us have at attaining such glories, such riches and power? This leads me to the second and more fundamental flaw in your way of thinking, Wormwood, which is to prize these outward trappings of authority, these meaningless indicators of status, as though you were some puffed-up human princeling scheming to become his father's heir. You believe, as Gower too believed, that there was some intrinsic value in rising to the top of one's Order, of overthrowing its commander and taking your 'rightful' place as head of it all.
I admit this is an appealing notion, particularly to the young, who might be unaware of the terrible price of failure, but after Mr. Gower's example I trust you will change your aims. Pride and avarice are all well and good, but we must be intelligent about pursuing them. Consider what I have done. Instead of seeking power within the powerful Orders, I joined the Wardens. Yes, Wormwood, the Wardens, that bumbling assembly of the insignificant, the despised and mocked. I challenged no one, offended no one, threatened no one- who could be threatened by a Warden, and who in the world would admit it if he was? But, even as I made no waves, my ship sailed on, slowly at first, until I had reached the inner circle of my Order. Yes, I am now called Infrangible (and, though such titles are ultimately meaningless, I cannot help savoring the word). Now I stand at the very cusp of the highest power a Warden can attain, having never even sought it. You see how sweet the irony is! I stand where Mr. Gower stood, but because he is a feared Marauders and I a weak Warden, I may yet succeed where he failed.
Ah, I can hear the objection rising from your scaly throat already. "To lead the Wardens is no honor at all; to lead the Marauders and overthrow Endmaster would be the greatest glory imaginable." To that, Wormwood, I have a very simple answer: I am no fool. These are fantasies, and we must always strive for cold realism in all our doings, lest we end up in exquisite misery like the daydreaming Mr. Gower. Better to be a great fish in a little pond, as it were, than to be devoured by a dark god. I would not give my place in the Wardens for anything in the world. Keep your ambitions and your expectations low, and your talents may let you rise above what you had dreamed was possible, but if you try to climb too high too fast, I will shed no tears at the fall.
Your affectionate uncle,
My Blind Playthrough of the Works of Endmaster on 9/17/2019 9:28:29 PM
From "I will do one playthrough of each without going back because I want to really own the choices I make." to 16 playthroughs of TRASH. I look forward to reading playthroughs 1-36 of Ground Zero, 1-109 of Eternal, and 1-250 of Rogues.
How Did You Find CYS? on 9/13/2019 7:05:01 PM
I first read CYOA books in elementary school. My teacher had a bookshelf we could borrow from, and I remember taking a good number of them before running out and going to the library for more. Only a few stand out- one about insectoid aliens that try to take over the polluted Earth, another about some kind of space vampires. The library, though, had Give Yourself Goosebumps, which stuck in my memory a lot more. The one in the wax museum, the one with the mad scientists, and the one where you explored a classic haunted house.
I stumbled on CYS in middle school, read and was in awe of Ground Zero, came back a couple years later, read and was in awe of Eternal (which only had the "Beg" path at that point), and then left again for a while. When I came back, Eternal had all three paths and I was in awe all over again. Tried off and on to write something myself but never finished anything until the Ballad contest. Since then it's been off and on, usually coming back every few months to play a few games and revisit old favorites.
CYS Book Club: Book Five on 9/9/2019 11:30:46 PM
Your analysis is much appreciated and seems spot on to me, as do most of your critiques on "The Damonologists." I think a mystery story, particularly a typical whodunit, is tricky to turn into the kind of truly open-ended Time Cave format a la Rogues that I and many others find most satisfying in a CYOA. If the point of the story is to learn who is behind the crimes, then it becomes much harder to achieve that sense of branching possibilities that makes those kinds of stories so fascinating. A whodunit is almost by definition a single story. If Wulf and Cynehelm leave Winchester and go to London to have adventures with the heretics, that might make for an interesting story in its own right, but then presumably they don't find the killer. If I had unlimited time (which, of course, I do now that the contest is over), I suppose I could have added these kinds of side or alternative adventures, but I think that would end up just distracting from the main point of the story as I originally envisioned it.
The initial reason for the linearity of both stories was the contest deadlines, but that limitation ended up influencing the stories' plots- for Father Leofwine and as I've said, the whodunit form lends itself to linear-ish storytelling. For the Daemonologists, once the protagonist is "marked" by the succubus, that limits the possibilities he can take- he can no longer just walk away from the adventure or decide to got to America, for example, since presumably she would follow and re-engage him in the main plot. But the Daemologists actually has quite a bit more branching than Father Leofwine, with one central choice that then leads to, in my mind at least, the four most satisfying endings. Leofwine really only has two endings, and the choice between them is very near the end of the story.
As I think I've mentioned before, I did consider further paths for both stories. For Leofwine, the "Don't trust Wulf" decision was going to lead to a path where he's thrown into prison and then escapes, but I had to cut it for time and replace it with the very unsatisfying immediate rejoining of the main story. I don't have much interest in scripting, but I did consider trying to make it possible to solve the mystery in different orders, or going from entirely different lines of evidence. My original idea for the Daemonologists was to include 3 other paths as long as the one I finished, which included failing the College entrance exam, getting expelled, and a half-formed idea of being conscripted to fight against the American revolution. Needless to say, everything good in these paths was incorporated into the final story, but pruning them away led to the long string of no choices near the beginning.
I probably won't revise or expand either of these stories, though I am musing over some ideas for a new project, this time without a deadline. Of course, the two deadlines were quite effective as motivators, so we'll see if I actually finish anything without them.
Wardens, lmao on 9/6/2019 12:05:13 AM
"One of the scouts has returned, my lord," the sentry said, his voice trembling. The General was not the sort of man who liked to be disturbed, particularly not when he was about to go to bed, and most especially not when his bed contained a lovely young woman with hair like fire and a body whose tantalizing curves had made her stand out from the hundreds of others who followed the great army.
The General spat. It was an inconvenience, but business before pleasure. He took a swig from the flask at his hip and then nodded. "Send him in." He turned to the girl with a crooked smile. "It'll only be a minute, love."
The scout came inside the tent and stood shivering, a scraggly beard hanging limp from his chin. The General hardly noticed the expression on his face. He was used to inspiring fear, whether in his enemies or his subordinates, and so as the man simply stood, shivering in silence, the General was not surprised. "Out with it," he barked after a while, and when the scout still didn't respond, he added "Or I'll tear that dirty rag from your face and stuff it down your throat."
"They...they're out there," he said at last.
His voice was quiet, and the General stalked closer. "Who's out there? Speak, boy!"
The scout didn't seem to see him, and the General noticed that his eyes were glazed over. "They're out there," he said again. "And they're coming."
He had seen this kind of terror before, a fear far different from the common worries about battle or the anxiety of losing comrades. Once, long again and in a different war, when the General was just a junior officer, they had taken an enemy camp, a prison fortress that held those unlucky souls that the enemy had captured. The General was not naive. He knew the terrible tortures that those men had undergone, how they had watched the enemy brutalize their friends and how they had been treated as less than animals. More than anything else, that was what had convinced him to be a warrior, to lead men in the defense of his people from the scum that would destroy them.
Those prisoners had the same glazed over eyes as this scout, and so when the General spoke again, he had none of his usual hostility. "Who were they? How many are there?"
"They're coming," the man repeated. "We don't stand a chance."
The General spat again. "I'd like to see the army that can take this fort."
The scout shook his head and then suddenly grabbed his arm. "You don't understand! They're out there, and they're coming! We need to run. We need to find a place, a safe place far away, somewhere where they can't hurt us!" He sank to his knees, and when he looked up he was sobbing. "The Wardens."
It could not be true, and yet there the man lay, writhing on the ground, his voice now only indistinct begging to be allowed to flee. They had been gone for so long that they were almost forgotten. Sensible people dismissed them as a mere fable, but the look in the scout's eyes was all too real. "You've done well, son."
Best to prepare for the worst, and, if the man was right, it would be very bad indeed. The General took another swig from his flask and glanced back at the gorgeous girl in his bed. "Sorry love. This will have to wait. The Wardens are coming."
Wardens, lmao on 8/26/2019 8:30:12 PM
Something is wrong when I can become the fourth ranked Warden by writing two games and a comment
Lone Hero Results on 8/24/2019 1:34:39 PM
Thanks to everyone for the kind words and well done to everyone who entered! I’m excited to read all the stories
New Contest Theme: Lone Hero on 8/17/2019 2:28:26 PM
Here's my entry. http://chooseyourstory.com/story/father-leofwine-is-dead
New Contest Theme: Lone Hero on 8/3/2019 3:56:55 PM
Put me in