Broken Chains

Player Rating4.73/8

"Too few ratings to be ranked"
based on 47 ratings since 01/29/2017
played 499 times (finished 49)

Story Difficulty3/8

"trek through the forest"

Play Length6/8

"It'll be a while, better grab a SnickersĀ®"

Maturity Level7/8

"anything goes"
Some material may be inappropriate for persons under age 18. If this were a movie, it would probably be R.

For Bucky's 2016 Wilderness contest. 

Take the role of an Imperial slave in one of the cruelest regimes imaginable. Without rights or legal personhood, you are forced to labour on the Frontier; the edge of a gargantuan, continent-spanning forest where the Imperium is locked in a fierce conflict with the resident elves. 

Be warned, though; your choices will have consequences.

Player Comments

This was a well-written and engaging story. The author does most things well, and two things very well. First and foremost, the pacing of this story was extremely well done. Seriously, this was one of the absolute best-paced stories on the entire website. Every page is quite long, but the story never drags because the plot moves at a perfect rate: not too fast, and not too slow. The second thing that the author does exceptionally well, is that he shows us the world instead of telling us about it. Aside from one monologue, everything we learn about the world, we learn organically. And it's an interesting world that I'd like to learn a great deal more about, too!

Despite relatively strong writing and some excellent accouterments, this was not a good storygame, because it was not a storygame at all. This has the potential to be a well-regarded and possibly top 100 storygame if it's flushed out enormously so that we aren't shoehorned into a single damned path. If the author wanted to write linear fiction, then he should have done so instead of barbarically making a mockery of the medium. Many entrants have been linear, but have at least attempted to hide it... this was a defacement.

All said and done, I hope this is reworked into a proper storygame, because the potential is definitely there.
-- JJJ-thebanisher on 1/30/2017 12:52:22 AM with a score of 0
The game was certainly interesting. The setting seemed interesting with a Greco-Roman/Tolkeinesque combination that definitely drew me in, and the characters were interesting. I quite liked the story of the Elves, going from High Elf esque magic conquerors to more Wood Elf creatures in a mythological tale, plus that whole talking to the Gods bit was pretty cool, as was the Crucifixion scene. Although there were a few awkward phrasings of things, like the unnaturally skinny yet pot bellied elf, the writing remained strong and I did actually get interested in the story. Oh, and the Elf ending was anti-climatic as fuck. Should've just emphasized how evil killing the baby was and made it super cute, and then given the reader a happy ending to say "Well fuck it, you killed a baby, you get it", rather than just going with the "You did something evil and evil must pay!" approach. Plus the saving the warden path ends weird, the way I'd make an early ending to show the reader they missed out on a lot, when in reality they didn't. You had two solid paths, so it wasn't like it was suffering from a crippling lack of writing.

Unfortunately and as I'm sure you're aware, the story suffered from linearity to a huge degree, although not one that would be hard to change. There were few choices, and even less that actually led to branching off, despite several obvious points that could be branched off from. Sticking loyal to Lein from the start could've easily led to some small branching and just skipping ahead to when you escape with her, rather than have only one way to do so. It seems pretty counter-intuitive that you'd betray her once but then risk your life for her. There was also a lot of places where short term choice would've been beneficial, like how to create a distraction so that there's actually a few more choices in it without the need for massive branching, or just a few more "hollow" choices to fill your story with far more links without having to write a metric shit ton, so that the reader is making small decisions yet it fills out your story tenfold.

All in all it was a fun story despite its flaws, although I felt the Roman path could've been expanded on a fair bit. I liked the setting and the Elves and that side of it was pretty cool to see, though while the quality was strong it was no doubt lacking in quantity. Still, a fun read and a good entry to the contest. Well done.
-- Steve24833 on 1/29/2017 7:23:37 PM with a score of 0
Like SkyTenshi's story, this had much potential, and was probably the better one overall. However, some of the endings still felt a bit rushed, as if you had procrastinated until the last few days and shat out whatever you had to get it done.

The plot was adequately branched out to create several storylines, so that's a plus. The main characters were at least somewhat developed, and weren't just generic cutouts. I especially liked that you could become really cutthroat and sell out your friends to get in good graces. #lifegoals

The text itself is very good, and I liked the detail and descriptive language you used. You can always improve, though, and you could use a little more meat to the story to make it a bit longer and more substantial.

Despite its abruptness and flaws, I really liked what I saw, and I hope to see a revised version of this so that I can rate it much higher. 5/8.
-- jep49 on 1/29/2017 6:57:30 PM with a score of 0
I liked it.
-- FazzTheMan on 3/7/2017 9:12:00 PM with a score of 0
I'm with JJJ on this one. Malk, shame shame shaaaame on you for writing a story THIS engaging, but so frustratingly flawed and incomplete.

On the whole this is an improvement over your path in Blooded (though I enjoyed that one as well) but as a CYOA it suffers from some of the same flaws. There are pages and pages of writing, with a few choices tacked on sort of as afterthoughts.

Don't get me wrong, the pages are /good/, and the characters and plot points are all introduced and developed very naturally. TBH I'd probably happily sit down and read a novel taking place in this setting; and in a way it felt like that's what you'd rather be writing here than a traditional CYOA.

Still, I wish you'd come back to this one and, like Steve suggested, mix up the existing paths a little with some more frequent minor choices and expand the whole thing to include a few more branches. This has all the elements of a fantastic, memorable story and now that the pressure of the deadline is gone, it deserves some more polish and love.

The elf path was much longer and more fleshed out, but I dug the Roman stuff and kept thinking I'd love to play a full game where you work your way up from a slave to slave owner, with a government position and all the backstabbing and political maneuvering that goes along with it.

There are some niggling punctuation issues, most noticeably on the first few pages. Mostly the dreaded Curse of Dialogue stuff that everyone seems to run into. I can send you a PM listing these out if it's something you're interested in fixing.

But either way, I really really hope that one of these days you're able to channel whatever it is that gave you such bursts of productivity on this one /without/ having a deadline squeeze it out of you. I can honestly say that your stuff is entertaining and immersive enough that I could see you ranked right up there with End or Steve if you just could write more frequently and consistently. I would absolutely love to see what you can do without the frantic rush to the finish line making you cut corners or limit choice.

-- mizal on 2/26/2017 10:57:32 PM with a score of 0
Very well written story, which I enjoyed very much. Some of the complaints I have is the fact we do not get a name and the elven path epilog was anticlimactic.
-- jcury on 2/25/2017 3:25:19 AM with a score of 0
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