Eternal

Player Rating7/8

"even better than Reeses' Cups®"
based on 2750 ratings since 12/31/2013
played 44,781 times (finished 1,215)

Story Difficulty8/8

"mosie through a minefield"

Play Length8/8

"Even light has to break at the rest stop"

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.

The last hope for a dying empire

Additional notes:

This story can be very long assuming you're not dying. Years pass and your surroundings will most likely change. You may very well live a life time in the story.

As with any of my writings, the story comes before the game. However while there isn't a complex inventory and all of that, you can technically "win" by getting one of the epilogues.

There are 13 epilogues total.

There are also several points in the story where there are links that lead to more background information on various people, places, things and events. While not completely necessary to understanding the story, they do give you more insight into it.

Player Comments

Long comment ahead, beware! This was my first time playing one of these stories, and I am immensely impressed.
The best kinds of stories leave you with a sort of melancholy in their wake. I came across this story with the intention of spending a few minutes on "choose-your-own" nostalgia, but ended up witnessing the rise and fall of a rich world, the cultivation of a cast of full human characters, and the development of believable anti-hero protagonist who (despite my best attempts to curb his tyranny) became just as bad as the Emperor he intended to depose--albeit with all the best intentions in mind--and ended up an Eternal Messiah.
Though the story is occasionally linear, the choices it poses are involved and always difficult. I found myself often following one choice for a few pages, deciding I didn't like the outcome, reverting to the other option, and discovering it to be just as bad--but in a different way. Everything, from the very first choice to die, struggle, or beg, lasts to the end.
The characters are overall excellent, my favorite being Dendrin (I must have a soft spot for snarky pseudogods), though my own character was interesting as well. Talia (my male character's romantic interest) came off as a little flat, though (but maybe this is just me, as a female cis/ace person, trying to understand a straight relationship from a male perspective and failing). Other favorites were Cyrus and Theo.(Speaking of Cyrus, loved the inclusion of a gay relationship! Loved the fact that Cyrus was a believable character whose entire existence was not written based on the fact that he was gay! +10 points for diversity!)
The quality of the writing is pretty darn good throughout for something of this ambitious length. There are occasional slip-ups in grammar/syntax and tone, but the language is always vivid enough to get the point across, and there is nothing glaring enough to rip me out of the story.
Worldbuilding is excellent. I don't know whether it borrows from existing fantasy worlds, whether it ties in to the author's other works, or whether it's entirely original to this story, but it felt both fantastic and darkly realistic. I'd say it's kind of a cross between Lord of the Rings (Tolkien in general), Princes of Amber series (Zelazny), Elder Scrolls, and a webcomic by one Ashley Cope called Unsounded that you ALL SHOULD READ because it's EXCELLENT.
My favorite part of this is the realism--political, moral, interpersonal--of it. There's no way, at least that I can tell from the one extended playthrough I've done, to play the shining moral beacon of goodness. For example, from the first moment I read about the Empire I wanted to take it down. Okay, you can take down the Empire--but at what cost? I ended up making things worse as the land falls to squabbling warlords. Everything was painted in Blue and Orange Morality as I tried (and possibly failed) to not become the villain. And yet even as my character became murderous, I could still empathize with him. The only other work I can think of right now that has this similar sort of moral realism is web-serial writer Wildbow's work (Worm and Pact--things you all should ALSO READ because they are EXCELLENT).

Anyway, here I am posting a comment of ridiculous length on something that probably hasn't gotten a comment in quite some time. Excellent work, and I will be playing more to see if I can get endings other than (and perhaps less villainous than?) Eternal Messiah.
-- allison on 5/18/2014 2:39:36 AM with a score of 0
After reading through every single page, I have to say that this storygame is nothing short of fucking incredible. The sheer epicness of the scale and length of the story, the volume of content and the number of different story paths is amazing. The amount of time and effort taken to write all this must be unbelievably big.
But the quality isn't hampered by the quantity. All of the paths for the 13 different 'proper endings' are entertaining, even if some are inevitably not as good as others. One of the most fun things about Eternal is to play through all of these and see how things end up differently regarding the plot and the deeply interesting and lifelike characters. Even the 'dead end' endings are really good, and personally I think some of the best fight scenes come from these endings.
Something I didn't like was the numerous spelling and grammatical errors scattered throughout the game. You can get over that easily enough though, as it's not too frequent. I also didn't like some of the storylines as much as the others. Having played through what I would say were the best paths first, I felt that the worse paths I played afterwards were a bit of a letdown, even though they were still a good read.
Eternal is well worth your time. I think it's by far the best storygame on this site, even out of all of EndMaster's masterpieces.
-- 31TeV on 12/11/2013 3:58:38 AM with a score of 0
Finally! I have been waiting for the 3rd branch of "Eternal" since I first found this site, and now I finished it. Almost everything about it is outstanding, from the way The EndMaster incorporates (or at least implies) "Necromancer" into the story as well as tying everything about the world/story/events together; a rare but yet extremely fulfilling experience that cannot be found in the traditional style of storytelling.

I swear, if this was published (although that would be another story/challenges entirely), I would buy this in an instant, not only because it'd be easier to convince others this style is a legitimate way of storytelling, but also as a way to pay The EndMaster for his time and effort into making something memorable. This is the first for me to feel like donating money for something that's free entertainment.

The only criticism I'd give is the somewhat minor errors in grammar and "exrta" words left in sentences that clearly aren't suppose to be there. Another look into the parts of the story branch that leads to the 13th ending will show what I am talking about. As for the other parts of the whole story, I'm unsure if this is as noticeable as it's been almost a year since I've read the first 2 branches of "Eternal".

I have much more to say but that would take up the comments page so I'll end it with this; "Eternal" is one the best. It deserves its 8/8 from me in my book; it truly "enlightened me" to this way of storytelling and makes me wish these kind of "books" were mainstream or had a much larger following. Despite being one of the first "choose your story" I've ever read, I haven't found anything close to The EndMaster's stories, especially "Eternal" and probably will be for a long time.

Thanks!
-- ArchyMej on 11/26/2013 2:11:14 AM with a score of 0
My first story to read here and I greatly enjoyed it. Will probably go back and check alternative routes. Thanks!
-- Istarion on 12/15/2014 2:55:38 PM with a score of 0
Horrible I want better endings!
-- Alexis on 12/13/2014 1:22:10 AM with a score of 0
Ho. Ly. Shit. That... that was incredible.. the absolute best piece of written media I have ever indulged in. I chose the struggle path with Decena, and eventually created an entire race of Eternals, and it was just... heartwarming.. The best part is that the main character is never referred to by name, so you can always feel yourself in his shoes, making the decisions yourself, and.. being revered as a savior of sorts. The story I chose was.. heartwarming. You could see how the main character changed and grew as a person throughout his lifetime, and even how the 'minor' characters all have backstories and also grow and change over time. The only sad thing is that there was never any true.. "resolution" with Mistress, but I hope to find such a resolution in one of the many, many branches in the story. My first story I've read on this site, and it was positively.. magical. I cant wait to explore one of the other paths, specifically the one that takes me to the distant future. My only tiny little nitpick is that there Are some slight typos that become more frequent near the end of the story, but with as many branches and story arcs that needed to be written for this, I suppose that is to be expected, and the typos never harm the storytelling, which remains magnificent throughout. Truly breathtaking, and I'm glad to have experienced this in my lifetime. :3
-- Kryzeth on 12/12/2014 2:55:05 PM with a score of 0
Well connected with all the rest of your work, second best after Necromancer!
-- Konqueror on 12/10/2014 7:45:26 AM with a score of 0
That was a brilliant admirable work... i wish it was more advanced though
-- loqman on 11/26/2014 4:07:05 PM with a score of 0
I am literally spending days going through the different stories. Amazingly thought out, I actually changed my life based off the how this story presented it's ideas. Absolutely worth the indulgence.
-- Aaron T. on 11/25/2014 3:07:35 AM with a score of 0
sex scene... wat?
-- new guy on 11/24/2014 1:44:01 AM with a score of 0
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