Hell Is Empty

Player Rating4.16/8

"Too few ratings to be ranked"
based on 10 ratings since
played times (finished )

Story Difficulty2/8

"walk in the park"

Play Length4/8

"A well spent lunch break"

Maturity Level5/8

"aren't you a little too old to be trick or treating"
Some material may be inappropriate for persons under age 13. If this were a movie, it would probably be PG-13.
A furious town of a couple hundred people have gathered to execute you, the demon who killed their children; however, there are two problems. First, you're innocent. Second, a traveling holy maiden decided to save you with her powerful and deadly powers...

Find all nine endings if you want. Some perhaps give a fuller picture.

This is an entry for Mizal's Lone Hero Contest too.

Player Comments

As we all know from grade school, the traditional structure for a story is that there is a beginning, a sequence of events/actions leading to a climax, and then the denouement in which the consequences of all that came before.

One of two major problems I had with this storygame is that it is entirely climax and denouement. It opens in a crisis situation: the protag has been falsely accused and is about to be stoned to death by the villagers. Then the contest-required "lone hero" appears in the form of a holy maiden, and after the flames from the hellfire die off, there is a lot of post-mortem discussion about everything that brought us to this point.

In other words, the entire portion of the story that would get me interested in the characters, the world they live, and the dangers/temptations/crises they face is completely absent, and only referenced briefly in a few passing lines.

The other problem that I had was that the dialog was unnatural and unbelievable, especially that of the holy maiden. She didn't speak the way a person would speak; instead, she made Important Pronouncements, each word dripping with pretentious meaning.

It took me a while to wrap my head around what was going on with her dialog. Was she supposed to be constantly quoting passages from some fictional Holy Scripture? If so, then this was a "Darmok at Tanagra" scenario, where if you don't understand the references then you can't understand what the hell anyone is saying.

Then I came to realize this speaking pattern might just be an attempt to sound archaic, like someone trying to emulate Shakespeare without understanding the mechanics of early Modern English; in the way that Othello sounds strange and difficult to comprehend to many 21st-century ears, the holy maiden in this story was often unintelligible to me.

Cases in point:

Take this passage from Hamlet, Act III, Scene i (the "to be or not to be" scene). Prince Hamlet is confronted by Ophelia, and when he realizes she was put up to it by the king, he goes into one of his fits of misdirected rage and expresses his inner misogyny. At one point he gets bent out of shape over the fact that women wear makeup: "I have heard of your paintings too, well enough; God has given you one face, and you make yourselves another".

But in one of the post-mortem discussions between the holy maiden and the protag of this story, we get this line:

"The maiden shook her head. 'And yet the town’s younglings lie dead in your church. God has given you one face, and you make yourself another.'"

Taken out of context, the Hamlet quote is complete gibberish. I have no idea what thought, insight, or plot point is being communicated.

Most of the holy maiden's lines are of a similar quality, although that was the only Shakespeare misquote I recognized... at first. I assumed the rest were made up by the author. For me, the nadir was this line: “You have not half the power to do me harm as I need to be hurt.” I had no idea what she was trying to tell me here.

But imagine my surprise when I googled it a moment ago and found it comes from Othello, Act V, scene ii -- from Emilia's reaction to the murder of Desdemona, and the fact that Othello doesn't seemed too pleased with her either: "Thou hast not half that power to do me harm / As I have to be hurt."

So basically, it boils down to this: our lone hero in this story is a self-described "holy maiden" who apparently likes to quite the Bard because she thinks the words sound impressive, without seeming to know what they mean. The other characters agree the holy maiden must be important because of the way she talks the talk. Meanwhile I'm getting frustrated because nothing is making any sense.

Look, this is not a horrible story, but it just wasn't for me. Having the "lone hero" be a "holy maiden" was certainly an interesting take on the concept, and I appreciated that. But otherwise I just couldn't get into this story.
-- Bill_Ingersoll on 8/20/2019 8:21:52 PM with a score of 0
I really enjoyed this story. It felt short, but was still very good. (There might be a few spoilers in this review)

It was an extremely well written story. The characters felt unique and had their own personalities. It also really managed to evoke emotion in me. When our character sat before her former friends and acquaintances, ready to be stoned despite all her good deeds solely on the word of two people, it honestly was upsetting. You managed to portray the despair and confusion of a person facing certain death at the hands of the people she trusted in a believable and impactful way. I really must commend you for that. The scene as the mob burns in hellfire was also very descriptive and well written. So it was an overall beautifully written piece of work.

I think I managed to get most of the endings. Some of them felt a bit alike, while others managed to give exposition and a deeper understanding of the Priest's motivations. All the endings felt satisfying however. So I really don't have any complaints.

I also kind of wanted to mention that I really did enjoy some of the lessons you included in here. This story really shows that just because we may label something or someone as evil, it is not always the case. Our character, and the Holy Maiden (from what I can tell), are both demons. And yet they are both pious individuals with kind hearts. The Priest and his son however, are monsters who are "Holy" only because they declare themselves to be so. Our character was judged for what she was, not who she was. And the people were wrong to do so. I just think that was a nice thing to add. You weren't preachy about it or anything, it just kind of stuck with me.

My only real complaint is that I wish it was a bit longer. Not really because the story needed it, but because I was really engaged in the story and wanted it to continue. So great work on the story Wibn. I really enjoyed it.
-- TurnipBandit on 8/19/2019 4:22:22 PM with a score of 0
This story had a good premise. I'm not sure if the scene after the first one was able to sustain the excitement of the opening. The story relied pretty heavily on exposition and in a story this short I would recommend more showing and less telling to gain some traction and reader interest.

Some decent writing. But I would also recommend mixing up your sentence structures to avoid repeating rhythms, and I would also be really careful about verb choices. (A woman "erects herself" at one point.)

I think this story could have leaned into the "lone hero" theme even a bit more--in a short narrative, you probably want to ring that tonal ball pretty hard.
-- Gower on 8/20/2019 7:30:10 PM with a score of 0
Engaging read. Feels short though :/
-- ninjapitka on 8/20/2019 9:20:44 AM with a score of 0
Grammar and spelling is good.

The plot is interesting. You find yourself being judged in public forum with execution coming quickly after. I can't say much more without giving away to much of the plot. Give it a read.
-- DerPrussen on 8/18/2019 7:38:29 PM with a score of 0
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