Rogues

a Fantasy Adventure by EndMaster

Commended by BerkaZerka on 6/9/2018 11:28:28 PM

Player Rating7.39/8

"#3 overall, #1 for 2018"
based on 1010 ratings since 06/08/2018
played 53,054 times (finished 1,454)

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.

From humble beginning to infamy and beyond!

Additional notes:

This story is a fully self contained one and can easily be read on its own, however it also acts as a "sequel" to Innkeeper.

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 12 epilogues.

Player Comments

I think I've read everything in Rogues as it's currently published, and I've definitely read to every epilogue ending. Some general thoughts first and then some more specific.

As usual, Endmaster does a great job here at making completely different paths that all work as satisfying stories. I don't really mean the differences between choosing Klyton or Holgard but that different storylines are focused on completely different things. These range from vampires to gang wars to more individual or even romantic "rogue" plots (with Tanya, Annah, or whoever). Another author might be able to make each of these separate ideas work as separate stories, but here they all fit together in the same world and with many of the same characters, and none seems out of place once you've read them all.

The characters are another strength. Each has at least one interesting trait that makes them memorable, and the more important characters have more developed personalities and backstories. Depending on the paths, you get different amounts of this information for different characters (Sneaks, for example, can be a major character or someone you meet right at the end of the story. Same for Heather or, in a different way, Annah).

I think it is the Rogue himself which unites all these characters and storylines. His character is pretty consistent no matter what situation he ends up in- obviously not moral but never completely monstrous (even when a vampire), usually a loner even when he's in an organization, and without much tolerance for being bothered. These are the same kinds of traits as the Eternal and other Endmaster protagonists, and the fact that he can write similar characters so often and still make the stories so engrossing is a testament to his skill.

Some more specific observations:

1. My favorite endings were the most wholesome- when the Rogue ends up happily married to Annah or Yvette and leaves his life of crime. Oddly enough the ending with Ghoul Lisa fits here too (surprisingly sweet). My favorite Eternal ending was Eternal Bliss, so maybe I'm just sympathetic for this kind of thing, but it was nice to see the Rogue's life turn out in a "good" way, where he's happy and not doing anything too terrible.

2. That being said, Tanya was my favorite love interest. Unlike most of the others, she could clearly hold her own against the Rogue, but, unlikely Isabella, she had a vulnerable side too which made her a little more appealing. I liked Yvette a lot too, but she didn't get quite as much screen time as Tanya.

3. As I said, the characters were a strongpoint. A few in particular stood out as especially memorable- Warts started off as basically comic relief, but he ended up as one of the Rogue's only real friends in any path. Virgil the drunk priest was another good one, as he ends up trying (if usually failing) to be a good person and his scenes are entertaining, and Heather was another.

4. I thought I remembered reading that there was some connection between Rogues and the Innkeeper universe and Eternal, but if so I didn't find it. Fel was a lot like Dendrin, but then shadow gods are all going to be pretty similar.

All in all, another excellent story. I think Eternal is still my favorite, but this is a strong contender. I'm very excited to read about the sister's adventures.
-- pugpup1 on 7/25/2019 11:08:20 AM with a score of 0
Absolutely amazing. The writing is genius, the character development and flow of narration are perfect. And now for spoilers, which you really shouldn't be reading until you've played.

Endmaster from what I understand tends to usually write two types of characters: the wageslave loser who gets beat down vs the immortal tyrant who conquers worlds.

(Get ready for me to butcher and fail to remember names.) That is effectively the choice between Klyton and Holsgard(?)

In Klyton, all the paths seem surreal, but the main character is weak-willed. I know he's weak, but to just walk away while the girl he's escorting is raped and enslaved? I know she was a prick, but it just feels so pathetic when the mc is forced to do that. Things he could be doing right he ends up botching. He's not a badass, just a peasant trying to get by. People don't give him much dignity, he really doesn't earn much there. He usually ends up fat and feeding scraps to his family if they're not all murdered by the gangs that bully him.

In D Kingdom you get tempted into drug courier service and immediately get sold out, sentenced to prison without any out. There's no epilogues, no escapes, just dread. Maybe we'll see some of those guys in the sequel?

Finally, our last destination is way more chaotic. Any path you follow usually ends up with you being a huge dick, but also incredibly amazing. You can be a wizard's servant later a vampire, get sent back through time and act out what I think is a futurama episode where you kill your great great grandfather, annihilate all of your allies and betray almost every loved one and become known as a legendary "hero."

The problem I have with it is one town your a powerless shmuck usually with a sense of decency, the other you're a depraved monster with none. Though I have to say, I didn't dock points, since this is a matter of personal preference and not reflective of whether or not it was still a good game.

Fair warning, the game has excessive smut. In fact... now that I think about it... I don't think a single girl the main character hooks up with is "pure" save for, ironically, the succubus who doesn't seem to enjoy her first time. Heck, even the girl who is part angel dated a few guys, your adopted daughter played around when u mess up as a parent.


8/8
-- sersafir on 9/29/2018 4:52:46 PM with a score of 0
Well, I’m finally allowing myself to give a review since I’ve read everything. I’ll try to avoid spoilers for those assholes who read reviews before playing the storygame.

Also, holy cow. This is a friggen good story. There were also quite a few memorable characters which is not something I can say about many stories I’ve read here. Annah, Mara, and (of course) the Rogue were particularly outstanding (though I may be biased since they held my two favorite paths as well). The decades long semi-relationship between Annah and Rogue was fun. For some reason, I also really liked the arc with Mara.

One thing I liked was how the Rogue was just a dude. It sorta reminded me of Death Song’s protagonist. Of course, Rogue could rise to powerful levels, but he had to work (well, do Rogue stuff to be specific) for what he got. His selfish but somewhat principled outlook on life allowed the character to have a multidimensional thought process. He also had a “Screw it” attitude that fit quite well with the spelling and grammar errors. Why? The author said, “Screw it. These bastards shouldn’t complain about some grammar crap when they have half a million words to read.”

As for the branching, it was an interesting setup. Within the first few clicks, the reader has placed themselves on one of three major pathways leading to 12 epilogues. Often, a choice might seem right at first, only to lead to a premature ending (though not necessarily death). I think Ground Zero had something similar if I remember correctly. (Semi Spoilers approaching.) Straying away from the path’s “theme” (like choosing to get rid of your ghoulfriend) ends the story. Other times, something seemingly small (like choosing to flee from the party or to hide in a room) leads to very divergent paths.

The paths also interlock. (Screw it. Here comes friggen spoilers.) I got to the Mara path before I did anything in Holgard. Thus, Sneaks mentioned how his old Thieves Guild boss had “feelings” for his “daughter”, so I thought to myself, “Huh, EndMaster’s put in his normal references to debauchery. Ok.” Later, I made different choices which led me to Holgard and met said father-daughter duo which was very fun to experience as it was happening. I often wonder what happened to so-and-so character if I choose a path where we never cross paths. Does Tanya (I think that’s here name. The demon girl.) become a succumbs if I never interact with her? What happened to Mara if I was never there to help her? I’ll have to pester you about those questions eventually.

I’ve seen one person complain about the limited choices of the paths. He’s dumb. There’s a ton of choices. Yes, many lead to immediate death, but many don’t. Btw, death by getting eaten by faeries (or was it sprites?) over a week was my favorite death. The vampire endgame choice that had the Rogue torn in half was hilarious (since he was alive and complaining).

As for the Epilogues (SPOILERS!), a few stood out. Epilogue 10 was the badass one (since the Rogue killed two major criminal organizations, two religions, a cult, an invading army, the leader of another religious organization, a bunch of random women like some psychotic Jack the Ripper dude, had a ton of sex with a succumbs who fell in love with him, killed/outlived just about every named character during that story arc, and made friends with Warts). Damn. Oh, and the Epilogue extension was awkward, funny, and totally EM levels of screwed up (though I saw that coming the moment the incident occurred). The other would be Epilogue 12, my favorite. He was just a “normal” rogue and he fell in love with his childhood sweetheart. Then, he reconnected with his father and had twins. It was so sweet. :)

Anyway, this was incredibly entertaining to read. Thanks for all the effort you put into this, EM. Rogues is truly an epic. This’ll be one of CYS’s staple storygames… Eternal(y).
-- WouldntItBeNice on 6/21/2018 7:41:56 AM with a score of 0
Feels very same-y with Eternal, Necromancer, Innkeeper, etc., but it's not necessarily a bad thing. It's not my favorite work, but maybe because I'm coming at this with the expectations of Death Song or Eternal over something more lax like GROUND ZERO.

I do like that a lot of the endings aren't resulting in sudden death (but some decisions tend to chalk up a lot of your deaths to factors outside of your control, the damn stairs), but where the author draws the line on what constitutes living a rogue's life doesn't seem too consistent with some of the more fleshed-out paths (for example, your rogue life ending at time-travel shenanigans while there's a whole branch dedicated to the mishaps of vampire life). Whether or not those scenarios stray too far from the intended title and theme, or the author is simply not giving enough flying fucks to flesh them out is up to you to figure out. In any case, most of the choices seem equally plausible to entertain, so I guess I'm not too miffed about some "bad-end"s or cliffhangers.

The grammar isn't egregious, but the few mistakes that do exist will give you notice. The dialogue doesn't fare as well, as many of the characters eventually end up becoming very same-speaky. Also, run-on sentences are everywhere, which leads me to assume that everyone in this world has the lung capacity of a dolphin. Still, as the other comments say, characters do change and grow over time, and they do vary a bit based on the choices you make. Considering how difficult that is to pull off in any CYOA medium, I'll give credit where it's due.

Also, there's something about End's stories and putting the fucking nutter-butter in someone with the same brood-mother. I'm just going to chalk it up to him being a very impressionable kid around the wrong neighborhood friends. I'm actually surprised there wasn't as many family gatherings that involved actually normal interactions, epilogues aside.

TL;DR fuck you, scroll back up and read. You're on a writing site, reading at a higher level than a third-grader should be baseline.
-- Swiftstryker on 10/14/2020 6:55:35 PM with a score of 0
I probably should have been exepting this but the whole thing was just nasty.
-- BilboSlaggins on 9/27/2020 1:03:13 AM with a score of 0
A word of warning before you continue reading, this contains a LOT of spoilers.

Rogues is a fantastic storygame that I would definitely recommend, it was an enjoyable experience to get through to every epilogue and to read all the paths available. I recommend you do this as well, since there are many hidden side plots scattered around the place.

With Rogues, there a 5 main paths that branch out to 12 epilogues and each one is unique in their own way, ranging from joining a gang in Klyton or Holgard, becoming a vampire or just plain old thieving with your girlfriend. Despite each path going in completely different directions, the world feels highly interconnected. Characters can be just minor ones in one path, but are recurring characters in another e.g. Zalmora and Sneaks, meanwhile the Rogue himself can be just an observer or a major participant in events that unfold during the course of the story, e.g. the Crimson/Bloody Talon feud, the Thieves Guild/ECS feud, the Religious War, etc. I find it really interesting to see the outcomes of events in alternate paths and encourages the reader to explore different storylines.

Another one of the strong points of Rogues is that the characters are rich and diverse in personality. You have Zalmora, she's more mature and wiser than the Rogue but ultimately, she's loyal and becomes your partner on path A and for a little bit on E. You also have the seductive, yet powerful vampire Isabella, the overly attached ghoul Lisa and so much more.

Now on to my personal favourites. I got epilogue 12 on my first playthrough and what made it fun was that you never become overly powerful, you were just a simple rogue at heart picking locks and stealing stuff. The relationship with Annah was quite a journey, she went from annoying brat to slimy backstabber to deadly gunslinger to eventually ending up as your wife. You settle down with her in Teckleville, have twins and give up the roguish lifestyle. It's wonderfully wholesome.

But the story that takes the cake has to be epilogue 10...well for the most part, just wait until you get to the extended epilogue...With that all aside, this story was the most exciting and adventurous. You rose from being a small time thief to a powerful leader of the city's enforcers. In a single playthrough you fight your way through a criminal gang war, religious faction war and a massive invasion all while having a mysterious curse surrounding your love interest. And that brings us to Tanya, a very well written character in the story. Her inner conflict with her identity between human and infernal adds an additional layer to her character. She is evidently attached to the Rogue but is torn between living up to the expectations of her terrifying nature or following her love for the Rogue, but she ultimately decides to leave him behind. I really hoped for an ending where she could stay with the rogue and regain her humanity, nevertheless I am satisfied with the bittersweet ending.

Yes there are spelling/grammatical errors, but this shouldn't get in the way of immersing yourself into the story. Well done EndMaster, this was excellent. An 8/8 from me!
-- Arisen on 9/17/2020 3:45:08 AM with a score of 0
ching chang chong, the fortune cookie is always wrong
-- misa kim on 9/1/2020 1:05:55 PM with a score of 0
Greatest story that I have ever read.
-- BobTheBro on 8/12/2020 2:12:06 PM with a score of 0
I found the writing and character dialog quite excellent. It's only my first playthrough, so I'm looking forward to the other epilogues (Not gonna spoil, but I got the "CL" one.) Also, caught the "Masculine," Godfather reference, loved it. Looking very forward to the next couple of playthroughs to see how the story can change.
-- Mr. J on 7/17/2020 6:22:16 PM with a score of 0
Very entertaining
-- Nyxich on 7/5/2020 11:10:11 PM with a score of 0
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