Secret of the Grass Planet

a Sci-Fi Adventure by Bill_Ingersoll

Commended by mizal on 7/21/2019 7:45:15 AM

Player Rating6.48/8

"#125 overall, #7 for 2019"
based on 63 ratings since 07/20/2019
played 2,838 times (finished 94)

Story Difficulty7/8

"wade in shark infested water"

Play Length7/8

"It keeps going and going"

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.

Grass Planet TitleIt's been four years since you were rescued from Giri Minor, and because of your heroic actions you have been commissioned as an officer in the Astral Navy. Your first assignment as a newly-promoted lieutenant aboard the Starship Orion: search for the noted xenoanthropologist Dr. Lori Munro and her husband Ander Dyo, who have gone missing on the planet Folvan. As you explore the so-called "Grass Planet," known for its expansive prairie environment and bronze-age civilization, you will find that not all is as it seems.

This is a story told in the classical "gamebook" format. This means that it is more narrative-driven and less of a game, with many unique storypaths resulting from the choices you make.

Important Stats:

- 45 endings, with 1 epilogue, told in 105,000 words

- 5 people assigned to your expedition

- 4 missing researchers

- 3 hungry teek-teeks

- 2 Iib Ch'iib raids

- 1 closely-guarded secret... and only 1 way to learn it.

Will you unlock the secret of the Grass Planet?

 

(c) 2019 Bill Ingersoll

Image source: tomswallpapers.com.

 

Previously in the Orion Chronicles:

1 - Marooned on Giri Minor

Player Comments

If you like to read, you’ll like this story.

I’ll admit I did not read Marooned on Giri Minor (the first in the series) considerably deeply and looking back at it, it’s likely I didn’t read to find more than one ending. I’m afraid I can’t tell you why this is the case- although I’m willing to bet it was relatively mindless late-night reading. Right after I finish this comment, I’m going to go back and give it the read it deserves.
That being said, I did think that Secret of the Grass Planet built very well on its prequel and despite my apparent lack of knowledge on the story’s background from Giri Minor, I found that it didn’t hinder me too much from enjoying the story.

It’s not a light read- 100k words certainly makes for a pretty long bastard of a story- but as you keep reading, the unique nature of the story, combined with the spectacular writing made for a compelling experience and I found myself engrossed in the story more and more as it went on. The page length also seemed to grow in size as my interest in the story did. If I had been faced with a page the length of some of the later ones at the very start of the story, it’s likely I would have winced and grudgingly made my way through the story because ew, too many words. Gradually building up the page length throughout the story meant that this was avoided and instead of being thrown off by the magnitude of the story, I was instead eager to see more words once my interest was snagged and eventually was glad to see that there was more to read. Sometimes several scrolls were required, which I haven’t come across too often on this site.

The level of deal implemented into the story was simply just impressive. Somehow, despite this detail, the story never gets bogged down and remained very readable with minimal confusion. Clearly, the author did a considerable amount of research and this pays off as the story is so unqiue, yet so convincing in its uh… sci-fi technicalities, for lack of a better phrase.

Branching was, at first, overwhelming. It took me a *long* time to get to any endings resembling much of a ‘happy ending’,- and just to find any ending at all!- but each of the many endings I found offered their fair share of satisfaction and worked in their own right as they were developed and provided valuable insight into how the story ends. I’m still far from finding all of the endings, and while this is a little bit frustrating- knowing that there is still much to be found- it also adds to the sheer scale of the story. It’s almost as if the extensive planet described in the story has been completely transferred over into the story, allowing the reader themselves to also dive into the exploration aspect of the storygame. Marooned on Giri Minor is a story I will definitely come back to at least once, if not multiple times, to continue exploring the story and discovering all there is to discover in the vast and appearingly boundless story the author has created.

Characters were awesome. Each were unique and described as so. However, there were a *lot* of characters, and I think a few times their original description got a bit lost. It’s also worth mentioning the names. They fitted the story adequately and in many cases, even added to the sci-fi element, yet again demonstrating the amount of care and detail the story boasts.
This is one of the few storygames I have read on the site that felt wrong to be reading on my laptop. Perhaps this is largely due to the implementation of the page numbers, but I definitely got the vibe that this was a story that was written with those classic CYOA books in mind.

Overall, it’s remarkable the amount of effort and accuracy went into this story. The author clearly did their research and spent a good deal of time into producing a high-quality story that goes unrivalled by many on this site. Thank you, Bill, for writing this and sharing it with the site. I enjoyed myself over the course of several hours.

While I understand the author is on a bit of a break for writing right now (well-deserved, after over 130k over two stories!) I’d make no hesitation in reading whatever story game he publishes next, whether it be the next in the Orion Chronicles or an entirely different story.
-- ghost11 on 10/8/2019 4:23:51 AM with a score of 0
I was not disappointed with the second entry of this series. While I may have had to put it down a few times, that was purely out of other obligations rather than a lack of interest. The story is very engrossing and becomes even more so the more you learn.

The branching style was Cave of Time, which is my favorite and nearly always goes a long way toward me liking a story. There were a handful of endings that were identical, but very few compared to all endings. There is one stat, but it is very clear where it comes in to play, and it is easy and fast to go back to the choice from which it is tracked. This I appreciated very much.
Due to this being a series, there were some limitations on what could be done with where the branches went. None but the epilogue could be called a real win, although some ends were worse than others. However, the paths to those endings could be quite variable, and there were often several branching paths that all ended in death, which was fun because it made me think that maybe the other choice would work when none did. Overall, the branching paths were probably handled about ideally for a story in a series.
Most non-win endings ended in either a clear mission failure, death, or a clear hint that death will occur, but there were a couple endings that did seem a little cut short. For example, in one ending my guy storms out of the research base in a panic to get some fresh air and calm down. Then the story ends there. I don’t see a reason why my guy couldn’t calm down and continue the mission after a few minutes. Was keeping pride intact a condition for success?

There was one other choice that stood out to me in a different way. In one path, the reader must choose between two—what he is told are-- identical options as far as he can tell. Then after the reader makes the choice, he is told the apparent benefit and drawback of each. If the character has reasoning for choosing one or the other, why make it a coin toss?

The grammar was just fine and the story was very readable. As I did last time, I enjoyed the font choice and numbered pages giving the story a book-like appearance.

The Iib Ch’iib are really cool and total CHADS. It looks like the next story will have even more of them. So I’m excited for that.
I also like the part where Usul is described. Before that I mostly just knew the main character’s home planet had space rice.
Also, the thought of a ship controlled entirely by body movement still sounds like a horrible, terrible idea, and I still read FabBot as FapBot.

There were some amusing bits of dialogue too. One of my favorite bits was early on and fits very well on this site.
“You once asked him where he was from. "Earth," he said, "or more precisely, Missouri." "Misery?" you said incredulously. "No, Missouri," he corrected you, but the distinction meant nothing to you.”

Another sort of funny thing is Dr. Munro’s irritation at others for not using the gender neutral pronouns.
“"Use je, jim, jer when referring to anyone who doesn't identify as male or female." You are surprised by her acerbic attitude”
Enough time at CoG will do that to you, bud.

Also, pollination or not, the thought that the peeps essentially witnessed a Folvan orgy is hilarious.

Overall, I think this story is a great sci-fi that gets even more interesting the more little bits of the mystery you learn. If you faggots who read reviews before stories made it this far, go read “The Secret of the Grass Planet.”
-- Cricket on 8/2/2019 1:10:17 AM with a score of 0
Bill’s writing is perhaps the most detail-oriented on the site. The title page states “Grass Planet” is written in the CYOA gamebook format. It definitely feels like a book, which is great because I like reading. Don’t you? The setting and characters seem to be extremely well thought out. Similarly to the alien National Geographic-looking image in the beginning, I imagine portraits, diagrams, and pages created for the characters introduced. Obviously I have no insight into if that’s actually true, but the level of thought put into the unique characters were definitely noticeable. The names themselves fit the feel and theme of the story too. I mean, Javid Ynthramanni? Pure gold. The same could be said for the setting, especially when describing The Orion. The ship isn’t a wannabe Enterprise. The part that stuck out to me was the “onion” description of the ship’s infrastructure… should have named it the Onion Chronicles… awful joke, I know. I loved the level of detail and creativity put into describing the workout gym. It’s in space; there’s no reason to make it a normal Gold’s Gym. In addition, the fact that you could float in the air after a hard workout felt like the perfect wrap-up to a cool scene.

I really enjoyed the second story to The Orion Chronicles. I enjoyed it more than the first one (Marooned on Giri Minor). The only part of the experience that affected me negatively was naming the links “Page #”. When real choices had to be made, the options were presented (“turn to page # if you want to X”). As there aren’t pages in storygames, I’d prefer to see “Grass Planet” imported to the format better. I’m sure this will get mentioned a lot, so I’ll stop here.

Perhaps the best aspect of SotGP is the sheer amount of content involved. Over 100K is certainly a lot of content to explore. In fact, it relates to the plot of the story as you’re navigating through hard choices and having to decide the best course of action. Reading through is an exploration in itself. At this time, I have not nearly found all the Important Stats displayed in the Author’s note. This also isn’t my first time playing through an ending either, but I came back for more (and will do so again). All that’s to say, I highly recommend taking the time to read through the Secret of the Grass Planet. Brew a cup of coffee, sit down, and strap yourself in for an immersive read. Thanks again, Bill, for the free, high-quality entertainment.
-- ninjapitka on 7/25/2019 7:17:32 PM with a score of 0
Unfortunately, I was forced to leave this story before finding out the Grass Planet's secret, despite discovering over 10 endings. However, I'll definitely come back to this. It was THE BEST story I have ever seen on this site. I was stunned by the incredibly intricate plot, eloquent phrasing, and just the sheer amount of time you must have put into this!
Generally, sci-fi isn't my preferred kind of story, but I read pages and pages before realising over an hour had gone by! And, grammatically speaking, this was practically flawless. Just a couple of times I spotted a 'his' instead of an 'is', but that's about three mistakes in 100k words.

It's true that at first, the amount of content you have to cover before actually discovering anything, and the amount of times I died (I haven't actually survived yet, apart from at the beginning) was a bit discouraging. You have to be very resilient to complete the story, and sometimes you make a decision which means that, no matter how may different options you select afterwards, you are always going to die.

On the other hand, the characters were just awesome. It wasn't clear who was evil, or manipulating you, which I loved.
Overall, all the weeks taken to create this story were very well spent, and I would absolutely love to read more stories, if you do (and you should!) write more. When enough people have rated this story, I hope it gets the praise it deserves!
-- ApprenticePortentous on 5/25/2020 6:01:55 AM with a score of 0
I was looking forward to exploring the planet. Disappointed that it ended so quickly without looking around or confronting the animals and either doing something or figuring our how to escape them.
-- richardg18 on 5/12/2020 1:21:19 AM with a score of 0
nice surprise in the gym
-- richarg18 on 5/12/2020 1:14:38 AM with a score of 0
Hello. When I found this I started balling. I was shooting those hoops so fucking well you won't even believe how good I was at basketball. After learning about the secret of the grass planet, (A twist to be sure!) I went hope and drank 2 liters of gin and vodka. I sentenced myself to 3 episodes of my favorite show, desperate housewives, before heading off to bed with fear in my mind and an ache in my soul. Reading this was like reading my great grandfather's obituary, except I learned that I didn't actually inherit anything from this story. Thanks for the vase, the government is a lie. And post.
-- Alfred the Great, son of the G on 3/12/2020 1:18:06 PM with a score of 0
I like the story but I feel it’s way too short
-- Nixxion on 2/27/2020 10:45:07 PM with a score of 0
Let me start off by saying that this is a very well-written and well-designed game. The writing is polished and the grammar is near perfect (at least, I didn't notice any mistakes). None of the sentences came across as too choppy or as run-ons. The premise itself was interesting, and the game has a certain tone of suspense that kept me intrigued enough to reach the 'true' ending. This ending itself felt satisfying, and (SPOILERS:) the fact that it was not a truly 'happy' ending made me feel like it was more realistic than most conventional choose your own adventure books. Life isn't always perfect that way, and your story reflected this.

Considering the story's impressive length of over 100,000 words, there were certainly a wide diversity of choices to be made. These choices rarely looped back in on each other, instead leading to a wide diversity of suspenseful endings. My only complaint with this is that some of the endings came across as a bit sudden. I understand that the point of this was to direct us towards the true ending, but I wish some of them had been expanded upon more. For example, (SPOILERS:) one of the endings stops when you are having a panic attack, even though this isn't a 'death' scene and the game should foreseeably continue beyond this point.

Moreover, excepting the true ending, most of the endings were death scenes (SPOILERS:) often at the hands of the alien race we are expected to care about in the true end. I read through 30 of the 44 endings, so there may have been some more of them that I am unable to comment on. However, I'm pretty sure these endings would also be death scenes. The death scenes themselves are entertaining and suspenseful, leaving you want to learn more about the mystery, but it's a bit frustrating that (SPOILERS:) the aliens almost always choose to kill you, even if I understand why. I was also frustrated that two of the people I met in the first game seemed to almost hate the protagonist because he had joined the Navy, (SPOILERS:) even going so far as to kill him in one ending. In the true ending of the game, I honestly liked these people. I felt for their plight, and wanted to help them. So being killed/betrayed by them so many times was off-putting.

I loved the structure you had with the plot, where you had to read through numerous endings if you wanted to get the true one. It really helped to connect all your paths into a cohesive whole. I wish that maybe some of the other paths had also revealed additional important information, and maybe if seeing these ends would be required for seeing the true end. Otherwise, the player might end up seeing the true end before seeing a lot of the other important endings.

I loved the sense of culture you gave to the alien race. I also liked how your story showed support for LGBTQ rights. (SPOILERS:) the hint about the protagonist initially being confused that their translator may be malfunctioning was well-foreshadowed. My only comment on this is that i thought the pronouns thing was explained too often, I think seven times or so. I understand that this was because the protagonist had to re-discover the fact upon different routes, but I wonder if there might be a way to decrease the amount of times it is explained.

Overall, Secret of the Grass Planet is an interesting, suspenseful story with polished writing, a well-developed plot, and interesting game mechanics that highly suit the nature of this site. It is probably good enough to be published as its own 'choose your own adventure' book, should the author so choose. Excellent work. 7/8.
-- Reader82 on 1/15/2020 3:53:04 PM with a score of 0
Always kept me interested; and the descriptions of every scene really affected me; whenever the protagonist was in danger, I was in danger, and so forth. A great read!
-- Xavier on 1/13/2020 1:51:37 AM with a score of 0
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