Silver Horn, Silver Hooves

a Fantasy Adventure by mizal

Commended by BerkaZerka on 12/17/2017 1:01:53 PM

Player Rating6.44/8

"Too few ratings to be ranked"
based on 60 ratings since 12/17/2017
played 642 times (finished 62)

Story Difficulty5/8

"run through the jungle"

Play Length6/8

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

Maturity Level2/8

"choking hazard for children under 4"
Contains content that may not be suitable for persons under age 6. To compare to the movie rating system, this would be G.
When the weather is fine, you've been coming to this grove to drink from the pool for centuries now. Today, you meet a stranger and hear a story that changes all that...

A fairy tale adventure.

[AUTHOR'S NOTE: There's a heavily scripted scene that due to time constraints I didn't have the opportunity to thoroughly test. You'll know it when you see it. In addition to a save game link beforehand, I've provided the option to skip it altogether should you encounter problems. A PM describing those problems would also be greatly appreciated as I'll be revisiting this game once the crushing weight of December has passed.]

Player Comments

This fairy-tale was well-written, beautiful, and memorable. Definitely a jewel.

It was very easy to fall into a mental rhythm with the pacing of the overall story… the alterations between action, description, and dialogue flowed smoothly… new twists and encounters emerged at just the right time. This was excellent.

The plot, the choices, and the branching were great. Lots of variety and traditional fairy-tale like possibilities (as well as hints of Miyazaki/Howl’s Moving Castle in the turtle guy and the swamp witch?).

The unicorn and the Jerran initially had moments of conflicting emotions which made them dynamic and engaging characters from the start… but I did wish that these internal conflicts re-emerged as the story progressed to keep those characters more dynamic (more on this later).

Your descriptions of what we see and hear are superb in quality (and are another of your very-strong suites) but, perhaps this was overdone at times. The story sometimes felt bogged down by the detailed narration.

Here are two examples:

Example 1 (full):

Disappearing into the hut, she emerges a few moments later. “Catch!”

Reflexively Jerran leaps toward the object she tosses over the balcony. It turns out to be a small wooden box. Opening it, he reveals a long, serrated fang. At his confused expression, you swivel your ears, just as much at a loss as he is. Both of you look back up at the witch.

Example 1 (shorter):

Disappearing into the hut, she emerges a few moments later. “Catch!”

Jerran leaps to grasp small wooden box, opening it to reveal a long, seared fang. Both of you look up in confusion at the witch.

Example 2 (full):

While the great turtle is occupied swallowing down its prey, at the stranger’s assurance that it’s safe to do so you work around closer to the front and climb carefully up atop the neck and onto the shell above it, which with this method of approach slopes at a gentler angle.

Example 2 (shorter):

While the great turtle feasts, at the stranger’s assurance you climb carefully atop its neck and onto the shell, which with this method of approach slopes at a gentler angle.

I should point out that I’m not sold that the shorter versions are “better” per se, it's more that it felt that there were too many “full” versions. In my opinion, play-by-plays aren’t necessary (and are inefficient) outside of the most powerful actions and emotions. Your issue is the reverse of most authors. You sometimes show when telling might be preferable (i.e. *spoiler just "tell" us he catches the fang, then continue to "show" us when he cuts himself with it).

There is some word-for-word repetition in the fight sequences (both with the ravens and the dragons) that I felt should be eliminated. I know it’s easier for the ravens rather than the dragon fight (where you probably need about 4-5 unique descriptions for each equivalent outcome), but still, unfortunately, every time I saw the same the writing in response to my actions, I was reminded that it is a game rather than remaining immersed in your world.

There was a bit of a missed opportunity in that the race against time (“thirteen days hence when the moon is fat and full. Her blood shall mingle with these ashes, and then we shall see what new thing is born of the night.”) was not repeated/used to build the tension throughout the game.

The final sequences (*spoiler everything after killing the dragon) were haunting and beautiful. I love how you chose to hint at the bad outcomes (*spoiler both here, and earlier in the game if you chose not to help at all) rather than explicitly telling us what happened… it certainly added to the fable-like feel of the game.

My final note is only relevant to making this a non-children’s book (which I think you should):

With the notable exception of the final scenes, the story comes off a bit too saccharine .

I have always been told to “write what you know”, and “play to your strengths”… There is a side of you that I see in your posts that is needed in this story… a jaded, spiteful, funny side. Here, we only get the diplomatic/wise/sweat Mizal. It feels unsatisfying without the mischievous twin.

During the march, the unicorn should probably occasionally fantasize about skewering the main character and returning to her peaceful life in the grotto.. or perhaps have more moments of revulsion at his clumsiness and stench…

Jerran should more often lament the burden of true love (or wonder if the unicorn’s horn would work after all)… or the unicorn should wryly comment how ironic it is that, while powerful, whatever it is that humans, in their ignorance, call “true love” has only seemed to predict a relationship that is chaotic, painful and short-lived… even without the assistance of something so fancy as a curse to help it along…

The witches could also benefit from channeling your bitchy side … “ah, a unicorn… or as we like to call you, a do-nothing nobody… watching life pass you by… refusing to comment or participate… a lazy spectator with clean hooves... and you insist on debasing yourself by associating with humans… the perpetual dumb-ass noobs of the world…” Then, when one of them is dying “I just wanted to make the world a better place by purging it of stupidity… gasp… weaklings… croak… and cats… turns to dust”.

I felt like more of that side of your personality would make the story stronger.

Anyways, your writing is amazing. It was actually challenging (and fun) to come up with ways to improve it. Great story.
-- lkiriakos on 4/7/2018 3:11:27 AM with a score of 0
Of course it's very well written. I enjoyed every second of it, but it was too linear.
-- 3iguy on 5/25/2018 11:55:51 AM with a score of 0
While it was a simple story in terms of game mechanics, it was the kind of fairytale I've loved since I was just a little kid. People often get mired in the darkness of the world, or stumble along in the gray. I think it's important to remember that there is light, too, just as real and far greater. I'll remember this story for a long time.
-- Niftu Cal on 2/23/2018 7:47:36 PM with a score of 0
A nice heart warming story, got the happily ever after ending. Manually wrecked the dragon.
It was very well written and little to no spelling and grammar mistakes as I remember.

The characters were interesting, and the background of their world fitted in seamlessly with the story itself.

Good job Mizal.
-- corgi213 on 2/2/2018 8:05:47 PM with a score of 0
Very well written. I even made it through the battle but it was a little buggy. I had to repeat previous pages even after moving on to the next stage of the battle. all in a great tale!
-- BigRonn77 on 12/28/2017 3:24:15 PM with a score of 0
This story is amazing!! I love love loved it! 8/8!
-- Evieseriously on 12/22/2017 12:34:01 PM with a score of 0
I enjoyed this one but not as much as I thought I would when I started reading it. Your description of the surroundings is the strongest part of the story for me. Sometimes I feel like I'm living inside your story with the way you describe the scenery. My main issue is that if you skip the battle altogether against the wyrm, I thought that you'd be doing a fight scene parallel to the one that was supposed to happen if you choose to fight the wyrm manually. You're so good at describing sceneries and events, One example was when the unicorn was trying to help jerran drink the water from that water pouch thingy. It was so intense because I could really imagine how it was happening in my mind with the way you are narrating it, so I think that you not narrating the battle was a huge waste of chance for some wyrm slaying action. 7/8 for me.
-- EunHa on 12/20/2017 12:51:31 PM with a score of 0
@Imperator Just fyi, Olagar isn't her father. There are two women who come out of the castle, and you get more or less backstory at the end depending on how you got there.
-- mizal on 12/19/2017 9:56:42 AM with a score of 0
Excellent descriptive writing (for many reasons). Good narration and fairly interesting plot. Considerably fewer grammatical errors than most stories on this site. (By the way 'ye' means you (plural), the correct article to use when talking to a single individual is 'thee')
Got "Jerran and Quinnara, naturally, live happily ever after." ending, although I'm sure there are more.
What I don't understand is that the twist at the end is that Olagan is Quinnara's father, but I thought that at the beginning Quinnara's father and companions breathed in that smoke, and then Olagan rode up and took Quinnara off.
Anyway fantastic story, and I'll definitely be playing again to learn more.
-- llImperatorll on 12/19/2017 8:48:15 AM with a score of 0
This is such a well written story! I love that while it's mostly linear, there are definitely choices to be made that can influence the final outcome. There are a few grammatical errors, typically just a situation of a word missing, but it's not enough to detract from the story. This is a beautiful fantasy tale with memorable characters, a nice starting plot that becomes even more interesting, a great battle scene (that I personally had no issues with), and some especially well done choices at the end. Very great work!
-- Glandros on 12/18/2017 2:25:54 AM with a score of 0
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