The Essucian Dragon

Player Rating4.25/8

"Too few ratings to be ranked"
based on 24 ratings since 01/24/2020
played 210 times (finished 9)

Story Difficulty3/8

"trek through the forest"

Play Length4/8

"A well spent lunch break"

Maturity Level3/8

"must be at least this tall to play"
Contains content that may not be suitable for persons under age 10. If this were a movie, it would probably be between G and PG.

As Eryllis, a great and powerful being, (even if you do say so yourself,) you've lived centuries in your domain, the Essucia Woods, without bothering anyone. But what happens when life throws a powerful princess and a brave knight into the mix?

This is an entry for Bucky's Year's End contest.

Update 1.1: I gave each speaker a paragraph to make it easier to understand. 

Player Comments

This was a good attempt at a story, but I am torn about it. Several things I liked and several I didn’t... I will spew spoilers here, but there isn’t much to spoil. That being said, keep writing because with a few tweaks this would have been a good twist on a classic tale.

Speaking of “classic” tales, this was like frozen or brave. The whole premise was the princess didn’t want to be told who to marry in a male dominated world. It is a bit clever, in that she pays a dragon to kidnap her, but still pretty basic. Also, she happens to have a powerful magic locked inside her, but we never really find out much about that. Since the magic locked in side her was one of the most interesting parts of this character, that was a shame.

I’ll comment on the “side branches” and then the “cannon” branch separately, but fist some grammar stuff.

The dialogue was all jumbled together and a bit stale. Most of the time it worked and was amusing anyway, but sometimes it was hard to tell who was talking. Other times, what they were saying was not believable. Over all, it wasn’t terrible, just distracting.

Spelling and punctuation was pretty good. A few quotation marks were missed, which added to the confusion when two characters talked in the same paragraph. Once both the end and beginning quotes were missing, so I assumed it was all one speech. In reality, two people were talking and it just switched at an ellipse. Other than repetition of certain words, nothing else really distracted me that much. A few miss spelled worded like “pyjamas” that the king and queen wear, but they were close enough to allow me to guess the actual meaning.

Secondary branches:

These were short, cheesy, and not very well done. I actually liked a few, until the narrator said “oh don’t worry kids, that didn’t happen, but it could have” on every branch but one. I understand cannon endings, but you don’t have to say that an ending didn’t happen at the end. Just tell the story. That being said, the framed story was creative and a good way to do that if you are going to... I guess.

I actually liked the framed story and the subtle hint that the narrator was a character in the story. I just didn’t like their “lol just kidding” part to the side branches. Even it is was something like “don’t worry kids, these are just stories” that would be better.

I didn’t play all the side branches, because I thought they all led to the same ending (more or less). I basically got to the portal, and then let Elizabeth leave (both didn’t happen). Then I had Elizabeth stay. This did happen.

Main branch:

It was a bit stereotypical for me. Like I said, it was the plot of frozen or brave with different characters. I think it needed a bit more focus on the things that made it different. Still, I laughed when the princess was kidnapped and I liked the “I’ll help her, but not enough that she gets too powerful” aspect that the dragon had going on.

The dragon was the beat character, in my opinion. There was subtitle details that made it stand out, like not eating humans because th E.g. are too bony. The other chapters were like copy pasted from other stories and didn’t interest me as much. I think more focus on the princess learning magic, and maybe making it a metaphors for her freedom, would have been cool. Instead the “I need to talk to my parents, no they don’t understand me, yes I’ll try to talk to them, aww they will never understand me!” Was a bit boring in my opinion.

Elizabeth was a better character, but I didn’t get her gift very much. The hinting was pretty bad. Like the first time we hear of it is sort of like “the princess continues to make a gift” and I didn’t realize there was a gift at all before that. The gift is cool, but seems like it isn’t solving the problem. It is just helping her hide better than her I’ll fitting armor.

The princesses magic was also a bit strange. Sort of like “I am just learning to Kinda float” and then “I can turn into a bird and fly long distances!” The training is hinted at, but I would have liked to hear more about it. Maybe a whole set of scenes and choices where she is trying to perfect a spell and messing up a bunch. I don’t know, again, it just seemed like the coolest part of the story was glossed over.

Still, it was a good attempt, especially since there was a time constraint on it. I think if the characters were a little stronger, the side branches were a bit more fleshed out, and the plot focused just a bit more on what makes it different from any other “empowered princess not wanting to marry the prince” story, then I think this would be a much MUCH better story.
-- Shadowdrake27 on 1/6/2020 3:27:07 PM with a score of 0
The first time I played through this, I took the most obvious choices, the ones it felt like the author wanted me to take, and got the 'true' ending. I enjoyed the read, as the characters were interesting and the plot was fun. Even the downsides, like the dialogue of different people bundled together in a clump, or time rushing along in a confusing manner, didn't ruin it for me.
But my several replays have all been frustrating. They all lead to the same sort of end with a near identical scene that tells me, outright, that they aren't what "really" happened. It's one thing to have an ending you consider canon - but quite another to give every path besides that one an "it was all a dream" type twist that makes it meaningless.
The other paths also did not have the same care taken with them, and so the weaker elements were more jarring. Chunks of muddled dialogue, forced jokes, the girl's Mary-Sue-like growing powers. Even bits of setting and plot were re-used, so there wasn't really anything unexpected.
There is a lot of potential here, but it's wasted on paths the author didn't seem to care about. Much of the game feels like, "choose this, because I want you to read my awesome twist!" vs. "oh, you chose that? Well, here's a bit of a plot I guess. But it's not what really happened, so it doesn't matter anyway."
If the weaker parts were culled, the repetitive parts exchanged for a wider branching plot, the traveler at the end done away with, and the dialogue correctly done [each person who speaks gets their own paragraph, always!] this game could be really good.
But as it stands, it's mostly just one diverting, clever story alongside a lot of meaningless filler.
-- Camelon on 1/3/2020 11:31:51 PM with a score of 0
I was pretty impressed by a lot of this game. The plot bounces along and the prose is often well handled. The sense of humor did not hit my funny bone at all, and that may just be me, but every time the characters started goofing around, I was a little less interested here. (as in the "You're starting to lean towards the stupid of the brave or stupid dilemma." or "Your full name is Selena Magnificent Beauticious")

This is a solid take on the prompt, and it was a pleasure to read. Now, I'll complain a little.

I think there's a need for more transition and much more writing in the "Ignore her" path, as you, as the girl says "Well, it's too late to take the deal now. I've already found my own place." The dragon doesn't know what that means, but I don't either, and it's a little jarring, especially when following with the bit about the "the searchers." I wonder if a little more on the search for the girl would help.

That whole "the wizard's tower" on the "Ignore" path goes really fast, going from flying off from the tower and forgetting the girl, to weeks passing, to killing an imp, to returning to the tower. -- and that's all within two or three short paragraphs. This is very much the style of this branch game--*tons* of ideas and material, but not much room to breath.

The action, when it happens, is so frantic that it is hard to absorb and imagine (as on the "Let him take it" page which has so many images and ideas that none of them get developed or prepared for well. That one page would have been, I think, better developed in several pages. I think part of the problem is that the reader can feel the author trying to figure out the logistics of many entities moving around the scene. ("Still, it slows you down. You're almost to the portal when you touch down and immediately, you're surrounded. You plow through a few ranks of imps. You're hoping to be gone by the time more powerful demons arrive. The portal dwindles ever-smaller the closer you get and you realize you're not going to make it.") This is serious action here, and it's cool, but a lot of stuff moving around without the opportunity for choices here. Ditto for the knight battles in the other part of the game.

I think my most serious objection here is that the author often dismisses her endings other than the true ending. And these are cool endings! "Eventually you manage to get up and inspect the girl. She has some powerful magic, and you're not sure how you feel about that..." Neat! I want to know more about that. But the closing words tell me that's not "what actually happened" and I get this cut and pasted repeated ending again. As a reader, that feels like the author really wanted to snip this branch off. But, contest. Maybe with more time, the author can lavish the love and time on the other branches so they don't feel so vestigial at times.

Writing wise, when a lot of dialogue shows up in one paragraph, it gets a bit crushed and hard to read without spacing between speeches. Best to line break between speakers.
Also, "some old dude" as a phrase is jarring in this context.
Complaints over. The true ending path was well done, with often vivid writing and some real emotion. I wish some of the other paths had gotten this much love and polishing in the writing! I am a fan. Nice job here.

-- Gower on 1/2/2020 6:00:41 PM with a score of 0
This story deserves a higher rating than it currently has. The writing is good, it's just the formatting that's killing it.

I've tried a couple of times but it's just unreadable with the way all the dialogue is smushed together. I'm not leaving a rating yet, I'll come back to this when it's hopefully taken down for a bit and fixed after the judging period.
-- mizal on 1/8/2020 9:05:26 PM with a score of 0
You've got to separate the dialogue. Otherwise, I like the amount of branching and the story, and even the dialogue, when I knew who was speaking it, was pretty good too.

This is a good stepping stone to greater stories, and definitely deserves to meet the minimum score for the contest. Just try to make it easier to read next time.
-- TheChef on 1/7/2020 2:35:47 PM with a score of 0
The most glaring issue with the story was a grammatical error, which detracted from the story itself. Every time you have a new character speaking, you should have a new paragraph.


A small, yet anthropomorphic, corgi walks up to you. Taking a peak between his legs, you see that he is a boy.

"Hey, I resent that!" says the corgi.

You shrug. "Sorry. I just wanted to know if you were a boy or a girl."

The corgi's fur bristles. "Well, I guess you won't mind if I just pull your pantaloons and underoos down and gawk at whatever you've got inside your knickerbockers then!"

"No!" You jump back, alarmed at the threat. "That's crass! I'm a human. You're just a dog. It's different."

"Oh, just a dog!" I see how it is." The corgi turns in disgust. He scratches the ground with his hind legs, sending mud flying all over your nice clean clothes.

Before you can reply, the corgi bounds off. In the distance, you think you can see him peeing on a tree.

End example:

Separate paragraphs for different speakers allows the reader to follow the story better. You can also establish a pattern of dialog, where the reader can understand who is speaking without the need for attribution. Additionally, it avoids clunky boxes of text.
-- Bucky on 1/5/2020 3:15:13 PM with a score of 0
This story has quite a few elements that I liked. The writing was pretty solid, the characters were interesting, and there was some admirable tinkering with the genre.

On my first read-through, I did get close to the "true" ending. Basically, there are characters who come along and seem interesting as soon as they are described. Interacting with them pays dividends. The fact that the two human characters felt frustrated in their lives added some interesting drama.

I also liked the mini-epilogues at the end of each branch -- at first. Even though my first ending was a "false" one, I thought it was a clever way to wrap up the story, with the children expressing their disappointment and confusion. But as I read through all of the other endings, I realized they were all almost identical. What this told me was that there was one storypath in which the author invested a lot of effort, and then a bunch of others that served mostly to satisfy the requirements that this be a branching story. Ideally, some of these branches would spin out of control into independent storylines, inviting multiple re-reads.

What I distinctly didn't like was the dialogue sequences. And this was a shame, but the lines spoken by the characters did seem well conceived. The problem, though, was that they were presented in enormous text blocks, making it hard to keep track of who was speaking to whom. The best I could do was skim along and pick up the gist.

Otherwise, this was an enjoyable entry with a lot of promise to be developed into a full-fledged storygame.
-- Bill_Ingersoll on 1/2/2020 7:44:37 PM with a score of 0
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