The Lost Emperor

a Edutainment by Crescentstar

Commended by BerkaZerka on 1/22/2018 9:25:48 PM

Player Rating6.04/8

"Too few ratings to be ranked"
based on 21 ratings since 06/09/2018
played 568 times (finished 11)

Story Difficulty7/8

"wade in shark infested water"

Play Length6/8

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

Maturity Level6/8

"I'll need to see some identification"
Some material may be inappropriate for persons under age 16. If this were a movie, it would probably between PG-13 and R.

Emperor Jianwen, or Zha Yunwen, fled the Ming Palace after his uncle rebelled against him. It is said that he left in disguise as a Buddhist monk and fled to Southeast China. The fate of the second Ming emperor is unknown.

Lai Chun was the creator of Eagle Claw Fantsi martial arts, and he passed his skills to his students. Tao Chiag learned this martial arts, and since its creation, it has been passed on. I'm not sure of the exact date of its creation, but it should be around the time of the early Ming Dynasty.

Other Characters:

Fang Xiaoru was given the "extermination of ten degrees of kinship" for refusing to write an inaugural address for Zhu Di, the Yongle Emperor and third Ming emperor.

Admiral Zheng He, leader of the Chinese Treasure Fleet, may have been sent by the Ming emperor to find and capture Emperor Jianwen.


1) There is a secret path that involves romance.

2) A high SCORE can provide a secure ending. In the beginning, SCORE is obtained by making decisions considered correct and proper.

3) There is one normal ending, three special endings, one death ending (with several ways to reach it), and one secret ending.


1) I've combined some of the aspects of the new and old Ming palaces into one portrayed in the beginning of the story.

2) Money is in silver coins (often strung together).

3) Yunwen is the emperor's personal name. Jianwen is the name of his era of the reign's name, and he is referred to as the latter (or simply "Majesty") by his subordinates.

4) The poem on "Nightfall" page is a real poem by Wang Wei, a late Ming Dynasty female poet. I translated/interpreted it (with some help from a native Chinese speaker), and it was hard. I used this instead of a poem I made up because I felt that it'd be a better representation of Chinese poetry than anything I could conjure.

5) Real People: Zhu Yunwen (2nd Ming Emperor), Zhu Di (3rd Ming Emperor), Xiaominrang (2nd Ming Empress), Fang Xiaoru (2nd Emperor's Advisor), Lai Chun (creator Eagle Claw Fantsi martial arts), Tao Chiag (student of Lai Chun), Zhang Sanfeng (Creator of Taichi).

6) This is likely false, but I make Zhu Yunwen and Tao Chiag the same person; Tao Chiag is just his alias.

7) Journey to the West and Water Margin are both one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. The former was written in the Ming Dynasty, and the latter was set in the Song dynasty (prior to the Ming). I felt that they were suitable additions to the novel even though they were published after the time. Like Wang Wei's poem, I felt that these books are a better potrayal of Chinese culture than anything I could conjure.

8) The Fuzhou referred to in this storygame is NOT the one in Fujian, which is by the ocean and not a river. DAYS and MOVES are not applicable until you are in the city of Fuzhou.

9) Extermination of nine degrees of kinship was the most severe punishment, and Fang Xiaoru's punishment was the first that was "ten degrees". This meant killing him, his family, his extended family, children (there was often an age limit), cousins, etc. I believe ten kinships means ten families in his family tree.


A big thanks and hugs to Saika, Alekos, and MinnieKing for beta-reading my storygame! :D And dealing with me, as usual.

Player Comments

When I came across this storygame, I had high expectations. After all, there is a special quality to the stories you write that are unique to anything else. Even then, this story has not only reached my expectations, but has exceeded them.

/\/\ PLOT /\/\

While the beginning was mildly linear, it is well more than made up for with the rich composition of the story. As the story progresses and begin to branch out, you can see actual progress being made, and you can see firsthand how much many of the choices matter.
I also enjoyed the use of variables and items in the story - I feel they they completed the game, working well with the plot to create a literal adventure.


My favorite aspect of the story, more than anything else, is the developments of the characters - to see how they grow and change depending on the choices you make. As you play through the story, you can see Yunwen change with each choice, slowly adapting to his environment. Furthermore, piecing together the stories of the other characters was a very enjoyable endeavor - and watching them grow and change alongside Yunwen was spectacular.

/\/\ STRUCTURE /\/\

I feel like I should offer some usable, constructive feedback on this story. I feel like the story succeeded at giving you just the right amount of exposition needed while reading, which is a great achievement in CYOA. If you were to make a ratio on the story content to game content, I would say that it is a steady 4/1. I find that to be an ideal balance, although it varies wildly between the preferences of the readers.

/\/\ SUMMARY /\/\

All in all, I truly enjoyed reading this story. The plot is interesting, the character arcs are no less than amazing, and there is a good story/game ratio. Besides the occasional barely noticeable typo or grammatical error, the story is written well and is very easy to read.
-- Ficsean_Chef on 5/21/2019 10:36:42 PM with a score of 2
Why did you have to have such long sections of linearity? It's what kept this from being an 8/8. To add to the tragedy, you had a wonderfully made section (the town) where I had many options, yet I still had to note the linearity of the start. I'm also afraid that some may quit early after not having enough choices.

I did like the story. Yunwen's character arc was one I liked, but it's a plot type that I've always been fond of. I also enjoyed the lack of any info dumps. While I never found them hard, I view them as jarring for the story. This storygame never had those moments. :) For example, the way Yunwen (and I) had to piece together the pasts and stories of Lai Chun and Zhengli was well done.

My favorite section had to be the "wander around a town for four days" section. Fuzhou was an interesting place, and I know there's a few things that I missed. (I caught most of them though in my various playthroughs of this part.) Nonetheless, I found that I could do what felt to be most of the town's various things in the first day (after playing through enough to know exactly what to do). I may be missing something though. I you ever release a fuller walkthrough, then I'd look through it to see what I missed.

Two (very minor) things I found that I did not like: the items weren't coded into the links (so I had to pick up the item then leave the page... yes, I'm lazy) and you would use the phrase of "<insert noun> or something". The latter is probably just a pet peeve of mine, however.

Lastly, I found just a few grammar/spelling errors.

Overall, this's a solid addition to CYS's Edutainment section, and I found it to be a very enjoyable read. I'll also include in my referral list of good Edutainment games to the random newcomer who asks for them. :)
-- WouldntItBeNice on 1/12/2018 3:21:39 PM with a score of 3
I quite enjoyed the writing in this piece. However, I think it would have been better served with a slightly more intuitive use of items. While each item use makes sense, the way they are used doesn't seem to be consistent. Which makes getting through the story rather bulky. Also, there are a lot of pages that have only one link on them, which isn't the best for a CYOA style story. That being said, the historical ambiance and the thoughts of the character are well done and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I've only gotten two endings, and I'll probably have to wait a while until it's not so fresh in my mind to find more.
-- Mynoris on 1/13/2018 4:08:38 PM with a score of 4
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