The Sanguine and Blackbeard's Cutlass

a Edutainment by ninjapitka

Commended by mizal on 10/26/2019 6:23:31 AM

Player Rating6.72/8

"Too few ratings to be ranked"
based on 47 ratings since 10/25/2019
played 1,397 times (finished 53)

Story Difficulty5/8

"run through the jungle"

Play Length5/8

"Not going to lose any sleep"

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.
Taking place during the Golden Age of Piracy, assume command of The Sanguine as you plunder and search for treasure in the profitable Caribbean. In this swashbuckling fantasy, you embark on a dangerous quest to an ancient Aztec civilization. Peril lies behind every tree, stone, and indigenous spear.

Author's note:

The story adds fantasy elements to events occurring in the 1700s. There are many real life characters and places in the story. Many are factually accurate, and many are not. I highly encourage you to research the people, places, and deities after reading.

Entry for Gower's Battle in the Ruins of a Dead Civilization contest.

Player Comments

While Ben Franklin was playing with kites in Philadelphia, pirate-wizards were fighting Aztec gods down in the Bahamas. History is more interesting than most people realize.

I'm not sure that this comes anywhere close to being "edutainment," but it sure is one hell of a fun adventure. You are the notorious captain of a ship called the Sanguine, and as the story opens your crew is effecting repairs after a costly battle. At first, I thought the references to "wizards" was some kind of eighteenth-century slang for a type of cannon, but no, the word is meant literally in this story.

I read through five "main" endings and at least as many quick-death endings; for a story of about 23,000 words, that's not a bad count. These were strung out on two primary branches as I counted them (if there are more, I'll need to dive back in and search them out) with the choices having more meaningful consequences further into the story.

I liked the artistic title on the very first page; the story editor on CYS allows lots of customization, so I'm disappointed more authors don't take advantage of this and add some visual interest to their stories. Likewise with the "The End" flourishes at each of the main endings.

The dialog consisted of witty banter followed by quick analyses of plot mechanics. It was not naturalistic, but appropriate to the story. Action scenes were full of parries, dodges, and thrusts -- about what you'd expect from a pirate's tale. The magic missiles and force fields were a genre-twisting touch.

Of the two branches I read, the one that involved the swim to the underwater entrance was perhaps the most satisfying, but also the easiest; with two female partners to flirt with, the protag didn't seem too upset when one heroically died in one ending. The other branch, with its well-endowed statues, had most of the quick-death endings.

As far as the writing quality, there were some minor quibbles with spelling and grammar, but nothing worth enumerating. What I do want to encourage is an attempt at more of a variety in sentence structure. For instance, take a look at this paragraph early in the story:

"You finish the cup and slam it back down on the bar top. Sunlight pours into the poorly lit building through several open windows creating rectangular beams of yellow. You're reminded of the Caribbean heat each time a wave of warm air floods in. Your crew had certainly seen better days. The last three ships you targeted weren't carrying anything substantial. Your most recent job would have been a huge payday if not for the Galleon's attack. At least you managed to escape alive and with most of your crew. Victoria's former life as naval mage certainly came in handy there."

Nothing here is technically wrong. However, this one paragraph contains eight sentences that all have almost identical subject-verb-object structures, with missed opportunities to join some of the related thoughts into more complex statements. This did make some passages seem too matter-of-fact and far less lyrical than they perhaps could be.

All in all, though, this was an enjoyable story.
-- Bill_Ingersoll on 12/13/2019 11:14:33 PM with a score of 0
This is an excellent story, though it does have a few small problems. I’ll start with the good stuff.

It was entertaining the whole way through, which is less common than you might think. The story itself was interesting enough, but more importantly, the details held my interest- little quips, notes about characters’ appearances, and descriptions that really helped me get into the mood of the setting. The characters themselves were well-done; though I only got detailed descriptions of the protagonist and a couple others, everyone had at least one trait, which kept them distinctive. Oftentimes minor characters blend together, but here Proctor, Victoria, etc. all had at least a bit of personality.

The action scenes were also quite well done, probably because the author didn’t try to make the entire thing action-packed. Instead, we got a nice mix of exploration, dialogue, and description with some exciting moments of combat which never seemed repetitive because they just didn’t happen all that often.

The length was another strong point. This was basically one adventure, though since there was a good amount of branching, that one adventure could take many forms. This seems better than trying to stretch the story out into an epic.

On to the issues. There weren’t a ton of grammar or spelling mistakes, but some of them did stand out. Similarly, some of the phrasing was just a little awkward and broke the flow of the scenes. Nothing terrible, but it’s always good to avoid anything that distracts the reader from the story itself. I could also have used a bit more edutainment, thought that might just reflect the particular paths I took. The pacing near the end was also somewhat odd- without giving away any spoilers, what seemed like the climactic battle was followed by another battle, only I didn’t get to make any choices and this second battle wrapped up in about a paragraph.

Still, overall a good read and an excellent contribution to the site!
-- pugpup1 on 11/8/2019 2:23:16 PM with a score of 0
The rightful winner of the Battle for Infinity Contest, this game mixes action, adventure, a bit of mystery, exploration, and wild swashbuckling. I enjoyed every bit of it.

The game offers some really substantial branching, offering rather different experiences and perspectives on the main characters depending on whom you choose to trust and follow--I replayed it several times and got extremely different narratives and had different adventures. I thought the choice design was solid.

But most importantly, from my perspective, is that the game was witty. There were several moments throughout where I laughed or smiled at the dialogue or the narrative description. The wit is mostly snark or cynical comedy, most frequently used to characterize the NPCS through dialogue with wonderful effect. I thought the prose in this game was a lot of fun to write. It fit so well with the dashing quest and dynamic adventure, to have the prose be so light and winning.

I do not want to spoil the adventure, naturally, but I will say that one NPC in particular whom you meet halfway through if you chose a peaceful path was the star of the show for me; Ninja's choices design made it difficult to decide between loyalty and power, and to decide how much I was willing to trust a new ally. I was very impressed with this game.
-- Gower on 11/5/2019 9:04:50 AM with a score of 0
quick, fun read. good choices.
-- Not Steve on 10/5/2020 8:18:19 PM with a score of 0
great inspiration to run a campaign
-- Taylor Littlefield on 9/14/2020 11:41:52 PM with a score of 0
I honestly felt like it was a bit too techinal, great story though. Just waaaay too long in each thing.
-- Bipper. on 5/12/2020 6:31:02 PM with a score of 0
This story is absolutely amazing! The humor is great and I could just imagine every scene inside of my head! :D
-- Payton Likes Pie on 4/10/2020 1:25:16 PM with a score of 0
A classic PotC tale.
-- TheCreator_ on 2/23/2020 10:41:44 PM with a score of 0
I LOVED this!!! It was just the right amount of romance and battle! Keep writing!
-- Hi on 2/16/2020 5:08:09 PM with a score of 0
-- Will11 on 2/6/2020 9:59:59 PM with a score of 0
Show All Comments