The Tale of The Foolish Princess

a Grimdark Fantasy by TharaApples

Commended by EndMaster on 2/3/2021 12:17:01 AM

Player Rating6.66/8

"#132 overall, #2 for 2021"
based on 53 ratings since 02/16/2021
played 568 times (finished 52)

Story Difficulty4/8

"march in the swamp"

Play Length6/8

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

Maturity Level7/8

"anything goes"
Some material may be inappropriate for persons under age 18. If this were a movie, it would probably be R.

Family must die. With a kingdom in shambles, and a crown too heavy in the weight of both responsibility and sin, someone must acquiesce the throne. But what can one princess do?

Update: Taking ninjapitka's very helpful and wonderful comment in mind, I've went back to this story to iron out many of the typos that were present in the first publishing. So I want to thank him for basically allowing me to bring a hopefully improved story-game here for you all to experience. However, there still might be some that are present. If so, feel free to point them out in a comment or message me directly if you feel the want/need. In any case, I hope any potential enjoyment isn't too badly affected, and that this is something that can be found fun in some capacity. Thank you to ninjapitka again, and whoever reads this.

Update #2: The story-game is in the progress of being proofread and fixed up a bit. A special thank you to Tim36D for sitting down and giving me a list to follow for these corrections. 

Author Notes:

This story is a contest entry for EndMaster's Dark Fantasy Edge lord contest 2. I wouldn’t call the protagonist in this instance an edgelord, but the story does have some rather dark themes to say the least.

Foolish Princess has three endings that you can receive. There's one that is honesty pretty normal. One that can be considered the 'bad' ending. And there's a 'true' ending that can be reached as well. 

I hope you all enjoy it. 

Player Comments

I would like to start off by saying that I enjoyed this story quite a lot. While perhaps I may not be able to fully appreciate the aesthetic of it, I can definitely say that the tone and the style of the writing ticked many positive boxes for me. The main character in particular shows great promise from the first couple pages, and her subsequent development is very well executed. I found it surprisingly easy to relate to a young princess, which speaks well as to the writing prowess of the author.

The tone of the story seems to shift dramatically from one "act" to another, just as Sophia's attitude and demeanor change over the course of the events she lives through and the atrocities she both witnesses and commits herself. It is in those moments, where she questions herself and what she has to do, that the writing shines the most in my opinion. Even the death pages were written skillfully and interestingly enough that I found myself content with them, enjoying the format they were presented in as well.

Where at the beginning I felt I was made to believe I was playing something light-hearted, even childlike at points, I was instead presented with a much-appreciated mature story and darker setting, just as I expected before reading based on the category and the contest it was written for. Still, the darker elements of the story I felt were contained to small scenes and interactions with certain characters, which could be good or bad depending on who you ask. Nevertheless, I admit I personally would have liked to see more of the magic of this world. Most of its descriptions seemed to be only grazing the surface of what could have been a much more mystical and fantastical theme.

For the length, I liked the exposure most of the supporting characters got, and the little bits of development I was able to see in some of the more prominent ones. The cast was perfectly sized for the scope and length, though perhaps the "screen time" could have been a bit more even; I felt like I would have liked to see more Paul and Casper, for instance. But again, this is more of a personal thing than a genuine complaint.

As far as actual complaints go, there is not much that comes to mind. Others have already mentioned the spelling and grammar so I won't delve into it too. Besides that, I must admit the dialogues sometimes felt odd to me. I had a hard time imagining people speaking some of the lines, but then again, I think it's more a result of the aesthetic the author was pushing for. I would not necessarily call it a flaw, but it's something that jumped out at me.

All in all, I was pleasantly surprised by this and would love to give it a second (and further) read once the author has had the opportunity to really bring it to its full glory. It made for a very enjoyable read while having dinner.
-- DarkSpawn on 3/24/2021 2:30:57 AM with a score of 0
As always with my reviews, beware of spoilers, for that is my guilty pleasure and I will go out of my way to add them. Serves you right for reading this before the story!

In short, I really enjoyed the story. The start read like a fairytale, with narration that was both rosy in tone and at times felt omnipresent, only adding to that feeling of a whimsical world where everything was a bit too good. It all started off so heavily based on the accompanying tropes of the genre that I forgot I was reading a dark fantasy. I also really enjoyed the infolinks, who were all told in the same distinct voice as well. This wide breadth in the narration underlined the 3rd person omnipresence that was almost like a glass sphere through which we divined the tale of Sophia. Seriously good writing here.

The princess was sheltered, naive, and wanted to escape. And while I have to admit I died in my first two attempts of escape and let the story rest for a week, I'm glad I did pick it up again. Because while the distinct tone of the narration stayed the same as the escape progressed, it retreated more into the 3rd person limited, and made the increasingly dark undertones feel far more personal. There is something about amputations, pimping, rape, necromancing and suicides told in that highly romanticised voice that made it horrifyingly splendid. I loved the stark contrast between these two 'phases' of the story and how the darker undertones eventually even seeped into that rosy beginning and shattered any idea I had of a world full of joy and good.

This contrast is backed by a seriously good plot as well. It stretched out far longer than I had first expected with a 6-length rating. Through this length, it allowed the characters that were first introduced in that fairytale beginning to make their reappearance in the nightmare, all corrupted to fit the newly established order. Your blood tax can be paid on the right, thank you very much. While I greatly enjoyed the two twins, I felt the little not-quite-necromancer siblings could be better handled. Because I did notice the resentment of the twin's appointment at the start, giving me a lightbulb moment during the revelation, but I didn't notice many hints about the sibling meddling in dark arts, perhaps that scene could be expanded a bit in lieu of the prince's foolish romantic overtures that were later quite snowed under.

Now to become nitpicky. During the fight with the butler it's been stated magic takes a few seconds to take hold, during which a trained fighter could take down a superior mage. It's then weird Sophia could cast her spell in the mere moments before the slash of the sword by the most trained fighter in the kingdom completed its trajectory. Although, after dying to her twice at the start, I did really enjoy this final scene that felt more of a personal conclusion than the revelations of the lovers that orchestrated everything off-camera and thus didn't really feel like the antagonists as much as that damned champion.

Really, the only true complaint I can muster is that after the start, it all was one long branch where the only options were to either die or continue the story. I preferred even the 'fake' choices of the start where it either rejoined immediately (like during the prince's question) or after a few moments (like with the artsy siblings). It cheapened a bit the feeling of, for example, doing something cool as walking in and bitchslapping the magical nuke when I tried to reach different branches.

But I can't fault it. Precisely because it was a single branch like this, it allowed the plot to really shine through without cheapening on anything that made it quite the way it was. And that plot was rosegold.
-- enterpride on 3/10/2021 11:18:29 AM with a score of 0
This story was much longer than I anticipate, and I applaud this. It was basically a full life story with a lot of characters, events, and failure (at least for me).

Overall, the story isn't that dark in terms of content, which is fine. The darkest thing is that there are conversations and mentions of rape and incest, but these aren't really focused on or elaborated much. It's not particularly violent either. It's more of a dark fantasy in terms of your morals and actions.
I will say that it gets darker as it progresses, which is a good thematic effect.

On the topic of grammar, this story has random tense changes present as well. It's jarring, it should be avoided at all costs, but it's not a dramatic error. Additionally, some of the sentences are run-ons. I think that you attempted to create this sort of sophisticated, noble tone that reflects the main character, and in some places it works, but in others it ends up in weird phrasing, like "whom" being used as a subject.

Spoiler zone: I like that you start the story as a sheltered princess who doesn't really understand what's really going on. I like that there are hints given about what's really happening, like when the twins are forced to attend to some economic matter while you fool around with Holt. They later mention this and I thought, "Hey, I noticed that, cool!" The story becomes darker in tone as Sophia becomes more evil, starting out almost like a fairytale, but then ending with a double suicide and the realization that the king is actually an incest-pedo. A pretty stark contrast, just as contrasting as pathetic, overly-dependent-on-Juliette Sophia compared to merciless queen Sophia.

The formatting is actually really unique, and this is a good example of how to use the storygame medium well. When you die, the narration changes to be condescending, encouraging you to take back your choice and continue on. The optional backstory links are also included at specific relevant moments, where they help you make decisions. This is another bonus with the formatting that helps make some of the decisions easier if you just read a little more. There are also trends between the choices, where choices later in the story mirror those earlier in the story, which once again, helps you make the correct decisions.

In summary, what this story lacks in overall writing, it makes up for with a fairly deep plot and good structure, and is definitely worth an hour or two of your time!
-- WizzyCat on 2/10/2021 12:03:33 AM with a score of 0
I'm sorry to say that there were still enough errors in grammar and awkward sentences that I found myself frequently distracted. Hopefully the next round of corrections will smooth things out for future readers.

It was a more substantial story than I was expecting. The deaths seemed a little arbitrary at times, but I liked the way you addressed the reader and provided the option to retry. I liked two of the actual endings I found, one being a little more ambiguous, but very charming.

Last but not least, I really liked the butler.
-- Morgan_R on 4/11/2021 9:24:34 PM with a score of 0
I did really like it. There's much to say I guess. It was not exactly that grimdark to be honest. I didn't exactly feel the dread and emptiness and existential crises in my heart after I had read it. The tone was dark, but it had so many hammy moments and characters sprinkled throughout it, that it never became as dark. Howeveras a storygame it is fucking entertaining. God, the hammy moments are gold.

I certainly love the fact that each family member you have to beat has some screws loose. After your younger siblings' defeat I kept wondering how you were going to one-up that, psycho puppet masters and all. Surprise double whammy incest it is. I remember laughing out loud when I read that part.

Aside from minor misspellings, your prose was pleasant to read. It was kind of light on branching, but it didn't detract from my enjoyment. I also like the fact that even the unofficial death endings were written with a lot of detail.
-- Darius_Conwright on 3/26/2021 4:30:38 PM with a score of 0
This was much better than the title page made it appear. There are some pretty brutal outcomes but nothing over the top, it's all handled tastefully.
-- Klockwerk on 3/26/2021 9:39:07 AM with a score of 0
Hard work is its own reward. I think it’s very obvious that the writer put in the work here. The characters have rhetorical meat on their bones, the description is more than skin deep, and the world suggests depth of its own. Obviously the writer intended to keep her word choice fresh. Usually she succeeds. The writing tone wants to be sophisticated, but never achieves this for long. It’s excessively wordy. I feel like this is the major sin. It isn’t that there are occasionally wordy sentences, it’s entire pages. Quality character and narrative are present, truly, but it’s rarely communicated with concise language. I wonder if “writing something long” wasn’t at least a side objective here.

I think this is a good storygame and I’m confident brevity would improve the pacing. I read some paragraphs that left me scratching my head. Sometimes the first sentence said it all and the rest was redundancy, other times wandering paragraphs could have been a sentence or two. Some sentences were just needlessly convoluted. For example, “It wasn't an action that didn't have a set precedent.”

What? Do you mean “It was an action with precedence.” or “this scene wasn’t uncommon”

The first page alone could probably contain all the same elements of information at 3/4th the length. I know this sounds very nit-picky and that’s because the big problem with the story isn’t a rudimentary one. This writing is above that. Most sentences in isolation are fine, but long sentence after long sentence page after page weakens the writing.

If this writer wants to improve, then it’s time for the difficult stuff. Write every word, every sentence, and every paragraph with intent. Oh, and read the whole thing out loud before publishing it.
-- ugilick on 3/26/2021 2:49:05 AM with a score of 0
I'm not really sure if I got the true end in the end. I'm assuming I did, given everything was explained and wrapped up neatly, but its a rather somber ending.

Anyway, as far as feedback goes, it was a solid 6/8. You clearly had a vision of what you wanted this to be, but the execution wasn't always there. I had a pretty hard time following the beginning few pages where you went on a lot of tangents and created allusions. They weren't bad by any means, its just the entry to the story has to get you into the characters and plot right away, and while it did serve the purpose, it did feel a bit heavy upfront.

I wasn't a fan of the structure. I don't think the story ever branched too far away from a single core route. Even some earlier decisions I thought would lead to different routes were revealed in later conversations with characters to be dead ends (nice touch btw).

Characters were okay. Protagonist is typical sheltered girl turns into raging murderer. I felt that first kill could have been made more impactful, especially with the ending reveal that you were the normal one. Rest of them are largely forgettable and just serve to move the plot forward; which is fine, they played their part.

Plot wise its edgy, as expected. Themes were dark, although you alluded to them more than described, making it a little lacking on the edge overall.
-- Killa_Robot on 3/24/2021 8:43:41 PM with a score of 0
Got all three endings (I think, if it's the Travelling Queen, the figurehead, and the Foolish-No-More) in a single run, thanks to your looping back on deaths and epilogues. It's plenty convenient to have those options even with roll-back buttons at the top of the CYS browser.

As for the writing itself, I do like the snappy and short dialogue between the characters, but the length of the story (really, the lack of it thereof) does tend to make the characters same-speakey at times. Under the constraints of a contest, the quality of the writing is otherwise easy to process. And that's not necessarily a bad thing.

That being said, the amount of endings whopping to a total of 3 does seem quite limited compared to the amount of potential that those three endings in of themselves represent, so if you do ever bother go back and build upon this story, I could see each ending become a path unto themselves. Good stuff, and it could be even better if the siblings you fought against weren't offed within a choice or two.

A minor gripe I have are the somewhat random deaths (rejecting 4 strangely clothed kids would be my go-to reaction), but even so the roll-back buttons help a lot. Another minor gripe is the distinct lack of edge in a dark-fantasy contest, but the subtlety and fridge-horrors are pretty fun to find between the lines. Great work!
-- Swiftstryker on 3/21/2021 3:24:06 PM with a score of 0
Incest more like wincest, although I guess it’s fine if you say no chromo. Play as a prick of a princess in this political decision making game where any decision could lead to your demise.

Positives:
-Even though there were quite a few bad endings, they felt fun to play through due to how much I hated the player character.
-Goddamn there is a lot of branching in this story, I got the bad ending and also the okay ending but I’m going to play through it again to get the good ending when I have more time.
-The worldbuilding in the ‘information’ sections was really interesting and if you play through the story I advise you read them. Clearly a lot of time has gone into making sure the world feels fleshed out and exciting. I particularly liked learning how the kingdom was run.

Things to improve:
-I couldn’t find any spelling mistakes but very occasionally some of the tense would change for like a sentence or so. Also you wrote ‘ands’ instead of ‘and’ right near the start of the story.
-I’d maybe consider putting some of the bone worldbuilding information into show not tell. Sometimes it was marginally annoying to be told how the princess felt about people or things, when it would’ve been more fun to figure it out for myself.

Overall this is an incredibly fun read, but it definitely takes a lot of time to get through (took me around an hour and a half to get most of the endings) so put an afternoon aside for it. It’s honestly a fascinating story with an interesting prose that makes me want to read more of the authors work.

(The fact that Thara is holding me at gunpoint in the discord does not change my opinions in anyway, please send help. I’m begging you).
-- Green44 on 3/21/2021 8:38:35 AM with a score of 0
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