When The Music's Over

a Fantasy Adventure by Chris113022

Commended by mizal on 11/9/2019 8:05:12 AM

Player Rating6.61/8

"#124 overall, #5 for 2019"
based on 55 ratings since 11/10/2019
played 1,315 times (finished 68)

Story Difficulty1/8

"no possible way to lose"

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.
I hear a very gentle sound... Once you were the bravest hero in the land. Then, the greatest noble. Now, a washed up drunkard past his prime. But when the king asks for you to turn the tide of a war, will you accept, or cast his offer aside to walk your own path? Author's Notes: I originally intended for every single choice to branch out into a unique path, but to get this out I had to cut some of my plans short. There is minor rebranching here and there along with a few duplicate pages that have minor changes depending on how you reached those pages. On top of that, the path for accepting the king's offer is much more bare bones than I wanted it to be and is only about a third of the rest of the game's size (10k to the rest of the game's 30k). Someday, I hope to return to this story and make it the epic it deserves to be. For now, however, the game is finished. The SCORE variable doesn't indicate how good you did. It's just a way to keep track of what ending the reader got. If you play the game, please give a comment. I'd love to hear your thoughts. This game includes a writing prompt, asking the reader to continue the ending they received. It can be found here. Special Thanks: Tim36D - For being my long-suffering best friend and listening to me ramble on about this story. Thanks man. Mizal - For constantly busting my ass to get this storygame done. Boom, now it is. Shadowdrake27 - For proofreading the story. Without him, there would be many typos and grammar errors. The CYS Discord - For being there to let me ramble on about my story on the occasions that Tim wasn't. The entire CYS community - For putting up with me for 5 years now. Stay classy, you omnidirectional vitriol spewers.

Player Comments

Holy fuck

Going into this I didn’t know what to expect. I’ve been meaning to read it for a while now, and I was not disappointed. It was just over all a great game, I don’t know how else to put it. Overall this game is great, and I don’t even have that many complaints about it. It is just that good. If you haven’t read this game yet, please just do it. It is just amazing, and you won’t regret it.

To start off the concept is amazing. What happens to that main character after the great quest. The one who has killed hundreds, lost friends, all in the name of his quest. What happens when he finishes it? What does he have to live for then? It is just go intriguing, and the story explores it well.

Now I’m going to talk about the big problem that everyone has already addressed, even you yourself. It is the fact that the king path is so short. It felt like the mission they went on was over before it even started. It shouldn’t have been that easy. It didn’t feel deserved. I wish that it was expanded upon more, but I know it wasn’t the point of the story. This story has a few main paths all around the same length, and while the king one is a little longer, it isn’t by a ton.

Another thing I noticed was how some endings ended so quickly. Oh I’m going to go out and do something and change th… end game and leave comments. While I understand while it had to happen, it is still kind of irritating.

My favorite ending/path was the one when you were talking with your dead friends. I LOVED this path. Hearing about his friends in this game in general was great. They interested me a lot, and I love how you explored the fact that it could have been any one of them, and how they would have handled it. It only proves my point more about how does anyone live after they have accomplished the thing they worked so hard for. I just loved it.

Also that one path you said no one would get first try? You’re right, I got it second try lol.

In conclusion, this game is amazing. I think it definitely deserves its spot in the fantasy feature spot, and while it may not be the best, or second best, or third…While it may not be the best one there, being there at all is a great accomplishment, especially when 4 out 7 of those stories are on a god tier almost by default because of their author. In any case, my real problem here is whether it should be a 6 or a 7, and since it managed to surprise me…

7 out of 8
-- MicroPen on 12/29/2019 6:33:45 PM with a score of 27
Well that was quite the ride.

I've been reading this on and off all throughout the day, and it hasn't disappointed. Written almost entirely in Cave of Time style (with the exception of one branch which I'll get to) choices lead you on to story after story with very little retreading.

I'm ashamed to admit I've never listened the theme song in its entirety before. But it fits REALLY well with the tone established in the beginning, I can totally picture the bitter man slowly losing his mind and devolving to a drunk throwing bottles at the wall. Although many of the paths happily go on to prove that he can still be more than that or even find peace and contentment.

Kit just WORKS as a protagonist. As I said in the thread, Disillusioned Old Sword Guy Who Only Wants to Be Left Alone is such an archetypal character type and I believe that's a factor in making him so easy to relate to. The key to many of the paths fit this, so many of them come down simply to what level of apathy he'll be operating at.

There are several paths I wish were longer, but I know that's a trade off with the Cave of Time style, and of course it's better to leave the reader wanting more than wanting to know when it will end. Only one or two out of the MANY endings were abrupt enough they didn't feel like real endings, anyhow, and what we did get fueled the imagination and left me thinking about what happened next. I'm happy you went ahead and made the prompt thread...I do so hope Gower started a trend with that idea, because this story in particular is really suited to it.

The only path that felt weak was the one where you accept the mission and go to the castle. On its own I suppose it's not bad, but when compared to the others it just felt lacking. That's extra unfortunate since 1) I believe a lot of new readers will pick it first while assuming it's the 'canon' path, and 2) it's the only path that has multiple choices looping into it, so it will be encountered more often than the others.

For one thing, it's hard to play a washed up and bitter old hero getting a special summons from the king to go on a quest without feeling like you're about to embark on something epic....and in this case that turned out to essentially be just sneaking through a sewer and burning a warehouse down. I wasn't shown any convincing reason why another knight from Miller's order or even just some normal soldier wouldn't do. In fact, Iris did most of the heavy lifting there on her own.

From following the developments on this in the Discord I was already aware that this was the last section Chris wrote, and he's heading off to Job Corps tomorrow so he had a hard time limit there, so it's pretty clear all of that was a factor. Maybe this path can be revisited and expanded some day.

Even though the mission for the king was a bit of a disappointment plot-wise, the writing itself still held up as well as anywhere else in the story. The proofreading was very thoroughly done for a story this size, I only spotted a handful of typos throughout the whole thing. And the entire style and mood here is such a departure from Chris' usual style, it feels much more mature and contemplative in tone, even a little sad. The first page really captured that sense, and even though there are many satisfying and even happy or uplifting endings you can find, the tone is consistent. Along with that are the touches of realism mixed with the fantastic, and just the right level of detail to make the setting feel lived in by real people; it's all written so smoothly you can't help but slip right into the scenes.

'When you reach the gates, you see two guards ahead; one is watching a firefly intently as it floats around his face, while the other has fallen asleep while standing up.' - Just a random sentence I pulled to demonstrate how a couple of small details to set a scene can make the whole thing grounded so believably and easy to imagine. (It also made me feel like a dick when I killed them a moment later...)

The characters were also standout and worth a moment of appreciation here.

Even in the relatively weak mission for the king path, Iris was great. She had an attitude and was so not impressed with this washed up old drunk and not shy about saying so, and yet she was the only one who had her facts straight about what happened in the past and fondly remembered Grace.

As I've said, many of the paths can be short, and each is practically a standalone story. Yet these characters who only get a few pages apiece are each so memorable. A couple of vivid visual details about them combined with a speaking style that's recognizable for each (without ever going overboard on accents or anything annoying like that) just piles on the personality. I don't believe I ever realized before this how natural Chris' handling of dialogue was.

Wrapping this up, I just want to say that I think out of all the paths, nearly all of which I enjoyed quite a lot, the stand out ending for me was actually the first one I got--the one where Lilith showed up. In fact when I get around to doing the writing prompt to continue an ending, it will certainly be this one, because I badly, *badly* wanted that adventure to continue, and even moreso now after reading the rest of the story for perspective. The shift in Kit's whole worldview after the knowledge she gives would make the entire mission read differently, from a suddenly more hopeful perspective. If this were a novel, that scene would almost have to be canon to give the hero that push they needed to go out and face their demons. (Occasionally literal ones...) I couldn't help but feel afterwards that Kit just leaving on his own felt like he had juuust missed getting to experience something life changingly important.

Anyhow, Chris has really proved that sometimes suffering the continued existence of the edgy racist eleven year olds among us can pay off in spades down the road. And the featuring was well deserved. I'm really pleased he was suddenly so divinely inspired to write this one and was able to gift it to the site right before he left for a bit to get all grown up. This should be inspirational to us all.
-- mizal on 11/11/2019 8:48:15 PM with a score of 27
First of all, I want to address the title page as it sets the tone for the entire story. It’s very fitting. It could be a hero walking into the distance after performing the typical heroic actions. It also could be the hero turning his back when the people need him most. Spoiler, both options are presented to the protag in the story and the image is in-line with it. The picture adds to the story instead of taking away (or adding nothing), and I think it’s great use of visuals. Also, I notice the font changed from the blocky, meme looking text. Great decision.

The story takes classic fantasy aspects and puts its own twist on them. It’s very “Chris-y” if you’ve read his other work. There’s an interesting dynamic happening with the main character, and you get to follow his story during a strange part of his life. It’s not often the reluctant hero was a legendary warrior in the past, and the unique situation kept me engaged. There is only one minor issue I had with the MC. His fighting ability doesn’t seem affected by his situation at all. He’s spent many years doing nothing but “drinking wine and eating bread.” Now I can believe his legendary skills are enough to carry him through, but that lifestyle will add pounds fast. In fact, I imagined the MC as rather portly after reading about his life since the “good ol days” but I imagine he was not written to be on the heavier side. This is fantasy, so maybe real world health facts don’t apply. I’ll give you that.

On this play-through, I chose to answer the king’s call. The plot gives you a good enough reason to follow through with his king’s request. It’s kind of the classic “kill one, save a thousand” message. This also reveals the hero within the MC, Kit, may still be in there. Kit’s drunkenness reminds me a bit of Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai. He’s an alcoholic, but later you realize he’s affected by severe PTSD, and the sauce is the only way to manage. The conversation Kit has with himself before the mission alludes to that.

One thing I noticed by the traveling description, is that the king’s castle is very close to the border. The distance between the castle and Ornislov is about a day. The distance to the border was a few miles, and the journey through the forest to Ornislov took maybe half a day at the most. Most of the time descriptions were “a few hours”, and I didn’t remember reading a section about camping overnight. This is just an observation, although when you imagine a conflict between a nation and an empire, you think it would take place over a vast amount of land. Like I said, just an observation. I was going to point out the border was not very protected, but the END GAME link in the forest helped solve that issue.

I think I reached all the possible endings for this path. The endings I found all resulted in death. I didn’t see the generic mission successful epilogue where the MC gets the girl. I suppose the king did say it was a suicide mission. Unless I didn’t discover the right path, the ending felt very abrupt, like the story was just beginning and then it suddenly ended.

This is the second path I’ve played through, and while the story has extensive branching, the two I’ve played lack the overall feel of an epic. For example, this branch probably took less than a week’s time from beginning to end. It feels like you’re just getting to know your party and it’s over. I would like to learn more about Grace and Iris as well as more into Miller’s background. The writing quality is high, the story is engaging, and the plot is interesting. I intend to go back and read more paths, which is one of the tells behind a solid piece of interactive fiction. Well done.
-- ninjapitka on 11/8/2019 11:38:36 AM with a score of 42
An enjoyable read overall. Though each individual path is rather short, and leaves you wanting more. Many of the endings feel like the story has only just begun. I also noticed that the most interesting endings were all found when you ignore the "call to arms." I'd have liked to see that side, working with the kingdom, fleshed out a bit more since the letter itself is what initiates everything in the first place.
-- Havoc on 1/19/2020 3:48:03 AM with a score of 27
Nice take on the aftermath of a stereotypical teen fantasy gone wrong.
-- Austinc on 1/16/2020 2:53:01 PM with a score of 30
Yeah bill is a bitchy boomer. But tbh it was a pretty bitchy thing of you to do to publicly show everyone that rated your story so you could try to shame everyone into giving you a higher rating than this story would have probably gotten otherwise, lost respect for you. Now for this comment to get deleted lul
-- aDiscordUser on 1/16/2020 6:45:59 AM with a score of 44
Oh, fun. I never had to leave my house, yet I still got to become a filthy rebel leader. I approve.
-- Bucky on 1/8/2020 1:16:10 AM with a score of 36
I have just noticed silly me that I gave my review when It was on sneak peek lol. So didn't register. The game still as fun and that Lone wolf and old classic choice your own adventure vibe, you have that to the point writing for that. Myself and it is totally personal find the protagonist less defined and emotional portrayed compared with the old companions, that probably is intentional to show the emotional wreckage of the main hero psyche.

This run I had an ending I didn't expect enjoy but I did. The uprising ending that implies that Hero can overthrow the king. A great ending, maybe too short. This ending with one or two scenes more than shown briefly the war and a choice character become mad of power or not, and the consequences of that would have made a meaningful branch of its own.
-- poison_mara on 1/7/2020 7:03:27 AM with a score of 36
A good start. I was just getting into it and raised a rebellion when the story ended abruptly. I would have liked to see that story arc developed further as I was enjoying it and didn't feel like the tale was over.
-- Jordi P on 1/3/2020 11:41:14 AM with a score of 36
This was an absolute pleasure to read! I may be biased, as I'm a big fan of stories with grizzled/deadbeat characters that have fallen from their former glory, lol. The style of writing is simple enough to not be repetitive or "too much" at once. Rather, it remains concise and maintains its impact in describing the characters, their thoughts, emotions, and actions. You receive a vivid picture without feeling overwhelmed. It is gripping delightful to read, with very few grammatical errors that do not impact comprehension. I thoroughly enjoyed this story!
-- RamsayReed on 1/3/2020 12:44:08 AM with a score of 39
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