Honor Among Thieves

Player Rating4.76/8

"Too few ratings to be ranked"
based on 21 ratings since
played times (finished )

Story Difficulty3/8

"trek through the forest"

Play Length3/8

"A nice jog down the driveway"

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.
You're Caelani, a member of the Thieves' Guild coming back from a job when an unexpected incident and an innocent desire to help catapults you into danger. My entry for Bucky's Year's End contest. This is my first story in a realistic fantasy setting. That seems to be the most popular here so I'll write more like this if the feedback is good.

Player Comments

This wasn’t bad for a first story, especially under a time constraint in a contest over the holidays! I have mixed feelings about it. Some things I liked and some I really disliked... spoilers from now on! Also, I do think the story would be good with some tweaks and time put in. Don’t take this as “it was terrible”.

Getting grammar out of the way:

For the most part the grammar and spelling was good. There were a few run on sentences, but nothing really took away from the story. There also wasn’t that much powerful language. It was enough not to be bad, but nothing to be called great.

One thing that was really good was the pace. There were no walls of text or boring exposition; this game got right to the action from page one! That being said, I like some details. I feel like I never really understood anything happening in the story. The author also repeated some details several times in the first few pages. It was frustrating: we didn’t know much about the thieves guild or the world we were in, but we were told 3 times that our character had red hair.

About the red hair, this was all I remember about the main character. The description of her is good, but it is repeated. There is a branch that says it so many times I swear it was on every page... the main character also had no other consistent defining features. If I had to describe her I would say “well, she had red hair. It was redder than other red heads. It was so red it was noticeable, and it was always red. Red hair.”

Focusing more on the main character would have helped. What else defines her? What is her motivation? What does she value? Fear? Like?You should do a character sheet... let me just give one example about how inconsistent she was: on the first page you get a shopkeeper in trouble and you feel TERRIBLE, so terrible that you have to tell people. Then you kill someone. Now you feel nothing. Later you say “you know I might be in shock, maybe” after getting sprayed in the face with his blood. I feel like a young girl could go insane from that. You took the time to describe a extremely gruesome death, and the fact that it is her first kill. Then you have her react like it was a non violent death and she is a pro.

On that train of thought, a lot of the precious few details we got didn’t line up with the story in any meaningful way. She is an orphan, that is an interesting detail. Nothing is done with it though. There is no yearning for a parental figure or unwillingness to trust people... it is just stated that she is one. I think it would add to the depth of character if some of the details made an impact on the story.

Choices:

The choices happened often, there were a lot, and they were pretty good! I do wish there was an option to of back and help the shop keeper, but there can not be unlimited choices. Some of the branches seemed rushed... that could have been the time thing though.

Here is a good example of a rushed story line, it was also a cheesy one. There was an issue with both of these things, so I’ll kill two birds with one stone: I didn’t mention this before, but I have a boyfriend and he is the only person I trust in the world! Oh no, he is DATING A KNOWN THIEF, but is too honorable to tell one lie (inconsistent character). Well we will just make love real quick! (Yeah this made me cringe. I like cheesy stories, but I tried to unread this...) and I’ll leave him forever now! End example. What just happened? So much went on so quickly and none of it meant anything. There was no emotion built up! Again, this might be due to time constraints not writer skill. Just make sure you ask “why would the reader care?” And “does this make sense with and add to the story I have already built?”

Endings:

These were sometimes rushed, but mostly logical based on the story and choices. There were no “and then a meteor fell on them” endings. I will say that the one thing, why did you label some with “bad but not that bad but kind of boring ending #453”. I would read that and say “oh, I don’t know if I want to read that!” You can just really a story and let the reader decide if it is good, bad, boring, or exciting. Seriously that is not needed. I guess it also didn’t take that much from the story, since it was at the end. This is, to me, the equivalent of naming a character “Mr. Evil Pants, the evil guy who is evil.” You would look at the name and say “umm why?” I did the same.

In short: the characters and plot needed more work, but it was pretty well done for what was there. Some consistency needs to be built in and the details need to be aligned to what is important to the story. There was a ton of branching which was cool. I would love to read a story not written with a deadline.
-- Shadowdrake27 on 1/8/2020 9:46:36 PM with a score of 0
Well written and you have a very good story for the word account and many endings. Personally, I find it hard to empathize with the protagonists and the lack of emotions in the dialogue. Still, for a month a incredible work; you should be proud of it.
-- poison_mara on 1/4/2020 5:36:55 AM with a score of 0
I’ll start off by saying that the quality of the writing was very good. Usually, due to past experiences, when you hear the author is fourteen, you mentally prepare yourself for what is usually bad writing, but that wasn’t the case here. Words flow nicely and the setting is certainly well done and fun. When it comes to the story itself, there are ups and downs. First off, the various situations the character can find herself in are interesting and gripping to an extent, but they are usually cut short before any actual climax can occur. Clearly, the author could have done with more time to expand what is already here, since at the moment this story feels almost like a preview. The fact that I definitely want to see more is no doubt a testament to the quality of what is there.

I felt that overall, the writing could do with a little more description on several aspects. Most of the time I only had a vague idea of my surroundings and the world I was living in, while the personalities, motives and quirks of the people around we were a mystery to me. Again, this is likely the result of contest rushing but I still felt the need to point it out. But perhaps my greatest issue with the entire thing was the fact that I can almost feel like I’ve read this exact same story in RPs or other similar story formats. What I mean by this is that the author took a pre-established trope that is the young inexperienced orphan with the Thieves Guild and did not add enough to it to make it truly stand out amongst the rest. This is not exactly a bad thing, but it is certainly something that would have been a very good thing if implemented correctly, perhaps if time had been on the author’s side.

All in all, I would say this is a good story, and a very good first story for the author. Despite its rough patches, and the quality drop caused by the deadline, the story still manages to hold its ground and keep me interested and entertained. I definitely hope to see this expanded on in the future, and I’ll be keeping an eye open for any further stories from Wildblue.
-- DarkSpawn on 1/3/2020 2:06:52 PM with a score of 0
As many others have mentioned so far, considering the word count, you implemented quite a wide diversity of endings. I like how you included a lot of choices throughout. The premise of the story itself was also interesting: I like how the Thieves Guild attempted to help those in need. The grammar was good as well. I spotted a few minor typos with the punctuation, but those were rare.

I feel like this story could be improved if a bit more suspense were added to it. Of course, there were scenes that were action-packed, such as the duel with the magician/fighter in one of the endings, and your initial defense of the shopkeeper in the beginning of the tale, but I feel like you have room to add even more of a 'hook'.

Your writing itself flows very well. I think you have a lot of potential as a writer. Best of luck in the contest!
-- Reader82 on 1/1/2020 4:03:12 PM with a score of 0
This story is like going to a wedding and expecting chicken. Then the waiter comes over and says there was a mix up by the catering company, so you'll be getting a juicy slab of prime rib instead. But then you learn the prime rib is only four ounces.

The writing was good by any fair standard, but especially for your age. And you had an admirable number of different endings for a story of this length.

The downside is that the story felt like it needed to be fleshed out more to really maximize its potential. I imagine this would have been at least partially remedied if you had more time, but I want to emphasize this point. I think Gower was spot on when he said, "the branches and ending feel like gestures towards something cool and larger than than the thing itself." In places, it was like we started at point A, went to point B, but then we skipped points C and D to go straight to point E. And we missed all the badassery in between.

Now, it's good to leave your reader wanting more, but I think you want to give them that desire in the right way. And what I mean by that is, you want the reader to feel fulfilled, like they got the full story, but they're hungry for the next adventure.

I think this story gives a very promising snapshot of your potential. Like Gower, [M]izal, and Bill, I would happily read another story written by you in the future.
-- Bucky on 1/1/2020 12:19:45 PM with a score of 0
This was a very fun storygame that has the potential to be excellent, if an equal amount of attention were given to all of the branches. The writing was very good, and the story was intriguing. There was waaaaay more story crammed into these 7600 words than I expected.

The amount of branching here was admirable, much more than we tend to see from a first-time author. The main thrust of the storygame seemed to go in two directions: fleeing the creep-o's murder, investigating the shopkeeper's murder. There was some interesting world-building going on, enough for me to want to see more.

But, yes, it was evident that not all of the branches were as well thought out. Some of the dead-end paths were heavily reliant on exposition, basically through the necessary plot points in order to justify that End Game link. Deadline crunch? Lack of enthusiasm for these aspects of the story? Either way, it does show.

The other thing I'd encourage you to improve on is character descriptions. Just about everyone here is described in terms of three data points: hair color, eye color, body size. For me, knowing someone is blond and green-eyed or brown-haired and blue-eyed doesn't offer me much insight in who they are. These character intros technically weren't bad; I'm just pointing out where there is an opportunity for improvement.

Bottom line, this is a good storygame, and I am looking forward to seeing more from this author.
-- Bill_Ingersoll on 1/1/2020 12:08:04 AM with a score of 0
Not a bad first effort at all! I mean, I could tell it was rushed for the contest, but we've all been there.

I'm going to discuss some issues I had with the plot, but I just want to be clear that writing itself is very good, and not even just in a "good for a 14 year old" kind of way. It is genuinely well written, and so I look forward to seeing a full story from you sometime, with time taken to proofread and polish.

It's true there are a scattering of typos and grammatical hiccups, and on a couple of pages Rodrick's name suddenly changes to Roderick, but I'm not dwelling on all that too much because I just take it all as sacrifices to the deadline. What's harder to look past however are all the bleeding stumps were branches should have been.

There's one I know you cut out, a 'jump down and fight' option on the very first page that I saw when I originally glanced in on this. And there's other places where it ends abruptly and it felt like you intended for more to be there. (Again, I'm very familiar with the sort of last minute chainsaw surgery contest stories often require, but it doesn't change the fact that it leaves a story feeling butchered in places.)

And there's so much here I'd have liked to see expanded on. There are glimpses of this wider setting, and an interesting dynamic between the guards and the guild it would have been cool to explore more. I think I'd have liked to play a game set prior to Caelani being creeped on by the old dude, where everyone is just doing thiefy business, maybe with the occasional run in with the poorly explained and very much squandered Night Swords...because you introduced these two visually distinct and dangerous villains who were part of this whole sinister organization, and then did nothing with them except for some brief epilogue text. Similarly, even Rodrick (Roderick?) and Nara got the short shaft when they were set up like major characters. I couldn't really feel too much when things happened to them, because the interactions with them in the story had been so brief, their implied history with Caelani aside.

There's also the fact that except for couple pages of caravan stuff, there's not a lot in the actual meat of the story that specifically fits the contest prompt...although of course that doesn't affect how this works as a standalone thing once the judging ends.

But being left wanting more because what was there was genuinely good, ultimately is not a bad thing. I feel like this one is a nice glimpse of what you're capable of, and I look forward to seeing future stories that show it off in more expanded ways.


-- mizal on 12/31/2019 9:01:23 PM with a score of 0
This is a pretty good bit of writing. The author can write some interesting and complex sentence structures, although she will want to work on dialogue, which is often pretty stilted ("Oh my goodness, how fun! To see that self righteous Thorpen taken down a peg just makes my night") as well as the use of compound adjectives.

The first link felt like it was meant to actually be a choice, rather than be a "push the crate" to move on to the next page. It felt like the sort of situation where a reader might want to decide how to react. That said, the decision about whether to lie or omit the truth to Rodrick was an interesting one.

However, that the "don't tell" choice leads to a "Boring Ending" as you say is a red flag. Why are there boring endings here? I would rather see an author do cool stuff, even with end links, rather than point to them and say "this is boring" or even "boring but not completely."

There's a lot of good here, and the cringe factor was not as high as I thought it would be from the description of the protagonist with her scarlet hair and emerald green eyes. The choices were reasonably deep (when you get on the "main line" of the story--branches are culled pretty ruthlessly here) and lead to varied endings.

Now I'm going to gripe: My major gripe is that this isn't really about thief guildery or really even about the fiasco that the story starts with, but a story about how this young woman deals with a creeper and the aftermath of her response to him.

Many of the paths that come out of this incident don't really have anything to do with the initial setup (oh, I'm a caravan driver now! I'm a florist!) or the plot propels so incredibly fast and in one paragraph just to end the branch--like introducing the Night Swords that the Guild is fighitng with and now the Redlion Guards will work with the Guild End Game and Leave Comments. It's all so breathless and rushed, and yeah, I know it's a contest entry, so rushed happens. But really, the branches and ending feel like gestures towards something cool and larger than than the thing itself.

Oh, cool, I'm meeting Zarlowe and Micha and oh, here's a pirate ship and End Game and Leave Comments. You know what I mean. But like I said, I'm just griping. Because this game makes a real effort to branch, and it has a lot of narrative control, and you can write a decent sentence, and I respect the effort that went into this. I'd read another story you wrote any day, and I hope you do so.
-- Gower on 12/31/2019 7:26:10 PM with a score of 0
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