The Daemonologists

a School-Based by pugpup1

Commended by mizal on 8/25/2019 7:50:40 AM

Player Rating6.07/8

"Too few ratings to be ranked"
based on 37 ratings since 07/30/2019
played 939 times (finished 43)

Story Difficulty6/8

"wandering through the desert"

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.

Daemons have preyed upon humans since the Fall of Man, but in the civilized world they must first fight the daemonologists. Armed with knowledge, they wield learning and magic to protect the innocent from the dark spirits that would do them harm. It has been your dream to join them, to study at their College and then go forth to do battle with infernal warriors, but lately you've had to contend with other dreams, nightmares of a mysterious woman, pale and strange and beautiful. Who is she, and what role will she play in the great unfolding drama of the daemonologists?

Player Comments

I have rather mixed feelings on this one. I'll begin with the positives, then move on to what I disliked... There WILL be spoilers, so if you just want to know my general thoughts on it, it's a 5/8, bordering on 6, but with a few things keeping the story from reaching its full potential.

I really enjoyed the opening. It competently sets up the world that the story takes place in, introduces the main plot, characters, and sews in some intrigue/mystery by beginning with the brief nightmare sequence, and then adding even more question during the encounter in the wheat fields. Prose & dialogue were good, and what kept me from putting down the story. Didn't resort to an overabundance of sentences that start with "You"

As mentioned in Cricket's review, there are several similarities to Necromancer, which I of course appreciated. Most notable comparisons were the magic school, the alluring woman from another plane of existence hinting at the protagonist's higher destiny, (Different context, I admit) the optional extra background information, and a poor relationship between the protagonist & his father. Not saying that this in any way ripped Necromancer off, just noticing some similarities that were done in different enough ways so as not to make me feel as if I should just reread a different story instead.

I enjoyed the supporting characters, though I dislike how the brother character vanished from the plot after a certain point in the story. Peter was intriguing, the professors all varied from serviceable to likable, and Seria... Alright I didn't like Seria too much, since it's fairly obvious her intentions are far from good, and not much was done to differentiate her from any other Succubus.

The negatives (OK, so a few might have leaked in earlier as well):
I don't know if this story in ANY way benefits from being a CYOA rather than a traditional book. There are long dry spells of single option pages, and the few choices you do get barely matter. There are only really two branches and both follow the same story beats of you assaulting the school with a cohort of daemons like an idiot. A lot of choices resulted in bad ends, most made sense, but going for a walk in one of the routes resulted in getting beaten to death, and choosing to read the book didn't do much for the story, so why even give the choice at all?

Despite my negativity, I didn't hate it. 5/8
-- Realdeaal on 12/14/2019 10:58:48 AM with a score of 0
After reading and enjoying the virtuosic "Father Leofwine is Dead," which was published just weeks after "The Daemonologists" by the same author, I went into this story with high expectations. But in the end I found this to be a technically great story... with a problematic plot twist.

And since I can't review this story without addressing events that occur in the second half of the story, I'll just focus on the technical aspects of this story.

In terms of writing quality, this storygame is top-tier. Pugpup1 wowed us twice this summer with two great pieces of fiction, both with high word counts, intriguing characters, and compelling situations. This is high-caliber storytelling, despite my qualms with this story.

As a storygame, the structure is what we call a "gauntlet", meaning there are choices sprinkled conservatively throughout the narrative, but little actual branching until the very end. For the most part, if you choose poorly, you get a well-written death ending. This is usually annoying, but the main storyline is interesting enough here that I wasn't concerned. It's only in the final climactic sequence where the reader encounters some branching, with four almost equal endings.

My problem with this story comes during a major reveal late in the story. I can't discuss this in a review without giving too much of the story away, so I won't; if you must know, go and search the forums. But in short: actions are taken that are brutal in nature and disproportionate to the "crimes" that were supposedly committed. I kept waiting for a counter-reveal that never came, at which point I decided I didn't much care for two central characters the story required me to sympathize with.

Therefore I rated this one a 6/8, because the writing is great but the story is flawed.

-- Bill_Ingersoll on 9/9/2019 12:03:28 AM with a score of 0
“The Daemonologists” is a very entertaining, engaging, and well-written story. However, it does have one, to some people, quite large flaw concerning the spacing between choices.

The story did not overly interest me at first, but the writing was good enough that it was not a chore to read through. I also liked the information pages I saw early on that were separate from the main story in the manner EndMaster does his. This was good, because I think this format suits the CYOA style very well and it helps give background information without bogging the story down or causing someone who is rereading to have to read through everything again.

The story is structured so that every choice leads to either death or a unique path. This is good. However, it was hard to tell that there would be any real amount of branching until halfway through, on account of the sheer number of one-link pages in between choices—choices that early on led only to an instant loss or continuation along the main path. Perhaps if there had not been so many pages, the distance between choices would have seemed a bit shorter.
My favorite ending was probably the Give In one. I was expecting that one to lead to an instant loss, but it was fun to see that he was actually an undead slave.

It was interesting to see how the author showed indirectly the demonic influence in the actions and thoughts of the main character. While the main character was convinced he was fighting for justice and all that, I was watching him be led into making dumb decisions based off delusion and hatred, yet the story was written in a way that it did not leave me cringing at how impossibly idiotic he was.

If you faggot who reads reviews before reading the story don’t mind having a good bit of patience now and then, go give “The Daemonologists” a shot.

-- Cricket on 8/4/2019 7:15:39 PM with a score of 0
Pleasure the senses, and you wouldn't notice it.
-- Obra on 2/19/2020 1:02:42 PM with a score of 0
She. Tore. Out. My. Heart. Whyyyy
-- Hi on 2/18/2020 1:51:40 PM with a score of 0
-- fuck on 12/4/2019 7:33:36 AM with a score of 0
Most people have gone over what I would say, but you did a great job. Next time you write the story, please add more choices; there were many scenarios when I wanted to make a decision, but the character did it for me. If you added more endings, this game could honestly be as good as one of the end masters.

Also, the plot twist in the story is very affectful, but next time, reveal it later after you have built Mr.Hopkins up a lot more than you did.
-- Davefaster on 10/23/2019 11:20:34 AM with a score of 0
While I appreciate the quality of this work holistically, my enjoyment of the storygame was jeopardised by a weak introduction. This was only exacerbated by the gauntlet structure. The lack of any choices for consecutive pages, in addition to an 'unfocussed' beginning, detracted from my first impressions and threatened my engagement. Several pages are spent establishing setting, character and a peripheral conflict - the protagonist's personal pursuits chafe against his father's expectations. To be frank, it was a slog. Details for completely tangential aspects were presented, frustrating me with no later payoff. I didn't need to know what our character had for breakfast, to what extent a random was nervous for the entry exam, and so on. Incisiveness is key. Let me tear into the guts of the story - get all that orientation stuff done ASAP unless special emphasis absolutely needs to be placed on something. Instead of being charmed, and subsequently eager to continue reading, I wondered if we could have transitioned from the first page to an 'in media res' beginning. Our protagonist just passed the exam. He's now staring at the ankh in his palm. The daemonologist carefully regards him from his seat. Outside, others are celebrating or lamenting. But instead, we're inside a darkened study - suffering the aftermath of umbral visitings. In two pages, you could have continued seamlessly by furthering the core supernatural theme and the dire conflict. I believe the gauntlet approach demands even more concise writing than usual. If there is going to be only one or two central narratives, with only pivotal choices, let me get to those pivotal choices by, say, the fourth page.

The later segments are, thankfully, more incisive. I may be coming off as overly-preoccupied with this problem, but that's because I want to emphasise the importance of a strong introduction. If I hadn't persisted, the overall merits would not have been evident.

Characters - strong point. Interesting, and at times compelling. The protagonist is, at times, just a bit stoopid though (which, I thought, was not really intended).

And I could keep ticking things off but focussing on the good never really helped as feedback.

Thank you pugpup1 for your commendable contribution to the Succubus Contest.
-- Ozoni on 9/30/2019 1:38:35 PM with a score of 0
Extremely well written story! Really enjoyed it. Very well done. Definitely not perfect, but considering it was written in like a month, I’m extremely impressed.

First, let’s start with the bad stuff. This obviously wasn’t proof read… Like at all. I mean I understand it was rushed, and I kind of expect games to have the odd spelling mistake here and there, but the main problem I kept seeing was quite a few instances where the writing would just stop, mid-sentence. What I’m guessing happened is that you accidentally deleted large chunks of text and didn’t notice. (To be fair, I do that all the time. Hate it when that happens.) So yeah, always proof read your own games before publishing.

Second, I’m really, really, REALLY not a fan of the gauntlet structure in text-based games, where every now and then you’ll get a choice, but making the wrong choice will just lead to your death. It’s usually pointless and makes it feel like you’re reading a shirt story instead of playing a game… That said, I didn’t actually mind so much with this game. I enjoyed the story enough that the fact it didn’t branch hardly bothered me. More importantly, you only had like a month to write this, and I think it turned out a lot better as a long, extremely linear story than it would’ve done if you’d made a branching story with lots of short paths.

Third… The protagonist was a fucking moron. I think I spent the last third of the game banging my head against the computer screen, waiting for the game to give me a choice where I get the option not to be a brain-dead bloody idiot, and it takes the guy sprouting a pair of fucking wings before he finally figures out… “Duuuuuuuuh… Maybe letting myself get seduced by a soul draining succubus, twiddling my thumbs while she bashes my father’s brains in, going along with her plan to brutally murder my teacher and then summoning a whole bunch of blood-thirsty demons and setting them loose on my school wasn’t such a good idea?” … … … No fucking shit, Sherlock! Then when he sees that the blood-thirsty demons are killing all his classmates and teachers, he’s like, “Oh my God! You’re telling me the literal demonic, hell-spawn weren’t attacking the school for selfless and benevolent reasons? Why, I am shocked and appalled! And they seemed like such nice guys, too.” I mean… I get it’s kind of essential to the story that the protagonist is heavily influenced by the succubus. Still, the kind was just too much of a drooling idiot for me to feel any kind of sympathy for him at the end… In fact, he get let off bloody easy. I’d have said setting an army of demons loose on your school should warrant a good, old-fashioned hang, draw and quatering. ^_^

And lastly (and this is just me being nitpicky) there were a lot of characters in that game… And most of them were so forgettable I could barely remember which name went with character. I actually think it bothered me most because the characters that were fleshed out were really good. I liked Peter! His friendship with the protagonist felt really genuine. Like the Ron to my Harry! (… Well, let’s be honest here, Peter was probably the Harry.) Mrs Littlethwaite was adorable and I liked Dr. Hopkins and his terrible dad jokes… Other than that, I don’t think I had a clue who any of them were. So, I spent a lot of time reading names and trying to remember who the fuck everybody was. At the end, it mentions that Dr. Thewliss is dead, and I was just like… Oh no!!! Not… That guy… Which one was he again? … I hope he wasn’t the one with the funny accent.

So, now that I’m done ranting for several paragraphs about how much this game sucked… I’ll sum up by saying that I REALLY liked it! Sure, it had it’s flaws, but that’s understandable considering that you only had a month to write it. I certainly wish I could be this productive in a month. The characters that I do remember, I absolutely loved! The story was really gripping, the setting was very inventive and interesting, and all together, just a really, really enjoyable read. Great work! ^_^
-- Avery_Moore on 9/11/2019 5:52:04 PM with a score of 0
At first I thought it was one straight path. But it was not. There are two pretty well written ending. Angelic and demonic. I really enjoyed it. But one advice brother. Maybe you want to increase the choice a bit. No one saying to create more different scenarios but give the players a sense of choice and then bam. It will be best of the best
-- PH4N70M on 8/22/2019 8:31:13 AM with a score of 0
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