A Musing on Early Stories and Bad Habits

So this morning I caught myself worrying more than was reasonable about how I’d done in an expedition in the Forgotten Quarter (Fate-Locked, so I didn’t have any way to compare my results to the norm.) This led me to thinking about why I was concerned over something that didn’t seem character-defining, and in a relatively relaxed game at that.

The conclusion I reached is that it comes down to two stories enoucntered very early in my playing of this game and how they both ended in ways I’d not expected or was terribly satisfied with.

Early on, I’d hit the Last Constable and the Cheery Man content and sided with the lady, both for IC personal reasons and to have an honest friend in the service if need be. Likewise I was chatting merrily with the Loquacious Vicar and finding his subject of interest quite intriguing, but wanted to study things more before committing one or both of us to a course of action. Suddenly, the Last Constable is fleeing in Exile and out of the game for me, which was a surprise and the Vicar switched from being a story to a simple hub for other Watchful enterprises.

Both were unexpected and left me feeling locked out of other things by irreversible decisions in events that reached a conclusion far quicker than I’d anticipated. (Particularly the Last Constable, since she flees and is never seen again, leaving no lasting benefit and locking out certain avenues or professional interest.) The next interesting story I started, I checked the wiki to make sure I wasn’t missing out on anything important, and eventually found myself far into more spoilers than I’d probably wish to be if I wasn’t worried about more landmines in seemingly innocent choices presented by the game.

I’m of the impression that this is essentially counter to the creators’ intentions, but those tow early bad events left me convinced that I was going to ruin opportunities if I went ahead and explored instead of planning things out and gathering information from outside sources instead of from examining the story as it came to me.

I have no grand plan on how to change early game content to make this reaction unlikely ro anything, but I wanted to see if I was alone in going down this pathwhich seems to conflict with the game’s own goals. And possibly for others to point out places that they feel are problematic and may hurt the enjoyment (and retention!) or new players.

Well, that’s enough rambling from me. Now to see if people want to discuss this or just tell me to shut up…

A very common insecurity among gamers! I know I play very hesitantly when I don’t know the territory, and it’s not uncommon for me to rake others’ journals and wiki posts, and plan things out to a painful degree - I’ve got a spreadsheet with all my characters’ planned outfits, lodgings, connections, major story outcomes, and so forth. Part of that is my obsession with aesthetic balance, of course - I’m very glad that, for instance, I could fit each of my characters to one of the new POSI levels without doing them injustice.

The notable thing about it was that I’d started this charactrer without any intention of doing any of that, but made an abrupt about-face after running into unsatisfactory results from the Last Constable and the Loquacious Vicar back to back.

I’m not a planner. I storm in merrily and live with perpetual regret. If I’d know attempting to seduce the Cheery Man was an option …

Personally, I’m happy with the Last Constable ending. It’s just a shame she doesn’t stick around to have a permanent card - I’d like to get to know her more! …not in the seduction sense, just in the “interesting character taking a difficult moral stance” sense.

The ending seemed so sudden and I was disappointed to discover that you don’t encounter her again, not even in later travels across the Zee. And then I found out that the Cheery man has lasting benefits to boot and was left a little disgruntled.

Well, hopefully we’ll see more of the Cheery Man and the Last Constable’s story one day - it’s all To Be Continued!

That’s why we support the idea of a Storynexus-supported system for having alternate characters. But, unfortunately, it’d be impossible to have a serious story without character death or disappearance.

Why not? I bet she’s more interesting as a companion than a certain artist’s model. However, I wonder how marriage life would be for her if her significant other likes to go on a nightly prowl to steal things of significance.

I for one was perfectly content with the Last Constable ending. The fact that I was often offered a 0 Action option to go to the Cheery Man told me that that would be the easy option. The temptation that had to be resisted, because I am the one in charge! I never knew that siding with the Cheery Man would give a lasting benefit, but it makes perfect sense that siding with the more powerful side should give a better reward.

I do read spoilers in the wikia though. That’s my way of ‘scouting ahead’, ‘asking around’, and ‘looking before I leap’. The thing is, I like freedom more than I like surprises, and making an informed decision feels like freedom, whereas going in blind feels almost like not making a choice at all, since results often seem rather arbitrary.

You can’t have a good story without the sad parts. I personally really liked the last constable stuff, although the ending could probably have been stretched out into a bit more. In the end I was happy to have made friends with an interesting lady and done her a good turn in the end.

Its hard to make a game that gives an appealing and engaging story and yet also works around the natural gamer instinct to get optimal outcomes and see maximum content.