Just Get the Treasure.
Thanks to the Orange Starfish Games Beta Test Team:
KB, FB, LTT, WS, DW, and "BotZero" (you know who you are)!
And thank you to the Interactive Fiction Competition staff, judges, forum members, and supporters!
Composed in Twine. Visit https://twinery.org/
1. Make sure your browser is expanded large enough to see all selectable text.
2. Wherever you decide to end your game is exactly where you were meant to end it.
3. It occasionally pays to look beyond certain endings.
[[Begin]]Edging along the wall, you peer into the chamber. You can see the Chalice of Destiny--the magical artifact and last hope of your people. It shines like a small sun, surrounded by a holy aura.
Marching back and forth in front of the Chalice of Destiny is a goblin carrying a halberd in one hand and a shield in the other. Emblazoned on the shield is a cruel mouth bearing fangs--the sigil of the evil warlock Malvox.
[[Steal the chalice when the goblin isn't looking.]]
[[Use stealth to kill the goblin as his back is turned.]]
[[Charge the goblin head on.]]
[[Talk to the goblin.]]Yeah, never mind.
You can find a game that is more fun to play somewhere else.
[[The End.]]Let's think about this for a second. Let's imagine for a moment that you could manage to sneak up to the Chalice of Destiny without being detected.
You wait patiently for your opportunity to dispatch the goblin when he is vulnerable.
Now is your chance!
[[Stab him in the back.]]
[[Slit his throat.]]You are about to charge the goblin head on.
Are you sure this is the best strategy in this situation?
[[Yes.->Charging the goblin is best.]]Okay. You are saying that charging the goblin is your best option.
But, you know, I just want to make sure you are completely aware of the situation.
I'm a little worried that maybe my description did not adequately convey the threat-level of this goblin.
Sometimes, when I use the term "goblin," people get the wrong mental image.
What do you imagine when I say "goblin?"
[[A small humanoid monster from folklore.]]Yes, that's exactly the kind of confusion I was worried about.
When I say "goblin," I'm using a very precise ethno-species delineation.
Unfortunately, human popular culture frequently contributes to a very significant misconception of what a true goblin is.
This goblin is much, much bigger and stronger than what you are probably imagining.
Now that I understand where you are coming from, it is safe to say that you would probably call this creature an orc or maybe even a troll.
But please keep in mind that such terms are taxonomically incorrect, if not racially insensitive.
So, now that you know that this goblin is a far more formidable opponent than you originally anticipated, do you still want to continue with your plan to charge the goblin?
[[Continue with the plan to charge the goblin.]]I see.
I can't really stop you from charging directly at the goblin. It is entirely your call.
I just want to make sure you are completely aware that it is a very large goblin. A little bigger than you, actually.
[[Got it. I want to charge the goblin, now.]]It's not that I don't think you are perfectly capable of defeating the goblin, mind you.
After all, you've conquered many, many enemies to reach this point in your quest. And, frankly, some of those monsters looked far more powerful than this one.
But, of course, one might expect you to be a bit winded, having just won all of those battles and all. You might not be at peak performance in the goblin-slaying department at this point.
[[I'm fine to charge the goblin.]]Good. Good. I'm glad you have the confidence you need.
I certainly wouldn't want you charging in there if you lacked confidence.
But are you sure you are physically up to this?
[[Yes, I am physically ready.]]Well, you would be the better judge than I on that issue, I suppose.
But something else occurs to me.
Before, I mentioned that you've already defeated enemies that looked more powerful than this one.
Doesn't that make you a little...suspicious?
[[Now that you mention it...->Why post a weaker guard at the end?]]
[[Not at all.->The goblin is just weaker.]]Why would an evil warlock like Malvox post a weaker guardian in the chamber and put stronger guardians in more advanced positions?
It doesn't make sense, does it?
Wouldn't you want your last line of defense to be the strongest?
[[Maybe the guard is hiding something?]]Just asserting something is true doesn't make it true, you know.
[[Yes, it does.]]Exactly what I was thinking!
Maybe this goblin, who is already stronger than you, is actually much more powerful than he looks.
What if Malvox has cast some sort of protection spell on him?
What if he's actually invulnerable to a direct attack?
Doesn't he look awfully nonchalant at the moment? Like he doesn't have a care in the world?
[[Maybe a direct charge isn't such a good idea, after all.]]
[[I could still take him even if he has magic.]]Sometimes it is worth thinking things over again.
Let's take another look, and see if we change our minds.
[[Peer into the chamber.]]What if he isn't even a goblin at all?
What if it is actually the evil warlock Malvox in disguise?
[[So be it. I will just have to overcome Malvox.]]Do you have any idea what it takes to defeat an evil warlock as powerful as Malvox?
[[It doesn't matter. He must be defeated.]]Look, this is no disparagement of your past accomplishments--and they are many--but a warlock? Really?
He can freeze your limbs with a word.
He can create giant fireballs in his hands.
He can call spirits from the vasty deep.
He could turn you into a newt.
[[Not if I kill him first.]]I appreciate your optimism. That go-get-'em attitude has really served you well so far.
But I can't help but wonder if maybe, just maybe, this particular job might call for a little more than brute strength.
[[Stop worrying. I've got this.]]How can I stop worrying?
I have a lot invested in this, too.
The fate of the world hangs in the balance.
If your decision to fight this creature head-on leads to failure, it isn't just your own embarassment and shame we are talking about.
Have you really thought about what's best for everyone else?
[[Of course, I have. That's why I'm on this quest.]]Sorry! Sorry!
I don't mean to upset you.
I'm only here to help you.
Now, back to the matter at hand.
You are absolutely, positively sure that a direct frontal assault on this goblin is the 100% best way to acquire the Chalice of Destiny.
[[Yes. I am 100% sure of a direct attack.]]Even after all of the points I have made.
[[Yes, still 100% sure.]]You obviously are determined to go ahead with this charge.
Again, I won't stop you.
But maybe we should conduct a little review.
[[I don't need a review->Charge Review]]So far, I have asked you to consider:
That the goblin is bigger than you initially thought.
That you might be tired from previous battles.
That the goblin might have unseen powers.
That the goblin might be a more powerful creature in disguise.
That the goblin might be the evil warlock Malvox.
That failure to defeat the goblin head-on will be catastrophic for the world beyond you.
[[Yes, I remember all those points.]]And did I mention that if you fail, you will most likely die?
[[I assumed as much.]]And that the death would be humiliating?
[[That might go a bit far.]]Really? Because if anyone found out that you doomed the world to endless slavery all because you charged headlong into an uncertain battle at the very last minute...
Well...I think people would have things to say.
[[What kinds of things?]]Oh, you know, not nice things.
What an idiot!
What a fool!
What was he thinking?!?
That would probably be your own dying thought, as well.
You would be lying on the floor about to be decapitated or vaporized or burned to a crisp thinking--realizing the horrible choice you made--and thinking, "How could I have been so stupid as to have made this choice?"
[[I am willing to face those consequences.]]Would you like one last chance to change your mind?
[[Yes.->Abandon the charge]]
[[No.->Continue with the charge despite risk]]Not a bad idea.
Maybe it would have been more courageous to attack head-on, but no one else ever has to know that you backed out of that plan.
In the end, the most important thing is the success of the mission, not whether or not people will judge you for being a coward.
So now that we have determined you would rather slink around than take a bold decisive move, would you rather...
[[Steal the chalice when the goblin isn't looking.]]
[[Use stealth to kill the goblin as his back is turned.]]
[[Talk to the goblin.]]Okay, then. Charge if you like.
[[Charge the goblin.]]You rush into the room, screaming a battlecry as you prepare your killing stroke.
[[Strike the goblin dead.]]Just so we are entirely clear, where would you like to hit the goblin with your sword?
[[Goblin's torso]]The head would be a good choice. Lop it off, and it is a good bet he is dead--even if he is a warlock in disguise.
But heads can be tricky to hit. For starters, they are a fairly small target compared to the torso. You could simply miss the target.
Or the goblin could duck or dodge and cause you to miss. He could deflect the blow with his shield or halberd.
Are you sure it is the head you want to swing at?
[[I am sure I want to strike the goblin's head.]]The torso is a good choice. It would be hard to miss the goblin's torso.
But it is also harder to make a hit that will kill the goblin instantaneously.
What if the goblin still has enough life left to strike back?
Are you sure you don't want to strike at his head and end it all at once for the goblin?
[[Strike the torso.]]
[[I've changed my mind. Strike the head.]]What if...and just bear with me a second...
But you will have to be looking at his head to strike it.
I was just wondering what happens if you are looking at the goblin's head and end up looking into his eyes...
Are you emotionally prepared for what you might see there?
I know you've dealt a lot of death to reach this point, but can you bear to look into his eyes and see that moment when he realizes it is all over?
[[I will get over it.]]Will you?
What if you can't?
[[Then it is something I will have to bear.]]If you say so.
But I just want to make sure you are comfortable with the moral implications of a head-blow. There is a pretty significant chance that you will inflict a mortal wound. You could choose to target a non-vital organ and give the goblin a chance at survival.
[[I am fine with intending to kill him.]]
[[I hadn't thought about it in those terms before.]]Okay, but are you considering your back-up plan if you don't kill him in one hit?
[[Yes, I have a back-up plan if I don't kill him in one hit.]]
[[I don't need a back-up plan. I will kill him in one hit.]]Maybe that's for the best.
[[Aim for the goblin's head.->Goblin's head]]You strike at the goblin with your flashing blade.
Your skillful strike slashes across his torso, ripping into his armor and drawing forth a blackened stream of blood.
But the goblin seems almost completely unfazed.
It twirls its halberd overhead and begins to drop the blade onto you.
You choose to...
[[Deflect the halberd's blade with your sword.]]
[[Attack the goblin, again.]]
[[Dodge the attack.]]
[[Runaway.]]How can you possibly know that?
It's not like you have any clue what your attributes are.
Do you think you can succeed here by just asserting your own strengths?
Don't you think that might just be a little obnoxious--especially considering that overestimating your abilities will almost certainly get you killed?
Look, maybe you are getting a little too anxious to wrap this up. I realize we've been going back and forth for a while.
But there's still time to rethink this if you want.
[[No need. I'm sure I will kill him in one hit.]]
[[You're right, and on second though, I have a back-up plan.->Yes, I have a back-up plan if I don't kill him in one hit.]]So long as you aren't doing anything against your conscience, then I guess it's okay.
It's for the greater good, after all, right?
Who are you to quibble over the state of your own ethics and/or eternal soul (depending on your personal point of view regarding that sort of thing)?
It's not like it will be on my head. All I can do is ask you to think about the implications of your action for yourself and others.
[[I understand. Thank you. Now, can I kill him?]]Do you want to reconsider this course of action?
[[Yes.->Peer into the chamber.]]
[[No.->I understand. Thank you. Now, can I kill him?]]Are you sure about this?
Your goblinese is a little rusty.
[[Yes, talk to the goblin.]]You seem determined.
But before you strike your blow, there are some practical matters to clear up.
For instance, do you intend to make a sweeping slash or a stabbing thrust?
[[Thrust.]]This is probably a good choice for you.
After all, a sweeping slash covers more area so it is more likely actually to hit something.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that you aren't good enough to hit a target with a stab.
But is now really the time to be taking big gambles that rely so heavily on your own personal skill levels?
People are really depending on you, and you would be risking their welfare as well as your own.
So, I don't think anyone will judge you too harshly for playing it safe.
So are you ready to continue?
[[Continue.->Slash 2.]]Okay. But keep in mind that a thrust requires more agility than a slash. A stabbing thrust requires pinpoint precision.
Are you still comfortable with this choice?
[[Yes, I am comfortable with stabbing.]]
[[Never mind, I want to slash instead.]]Stabbing thrust it is then.
You ready your weapon and brace yourself for your attack.
But, hold on, we are missing something important. What part of his head do you intend to stab?
[[Stab his eye.]]
[[Stab his nostril.]]
[[Stab his temple.]]
[[Stab his mouth.]]
[[Stab his forehead.]]
[[Stab his neck.]]
[[I don't care. I'll just stab anywhere in the region of his head.]]Fair enough.
If you think you are ready, we can take the slashing approach instead.
[[Yes, I am ready.->Slash.]]Goblins have reasonably large eyes, so this is not an impossible task.
It also has a very good chance of puncturing his brain, which would assumably be your desired outcome given your prior thought-processes.
So, I guess this really is the way you want to handle this?
[[Yes, it is. I choose to stab his eye.]]Normally, I would say this was a bad choice given the relative size of the nostril to the rest of his head features.
But since the goblin is a little taller than you, you actually might stand a chance. Maybe.
Assuming you can reach it.
[[I can reach his nostril. Let's stab it.]]Really? That seems an awfully hard target to hit. Not only is he wearing a helmet, but I'm not even sure how you will get an appropriate angle to stab sideways during a forward charge.
Do you still want to do this?
[[Yes, I still want to stab his temple.]]Oh, jeez. That's pretty gruesome.
Even if you clear his iron-hard tusks and break his teeth, this is just a really horrible image to create and seems like it would inflict gratuitous pain.
Are you really that vicious?
[[Yes, I am that vicious.]]Did I mention that he is wearing a helmet?
And that goblin skulls are hard?
This is probably the single least likely target to achieve a desirable outcome of all of the options I gave you.
Are you trying to lose this or do you just really like a challenge?
[[I am strong enough to pierce the goblin's skull with a mere blade.]]Wow. Okay.
I would have thought with your training and experience, you would have a more deliberate approach to this.
But, hey, you're the expert. Have it your way.
[[Stab in the general vicinity of the goblin's head.]]As the goblin turns to face your charge, you are forced to thrust at an awkward diagonal.
The goblin easily deflects your attempt with his shield, swings his halberd down on your elbows, and reduces your arms to mere stumps.
Fortunately, shock prevents you from feeling any physical pain as you begin to bleed out.
[[Bleed.->Temple stab ending 1.]]You must enjoy the sensation of goblin blood on your face.
So are you a hero or some kind of sadist?
I suppose those don't have to be mutually exclusive options.
Is this really the path you want to take, you psychopath?
[[Yes. Stab his neck.]]You rush upon the goblin; your blade moves steady in your tight grip.
As you skewer his throat, his unctuous blood splatters your face and sprays into your eyes.
The body fluids burn like acid at your corneas and you find yourself blinded for the moment--able to see only the blurred aura of the Chalice of Destiny.
But you are confident that your aim was true and that the foe is vanquished.
[[Reach for the Chalice of Destiny.-->Neck stab ending.]]You run at the goblin, thrusting your blade up towards his nostrils.
You didn't really stop to consider which nostril seemed a better target, however, and so you miscalculated your reach.
Your blow lands directly in the goblin's left eye, and your blade slides directly into his brain casing.
The goblin falls back dead.
[[Retrieve the Chalice of Destiny.->Nostril ending 1.]]Really?
Look, it just seems like your heart isn't really into this thing anymore.
You know, I'm over here trying to come up with a variant ending for all of these little, nuanced choices that I'm providing.
If you aren't going to take this thing seriously, then, well, I'm afraid I just don't see the value of crafting a particularly good ending for this thread.
[[Continue.->General stabbing ending 1.]]I dunno, you would have to be really, really strong.
It's a bit like trying to drive a nail into an oak tree using only your fists.
[[I am sure I can pierce the goblin's skull.]]Right or left?
[[Left eye.]]It might be a bit more of a challenge if you are right-handed, is all I'm saying. Slightly more reach is required.
[[Never mind, left eye it is.->Left eye.]]
[[Still the right eye.]]It might be a bit more of a challenge if you are left-handed, is all I'm saying. Slightly more reach would be required.
[[Good point. Make it the right eye.->Right eye.]]
[[No problem. Continue with the left eye.]]Ah, I see.
Well, look...uhm...I have some bad news for you.
It didn't turn out well. You gave it a great try, but you just could not land the hit.
The goblin returned the attack, and...
It was pretty awful what happened next.
Just...I don't really feel comfortable talking about it here. Goblins can be real monsters, just utterly vile in their treatment of their enemies. It really wouldn't be appropriate to relate how he defeated you, nor the ignominy he inflicted on your person as you slowly died in his power.
But, look, you have been a really good sport so far. Really made some thoughtful choices. Really played along well.
While no one is looking, I'll cut you a break. Here's a psychic portal that will take you back just a few seconds in time. Maybe you can make another choice and things will end differently. It's up to you. I can't make any promises.
Just don't tell anyone I did this for you. I could get in big trouble.
[[Take the psychic portal.->I understand. Thank you. Now, can I kill him?]]
[[Don't take the psychic portal.]]As you stare into the creature's eye, you feel a dread weight upon your soul.
Your arms grow heavy, and your sword-tip clangs to the stone floor.
Your legs begin to wobble, your knees no longer able to support your weight.
The goblin's eyes glow unnaturally, and your vision blurs.
The form of the goblin dissolves into...
...the evil wizard Malvox.
You hear words you can't understand and feel your body become rigid, your limbs heavy. Your eyes begin to burn, then go blind. You feel like your chest is cracking as you try to breathe. You briefly taste the saltiness of stone, before everything goes silent.
Even your thoughts.
[[The End.]]Okay, here you go, then...
[[Let me pierce his skull already.]]Charging at the goblin, you thrust your blade towards his brow. It cleanly shears through his noseguard, slices easily through his rough skin, and begins to crack its way into his skull...
[[Keep pushing the blade into his skull.]]Unfortunately, even with all of your might, the blade's edge fails to penetrate his skull.
[[Try to pierce his skull again!]]
[[Run away!->Failure to stab his head.]]
I don't think you are really grasping the situation here. The sword is stuck in his head. It isn't moving any further in no matter how hard you try.
But as you focus your energy on your futile attempts to kill the goblin, the goblin rams the blade of his halberd into the side of your skull.
His attempt to puncture your brain proves far more successful than your attempt to puncture his.
Your body twitches slightly before you lose your grip and fall to the ground.
[[The end.->Pierce his skull again ending.]]As you turn to flee, the goblin thrusts his halberd through your spine.
You see the tip of his blade emerge through your solar plexis.
The goblin hoists your bleeding body aloft.
The ceiling, the wall, and then the floor roll before your eyes just before the goblin brings you crashing down upon your head.
[[The end.-->Head stab failure ending.]]There is a mercy that it was all over too suddenly for you to think long upon your mistake.
[[The End.]]As he withdraws his gore-covered blade from your open skull, a series of neurons suddenly fire.
You remember a time as a child playing on your gaffer's knee. He smiled at you and said something that made you laugh.
What was it he said?
It began something like, "You are the most..."
[[The End.]]You charge the goblin and thrust your blade into his mouth.
The stone-like tusks offer some resistance, and the blade jiggles in your hand, but your strength is enough to push the blade all the way through the base of his skull.
His spine severed, the goblin goes limp, crashing on top of you.
[[Push the goblin off of me.]]You try to push the goblin off of you as his cold blood trickles down onto your face. It is unclear if you lack the strength or the leverage, but you appear to be pinned.
While the goblin's limbs are now paralyzed, it appears to still have control over its face and jaws.
Its eyes wild with fury, its enormous tusks snap at your face, blood-stained saliva burning your eyes. Gravity pulls the monstrous head down the blade, its mouth inching closer and closer to your face.
As you continue your feeble attempts to push the goblin off of you, you
[[Look away from the goblin.->Look away from being eaten.]]
[[Look at the goblin.->Staring down the maw.]]You avert your eyes.
The goblin whispers in your ear, "When you meet the Dark Lord in Hell, let him know that Adderfang sends his regards."
You feel his tusks drive their way into your cheek and scalp.
You shriek in pain as he crushes your skull in his powerful jaws.
[[The End.]]It is hard to read a goblin's thoughts from his face, especially when that face is devouring yours.
Did you earn some degree of his respect at least, showing a last act of bravery and defiance?
Do goblins even understand what virtue is? Can they respect?
Or were you just projecting onto the goblin how you wished others saw you?
In the absence of anyone whose opinion really mattered, did you cast value on his judgment of you?
Was this how you wanted to spend your last moments--in a futile attempt to ignore pain out of concern about how you looked to someone else?
[[The End.]]Blind, you leave your sword in the goblin's neck, reaching out towards the source of the hazy light.
You stumble slightly as you feel a warmth emanating from the Chalice of Destiny.
[[Continue to walk to the Chalice.->Neck stab ending 2.]]You are sure you are just inches away from the Cha...
[[The end.->Neck stab ending 3.]]Sorry, about that.
It seems you were a bit overconfindent regarding the goblin's demise.
In your blindness, you were not able to see him staggering behind you. And you certainly didn't see him decapitate you in a single swing of his halberd--landing a blow so swift that your nervous system did not even have time to register pain.
If it is any consolation, I am allowed to tell you that the goblin died of blood loss shortly thereafter.
However, the Chalice of Destiny was never removed, and your people continue to live under the unbearable oppression of the evil warlock Malvox.
[[The End.]]You black out.
And never recover.
[[The End.]]As you step over the goblin's corpse to retrieve the Chalice of Destiny, you consider the placement of your sword--now standing at an angle from the goblin's orbital like some kind of makeshift tombstone.
[[Consider the sword.->Nostril ending 2.]]Sure, the goblin is dead...but you kind of missed, didn't you?
It's not that you failed to get the end result, but you didn't really do it the way you meant to.
[[But that's okay, right?->Nostril ending 3.]]Sure, it's fine.
It was a small target, after all.
You really shouldn't beat yourself up for not having been able to hit it.
It was a hundred-to-one chance, really.
Just because you aren't among the top one-percent of sword fighters, that doesn't really tarnish your victory.
[[It's the end result that matters.->Nostril ending 4.]]But don't you wonder what went wrong?
Was it just sloppiness?
Were you getting too tired?
Were you trying to show off for someone?
Did you really need to aim for such a small taget anyway?
[[Apologies...]]You stab at the goblin's head.
You kill him.
You reclaim the Chalice of Destiny and return it to some Temple.
The bad guy's powers dissolves, his armies turn to dust.
Your a herO1
Special thanks to...
[[The End.]]So you just want to charge in and kill him, then?
[[Yes.->Charge in and kill 1.]]I respect that you are willing to face the consequences of your actions--even if no one else will know.
But I really can't tell you how you died.
It's too much even for me.
You will have to imagine it on your own.
May death release your soul from the horrors your body endured.
Rest in peace.
[[The End.]]You run into the room, swing your blade in a wide arc towards the goblin's head.
The goblin deflects your blow with his shield and kicks you back.
[[Reassess the plan of attack.]]Well, the goblin obviously sees you, so you are pretty well married to another frontal attack.
[[Thrust.]]You are sure?
[[Yes.->Charge in and kill him 2.]]Absolutely positive?
[[Yes.->Charge in and kill him 3.]]Not even the teeniest of doubts?
[[No.->Charge in and kill him 4.]]I mean, you must have some doubts, right?
It's only natural.
To doubt one's abilities at least a little bit.
It's like a result of evolutionary psychology or something.
[[I don't know anything about that. I'm just going to kill the goblin.->Charge in and kill him 5.]]Because if you had no doubts whatsoever, that could be the sign of a problem, couldn't it?
Complete self-assurance might be an unhealthy mindset.
[[My mind is healthy. The goblin is the one who won't be healthy. After I've killed it.->Charge in and kill him 6.]]This is starting to seem really aggressive.
Are there ways in which your aggression towards the goblin might put yourself at risk?
[[What? No.->Charge in and kill him 7.]]You might be putting yourself in more danger than you realize, or you might be trying to deny how much danger you know there is.
[[You aren't even making sense anymore.->Charge in and kill him 8.]]Why do you want to put yourself in danger?
[[I'm trying to get the Chalice of Destiny to save my people.->Charge in and kill him 9.]]But you knew there was a significant chance that you wouldn't achieve the goal.
You knew that it might destroy you.
Why were you so willing to do something that seemed so impossible?
[[For the sake of my people.->Charge in and kill him 10.]]So do you think it was your special duty to save your people when no one else was able?
What do you think is special about you?
[[There's nothing special about me. It just needed to be done.->Charge in and kill him 11.]]There's nothing at all special about you?
Do you really think that?
[[Why are you asking me so many questions? I'm not the important one here. I need to kill the goblin and finish my quest.->Charge in and kill him 12.]]So you don't think you are anything special...
Yet you think this is YOUR quest?
[[What? That's not what I meant.->Charge in and kill him 13.]]You don't think you are anything special, so you were willing to risk throwing your life away...because there was nothing special about it?
[[That's not what I meant, either. You're twisting my words!->Charge in and kill him 14.]]How does that make you feel?
[[I don't know.]]How do you know you feel angry?
[[I want to lean forward and punch you.]]How do you know you feel sad?
[[I feel sleepy and my eyes are tearing up.]]How do you know that?
[[I'm smiling, and I want to laugh.]]What do you feel in your body?
[[I can't tell.]]How do you know you want to punch me?
[[My fists are clenching.]]Would you like to punch me?
[[Yes.->Desire to punch narrator]]Do you feel like crying?
[[Yes. I feel like crying.]]Do you want to laugh right now?
[[Yes, I want to laugh.]]What do you think you might be feeling that you don't want to feel?
[[I just want to kill the goblin.]]But how do you feel about me for not letting you kill the goblin?
[[I don't know.->idk goblin 1]]Why do you want to kill the goblin?
[[So I can get the chalice and save my people.]]But why do you want to do that?
How do you feel when you think about saving your people?
[[I hadn't thought about that. I don't know how I feel about that either]]What will you get out of saving your people?
[[I don't know what I will get. It's just something I am supposed to do.]]Who told you that you were supposed to do it?
Did I tell you that?
[[No.->You didn't tell me to save the people.]]So do you still want to save the people?
[[Yes, I still want to save the people.]]
[[I don't know anymore.]]And how do you feel about the people that they need you to save them?
How do you feel that they have left you all alone to face the dangers of this tower, while they stay behind in safety?
[[I love them.]]How am I supposed to help you get what you want if you don't know what you want?
[[I don't know.->changing mind]]Well, it looks like that's all the time we have for today.
I think you made a lot of progress. Why don't you review the points we talked about and see how you feel over the next few days.
See you next week.
[[Ok. Thank you. Bye.]][[The End.]]How do you know you love them?
[[Because I am risking my life for them.]]That's what you are doing. That doesn't tell me how you feel.
[[I feel like I love them.]]Well, go ahead. Let it out. Let out your laugh!
[[*laugh*]]You throw your head back and let out a huge belly laugh.
You laugh so hard that your eyes close shut and you have to lean against the wall.
Doesn't that feel...
I seem to have forgotten about the goblin.
You now have a halberd blade deep within your throat.
You find it hard to laugh as your blood sprays across the wall and drips to the floor.
[[The End.]]It's okay. We're alone here. There is no one but you and me. You can cry. It's perfectly fine.
Let the feeling come.
Let yourself feel it completely.
[[*cry*]]Your vision becomes cloudy as the tears well up your eyes and drip down your cheeks.
Mucus begins to fill up your nose.
You begin to sob. You aren't even sure why. The sound of your emotions echoes.
Into the ears of the goblin.
Who splits your skull in two with its halberd.
You are dead.
[[The End.]]Go ahead. Imagine punching me.
You can't harm me here.
I'm just in your imagination.
So, go ahead. Punch me wherever you feel inclined.
[[Punch narrator in the face.]]
[[?->Punched narrator 1]]You manage to deflect the main force of the blow with your sword...
but your sword is now split in half, as is your right ear.
[[Strike with the broken sword.]]
[[Clutch ear and whimper like a baby.]]Before you can swing your blade a second time, your head is removed from your body.
This was not a very good back-up plan. Persistent, perhaps, but not very resourceful.
[[The End.]]You successfully dodge the goblin's blow.
It is especially fortunate for you, as the blow landed with such strength that the goblin's halberd has become lodged within the stone floor.
At first, the goblin attempts to free his weapon, but discovering it cannot be moved, he appears to beg for mercy.
[[Kill the goblin.]]
[[Spare the goblin.]]The goblin's halberd descends across your spine. Your legs become useless.
The goblin then grabs your skull and flings your paralyzed body down the tower stairs. Your body flails like a rag doll as it tumbles from step to step.
Your body rests upon a heap of creatures that you recently killed.
You spend the final few hours of your existence contemplating your own futility and wishing that the rodents here would stop gnawing on your features.
[[The End.]]This is a daring choice, and would certainly have made for some really striking imagery had you slain the goblin with your broken sword.
Unfortunately, your shattered blade barely made a scratch on his chestplate.
The goblin prepares to strike back...
...look, this was some really bad luck on your part.
I mean, a broken sword, really?
Your quest is going to come to an end because of some shoddy workmanship by a blacksmith?
That doesn't seem particularly fair.
Tell you what, let's take things back a little bit and try again. Just, don't let word get around that I can do this or every adventurer is suddenly going to blame all their trouble on their equipment and ask for a do-over. Deal?
[[Rewind battle.->Yes, I have a back-up plan if I don't kill him in one hit.]]I really respect you for picking this path.
It's a bold move to expose your own vulnerability and weakness at a time like this.
Unfortunately, the goblin does not appear to hold you in as high an estimation at the moment.
In fact, it looks like he is about to...
Well, let's just say there's no reason to cry anymore.
Or even ability to cry.
You are dead.
I wish there was something more I could have done for you, something more than just offer you my respect.
But, there isn't anything I can do now...not with you dead and all, because you decided to be a wimp about your injuries.
[[The End.]]I'll also grant you (in hypothetical terms) that you might even get your hands on the Chalice of Detiny without being seen.
[[Ok.->Steal 2.]]And, for the sake of argument, let's even say that you manage to get out of the room without the goblin seeing you taking the Chalice of Destiny.
[[Great.->Steal 3.]]Fine, so even allowing for that possibility, how do you manage to get the chalice out of the room without the goblin recognizing the disappearance of the primary light source?
[[Hadn't thought of that.]]No, I didn't think you had.
[[Back to the drawing board.]]
[[Think of a way to fool the goblin.]]
[[Just grab the thing and run like the devil.]]That's what I thought.
[[Let me try again.->Peer into the chamber.]]Have you thought of a way to fool the goblin into not noticing he is in total darkness?
[[Yes.->A cunning plan 1.]]
[[Not yet.->Thinking of a plan 1.]]You seize your chance to grab the Chalice of Destiny. The goblin appears slightly stunned by your unexpected entrance.
As you flee towards the exit, the goblin screams a battlecry.
You are already at the door before he can swing his halberd.
[[Continue to run down the stairs.]]Oh, good.
So what is your plan?
We seem to have a little problem with the interface.
See, I can only give you options to make choices that I've already thought of.
You wouldn't happen to be one of those people who know how to mod games, would you?
[[No.->Mod 2]]In the time it has taken you to think of a plan, the goblin notices a glint of your sword reflecting light from the Chalice of Destiny.
Now, it is time to act.
But before you strike your blow, there are some practical matters to clear up.
Do you intend to make a sweeping slash or a stabbing thrust?
[[Hello?->Punched narrator 2.]]
[[Are you still there?->Punched narrator 3.]]
[[Anyone?->Punched narrator 4.]]
[[Are you okay?->Punched narrator 5.]]
[[Hello? Did I hurt you?->Punched narrator 6.]]
[[...->Punched narrator 7.]]
[[Hey, I can't do this without you.->Punched narrator 8.]]
[[...->Punched narrator 9.]]
[[Does this mean it is over?->Punched narrator 10.]]
[[Should I quit, now?->Punched narrator 11.]]Double-click this passage to edit it.Great. You should probably hack into the file, alter the text to include your plan, and then come back.
I'll wait here until you do.
See you later!
I guess we'll just have to wing it.
I want you to imagine yourself carrying out your plan.
[[Imagine the backup plan.]]Did your backup plan work?
[[Yes, my backup plan worked.]]
[[No, my backup plan failed.]]Oh, what a relief!
It's good to have back-up plans.
I couldn't really come up with any kind of workable back-up plan myself.
So I guess your imagination must be vastly better than mine.
Since that is the case, I'll go ahead and let you imagine the rest of this story on your own.
Go ahead, you creative genius.
Consider my role here as little more than just a writing prompt.
And please feel free to let me know how it all turns out!
[[The End.]]I am sorry to hear that your backup plan failed.
Are you dead now?
[[Yes, I was killed.]]
[[No, I was not killed.]]I am sorry to hear that you were killed.
You were the last hope of your people.
You really should have come up with a better plan.
[[The End.]]Did the goblin notice you?
[[Yes, the goblin noticed me.]]
[[No, the goblin did not notice me.]]Ah, I see.
Well, in that case, I suppose you are left with two options:
[[Talk to the goblin.]]
[[Charge the goblin head on.]]Good. In that case, let's take it from the top.
But this time, please try to be more effective.
Every second that you waste on fruitless plans merely prolongs the suffering of your people.
[[Peer into the chamber.]]Are you sure you want to stab the goblin in the back?
[[Why wouldn't I want to stab him in the back?]]You quietly yet swiftly sneak upon the goblin. With one hand, you reach from behind and grip his tusky jaw. You quickly pull his head back as your other hand slides a sharp blade across his tender throat.
Blood gushes down his neck, and his body quivers as he takes his last futile gasps.
His heavy body goes limp, and you cast it aside.
[[Take the Chalice of Destiny.->Slit his throat 2.]]There are reasons you wouldn't want to stab him in the back.
First, you need to be both skillful and strong enough to pierce through his armor and then his ribcage so as to penetrate a vital organ.
[[I am both skillful and strong enough.]]Good.
But then there are other consequences.
Do you want to think about the other consequences?
[[I don't want to think about the other consequences.]]
[[What are the other consequences for stabbing him in the back?]]You should always think about the consequences, so I will tell them to you anyway.
[[But I just said I didn't...->What are the other consequences for stabbing him in the back?]]Mainly, it will be a question of your honor.
[[I'm not following how this affects my honor.]]You are going to stab someone in the back.
Nobody likes someone who stabs people in the back.
[[I'm not sure this is really the same thing.]]Not the same thing?
How can this not be the same thing?
You are literally putting a blade into someone's back.
You will be a back-stabber.
[[I think the phrase generally is a metaphor for the betrayal of friends.]]Is this really the time to start splitting hairs and arguing semantics?
I'm just saying that you have a reputation to think about.
What happens when they start singing songs of your deeds this day, and they get to this part of the story.
The bard will give you "Back-stabber" as an epithet just to achieve consistent meter in his verses.
Do you want to be have "Back-stabber" as an epithet?
[[Then I won't tell people that I stabbed the goblin in the back.]]So now you're going to be a liar as well?
Do you see how this is a slippery slope of morality?
You'll be a back-stabber and a prevaricator.
[[But I'll also have just saved the people.]]So do you think the ends really justify the means?
[[Yes, the ends justify the means.]]
[[No, the ends do not justify the means.]]Your worldview is quite pragmatic, but it might also be troubling.
[[Stop judging me, and let me kill the goblin.]]So you don't believe the ends justify the means, but you are planning on murdering a sentient being in cold blood for your own ends.
Do you realize that makes you a hypocrite?
[[Let the sin be upon my head.]]Do you feel like I am judging you?
[[It sounds like you are judging me.]]As you take up the Chalice of Destiny, you feel a new energy and vigor within you.
The countless wounds and bruises on your body vanish.
Your burdens become light.
It is time to descend from the tower and return the Chalice of Destiny to your people.
[[Descend the tower.]]Would you prefer that I not assert my own personal moral system?
[[Yes.->Don't assert moral system.]]
[[No.->Do assert moral system.]]Are you worried that my moral system will be at odds with your choice of behavior?
[[Yes.->Worried moral system as odds.]]
[[No.->Not worried moral system is at odds.]]Are you curious about my moral philosophy?
[[Yes.->Curious about moral philosophy.]]
[[No.->Not worried moral system is at odds.]]I'm glad that you are curious about my moral philosophy.
It shows that you are open-minded.
But I still wonder what you would think about me if you knew what I thought about things.
Would you begin to judge me?
[[Yes.->I would judge you.]]
[[No.->I wouldn't judge you.]]Please remember, this is all just fantasy.
I can no more judge you based on the choices you make while role-playing a fictional persona than you can judge an author for the moral choices made by their characters.
[[Okay.->No judgment.]]You seem very self-assured of your own moral principles.
[[I am sure enough of my own beliefs that a simple computer game won't change them.]]Perhaps you are concerned that I will attempt to impose my own personal moral philosophy on you, or try to change your moral outlook.
[[I am not worried that you are trying to change me.->Not worried moral system is at odds.]]
[[I am worried that you are trying to change me.]]I see.
You are worried that I will use my privilege to exert some sort of influence over your worldview.
So why did you start playing this game in the first place if you were afraid of being influenced?
[[Games are entertainment. I just wanted to have fun.]]So the purpose of entertainment is just amusment?
[[Yes.->Games are amusement.]]
[[No.->Games are more than amusement.]]I see. You enjoy clicking things.
The feedback response of clicking gives you some satisfaction.
Have I got a treat for you, then!
[[Click here!]]Are video games art?
[[Yes.->Games are art.]]
[[No.->Games are not art.]]Is this game art?
[[Yes.->This game is art.]]
[[No.->This game is not art.]]Silly me.
I seem to have forgotten all about that goblin over there.
Unfortunately, you tripped on your way to kill him...which alerted him to your presence.
He swings down his halberd with a force so great that it cleaves you down to your heart.
You are dead.
I had been enjoying our conversation.
[[The End.]]Really? You think so?
[[Yes, I do.->This game is art 2.]]
[[No, I was lying when I said that.->Games are not art.]]I wonder what makes you think that you have the right to judge me...
[[I just don't think this game is very artistic.->Games are not art.]]That's what I'm worried about.
That's why I like to keep my distance.
That's why I prefer to talk to you like this, through an interface of fiction and fantasy, metaphors and technology.
I don't know if we would get along so well if you knew what I really thought.
[[Continue...->Personal 1]]That's nice of you to say, but I'm not sure I can believe it.
Everything is so politicized today, don't you think?
It's not just literary fiction and artistic films.
Video games. Comic books. Even toy aisles are being politicized.
You can't even use social media without people getting into a political fight and unfriending each other.
I know you say you wouldn't judge me, but I'm afraid that you would still end up judging me once you learned what I believe.
[[Continue...->Personal 1]]Oh, so you think this is a simple computer game?
[[That's not what I...->Simple game 1.]]Do you have any idea how many hours I spent perfecting this story?
[[Well, we have gotten away from the story, haven't we?]]So now you're the privileged expert?
You think you know better than me what should happen next?
[[Look, I think you are getting a little bit defensive. Maybe we should get back to the narrative.->Games are not art.]]Here I am typing this.
I'm thinking maybe I should just tell you a little about myself.
But I just can't bring myself to do it.
I will tell you that I am enjoying making this game.
I'm enjoying imagining you, sitting there, making your choices.
I'm hoping that maybe I've made you laugh once or twice.
Maybe I've shocked you here or there.
Maybe I've made you remember something you've forgotten.
Or made you think about something differently.
I like the thought that we are having a kind of conversation. That we are spending time on each other, even though we are apart. That somehow we are engaged and communicating with each other.
Sometimes, when I'm working on this late at night, I have a fantasy that you are some famous blogger or games critic. That you will fall in love with it...and thousands of people will all come to my tower. And they will all feel something...
...and I will have made them feel something.
[[Continue...->Personal 2]]But then I worry.
I worry that you haven't laughed.
I worry that you don't get it.
I worry that I'm wasting my time mapping out all of these choices and responses.
I worry that you'll play through one string and never even bother to see what happens if you pick another choice.
I worry that I've embarrassed myself making this.
I worry that this particular thread, with its metafiction and its confessionals, is the most embarrassing part of the whole thing.
Maybe I should delete it.
Maybe I should make it inaccessible.
[[Continue...->Personal 3]]Or maybe all these thoughts are just another fictional persona that I've crafted.
Let's start over.
[[The End.]]Okay. I feel pretty good about this now.
I feel vindicated.
I feel like I've accomplished something.
I guess I'm an artist, now.
Now, how would you rank this game?
[[The worst game I have ever played.->Games are not art.]]
[[A horrible game.->Games are not art.]]
[[A bad game.->Games are not art.]]
[[A fair game.->Positive review.]]
[[A good game.->Positive review.]]
[[A great game.->Positive review.]]
[[The best game I have ever played.->Positive review.]]
The story with the tower and the goblin and the chalice and stuff.
Look, we seem to have gotten pretty far away from that.
I guess you can start over if you want. Or just close out.
Doesn't matter to me at this point.
[[The End.]]You make your way down the stairs and pass your many accomplishments and deeds.
Here lies a once powerful golem, it's life force drained by your clever strategems.
Here lies a pack of kobolds, no match for your dextrous blows.
Here lies a pile of broken skeleton bones, shattered by your mighty arm.
Countless other bodies of monstrous creatures, cruel and fell, lie in heaps--small memorials of your heroism.
As you reach the drawbridge of the tower, you can almost hear the song of legend that shall be sung to your name.
[[Exit the Tower.]]The journey home is still long, and night begins to fall.
The Chalice of Destiny continues to shine brightly. It will soon attract attention.
While you are certain you can master any foe that might beset you now, you still recognize the wisdom of prudence.
You conceal the Chalice of Destiny in a leather-cased box and make camp by some old ruins.
Your eyes grow weary. Wrapped in your cloak, you close them.
[[Sleep.->Sleep 1]]And, now, mighty warrior, hero of ages, master of Destiny, partake of the sleep of champions.
Rest assured your victory is secure; your honor vouchsafed; your glory inestimable; your fame without end.
Though your bed is rough and its canopy the open sky, you may sleep in the comfort and luxury of one who has succeeded in their quest.
Sleep well, great one.
Would you say this game is better than...
[[Yes.->Better than Zork.]]
[[No.->Worse than Zork.]]Better than The Stanley Parable?
[[Yes.->Better than Stanley.]]
[[No.->Not better than Stanley.]]Philistine!
[[It's just my honest opinion!...->Games are not art.]]Better than Undertale?
[[Yes.->Better than Undertale.]]
[[No.->Not better than Undertale.]]Oh, what? So you are going to hold it against me that I don't have the resources to employ fancy graphics and a voice actor?
Why don't you just go play some Breath of the Wild on your Switch?
You people are so superficial.
[[Continue...->Games are not art.]]Wow! Thanks!
Now, based on your user experience, would you conclude that I am a witty, charming, and attractive person?
[[No.->Don't validate narrator.]]Oh, come on!
Are you upset because none of the choices that I offered you pander to social issues and allow you to signal your virtue?
This was about us.
You and me.
That's all that mattered right now.
Two individuals attempting to engage each other in a meaningful way.
Sorry if I didn't give you anything more than that.
I guess you can go on Twitter and let everyone know how backwards and unenlightened this game is.
[[Continue...->Games are not art.]]You have no idea how much this means to me.
You might even say that this was the whole reason I started this project in the first place.
I feel so much better now.
This really has been an incredibly rewarding journey for me.
Thank you so much! I mean that. Really. THANK YOU!
What do you know?
You don't know anything about me, but you think you can judge me anyway just based on some stupid digital, text-based, choose-your-own-adventure.
I don't have to take this.
[[Continue...->Games are not art.]]And, yet...
[[Yet, what?->Sleep 3]]And, yet, there is something that still troubles you...
[[Sleep.->Sleep 4]]That last battle with the goblin...
Was it too easy?
Was it really, truly the most honorable conclusion to your quest...
[[Sleep!->Sleep 5]]After so many valiant battles, bravely tackling monsters and evil-doers face to face, mano-a-mano...
Your last conquest was done in the shadows...slaying an enemy without any warning or opportunity to defend himself.
[[Let me sleep.->Sleep 6]]You slit his throat.
More like a brigand, perhaps?
But it is nothing.
Think about it no more. The Chalice of Destiny is yours.
That is all that matters.
[[Sleep. Please.->Sleep 7]]But...
[[Come on! Just sleep.->Sleep 8]]As you try to sleep, you think about how the goblin quivered as it struggled to draw air into its blood-filled lungs.
It reminds you of your first kill...
[[Sleep.->Sleep 9]]The Battle of Mundoon.
How your knees wobbled and shook!
Despite years of training as a warrior, when the battlehorn blew, and the howl of the enemy filled your ears, you quaked with fear.
You did not so much charge the enemy as find yourself swept up in a mob.
How you avoided being skewered on the spot, you will never know...but then you saw him...
A warrior as young as yourself. Maybe younger. Eyes wild with terror beneath his helm.
He could barely raise his sword...He dropped it when his eyes met yours.
But in the tumult of battle, his body was flung towards you--and you reached out to him with the tip of your blade.
[[Sleep...->Sleep 10]]That's honor for you.
[[Sleep.->Sleep 11]]He sleeps, now.
So should you.
[[Why can't I sleep?->Sleep 12]]Whatever the faults of your youth, they are gone.
Now will be the time of your fame and glory.
Now, a life of respect.
Men will bow.
Women will curtsey.
So rest, rest mighty one.
[[Sleep.->Sleep 13]]But thoughts of women reminds you of her...
Where was your courage then?
Where was your courage?
Where was your swift decisiveness?
And where your witty strategems?
That Chalice of Destiny you could not attain--taken right before your eyes as you bit your tongue till it bled out your heart.
As you open your eyes, you can still see her like a constellation...out of reach.
Close your eyes again, hero. Close your eyes.
[[Sleep.->Sleep 14]]"Find a wife," your mother had said.
Even as the darkness swallowed your people.
"Find a wife," she still said.
She died with her one commandment unfulfilled.
[[...sleep...->Sleep 15]]"Not like that!" you can still hear him bellow.
"You'll mar everything holding a chisel like that!"
You were still so young when he was taken.
Memories mere fragments.
All of them corrections.
[[Sleep.->Sleep 16]]"Never play on the well."
"Harm no living thing without necessity."
"Mind the chieftain."
"Clean your hands."
"Look at me when I talk to you."
"Look a man in the eye when you clasp his hand."
"Always look your opponent in the eye."
"Earn your bread."
"Bring no shame to our house."
"Keep your mother safe."
[[SLEEP.->Sleep 17]]Some said he had giant's blood.
He died on the bridge to your village. Twelve spears in his chest.
You were hiding behind a barrel of pickles in the cellar when it happened. Your mother bracing the door with her body.
[[Sleep.->Sleep 18]]Perhaps he is avenged.
He would not have slit a throat from behind, though.
[[Sleep.->Sleep 19]]You hear other voices as your unclosing eyes watch the stars wheel about the heavens...
[[Sleep.->Sleep 20]]"Have mercy...please...please...I beg you..."
[[Let me sleep.->Sleep 21]]You had no mercy for that wretch.
[[Sleep.->Sleep 22]]But what harm was left in him.
He was disarmed. Spent. A coward conscripted into battle.
Just as you once were.
[[...sleep.->Sleep 23]]He begged for the sake of his children. His wife. His mother.
[[I want to sleep.->Sleep 24]]Where were they now? How would they survive?
[[Sleep.->Sleep 25]]"Take the food. It's not much. But take it."
[[Stop. Stop so I can sleep.->Sleep 26]]And you took it.
Reward...or payment, rather, for defending that family from highwaymen.
It was all they had left.
You could count their daughter's ribs beneath her ripped tunic.
But you were on a long quest in a barren wasteland.
[[Sleep.->Sleep 27]]"Help! Someone! Please! Help me!" the maiden shrieked, slung over the shoulder of a rough, bestial troll.
[[...no sleep?->Sleep 28]]There were too many of them, you said to yourself, perched above in a tree.
Though you must have killed twice as many today.
[[Sleep.->Sleep 29]]You try not to think of her fate.
[[Sleep.->Sleep 30]]You try not to think.
But still more voices echo in your imagination.
[[Sleep.->Sleep 31]]What is your research agenda?
[[Well, I think we can gather some good data during the transition.]]You have the advantage of speed and dash down the tower stairs.
The goblin follows, but the distance between you grows considerably.
[[Continue running down the stairs.]]You speedily dash by the corpses of vanquished foes and dart through trap-filled chambers...
[[Just keep running.]]You reach the drawbridge to the tower.
[[Run out of the tower.]]You run into an open field.
There are ruins ahead, where you camped the night before.
[[Run to the ruins.]]You reach the ruins.
It is hard to catch your breath.
[[Continue to run.]]
[[Rest for a moment.]]You run away from the ruins...
And collapse from exhaustion.
The Chalice of Destiny slips from your grasp, and rolls about in a wide arc ahead of you...like a small moon swinging on a golden chain.
As you gasp for air, you hear a series of heavy thuds behind you.
You begin to crawl towards the Chalice of Destiny--stretching out your hand--but your arm is suddenly pinned to the ground by an arrow shot through your wrist.
As the pain begins to register, you flip your body over just in time to see the light of the Chalice of Destiny reflected in the goblin's halberd--slicing through the air straight towards your....
[[The End.]]Clutching the Chalice of Destiny to your chest, you heave your body against an ancient stone monument.
It is cold against your perspiring skin.
You hear the crunch of a boot on gravel.
[[Flee.->Continue to run.]]
[[Defend yourself.]]An arrow grazes your shoulder. It stings, but is not critical.
You hear the bestial voice of the goblin mutter something foul, and hear the sound of a wooden bow bouncing against a rock.
Now, between old stones, you catch the light of the Chalice of Destiny flash off the tip of the goblin's halberd.
[[Flee.->Continue to run.]]
[[Defend yourself.->Defend yourself 2.]]You let the chalice slip from your fingers to better grasp your sword. It casts unsettling light and shadows on the goblin as he marches towards you.
He swings his halberd down towards you.
Although you still feel winded, you manage to bat away the halberd with your sword.
[[Strike the goblin.->Defend yourself 3.]]
[[Pick up the chalice and run.->Continue to run.]]You swing your blade again, striking the goblin on its head.
But you are still exhausted from running down all of those stairs.
It's hard running down stairs, isn't it?
The goblin chuckles, grabs your sword by the blade, and wrenches it out of your hands.
You turn and run...hardly at the pace you had before, but fast enough to get out of the goblin's reach.
And then you remember...
The Chalice of Destiny.
[[Go back for it.]]You flee into a nearby forest, never looking back.
You come across a cave and take refuge.
Rend your garments.
Gnash your teeth.
Broken by failure, you live out the rest of your days as a wild hermit in the woods. A naked scavenger, babbling nonsense to passers-by, hoping they will leave you alone.
Hoping they will not recognize you.
Hoping they will not utter a memory of what you once were or what you tried to achieve.
Eventually, you die from an infection after cutting a bare toe on a rock in a creek.
Your corpse is discovered by scouts of the evil wizard Malvox who drag it to his palace. The evil wizard Malvox raises it as part of a liche army that he sends against the Westlands.
You prove even more formidable undead than when you were alive.
[[The End.]]The goblin stoops to retrieve the Chalice of Destiny.
You fling yourself towards the treasure...
and find a goblin's fist in your stomach.
You collapse in the gravel, twisting in pain, unable to breathe.
The goblin whistles an old tavern song as he gently wraps the Chalice of Destiny in a silk cloth and saunters back to his tower.
You are still unable to move.
You are no savior.
But at least you are alive...
And can contemplate your failure.
[[The End.]]No, it doesn't.
[[Yes, it does.->Yes, it does 2]]No, it doesn't.
[[Yes, it does times two.->Yes, it does 3]]Really? Is this where we are going to go with this?
I don't think you are taking this seriously.
[[Sorry. I am taking this seriously. I'll behave.]]
[[No, I think you are sort of a joke.]]That's better.
I'll try to pretend this didn't happen.
Now, where were we...
Oh, that's right, you wanted to...
[[Charge the goblin.]]That seems a bit harsh.
I'm only trying to help you out here.
You really think I'm a joke?
[[You are ridiculous.]]I think you are being a bit cruel.
[[You're kind of an idiot, really.]]What's gotten into you?
I thought we were having a splendid time on this adventure.
[[Hardly. You're ruining everything with your inane interjections. Your stupid questions. Your utterly pointless tangents and misdirections. And I hate all of this absurd meta-fictional garbage.]]I'm just trying to do something different.
Something maybe a little more meaningful.
[[Well, you broke it. This is a waste of my time.]]You're just saying this to see how I'll react, right?
You don't really mean this...
[[No. I mean it. I'm going to exit out now. You've wasted enough of my time.]]Wait!
I'll stop interrupting!
Do you want more options?
I'll give you more options!
Is it the descriptions? Do you want more details? Some .png files?
Maybe an inventory?
Would you like that?
Don't do this!
Play with me!
I just want someone to play with me!
[[Click here!->Click 2]]
[[Click here!->Click 3]]
[[Click here!->Click 4]]
[[Click here!]]So how do you know you feel that?
What does loving them feel like?
[[It feels like wanting to stab a goblin so I can rescue them.]]That is what you want to do.
It isn't how you feel.
So...how do you feel?
[[I don't know how I feel.]]Do you want to know how you feel?
[[Yes, I want to know how I feel.]]
[[No, I don't want to know how I feel.]]Good.
Breath slow, measured, full breaths with me.
Now, tell me what you feel in your body.
Do you feel anything in your stomache?
Do you feel anything in your shoulders?
How does your head feel?
[[I don't know.->Feelings 1]]I can't really help you unless you want to help yourself.
And uncovering your feelings is the only way I know how to help you.
Perhaps my approach isn't the right one for you. Perhaps you would benefit from another approach. Maybe you need a story with a silent narrator that relies largely on NPC dialogue or cut-scenes.
There's nothing wrong with that. Different people respond to different approaches. It doesn't say anything about you; it just means that I might not be the right fit.
[[The End.]]Do you not know?
Or can you not tell me?
[[You need to give me options. I can't talk to you about what I feel if I can't click on anything relevant.]]It sounds to me like you are putting a lot of responsibility on me.
Why don't you want to take responsibility for your feelings? What do you think you are hiding from yourself by redirecting ownership of your feelings onto me?
[[I'm not hiding anything. I'm not redirecting anything. This is the only choice you are giving me.]]Hmmmm.
I can see that our time is almost up.
Do you think you made progress today?
[[I was supposed to kill the goblin and take the Chalice of Destiny, so, no, I don't think I made progress.]]Good.
I want you to think more about what the Chalice of Destiny might represent for you.
And think more about the goblin, too.
I suspect he represents [[something in your life]] that is getting in the way of achieving what you want.
Well, that's all the time we have for today.
[[The End.]]A quick swing of your blade, and the disarmed goblin is vanquished.
[[Take the Chalice of Destiny.->No mercy ending.]]While certainly noble and chivalric, are you sure this is wise?
[[I said to spare him.]]Before you actually retrieve the Chalice of Destiny, I just want to interject here for a second.
What you just did was pretty ruthless.
I know he tried to kill you and all, but he was begging for mercy.
[[He was evil. He deserved it.]]While it is true that he was acting as an agent of the evil wizard Malvox, I'm not quite sure it is safe to say that the goblin was "evil."
[[Goblins are evil.]]Now that seems an awfully hasty generalization, doesn't it?
[[Have you ever meant a goblin that didn't work for an evil overlord?]]I hear what you are saying. I do.
All I'm saying is that to declare a goblin evil by nature is an ontological argument that we might not be equipped to prove or disprove in our current situation.
Even when a goblin does harm to others, can we assert the evilness of the goblin without knowing its motivations or intentions?
For instance, did this goblin voluntarily serve his evil master?
Were the cruelties that the goblin committed performed out of free will, or did his master have some kind of power over him?
What if the goblin was subject to mind control?
What if the goblin's wife and children were in the power of the evil wizard [[Malvox->Meanwhile]]?
What if he would have welcomed emancipation as much as any of your own people?
What if he had no personal inclination to harm you and merely acted out of his own necessity? Or even acted out of self-defense? After all, it was you who made forced entry into the tower.
But we will never know what this individual goblin's will was on these matters, because now he is dead.
[[Fine by me. Can I just get the treasure now?]]Please, by all means.
[[Take the Chalice of Destiny.->No mercy 2.]]The Chalice of Destiny appears much bigger than you had originally perceived. You sheathe your sword so as to lift it in both hands.
Slight sparks fly as your fingertips almost make contact with the Chalice of Destiny's metal surface.
As your palms clasp the curve of the Chalice's cup, you begin to feel a searing sensation throughout your body--like electrocution.
[[Drop the Chalice of Destiny.]]No.
It is too late for that, now.
You cannot release your Chalice of Destiny so easily.
It feels as though every fiber of your body is being ignited as your life essence is rapidly absorbed by the Chalice of Destiny.
A glittering, golden fluid materializes in the Chalice of Destiny as it dessicates your body.
[[Continue...->No mercy 3]]Your shrivelled hands finally let go of the Chalice of Destiny--or, rather--it releases you.
Your dried husk falls to the stone floor, a weak mass of skin and bones, panting for air.
The Chalice of Destiny hovers in the air and floats to its resting place.
You lie, unable to move, unable to think for what seems like hours.
Just as your vision begins to fade, a hunched, robed figure enters the room. It steps over the corpse of the goblin as it makes its way to the Chalice of Destiny.
It raises the cup to its lips, and you soon cease to perceive anything on this mortal plane.
[[The End.]]What if he is concealing another weapon?
[[I am willing to risk that to preserve my honor.]]I can respect that, really. Especially in these troubled, lawless times.
But you've come so far.
If he betrays you and gets the best of you, then all of this will be for nothing...and your people will remain under the evil wizard Malvox's oppression. All on account of a scruple of martial etiquette?
[[If I show no mercy, then I am no better than my enemy.]]I am fairly certain that there are far more points of contrast between you and the evil wizard Malvox than this one particular instance.
For starters, you haven't raised unholy armies to subjugate countless innocents.
And those innocents are depending on you to make choices in their best interests.
Do you really think all of those enslaved commoners really care that much about your personal honor that they would gladly remain slaves and force their children to remain slaves?
[[Honor is the chiefest good. I must not bring shame upon my house. A slave that does not value honor deserves to remain a slave.]]Wow.
I was not expecting that strong of a retort.
Mercy it is then?
[[Yes, spare the goblin.]]You lower your weapon and the goblin flees the room for dear life.
[[Take the Chalice of Destiny.->Mercy ending 2]]As your hands clasp the Chalice of Destiny, a power surges through your body.
You hear a terrible shriek within your own mind.
You see with a hundred-thousand eyes.
You feel with a hundred-thousand hands.
You can perceive through their senses, each member of the evil wizard Malvox's army is now like a cell of your own body.
Hundreds of minds heed your will with a mere thought--you can move whole legions like they were nothing more than your fingers.
And now it is so clear to you...
Honor was the path to true Glory.
Freedom was only just the beginning for your people.
Now, they shall become the gods of this world. And you shall be their chieftain.
[[The End.]]You know, I have a secret.
Shall I tell you the truth?
[[Tell me the truth.]]
[[I don't care.]]The truth is...
That this has all been a test.
[[Continue.->Test ending 1]]If you understood the scope of the situation, you would have a different view.
But I see that I have mistaken your bravado for pragmatism.
The error is mine, and I have no more time to waste on error.
We are finished here.
[[The End.]]Yes, it has all been a test.
Perhaps you suspected it all along.
This has all been a test, and I am Malvox.
[[What?!?->Test ending 2]]Yes, it's true.
Now, I know I have an awful reputation. I've done some horrible things.
You must really hate me for everything you and your people have suffered.
Believe me, I didn't want to do any of that. It isn't in my nature to harm others.
But it has all been necessary.
See, there are powers in the Universe. Ancient forces long forgotten. And everything I have done has been to defend this world against them.
It has, tragically, required...sacrifices.
I am not proud of what I have done. But there is simply no other choice--other than to simply surrender this world to the power of these forces.
But I grow old and weary. The Chalice of Destiny both gives me power and drains it away.
I need a lieutenant. Someone willing to take on this mantle of sin for the sake of redeeming this world.
We are doomed otherwise.
Now that I know you are willing to do what must be done for the sake of a greater good, I must ask you...will you join me to protect this world, or do I seek another?
[[I will join you.]]
[[I will never join you! You are a tyrant and a madman!]]This pleases me.
Our world now has a chance to defend itself.
But we have much to do to prepare it, and you have much to learn about the true nature of this universe.
Come then, let us leave this mortal plane for a while.
[[The End.]]I wish you had chosen otherwise.
Every moment wasted brings us nearer to disaster.
I will trouble myself with you no more.
[[The End.]]Talk to the goblin:
[[In the common tongue.]]You say:
[[Weqzfw rw, kyyg fas.->goblinese good 1]]
[[Quo a aofwst rb tyw ao byzs oyfw?->goblinese bad 1]]
[[Huiw byz wiws ysvattwg u vuouou?->goblinese bad 2]]
[[A ur u vuvb gzqnaok dhy huf xyft haf ryrry.->goblinese bad 3]]You enter the room and attempt to greet the goblin.
[[Hey, there, big boy!->seduction]]
[[Lay down your weapon and leave this place!->serious branch]]
[[I come in peace!->alien greeting]]
[[I mean you no harm!->bad greeting]]The goblin charges at you in a rage.
Further attempts at conversation are rendered impossible due to the large blade that has split your head in two.
Secret Hint: You should just give up talking to the goblin. You can't find a positive outcome this way. They will all disappoint you!Nope.
I don't like where you are taking this.
I know that some publishers have made quite a name for themselves by allowing players these options, but I'm not really interested in entertaining this kind of thing.
I'm not even sure why this option is still available in this version of the game. I was sure that I deleted it fairly early on in the beta-testing.
Let's try again. But this time, pick something different.
[[Lay down your weapon and leave this place!->serious branch]]
[[I come in peace!->alien greeting]]
[[I mean you no harm!->bad greeting]]"Peace?" the goblin laughs.
Then he removes your head with his halberd.
[[The End.]]"'Sup?" the goblin asks.
[[Not much. Some dude was killing everyone downstairs. It was crazy.]]
[[Malvox sent me to...uh...relieve you of duty. Yeah.]]
[[I dunno.]]The goblin says, "Yeah. Totally heard that. Sounded crazy. Did they get him, yet?"
[[Oh, yeah. He's toast. Some big ogre got him.]]
[[I don't think so. I came up here to hide.]]The goblin says, "None of the bethren dare mention the Master's name!"
And then he decapitates you.
[[The End.]]The goblin says, "Gotcha. Cool, cool."
[[Yeah.->I dunno 2.]]The goblin says, "That's good. Who was it that got him? Was it Grindlegore? I bet it was Grindlegore. Dude is a beast. But I could also see Flayerfist stepping up. He's a little faster than Grindlegore, you know?"
[[Oh, it was Grindlegore. Yeah. Definitely him.]]
[[Now that you mention him, I'm pretty sure it was Flayerfist.]]The goblin winks, "Understood. Understood. I won't say a word. You can just hide out with me until this thing blows over."
He picks at something in his tusk.
The goblin continues, "There've probably been, oh, I don't know, a couple dozen attempts to conquer this tower. No one has gotten this far yet."
[["What a relief. Please don't tell anyone I'm a coward," you say.]]The goblin says, "So....."
[[Hmmmm?]]The goblin says, "What exactly do you want?"
The goblin flexes its fingers on the shaft of its halberd.
[[What? Uhm...Didn't you get the memo? I'm here to conduct the employee satisfaction survey.->survey]]
[[Have I got a deal for you!->deal]]The goblin says, "Yeah, I knew it."
He looks pensive for a moment and continues, "So what are you doing up here, again?"
[[Malvox sent me to check on the Chalice of Destiny.->Malvox sent me to...uh...relieve you of duty. Yeah.]]
[[Malvox sent me to...uh...relieve you of duty. Yeah.]]
[[Malvox is throwing a big party for Grindlegore and wanted you to come downstairs. There's cake and everything!->Malvox sent me to...uh...relieve you of duty. Yeah.]]
[[Just checking to make sure everything is safe up here. Everything good?]]The goblin smirks.
He runs you through the abdomen with his halberd, and then twists the blade.
"Flayerfist was my cousin," he whispers in your ear. "He died at the Battle of the Eagle's Claw."
[[The End.]]The goblin laughs heartily.
"And who are you that are so bold to tell me what to do?" he asks.
[[I am the ogre-killer, the eagle-tamer, the flame-watcher, and the rock-mover; I am the sky-climber and the sea-drinker; I am the sword-wielder and the cup-bearer.]]
[[I am hope in the midst of despair.]]
[[My name is Life-in-Death.]]
[[I am a desperate soul.]]"A satisfawhatsit?" the goblin asks.
[[On a scale of one to ten, how happy are you in your current position?]]
[[On a scale of one to ten, how much opportunity for professional development do you feel your position offers you?]]
[[On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your benefits package?]]
[[On a scale of one to ten, how welcoming do you feel the social environment is?]]
[[On a scale of one to ten, what is the likelihood that you would betray your master, hand over the Chalice of Destiny to a rebel, and never tell anyone about it?]]
[[Well, that's all the questions I have for now. Thank you for your time.]]"What kind of deal?" grumbles the goblin.
[[Oh, just a quick way to make a thousand gold coins...]]"Yes," the goblin says. "Everything is good."
"Is that all?" he adds.
[[Yep. That's all I got. Sorry, but I'm going to have to stab you now.]]
[[There was something else...]]You thrust your sword at the goblin and pierce him through his chest.
He wasn't expecting that.
But goblins are a hearty lot, and he still manages to headbutt you...rendering you unconscious.
Perhaps you were not as quick-witted as you thought you were.
Either way, you are definitely dead by now.
[[The End.]]"...what else?" the goblin asks.
[[I'm trying to remember...]]"Anything, yet?" the goblin asks.
[[Still trying to remember...]]"Well, if it's important, I'm sure it will come back to you," the goblin says.
[[Yeah...so...I guess I'll just go back downstairs...until I remember it...and then I'll come back...]]"All right, then. See you later."
The goblin's fingers wriggle a goodbye while still holding his halberd.
[[Exit the chamber.->Peer into the chamber.]]"And what do I have to do for these 1,000 gold coins?" he asks, with an arched brow.
[[Nothing much...just...take a little break to the latrine for, oh, say, twenty minutes.]]"I see," says the goblin. "And you have these gold coins on your person?"
[[Oh, yes, I took them from the remains of all the guards I just killed.->bribe]]
[[Well, I don't have them with me.->bribe2]]
[[Absolutely. Isn't this a face you can trust?->bribe3]]"Wait a second," the goblin says. "You aren't one of the Master's soldiers, are you? You're trying to trick me! Now, you die!"
The goblin swings his halberd towards your head. You quickly dash beneath the blade and roll towards the Chalice of Destiny.
The goblin blocks the doorway, and you prepare for another assault.
He charges at you, and you deflect his weapon with your own. But the clash topples you over and also knocks down the Chalice of Destiny.
Its metal cup grazes your knuckles...its glow is...captivating.
And now there is a halberd blade in your stomach.
As you writhe in pain, the goblin reaches down, grabs your sack of gold coins and juggles it in the air.
"Thanks," he says, twisting the halberd blade one more time through your intestines.
[[The End.]]"Ten. Definitely ten," the goblin says loudly, seemingly towards the ceiling. His red eyes dart around the room.
[[Of course, of course.->survey]]"Uhm...is there an option for not-applicable?" the goblin asks. "I am completely content with my current duties and have no interest in disrupting the status quo through vain, ambitious attempts to better myself."
[[That is very wise of you.->survey]]"To be honest," the goblin says in a near whisper, "I'd give the benefits a seven. Ain't that I'm complaining, but some of the officially-licensed healers use methods that are a bit more archaic than arcane, if you catch my drift."
[[I will be sure to report that.->survey]]"Aww, it's a great group we've got here," the goblin says. "They're like brothers and sisters to me. I always feel a little guilty whenever we have to eat one of them, you know, when provisions run out on a march and there aren't any villages nearby. But everyone's always looking out for each other on the battlefield. And they're all good for a laugh at the barracks afterwards. A swell bunch."
[[Well, try not to fraternize too much, soldier.->survey]]"Oh, probably eleven," the goblin says.
"That's very interesting," you respond. "I just happen to be a rebel, you know."
[["Give me the Chalice of Destiny, and I'll tell no one how I got it."]]"Oh, because I have a question for you," the goblin says.
He runs his halberd through your stomach.
"On a scale of one to ten, how much pain are you in? Sorry. Can't quite make out what you are saying...Dead? That was faster than I expected."
The goblin spits on your corpse.
"Did you think I was born yesterday? Those questions weren't even remotely well-crafted for statistical analysis."
[[The End.]]"Oh, I'm sorry," the goblin says. "Did I say eleven? I was a little confused by the wording of your question."
The goblin brings down his halberd, cleaving your head from your shoulders.
He adds, "I think I meant to say negative one."
[[The End.]]"No worries, chum," the goblin says. "Actually, it's a bit convenient. I was just needing to step out and empty the ol' wyvern, you know what I mean? Would you mind waiting here and guarding the Chalice for a bit 'til I get back?"
[["Of course," you say. "Leave it to me!"]]"Great, great!" the goblin says. "You're a real pal. Now, just make sure no one runs off with it, or it'll be both our heads!"
The goblin exits through a secret passage to your left.
[[Steal the Chalice.]]As you step near the Chalice of Destiny, you feel one of the stones beneath your feet give way.
It's a trap!
Suddenly, a cage with barbed spikes drops from the ceiling and surrounds you.
You hear a chuckling just above the sound of running water from the secret passage way.
[[The End.]]The goblin asks, "Dhut gy byz duot?"
[[Lzllawf.->goblinese good 1_1]]
[[A xwpt rb Qhuxaqw yp Gwftaob ut hyrw. Quo a vyssyd byzsf?->goblinese good 1_2]]The goblin says, "Lwsiwst!"
The goblin kills you.
[[The End.]]The goblin says, "Dhut?"
[[Thw hysfw rtaonf yp qxygf.->goblinese bad 2_1]]
[[Fyssb, a ur gszon.->goblinese bad 2_2]]The goblin says, "A ur oyt byzs ryrrb!"
The goblin decapitates you.
[[The End.]]The goblin says, "Byz yppwog rw, fas!"
The goblin defends his honor by killing you.
[[The End.]]The goblin says, "Af thwsw u lustb gydoftuasf?"
[[Bwf, uo udwfyfw lustb!->goblinese bad 2_2_1]]
[[Oy, a huiw u lsyvxwr.->goblinese bad 2_2_2]]The goblin says, "A quooyt xwuiw rb lyft."
[[Yh, xaiw u xattxw.->goblinese bad 2_2_1_1]]
[[A daxx ky kwt fyrw daow pys byz.->goblinese bad 2_2_1_2]]The goblin says, "Kwt yzt yp hwsw byz gszonysg!"
The goblin's angry reproval sends you hastily out of the room.
Let's try this again.
[[Steal the chalice when the goblin isn't looking.]]
[[Use stealth to kill the goblin as his back is turned.]]
[[Charge the goblin head on.]]
[[Talk to the goblin.]]The goblin says, "Hyd gy byz thaon a dyzxg huiw rugw at thaf pus ao thw Ruftws'f Kzusg ap a kzft zllwg uog dwot kuxuiuotaok uvyzt, psutwsoacaok dath rb pwxxyd fyxgawsf, dhwo u fhyzxg huiw vwwo gyaok rb, ftuogaok rb lyft, gwpwogaok thw Ruftws'f vwft aotwswftf, fwsiaok dath u fraxw, lsytwqtaok thaf hyzfw, blah-blah-blah, yakkity-shmakkity, scooby-doo-wha-doo-doo, beeshop, blim-blam, shrim-shram, higgledy-piggledy, wah wah wah wah wah wahhhhhhh...
You interrupt with:
[[Forget this! I'm killing you now!->Charge the goblin head on.]]You exit the chamber.
That did not go as planned.
Let's reassess the situation and try again.
[[Steal the chalice when the goblin isn't looking.]]
[[Use stealth to kill the goblin as his back is turned.]]
[[Charge the goblin head on.]]
[[Talk to the goblin.]]The goblin asks, "Dhut daxx byz gy dath thw lzllawf?"
[[Byz usw raxn.->goblinese good 1_1_1]]
[[Aoiwot u pysn thut faxxawf thw yo.->goblinese good 1_1_2]]Bwf, byz rub huiw thw Qhuxaqw.
The goblin steps aside, and waves you towards the Chalice of Destiny.
You take it, offer a polite bow to the goblin.
The goblin returns the bow.
You exit the chamber carrying the Chalice of Destiny.
It is not long after that the evil wizard Malvox is utterly defeated and freedom and peace restored to all peoples.
[[The End.]]The goblin says, "A huiw oy agwu dhut rwuof vzt a tunw at uf uo aofzxt."
The goblin skewers you.
[[The End.]]The goblin says, "Lyffwffwg!"
The goblin shakes in fear of you.
[[Lzrrwx thw quvvukw ao pys oaowtwwo!->goblinese good 1_1_2_1]]The goblin smirks and abruptly slices you in half with his halberd.
"And now you are the long-talker and the blade-painter," he says.
[[The End.]]"Hope makes many a fool," the goblin says.
"Are you a fool?"
[[No.->fool negative]]The goblin swings his halberd and chops your legs off at the knees. You topple to the ground, bleeding out.
"Nice to meet you, Life-in-Death," he says. "I guess that makes me Death."
The goblin drops the blade of his halberd into your skull.
You are dead now.
[[The End.]]"You must be desperate to have valued your life so little as to attack this tower," the goblin muses. "But 'a desperate mortal is the most dangerous foe,' my gaffer always said."
The goblin sizes you up.
"You must be tired. All those stairs. And all those...other desperate souls you must have faced. Tell me, what could you so value in this broken, ugly world that you would want to save it?"
[[My honor.]]"Tut, tut," says the goblin. "Freedom? Bah. None of us is free. Those who think themselves free always sell their freedom some way or another--Some to pleasures that weaken their wills to the point of depravity. Some to the powerful in hopes of sharing some of their glory.
"And even those wise enough to pass over those things are still in a bondage that can't be escaped. From the day we are born, we are bound to these massy bodies. Forced to feed. Forced to work. Forced to die.
"So this freedom you seek, what is it but a freedom to choose a new master?
[[You do not understand. I do not seek to gain my freedom. I thwart Malvox because I am still free.]]"Your people?" the goblin asks.
"Ay, perhaps there is something to that.
"Instinct towards the pack.
"I can understand that.
"And yet, here I am, the last obstacle to your people's salvation, and you take time on words. I wonder, driven as you are by instinct to save your people, why you don't just run me through now."
[[All who have the gift of speech descend from the one tree. That is what my people teach. All tribes are one.]]"Honor? Do you mock me?" the goblin asks.
"What is this honor that would take the lives of so many just so you can...do what? Stand a little straighter? Ignore some insults, perhaps? Sleep a little easier at night?
"Is honor some ancient god that demands blood sacrifice to earn its blessing?
"And what is that blessing? Some fame? Some glory? In ages to come, your people will forget you, no matter how sweet the epic woven in your name. Or they will question your deeds. Question the veracity of your tale and honor.
"You humans put more faith in your bawdy songs than your epics."
[[Honor is not honor if it lives in another's appraisal.]]"And so you are," the goblin says. "So you are."
The goblin slings his halberd lazily upon the crook of his arm.
[[Continue...->serious success]]"Rightly said," the goblin says. "The goblins still tell those tales, too."
The goblin slings his halberd lazily upon the crook of his arm.
[[Continue...->serious success]]"True words," the goblin says. "Words that burn a heart that has lost the peace it once knew."
The goblin drives his halberd through your chest.
"I give you the gift of dying with honor. You need never fear losing it."
[[The End.]]The goblin steps aside. "Take it," he says. "And let us flee this place, together."
[[Seize the Chalice of Destiny and leave with the goblin.]]"We must waste no time. The Master will soon discover my betrayal. Come!"
The goblin presses on a stone block and a secret door emerges. He enters a small box-like room with a wooden floor and a series of pulleys on the roof. After you follow, he pulls a lever, and the box begins to descend rapidly down a shaft in the middle of the tower.
"Kinderangst," says the goblin. "That is my name. Kinderangst."
[[The End.]]"The Master has no time for fools," the goblin says. "'Laughter weakens a castle's walls,' he says."
Suddenly, he thrusts his halberd into your side. As he withdraws the blade, a large mass of intestines appears to be tangled on his halberd.
"That was a real side-splitter!"
The goblin laughs as he considers your bowels.
[[The End.]]"Do you take me for a fool?" the goblin asks.
[[Yes.->goblin a fool]]
[[No.->goblin not a fool]]
"Sometimes I think so, too," the goblin replies.
"But if wisdom is knowing how to keep death at a distance for as long as possible, then the Master's servants are all wise.
"Or they were before you came along.
"Now, I must decide. Is it wise to risk death now at your hands, or do I submit to you and risk death at the Master's hands later."
[[I can protect you from Malvox.]]
[[Better to live now and hope for the best later.]]"No, of course not," the goblin says. "If wisdom is knowing how to keep death at a distance for as long as possible, then the Master's servants are all wise.
"Or they were before you came along.
"Now, I must decide. Is it wise to risk death now at your hands, or do I submit to you and risk death at the Master's hands later."
[[I can protect you from Malvox.]]
[[Better to live now and hope for the best later.]]"Let us test that theory," the goblin says.
He swings his halberd at your head.
You narrowly dodge the blow and manage to kick the goblin back.
He buffets you in the face with his shield, and then trips your stumbling feet with the staff of his halberd.
"Pity," says the goblin. "I thought you would be the one in the end."
The goblin thrusts his halberd blade through your neck.
[[The End.]]"Wisdom is, in a way, the ability to weigh competing hopes in a scale," the goblin says.
"The question is, do I have less hope of escaping the Master than I have of killing you first?"
The goblin swings his halberd toward your stomach.
You manage to jump back in time, receiving only a minor cut across your abdomen.
[["We can still talk this out," you say.]]
[[Attack the goblin.->aggressive negotiations]]The goblin thrusts at you again.
And you manage to hop back, again, away from the blade.
[["Please," you say. "Listen to reason! We can end Malvox once and for all! We can all live in peace and safety!"]]
[[Attack the goblin.->aggressive negotiations 2]]You stab at the goblin, but his shield takes the blow.
With your sword stuck in the goblin's shield, you are largely defenseless when he makes his next swing at your head.
You reflexively try to parry the blow with your hand, but the blade easily slices through your fingers on its way into your skull.
[[The End.]]The goblin presses further into the passageway, his shield filling much of the corridor as his halberd stabs forward again.
You leap back one more time, and the halberd grazes your cheek.
[["I am tired of all this bloodshed," you say. "You can still surrender!"]]
[[Attack the goblin.->aggressive negotiations 3]]You charge the goblin, but find that there is little room to move between the narrow walls of the passageway.
You manage to deftly grasp the halberd's staff, and snap it against one of the walls.
The goblin holds up his shield to resist blow after blow of your sword.
You knock him into the chamber of the Chalice of Destiny.
Suddenly, he buffets you back with his shield and drives a claw-like hand into your stomach.
You spit up blood as his fingers wrench through your bowels.
You fall down to the floor, bleeding out.
[[The End.->second life ending]]The goblin roars and lunges forward.
You vault back...
You have forgotten about the stairwell you climbed to the chamber...
But now you remember it...
As you plummet floor after floor to your death.
[[The End.]]You brace yourself to begin a charge, but your foot slips...
The stairwell! The goblin has pressed you back to the stairwell.
You lose your balance, and your body drops.
Releasing your sword, you barely manage to grasp the edge of the landing.
The goblin steps towards the edge and looks down at you.
[[Ask for help.]]
[[Beg for mercy.]]
[[Let go.]]As your vision begins to fade, you see a figure charge into the room...
It is familiar...it...it appears to be...you?
The figure runs at the goblin, thrusting its blade at the goblin's face.
The blow lands directly in the goblin's left eye. You hear a dreadful bursting sound as the blade slides directly into the goblin's brain casing.
The goblin falls back dead.
The figure stands, looking confusedly at the goblin.
You wonder why the figure is not taking the Chalice of Destiny.
You want to call out--you want to scream, "Take the Chalice!"
But you cannot even manage a whisper. Your vision is lost.
You are dead.
[[The End.]]But I mean your agenda. What's your research question regarding this work?
[[Look, I'm bluffing here.]]How do you know an assessment is aligned to the learning objectives?
[[Do you mean once it is already written or while you are designing it?]]Either one. You pick.
[[Well, I mean, I guess, what you are asking is how do you know an assignment doesn't require other skills or knowledge that affect performance on the assignment that get in the way of showing their understanding of the objective.]]Okay, but how do you know?
[[I guess you cut out anything else.]]What are other forms of objective assessment that are not multiple choice?
[[I write objective tests all the time. I should have an answer for this.]]What is your experience working with unionized labor?
[[Oh, I've never worked anyplace that had unionized labor.]]I've really enjoyed our conversation. Now, I just need you to send some writing samples. Preferably related to content marketing and social media.
[[Oh, I don't have any of those.]]Here's my card. Send me your draft of your proposal.
[[Seven years later...]]Hey, I would love to be involved in this script. I was looking for just this kind of project!
When are you available to talk?
[[Five years later...]]Hi, thanks for coming to my talk. I hope you found it informative.
[[We actually collaborated on a project a while back, you were doing some art for...]]Sorry, I'm not really sure what you are talking about.
[[Oh, okay.]]If you had $5,000 and a three day weekend, how would you spend it?
[[I'd pay bills.]]Sorry for taking so long to respond. But, we would like to offer you this position after all.
[[Thank you very much. I'm very grateful for the offer. Unfortunately, I think I have to decline at this time.]]You said we wouldn't make it if you took that job. You said we would be too far away from each other.
(While I am sharing, would you like a tour of the house where I grew up?)
[[Yes.->Places Where I have lived]]
"Look at you," the goblin says. "Hanging for dear life."
"It would serve you right, I suppose, to fall to your death. You will probably crack your spine landing on a mound of corpses of your own creation.
"All that death, and you thought you could talk your way out of it.
"But does it make you wonder...
"Do you wonder 'what if?'
"What if you had spoken differently? What if you had chosen different words? What if you had made different choices?
"Now that you know me a little, you might know better how to talk to me. How to deal with me.
"Do you wonder if knowing what you know now would be enough to pick the right words, if only you could go back in time?
"Could you make better choices, now that you know how I responded to the ones you made?
"Could you anticipate how I would react?
[[Continue...->providence 1]]"See, you are wise, too," the goblin says as he pulls you up by the wrist, as if you were a child.
You slouch against a wall.
"Come, now," the goblin says. "Don't look so glum. You proved yourself quite a warrior. The Master will be quite pleased to have you back in his ranks."
[[The End.]]Uhm...hold on.
I wasn't actually expecting anyone to pick this choice.
I have to think about this.
You are basically requesting an option to take your own life.
I'm not sure I have totally thought out my ethical obligations as an artist in an interactive medium.
So, we need to sort some business out before I let you continue here.
I need to ask you something:
Are you suffering from depression?
[[No.->not depressed]]"But what if Destiny anticipates you?
"What if your choices have a bigger impact than you can imagine? Or what if your choices have no impact at all on what will be?
"What if it was Destiny that made you fail?
"Maybe Destiny would have directed all of the past differently had you chosen differently.
"Maybe, if you had followed a different path, I wouldn't have been here. Destiny would have made sure that another goblin by another name would be standing guard.
"So even if you could choose differently, you would still fail, because that goblin wouldn't be me...and wouldn't react the same way that I would."
[[Continue...->providence 2]]"But we'll never know," sighs the goblin. "We only live once. And we can't change the past."
The goblin raises his halberd and brings it down on your face.
Your grip slackens.
[[The End.]]This sequence might not be the best for you right now.
Let's pretend this didn't happen and go back to the beginning.
[[Restart.->Peer into the chamber.]]Do you currently have fantasies or ideations of self-harm or have you had them in the past?
[[No.->no self harm]]Look, I don't want you to think I'm making light of this situation.
It's not something to make light of.
But, if you haven't talked to someone about it, promise me that you will?
[[Promise.]]Do you have a family history that includes suicide or attempted suicide?
[[No.->no history]]I am so sorry to hear that.
It's terrible. And no one should have to carry that.
The last thing I want to do is create something that will hurt you.
Let's take a step back and try this again, okay?
[[Okay.->Peer into the chamber.]]Have you ever attempted self-harm or suicide in real life?
[[No.->not attempted]]I am so sorry.
But I am happy that you are still here.
Thank you for being here.
Let's start over, okay?
[[Okay.->Peer into the chamber.]]It's good you made it this far.
I'm a little relieved, to be honest.
But I'm still a little reluctant to continue this course of action.
After all, something in you wants to just give up now.
There's some part of you that was attracted to this option over the more hopeful options. At least with those, you had a chance.
Maybe I should have added an option to pull yourself back up and fight the goblin again.
What does it say about me that I didn't give you that option?
Why did I put you in such a hopeless situation?
It's cruel of me. Don't you think?
It breaks the trust you placed in me as the designer that I would let you get this deep into the adventure, but not provide you with any way out.
Did I force you into this choice? Was it ever really a choice at all.
And now, look. I've broken it all with this metafictional chatter.
That's all I can really say now.
You can close out if you want. I'll give you a link back to the start if you are interested...but I don't really know why you'd want to try again after reading this.
[[Restart.->Peer into the chamber.]]That's good to hear.
Now, let's go back to the beginning and try a fresh start.
[[Restart.->Peer into the chamber.]]The goblin shrieks, pulls the lever for a secret exit, and escapes.
The Chalice of Destiny is yours.
[[The End.]]"Oh, you speak the common tongue?" the goblin says. "Why didn't you say so earlier?"
Talk to the goblin:
[[In the common tongue.]]You have ascended the perilous heights of the White Tower. You have overcome much danger, outwitted traps without number, conquered deadly foes. You have shown unfailing persistence as you stepped over the long-blanched bones of weaker heroes.
And, now, you step cautiously towards a threshold--the passageway to the last known resting place of the Chalice of Destiny. A glowing light shimmers through the portal, and then is shaded--for just a moment--by a passing form.
[[Peer into the chamber.]]
[[Abandon the quest at the chamber threshold.]]Play again?
It's me, the writer.
I just wanted to offer my personal apologies if there was anything in this Twine that you didn't like.
Take the narrative design, for instance.
It seems to me that a really well-written "choose-your-own adventure" would create a high degree of consistency across choices.
For example, a really great writer would have developed the character of the goblin and made sure that the character remained consistent regardless of your choices. How would this goblin respond if you chose one option--and how would the same goblin react differently if you chose another option.
I don't know how many times you have played through (maybe you stumbled here on your first try--wow, that makes this message so awkward).
But this story is NOT consistent.
It seems like consistency would have been a good design choice because it would have meant that the player could learn from feedback. You could learn what the goblin was like and start predicting his reactions on subsequent playthroughs--like learning the patterns of mini-bosses in an action game. You would then take some pleasure in predicting responses and seeing them come true.
There would be a moment where you would feel like you had predicted what I had written. There would be a moment where we might have some connection.
But that's not how this Twine works.
I wanted you to feel unsettled.
I wanted you to feel like it was unfair.
I wanted you to feel like you couldn't catch a break no matter what you did.
I wanted you to feel like even your victories were hollow. Too easily gotten, or too dependent on dumb luck for you to take any credit for them.
Was that too frustrating? Was it too cruel of me? Does it deprive the Twine of its entertainment value?
And does this apology become just some artistic excuse to airbrush out my flawed design?
Am I trying to tell you: "It's okay that this is a poorly-written story. It's okay, because I know that. It's intentionally bad. And that's what makes it art."
Bad design is still bad design. Even if it's bad by design.
Maybe I was just too lazy to go back and revise all of the goblin's responses once I started experimenting with this Twine. Maybe I'm too sloppy. Maybe I got tired of working on this after pouring hours into it. Maybe I got too eager for someone else to look at it.
Should I have fleshed out the player character more, or is it better to leave the player character an empty vessel for you to pour yourself into?
Maybe some of the metafiction was too much. Did you think it was too much?
Some of it hits pretty close to home for me. But nobody wants to read that stuff.
It's like I tricked you into reading my diary.
How ego-centric is that?
How ego-centric is this little apology?
It's like some kind of DVD commentary that just drones on and on.
It's time to wrap this up.
But, one more thing.
Just so you know, half of the pleasure for me has been in imagining the game itself...the scenes, the dialogues, the jokes...
The other half of the pleasure has been in imagining you sitting there, reading this, right now, and scratching your head, saying, "What the hell was that?"
Okay, that's enough from me. I'll shut up.
This is really...
[[The End.]]"Well, then," the goblin says. "You go get your gold, and I'll wait for you here. Go along. I'm in no hurry."
[[Exit the chamber.->Peer into the chamber.]]As the goblin considers your face, you both are startled by a rattle.
"Curses!" a high-pitched voice says by the Chalice of Destiny.
A slender, green figure clings about the Chalice's pedestal like some kind of primate.
"I'm sorry," the elf says. "I hope I'm not interrupting anything."
And before you or the goblin can so much as move, the elf hoists the Chalice onto its back and darts out of the room like a mad squirrel.
The room falls into pitch darkness with only the beady red eyes of the goblin for light.
[[The End.]]I see that you've decided to peek under the hood...possibly in Twine.
Maybe you are taking my invitation to mod the story seriously.
Good on you.
Seriously. Let me know what changes you make.
And thanks for playing around with this little story/game/interactive fiction project!This section on self harm is by far the area that I feel least comfortable with.
I want it to be sincere, but I also know that it isn't something that can be addressed without a little bit of dark comedy--at least not in this context.
There isn't much to say to a person dealing with these issues, but I didn't want them to go unacknowledged.
One can only listen. So I thought fewer words were best.
Maybe just having the pain acknowledged would help someone.
I don't know.
It's something personally significant to me, but it also isn't something that a lot of interactive media has addressed particularly well.
This might not have improved that track record.Whatever you have done, you are still loved.The evil wizard Malvox sits down to have some tea.
What will he have?
[[Chamomile tea.]]"It will be a long night of studying the dark arts," the evil warlock Malvox says, steeping his black tea. "I'll need all the energy I can get!"
[[Back to the story.->Have you ever meant a goblin that didn't work for an evil overlord?]]"I wonder how this would taste chilled," the evil wizard Malvox asks. "Now where did I put my ice wand."
[[Back to the story.->Have you ever meant a goblin that didn't work for an evil overlord?]]As Malvox inhales the delicate aroma of his white tea, the moment is ruined with the vision of dozens of his soldiers falling by the blade of a mighty warrior.
"Well," he says, tossing off a blanket, "time to get back to work, I guess."
[[Back to the story.->Have you ever meant a goblin that didn't work for an evil overlord?]]The evil wizard Malvox sips his chamomile tea and yawns.
He pulls a quilt up to his chin and snuggles with Mr. Padfoot, his persian cat.
[[Back to the story.->Have you ever meant a goblin that didn't work for an evil overlord?]]Great!
I really miss my old home.
It will hopefully do me good to go back there for awhile.
And it is great to have someone along with me. I hope you enjoy the tour.
[[Begin tour.]]Here is a typical city rowhome. The whole block is brick.
The house is close to a very busy, three-street intersection. My mother often reminded us that people were killed there. I was always afraid our family [[dog]] would run out into this street and be hit.
The most notable feature outside, however, was the large police radio tower that loomed in the distance. It has a giant red light that peers down over the houses.
There used to be a lot of trees lining the street, but they were cut down over the years. By the time I was finishing highschool, the walk home from the bus stop felt like crossing a cartoon desert.
Here's the front of my house, though.
Or, rather, what used to be my house.
There is a set of concrete steps, flanked by a green slope, maybe five foot high.
Ascending the steps leads to a very short walkway. There is a "postage stamp" lawn to your right with a dogwood tree and a holly bush. To your left, there is an even smaller patch of grass before the neighbor's walkway.
At the end of the walkway, there are steps leading to the front door.
[[Enter the house.->Living Room]]
[[Exit the tour.->The End.]]This is the living room.
A television sits by the front windows next to the front door.
The [[television]] is almost always on.
Along one wall is a sofa and two end tables. In the corner by the end table closest to the television, there is a small shrine of [[family]] photos and knick-knacks.
On the opposite side of the room are two reclining chairs. There is a round table between them.
The [[floor->living room floor]] in the center of the room is empty.
Along this side of the room, there is also a closet at the bottom of a flight of stairs going up.
The wall opposite the front door is actually an archway leading to the dining room.
From here, you can go
or to the
[[Dining Room]]The upstairs hallway is very narrow.
There is a bookcase with glass horizontal doors at the top of the stairs.
Towards the front of the house is a door to the [[Main bedroom]].
At a right angle to that door is the door to the [[Bathroom]].
To the left of the bathroom door is the door to the [[Second bedroom]].
Opposite the main bedroom is the [[Back bedroom]].
Opposite the second bedroom door is a door to a [[Closet]].
[[Go downstairs to the living room.->Living Room]]The main feature in this room is, of course, the dining room table.
An old candelabra style light fixture hangs from the ceiling.
Along the back wall is a buffet, covered in more family photos. By the left side of the buffet is a radio and speakers.
Along one side wall is a [[china cabinet with glass doors]] on the top half. A [[statue]] of the Virgin Mary holding the infant Jesus is on top of this china cabinet.
On the opposite wall is a small cabinet, a large painting of my parents on their wedding day, and the door to the kitchen.
[[Kitchen]]This is a very narrow room.
The refridgerator is caddycorner to the open entrayway to the dining room and next to the doorway leading to the basement stairs. It is impossible to open the refridgerator door and still have access to the basement.
All of the other appliances, cabinets, and counters are on the wall opposite the dining room. The wall adjacent to the dining room has a wall-mounted telephone base.
Up against the backwall is a small, square kitchen table with four chairs. There is a window on this backwall.
[[Dining Room]]The basement has a more or less square shape at the [[front.]]
This is the room that has seen the [[most change]] since I grew up.
Currently, there is an old, heavy, wooden desk alongside the stairs.
There is also storage space under the stairs.
Next to the desk there is an entry way to the back of the basement.
Along the wall opposite the desk is an old sofa.
Along the wall opposite the stairs there is a Sauder entertainment center with Sauder bookshelves on either side of it.
[[Back of basement]]
[[Upstairs->Basement-Kitchen stairs]]The back of the basement is a long, narrow corridor.
Near the entryway to the basement, there is a closet containing the water. Next to it is the A/C and heating system.
Beside that is a sink, then a washer and a dryer.
The opposite wall holds a shelf and an old plastic, black rotary phone. Its rotary dial has been removed. It can only receive calls.
Along this wall there are two shelves by the back door leading to the backyard.
[[Backyard]]This is the backyard.
At least, we always called it the backyard.
There is no grass here. It is all concrete and cement, except for two thin rows of dirt and mulch running along either of its sides. Plants and bushes grow in these strips of [[dirt.]] There are also numerous shells.
There used be a thorn bush and rose bush.
The sides of the yard are chain-linked fence. There are two swinging gates at the end of the yard. These used to be closed all of the time to keep the family dog from running away.
I have not seen them closed in a long time.
Beside the door to the house is a garage door.
The garage door used to be made of wood and had white squares with a blue gridwork on it. Metal numbers relayed our address.
Now, it is metal and automated. I put a small dent in it parking my car too close to the house.
[[Enter the house.->Back of basement]]
[[The garage]]This was a favorite [[play space]] of my youth.
I don't know much about it now.
[[Backyard]]This is my [[parents' bedroom.]]
There are two windows on the wall at the front of the house. My father used to keep his office desk here.
Along the wall to the right of the windows are a closet with sliding doors for my father's suits. A smaller, conventional closet, and a wooden armoir.
Opposite this wall is my parents' bed with nightstands on either side. The bed seems very high.
To the left of the bed is a dresser, and beside the dresser is another closet.
[[Exit.->Upstairs]]This is a small bathroom with a toilet, sink, and tub.
The floor and walls are tiled.
There is a transom/skylight in the ceiling. The chain to the transom hangs down in the center of the room.
There is an unfortunately-placed vent on the wall above the tub. Water used to splash into this vent and leak into the dining room whenever I took a shower. And only when I took a shower. We never understood why.
This room still has a working lock on the door.
[[Exit.->Upstairs]]The second bedroom's most noticeable feature is the mint-green wall paneling.
It used to have golden-orange shag carpeting. It no longer does.
There is a closet door opposite the bedroom door. They cannot both be opened without hitting each other.
There is a writing desk beneath the back window, two bureaus, and a bed.
This was my older sister's bedroom until the day she was married. I then moved into the room for one summer before leaving home for graduate school. For a number of years, the room was primarily being used to store my things. Now, it serves as a guest room and almost any sign that I or my things had occupied the room are gone.
[[Exit.->Upstairs]]This was once my bedroom.
It is a very narrow rectangle with a single window and dark brown wood panelling with black borders between the panels.
There are countless ghostly faces in the wood panelling. I once knew them all well, but they are forgotten.
There is no closet in this room.
When I used it, there was a [[bed]] against the corner (making the bed was very difficult), a small computer desk (with no computer, I just liked the hutch for storing things), a bureau, four comic book boxes, and two wall-mounted shelves. I can't remember what I used for a chair.
There is a small circular dent in the ceiling from when my uncle grew up in this room--he had some sort of pole lamp that was braced against the floor and ceiling.
There is no ceiling fan in this room. When my parents installed them in the other two bedrooms, I was adamant that I did not want a ceiling fan. I preferred the ceiling light to remain as it was: a large round dome with a kind of frosted-window pattern and a black finial in the middle. From the finial, I used to hang a mobile of poorly drawn sea creatures that I made as part of a Weblos craft excercise.
Now, my father uses it as a back office. He has a desk beneath the window, and multiple bookshelves (one containing DVDs still in their cellophane--thoughtful Christmas and birthday presents).
[[Exit.->Upstairs]]Shelves to the left store linens and cleaning supplies.
There is a rack for clothes here. This is where my [[clothes]] used to hang. Now my mother hangs her clothes here.
[[Close the closet.->Upstairs]]What am I doing out here all by myself?
Someone! Send help!Only one person that I know personally knows that I am writing this.
I haven't shown it to any of my friends.
I am afraid of what they will think.
So, instead, I'm publishing it so that total strangers can read it.
And judge it.I like this little corner.
All to myself.
But I suppose there is room enough for you.
If you promise not to tell your friends.i've made mistakes
some really big ones
but i wouldn't undo
a single one
at the risk losing youThe goblin sticks his halberd through your face.
You are dead.
Really? "Hello?" You really thought that was the best, most interesting choice?
[[The End.]]The goblin slips the tip of his halberd into your navel and then splits your torso up to your chin.
That pretty much kills you.
(This option did not lead to the thread I wanted you to follow. Sorry.
I hope having so many choices on the prior node did give you some sort of sense of agency at the beginning. But, as you must realize, I can't keep offering a bunch of options that each lead to a fully realized and unique narrative thread. I would never get done writing the story.
But, this way, we can still pretend there are lots of choices. Even if most of them are abrupt dead ends.
Of course, I guess I could have just had most of the choices lead to a positive outcome instead of a negative one...but then I couldn't imagine killing you so many different ways.)
[[The End.]]If my father had the remote last, it will most likely be on the History Channel.
If my mother had the remote last, it will be on FoxNews.
Most of my memories in this room involve the television.
Watching B-movies with my father on Saturday evenings.
Forcing my family change the Mass it attended so I could watch Transformers on Sunday mornings. Then the first time I saw Optimus Prime die once we could watch VHS cassettes.
Seeing the invasion of Iraq.
Waking up and being told to go downstairs to watch the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Being allowed to watch the Exorcist when I was too young.
My father and I once watched the mini-series of Shogun with Richard Chamberlain. My father said that once Pilot learned Japanese, everyone would start speaking in English. Instead, it turned out that once Pilot learned Japanese, the entire show was in Japanese.
My father loves to tell that story.
[[Back->Living Room]]When my parents had a dog, this is where we played with him.
I loved that dog, but he was never well-trained.
He continued to play-nip me whenever I sat on the floor.
My family thought it was funny to have me sit on the floor so he would jump and nip at me.
I still have a faint scar on my left hand where he broke the skin.
[[Back->Living Room]]When I was little, I had a vinyl record of the Star Wars soundtrack recorded on electric moog.
My mother recounts that I used to play the record, and then stand in front of the china cabinet. There, I would watch my reflection as I danced in a wild, frenzied dervish to the Cantina Band song.
[[Back->Dining Room]]My mother would pray in front of this statue whenever there was a calamity or a fear of calamity (such as my father coming home late from a business trip and not being heard from).
In my high school years, when everyone else in the house was asleep, I would sometimes kneel and pray in front of this statue as well, and then climb upstairs to bed.
[[Dining Room]]My favorite memory of the garage:
One time, in those seemingly endless summers of youth, my sister convinced all of the kids in our neighborhood to put on a variety show.
We used old blankets from strings to create a backstage inside the garage.
We even set up chairs in the yard for an audience. The seats were full of neighbors and relatives.
One of my acts was a two-man skit in which I was a mugger sticking up an old lady (a friend who was cross-dressed). The punchline was that the old lady beat me off stage.
We might have been six-years old.
My godmother gave me an Orko action figure as a prize.
That was the most wholesome, implausible night of my entire youth.
[[Back->The garage]]About ten years ago, my mother was doing gardening and found a rubber army man.
A bazooka man.
It must have been MIA among the shells and thornbushes for at least twenty years.
It was much older than that, though, since it was passed on to me by my father's aunt. We used to visit her family every Christmas Eve, and one year, they gave me a bag of classic army men. These were solid, rubberized figurines--not the cheap green figures you find in a plastic bag in the grocery store's toy aisle.
The bazooka man came from the greatest generation of army men--withstanding ages of rough play from weather and children.
[[Back->Backyard]]As a child, I had a recurring nightmare than the closets in my house would open up on their own and try to suck everything into them.
[[Back->Closet]]As an adult, I was rummaging through a box of things from my parents' house.
I found a notepad with doodles. On one page was a little cartoon dragon complaining that it was 2:30AM, and that he wanted to go to sleep, and that he was too tired for me to be drawing him.
I did very little sleeping in my bedroom.
I still get very little sleep.
[[Back->Back bedroom]]When I was little, I refused to sleep alone. My parents let me put a sleeping bag on the floor next to their bed.
It was a Pac-man sleeping bag.
At one point, I was allowed to move the sleeping bag to the hallway outside my parents' door.
[[Back->Main bedroom]]The basment used to be a wide, open, uncrowded space.
Every winter, my father would set up a large plywood square on top of wooden carpentry horses. On this, he would set up an HO trainset. I was allowed to help arrange the little people.
I was fond of the little red and yellow trolley, which reminded me of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood.
My father was especially proud of his Pennsylvania Railroad passenger liner. It was a brown engine and cars. He always wanted to attach a red PA caboose to that liner. By the time he tracked down a red PA caboose, the basement no longer had the room for his trainset. I still have the red caboose, unopened in its original box.
To this day, I still use the wide, black "re-railer" track pieces as a life metaphor.
[[Back->Basement]]One year, I was assigned the task of removing floor tiles from the basement.
I was given a flat scraping tool and a hair dryer.
I would blow the hair dryer on the red tiles until they became pliable. Then I would shimmy the scraper under the tile and pull it off the the floor.
The tiles, you see, were asbestos.
[[Back->Basement]]One time, I saw a stray, white dog come around the corner. I took a step towards it and offered it my palm. The dog jumped back and darted into the street. I watched as a car hit it head on.
I remembered that there was a veterinarian's office a few blocks down, the kind of office that is on the first floor of a corner home. The office wasn't open, so I tried knocking on the door of the residence above the vet's.
He didn't live there.
I had to run home to call 911.
[[Back->Begin tour.]]I also remember my parents having open house parties for family and neighbors.
The house was full of people.
There was laughing.
Smells of Italian cooking.
Smells of beer and wine.
And a little version of me scurrying in between legs as I tried to play with action figures in one corner or another, wishing everyone could leave so I could have my playspace back.
But the guests stayed late, even after it was time for the children to go to bed. And I could still hear the laughter beyond the closed door of my room.
Now, I wish the house would be full again, so I could laugh at the punchlines I didn't understand, so I could hear the stories that little boys don't think to ask about...
...or don't bother to hear.
[[Back->Living Room]]There are secrets.
Are you finding the secrets?
[[Back->I was supposed to kill the goblin and take the Chalice of Destiny, so, no, I don't think I made progress.]]Alongside one wall is a series of shelves, packed tightly with books.
The stairs are carpetted here, as is the wall. The wall used to be covered in a kind of latex paint that was very spikey and often scratched your arm when you walked to close to it.
The other side of the stairs are open.