Strong wind ripples the long grasses of the plain as stormclouds gather, darkening the afternoon sky. A lush tree sits atop a lonely hill. The rapidly turning weather slaps leaves and small limbs from its verdant bulk.
A young man crests the hill, sword in hand, and shields his face against the wind as he surveys the plain. A moment later, his sister comes into view. She carries a bundle in her arms, and her own weapon at her side.
SISTER: This was a mistake. The weather turns.
BROTHER: It'll be fine.
Ardor & Obligation OST Track 1
What is it?
Brother looks at the bundle, and sister follows his gaze, adjusting her grip to get a better look.
A. Long and narrow, a powerful artifact. Calamitous in the wrong hands, merely dangerous in the right ones.
B. About the shape and weight of a small child. It's... it's a small child. Neither of the siblings are the parent.
C. Bulky and squarish, a pannier full of strange reagents and several glass ampoules containing a cloudy mixture.
D. Heavy and round, a chunk of faintly glowing ore. Its value would be immeasurable to the right person.
The siblings are pursued. By whom, or what?
SISTER: I hope you're right.
She turns and scans the direction they just came from.
BROTHER: We'll make the border before nightfall. Do you want me to take...
She cuts him off, spitting the profanity through gritted teeth. His eyes flick towards the horizon.
1. A savage beast. Either territorial or hungry, it probably matters little.
2. Hostile soldiers. Their colors are familiar, but not friendly.
3. The siblings' dauntless rival. A peer in age, but not temperament.
4. Undulating ripples of light. It seems drawn to the bundle.
Over the next few posts, we'll flesh out our POV characters. For now, provide NAMES
and describe their OUTFITS
, using as much or as little detail as you want. I may pick and choose elements from multiple posts! Remember, JRPGs are the order of the day.
-Encumbered by ?
-Heirloom Crest (Brother)
FAQ (Updated 8/9/21)What is this?
This is a story I'm calling Ardor & Obligation, a JRPG-inspired Choose Your Own Adventure game about a brother and sister. If you're not familiar with the concept, you can take a peek at A Peaceful Time
, which turned me on to this format of collaborative storytelling, and A Practical Guide to the Destruction of Angels
, from which I cribbed a few more conventions. Simply put, I try to make a post every day that sets a scene and ends with one or more polls or prompts. You as players then vote or discuss the options presented and choose where you'd like the story to go next. The rules, such as they are, are flexible - I might prompt for player-provided options, give special roles or gifts to specific players as rewards for particularly interesting posts, or provide an opportunity for players to flesh out the world and lore.
Special thanks to @endless_serpents
!What isn't this?
What this is not, is a traditional RPG campaign where each participant has an in-game character and outcomes are decided by individual dice rolls. The voting options direct the story, but are not guaranteed to succeed and may have unforeseen consequences. I'm also not bringing a lot of pre-existing lore into this. We've all played a bunch of these games and we know the tropes, let's see which ones we lean into and which we subvert together!Who can participate?
Anyone! I assume everyone in Critical Failures will see this, but I'm also going to post a link to the SE++ JRPG thread. Feel free to invite anyone you think would enjoy it!How do I participate?
Just declaring your vote is enough to make it count! In general I kinda like the bold+red voting convention used in mojo_jojo's cyoas for indicating a vote, but I know the vanilla editor sucks on mobile, so don't feel like you have to. If you want to provide your reasoning or make an argument for a certain option, please do! I'll allow vote changing - please edit your previous post and use the strikethrough on your old vote. At some point voting will close and I'll start writing the next post based on the outcome. This is usually once a day.Can I give my own options?
If I provide a blank spot as an option, absolutely! But sometimes I'll want to force a dilemma. You can always call for use of something in the inventory, either in conjunction with your vote, or as an alternative. If I haven't provided a blank option and you feel very strongly that there's another course of action I haven't considered, make your case! I may add it to the voting options.How does the inventory work?
There are two inventories. One is a list of key items. These can be examined at any time for more information, but usually represent "plot" items. The regular inventory is for consumable items. Generally, as this is a group resource, if someone suggests using an item, I'll apply its effects before or during the next update, unless someone argues against doing so. Some items are either held by, or only affect, a specific character. Those items can't be used unless the character is present in the party. Some items are also awarded to specific forum participants, to be used at their sole discretion!How does combat work?
Combat has evolved significantly over the course of the story, and will likely continue to do so. As of right now, when the party enters a combat encounter, you can provide commands for a round of combat - choosing three distinct commands from a pool of 4, and which characters you want to execute those commands. The command options are ATTACK (attempt to deal direct damage to your target), DEFEND (attempt to resist damage and restore HP), TECH (a special attack that cancels defense but is cancelled by regular attacks), and MOVE (attempt to gain an advantage in the form of party buffs/enemy debuffs). There's a combat engine that randomizes (seeded by the thread's inputs) the outcome, which is how I determine the events and outcome of the battle. Example: Tia>Attack, Hilda>Tech, Atma>Defend
. The characters who act in combat gain XP, and if the party achieves victory during your round, you specifically will earn loot!Are there minigames?
Fuck yeah, there are. A few posts into the story someone suggests a postal sim element, so I worked that in. I've also worked in a card game, though time will tell whether it catches on.Can I jump in even if I haven't been following along?
Absolutely! Here's a plot recap covering events up to here
Mercenary brother and sister Alexei and Tia, under the aliases Whisper and Sleet, have been working as part of an investment scheme by a mercenary company owner named Durandal. But a job goes awry when they realize two things - they've slain the mother of an infant, and a ghostly entity is pursuing them. They manage to escape the entity, it seems, and they turn the infant over into Durandal's care. Durandal asks them to take another job, along with a veteran named Hilda and a rookie named Stafford. The four of them escort a caravan to its destination, but along the way they uncover evidence of two separate plots. Durandal has betrayed them, and someone is attempting to start a way by assassinating the imperial prince.
Resolving to put their misdeeds behind them, Alexei and Tia convince Hilda and Stafford to aid them in warning the people along the border of the imminent danger. However, Durandal's one-time client Count Aldove seeks revenge for the death of his sister-in-law and presumed death of his nephew. He has hired a quartet of mercenaries to pursue Alexei and Tia.
Along the way to the border, the party happens across a strange young girl in an ancient ruin, trapped by a mechanical guardian. They free her and she joins the party, although she cannot speak the native tongue to explain her situation beyond her name, Atma.
Aldove's mercenaries catch up with the party in the foothills of the mountains near the border, and the party suffers a grave defeat. Alexei is captured, but the ghostly entity following the party, a weakened god named Hollos, intercedes. Unknown to the rest of the party, Stafford refuses the gods' gift, insisting that it use its power to help Atma, who he witnessed take a near fatal blow. Stafford is left comatose in the care of a hunters' village, and Tia now pursues her brother's captors. To that end she has hired a tracker named Gandry, and his faithful hound Royal. What dangers await them on the road...?