In a previous post, I wrote about design considerations for quality-based narrative systems, and mentioned that there was probably room for a standalone article about frequently-used patterns here. (This article in many ways mirrors one I wrote years ago about scene types in parser IF.)
When I write for Fallen London, I find myself using and reusing a couple of standard structures.
Straight choices tied to a progression quality: the storylet is available as step 1 (or 4, or 10, or X) of the story; there are two or more things you can do within that storylet; when you’re done, the narrative advances to step X+1. Maybe some of the things you can do in the storylet depend on secondary qualities, but this is basically recapitulating a fairly tight branch-and-bottleneck CYOA structure.
I have written a new Exceptional Friends story for Fallen London!
A family of promising youngsters have killed their Governess again. This time, she hasn’t come back.
Question servants across London. The chief glass-cleaner at the House of Mirrors. The attendants at a honey-den. Your own staff. Keep the children distracted with Enthralling Tales and your least lethal pets.
Find the Unsinkable Governess.
The Frequently Deceased is a big, chunky piece of content, available to Fallen London players with an Exceptional Friendship subscription. In some months, it will probably also become available for individual purchase. (Here’s its forum announcement, which gives more hints about how to get started if you would like to play.)
I have a new story out!
Subscribers to Fallen London — that is to say, Exceptional Friends — can now play Discernment. Look for Salome’s soul, meet a Salon of devils and devilesses concerned with building the very best soul collections. You may also encounter some information on the moral perspective of mushrooms.
One of the things I enjoy about writing for Fallen London is being able to riff on assorted lore, connections, and player history from other stories. Without spoilers, I am especially pleased about how that worked out in this piece.
If you’re looking to get started, seek out the Burglary of a Cartographer’s Estate storylet.