Anyone want to share their stories playing with Blood & Laurels? I’ve only played once, and I got to what seemed like it might be considered a winning ending, but in a way I did not expect.
I’m just going to spoil buckets of stuff here–I figure that there is no point in trying to do this by hiding the whole post under a spoiler tag. Also, there’s profanity.
I had told Artus apparently too much about what the Oracle told me, and he had it destroyed. At this point my personal goal became “Avenge Gia by ruining Artus’s shit in any way possible.” I stumbled my way to the end of Chapter 1, laying low for a chance at revenge, and when I got there I decided that my ambition was “Stay alive.” I didn’t especially want to become emperor and I definitely wasn’t interested in getting embroiled in these power struggles anymore.
So I tootled off to my family’s estate when I had a chance, and found some interesting letters, and then went to visit Sophronia, and found myself with the option to ask her for poison. Which I had not been expecting–but she was willing to give me some, apparently. She threatened a terrible vengeance if I used it on anyone she loved, but it’s not like I really cared. And then there was a banquet, and if this wasn’t a great time to take care of Artus, I don’t know what was. Good riddance, Artus!
Now with my patron poisoned, the only place I had to go was to the emperor. He brought me to let me tell him about Artus’s responsibility for the bad harvests (which I don’t think I, the player, had picked up on myself) and then asked me what I thought of him. And, well, I’d had my revenge and zero fucks given, I told him what I thought of him. Whereupon to my surprise he declared me heir and committed suicide. Sophronia then came to visit me, and I wondered if she was going to exact that revenge she’d been talking about, but I guess Artus wasn’t the one she loved because she decided to become my empress instead. The denouement seemed to suggest that I wound up doing OK at the emperoring thing.
So the thing that was interesting to me here was how my plan wound up taking me to an unexpected place, even if it was what a lot of other players might have wanted. (Or not; I don’t know how many people really wanted to be emperor.) This seems like it’s pretty common in videogames–you think you’re doing something AND THEN THERE IS A PLOT TWIST and you wind up fighting your old boss–but there it’s usually heavily scripted, whereas here it seemed to arise organically. Even if part of it was that I had a personal agenda that perhaps I didn’t communicate to the game.