Blood & Laurels stories (spoileriffic)

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.

Hm … I got hooked on that game last year sometime, and played it through at least a dozen times. None of the playthroughs were quite like any other, and none of them were very close to what you describe. Ms. Short is an inventive woman and clearly put a lot of time into this game. I recall dying (or other bad outcomes) a few times, and I got to be emperor once though not via your path. There are other end goals, for example being happily-ever-after with Gila (can’t remember right now if I managed that one, but I’m pretty sure you can’t do that and become emperor).

The game will definitely repay trying again and making some different choices. There are some scenes that feel a bit “on rails” but on a higher level, it seems like there are a whole lot of different possible paths leading to multiple outcomes.

In the discussion at her blog that inspired me to post this, Emily said this about my story (spoilered because it reveals a lot of potential paths):

[spoiler]The game was written with it in mind that you might want to avenge Gila or otherwise kill off Artus, and there are a number of ways of pursuing those aims: you could also have betrayed Artus’s secrets to the Emperor at some point, or teamed up with his patrician opponents, or various other things.

But the design was also meant to keep it sort of ambiguous whether there really was a Fate/divine intervention that might be guiding you towards becoming Emperor, and one of the ways that manifests is that particular reaction. (The Emperor can react in a variety of ways depending on how things have gone up to that point, or you could also have held onto your poison and offed him directly when you got a chance to be alone together.)[/spoiler]

The part about Fate is interesting to me because, while the typical myth seems to have prophecies ironically fulfilled because someone believes them and attempts to prevent their coming true, in this case Artus didn’t believe the prophecy and reacted on the basis of what he thought it revealed about the Oracle’s plans–and it still led to the prophecy’s ironic fulfillment.

Also, I’m happy that I got rid of Artus the way I did, because killing him myself and watching him die was very satisfying. Fnck that guy. (Yes, part of this is guilt because what happened was my fault for being such a blabbermouth.)

Sorry to hijack the thread, but any chance at all B&L is coming to the iPod?

It is available on iPad. I’m not sure an iPod has the capability to run apps.

I vaguely remember Emily saying that they consciously decided to make it for iPad only and not for iPhone–I’m not sure if this was for hardware reasons or simply because it takes up a lot of screen real estate. But I’m guessing that the same reasons would make it infeasible for the iPod Touch.

Screen real estate is the only relevant issue. (iPhones and iPads have similar enough hardware aside from screen size. An iPod Touch is essentially identical to a iPhone 5 minus the phone and some other peripheral hardware.)

Linden made the decision about launch platforms. I confess I am not myself certain about all of the considerations at work there.

It is not likely that we will be able to release it on additional platforms.

It took me a while to understand this, but I got it. I meant the iPod Touch specifically, which is pretty much the same as an iPhone except it can’t make calls.

Screen size is not an issue for me, and I think not for some people. Presumably the people who, like me, have played to completion:

Monkey Island 1
Monkey Island 2
Broken Sword 1
Broken Sword 2
Tomb Raider 1
Tomb Raider 2
Gemini Rue
Inherit the Earth
Beneath a Steel Sky

…are not people who would be concerned with a smaller screen size. If the dev is willing to make at least a nominal effort for gameplay not to be utterly impossible.

That’s a real shame - iOS only is bad enough, but iPad only is really restrictive. Ah well. Enjoy the game, everyone who has an iPad.