Author Topic: Roguelike Fiction  (Read 18550 times)

Fenrir

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Roguelike Fiction
« on: April 27, 2010, 02:47:53 AM »
I've begun writing a piece of fiction in a roguelike setting. There isn't a specific roguelike being referenced, since I haven't played any roguelike enough to get it's setting correct, so this is just "off the top of my head." I've finished the first page or so worth of story, and have decided to share it for your review. Being BRUTALLY honest is of the highest importance here, for I'd like to know if it needs improvement, or if it should be abandoned altogether. Please be specific in you criticism, if you can.

Fenrir takes a deep breath.

OK, here it is.


   The opening was not very large, standing only a about a foot taller than myself, and permitting two men to enter abreast. It had been carved out of the rocky outcropping with such precision that it would have required the use of magic to have been done in any reasonable length of time. Such work would have taken much time and effort by master craftsmen to be hewed by mundane means. It was apparent that the tools of a master craftsman had been on the scene at some point, for ornate carvings rimmed the archway. I examined these with some fascination, and I discovered in them depictions of warriors battling beasts that I could not then recognize, being devoured by great horrors, falling into all manner of traps, and suffering other equally painful ends. When I had finished looking at these things, I peered into the threshold. Immediately beyond the threshold lay a stone staircase that led downwards into impenetrable blackness. In all my time with the guild, I had not seen a dungeon such as this.

    “Raganhar!” My investigation was interrupted by a low, booming voice. “Oi! Raganhar, he is 'ere!” I turned away from the dungeon entrance and strode back toward the camp. Dolgthrasir was sitting on the ground by the fire that lay between our tents. He was looking solemnly into the flames, and the light from them danced across his worn face and long beard, leaving the rest of his stocky form enshrouded in the early morning darkness. As I approached the fire, the dwarf looked up at me and gestured over his shoulder with his thumb. “Hengist is 'ere,” he said, and slowly rose to his feet. I could hear the horse's hooves above the crackle of the fire now, and I could make out the form of Hengist atop his steed swiftly drawing closer.

   Hengist brought his horse to stop in front of Dolgthrasir and myself and hastily dismounted. He was a man not very much older than myself, perhaps not more than a few years over thirty. His tunic was dyed in a rich purple color, and a large gold medallion bearing the image of a wolf hung about his neck. His hair was red and neatly trimmed.

   “You're the men the guild sent, obviously,” Hengist said, glancing at the brooches that we wore. “Yer Hengist Adalbern, obviously,” Dolgthrasir said. Hengist shot him a cold glance. “I'm Raganhar, and this is Dolgthrasir,” I said, and gestured to the two of us. “There is no time for further pleasantries,” Hengist snapped at me, “we must make haste.”

   “It has been two days,” Dolgthrasir said, and glowered at Hengist.
   “All the more reason to start immediately!”
   “It's all the reason in the world to take our time.”
   “What are you talking about, dwarf?”
   “She is already dead.”
   “You don't know that!”
   “Nay, I do. She is dead.”
   “I don't have time for this! Are you two here to help me or not?”
   “Aye, we're here to help.”
   “Then get moving.”

   Hengist pulled the saddlebags off his horse and attempted to shove past Dolgthrasir, but succeeded only in stumbling awkwardly around the sturdy dwarf. “Ye believe whatever ye hafta believe,” Dolgthrasir muttered as he watched him walk away, and we exchanged solemn, knowing glances.

   The three of us set to work packing supplies from the two tents and Hengist's saddlebags. Various tools, faded and dirty scrolls, worn old books, vials filled with potions of different hues, and neatly packaged food rations bearing the seal of the guild were carefully placed into leather satchels and slung over our backs. I strapped the instruments of my trade around my waist, which was wholly comprised of several cutters for different materials, a pair of daggers, a length of wire, and lock picks of many sizes.

   The tents were rolled up and left where they lay, for there would be no room for them in the depths. Three lanterns were lit, and the fire was put out. Our preparations were complete, and we gathered before the doorway to the depths.


mariodonick

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Re: Roguelike Fiction
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2010, 05:40:40 PM »
I can't say anything regarding style or language, 'cause I'm no native speaker, but at least you've made me to read more. You create a dark, somehow depressing atmosphere, especially with the dialogue. It's without further hints on HOW the people talk, this creates a ... dry, quiet, but still exciting mood.

Now go on and tell us what happens next.
https://mariodonick.itch.io/lambdarogue-the-book-of-stars
-- LR: The Book of Stars graphical roguelike RPG

AgingMinotaur

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Re: Roguelike Fiction
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2010, 07:40:53 PM »
I'm not really a fan of fantasy fiction, but I think this is nice in that genre. I like some of the funny details, like:

depictions of warriors battling beasts that I could not then recognize, being devoured by great horrors, falling into all manner of traps, and suffering other equally painful ends.
and:
Hengist pulled the saddlebags off his horse and attempted to shove past Dolgthrasir, but succeeded only in stumbling awkwardly around the sturdy dwarf.

The dialogue also is nice, quite dynamic in how it conveys information about the characters. I think the style is at times (but not very often) a bit lax, as in: "the flames [...] danced across his worn face". (Though "worn face" is nice in itself :) )

Just write away!

As always,
Minotauros

This matir, as laborintus, Dedalus hous, hath many halkes and hurnes ... wyndynges and wrynkelynges.

Fenrir

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Re: Roguelike Fiction
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2010, 03:51:12 AM »
It's without further hints on HOW the people talk...
Is that something I should continue?

I think the style is at times (but not very often) a bit lax, as in: "the flames [...] danced across his worn face".
I think I see what you're saying here. I'll be more careful.

Thanks very much for the input, Mario and Minotaur. I'm kicking myself for giving a rather lame description of what Hengist is wearing, but making no mention of the others, and for making no mention of weapons. I'll need to fix that later in the story. I was trying to decide if I was going to write the whole story and then release it or post it here as each piece is done, but, since I mean never to formally publish it, I'll go with the latter. I get something more up as soon as I can.

Ex

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Re: Roguelike Fiction
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2010, 04:54:20 AM »
I love the idea of fiction based around roguelikes! Keep it up, it'd be cool to see more stuff like this in the future! :)

Fenrir

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Re: Roguelike Fiction
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2010, 09:35:15 PM »
Here is a bit more.


   We paused a moment, and regarded the steps and blackness below with our lanterns in our fists. Dolgthrasir and I had been in dungeons, but it always took us a moment before we were ready to take the plunge. It is harder to take the first step when you know what kind of danger is waiting down there. We had eagerly descended into that first dungeon, but not the next. Every one after that made descent tense and anxious. As we stood there, Hengist walked up behind us and began quickly walking down, his lantern driving the dark before it. “Wait,” Dolgthrasir called out, “Raganhar goes first!” His voice echoed against the solid dungeon walls, but Hengist showed no signs of having heard. Dolgthrasir began stepping down after him, and I darted downwards.

   I quickly overtook Hengist, and reached out to stop him. The moment my hand caught his arm, I heard a faint snap. It was too late. There was no other option. Hengist gave a loud cry as I shoved him forward, and he began to tumble violently down the stairs. Darts began whistling from the walls, catching in my cloak as I dove to the floor and hugged the step. I could hear Dolgthrasir coming above me, and I watched Hengist continue his downward journey, striking each step along the way, and loudly cursing with every impact. He had dropped his lantern, which now lay shattered on a step a short distance below me, so Hengist was now consumed by darkness. Dolgthrasir stopped on the step just above me. Our only measure of Hengist's progress were intermittent oaths and curses disparaging me, Dolgthrasir, our mothers, the guild, dungeons, and stairs.

   Dolgthrasir began to descend again, and I rose to my feet and followed. We couldn't hear Hengist anymore. The only noise was the rhymic clank of our equipment as our feet struck each step. Dolgthrasir muttered “damn fool.” The dwarf paused a moment, and stepped aside to let me pass. “This wasn't a good idea, lad,” he said, “I told ye something like this would 'appen.” I walked by and continued the descent. “This is our chance,” I responded. “Chance for what?” Dolgthrasir asked, “This lout 'll git us killed.” I paused a moment, and Dolgthrasir stopped beside me. A low groan echoed faintly up the stairs. “What?” Dolgthrasir whispered. “Riches,” I responded. “No, why'd ye stop?” “He's alive. Not much farther.” We continued down.

   It wasn't much farther. A few more yards down and we came to the bottom of the steps. The passage walls weren't smooth stone as the staircase had been, but were comprised of stones stacked atop each other and held together with mortar. The lantern light slowly brought Hengist into view as we walked forward. He was standing, but his face and hands bore bruises and bloody cuts. Dolgthrasir walked up to him and stared him in the face. “Raganhar goes first,” he said slowly. Hengist looked at him sullenly for a moment, then bent over to pick up his pack. A grimace came over his face, and he grunted in pain as he slowly cast the pack over his shoulder. Hengist pointed at me. “Move,” he commanded. Dolgthrasir muttered inaudibly.


Does it seem to anyone else like things are moving too fast in the story?

mariodonick

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Re: Roguelike Fiction
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2010, 06:26:23 AM »
Quote
Does it seem to anyone else like things are moving too fast in the story?

Depends on the kind of text you want to write. For a fantasy novel with 200 to 400 pages it is certainly too fast. But I think it reads more like a short story, which tend to put characters directly into action, so it's fine.

Good read, again.
https://mariodonick.itch.io/lambdarogue-the-book-of-stars
-- LR: The Book of Stars graphical roguelike RPG

Fenrir

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Re: Roguelike Fiction
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2010, 03:22:54 PM »
Many thanks, Mario. I'll get more up as other projects and writer's block permits.