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[GRAPHIC CONTENT] Warped Paradox Conceptualization | A Psychological Horror Game (1 Viewer)

ParadoxBrother

Senior Member
You can look at the title Warped Paradox, then you can look at my username. Wonder, "did he do that on purpose?" The answer is yes, yes I did. Now onto the topic at hand, something I'm excited about actually! While this isn't going to become an actual book or short story, I still wanted to post this here for critique because the story is my focus here. I'm planning out a horror game where the focus is on two brothers who have to go through their own personally tailored "hells" in order to find their way back to reality. I don't care so much about spoiling the game since I'll be posting the game elsewhere, but I really want a focus on environmental storytelling so players will have to piece together what happened and why the brothers are doing what they're doing. Below is a synopsis about the first part of the plot, it's generally how I want the story to flow. The whole subliminal messaging of the story is about the brothers going through the abridged versions of their lives in reverse, amending mistakes they made and unknowingly working on repairing their broken relationship. Given that they are each others' only blood relatives, the conflicts and rifts that happened in their pasts caused them to drive each other apart. This is only the first two parts of the story since I'm still working on how the rest will flow, but any feedback is greatly appreciated! Once I have more of the story set out, I'll reply to this thread with each chapter. Keep in mind this isn't exactly how the story will actually look, as most of the context is going to be in scenery and notes found in each chapter.

Prologue: Who is Your Puppet?

In the beginning, there is a series of 15 questions the player is presented with. Some of them seem normal, such as, "What flower would you give to a lover?" Others are a bit ominous, "What noise would drive you mad?" "What did you find down by the river?" "What do you see in the darkest shadows of your home?" Teeth, eyes, something is moving, watching, grinning... Depending on how you answer, you will be assigned to one of the brothers as the first character you control. This will be either be the younger brother Henry, or the older brother Sampson. Each one has their own issues, and each one has their own monster that stalks them like a wild animal. In the end, it won't truly matter who you start with, you must lead them both on their paths to

If you're interested in taking this little "personality quiz" for yourself, here is a link to it so you can try it our for yourself! You can give feedback on the questions and answers so I can tweak them as needed, and so I can see the ratio of how many people get one brother over the other. If you get ???, I implore you to retake the quiz and perhaps alter your answers a little bit so you can get one of the brothers instead.

Chapter 1: The Planeswalker


Regardless of which brother you start as, they will wake up in a restaurant, bar, pub, resort, or what have you known as the Planeswalker. Rather than be surrounded by well-dressed patrons of all creeds, they are alone on center stage. The place looks as though a stampede charged through, broken glass scattered across the floor, chairs and stools knocked over in a frantic panic, not a single soul in sight. Unsure of what happened the brother rises to his feet, beginning to explore their old safe haven. It seems as though what was once safe isn't anymore, the air is heavy and hostile, the echoes of sinister laughter or hollow breathing moves about the building. Something in the back of their minds, an instinct perhaps, tells them that they need to escape. However, they are unable to do this without a Temporal Watch, the key item that allows anyone bound by the laws of time and space to traverse through the doors that lead into and out of the Planeswalker. It takes locating keys to unlock mysteriously locked doors to finally get to the garden, one of the only "outdoor" locations to the place, the sparking tinge of hostility and danger permeates the should-be peaceful air of the sanctuary, yet the energy of the watch is nearby.
[timeline split]
Henry approached the pinnacle of the garden, a lowered wall only railed by a filigree wrought iron fence. On the cobblestone, the smooth golden surface of the pocket watch gleamed, the eternal darkness of the void unable to steal away the light that reflected off it's face. His hand closed around the surprisingly warm metal, humming against his skin with an unnatural energy. Suddenly the laughter returns, the eerie chuckles that could hardly come from a human. The footsteps are approaching, his heart pounds in his chest as he turns around. Its towering form lumbers into the light of a lamp, eyes glowing a vibrant green to highlight its exaggerated face. A grotesquely large grin filled with pointed knife-like teeth, head suspended over a blackened stump of a neck, broad shoulders leading down to huge, strong, monstrous hands. In his frozen fear his eyes travel down to the torso, ripped in half completely into a gaping hungry maw, jagged teeth stick out around his waist; it wasn't the source of the thing's laugh, he couldn't tell what was. Amidst the long flowing white mane of the creature, a pair of horns poke out alongside a pair of long almost elfish ears, the rest of the hair flowing down in a neatly held back pony tail almost grazing the ground as it swayed hypnotically with its movements. At least it was well dressed for being a monster, with polished shoes, black slacks, and though torn was adorned with a neatly pressed vest and tie. The two stood there, locking eyes for what seemed like hours, one waiting for the other to move. All it took was a blood curdling cry from the thing for Henry to turn a heel and bolt for the door, running through the garden as his life depended on it. Nearly tearing the door off its hinges to get back inside, he started going straight to the door leading out of the Planeswalker. Just as he reaches the bottom of the steps from the second floor balcony, he looks on in horror to see the monster jump down after him, landing directly in the center of the stage. Not hesitating for a moment he bolts for the door, just barely making it through with the creature right on his heels, hearing both jaws of the creature snap viciously as the door shuts behind him.

Sampson made his way through the garden, wanting the whole ordeal just to be over. The watch he sought after rested on the ground, the chain nestled neatly around the curve of the watch. As he drew close he could almost hear it ticking, the mechanical clockwork moving more like a heartbeat than a device. The unease settled back in him again as he grasped the watch, swallowing hard as the energy resonated within him. With a bated breath he stood, staring down at the small unsuspecting thing with the void gaping before him. Something about the sheer silence and darkness of the void wasn't as comforting as it once was, but he didn't need to worry about the silence nor the ticking any longer. From within he heard the piano begin to play, the lights flickering for a moment as a chill overcame Sampson. Slowly he headed back inside, almost enchanted by the music. It was so familiar, but something wasn't right. The shadows seemed darker, almost like ink seeping out from their original shapes and reaching for him. He moved carefully, as if he was trying not to make a sound, until the got down to the second floor. Something about the piano playing itself was alluring, drawing him to investigate. As he climbed onto the stage, a pair of frail delicate hands danced on the keys made out of some foggy cloud, suddenly stopping and dispersing as he grew near. Something cold gripped his ankle causing him panic. More shadowy hands rose from the floor, the thick murky shadow commanding them rising from a puddle of pure darkness. The bright glowing eyes of a gas mask seeping with shadow glared at him with an astral rage, watching him as he struggled away from the many hands grasping at him. A heavy militaristic trench coat hung on the frail form of the creature, uttering some kind of command with a hollow voice as more hands rose up to impede Sampson's escape. His eyes set on the door to the exit, jumping and dodging over the astral hands as the monster nearly breathed down his neck. Just as he made it through the doors, the enraged wail of the monster trailed after him and lingered for far too long in his mind.

-oOo-

The rundown of the story will take place in two arcs, one for Henry and one for Sampson. Each monster they have to deal with is the twisted and near literal version of how they view each other, with Sampson being a grinning inhumanly strong toothy fiend, and Henry being more of a commanding ghost or shadow. Both of the brothers will go through the same locations for their first two chapters, being the Planeswalker and the Northern Sector of Phi (a laboratory setting), with different settings for the last two. The third for them will be After War and Bluskyes Co. for Henry and Sampson respectively, representing the lives they lived separately from each other. In the third chapters, the monsters are absent as well to represent this. The final chapters, The Machine and The Distillery once again for Henry and Sampson respectively is the climax of the story that is intended to bring them back to the event that truly divided them. I'm not exactly going to share what happened to them word for word, or hardly at all, that caused them to grow distant. I wanted to allude to it with their environment again and the actions that not only they do, but what their monsters are doing to them as well.

In the Distillery, Sampson is trying to restart the machines and equipment because he believes that it will help him find the way out, but is constantly being obstructed by the ghostly creature which drives him to become immensely frustrated. Fed up with being thwarted and nearly taunted by the ghost, he snaps and attacks it, knocking its gas mask off and pinning it to the ground. Before he can actually do anything to harm the spirit, it utters, "So, you're going to do this again, brother? I expect nothing less from you." Stunned by his words, he backs off and stares at the spirit as its form flickers to resemble his actual brother on the ground.

As for Henry in the Machine, he is trapped within some sort of factory or machine and needs to turn it off in order to unbar the door for his escape. As he does this he's constantly being pursued by the creature, being forced to run and hide when it catches sight of him. Of course it doesn't help that the machine is full of traps, beating Henry each time he's caught off-guard by one. It's taking a toll on him, but he continues fighting through until he makes it to the final switch. As he's about to flip it, he's cornered by the monster. With no place left to hide, his final gambit is to activate one of the traps on the monster which drives a spike through the thing's chest. As Henry drops to his knees, the monster speaks to him. "I always knew you had it in you, this is what you wanted wanted wasn't it?" The monster's form flickers to resemble his actual brother before him.

Thoughts? Opinions? Clarifications? Critique? I'd love to hear them all! I apologize if this post is a little bit of a mess, or if not everything makes sense. I'm much better at drawing out something when I want to explain something, but I hope this will suffice. I might post pictures of the brothers and their monster forms as well if that would help make a clearer picture. Thank you in advance!
 

Bard_Daniel

Senior Member
I just wanted to say that I felt your description, and much of the writing, was sharp and fluid. I especially liked the first 4-5 paragraphs, and I felt that they draw (and engage) your intended audience. In my opinion, that's a win. Now, as for focus with the plot-line, I feel that you could slightly tweak it to make it more understandable for your reader/viewer/player.

I'd read more, but am interested in what others have to say.

Thanks for the read!
 

Trollheart

Offline: Depressed
Senior Member
First, I took your quiz and got Henry.
I enjoyed the writing, but I wonder why the tense jumped around so much? One moment it's "Henry stared at" and next it's "Henry jumps to avoid"... Not literally but you know what I mean. Was that intentional? The idea of the monsters each being the other brother is good, if maybe a little foreshadowed, but I definitely like how you write: it's kind of Barkeresque, and as he's one of my favourite horror writers, that's high praise indeed. Few spelling mistakes and so on, but as you say it's kind of a rough draft, so I wouldn't worry about that. Not quite sure how it would/will work as a game, but very interesting and very well written. I'd read more.
 
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