Three Paths Diverge in the Woods

One leads to wealth, one to happiness, and one to certain death!

There’s a tendency in choose-your-own-adventure-games towards the arbitrary. Anyone who read and reread the old gamebooks can attest to certain and repeated character death (or being transformed into a toad, lost in space, and anything else that might bring an abrupt end to the story). This was certainly a function of the limitations of a print publication; the ultimate goal of those books was not to pick the interesting or unusual path, but to pick the right path, the one that got you to the best ending.

A friend once told me that any piece of writing can be a slog, but make it interactive fiction and it’s like wrapping chains around your ankles and encasing your feet in concrete. Regardless of the flexibility allowed by an infinite page count, multiple stories become exponentially more difficult to tell, if each must be shepherded to a satisfactory conclusion.

Nevertheless, that’s what I set out to do. That sense of the arbitrary, that moment where control is abruptly whisked away from the player in favor of narrative expediency, had no place in Nocked! Any story I began would find its way – one way or another – to the end. Over 400,000 words later, I met my goal.

There is no power gaming in Nocked!, no best path to victory, no right way to play Robin. Not all choices are created equal, and there may be setbacks (and victory is certainly not assured), but I did my best reward a consistency of character over preconceived notions of who Robin Hood should be. It’s one of the reasons you can be a woman, that you’re not limited to a traditional romance, or that you can come back to England after serving in the Crusades. In each case, the world responds to your choice and changes the game to an extent that, should you choose to play again, your story will be different.

Whoever you were, and whatever you aspire to become, Sherwood needs your help. Who’s your Robin?

The Continuing Adventures of Development Robin!

Your choices will decide Robin's fate each week.

Results from last week's adventure:

Escape from Locksley Lands

Robin is disguised as a servant girl!

Part 2 - Help is a Step Away

You make quite the fetching serving girl, and one of the Sheriff’s guards takes an immediate shine to you. As the rest of the Locksley inhabitants are taken prisoner, he argues for your freedom and gets you a job as a maid in Nottingham Castle.

You quickly settle into obscurity, cleaning rooms and taking careful note of the Sheriff’s nefarious plans right beneath his nose. After several weeks of fending off the amorous guard’s advances however, it’s time to make your move. A number of factions can free you from castle life, and would be well served by the information you’ve gathered.

  1. I visit Little John’s tavern. He’s secretly training the peasantry to resist the Sheriff’s men.
  2. I contact the nobleman Will Scarlet when he comes to visit. He has been quietly gathering support from the nearby nobility against the Sheriff’s taxation policies.
  3. I seek refuge at the church. Friar Tuck is organizing returned Crusaders into a force that will balance the Sheriff’s influence in the region.
  4. I flee to Sherwood with Maid Marian, herself a prisoner of the Sheriff. We shall lose our pursuit in the forest and forge a resistance from the poachers and criminals that hide therein.

The Adventures of Development Robin are complete. Follow the story in subsequent blogs, or read the most recent blog to take part in our new adventure, Marian and the Sheriff, beginning July 26th!

It may not feel like it, but it's Spring in Sherwood, by Amanda Spaid.

This is the Nocked! True Tales of Robin Hood development blog. Every week I’ll discuss some aspect of the game’s development, show off some art, and give you the opportunity to create an entirely new Robin Hood story.