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The Bitter Drop: 1. Sparrows [Modern Fantasy][Horror][LGBTQ+] (Early Production)

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The Bitter Drop: 1. Sparrows is a long Fantasy/Horror/Gay Romance Visual Novel currently in development by writer Isak Grozny. Deeply inspired by Slavic and Ashkenazi Jewish folklore, Russian Imperial history, weird fiction and queer culture, it is the first of a planned trilogy of Visual Novels. 



In a divided capital of a crumbling decadent Empire, a bigender failed rabbi and a flamboyant, gay doctor-necromancer uncover ominous occult happenings that not only hold clues to the Febrile Rebellion's failure eight years ago, but also implicate the Czarevena-Regent and her White Guard in eldritch crimes against humanity. Impoverished and disfranchised, they must not only prevent the White Guard from unleashing a reality-shattering evil but also survive the cruel realities of life on the margins, and nurture their vulnerable found family and their blossoming love for each other.



Narrative design, words and code by Isak Grozny; GUI design and assets by potouto; sprite, background and CG art by [TBA].



July 16, 2018:

  • the artist is working on character design and the sprites necessary for the demo
  • the artist is working on promo art, including profile portraits of the narrator and the major NPC/Love Interest
  • the writer is working on the first two chapters, scheduled to be released as a demo in October 2018
  • The GUI is about 90% complete and coded in.
  • The soundtrack remains a mere concept

July 19, 2018:

  • the artist has completed the sketch sprites of the narrator and LI, allowing the writer to start programming scenes
  • the artist is working on further sketch sprites necessary for the demo. current progress: 2/15 sketch sprites
  • the writer is still working on the first two chapters. scene one has been outlined by major conversation choices
  • the GUI is about 90% complete and coded in, might require extra assets?
  • the soundtrack has been conceptualised but we still need budget and a composer



Currently, we don't have finished sprites/BGs/CGs, but the GUI's almost entirely complete! Just a few minor tweaks left, plus implementing a Gallery screen, an Endings screen and potentially a Music Box screen.







We'd love to hear from you! Here's some prompts, but any kind of feedback is very much valued and appreciated.

  • Does the story sound appealing to you?
  • What kind of thing would you be interested in exploring in a fantasy city?
  • Would you be interested in playing a test build, e.g. one with the final GUI, but no backgrounds or sprites, just the dialogue and narration text?
  • Would you support a Patreon if you could play such early test builds as part of the rewards?
  • In a story that isn't just about romance, do you prefer sex scenes to be explicit or fade-to-black or having the choice between the two?
  • How do you find the aesthetic of the GUI?
  • If you played the text-only proof-of-concept: what were your overall impressions?
  • As above, what was your main impression of the narrator character? How about of Anzu?



  • July 16, 2018: new thread made!
  • July 16, 2018, sometime later: the pitch has been revised and edited.
  • July 19, 2018: added small progress update, screenshots, a link to a text-only proof of story concept.
Edited by LadyIsak
updated with new screenshots, a link, progress update

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Just a quick note: I revised and updated the pitch. Maybe I should've written a proper pitch first and posted the thread second, but Past Isak wasn't making great decisions at 3 AM.

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So!! Today the artist got back to me with the doctor-necromancer's sketch sprite:


And the narrator's (the failed rabbi) sketch sprite:


I'm just working on coding these in now; expressions for the necromancer have to wait a bit until I get some more eyes/brows/mouths from the artist. 

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A quick note! There's a text-only prototype of the first chapter up for download on my itch.io page. I'll put the link into the OP, too. Right now it serves as mostly a preview of the tone and story, a kind of proof-of-concept rather than a pilot episode or demo. Still, I thought some people might be interested. 

With the addition of this link, I've also added some extra feedback prompts! Also, I've added screenshots to the OP as well, plus a corresponding feedback question~

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