With Astral Falls officially retired, I'm well on the way towards writing the story it was always meant to be. I mean, not really because I have loads of other stories ahead of it. But this is how I keep myself from getting bored: coming up with ideas or refining old ones so I always have something to do. This is the story Astral Falls always should have been and was originally meant to be— I believe I needed Astral Falls in order to realize this. Several of the basic plot beats are still the same, but this is more along the lines of the story I came up with back in 2009-2010. As with Astral Falls, the world has ended, or at least is in the process of ending. It appears that attempts to use technology to cross dimensions has backfired and has unleashed demons and wraiths unto our realm. Two antisocial orphans fight to survive on the streets. However, someone known as 'Sevedy Mickette' appears and recruits certain people to complete various tasks each day, and those who score the highest have a chance to escape to another world to survive the apocalypse. The orphans weren't chosen; they just interfered with someone else who was playing Sevedy's game and wound up getting involved. As a result, they gain psychic powers. As their abilities grow, they decide to take matters into their own hands. But they find that others have different ideas... The gamelit/litRPG aspects are still there. Leveling up is still important. Stats are still important. The setting is still a futuristic city-state, though with a lot more post-apocalyptic imagery. There'll still be tons of YA angst as well. I also decided to turn the girl into a cyborg because I have issues why not? It's ultimately a story about angsty young adults fighting each other with psychic powers, possibly the one thing that has not changed in the past decade besides the gamelit aspects. It's also written like a beat-em-up JRPG, much like 58th State. Also, zombies. There weren't any zombies in Astral Falls. I want these two to punch/kick/c-c-c-c-combo zombies to death. Zombies vs. the Infected is also a nice little background war I want to see. Satanic Undead or Diseased Masses? Slow vs. Fast? Doom vs. Thrash? And like Rage of Angels, there's a definite gothic aesthetic to the story. It's less the entire aesthetic and more just part of it, but that aesthetic has also been a constant over the past decade. A lot of dark, gloomy colors and action taking place at night or on oppressive blue-grey days. And since the main setting is heavily inspired by Tron-esque cities, there's a lot of neon blue thrown into the mix. Some of Astral Falls' ideas will get used here: Exploration: free-flowing. Random encounters are something that happen more towards the end of the story. Because of the nature of this particular story, the main characters choose to become proficient in parkour, which means that exploration proceeds a bit differently. Exploration via parkour can proceed in more differently if one maxes out magic, augments, and native abilities. Ability to run away from battles: Almost always, except for certain battles. Skill trees: you can always add XP points to certain skills, but unlike the traditional set-up where it costs more points when you're closer to maxing out one skill, the skills you choose to not put points into slowly begin to close themselves off before eventually locking you out of putting points into them completely, sort of like how not learning or applying yourself to something can close off neural connections. This can be like retroactive punishment for going all in with one skill and ignoring the others since there are instances where just about every skill could come in handy. But remember, you have a Sync partner. On that note, the trees are somewhat standard. Some of it is behind magicka; some others are behind cybernetics; some are purely physical. Dialog trees: Not always open, but there are choices at times. And as usual, your skills and history can affect what choices there are or how many are available. Leveling up: Pretty bog-standard. Get more XP, you can level up. Beware grinding! I've gotten rid of races and classes entirely. It's not a game they choose to play nor is it a game world; it's just a gameified world. There will be some musings on why things happen as if it's a video game, but they accept it. The "free-skill" engine is still there as well, but of course it would be in this case. Parkour remains a very important means of transport. Psychic abilities and cybernetics can augment parkour. That's all unchanged. The characters can still Sync up for special attacks. And the "Party" is limited to just the two. That's also unchanged. But the stuff I wrote for Astral Falls is obsolete. That chapter of my life is over and done with. Edit: Well, not totally. I might still publish it. Outside of whatever updates and extra ideas I post until then, see you next year because this story is definitely low on the priority list. There are about five or six others already scheduled ahead of it. Maybe I'll write it for NaNoWriMo 2019?