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Runt of the Litter

by Kelly Sandoval


Web Site

(based on 3 ratings)
2 reviews

About the Story

Steal and raise a baby war gryphon! Will you fight dragons together to save the empire, or defy the empire and lead your people to freedom?

"Runt of the Litter" is a 150,000 word interactive fantasy novel by Kelly Sandoval, where your choices control the story. It's entirely text-based—without graphics or sound effects—and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

The gryphon keepers hold all the power in the Empire of Vaengrea. They make the laws, patrol the borders, and only give gryphon eggs to their chosen heirs. As a poor stable hand, a "thrall," you know you'll never have a chance to prove yourself.

But then, you find the egg. Small, neglected, nudged out of the nest by a disapproving mother. But you can feel warmth growing inside.

Now your gryphon is in terrible danger, both from the other gryphon keepers and from a deadly plague that's wiping out the Empire's gryphons. Can you keep your gryphon safe? Where will you hide your new hatchling? Are you skilled enough to hunt its food or clever enough to steal it? Which of the gryphon keepers can you trust? How will you shape the young gryphon's mind?

Wyrm riders invade from the north on their fire-breathing dragons, the natural enemy of the gryphons. Will you and your gryphon fight in the war, seizing your place among the elite? Or will you defy the empire and lead your fellow thralls to revolution?

Can you keep a runt gryphon safe with the whole world against you? The life of your gryphon, and the fate of an empire, is in your hands.

• Play as any gender and as gay, straight, or asexual
• Choose from a variety of unusual gryphon breeds
• Raise your gryphon with a gentle hand or demand obedience
• Find romance among your fellow thralls or steal the heart of a gryphon keeper
• Rise to the rank of gryphon keeper or lead your fellow thralls to freedom
• Battle fire-breathing wyrms to protect your empire
• Find a cure for the devastating gryphon plague

Game Details


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Number of Reviews: 2
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Never takes flight, June 24, 2017
by Danielle (The Wild West)
Related reviews: choice of games

I guess I'm going to write a review about this game.

First off, the marketing arrowed me in the heart like a professional Robin Hood.

The blurb read: "Steal and raise a baby war gryphon!" and I couldn't hit "BUY" fast enough. SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY.

But unlike CoG's "SLAMMED!", which sucked me into the story to the point where I *lived through it, mannnn!* (and you should really buy SLAMMED! immediately), I just couldn't get my head into this game (and I really wanted to, see para. 2). I had a really hard time keeping track of who was who and what everybody's different griffin looked like (which is, I think, kind of important when visualizing the story).

In short, The writing just didn't generate strong enough mental pictures for me and I couldn't stay engaged. But I kept on, thinking it would get better as I went.

Then I died before (I think) any real adventure started. So I hung it up, meaning to try another day and...I just haven't.

So it is with heavy heart I say that I can't recommend this game even though you get to raise a baby griffin. But ifever I give it another try and it turns out better for me, I will update this review.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
This gryphon is pleasing but a little toothless, March 5, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour

In this game, you play as a 'thrall' (a member of a servant caste) in a community where gryphon riders are trained for war against wrym riders.

One day, a gryphon mom rejects a small egg. You hatch it and raise it, which is against society rules.

Most of the game is about hiding and raising the gryphon, with a slightly smaller chunk involving the aftermath of being discovered.

The game has a very small number of stats for yourself (with several more once you get a gryphon), but manages to be fairly confusing with the stats. It's pretty hard to know which stats are being tested when.

The game itself is oddly toothless. It sets up some worldbuilding but doesn't do much with it. There is tension between 'thralls' and 'keepers', there is a war, but what is actually going on? Everything is so vague. Are you 12, or 16, or 24? (That may have been answered somewhere, but it's hard to tell). One second you can be what seems like a highschool kid, and another you can scare a guard by saying you've killed people. The wyrm riders are different from you, but how? Do they speak another language? Wear weird armor? You are in the wilderness for months. What does that do to you, mentally and physically?

Nothing really gets answered. And like other reviewers here and elsewhere have noted, there's not really a climax; you kind of wander around until the end, with the ending final scenes very similar to scenes from the middle of the game in terms of tension and result.

All that said, the best parts for me were the ones interacting with the griffin and training it. In that respect, this game reminded of The Last Monster Master, but with less systematic training and more individual personality.

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