• Member Since 20th Jan, 2015
  • offline last seen 2 hours ago

TheDriderPony


"Only the most subtle of references." -No fanfiction writer ever

T

It's Nightmare Night in Ponyville (and presumably everywhere else as well) and Starlight and Trixie have teamed up to host a haunted house attraction. Spooks and frights and guaranteed in this one-of-a-kind experience orchestrated by two mares who, between them, barely make up a single functioning member of society.

What could go wrong in this pandormare's box of horror designed by a former villainous megalomaniac with boundary issues and a compatriot whose worldview is heavily tinted by a lens of narcissism?


Take on the role of Rainbow Dash, fearless seeker of frights, in this branching CYOA experience. Explore different paths to victory, collect items, solve puzzles, and try to find all the hidden endings!

Content warnings: More thriller than horror, with the occasional dip into psychological terror. Some medium-tier body horror, mostly transformation based. Odd snippets of comedy to lighten the mood. Mild spoilers for various horror movies, but nothing recent.

Note: Some artists are credited by name only because their only linkable contact is on nsfw-heavy websites.
Special thanks to SparklingTwilight and Panem et Circenses for helping work out the gameplay kinks and pointing out mistakes that slipped past me.

Chapters (133)
Comments ( 23 )

"It is; physically . The wavier is for mental scarring and trauma. As I said, it's very realistic."

McAmey Manor, anybody?

The hallway also CONTINUES FORWARD past the buggy avalanche,

Should have a full stop.

a sad memory made of rusted metal and shatter crystal.

Shattered.

Just a note, it's not entirely clear if this stick under the glass is the one mentioned in the notes. Maybe add a note saying (not the one under the dome) after, if it isn't.

Ayy, I did it on hard mode, first try! Damn I'm good. For those on the fence about trying this, it's probably the most fun I've ever had with a CYOA. You can tell this had a lot of work put into it.

Spoilers on my run for those who made it here and the author: Literally the first room I went into was the cake one, which was extremely convenient to know. I backtracked to it multiple times to keep RD's fear down. I didn't get too many bad outcomes for the rooms, only seeing bonus outfits 1, 4, 9, and 12. Somehow I never got the Locket or Water Bucket despite checking every room, and some of the other items I never got to use based on the order I explored, like the Key and Boot. Meanwhile, some items I picked up after I was prompted to use them, like the Stick, Silver Coins, and Paperwork. The only item I was afraid to actually use was the Formula. Who knows what that crap even does. Probably the dumbest moment was when I turned the dust bunny into a flaming dust bunny and broke Trixie. I'll try New Story+ later, seems fun (EDIT: never mind, it's just the original story again, lame). If I had to complain about something, it's that I wish there was a boss monster at the end that required multiple items to be used in combination to beat.

11030476
I'm glad you had fun!
Interesting to note in the original draft there was a boss monster in that last room did that took three items to defeat, but it proved difficult to implement logistically and a couple of prereaders called it potentially unfair, since if you used or lost a key item early... that's basically game over. Strictly speaking you're not supposed to go back in a room you've already entered, there's just no way for me to stop you (I may edit the rules to clarify that). And yes, New Story+ is just a link back to the start, but with the new context of the bonus challenges. For example, going somewhere you've been before but from a different direction might reveal something new.

...erm, first playthough and I ended up at a door asking me to choose from shapes corresponding to items from my inventory. But I've yet to receive anything. And there's no option to leave.

11030528
The first thing you did was go through the door marked "This way to exit. Only enter if you're fully prepared for the final challenge"?
You'll have to take a guess and hope luck is on your side.

11030515
Well, I got lost and wandered into a repeat room by accident once.

The collectibles are a great idea!

RE: Aura Dog.. Aurora Dawn would have worked fine. It's even more pony-ish :pinkiehappy:

"To read the story in full, come visit us Tuesday and Thursday evenings in the schoolhouse annex from six to eight." Amusing.

Idea -- BOLD items that are added to one's inventory. I almost missed the item here.

It fits into your Inventory easily, despite initially looking too big.

Item Get! I'm in a traditional AdventureTM game with unlimited inventory space! Amusing genre self-awareness! :pinkiehappy: And there's a worthy explanation for it too--Trixie's illusions! :trixieshiftright:

Also completed on Hard mode!

Thank you for the gamebook!

Fear: Up to 2 fear, reduced to 0, then back up to 3 again.
Three Trixies unlocked: 1, 4, and 8.
Items:

Formula (used)
Formula #2
Rarity Coupon
Alarm Clock
Lantern
boot
Bucket
File (of paperwork?)
Wand
Bunny Ears

welp this is the best cyoa ive seen in a while and i only got through 5 rooms before failing. gonna have too try again

I'm nowhere near finished, but I just wanted to say this is really impressive. It has a great sense of humor, everything works well, and the links hint at a lot of fun options and secrets. Looking forward to playing through the rest of it.

Lovely work on this overall!

11030534
To be fair, it is a pretty in-character thing for Dash to do.

11030534
I do love what happens if you are lucky on your speed run through the exit. :pinkiehappy:

Wow. That was an adventure. I just spent seven days in here. Wait, seven days? Was it really that long? No, that can't be..... I was only here for a few hours. At most. But it feels like seven days. I guess Starlight and Trixie really thought of everything. That time perception spell is realistic.

Heavy spoilers below when I talk about my awesome victories, read at your own peril!

I made an evil and insane scientist become victim of her own experiments, I wowed the leaders of the Wonderbolts with the best speech they ever heard in their entire lives, I tricked two dumb cultists and used their death philosophy against them, I got off of one of the worst jobs ever, I actually fought with zombies, I killed a werepony, I put a macho ghost stallion into place, I squished a horde of spiders, I defeated an evil tree, I befriended a dust ghost, I sent a drowned ghost filly back to where she came from and I cursed a wicked witch.
Most ponies don't experience as much as that during an entire lifetime! But I did in just seven days! I mean..... a few hours.

The room that scared me the most was the Office. The authoritarian boss, the dry job, the pointless work that amounted to nothing, the time that was wasted and lost in the last thirty years, the abandoned dreams and ambitions..... That was conveyed so great and realistic that I got deeply frightened by everything and I felt like I am going to need a breather when I was out of there again. Ending up in a job like that is actually one of my biggest fears, so that room hit me hard. I guess it really is true that horror can be anything, even the mundane things.
My favourite room is the Library with the drowned ghost filly. That was creative and terrifying. I knew something else would happen after the book began to burn, but I wasn't quite prepared for how terrifying it ended up being. The bloated, wet face of a drowning victim, her screams, the water-damaged book and the item I got from her..... There are other rooms that I like a lot, like the Witch Kitchen and the Rest Area, but this room gave me the best vibes. The darkest room in the entire house, perfect horror movie material.

I got the Good Ending and found 9 of the Hidden Collectibles. The collectibles are a particularly nice idea. First I was just happy that there is stuff to collect, then after I got the third one, I realized that you get them all for losing. They aren't rewards, they are symbols of your failures; eternal, grim reminders on your weakest and most pitiful moments. Which is cynical and really fucked up and I like that, because the horror genre is often cynical, so that is perfect for getting collectibles in a haunted house.

I am also sure there are secret rooms somewhere that you can only find by doing something very unusual. I got some items you seem to can't use anywhere, there are more Hidden Collectibles than rooms and four of the six doors in the Boiler Room can't be reached from any room in the house. Four is also exactly the number of missing Hidden Collectibles after I counted the obvious ones that you can get.
Another feeling I have is that Starlight and Trixie have created a story for their haunted house that you can discover. That came to me when I thought about how the ghost stallion in the Ballroom was so disappointed of me after he pulled the mask from my face, like he expected to see somepony else. Later I noticed that there is a connection between that ghost stallion, his wife from inside the Locket, the werepony and the drowned ghost filly, because all of them are in some way connected to the Locket, which reinforced that feeling. I am theorizing the drowned ghost filly is the daughter of the ghost stallion and the ghost mare, that the werepony mare is her older sister and that they all lived in this mansion together. I'm sure there is more too, but that's what I got so far. The secret rooms might reveal more about them.

This was an extremely immersive experience. So much that I felt sad when I was done and had to leave the house. It feels like a home now, after I've been there for so long. Actually, it already felt like a home since right after I started. I have a deep love and passion for haunted mansions. :heart: But that feeling increased the longer I was there. I miss being in Starlight's and Trixie's Haunted House already.

I have only very few things to criticize here. No optional way through the Ballroom or past the Ballroom. It was annoying having to go through the scenario each time after the room looped back on the way to the other rooms behind it. Especially when exploring the Cake Room.
Something is off about the architecture in the Right Hallway, it felt like there should have been two more corridors. I'm not sure if Starlight and Trixie used a space warping spell there to cut off these corridors (they haven't done that anywhere else in the house, though, so I doubt it), but this hallway felt incomplete, like a part of it is missing, I came back to the Foyer much too soon once I was past the three rooms.
There were a few spots where I wondered why I couldn't use the Lantern there. In the back part of the Center Hallway with the complete darkness and in the Boiler Room after the light went out. Using the Lantern there seemed obvious, but somehow I wasn't able to do that. And I got a Wonderbolt Signet Ring as reward from one of the Wonderbolts in the Wonderbolts Dining Room, but I could not use this item anywhere, which made me ask why I got it then. And it would have been nice to be able to use the Wand of Summoning more than in just two rooms. It felt like there were a few more opportunities where it could have been used, although not necessarily resulting in a victory.
Just some feedback for Starlight and Trixie what could have been made better.

I hope Starlight and Trixie bring their Haunted House back for Nightmare Night next year, with new spooks and more rooms. There is a whole second floor in the house that I couldn't access and it definitely has a basement somewhere, too. And maybe an attic. Their attraction has definitely become a hit in Ponyville, I can tell, so I'm sure there is demand to do it again next year. :raritywink:

How very interesting...

Such... Knowledge...

What does this have to do with anything? NOTHING!

Okay, so in all seriousness though, I honestly kinda liked this CYOA story. Kinda gave me chills, and this ending kinda gave me Undertale vibes if any of you know what mean. You said this took over a year to finish, and it clearly shows. That's all, I know it isn't a lot, but eh... I doubt anyone cares. Now onto the next story!

"Yes I can. Oh, you mean you can't! Sorry Dashie!" She released her with an apologetic smile.

that response is so in-character and i love it

It was Twilight who shook her head in response. "You wouldn't have. It sat in the metaphysical conception of your mind and made decisions on your behalf—what to say, where to go, how you felt—and your body put them into action. Your conscious mind had no say and probably just rationalized away until it convinced itself that the choices must have been yours."

making the reader of the fic a twist villain controlling rainbow's actions against her will is genius

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