As Jonas Kyratzes' Twine text adventure The Matter of the Great Red Dragon begins, the titular beast, who rises from slumber every hundred years, is about to awaken once more. To avoid complete destruction, the Lands of Plenty need seven great heroes to banish the dragon, and right now they have six willing and able... all they need is you. To play, just click on the green text, which will both advance the story when you use it to make choices, as well as provide a little more explanation on some of the creatures and concepts at work here. But not too much, as the Lands of Dream are always best experienced with more than a little bit of mystery and wonder. Your choices can range from decisions that will shape your character through their abilities and equipment, or things that will change the way the story unfolds.
If you're at all familiar with Jonas Kyratzes, you know and have an appreciation for his writing ability, which can spread both joy and sorrow in equal measure as in The Fabulous Screech, which still makes me tear up for personal reasons whenever I think about it. The Matter of the Great Red Dragon, by contrast, might be less of a gut punch to the feels, but no less a careful balance of introspection and engrossing prose. It's not that it's a particularly long read, at least not compared to, say, The Book of Living Magic, but what sticks with you is the way the story weaves parallels of real world events and behaviours into this world of magic... making it more than a little bittersweet in its own way. Once you're done, you can, of course, restart to try different paths, but as Jonas himself says in the author's note, "If you were to live every single permutation of your life, would your choices still have meaning? To see a few alternate possibilities might be interesting, but to see all of them would flatten everything out, until you no longer truly existed as an individual. Consider this when reading an interactive story." Regardless of whether you choose to heed that, The Matter of the Great Red Dragon is clever and thoughtful, and more than worth the time it will take you to journey through it.... whatever the outcome.
Thanks to jackabug for sending this one in!