The Troublesome Tiara

A solo choose-your-path adventure for stealthy, nimble-fingered folks.

Content warning:
This interactive choose-your-path adventure contains profanity and options that may lead to: unconsciousness, injury, disfigurement or death.
 

Introduction

You're unwinding in a grimy tavern, having a well earned drink after another successful job; the cheap swill always tastes sweeter when paid for with someone else's coin.   A very drunk man is telling you his entire life story. Every sentence is punctuated with a jolting hiccup that causes his coin purse to clink in an overly distracting fashion.
You decide to buy him a few more rounds and as you excuse yourself for the night, you deftly cut the pouch from his belt and be on your way.   Safely out of sight, you open it and are alarmed to find a sizeable sum of coin and a mysterious note addressed directly to you, by name, flattering your thieving skills and asking you to meet a potential employer in the next pub over.  

How to play

This is a choose-your-path adventure where you play as the thief hired for an intriguing burglary job. Begin your adventure below and make a single choice each time by clicking one of the links, which will jump you to another section of the page and highlight the corresponding header. Only click the reveal button for the option you choose!   There are 16 unique endings to explore, and you are free to refresh the page and re-play the adventure as many times as you wish.
 

An Unusual Arrangement

 


 
Taking care not to be followed, you head to the next tavern and sit at the window table next to a relaxed gentleman who watched your entry with great interest.   "I had no doubts you'd be appearing with that pouch. I'll make this quick, and I'll trust you to do the same."   "My name is Lieutenant Ellery, and no, I'm not here to arrest you. The Regent's Gala is in two days and Lady Stoddard is at the top of the guest list. The problem is, she has something that doesn't belong to her that was illegally imported. If she parades it around in front of the nobles then they'll all want one, and I'll end up with massive smuggling operations to stamp out.   Bring me Stoddard's precious tiara, it's bejewelled in emeralds, you can't miss it.
She lives opposite the dressmaker's shop you broke into last week, oh yes I know all about that - but before you dash towards the door, let me make you an offer.   I'll pay you well, your criminal records will mysteriously vanish, and you can keep anything else you find.   Conceal it in this box and return to me in Room 9 upstairs.   Should be easy for someone like you..."
    - "Quite the reward... I accept."
- "Keep your coin, I don't work with the law."
 
 
A Nimble Opportunity
Click to reveal
As Lieutenant Ellery rises from his seat, you hear a jingle of coin on him.   - I want extra pay for this.
- Not worth the risk, time to scout the area.
 
What's Yours Is Mine
Click to reveal
You eye him up and notice two likely sources of coin.   - I'll grab whatever's in his jacket.
- I'll go for that coin pouch on his belt.
 
 
Casing the Joint
Click to reveal
You arrive at Lady Stoddard's house at midnight and weigh up your options.   - The side window seems like a good bet.
- I'll sneak in through the back door.
 
Devil in the Details
Click to reveal
You stealthily grab an envelope of notes and open it privately.
You learn that Stoddard's tiara is an exotic pet gouper, a species of bear-cat illegaly imported Xendria, known for their sharp claws and skittishness.   She has adorned it in a glitzy collar of emeralds.   - Interesting... Time to scout the area.
- Working with animals never ends well. I'm outta here.
 
 

Breaking & Entering

 


 
Peeping
Click to reveal
Through the gap in the curtains you can see an empty bedroom.   - I'll pick the lock, but someone might see.
- I can probably force this open without anyone hearing.
 
Sneaking in the Back
Click to reveal
You gently turn the handle and to your surprise, it's unlocked.
You glance around but find nothing.   - On to the next room.
- Valuables are always kept upstairs, I'll check there.
 
   
Midnight Breeze
Click to reveal
Picking the lock was easy and the window opened without a creak.
You look around but find nothing.   - On to the next room.
- Guess I'll head upstairs.
 
A Bump in the Night
Click to reveal
Hearing the noise, Lady Stoddard rushes into the room and points her cane at you menacingly.   "Who are you?! What do you want?!"   Tears form in the elderly woman's eyes as she tightens her grip.   "Explain! Now! Or I'LL SEE YOU OUT MYSELF!"   - [Defend yourself.]
- [Reason with her.]
 
   
Mirror Image
Click to reveal
Upstairs, you freeze as you notice another thief, who makes a suddenly moves towards you.   - [Defend yourself.]
- "No, wait! I'm not here for you!"
 
Looting
Click to reveal
The room is full of dusty tomes. A reading table offers an ornate magnifying glass and a silver candlestick, but little else.   - Time to head upstairs.
 
 
A Fistful
Click to reveal
He lurches at you intending on shoving you downstairs, but you tackle his waist.   - [Go on the offensive.]
- [Go on the defensive.]  
 
Light Work
Click to reveal
After explaining your intentions, the thief relaxes.   "Wait, Ellery hired you too? Then let's team up and share the profits."   - "Fine. Let's do this."
- "Piss off, I'm not taking half pay!"
 
 
Sweet Dreams
Click to reveal
You wrestle and pin him to the floor. Hating every second of it, you restrict his bloodflow until he falls unconscious.   - Shit. I'm going to have to frame him.
- Shit. What if he wakes up?
 
Heat
Click to reveal
Your raised voice alerts Lady Stoddard, who screams from her bedroom.   The thief barges past you and runs away.   - [Run!]
- [Calm the woman.]
 
 
Drinks on Me
Click to reveal
You position the thief slouched against the wall, soak him with whiskey from downstairs and nestle the bottle in his hand.   - [Resume searching upstairs.]

 
Taking Out the Trash
Click to reveal
You haul him across your shoulders and carry him outside, leaving him in an alley.   - [Head back inside.]

 
 
Concealed
Click to reveal
She twists the cane's handle and unsheathes a slim dagger.   - [Dodge it.]
- [Grab her wrist.]
 
Negotiations
Click to reveal
"I just want to talk-"   Her stare intensifies.
She starts counting down from ten.   - [Tell her everything.]
- [Run!]
 
 
Sleight Mistake
Click to reveal
You grab her wrist in the same moment she lunges.
You manage to twist the dagger away from yourself but the blade sinks into Lady Stoddard's bosom.   Her night robe turns red. Her face turns gaunt.
She collapses.   - FUCK!! How do I make this look like an accident??
- FUCK!! I have to finish this and get outta here!
 
Clues
Click to reveal
Using props from around the house, you've tried to make it look like an "accident".   - That'll do. Time to finish the job.
- No... I can't do this.
 
 

The Troublesome Tiara

 


 
Priorities
Click to reveal
In another room, you find a bear-cat curled up asleep. As it breathes you see the glint of emeralds spelling the name "TIARA" in big letters on its collar.   The thief whispers to you.   "That's it?? What even IS it? We'll need to leave some loot behind in order to carry it."   - "You're right, Tiara looks kinda heavy."
- "We need extra loot to make up for half pay."
 
Okay, Focus
Click to reveal
In another room, you find a bear-cat curled up asleep. As it breathes you see the glint of emeralds spelling the name "TIARA" in big letters on its collar.   - [Carefully pick up Tiara.]
- [Carefully remove the collar.]
 
 
Instinct
Click to reveal
Tiara is having none of your shit and dashes for the door, discovering the body of her dead owner.   - [Grab her while she's distracted.]
- [Approach slowly with soothing words.]
 
Tiara
Click to reveal
In another room, you find a bear-cat curled up asleep. As it breathes you see the glint of emeralds spelling the name "TIARA" in big letters on its collar.   - [Pick up Tiara before the thief wakes up.]
- [Carefully approach and pet her.]
 
 
Big Picture
Click to reveal
Upon hearing Lieutenant Ellery's name, the lady drops her cane and sobs, explaining that he's been bullying her for years after her daughter declined his marriage proposal.   "He's stolen everything from me, even my stately home.   He's trying to frame me for smuggling an exotic pet so he can strip me of my title and lock me in prison - I bet he never told you that his mother is the one who introduced them to this country to begin with!   You're the only one who can help me get revenge. I have coin. A safehouse, too. It's all yours if you can help me."   She pats her streaming eyes with a handkerchief.   - "You'll have your revenge."
- "I really can't do this. I'm shifting towns - maybe you should, too."
 
Helping Hand
Click to reveal
Lady Stoddard thanks you and fetches a broad collar, bejewelled in emeralds spelling the name "TIARA" in big letters.   "Give this to the Lieutenant and play dumb about finding my pet.   Please return to me with that collar, those are my grandmother's jewels. I'll pay you five times what Ellery can."   You thank her and return to the tavern, pausing before you entering as you plan what to say.   - [I'll play dumb.]
- [I'll say everything, maybe I'll get extra pay.]
 
 
Clueless
Click to reveal
You return the collar and Lieutenant Ellery is displeased. He presses you for information but you play dumb and fabricate a convincing tale about the burglary.   With a deep sigh, he pockets the collar and flings a large coin purse onto the table for you as he walks over to stare out of the window.   "That concludes our business, thief. You've done your part, I'll do mine. Now go. We'll never see each other again."   - [Keep your word to Lady Stoddard and steal the collar back.]
- No. Job's done, I'm taking the gold.
 
Revenge
Click to reveal
As he stares out of the window, you have the perfect opportunity to retrieve the collar from his pocket.   - [Make a stealthy swipe.]
- [Pat him on the shoulder as misdirection while you grab it.]
 
 
Handle With Care
Click to reveal
After petting Tiara for a while, you place the empty box down.
She immediately jumps in. You close the lid and carry the it back to the tavern.   Lieutenant Ellery's eyes beam fiendishly at the sight of Tiara.   "Perrrrfect. Now, did you run into any trouble?"   - [Confess to framing the thief.]
- [Say nothing about the thief.]
 
Freedom?
Click to reveal
Quietly returning, you step through the room and almost trip over a large bear-cat, its coarse fur barely visible in the dark. It looks past you to the inviting breeze coming in from the street and its eyes go wide.   As it begins to walk past you, you notice a glint of emeralds on its collar that spell the name "TIARA" in big letters.   - [Grab it before it runs outside.]
- [Side-step and block its escape.]
 
 
Carefully...
Click to reveal
You side-step and crouch in front of Tiara, blocking the exit.   You let the bear-cat sniff your hand before stroking her fur and giving ear scritches.
With Tiara now calmed down, you put the empty box on the floor and she hops right in.   Wasting no time, you return to the tavern.   - [Ask Lieutenant Ellery if he knew about the thief.]
- [Deliver the goods without asking questions.]
 
One Trip
Click to reveal
You convince Tiara to jump into the loot-filled box and it's so full that you can barely carry it.   As you reposition your grip, Tiara shuffles, tipping the box and falling out of it with a cacophony of treasure.   - [Keep your cool and gather Tiara.]
- [Grab Tiara before she runs away.]
 
 
Making a Grab
Click to reveal
Startled by your sudden movement, Tiara jumps towards the exit and you barely grab her by the tail.   The bear-cat turns to you furiously.   - [Pick her up before she escapes.]
- [Block the exit.]
 
No Escape
Click to reveal
With no escape, Tiara growls, puffs out her coarse fur and turns side-on to face you.   - [Carefully reach out to grab her.]
- [Launch into a full body tackle-grab.]
 
 
All or Nothing
Click to reveal
You leap with all your might towards Tiara and expected her to escape - a sickening crunch followed by deafening silence proved you wrong.   - Shit... I hope the Lieutenant didn't need this thing alive.
- Oh shit. Shit... I fucked this up so badly. Everything's gone wrong, I have to get out of here!
 
Heavy Box
Click to reveal
You place Tiara's body in the box and return to Lieutenant Ellery, who interrogates you.   - [Explain absolutely everything.]
- [Explain what happened, but don't mention the thief.]
 
 

Closure

 


Spoiler warning:
This section contains the 16 unique endings!
 
Silence is Golden
Click to reveal
Making your way home, your stomach lurches as you hear footsteps behind you. You turn into an alley and stumble face-first into a muscular body. Everything happens so fast. You're surrounded. Constrained. Tighter. Can't escape. Tighter. can't.breathe...  

 
Five Finger Discount
Click to reveal
"FILTHY PICKPOCKET!! YOU'LL NEVER STEAL AGAIN!"
Lieutenant Ellery grabs your wrist and calls for backup. You're held tight and your arm is stretched across the table as the Lieutenant draws his blade and raises it high.  
THOCK.

 
 
The Path Less Travelled
Click to reveal
You decide to go your own way, making a powerful enemy of Lieutenant Ellery.
 
A Sharp Twist
Click to reveal
White hot pain sears across your face, blinding you. You scream and raise a hand to your face, only to be punched hard in the gut.   Clenching your stomach, your hands feel wet. You slump to the floor.  

 
 
Hasty Retreat
Click to reveal
You were noticed on the job and ran away.   Your face is on every wanted poster and you've made a powerful enemy.
 
Greed for Gold
Click to reveal
You say nothing about Lady Stoddard and take the full payment from Lieutenant Ellery.   He's displeased that you only returned with the collar, but keeps his promise and wipes your records.   Relieved to be free, you skip town and leave Lady Stoddard without her emeralds.
 
 
A Job Well Done
Click to reveal
You decide to tell the Lieutenant everything.   He's enraged at Lady Stoddard's words and annoyed that you could only return with the collar, but immensely grateful for the extra information. He pays you double and offers you professional training as a private investigator.   You've made an enemy of Lady Stoddard, who is grieving the loss of her emeralds.
 
Two Sides of the Coin
Click to reveal
You stride up to the Lieutenant and firmly pat him on the shoulder, thanking him for a lucrative opportunity.
The misdirection worked perfectly and as he jumped in shock, the collar practically fell out of his pocket and into yours.   You return the collar to Lady Stoddard who pays you handsomely.   Overnight you've become a double agent, had your criminal record erased, and earned more money than you've ever seen. Time to help an old lady plan her revenge...
 
 
Teamwork
Click to reveal
You both return to the Lieutenant and explain to him that hiring two thieves for the job was both insulting and dangerous.   He apologises, congratulates you both on the job well done and pays you both in full, offering to clear both of your criminal records if you take on his employment offer as 'Repossession Agents'.
 
Like a Masterpiece
Click to reveal
The thief falls to the ground and uses his legs to launch you down the stairs.   You blacked out hard, and are now being interrogated in jail.
You've been framed for thievery and an "assassination attempt" on Lady Stoddard, due to a knife that was found in your hand.
 
 
Catch Me If You Can
Click to reveal
Tiara's reactions are lightning fast. Her bite punctures your skin deeply and you try to pull away as she shakes her head violently. You can't help but scream in pain as a chunk of flesh is wrenched from your body, and the bear-cat bounds past you out into the night.   Fearing somebody heard, you run. With no chance of catching Tiara, you abandon the job and go into hiding to stitch up your wound.
 
I Saw Nothing
Click to reveal
The Lieutenant seems surprised that your mission was straightfoward and congratulates you for a job well done.   You're paid in full, and your records are wiped as promised.
 
 
Problem Solver
Click to reveal
Lieutennant Ellery listens to you and is surprised when you admit to framing the thief.   He admits to hiring him in desperation to get the job done, and is pleased that he won't have to "tie up loose ends".   You're paid extra and your records are wiped as promised.
 
Extra Work
Click to reveal
You got the job done, but poorly.   The Lieutenant is furious that you let a witness escape, and only gives you half pay. You're not sure if your record will be wiped and decide it's best not to ask.
 
 
Cat Food
Click to reveal
In a fury of claws and teeth, the bear-cat leaps at your face as you struggle to deflect its attacks.   The pain is unbearable. You try to scream, but end up with a gurgle.  

 
Heavy Handed
Click to reveal
You explain how you survived wrestling a bear-cat and don't mention the thief.   The Lieutenant pays extra and wipes your records as promised. He also offers you a new line of employment as his personal bailiff.
 

Comments

Author's Notes

For adjudication purposes:
This article is 2,816 words long in total (with all spoilers expanded).
 
What ending did you get?


Please Login in order to comment!
10 Apr, 2022 18:19

I love this so much. What a great selection of endings, too! And the twists you squeezed in!

Lead Author of Vazdimet.
Necromancy is a Wholesome Science.
10 Apr, 2022 18:27

Thank youuu! I'm glad you enjoyed it :D


Creator of the dark fantasy world of Melior
I also make worldbuilding resources!
10 Apr, 2022 19:51

This was a lot of fun! Tiara sounds familiar and I love the plot twists. Thank you <3

10 Apr, 2022 19:59

Thanks Kros! <3 I'm glad you had fun :D


Creator of the dark fantasy world of Melior
I also make worldbuilding resources!
Sage EmilyArmstrong
Emily Armstrong
10 Apr, 2022 20:22

This is so fun! Such a brilliant little adventure, nearly got my hand ripped off but managed to make it out alive! I'm looking forward to playing through this multiple times and uncovering other endings, thank you for the adventure!

Open the Vein of Dolōrem and soak your soul in our holy waters! BecCanal: Your source of salvation.
11 Apr, 2022 09:56

Thanks so much! :D


Creator of the dark fantasy world of Melior
I also make worldbuilding resources!
10 Apr, 2022 20:28

This was very fun!

Here is my River Challenge Darkwater River! Come vist my world Pangorio for exciting tales, world lore, and RPG adventures ! Hypnosium is my new world I will be trying to fill for Summer Camp ... perhaps even sooner if the muse sttrikes.
11 Apr, 2022 09:57

Thank youuu!


Creator of the dark fantasy world of Melior
I also make worldbuilding resources!
Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
10 Apr, 2022 20:46

Great story! Took me a while to go through all the paths XD Do you plan to have a continuation for the "revenge" plot line? I'm curious about what's going to happen!

To see what I am up to, my latest article is Geography of magic for the River Challenge
11 Apr, 2022 09:57

You bet! I had a lot of fun with this and I'm keen to do another :)


Creator of the dark fantasy world of Melior
I also make worldbuilding resources!
Sage RandoScorpio
RandoScorpio
10 Apr, 2022 22:12

I died the first time through, but made it the second! This was fantastic!!

If you have the time, stop by The Ravmor River, my entry for May's waterways and river challenge. I love to hear feedback and see what others love or hate about what I've written. What do you want more of? Less of?
The Ravmor cuts through the dense Aristosa forest. Hiding terrifying monsters beneath its deep, fast currents, and ignoring forgotten legends could end the world around it.
11 Apr, 2022 09:58

Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it :D


Creator of the dark fantasy world of Melior
I also make worldbuilding resources!
Master PrincessESH
Aster Blackwell
11 Apr, 2022 00:55

This was incredible!! I LOVE how even if you do one path, there are plenty of interesting threads that encourage you to try it again and try to learn all the secrets! I got "I Saw Nothing" on my first try, but I'm really eager to try and get all the endings!

11 Apr, 2022 09:58

Thank you so much! Have fun exploring :D


Creator of the dark fantasy world of Melior
I also make worldbuilding resources!
Master LanternLight
Adebelle Anderson
11 Apr, 2022 19:34

I got team work XD THIS WAS INCREDIBLE! I didn't know this was possible in world anvil! How did you do it? So amazing! I hope this one wins the challenge!

--ADBL tale tamer, lore crafter, and tea brewer extraordinaire.
12 Apr, 2022 09:24

Thank you!! I created it using anchor links that jump to the headers above each spoiler :D   Like this:
[url:#destination]Option A (link to jump)[/url]
[h4|destination]Heading[/h4][spoiler]Content|Click to reveal[/spoiler]


Creator of the dark fantasy world of Melior
I also make worldbuilding resources!
Master LanternLight
Adebelle Anderson
12 Apr, 2022 14:31

Wow! That is even complicated for me to understand! Well done man!

--ADBL tale tamer, lore crafter, and tea brewer extraordinaire.
12 Apr, 2022 02:20

Mine ended with Teamwork. That was fun! Thanks for a great, interactive experience!

~ Eliora Yona ~
12 Apr, 2022 09:25

Thanks so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it :D


Creator of the dark fantasy world of Melior
I also make worldbuilding resources!
13 Apr, 2022 01:21

Excellent Article and the choice option format an outstanding idea.   First Attempt I had my hand chopped off,lol, Thieves, they will try to steal everything.   Second Attempt I had much better luck. Problem Solver:Lieutennant Ellery listens to you and is surprised when you admit to framing the thief. He admits to hiring him in desperation to get the job done, and is pleased that he won't have to "tie up loose ends". You're paid extra and your records are wiped as promised. A well deserved Like/Fave from me.   Aemon

17 Apr, 2022 15:19

Thank you so much! :D


Creator of the dark fantasy world of Melior
I also make worldbuilding resources!
Forgemaster Janet
Janet Forbes
13 Apr, 2022 08:49

Really enjoyed this little story, and what a cool way to structure a CYOA! Just a note that there was a tiny typo in my ending (Two sides of the Coin)! :)

  • Janet Forbes (Founder of World Anvil, author, RPG designer, streamer)
  • Grab your hammer and GO WORLDBUILD!
    17 Apr, 2022 15:21

    Oooh good spot, fixed! Thanks Janet :D


    Creator of the dark fantasy world of Melior
    I also make worldbuilding resources!
    13 Apr, 2022 16:29

    I got Teamwork! :D   Really fun adventure. I loved the twist.

    17 Apr, 2022 15:21

    Thank you so much! <3 I'm glad you enjoyed it :D


    Creator of the dark fantasy world of Melior
    I also make worldbuilding resources!
    15 Apr, 2022 00:02

    I absolutely love this idea. Got Problem Solver in the end, and I loved the twists.

    17 Apr, 2022 15:21

    Thank youuu! :D


    Creator of the dark fantasy world of Melior
    I also make worldbuilding resources!
    19 Apr, 2022 14:58

    First try got Job Well Done, second time got Teamwork. Love how you structured it with spoilers!

    19 Apr, 2022 15:21

    Thanks very much! :D


    Creator of the dark fantasy world of Melior
    I also make worldbuilding resources!
    19 Apr, 2022 23:14

    I love murderous kittykats. Glad I managed to be killed by the cat at least once.

    20 Apr, 2022 13:51

    Hahaha brilliant xD


    Creator of the dark fantasy world of Melior
    I also make worldbuilding resources!
    21 Apr, 2022 21:17

    I've enjoyed a few tries, except maybe the fast bad ending (I deserved that, I guess). Thanks for sharing.

    22 Apr, 2022 12:01

    Thank you! :D


    Creator of the dark fantasy world of Melior
    I also make worldbuilding resources!
    30 Apr, 2022 18:19

    Very lovely setting for a CYOA, enjoyed playing multiple times. I seem to be prone to getting the teamwork ending :D Very well done!

    If you have some time, I would much appreciate your feedback on my entry for Adventure April: Carbon Copy Paradise
    30 Apr, 2022 18:21

    Thanks so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it :D


    Creator of the dark fantasy world of Melior
    I also make worldbuilding resources!
    1 Jun, 2022 20:54

    Damn, I died instantly (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ lmao
    2nd time I got Two Sides of the Coin *rubs hands* time to plot revenge   :) that was fun!

    - Hello from Valayo! Featured work: How to Write Great Competition Articles
    2 Jun, 2022 13:26

    Haha glad you gave it a second run :D thanks!


    Creator of the dark fantasy world of Melior
    I also make worldbuilding resources!
    Powered by World Anvil