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Visual Novel / Scarlet Hollow

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Welcome to The Holler...

Scarlet Hollow is a hand-drawn Episodic horror Visual Novel and Adventure Game, with some light RPG Elements, developed by Black Tabby Games and co-written by comic writer and artist Abby Howard and her spouse Tony Howard-Arias. Using hand-drawn backgrounds and sprites, together with a complex relationship system, the game seeks bring to life an immersive world of charming (and terrifying) characters. The game is planned to span 7 episodes, and the developers hope to have all episodes out by 2025. The first part of the game, Episodes 1 and 2, were released in June 2021, followed by Episode 3 in March 2022, and Episode 4 in December 2022.

Set in the namesake town, a dying coal mining community in North Carolina, you, as the protagonist, must travel back to your family's ancestral home upon the invitation of your estranged cousin, Tabitha Scarlet, in order to attend the funeral for her late mother, your aunt whom you never met. As you explore Scarlet Hollow, you quickly find yourself at the center of a dark mystery that threatens your life. Along the way, you are confronted with having to make several different choices, the repercussions of which are felt throughout the rest of the story. Who lives, who dies, and the fate of an entire town rests on your shoulders.


This game provides examples of:

  • Abandoned Mine: Episode 2 leads the protagonist and friends to the Shaw Mine, an abandoned mine that's part of the Scarlet Mine property, long since emptied after a sudden collapse due to improper support beams killed many miners, including children. It is here that the protagonist nearly gets trapped in the mine when it falls in around them, and where it's possible, depending on player actions, for two teenagers to get trapped in the mine's depths during a cave-in.
  • Accident, Not Murder: Due to the fact that Duke was killed when his own gun went off in his face by accident, after a Ditchling charged him and made him drop it, the police who arrive after Stella calls them suspect the player of murdering him, in spite of Stella claiming it wasn't you and showing them video evidence.
  • An Adventurer Is You:
    • Though a bit limited, you can decide what kind of person your player character is by assigning them certain traits before you start the game, which leads into the player character being able to respond in certain ways or take certain actions throughout the game.
    • During a heart-to-heart with Stella, you are also able to shape the player character's living conditions and profession (or lack thereof).
  • An Arm and a Leg: If the actions taken in episode 2 lead to Rosalina getting her leg crushed by rocks, the morning of episode 3 will come with the revelation that the foot ended up requiring amputation.
  • And I Must Scream: The animals captured by the Ditchlings. Paralyzed, dragged back to their brood, and implanted with their eggs while still alive, forced to lie in the middle of a forest clearing, in pain, unable to do anything besides suffer and await their fates. If the player can talk to animals, they can hear them vocalizing their suffering in comprehensible words. It's not pretty.
  • The Alleged House: For all that Tabitha takes pride in the place, it's blatantly clear that Scarlet Manor is just barely hanging on to habitability, given only a few minutes in she warns the player to stay only in approved sections of the house due to the dangers of floorboards straight up collapsing under their weight.
  • All for Nothing: Charlie Shaw's attempts to free Edwardine Scarlet from the influence of Scarlet Hollow. The protagonist can lampshade the futility of it all after piecing together the full picture, with part of them desperately wanting to go and warn him not to bother.
    • Episode 3's ghost hunt, if both the protagonist and Tabitha refuse to sacrifice their lifespan to appease an angry ghost. The protagonist can bitterly lampshade this after the dust settles.
  • Alcoholic Parent: Charles Shaw, who drank himself to death after being run out of Scarlet Hollow.
  • Art Shift: In episode 3, Charlie Shaw's puppet show is composed largely of grayscaled photo cut-outs, unsettlingly out of place with the hand-drawn style of the rest of the game.
  • "Awkward Silence" Entrance: You get treated to this after just entering the diner as a newcomer.
  • Bad Boss: There's no outright clarification on what exactly went on when your aunt was in charge of the family coal mine, just that she was apparently downright awful to work for, and working for Tabitha is pleasant by comparison. One can only imagine the main reason people worked for her was that it's the main industry in Scarlet Hollow, and it's always willing to employ those passing through who are hard on cash.
    • Kaneeka derides Tabitha for her methods in running the town coal mine whenever the subject gets brought up, particularly the fact that she apparently hasn't allowed her employees to unionize.
    • Both Tabitha and Pearlanne pale positively ghost white as bad bosses when compared to their family's ancestral patriarch, Silas Scarlet, who, back in the days when he founded the mine, had men and boys as young as 10 working 12-hour shifts in the mines, as well as Enoch Scarlet and his outright disregard for their lives when he revealed to a business partner that he knowingly allowed the miners to use faulty wood as support beams, which led to a collapse that killed well over 100 people.
  • Balcony Wooing Scene: Flashbacks in chapter 3 show that this was how Charlie Shaw managed to rendezvous with Edwardine Scarlet. Sneaking in this way is how our intrepid Romeo discovered that a mysterious entity is being held captive in what is now the forbidden wing of the Scarlet Manor.
  • Batter Up!: Edwardine Scarlet killed her lover, Charles Shaw Junior, by smashing his skull in with a baseball bat. In episode 3, Junior's vengeful ghost appears as a rotting corpse with a caved in skull.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: In the climax of Episode 3, the final argument a Book Smart and Mystical protagonist can use to convince the ghost of Charles Shaw Junior to spare both themselves and possibly Tabitha is to point out that Charles taking his revenge out on the remaining Scarlet descendants in death will make him exactly the type of man he fought the hardest to avoid becoming in life. This causes the character in question to quite literally see the light as he finally lets go of the hatred which tethered him to Scarlet Hollow and passes on peacefully.
  • Big Fancy House: Though time has certainly taken its toll, and it's not seen a decent amount of cleaning in a while, there's no denying that Scarlet Manor is a very impressive place. If the subject is brought up, Tabitha will claim it used to be the "crown jewel of the region", and also brags about how most of the furnishings are genuine antiques original to the place. Doesn't really change that the place is filthy and falling apart, though.
  • Bland-Name Product: When gathering provisions for PB&J, the protagonist will retrieve a jar of "JIF" peanut butter.
  • Blinded by Rage: What Gretchen claims happens to her when she senses the Ditchlings out in the woods and makes to chase after them. Suffice to say, if she can manage to do so, it doesn't end well for her.
  • Body Horror: The fate of the animals captured and implanted with the young of the Ditchlings. The first of them whom you encounter is a deer with a grouping of large, festering lumps all over its face. It's just as unpleasant as it sounds.
  • Bonding over Missing Parents:
    • The protagonist may try to do this with Tabitha to break the ice, due to the fact both of their mothers are now deceased. It goes over about as well as you might expect.
    • The protagonist accomplishes this with Stella much more easily, as both of Stella's parents are now deceased, and the protagonist lost their mother to a terminal illness.
    • The protagonist can manage some of this if they get in the car with Kaneeka in episode 2.
  • Brainless Beauty: The combination of the Hot and Powerful Build traits can be played this way, and if you do so, Kaneeka will even approvingly call it out.
  • Buses Are for Freaks: The protagonist makes their way to their ancestral home via the once weekly bus line, on which they end up across the aisle from an individual who brags about how he used to push people into the water for fun, once seriously considered murdering his girlfriend, and, at present, is considering missing the birth of his child for the sake of going to another state for fun.
  • But Thou Must!: Although all your choices influence the game on some level, there are some key plot lines — such as the cryptid hunt in Chapter 1 or visiting the mines in Chapter 2 — that will take place no matter what you do. Your character can even complain to other characters with some variation of "I see we're doing this no matter what I say".
    • When visiting Reese in episode 3, and coming across an ominous-feeling door, the player is given only one option, over and over. Dr. Kelly interrupts you before you can actually do so, however. Subverted if the player has the "Mystical" trait, as there‚Äôs a well-hidden option to resist the pull if they do.
    Open the door.
  • Calling Parents by Their Name: Tabitha refers to her mother, Pearlanne, by her first name. Reese refers to his mother by her title, "Doc".
  • Cats Are Mean: Tabitha's cat, Frou Frou, is a very condescending and stuck up feline who speaks rudely to you if you can understand her, and will bite you if you try to pet her. Averted with Oscar's cat, Pixel. Despite being an acknowledged paper shredder, he is reasonably friendly if you can understand him. He also gets along well with Gretchen and in Episode 4 serves as a scout for the dog militia patrolling the town.
  • Closed Circle: The town is an isolated village in the mountains, with one bus that only comes once a week. Various characters do have cars, and you can ask them for help escaping, but something always comes up. It's implied at several points that there's some supernatural factor behind the difficulty leaving the Hollow.
  • Company Town: The entirety of Scarlet Hollow was originally founded around the Scarlet Mine.
  • Cool House: For all its falling apart at present, there's no doubt that Scarlet Manor is a very impressive structure, with beautiful architecture, antique furniture, and a spacious back garden. If only it were actually maintained.
  • Creepy Doll: The protagonist can find an eerie-looking porcelain doll if they search the closet of their room. They'll even lament about the fact they would find one in as old a place as Scarlet Manor.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: One must imagine the eventual fate of the animals captured by the Ditchlings.
  • Developer's Foresight: The game has an uncanny trend of tracking dialogue choices the player makes and making Call Backs to them throughout the Episodes. Some examples include:
    • After Stella takes you to the Diner in Episode 1, you have the option of introducing yourself to the other patrons. In Episode 2, when trying to infiltrate the Mining Company, if you try to lie about your identity, the miners will call you out, even if you have the Street Smart Trait, because they were sitting in the Diner in Episode 1.
    • You can make repeated macabre jokes to some of your companions about being part of the "Dead Moms"/"Dead Beat Dads" Club. Tabitha will finally call you out for this Running Gag in Episode 3 during her hangout. Similarly, if you've previously dropped a #Girlboss while chatting with her, she'll bring it up during conversation.
    • Your living situation and choice of career that you can tell Stella about during Episode 1 can come up sporadically in future conversations.
  • Disappeared Dad: If the subject of fathers gets broached, the protagonist can mention that they don't even know if their father is alive or dead, indicating that, whatever his status, he is clearly not a part of their life.
    • Kaneeka and Stella's fathers are both deceased. Kaneeka moved back to Scarlet Hollow in order to support her family in the immediate aftermath of her father's passing.
    • Tabitha's father disappeared when they were young. They view him as a deadbeat, and assume he skipped town to not have to deal with the hassle of divorcing his wife.
  • Disappears into Light: The ghost of Charles Shaw Junior, if the protagonist successfully convinces him to abandon his vengeance and finally pass on.
  • Disgusting Public Toilet: While not a public one, per se, as it's part of Scarlet Manor, the first bathroom the protagonist comes across is revolting, complete with a pile of empty toilet paper rolls in the corner, and bugs scattering when you open up the lid of the toilet.
  • The Dog Bites Back: If the teens all manage to escape the collapse of the Shaw Mine, Alexis will finally have had enough and snap at Becka for nearly getting them killed. Doubly so if the protagonist has the "Keen Eye" trait and gets them all to leave the mine before it even collapses, in which Alexis will absolutely tear into Becka for her constant cruelty and pushing them all into dangerous pastimes, so much so that Becka will run off rather than face it.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Charles Shaw turned to the bottle for solace after being run out of Scarlet Hollow, which eventually killed him. When he makes an appearance in his son's memories, he's practically buried in empty bottles.
  • Eldritch Location: The scenery in the ghostly visions that the protagonist is trapped in during the climax of episode 3. They are completely greyscale, have moving parts to them and use computer-generated images instead of being hand-drawn. They're also chock full of symbolism, as a Book Smart protagonist notes.
  • Emo Teen: Episode 2 sees the player character, Stella, Kaneeka (and possibly Tabitha depending on your choices) following a group of teenagers into an abandoned mine. They very much invoke this trope to a T, sneaking in there to drink and complain about their parents not getting them. They even refer to the player character and the others as being "the Old" even though they are all only in their 20s.
  • Everyone Is Bi: Despite being set in an isolated and rural southern town, your gender has absolutely no influence on who you can date, and same-sex relationships and non-binary identities are treated completely casually by everyone. It's offhandedly mentioned that the local priest's inexplicable creepiness has made the town far more secular then most similar places.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: Stella's claim of everyone who grew up in Scarlet Hollow. At the very least, it's how she and Tabitha met and (supposedly) befriended one another. At least until Tabitha graduated.
  • Failed a Spot Check: In episode 2, the group which enters the Shaw Mine gets so caught up in bickering amongst themselves that they fail to notice several of the kids they had cornered sneaking further into the mine tunnels. Averted if the protagonist has the Keen Eye trait, as they manage to catch the culprits in the act and can catch up with them before they get too far into the mines.
  • Featureless Protagonist: In typical visual novel fashion and the better for players to imagine themselves in the role, the protagonist is never seen, you choose their name and pronouns, and their only canon facial features are "sunken eyes and rigid cheekbones" that almost every Scarlet seems to inherit. Characters will still remark on your appearance in vague terms, particularly with the "Hot" or "Powerful Build" traits, but these do not provide specifics beyond looking good and/or strong.
  • For Your Own Good: Implied about Pearlanne Scarlet by her daughter, Tabitha. Tabitha claims Pearlanne was a strict and overbearing parent, and she resented her for it at the time. But now that she's older, she respects that strictness as it means she never got into trouble and didn't do foolhardy things in her youth.
  • French Jerk: Tabitha's cat Frou-Frou is revealed to be this if you have the "Talk to Animals" trait.
  • From Bad to Worse: Refusing to go along with the ghost's deal in episode 3 enrages it to the point that it takes over the entire library. The whole building is boarded up and labelled as condemned in order to contain the threat.
  • Gas Leak Cover Up: If episode 3 ends with the ghost in Oscar's house taking over the entire library, the gang decides to board the place up and say there was a gas leak in order to prevent people wandering in. The flimsy nature of the whole cover-up is discussed, but everyone admits that they don't have any better excuses.
  • Harder Than Hard: The game has an optional Hardcore Mode that's unlocked after completing all the available episodes. You're allowed to choose three traits instead of two, but in return you're locked out of trait-based outcomes to bypass each episode's Sadistic Choice.
  • Hated Hometown: For the protagonist's mother, Scarlet Hollow was apparently this. Anytime she spoke of it to the protagonist, it was with clear dislike.
  • Harbinger of Impending Doom: The Ditchlings are merely a symptom of the terrible doom which is about to come down on Scarlet Hollow, rather than the root cause. A protagonist who has both "Mystical" and "Talk to Animals" traits will realise that the Ditchlings they come across in Episode 1 are telling them to leave because the town is cursed. They get bolder as the days progress and the hour of reckoning gets closer, wandering further into town and even coming out during daylight hours.
  • Haunted House: Oscar and Rosalina's house is haunted, and the paranormal activity has gotten so bad that they've had to flee the premises and bunk down in the library. The protagonist and friends decide to investigate things in Episode 3. It houses a mysterious seal like the one down in the mines, and also the ghost of Charles "Charlie" Shaw Junior, son of the infamous Charles Shaw.
  • Head Crushing: Wayne casually crushes a Ditchling's head beneath his boot when he appears inside the ghost's visions in episode 3.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In episode 3, this can happen one of two ways when facing off against the basement ghost that demands a portion of the protagonist's or Tabitha's life force as payment for its untimely death. Either the protagonist can take the hit for Tabitha, and give up years of their life to keep her safe from the ghost, or Tabitha can step up in place of her cousin who only just got there.
  • Inspector Javert: The cops, if they are called to investigate the various accidents that can occur in the game, act rather blase about it, instead repeatedly harrassing the player character and blatantly treating them like the prime suspect of a crime they didn't commit, like Duke's potential accidental death in Episode 1 and the mine cave-in in Episode 2. This is despite Stella showing video evidence proving your innocence in the former, and both Stella and Tabitha vouching for your innocence in the latter.
  • Involuntary Group Split: Two of the teenagers, Alexis and Becka, can be potentially left behind when the Shaw Mine collapses, trapped in the mine while the protagonist and a few others get out by the skin of their teeth.
    • The protagonist and potentially Tabitha get separated from the rest of the ghost hunting group, after they enter the ghost's domain. This is later revealed to be a deliberate action on the part of the ghost, as he wanted the current Scarlet descendants to be fully aware of what he's punishing them for.
  • Kids Raiding the Wine Cabinet: Some of the teens in Scarlet Hollow appear to make a pastime out of stealing alcohol and drinking it in secret away from the adults, which the protagonist and company can catch them doing.
  • Kill the Ones You Love: If Gretchen is captured by the Ditchlings in chapter 1, then Stella may be the one to Mercy Kill her.
    • Edwardine Scarlet murdered her own lover, but was very obviously torn up over it.
  • Land Poor: While the Scarlets are undoubtedly one of the wealthiest families in Scarlet Hollow, that really doesn't say much in such a small town. Despite owning their fancy manor and the town's coal mine, the practicalities really shine through in aspects like the dilapidated state of Scarlet Manor.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: Invoked by Tabitha, of all people. In talking to her near the end of episode 2, she'll make a somewhat bitter mention of how often it seems those who aren't ready to be parents end up becoming parents, and those who want them and are prepared end up unable to have any children.
  • Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: Flashbacks seen in Episode 3 reveal that Charles Shaw Junior got Edwardine Scarlet pregnant, though its unknown whether the child of that union ended up being Mary-Belle Scarlet, Edwardine's eldest child and the grandmother of protagonist and Tabitha. Most notably Junior himself has no idea of his child's ultimate fate. A Book Smart protagonist can use this confusion to their advantage during the climax of Episode 3, when Junior's ghost is demanding that either they or Tabitha give up a portion of their lifespan to him, by pointing out that Junior could very well be asking his own descendants to make the ultimate sacrifice.
  • Meaningful Background Event: If you pay attention, during certain scenes the player may notice a shadowy figure in the distance or two glowing eyes staring out of the darkness. Later events make it clear that it's Wayne keeping an eye on you.
  • Mercy Kill: If Gretchen is allowed to slip loose and gets captured by the Ditchlings, Stella makes the decision to put her out of her misery so she doesn't have to suffer like the other animals. You can allow Stella to do it themselves, offer to do it for them, or convince them to let Duke take the shot. Whatever the choice, poor Gretchen isn't allowed to suffer.
  • My Beloved Smother: Reese's mother, Dr Kelly, is constantly hovering over her unwell son, keeping people out of their house most of the time in case it upsets him and makes him feel sicker, even when he openly tells her that he wants to try and live a bit more freely because of how much his illness affects him. Almost to the point some people suspect a more human cause to his illness.
  • Not Blood Siblings/Kissing Cousins: Parodied in the 2022 April Fool's Day update notes, in which Tabitha finds documents proving that she is adopted and can now have a relationship with the protagonist.
  • Old, Dark House: Scarlet Manor to a T. Not helped by the fact that one side of the manor seems to be butted up just to the edge of a precarious-looking cliff.
  • Only Shop in Town: Kaneeka mentions that the general store owned by her family is essentially where the majority of Scarlet Hollow gets their food, and that, as a result, the town might essentially collapse around it if it ever shuts down.
  • People Puppets: In episode 3, this happens to everyone bar Tabitha and the protagonist once they stray into the domain of the ghost that's haunting Oscar's house. A keen-eyed protagonist will eventually deduce that the quite literal puppeteering of the victims is because the ghost was passionate about puppets and dolls when they were alive.
  • Phoneaholic Teenager: Miles, Kaneeka's younger brother, basically spends the whole time you see him on his phone to some degree.
  • The Place: The titular Scarlet Hollow is the location the game takes place in.
  • Police Are Useless: If Duke dies in episode 1, the police will be called, but it takes several minutes for even two officers to get there because the whole department is having their bowling night. And they claim they'll only start looking for the body the next day. By the time they go out there, they can't seem to find it, even though Bo can if you tell him the general location where Duke died.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: Stella jumps at the opportunity to get her childhood cryptid hunting group back together once she realises that something seriously spooky is going down in Scarlet Hollow. The protagonist can drag a few new faces into the mix as well.
  • Running Gag:
    • If the player accepts the bag of boiled peanuts from the stranger on the bus, they have the option of making the protagonist offer the bag to everyone they meet, prompting a consistent string of strained, polite refusals as the townspeople are offered an increasingly disgusting dripping wet plastic bag of peanuts.
    • Episode 1 with a player who's chosen the "Talk to Animals" trait sees the protagonist consistently being disbelieved or thought to be joking if they insinuate or even flat out say they can communicate with animals. It's not until episode 2 that they begin to be remotely believed.
    • Stella's consistent refusal to believe that the "Skunk Ape" in the woods could possibly be a mountain lion, despite nearly everyone she mentions the topic to arguing the possibility of it being the more mundane option.
  • Sadistic Choice:
    • Episode 1 will face you with the choice of diving for the flashlight to let Duke take a good shot at the Ditchlings, or diving for Gretchen to keep her from running off after them. Whichever choice you make, the other loses their life for it. Unless you choose the "Powerful Build" trait at the beginning, in which case you can Take a Third Option and save the both of them.
    • Episode 2 will force you to force Rosalina to escape with you from the caving mine but leaving two of her friends, Becka and Alexis, behind, or going back to rescue them but this resulting in Rosalina's leg breaking in the escape attempt. This can largely be avoided if you choose the "Keen Eye" trait as you will be able to catch them before they sneak off.
    • Episode 3 will see the player and Tabitha being put on tribunal by the vengeful spirit of Charlie Shaw. He wants payback for the injustice done to him by the Scarlet ancestors and intends to make either the player or Tabitha pay the price. One of the characters is forced to sacrifice a portion of their life force and there will be lasting effects. The only way to get out of this entirely is if you have the "Book Smart" trait, as you can then make an argument that neither yourself nor Tabitha should be held responsible for the sins of your ancestors. The player and Tabitha can also opt to just pull a Screw This, I'm Outta Here, but the implication is they are just prolonging the issue as Charlie Shaw's spirit will refuse to rest.
    • Episode 4 will have you pitted between Reese, who transformed into a monster and is hellbent on killing his mother, and Dr. Kelly. If you took the elephant tranquilizers from the medicine cabinet beforehand, she will use them on Reese and later lock him in the safe room for protection, otherwise he will eat her. If you called Tabitha earlier and told her about Reese, she will arrive with a shotgun and shoot at him, giving you a further option of outright killing the guy by dragging him outside and setting him on fire. However, should you have chosen the "Hot" trait, it will allow you to approach Reese and calm him down, making him realise the gravity of what he's about to do and run away into the woods. Alternatively, you can choose to stay in the basement until he comes back, with the implication that he killed his mother offscreen.
  • The Scapegoat: While he was no angel, Charles Shaw is entirely blamed for the mine collapse of 1918, when it was actually caused by Enoch Scarlet knowingly using sub-par wood to build the mine supports.
  • Secret Relationship: Charlie Shaw and Edwardine Scarlet, as the former is a persona non grata in the Holler due to his father being blamed for the mine collapse of 1918.
    • Tabitha's relationships with both Stella and Sam Wayne. Stella is completely blindsided by the reveal of the second relationship, though it was an open secret among Wayne's buddies.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sliding Scale of Animal Communication: Without the "Talk to Animals" trait, it's a level 4. With the trait, the players can see animals like Pixel the cat and Gretchen the dog speaking to one another without a translator, so presumably even without the trait, this is where they lie in communication abilities. With the trait, it goes up to level 5.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: A major theme of Episode 3. Angry townsfolk ran out Charles Shaw's entire family under this justification after the Collapse of 1918. Charles Shaw Junior was later murdered by Edwardine Scarlet when he finally returned to Scarlet Hollow, and nearly a century later his angry spirit is still determined to make her descendants pay for this transgression.
    • The protagonist can discuss this with Tabitha, after they discover that the Collapse was caused by Enoch Scarlet deliberately using diseased wood for the mine supports. The protagonist can feel very guilty over this knowledge, while Tabitha doesn't see the point of both of them beating themselves up over it.
  • Small Town Boredom: At least one reason the teenagers of the town seem to take to drinking in abandoned mine shafts, being the nature of a small town means there's nothing to do without an adult having their nose in it.
  • Southern Gothic: Has all the trappings; set in the Deep South, a family with dark secrets, an ominous mansion, ghosts...
  • Speak Ill of the Dead: If a player has the "Keen Eye" trait, they can overhear some of the miners in the diner discussing the late Pearlanne Scarlet. She was clearly an unpopular woman, given one of them hopes she will "rot in peace". Even her own daughter will openly say that she was a monster.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: If you choose the "Talk to Animals" trait at the beginning of the game.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Tabitha and Sam Wayne, as the Wayne who Tabitha knew was most likely killed shortly after he went missing.
    • Charles Shaw Junior and Edwardine Scarlet, which ended in tragedy when Edwardine bludgeoned Charles to death.
  • Stepford Snarker: Implied to be the case with Tabitha. A player with the "Keen Eye" trait may observe that she's keeping a lot in, and that a lot of her snark may simply be a defense mechanism to hide her grieving.
  • Stereotype Flip: If the protagonist expresses interest in attending church, Stella can tell them most townspeople do not (the protagonist can express amazement at a non-religious community in the rural South). Stella will clarify that it is not due to lack of religious beliefs, it's that the current pastor gives off a weird vibe.
  • Strike Episode: The employees of the Scarlet mine go on strike on day 4. The size of the strike varies depending on the events of previous days.
  • Take a Third Option: An actual game mechanic, called Trait Saves. Every episode so far has a Sadistic Choice at the climax. However, each choice has one Trait that allows you to bypass it and save everyone! There's an achievement for ignoring your trait save and making the sadistic choice anyway, and Hardcore Mode removes this mechanic, forcing you to make all the choices no matter your build.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Or at least, teen fatherhood. Tabitha can mention in episode 2 how Rosalina was either conceived or born when her father Oscar was only 19.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: After the negligence of Charles Shaw caused a mine collapse that killed over a hundred men, he was quite literally run out of town on a rail. The protagonist experiences his son's memories of facing the mob first-hand in episode 3.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Becka. She spends the majority of episode 2 badmouthing the adults who try to get them to leave an abandoned mine and putting down her so-called friends, and can even nearly get them killed in a mine shaft collapse, if not for the protagonist and friends.
  • Unknown Relative: The player's cousin Tabitha, and their now deceased aunt, Pearlanne. Justified, in that the player's mother apparently left Scarlet Hollow for good and had little to no contact with that side of the family for years until her child eventually returned sometime after her death.
  • The Unsmile: On rare occasion, Tabitha may try to smile. It's not a nice sight.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: When seeing Wayne in episode 1, face hidden in shadow and ominously saying the player's name, the player is chilled to the bone on sight. But Sybil, upon seeing him, simply tells him to leave without any concern.
  • When I Was Your Age...: Though not quite played straight, Tabitha attempts to give the trespassing teens a talking-to by saying that back in the heyday of the Shaw Mine, children as young or even younger than them would be working 12-hour shifts in the dark and dust, mining coal simply to support their families.
  • When She Smiles: While Tabitha's attempts to force a smile are... unsettling, to say the least, depending on the choices the player makes she briefly flashes a rather nice (if understated) natural smile during her hangout at the start of Chapter 3.
  • Written by the Winners: A Book Smart protagonist questions if this may be the case in episode 2, when they come across the vilification of Charles Shaw. They are later proven right at the climax of the episode, when it's revealed that Shaw was a scapegoat for the actions of Enoch Scarlet.
  • You Sexy Beast: The player can choose this by initiating a romance with either Sam Wayne or with Reese.
  • Young Love Versus Old Hate: Charles "Charlie" Shaw Junior and Edwardine Scarlet were childhood sweethearts torn apart after Enoch Scarlet set Charles Shaw Senior up to take the fall for the mine collapse of 1918. Years later the couple reunited and attempted to break free from their families so they could start a new life together. Charlie even attempted to break the mystical connection the Scarlets have to the Holler, after receiving advice from a mysterious witch. Ultimately all their efforts came to naught, as Charlie was brutally murdered by Edwardine shortly after he discovered one of the odd seals that are scattered about the town.

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