A Comedy of Manors


Image description: [A collage of rural photographs on a dark background spells out “A Comedy of Manors” /end description]

Born and bred in small town Kentucky, you’ve called New York City home since graduating from high school. But with a master’s degree in hand, that chapter of your life is coming to a close. The trouble is you don’t know what comes next. Until a medieval manor falls into your lap, that is. Now you’re chasing success half-way around the world. Will you get Darbury Manor up and running or scurry home with your tail between your legs?

  • Play as male, female, or nonbinary; gay, straight, bi, or ace.
  • Customize your appearance and personality.
  • Befriend, romance, and irritate the locals.
  • Juggle your relationships, reputation, and business.
  • Uncover unique opportunities to use to your advantage.
  • Leave your mark on Talverton!

Welcome to my escapist, Mediterranean fantasy! Play the demo here!

Keywords: humor, comedy, lighthearted, escapist, slice of life, romance

Cast and Crew

The ROs

  • Alberta/Albert (Bertie) Carroll - The laid back contractor restoring your manor; very tall with light skin, dirty-blonde hair, and light green eyes
  • Gabrielle/Gabriel Duchamp - Cranky chef and restaurateur; tall with olive colored skin, curly brown hair, and hazel eyes
  • Rashida/Rashid (Rash) Khalef - Flirtatious artist and beach bum; average-height with bronze colored skin, long black hair, and dark brown eyes
  • Antonia/Antonio (Tony) Ruiz - Charming bartender and former sailor; tall with brown skin, curly brown hair, and forest green eyes

Everyone Else

  • Oliver Bates - Shy teenager who never knows quite what to do with his lanky limbs
  • Charlie Carroll - Excitable neighbor and fellow farmer
  • Frankie Carroll - Local school teacher and troublemaker extraordinaire
  • Ines Duchamp - Meddling-and-matchmaking grandma
  • Alex McNally - Best friend and fellow expatriate
  • Sebastian More - Bumbling family-man-mayor of Talverton
  • Judy Shaw - Quirky baker with a sassy tongue

Feedback

I’ll take it all! Feel free to post here, send me a private message, or shoot me an ask on tumblr. Here are some questions to get you started:

  • Did you find any typos, misspellings, grammatical errors, discontinuities, or bugs?
  • Were there sections that should have had a line_break or page_break? Sections that shouldn’t have?
  • Were some scenes too fast or too slow?
  • Which part did you like best/least and why?
  • Which parts could use more work/content? Do you have specific suggestions? Were there parts that didn’t make sense?
  • Who is your (least) favorite character and why?
  • Were there sections that you feel could use more sensitivity/were problematic? What can I do to address your concerns?
  • What do you (dis)like about the world building and why?
  • Were there *choices that didn’t have an #option you wanted?
  • Were there times when something you expected to happen actually happened? Times when your expectations were thwarted?
  • What do you (dis)like about the writing style and why?

As always, please blur your spoilers like this!


A note for the code divers

If you take a peek under the hood, the stats (personality traits, relationships, and the like) should be fairly straightforward. If you think a stat-check is unreasonable, please let me know! I think the rest of my system, however, will be rather… opaque. There are soooo many variables! You’ll probably get the gist of the organization and naming convention, but it’ll probably be hard to make heads or tales of them without my handy-dandy variable guide. That’s on purpose! I don’t want the code to give away many clues about the narrative, only the mechanics of the game. This unfortunately means that it might be difficult to detect some errors, but if you think you’ve found a discontinuity in the narrative, please let me know!

Changelog

02/10/21

  • God Mode added
  • Images added
  • Image descriptions added
  • Scene added
  • Scene added: B, C, F & A/J & O; I & G; R; S; T
  • Scene begun: New Year’s Eve
  • Dialogue options repeated after choices
  • Total word count with code: 118,000
  • Total word count without code: 98,000
  • Demo word count without code: 83,000
  • Average play-through: 30,000

11/23/20
  • Option added: sober!MC
  • Options added: character customization
  • POV scene added: S
  • POV scene added: C
  • POV scene added: I
  • POV scene added: B
  • POV scene added: G
  • Scene added: G
  • Scene added: A/J
  • Scene added: T
  • Scene begun: B, C, F & A/J & O; I & G; R; S
  • Scene begun: Halloween
  • Total word count with code: 82,000
  • Total word count without code: 70,000
  • Demo word count without code: 52,000
  • Average play-through: 27,000
08/30/20
  • Typos fixed
  • Height choice incorporated into prologue
  • Scene added: B
  • Scene added: A, C, & J
  • Scene added: I/S
  • Scene added: J
  • Scene added: I & G
  • Scene added: A & F/C
  • Scene added: R
  • Total word count with code: 52,000
  • Total word count without code: 42,000
  • Demo word count without code: 40,000
  • Average play-through: 23,000
05/15/20
  • Grammar and spelling fixed
  • Alex’s pronouns fixed
  • Custom pronouns added
  • Q&A added
  • Scene added: A & S
  • Scene added: A/B
  • Scene added: B & I
  • Total word count (including unpublished content): 25,000
04/21/20
  • Private beta published
04/10/20
  • Prologue published privately

Coming Next Time (Probably!)
  • Independence Day :fireworks:

Word Count
Total including command lines: 118,000
Total excluding command lines: 98,000
Demo excluding command lines: 83,000
Average play-through: 30,000

Tumblr | Kofi | Spotify

208 Likes

It’s here! Your game is really good. I enjoy the variation of choice we have, and the character relationships are just chef’s kiss. :blush:

3 Likes

I like this story very much! The prose is very smooth and the character interactions are lovely.

Also, I misclicked at the height customisation. And my poor MC ended up with 4’0. Well, woops…

7 Likes

I’m enjoying the story so far! I’ve lived in central Kentucky my entire life, so I’m looking forward to this. I haven’t played the entire demo, but one thing that kind of nagged at me, and it’s just personal opinion, is in reference to the grandparents. In one sentence, they are referred to as grandmother or grandfather, and the next sentence they are mamaw and papaw. Personally, it just doesn’t read right to me and I’ve only ever heard one person refer to their grandparents as grandmother or grandfather :joy:

2 Likes

Never thought I would like “Slice-of-life” games but this is pretty great! Can’t wait for more

2 Likes

I’ll do a more thorough dive later on if I have the time, but so far here’s what I noticed:

(Spoilers under everything here)

Typos and Stuff

In story_prologue.txt:

You turn back to Alex and catch ${their} eye.

In story_20_01_03.txt:

Alex joins you in what you imagine is a sitting room.
"It's been a while—" ${a_they} shrugs "—but I don't see as we have any other option, so I guess I'll have to give it the ol' college try."
$!{they} crouches down in front of the fireplace and begins laying the logs in what you can only assume is a strategic pattern.

In story_20_01_04.txt:

        Alex shakes ${a_their} head with a laugh.
        "You're something else."

        "Not gonna join me?" you tease with puppy-dog eyes.

        $!{a_they} waves her hand at you dismissively.

Alex uses MC’s pronouns or didn’t have their pronouns set properly in these instances.

Alex smirks at you.

“Whatever, the creek’s too full of gunk for a race anyway.”

“That’s not what you said when I challenged you, looser.”

I just pointed it out once here but there are other instances where “loser” typo happens during the impromptu boat race.

In story_20_03_14.txt:

“There aren’t many major holidays—” Charlie cocks her head to the side, thinking, “—but City Day is really fun.”

“City day?” Alex asks.

City Day should be capitalized here.

In story_20_04_23.txt:

“I miss you too, mom.”

You’re lying, sprawled out on your little couch…

The combination of these two sentences almost made me think that MC’s lying about missing their mom. Maybe just omit “lying”?

In story_20_06_11.txt:

“Well I won’t look a gift horse in the mouth,” Tony says with a grin as she squares your cash away. “Gotta say, though, it’s not often someone turns down a free drink around here.”

“Is it often you often free drinks around here?” you ask.

The second often should be offer instead, I think.

“What can I get you?” she asks Charlie, leaning on the counter like she had with you.

“You got it,” Tony responds before turning to Alex. She holds out a hand. “You must be Alex.”

Your friend takes the bartender’s hand. “You got it.”

“Do you want sex on the beach like your friend?”

I think there’s some missing text between the first and second lines? Charlie didn’t mention what her drink was before Tony speaks with Alex.

Other Misc. Feedback
  1. Maybe it’s because I’m back into farming sims again recently, but this feels like Stardew Valley. The whole “Here’s an essentially free real estate for you to restore back to its glory by a time limit and a lively town nearby with the friendliest of peeps–have fun!” premise, especially. I’m bad at conveying tone, so let me stat outright that I really like that it reminds me of that.

  2. There are three short-ish scenarios where the viewpoint shifts from MC to other characters. It may be just me, but the head-hopping feels really sudden. It’s neat to see what’s going on inside the other characters’ heads, but I can’t deny it if it takes me out of the story completely.

  3. Very much appreciate that the flirting options are in italics.

  4. However! I dislike how the ROs immediately reacted kinda dismissively when MC decided not to flirt with them? Two examples to show what I mean:

You won’t meet her eyes. “Everyone else I’ve met has been really welcoming.”

Bertie frowns slightly. “I’m glad. But I guess since the invasion is over, I’d better get back to the grind.”

You pull at your hair. “Sounds like a plan.” Is your voice a higher pitch than usual?

"You beam. “I’m glad you like them!”

Rash’s brow creases, and he rubs the back of his neck. “Yeah, they’re great. Thanks for bringing them.”

Emphasis are mine. Just find it weird since this is pretty much MC’s first meetings with them and I thought I chose the dialogue where MC was being friendly.

  1. There are some chapters where I feel that things flew by too fast? Gonna bring up March 31st as an example: it’s just MC musing about construction progress and some conversation with Judy. Or April 23rd, which is just MC’s mom calling them. Maybe it can be merged with the previous or the next chapter? It’ll lose the day-to-day feel, which I understand if you prefer to keep.

  2. Please let us keep Augustus as a pet goose. I feel so bad when MC had to think about butchering him :sob: Make him the mascot or something! I’m all set on renaming the place to The Goose Manor if I must. He’s already on my sign, after all.

  3. If I have to pick some least favourite characters, I had to go with Ines and her grandkid, but I’m pretty sure that’s intentional. I am, however, looking forward to winning them both over; I don’t care how many baked goods it’s gonna take!

I’m very much looking forward to more of your game, and I hope I didn’t get too rambly with everything I posted here!

2 Likes

Loved it.!:heart:.The story seems simple but it’s smooth and interesting and got me involved in it.Definitely waiting for next update and yeah,for more interaction with Rashida :wink:.One thing I was curious to know that are you planning to introduce any antagonist in your game.?

1 Like

Random question. Do you have any particular buildings in mind which give inspiration for Darbury Manor?

1 Like

aaaaaah it’s here! i’ve been following this project for a while now on tumblr and now that it’s here, let me gush about how much i love this!

typo/error i found:

a1

not exactly a typo, but a pronoun error. this is from climbing the tree scene, i picked male alex in the beginning.

i love the writing style most of all! it’s fun, and you really nailed the comedy that this concept seems to promise. the characters are sooo fun as well, and the interactions your mc could have with them is such a fun read.

i’m very much in love with this, and i’m looking forward for more, especially all the angst in alex’s route…

1 Like

So so glad to finally see this on the forum! Not unlike @aranea, I’ve been following this for a bit on tumblr, so I’m eager to jump back into our wacky little world of Talverton! :european_castle:

1 Like

Comedy is spot-on. A lot of people swing and miss at trying for a consistently humorous tone, but this is a home run :cricket_bat_and_ball: :baseball: :boom: !

The editor in me, however, wants to clean up some minor bits, but that does not dampen my praise!

PS - I didn’t quite realize that the check-in clerk “Sir/ma’am/buddy” question was me deciding my form of address (I read it as “buddy” = rude, “sir/ma’am” = polite).

2 Likes

Love this, I was into Alex, but apparently they might date Frankie/Francis, plus that make out with Rashida completely converted me. I’m already in love with them lol.

2 Likes

there’s a makeout?! omg need to go replay this again because i definitely Missed That.

3 Likes

This was very charming! I wish I had more time to leave you proper feedback, but I’ll be back later :slight_smile:

1 Like

Yeah, flirt with Rashida/Rashid and go see them at the end. I picked the dramatic kiss where you suddenly both find yourselves kissing each other at the end of the demo, it’s great.

2 Likes

oh my god, thank you! i totally missed that in my earlier playthroughs so i’m definitely trying it out now!

2 Likes

That was an interesting game! I love how the manor was $1 :joy:- i wish all houses were like that. I can’t stop flirting with everyone lol

errors-

I was bored sooo



Alex was male in my playthrough

is something missing?

his

space

no quotation mark

I love you better

period

  1. period
  2. Capital

    this is me?

Edit- wait what- (do we get to suggest different designs?)

1 Like

First and foremost, thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read my story and comment!

I’m so glad you enjoy it! Thank you for telling me :grin:

Thank you! I’ll be rooting for your smol expatriate :heart:

I’m so glad! It’s always neat to find another Kentuckian in the wild haha

…nice to meet you! I call my grandparents grandmother and grandfather! But more as titles than names if you get what I mean? Like I would say “I’m going to call my grandmother” the way you might say “I’m going to call my friend,” or “I’m going to call my colleague.” But if I’m referring to them “by name” I would say, “I just talked to mamaw,” in the way I might say, “I just talked to Alex.” I think having lived my entire adult life in New York has definitely impacted the way I talk, made me more conscious of dialect choices, so I’m going to leave this one the way it is in the text, but please continue to give me feedback about the language! It’s really interesting and useful!

Glad to have converted you!

This is invaluable, thank you!

I can definitely say that Harvest Moon (or Story of Seasons now I guess) has been an influence!

This is something I’ll have to think about. I could add a toggle in the stats screen to turn them on or off, though that in and of itself is a 4th wall breaker. I’m not married to them by any means, but I think the only way to really avoid the immersion break would be removal, and it does cut straight to the heart to delete things haha. I’m open to suggestions!

Thank you for bringing this up, because that’s not the intent I had, so I will need to work on making my intent clear in the text. The Bertie scene should only appear if you have already flirted with them previously, so Bertie is reacting to perceived rejection. If you got this scene by error, please let me know so that I can go hunt down the bug in the code! As for Rash, they are supposed to be reacting to the MC’s naivety/obliviousness in failing to understand the innuendo, not MC’s decision not to flirt with them. I will go back and give this scene a little TLC to make sure it’s more clear.

Did you also think that about the mini-scene with the outhouse? I do want to keep the day-to-day structure of the game, so I don’t think I’ll be changing that, but I’ll be thinking about this! I may just have to lengthen these sections, but I am open to other suggestions that would help with pacing too!

I can guarantee that Gus will be making additional appearances :wink:

I will be! You can think of the first year of the game as an exposition of sorts: meeting the characters, getting familiar with the tone and ideas. But a villain will appear at the end of the first act! After that, there will still be some slice of life type features, but there will also be “quests” of a sort as well as an overarching plot.

Kind of! So at the beginning, Darbury Manor was Darbury Castle, and I was really taken by Augill Castle in Northern England. So probably that’s still the inspiration? And I just won’t worry too much about the distinction between a castle and a manor? Because language is fake and I can do what I want :sunglasses: I also took some inspiration from Amberley Castle, Guildford Castle, and Leeds Castle. Augill Castle is how I continue to imagine the exterior of Darbury, and the others kind of complete the picture in terms of castle walls, grounds, etc.

Aaaaaaa :heart_eyes: thank you! And thank you for pointing out that pronoun error!

Thank you! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

Thank you! :cupid:

The writer in me would love for you to do that! Please feel free! Although big picture stuff is harder to fix, the small picture stuff is harder to find, and typo/discontinuity reports are completely invaluable.

Thank you for pointing this out. Do you think if I dropped “buddy” altogether that the intent would be more obvious?

I’m so glad you like them! Both of them haha

Thank you! :smile:

Thank you for pointing these out! There are a couple that were meant to be the way they are, but I’ve fixed the rest!

Yes! Of course writing it into the game won’t do anything, but if you have any suggestions for options for the sign motif, please do share them with me! I unfortunately can’t let the player input their own text here because I won’t be able to write reactions/dependent text for custom inputs. If there’s an option you’d like to see here, I’m all ears :ear: :smiley:

5 Likes

Well damn, I can’t wait for future updates.
Keep it up​:grin::grin::clap::clap::+1:

1 Like

Won’t lie, I kinda jumped ship from Alex to Rashida lol

1 Like