Beyond the Fields We Know - WIP [Chapters 5 and 6 now available!]

#1

The year is 1390, and in an England still recovering from famine, plague and armed rebellion, a new disaster seems set to befall the royal house. Prince Bertram, heir to the throne, has been kidnapped, and Lady Catherine of the King’s Own Retainers is hard on the trail – with you as her faithful squire.

Your search has brought you to the market-town of Crook’s Field – but as you begin to make enquiries you discover a much stranger festival being held on the outskirts. The Goblin Market is in full swing, and any one of its denizens might hold a clue to finding the Prince – or offer other experiences you can hardly dream of.

Will you be tempted by the fortune-teller and her young apprentice? Dazzled by the alchemist and his golden promises? Drawn into the tent of marvels, and to the dancers who hide behind their veils? Or will you stay loyal to Lady Catherine – and perhaps even hope to be more than a squire to her.

The Market, so they tell you, can provide all these things and more – as long as you’re prepared to pay the price…

Beyond the Fields We Know is a medieval knightly adventure crossing over into the lands of Faerie.

You can play the first 6 chapters online here.

  • Play as a male, female or non-binary squire of the house of Dacre
  • Master the knightly arts of combat, chivalry, falconry, music and more
  • Pick sides in the cut-throat field of 14th-Century politics
  • Befriend nobles, common folk, churchmen and Fae
  • Battle in tournaments for glory, or duel after dark for blood
  • Travel beyond the borders of our world into perilous woods and monster-haunted castles
  • Insult people in rhyme!

Beyond the Fields We Know currently stands at around 75K words for chapters 1-6. The game’s likely to be 10 chapters total when completed.

I’d really appreciate your feedback on this first section of the game - questions, comments and suggestions are all welcome!

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#2

Is there any specific feedback you’re looking for?

Also, is it fair to expect Shakespearean humor (despite the time period)?

In addition, I would recommend either using a double-hyphen (the proper term is escaping me, at the moment) or a space before and after hyphens, for your side clauses. Due to how late it is (0200, local time), I was interpreting the ones I saw as complex words, first, rather than indicators of separate clauses - EG:

#3

I think the overall pacing of events is what I’d most like feedback on - does it hold peoples’ interest? Is it too fast-moving? Too slow? Are there any sections that didn’t work for someone?

I’ve kept the languge simpler than full-on Shakesperian wordplay (partly for accessibility), but I’m open to suggestions!

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#4

As for pacing, I am not more than a few pages in, at the moment, as indicated by the above screenshot, but I would say that, due to the setting, jumping right into the action feels a little bit jarring, to me.

I am a proponent of avoiding pages and pages of exposition at the beginning, but, to me, it feels a little bit off to jump in with no introduction to the characters. Why should i care that the prince is missing, if I’ve no reason to/no real introduction to who he is/who I am in relation to him?

This is personal opinion, of course, and I may end up changing my mind, as I read further :slight_smile:

In addition, it feels slightly off to have some pages only have a few lines of text, followed by a page with several paragraphs.

Example of a long page

I would *page_break here, personally.

That said, I really enjoy the interaction between her ladyship and my character so far, though I will admit that some of her formality makes it a struggle for this American to parse what she’s saying!

Typos/Other Misc Suggestions

You may wish to use either and or nor.

The following, to me, looks like she’s being cut off by something - such as a knife being held to her neck - in the last paragraph.

With Chronicon, there was a bit of a backlash for not having the ability to set one’s own name, so it may be a good idea to allow player input on that variable.

As for chivalry, is that a measure of our character’s morals or just their adherence to the chivalrous code?

And, finally, I am going to stop editing and force myself to sleep, as I have work in a few hours. Good luck! The game honestly looks promising, so I look forward to finishing the currently available beta :slight_smile:

#5

Em dash. Or En, not sure which one to use. I suppose pick your own poison.
— –

As for the author, for now, you can write those dashes as it is. Later on, you can simply Ctrl + F and replace all of your dashes in your editor.

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#6

Is this a historical story/game based on War of the Roses ? Because i saw Richard II 's name , and am intrigue with the prospect of altering the history where the White Rose could continue to rule :slight_smile:

Anyway, it looks very interesting already at the beginning of the story :slight_smile:

Edit : Wow !!! It is such a great medieval fantasy game worthy of rivaling the greatness and becoming the spiritual successor of The Great Tournament , most importantly it re-kindle my memory of the quest to becoming a worthy knight of my own by serving another beloved knight in shining armour, in this case Lady Catherine instead of Sir Robert, i had started to grown fond of Lady Catherine and the interaction with her had becoming more and more warm hearted , i suspect Catherine could become a love interest in the future ? :-):relaxed:

With greater historical background of the British Isles and the squire-master vibe of Great Tournament , Beyond the Field we know could become an awesome Hybrid between chronicon apocalyptica and Great Tournament , taking in the strength of both … the detail historical/ landscape description of the medieval England like Chronicon and the adventurous pacing of Great Tournament… I will definitely rooting for this story to become one of my favourite CoG/HG :slight_smile:

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#7

Alt+0151 on the numpad right?

EDIT: I was on my phone earlier.

#8

Well, to be honest, I prefer to google it and save the symbol on my “important stuff” compendium.txt

#9

I missed being a squire way too much :joy:

I really like how you’re playing the story. Being able to smash that idol at first was awesome. I would like to know what is of that village and the Orchard’s now, but that’s me. The stats do make me feel a little wary. Like, I’m not sure if a 34% is good enough for a tournament? Maybe it’s because it seems like a low number or I just been doing other things. I agree with the long pages thing, it would be swifter with the page breaks.

I really liked your story and the characters. You made Strange exactly like an old man I know who isn’t actually evil, just seems like so and you made me doubt the whole mission. But I’m a loyal squire, I’m here for my Lady. Catherine is awesome. I don’t really think we do have to have that much relationship to the missing prince at first? I’m mostly just doing it because I want to help Catherine, but if you do want our priority to find him to be because we know him, then some text about him would be cool, yeah. I like it either way.

My first language isn’t English but you managed to made it pretty understandable (I did have to look up some words like always and when I came back had to do the whole playthrough again :joy:, so please add a save button if you find the time, that would be cool) and here are some minor errors I found. I hope it helps and to see more chapters soon 'xD

Summary

A goto when I second met Tyto (who I hope to see again, he seems cool)
20190131_135358
And a “now when know when”. Hope this helps some. Keep writting!
20190131_135337

#10

One thing I did notice was that, on the early choices at least, it felt like the options should have affected my stats, but I only ever saw music and chivalrous increase. I haven’t taken a look at the code, yet, but that felt a little strange to me.

ETA: I am at work so still haven’t read much further than the name choice.

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#11

This was interesting!

In terms of pacing – the stop at the church in chapter 1 seemed very perfunctory, and I’m not sure what it was meant to add. (Edit: This may have been because of the choices I made? I looked in the window then went to get Catherine, who resolved things immediately.) Other than that, the pacing felt fine to me.

In terms of general presentation – I’m not sure whether this is tilted more towards history/14th century politics or more generic fae/adventuring. The summary sort of implies both? Which may be a tough needle to thread wrt managing reader expectations (see, e.g., reactions to Chronicon).

A few technical issues:
  • I chose the name “Robin,” but it didn’t register (i.e. there’s a blank instead of “Robin” wherever first name would be used) – actually, none of the nb names I tried worked.
  • Nonbinary MC, but Catherine implies I’m female – “You’re a braver woman than I, squire!”
Stats stuff:
  • Is “chivalry,” like, a charisma stat, or actually about adhering to chivalric code?
  • Since personality stats are affecting outcomes, it would be nice to see them on the stats page.
#12

A great story with a great writing style. The pacing is also good. I’m quite eager to see more of it in the future.

However there is one thing I would like to ask. In chapter 3 when you are at the abbey, what do you have to do make the men of the baron less suspicious to you. I already replayed that part several times, but every single time I have been discovered and reported no matter what I picked. Is there some way to avoid that or is that something that always happens?

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#13

Thanks, everyone, that’s really helpful. I’ve squashed the typos and the bug with the nonbinary names, and I’ve added some more information to the stats screen that should make some choices and success/failure clearer. I’ll try and make the formatting clearer as well.

@ashestoashes018 Chivalry’s more about mastery of the social and conversational code. The character’s morals are better-reflected by Honor, which I’ve now made into a visible stat. And thank you for all your other feedback!

@Eric_knight It’s slightly before the Wars of the Roses (which started with Henry the 6th, I believe?) but it’s based on the political state towards the end of the 14th Century, though I’ve added an extra heir to the royal family.

@Gabs It’s hopefully a balance between both! I’ll have a look at the Chronicon feedback in more detail, though.

@BrachydiosX There are some stats tested in the second round of choices that previously weren’t visible - I’ve added them to the stats screen. Hope that helps!

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#14

Haha i think the War of the Roses had already started ? With the Crown changes hand between the 2 Houses, Richard II should be the last King of York (white Rose) … after that the war will slowly end with the Red Rose gain the final decisive victory :wink:

Edit : i had mistaken Richard III as Richard II apparently , sorry :-):stuck_out_tongue:

#15

I read this to get a sneaky feel for how someone else was handling a story in the medieval period and now I almost wish I hadn’t because it’s so good it’s causing me to reevaluate whole swathes of my own project!

What I liked especially:

  • Catherine. She’s strong and principled enough for me to want to follow her but there’s a hint of vulnerability and rashness there too, so I also want to shield her. Basically, she made a good squire out of me.

  • The supernatural elements are handled very deftly. I assume they’ll be more explicit later in the story but for now they’re just bubbling under the surface and that’s perfect. It feels genuinely magical.

  • The mystery. You pace it really well, feeding in hints and clues at just the right rate to hold my interest. I really do want to find out what happened to my sister and Prince Bertram.

Three minor catches for you:

  • I named my falcon Fetch and in Chapter three one option started with the word ‘fetch’ (the choice to distract the guards), making for a clumsy sentence.

  • I peeked through the church window to see what was on the altar and then had exactly the same description of it again when I entered the church to talk to the priest.

  • When I spoke to the priest, he said “son squire, what is the meaning of this?” - might need to check that.

Thanks for a great read - I’m really looking forward to the full game!

#16

@Wiwyums Thank you - really glad to hear you liked it so far, and I’ve (hopefully) squashed those issues!

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#17

I’ve now added chapters 5-6, covering the grand tournament and a fateful encounter in the woods! All feedback is again gratefully appreciated.

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