Hi hi! I’ve finally gotten a good start on the first draft for my very first game, Conspiracy in Emerson.
Emerson, an ultra-wealthy port town on the east coast of the United States, has held a strong religious belief in self-preservation and personal success for just about three centuries. This way of life is so deeply ingrained in the town’s history, politics, and culture that now, in 1997, things are reaching an untenable state. The older methods of subtleties and negotiation have deteriorated as the stakes have risen, the egos have grown, and the competition has stiffened. People are resorting to sabotage. Slander. Smear campaigns. Shaming. Framing. Arson.
A month before senior year at Emerson Prep starts, you accidentally get caught up in the violent crimes of two of your classmates. The course of your life takes a sharp turn into the macabre as you get your first peek behind the curtain of your Machiavellian hometown. Quickly swept up in a series of sabotage missions and contract-killings that take Emerson by storm, are you a victim of circumstance? Just along for the ride?
Or a willing accomplice?
Currently, I expect the story to be around 11 chapters with each chapter, save for the prologue and epilogue, more or less covering the events of one month of the school year. The second (final) book takes place ten years later. I’m happy to be able to say that I currently have the intro and part one of the prologue done–or, y’know, done enough to share. The content warning will almost definitely change as I add content, but I will always make it clear here on the thread when it has.
The story will likely have a lot of 90’s Americana nostalgia, but one of my priorities is making sure it is still understandable and enjoyable for other nationalities and those with English as a second, third–or fourth?? damn, Gina! …ok i’m sorry–language.
The prologue as a whole is at about 40%, but the demo just has a small portion of that so far. I’ve just started writing part 2 of the prologue.
Coming up next
- The dreaded catering event
- Skill selection
And after that
- Second half of the Prologue
-Introduction of two main characters (both romance options)
-The mess that kicks the story off
- Character customization
Adding genderfluid MC options
-It’s a little different than the umbrella term ‘non-binary’ allows for, including with pronouns. I don’t have plans for pronouns beyond he/she/they, but I am thinking about adding something for MCs who happily float around with pronouns and gender expression. There’s already a genderfluid character on cast, so it feels weird to not have that option for players…
Not adding personality stats for a while
-I am taking a lot of time to make sure the stats make sense and feel relevant to the gameplay. Personality will be important to the relationships with other characters, but the last thing I want is to assign personality values to choices and then have those values be just superficial or, worse, meaningless. Once I get stats planned out properly, I’ll probably implement them bit by bit. Current personality stats: Selfless vs. Selfish, Dreary vs. Cheery, Deceptive vs. Genuine, Instinctive vs. Deliberate, Crass vs. Class, Upstanding vs. Cutthroat, and Compassion vs. Cruelty.
It’s 1997 in an ultra-wealthy port town on the east coast of the United States. Emerson has always used its wealth and its upper class citizenry’s considerable influence to divert outside attention from its deeply ingrained cutthroat culture and quasi-Catholic religion. Lately, things have been getting tense in the upper echelons of society. Old money and new money interests compete for influence over Emerson and the whole town is on edge as the toxicity of all the in-fighting, feuds, and rivalries has begun to trickle down from the wealthy to rest on the shoulders of the middle- and lower-classes.
Also, the wind has been, like, really bad lately and it’s getting on everyone’s nerves.
The Protagonist - cis/trans male/female or non-binary; straight/gay/bi/pan/ace*
that kid whose family is going broke smh
Your parents have tasked you with the impossible: make important friends that will open the door for your family to be respected again. Burdened with your parents’ financial and political** incompetence, you have to find a way to secure your own stability and restore your family’s reputation.
Though that second part is probably impossible, your parents are really irresponsible.
The main characters/love interests
You can flirt with, crush on, or fall in love with anyone, regardless of your gender or personality. But be warned! There’s romance in this game but there’s also potential for rejection and heartbreak.
Gabe - cis male; bi
most popular boy/contract killer in school
Kile - non-binary (femme/butch); demisexual
resident loose cannon
Jack - cis male; bi
Jessie - cis female; bi
geek next door
Leo - cis male; gay
fresh off the plane because who the heck comes on boats anymore it’s 1997
Rain - genderfluid; panromantic ace
Rupan/Rohan - cis female/male; pansexual
obligatory rebel heartthrob
Vivian - cis female; questioning
What to expect
- High school romance
- Teen angst
- Missions and quests
- Emotional meltdowns
- Bad role models
- Trick-or-treating (or a Halloween party, i guess, if you’re into that)
- Character depth
- Mood whiplash
- Moral dilemmas
- References to both 20th and 21st century media
- A bumbling police force
- Sketchy dealings
- Rumors, true and otherwise
- A town festival, crappy community theatre play included
- Questionable parenting techniques
- Questionable business practices
- A Senior Prom to Remember
- Getting to know your friend’s families and pets (if you want)
- An entire subplot dedicated to understanding the town’s origins. If you daarree~
- Oh, and 90’s nostalgia. Omg, remember [insert entire desperately relatable BuzzFeed “article”]??
Currently what I’m looking out for the most are bugs, recommendations, and exhaustive writing—I have the painful habit of writing things like, “You get up from the bed, then walk over to the door. You turn the knob and open it.” from time to time, so please feel free to point out any excessive/repetitive writing if you spot it.
Also! I was but a wee one during the 90’s (6 years old in the year this story takes place in), so feedback from people who actually were teens or young adults during the late 90’s would be excellent.
*this isn’t a selection, there’s a sort of open romancing system in the works
**usually, “politics” will refer to social machinations between Emerson residents, basically workplace politics except all the time and involving… everyone in town.