“Court of Harts” is a low-fantasy court intrigue CYOA, set within the fictional kingdom of Theodosia, where the language and culture are a mix of Renaissance France and England, the fashion is a mix of Renaissance and Elizabethan, and the architecture is Rococo.
In a purposeful subversion of the trope where the player is a member of royalty attempting to win the throne, the main character of Harts is training under the king’s advisor to eventually take on the role. On paper, the Consiel’s role is as the monarch’s closest adviser and right-hand man, in reality, the Consiel is all that in addition to the monarch’s personal spy and assassin, doing whatever tasks the monarch asks of them outside the bounds of the law in service of crown and country.
The first few prologue chapters are going to revolve around MC and their origins, then move on to revolve around their training under the current Consiel, getting introduced to the royal court and its members, and learning what’s expected of them.
The court politics of Theodosia are complicated and cutthroat, where reputation, relationships and status mean everything, and where everyone is willing to do whatever it takes to get ahead in life and secure their wealth and future. Add to that the growing distrust the common people have for the royalty and nobility and the rocky relationships Theodosia has with neighboring countries, and the player character has their work cut out for them.
The game features:
- Lots of impactful choices once the plot gets going.
- Choice of four noble houses for your MC to belong to, each with their own relations, reputations, stories and appearances.
- A character creation system in which your relatives’ appearances change along with your MC’s, so that you’re not locked into the default appearances.
- Five fully fleshed out romance routes, in addition to smaller relationships.
- An MC with a personality and quirks that you can determine.
You can play the demo here. Keep in mind that the demo isn’t a full one and will be regularly updated until it is.
The Four Houses:
House of the Red Roses. Their house crest is 3 red roses in front of a gold/green shield, and their house wisdom is “Pick the rose, be met with thorns.”
It’s the “put together” noble house, the heads of the family married for love, they have a good trade/imports company, and they’re known for hosting extravagant parties and being patrons of the arts. Other noble houses tend to underestimate them and view them as somewhat shallow, all beauty with nothing beneath the surface. They’re successful, but only gained their titles recently and aren’t as well established as other houses.
Ophelia Bellerose is the head of the household, and her husband, Corin married into it. Their oldest is a son named Albién, and they have a pair of twins, Geneviève and the player character.
House of the Divine Sun. Their house crest is a golden sun with a pair of white wings against a pale blue backdrop, and the house wisdom is “The light of the divine shines through.”
They’re a highly religious house, and its members have always been deeply involved in the country’s religion, the current head of the house being the High Priest and a member of the King’s Council. They’re fairly well established, but have a reputation for being self righteous and holier-than-thou, and any scandal to happen to them quickly becomes talk among the nobles.
The head is Bastien Duciel, and his first marriage was to a woman named Helena. She gave him his eldest daughter, Rosalie, his eldest son, Olivier and then finally the player character, whom Helena died giving birth to. His next marriage was to a woman named Catherine, who gave him a pair of twin girls, Elise and Eline, and a son, Emery.
House of the Crossed Arrows. Their crest is 5 crossed gold tipped and winged arrows in front of a red shield, and the house wisdom is “Always vigilant, always loyal.”
They’re a military house, a long line of soldiers, generals and knights. They’re high ranking and extremely well established, but despite that have a reputation as being one of the “lesser” of the nobles. They’re seen as less refined, as they put more concern towards training and tournaments rather than outward appearances.
The head is Alain Ashworth, and his wife Cecelia married into the family. Their oldest child is Blythe, then Alessia is their oldest daughter, then the player character and finally Florian is the kid brother of the family.
House of the Eternal Tree. Their crest is a black, leafless tree with visible roots in front of a white backdrop, and their wisdom is “Firmly rooted, to weather all storms.”
They were one of the original families when the Kingdom of Theodosia was first established, and have a long and rich history deeply ingrained with the running of the kingdom. But sadly now all they have is titles, after most of their wealth and lands have been lost to gambling debts and failed businesses. They have a reputation for backstabbing allies to get what they want, but despite that the influence of their name is enticing to others, and those who do survive being their friends usually make it out the other end richer.
The current head of the family is Eleanora, who isn’t a Blackwood by blood, she married into the family, but her husband, Bryce, died and left her with their kids and heavy debts. The oldest brother, Everett, ran away, leaving the player character to take his place, and the youngest sibling is Arline, Arlie for short.
Amos De Lucét
The current Consiel. He’s your mentor, the one teaching you all the ropes of being the next Consiel. He’s sarcastic, a bit of a bastard at first, but also fiercely loyal and devoted. Has a soft spot for those closest to him, and is really kind and caring underneath the cool exterior he displays at first. But he’s also very intelligent, cunning and dangerous when he needs to be.
The Crown Princess. She’s the one you’re supposed to be working as Consiel for when she takes the throne. She’s a fully trained knight, and a very talented one at that. Stubborn and (over)confident, when she sets her mind on something, there’s almost no chance of getting her to change her mind. But she’s not cold, she’s surprisingly warm, friendly and down to earth.
The King’s second child. He’s cold and distant at first, preferring to keep most people at arm’s length. Smart, calculating, cold and aloof. He believes that if you think before you act, you can get anything done without resorting to violence. Prefers the company of books and himself to that of others, but when you get through to him, he’s sweet and charming in his own way.
The King’s youngest, and has no particular expectations on them. They wear their heart on their sleeves, and are so painfully sweet and kind. They make friends easy and never like having a moment when they’re not with someone or being social. But they’re vain, and prefer if they didn’t have any responsibilities and could just party and socialize the entire day. Their gender is player determined.
The Royal Knight. A hopeless romantic with a kind heart and his head in the clouds. He’s charming and kind, and and falls in love far too easily. And there’s no secret pain or tragedy underneath it, he’s just genuinely that sweet. Not naive by any means, he just likes to see the good in people and likes to think that everyone is capable of kindness.