“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.
As the game isn’t published yet, there is no official age rating but for now the game is rated 16+, as is the discord server.
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 Pale Roses. The house crest is 3 blush pink roses in front of a gold/green shield, surrounded by intertwined thorny vines. The 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. The 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.” The house wisdom was originally “The light of the divine shines through the darkest clouds,” but was shortened over the years into its current form.
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. The crest is 5 crossed gold tipped and winged arrows in front of a red shield. 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 tree with strong, visible roots, and sparse, dark red leaves in front of a white backdrop. The crest is usually depicted surrounded by a snake ouroboros, a secondary symbol of the house. The house 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 to King Garrick Delareine. 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. He has a soft spot for those closest to him, and is genuinely kind and caring underneath the cool exterior he often displays at first. But don’t make the mistake of underestimating him, he’s very intelligent, cunning, and dangerous when he needs to be.
Amos is roughly in his early to mid 40s by the game’s beginning, with warm olive skin and honey brown eyes, piercing, intelligent. His features are strong, regal, and elegant. He has a perfectly neutral and unreadable poker face, though he gets softer with people he’s closer with, with smile lines on the corner of his eyes.
He has a short beard and short black hair that has been going prematurely gray for a while, his hair being predominately silver now. He keeps it neat and professional but tends to run his hands through it when stressed, so by the end of the day it’s often messier.
He has a scar on his lip, the left side, from an assassination attempt on the king from his youth. He has no other ones on his face, but many on the rest of his body, and both his hands are covered in a myriad of small scars. He’s missing the index finger of his left hand, and covers it with a silver piece of claw-shaped jewelry.
He’s roughly 6’0 with an athletic build, as his job as Consiel is physically demanding but also requires some flexibility. He prefers wearing dark tones, his house colors are black and gold, though he sometimes wears the royal green. He’s always wearing the Consiel’s pin, which features a Hart on it, symbol of the royal house.
The Crown Princess of Theodosia. She’s the one you’re intended to serve as Consiel for when she ascends 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 it. But don’t think that she’s cold and cruel; she’s surprisingly warm, friendly, and down to earth.
Ellowen is only a handful of years older than the player character, with forest green eyes and skin with a light golden tan from hours of training in the sun. She has a strong jawline, and her features would be considered more handsome than pretty. She has a cocky attitude and doesn’t like hiding her emotions or lying about them, so her face is painfully honest.
Her face is unblemished and she has her mother’s sandy blonde hair, which she keeps boyishly short and fairly neat, but it tends to get slightly messy from how active she is, and she isn’t too particular about how she styles it.
She’s roughly 6’1, with a muscled build that comes from training to swordfight for all the years she has. She bears a few scars from sparring accidents and tournaments she’s been in, but she has had no major injuries or scarring yet.
She prefers to dress more masculine, and chooses trousers over gowns and skirts. She also tends to prefer tones such as dark blue or red, and the crown she wears at formal events is elaborate and regal, decorated with precious stones, making sure it’s known that she’s the one meant to inherit the throne.
The second child of the royal family and second in line to the throne, although if you ask him he doesn’t express that much interest in ruling. He’s cold and aloof in the begining, has a hard time trusting others, and prefers to keep most people at arm’s length. He believes in thinking before you act, and thinks of violence as a last resort. Prefers the company of books and himself to that of others, but when you get through to him, he’s sweet and charming and soft in his own way.
Afallon is the closest to the player character’s age, and he inherited his mother’s golden eyes and his father’s dark brown hair, which he keeps a medium-ish length and in a neat side part. He’s cleanshaven and has light skin with a light dusting of freckles over his cheeks and nose, more obvious in the summer. And with the round glasses he wears because of his poor eyesight, he plays the role of the scholarly prince to a T.
His face is smooth and angular, with a straight nose and sharp cheekbones. His expression seems perpetually brooding, and he rarely ever smiles genuinely. With how he’s usually very put together and reserved, he’s considered handsome not in the usual traditional sense, but more in a subdued, bookish sense. Although when he does let himself relax—when his hair isn’t so perfect, when his glasses aren’t always obscuring his eyes, and when he lets himself smile genuinely—he looks lovely and charming.
He’s roughly 5’8 with a slender build and no scars on his body, though his fingers often have small papercuts on them. He likes to keep up appearances but he’s by no means vain or into keeping up with fashion, his outfits are simple and elegant, but still worthy of his station. He prefers dark and jewel tones, and his crown is the same as Rowan’s, smaller and less ornate than Ellowen’s, but regal nonetheless.
The youngest child of the royal family and third in line to the throne, and because of that they’ve had no particular expectations on them. Like their brother, Rowan also doesn’t have any interest in ruling, although for very different reasons than Afallon. They wear their heart on their sleeve and are painfully honest when it comes to their feelings. They make friends easily and never like having a moment when they’re not with someone or being social. They’re also very vain, and prefer if they didn’t have any responsibilities and could just party and socialize the entire day. Their gender is also player determined, they can be either the prince or princess.
Rowan is only a year or two younger than the player character and, out of the three royals, they’re the most like their father in terms of appearance, with their forest-green eyes and wavy, dark brown hair. They keep their hair very long, falling past their waist, and usually have it tied back in ponytails and braids with a few locks in front that frame their face.
They have a smooth, youthful face with fair skin and delicate features, and bright eyes with long lashes. They tend to be described as lovely and enchanting, with their charm and the way people are naturally drawn to them. They’re almost always smiling and like to be the life of the party wherever they go.
They’re roughly 5’6, with a lithe build and unblemished skin. They have no scars anywhere on their body, and their hands are soft with only light callouses on their fingertips from a lifetime of playing the lyre. They’re also very vain and put a lot of care into their outward appearances. They also adore wearing jewelry and accessories, from earrings and necklaces to rings and hairpieces. They like to keep up with fashion trends, and prefer wearing colorful clothes, and their fashion sense tends to lean a little on the flamboyant side.
A knight with dreams of heroism. A hopeless romantic with a kind heart and his head in the clouds. He’s charming and kind and falls in love far too easily. And there’s no secret pain or tragedy underneath it, he’s just genuinely that sweet. Some would call him naive, but he just likes to see the good in people and he truly believes that everyone is capable of kindness.
Adair is roughly around the same age as Ellowen, with bright golden eyes and wavy, honey blonde hair. It reaches a little past his shoulders and he rarely ever ties it back, preferring to let it loose even though he often ends up having to brush strands of it away from his face often. He has fair, unblemished skin that gets lightly tanned from spending a lot of time in the sun.
He has a light scruff on his face, with a sharp jawline and regal features. He has slightly downturned eyes with long lashes that add to making him look gentle and kind. He tends to have a small, sweet smile on his face, and his expression rarely ever sours.
He stands at roughly 6’0 with an athletic build, and he has only a few minor scars on his body that he got during training or tournaments. Most of the time he’s in armor, face covered by a helmet. He tends to dress casually during his off hours, and while he does keep up appearances because of how close he is to royalty and the nobility, he’s not high born himself, and never understood the appeal of keeping up with every new fashion trend.