Honor Bound: Creme de la Creme 4—Protect a boarding school as a military bodyguard! [Ch 5 public/Ch 6 Patreon, updated Apr 8]

My bad! In the bugfix I pushed yesterday, I listed the scenes out of order. The quiz about previous games/HB genders etc should always come first. That also explains a different bug report I got that was confusing me. Sorry about that and it should be fixed now :man_facepalming:

Aha that is awkward! That set of dialogue is slightly complicated so I haven’t edited it yet but I will tweak that. It’s important to have an option to reject a cosy lean like that in the moment if the MC’s cooled off towards Raffi! (and it’s not something Raffi would take personally either)

That’s a good reminder to me to add that sort of response in where an NPC is flirty/familiar with the MC who may not be interested in them anymore.

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Honor Bound Fortnightly progress report

Last fortnight involved a stupendous amount of writing in the second week, and this fortnight has been… less so thanks to some medical stuff and general disruption of my usual routines.

I’m so excited by the reception for Chapter 5! I’ve had such a lot of feedback and bug reports, and it’s really amazing to be able to go and make those changes - which was a lot of what I did during the first week of this fortnight. If you have any thoughts about Chapter 5, or indeed the earlier ones, please drop a response on the form, here, or send an ask/message on my Tumblr.

I am getting towards the end of Chapter 9: it’s a huge chapter, and a lot of its hugeness is because of eight(!) very steamy intimate scenes. I’m realising that those scenes take about four times as long as writing anything else because of how much responsivity and branching I’ve put in them! I keep wondering about writing a whole post on the subject because I’ve learned so much about writing that stuff through making Honor Bound.

Intimate scenes aside, I have been really enjoying showing characters chilling out for a change.

  • Current wordcount: 379376 words
  • Fortnight wordcount: 14063 words
  • Average playthrough: 79218 words

Happy Ides of March, everyone! Thank you as ever for all your support and feedback.

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I’m officially three-quarters through my draft as I just finished my first draft of Chapter 9! I’m pretty exhausted by this chapter - it’s just under 50,000 words and had a huge amount of branching - so it’ll be interesting to have a change of pace as I start planning a whole bunch of drama and chaos for Chapter 10.

(Hopefully the drama and chaos will be purely fictional.)

Fun fact: it’s just over a year now since the game was greenlit (it was exactly a year last Wednesday, and I entirely forgot) and I’ve written 384373 words since then. That’s utterly wild to me! I’m really excited to have spent this long with this story and these characters, and am over the moon that others are enjoying them too. Thank you as ever for all your feedback and enthusiasm, both of which are incredibly helpful to me on this marathon process!

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I’ve been wondering about one of the backstory choices for the PC, specifically the family background. These are the options:

  • “I was orphaned, and grew up there with a foster family. We got on fine, but they’ve moved away since.”
  • “I was orphaned, but the foster carers there weren’t great. I’m not in touch with them.”
  • “My family moved away to one of the islands after I left, but we’re estranged.”
  • “My parents lived there after I left, but died a few years ago.”
  • “My family moved away to one of the islands after I left. We’re in touch, but I don’t see them much.”

I’m very happy with most of them, but the final one is bothering me because it doesn’t feel right that alive, on-good-terms family members wouldn’t be regularly writing to the PC to check in or even visit, etc. But I don’t really have the scope to explore the PC’s family relationships in the way I’d want to: it isn’t a game about the PC’s family in the same way that Creme and Royal Affairs, and even Noblesse Oblige are, and is more about the workplace and other kinds of community (maybe even… found family which is a term I always have a wild mixture of feelings about). There are so many characters, relationships, and storylines that I don’t really want to divide my focus, especially when it’s only for one background branch. And it doesn’t feel right to say “you’re on good terms” and then not show that ingame - I’d side-eye a family who didn’t even write in the wake of their family member’s horrible injury!

I did some long-distance family stuff in Noblesse Oblige which I felt OK about, but that was for a fixed family background, and I’m just not sure there’s room for it here because there’s so much else going on. So I’m wondering about cutting that background option. Or perhaps making it more explicit that you’re physically and emotionally distant with them, but not as cut-and-dried as the “estranged” option.

It would therefore mean that the PC never has close family with whom they’re on good terms. That does make sense to me psychologically regarding their isolation, focus on work, relationship with Alva as a mentor, some things that come up later in the game, etc.

What do you think?

  • I chose the happy-family option and would miss it if it wasn’t there
  • I’d only want to choose that option if the family relationships were explored in more detail
  • I didn’t choose that option but might on other playthroughs
  • I would be happy choosing that option without much later family exploration/follow-up
  • I didn’t choose that option and wouldn’t choose it for other playthroughs
  • I don’t really have strong feelings one way or another
0 voters

Or if you have feelings or opinions that don’t fit in my scattershot poll options, please post here!

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If there was some small amount of ‘expansion’ on the subject of a good-ish relationship between the MC and their family, that would at least be a reason to try it later, but I haven’t been all that attracted to the idea.

It would be a talking point with Cat, especially during post arrival days. Plenty of characters seem like they might be interested if a good, but distant relationship were being maintained, or so I would think. Of course there’s no forcing it if inspiration isn’t cooperating–I won’t be sad over that choice being cut, but I do see some potential in it, even if it is just 95% background fluff. :smile:

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The thing is, just like in a real world situation there may be outside factors that keep them from visiting. Finance, illness, age, disability…there could be no strain in the relationship and a visit may still be next to impossible. Particularly as you’ve given the option of MC having had a long-term illness in the past, it’s not farfetched that MC’s family cannot visit them, even though they’d perhaps like to. Also, sometimes chronic conditions were treated via change of venue to a “healthier” environment, so that could be something behind the MC’s family’s move away from the area. Just because MC has returned, doesn’t mean that it’s viable for MC’s family to do so. Just because they aren’t present physically in the story, doesn’t mean that it’s them ignoring that the MC is “back home” or that they don’t want to visit. And I don’t think it’s necessary to go into depth on the relationship, just a mention that MC is getting mail regularly and maybe “reading” one or two or a few of the letters (bits of them) throughout could be enough.

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I’ve picked that option a couple of times and it didn’t feel overly lacking? Like, there’s a realism factor that the MC has had a very demanding job and the general technology level of the setting makes clear that it’s non-trivial for people to get around all the time.

It also doesn’t prevent the MC feeling homesick/conflicted about being back and that doesn’t seem out of place to me. They’ve changed an awful lot since living in the town.

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I’m a-okay leaving the family relationships, correspondence, etc. to the imagination. These stories don’t need to cover everything and really can’t, reality demands that these stories leave 90% of the MC’s life to the imagination.

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Maybe just have the parents move to a remote location? I grew up in a rugged, tropical island, and from the stories my grandparents told me and I’ve gathered, it wasn’t until the 50s and 60s that many parts of the interior became easily reachable, both in a transportation and communications way.

Electricity, roads and telephone lines took until the 50s or even 60s to reach many locations, so getting information to family members on the interior would require you to set off on hours long car journeys (usually hitching a ride with farmers) through small, windy roads. Or finding a way to reach someone who could then take a message to them.

So the family could just be working at some remote coffee, rum, or sugar cane plantation?

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Two things spring to mind, one of which has already been mentioned.

Firstly, there are a lot of practical reasons for the parents/family not to be physically present, especially factoring in the limited time frame of the game. Double especially in an island environment, where weather and currents, or simply remoteness, might mean that certain islands only get occasional ferry service. Or that it’s very expensive. Even if the PC is badly injured, their family knows that they’re being taken care of. Who’s to say that they’re not staying behind to care for someone who’s equally ill/injured, but without the alternative means of care? It sucks, but sometimes you really need your family and they still can’t be there for you.

Second, being on good terms with your family encompasses a huge range of different types of relationships, which you can’t reasonably be expected to portray with any level of nuance. When it comes to family, definitionally, you’re on good terms unless you’re on bad terms. For some people, not phoning their gran every Sunday is gross negligence, but there are just as many people in the world who only see their family at weddings and funerals, or the equivalent.

The PC is an adult professional, one who’s been out of their parents’ home for as much as twenty years, depending on age. One of the attractions of this type of protagonist, at least to me, is that it allows a level of detachment from home that would be harder to explain for an eighteen-year-old. It’s just not that unusual, to me, for an adult to not be in close contact with their family. There could be a billion reasons why, none of which qualify as being “estranged”. This, I think, is the sort of thing best left to the reader’s imagination.

I would like to keep the option to have my PC be on good terms with her family, even if they’re not super-close. Often, in stories, families (and especially parents) are unceremoniously brushed aside with a tragic backstory, and that’s fine, but I find it kind of refreshing to be able to have a more mundane arrangement.

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I really appreciate everyone’s thoughts! I’m now leaning less towards cutting it, and for the moment will leave it in and see how it feels to play when the whole draft is done. I like what @Hazel mentions about it being enjoyable to have a family relationship that isn’t in each other’s pockets but isn’t necessarily because of intense reasons. And as others have said, overseas communication is slow with the kind of tech that’s readily available.

Thanks so much for the input!

Right now I’m planning Chapter 10 and am struggling for health reasons. Nothing really serious, but another household-cold cycle which has fully hit me today, plus recovering from a tattoo (which is lovely! just bad timing with everything else), plus back pain, and some medication changes earlier in the month (which I’ve now adjusted to but threw me off for a couple of weeks)… has left me without the energy or ability to do much on the computer. It’s frustrating because I had been really hoping to get a lot done in the back half of March which just hasn’t happened as I wanted to.

So I’m going to try and sleep as much as I can and ride it out.

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Hi! I found this thread recently and there are no words I could use to explain how happy I am to explore more of the CldC world :sparkling_heart: no words would be enough

Finally found some time to read first chapter and it’s so great while being different than previous works in the series. I got so excited when I saw option to choose AGAB and the state of (? is that how we say it) transition for our non binary PC!

I have found one error in the Royal Affair set up:
When choosing poly Javi and Dominique as my ROs, I did not have the option to choose my PC got engaged to Javi. I had 3 options only: no engagement, Engaged to Beaumont (platonic) and Dominique (while still romancing Javi)

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Hello, thank you so much for your kind comments! I’m delighted that you’re enjoying the game. Thanks for letting me know about the quiz bug - it’s now fixed.

I’ve put up an update today which also includes various smallish tweaks to Chapter 1-5, including a few added options here and there, more opportunities to tell Raffi you want to cool things off in Chapter 5 (no more awkwardness for your MC, @winters_socaro!) and being able to get physical with Denario, Raffi, or Matia in Chapter 3 without starting out with a kiss.

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Patreon update with Chapter 6 is now live! This chapter adds around 39,000 words to the demo, putting it at around 263,000 words!

In this chapter, you may encounter:

  • a number of visitors - you’re very popular, it turns out!
  • some kissing (optional)
  • some crying (optional for the MC, but not for others)
  • flagrant misuse of a church
  • an opportunity that might be good to take (or not)
  • a number of familiar faces

And in the meantime, I’ve updated the public demo with a couple of fixes to the previous-game-event reminders and the intro quiz (some pesky MC romances from previous games weren’t displaying correctly).

I missed my usual fortnightly progress report for an array of tedious reasons (which are also responsible for the lower-than-usual number below), but I’ve completed the Chapter 9 draft and am now working on the outline and code for Chapter 10 - which is both very dramatic and very complicated, hence it taking rather a while! However, I hope to make some more progress on it by the end of this week.

Current wordcount: 386510 words
Fortnight wordcount: 7134 words

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Crying is mandatory. :slight_smile:

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Fortnightly progress report:

April continues to be quite a lot between life and medical stuff going on - I have been making more progress with writing Chapter 10, though, which I’m really pleased about. It’s a lot of fun putting together these dramatic points, and also drawing out the climactic plot a bit more than in Creme or Royal Affairs - the climax is spread over two chapters rather than one, and Chapter 10 represents part 1 of this section of the plot.

I really enjoy writing PCs and NPCs as they’re put under more strain and seeing how they respond to more pressure. Delicious!

Current wordcount: 398594 words
Fortnight wordcount: 12084 words

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hey I just checked this out. Love your stuff!

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@linoleum24 Thank you so much, I’m glad you enjoyed!

A general question for people who’ve played Chapter 5 - I had a report about a repeated conversation with Raffi about their friends whom you can meet in Chapter 4. This happened when Raffi greets you in the canteen and then you hang out with them afterwards, but I can’t seem to pin it down with RandomTest. Has anyone else encountered this when they’ve had those two Raffi interactions?

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By the way, I keep misreading this every time, so I suppose it’s worth mentioning? This is when you arrive at the school and first meet the cat:

Then it trots off to greet another newcomer in a perfectly pressed captain’s field uniform:

I always need to do a double take to make sure it’s not the cat who’s in uniform.