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

Thank you for allowing the possibility of mutual uptightery.

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Hehe, yes it is warm where you are in Honor Bound! I’m not much of a hot-weather person so I have been enjoying describing paddling in cool rivers and such.

There will be a bunch of this for sure - I’ve been sprinkling some bits and bobs over it so far, and am looking forward to getting more into it as the game continues. It feels really fun to explore a different part of the world.

Regarding Korzha: for those interested in appearance references, I found that Sara Ramirez resonated, particularly in their Serious-Business-Looking publicity shoots for Madam Secretary; there’s a particular photo of Cecilia Suarez that I like, though Korzha isn’t as thin and is more muscular; though Jaime Camil usually looks far too cheerful and Korzha is clean-shaven, this serious photo made me think of the male version.

Hair-letting-down will take place under rather specific circumstances and there won’t be value judgements from the narrateive about how much hair is up or down (this metaphor is growing tormented). I can see certain PCs and Korzha having perfectly fulfilling friendships, romances, or collegial relationships in which their public appearances are Extremely Professional. (I’m suddenly put in mind of Holt and Kevin in Brooklyn 99, a show which I enjoyed a great deal for a while but never finished and haven’t watched in years :laughing:) Very mild spoiler: If you’re in your 40s, they say you can call them Varenn if you want, but you can demur and call them Captain or Korzha instead.

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yesss, this is always welcome!! – romancing Hartmann in Creme was like a fun game of ‘who is following the rules more closely and who has the most brownie points bc of it’, which can be one of the BEST romantic dynamics imo

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Should I feel slightly criticised here… :sweat_smile:

Otherwise

Yes, please. Even better, they’re a pretty good age to show this type of personality and reaction to being pursued.

Please let me still be awkward, though. It’s really something that some of us never get over.

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Oh you will have ample chances to be awkward in a variety of ways, no matter your age or background!

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I’ve put Chapter 1 up on Patreon!

It’s about 30,000 words - longer than the first chapters of any of my other games - and in it you can:

  • create and get to know your MC, their previous assignment, what went wrong, and how they were injured
  • settle into a new part of the Creme de la Creme setting!
  • meet your new boss and their child and try to make a good impression (or not)
  • take a beautiful train journey to the school which will be your new home, dealing with complications along the way
  • meet some of the major Honor Bound characters
  • encounter a cat, and pet it if you like

Chapter 1 is going to go up in public on 4th July and I’ll be continuing to post character and setting details from next week onwards.

In the meantime, I’ve been having fun writing Chapter 3 and have been making great progress the last couple of days. I think I posted some placeholder text about an excruciating conversation either here or in the support thread. Well, I got to reap what I sowed today, and actually write the excruciating conversation. (Involved in it are Fiore, Korzha, and Raffi.) Hooray!

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Omg cat!

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Oh boy, KITTY!!1!

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The fictional cat is a combination of the tabby’s looks (Orlando) and the grey one’s personality (Blueberry), and is named after a famous Teranese artist whom the Headteacher has beef with :smile:

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OMG, IRL KITTEH x2!!! Literary inspiration kittehs! Omg! I want to pet them!

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You know, my last cat died over four years ago, yet my black clothes still manage to have white cat hairs on them. I think I’m haunted.

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Something I’m realising, which I hadn’t totally recognised before I started writing, is how much I’m enjoying having them talk about their passions. As I write these early sections and get to know the characters myself, I’m learning more about how they talk about what they care about and are interested in.

The last time I was developing new-to-me characters in this way was almost two years ago with Noblesse Oblige, and while the Honor Bound characters have… various Redacted Stuff™ going on with them, they all have a lot more freedom and space to express themselves (and in generally more healthy way, lol). It’s a really nice feeling.

On a side note, I’m not a scientist myself but I really like writing some of the enthusiastic-about-science characters because some of my loved ones and friends are enthusiastic about such things too, and it reminds me of them a bit :sparkling_heart:

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A little progress update:

This fortnight I finished coding Chapter 3 and started writing the prose! I also did edits on Chapters 1 and 2. While I was reading through Chapter 3, I deleted about 2000 words of code because it really was a bit too large without enough substance and some of it was repetitive. I was very happy to streamline things and it will help the pacing no end.

I always like to share when I trim stuff because it’s important to me to recognise that big dramatic number increases aren’t the be-all and end-all of progress.

That said, I’m very happy with progress this fortnight - I didn’t work last week due to family commitments so it’s been lovely to get back into it. I’m now about halfway through writing Chapter 3.

Current wordcount: 116600
Fortnight’s wordcount: 10598
Average playthrough wordcount: 32562 (longer than Noblesse Oblige! what!! I had to double check Noblesse Oblige to see!)

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Here’s a more in-depth peek at another major character, Matia Frasada!

Matia’s from the same town as you, and returned here ten years ago. They’re fun-loving and direct - sometimes a little too direct - but will have someone’s back when times get tough. Will you rekindle an old friendship or build a new one, grow romantically close, have a no-strings fling, work together to get the job done, or some combination of possibilities?

More details below!

Full name: Matia Frasada

Age: 44

Gender: selectable between trans man (he/him), trans woman (she/her), and genderqueer (they/them)

Background: a former Specialist in the Exploration Service, Matia spent most of their adulthood travelling to remote, dangerous parts of Teran scouting for resources and surveying unexplored regions. In the last ten years, though, they’ve returned to Elene’s Prospect to care for their aging parents, help run their grocery store, and organise supplies for the school.

Personality: forthright, brash, easygoing, down-to-earth

MBTI: ESTP

Appearance: short, squarely-built and muscular, with brown skin, dark eyes, and long, straight, black hair with thick streaks of grey.

Style: Matia currently wears their hair in a messy bun. They wear rough, practical clothes, usually in muted colours: often overalls over thick shirts, and prefer a long, battered coat and fingerless gloves in cold weather. They wear several rings, as well as many earrings in both ears (studs and hoops).

At their best: grounded, direct, canny

At their worst: crude, easily-exasperated, grudge-holding

You’ll like Matia if you like… someone no-nonsense, who’s practical when it counts, who’s down-to-earth, who likes to have fun, who will be a rock to those they support, who will crack jokes to break tension, who has deep roots in their community and is eager to extend that community to newcomers.

You’ll like romancing Matia if you like… someone who’s upfront about what they like and want, who will take charge if you’re into that, who is straightforwardly affectionate, who will enjoy indulging you (and themself at the same time), who will cheer you up when times are at their toughest.

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Hi! I really love your work (seriously, I’ve replayed all of the games maybe five times each), and I’m really looking forward to this next piece. I was just wondering (and this is a little bit out of place), how did you figure out the names for Gallatin College and Archambault Academy? I’ve been researching the heck out of placement, former names, colonization tactics, monarchy setups, and names typically used in the culture I’m basing my academy off, but I just can’t get the feeling right. Honestly, I’d appreciate help with naming literally anything (people, kingdoms, etc.)- but if you’re too busy, that’s fine! Again, I absolutely adore your work. Thank you for reading, at least! (Again, sorry for putting this here- I just thought it would be the most efficient way to reach you.)

Hello and welcome to the forum! So for me, I have a selection of languages that I pull inspiration from - for Westerlin it is mostly Swiss, French, and German with a bit of Dutch and English in there. For Jezhan it’s mostly Romanian with a bit of other Eastern and Central European names. For Zaledo it’s mostly Spanish and Portuguese. And for Teran it varies between Italian, Spanish and a bit of other southern European languages. I look at baby names, surnames, and place names and mould them to fit what I’d like to use them for.

It’s very loose and the countries aren’t fully based on any particular real world country (though I took a lot from Swiss finishing schools and English boarding schools for Gallatin and Archambault; the Isle of Skye and other Scottish islands for Noblesse Oblige; and some areas of Southern California and Southwest US for the area Honor Bound is set in).

In general I do worldbuilding from the plot and my interests first, then build the setting from there. For instance, when I started thinking about Noblesse Oblige I had literally no idea what Jezhan was like other than what was mentioned offhand in Crème de la Crème and I built the culture and place based on extrapolating from the story I wanted to make (“X character has Y relationship with the justice system/religion/travel, that means these particular elements need to be commonplace in this culture”). Teran is a bit different because I did have a fuller sense of it before starting on Honor Bound, but I still had a lot to develop when outlining.

That isn’t a method that suits everyone - it means there are gaps and ambiguity, and I can’t draw a map of the world because I haven’t filled it all out myself yet, but I love the sense of discovery as I explore the world further and I have tried the “setting-first” worldbuilding and it doesn’t quite suit me. I end up with a bit of a soulless theme-park feeling where I feel like I’ve discovered everything there is to know and I don’t know what to do within the bounds of what I’ve made. But there are plenty of people for whom that method works brilliantly and they love to pin things down and could write an encyclopedia if they wanted! It’s all about what works for different people and different projects.

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I’m really liking that the youngest PC is at very least in their 20s - I feel like often we see far too much representation of “18”. There really needs to be more towards 30s and 40s, which I think you’ve done really well.

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Thank you so much! I’m really enjoying both writing older PCs (having spent a few years writing 18 year olds, 20-21 year olds, or PCs without age specificity) and allowing for the range of different ages for the PC. For the youngest one, the bottom of their age bracket is 25 :smiley:

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As someone who’s playing the youngest bracket, I really enjoy how it’s been incorporated into the narrative! Especially in our interactions with Raffi, who’s around the same age yet acts so differently, I feel like it’s very telling what kind of life we’ve lived up to this point. I like to think my MC is almost shocked by her attitude (though not in a bad way!) lol

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Ah I’m so glad! I’m liking using it a lot, as well as the other backstory personalisations. Yesterday I wrote a little bit about someone talking about a place in the rainforest which changes if you have the disaster relief background (and were therefore working in the rainforest, though not in that particular location). And coincidentally there was a bit where Raffi gives you a compliment based on what they think about your previous assignment :smile:

In other news:

This isn’t a formal progress update with wordcounts and such but I’ve almost finished the first draft of Chapter 3! It’s been a very hot week where I am which has made me grouchy about writing some moments involving snuggling in cosy blankets, but then I got to write about swimming outdoors which was much more refreshing, haha! This is a very character- and relationship-heavy chapter which is doing a lot of heavy lifting about showing characters’ relationships changing - with the PC and each other.

(Also, a bunch of kissing and more-than-kissing, with some characters and circumstances. I was looking to Blood Moon, Their Majesties’ Pleasure, and Fay’s unannounced three-chilli Heart’s Choice game for inspiration. I don’t know if this would reach three-chilli levels if it were Heart’s Choice but it’s close.)

While writing yesterday I was delighted to figure out some nuances for one of the characters which helped me understand them better and will help inform how their friendship and romance with the PC will feel over the game. I feel I know this set of characters more strongly than I have in previous games - certainly more strongly at this stage of writing. Ironically that seems to make those realisation moments come more easily because it feels like discovering something that was already there.

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