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

Yep, the Omnibus didn’t reflect that until Royal Affairs came out. Noblesse Oblige was intended to be less interwoven than the others due to its shorter size, different themes, and isolated location. But I realised that it was confusing not marking when it was in the chronology even if it doesn’t share characters the way Creme and Royal Affairs do.

Although Honor Bound is in a very different location to Crème and Royal Affairs, it will have some previous characters appearing and references to previous actions in the same way that Royal Affairs does. There will also be potential references to some Noblesse Oblige events and potentially a Noblesse Oblige character appearing in Honor Bound, though I haven’t completely settled on how that will be framed yet.

There are some things I need to track about what happened in the Westerlind royal family in the period between Royal Affairs and Honor Bound, because you can end RA with some plans left open. How those elements get set is TBD. It may end up being added to the pre-Honor-Bound quiz, or maybe it’ll be something more exotic.

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Since we are talking about the timeline of the series.

Would it be fair to consider Noblesse Oblige to be more of its own story considering that unlike Creme de la Creme and Royal Affairs. Noblesse Oblige is very much seperate from most of the Politics of the world and is less serious?

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Hmmm, interesting! I don’t know if I’d say it’s less serious. I actually feel like Royal Affairs is the most light-hearted of the collection in some ways albeit with more focus on and changes to (inter)national politics. Noblesse Oblige is more gothic-flavoured and less glamorous/carefree than Crème or Royal Affairs; it also contains some onscreen perils that are arguably worse. All of them have some shady intrigue afoot in various ways though and mileage will vary about what feels more serious or weighty than something else.

Originally when I started writing Noblesse Oblige I didn’t know when it was going to take place in the chronology and when it would be released in relation to Royal Affairs so I basically treated it as taking place in its own bubble. Also it not taking place in a school, and not being a student, although you’re in an educational setup, sets it apart further - as well as being differently-structured and with fewer characters.

All that said, and in contradiction to what I said upthread about different themes, Noblesse Oblige shares a bunch of thematic elements with the other games as well as being set in the same universe - shadowy schemes, etiquette, rarefied settings, wealthy people’s lavishness and corruption, and social manoeuvring among other things.

Honor Bound has those elements too but moves in still other directions - like bringing in a totally different part of the setting, and being set in a (different kind of) school without being a student, and including a lot more about the surrounding community, and having a very different political atmosphere - and I’m excited to see what folks think. It’s a bit intimidating to be doing something in another direction after Royal Affairs was more similar to Crème in a bunch of ways - but at the same time I would find it very boring to do the same thing again and again :sweat_smile: I very much hope people continue to be along for the ride!

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I trust you. I’m along for the ride, wherever you want to go!

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That’s immensely kind, thank you so much :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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The public demo is up - you can now play Chapter 1 of Honor Bound!

It’s about 55,000 words, 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

If you have a moment, I would be over the moon to hear what you think and whether you spotted any bugs - either here or by posting on my anonymous feedback form. As well as the questions about characters in the form, I am especially interested in your thoughts on:

  • Pace - does the progression of this early part of the story feel good, or too fast/slow? How is the timing of picking how you were put in the hospital - would you prefer it to be earlier?
  • Tone and atmosphere - how does it feel being in a different country to Creme and Royal Affairs? Does the tone appeal to you?
  • How does the PC’s physical customisation feel - just right, or too much in one go?
  • Do the stats make sense to you? What did you think of the stat indicators if you used them?

… or just anything that comes to mind :sparkling_heart:

I hope you enjoy!

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Well, I should really be getting on with my Pillars of Eternity playthrough, but Hannah’s got a new demo out, so I’ll play that instead.

Summary

HAHAHAHA, Game Master Mode implemented! Yessssssss…

“except for you”

I first read this as “shepherding children WITH dogs”, and all I could think was ‘yes, make those little buggers behave’. Then I reread it, and now I’m disappointed. :frowning_with_open_mouth:

Just want to point out that this choice has no +Sneak option, leaving that stat somewhat disadvantaged. Maybe it balances out further on, though.

Raffi feels like they’ll need as much wrangling as Simone, ngl. :smile:

If you work disaster relief and stay behind despite orders, I’m not sure this option works. Like, was anyone harmed but the MC in that situation?

If there’s “one of”, it should be “trunks”.

Dinner break.

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Din-din done in. Back to it!

Summary

And by “back to it”, I apparently mean “new playthrough”, because I tried to load the game and

Alright, back to where I was. Time to forge on.

Honey, your parent does agricultural research; she’s basically a farmer, only she gets to keep out of the sun.

KITTEH!!!

Double tease. You tease.

Aaaaand now it won’t save:

Matia and Kharza look like they get along like a house on fire. This is gonna be FUN! :smiling_imp:

We’re so knowledgeable! :stuck_out_tongue:

Typo:

And that’s the end of chapter 1!

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Hehe! Babe the sheep-pig eat your heart out.

I’m OK with this - I’ve done a bunch of randomtesting to balance it out later in the chapter, but thank you for pointing out!

good catch! I’m going to tweak the available choice for that situation.

ach! I’ve never seen that error before and it isn’t coming up on my RandomTest. Was it that you loaded a saveslot? I wonder if it’s an issue with the version of ChoiceScript on Dashingdon?

Not sure what happened there, eep!

Anyone else had either of those errors happen? (and thank you so much for playing and for finding those bits and pieces!)

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I have two save slots, of different playthroughs, neither of which will load, so it’s PROBABLY not a corrupt save and is instead something more systemic. :man_shrugging:

Always a pleasure :slight_smile:

Hmm interesting, I’ll see if anyone else has the same issue.

I’ve pushed a small update with some minor fixes and tweaks, including the above ones and a bit where the complexion choices mismatched with what was displayed on the stats page.

I really appreciate the feedback I’ve had through the form! I was a bit unsure whether to do it like that but I know that it can be hard to know what to say, and I personally enjoy filling out surveys so it’s nice that some of y’all like it too. (Shoutout to the “I like to be an old man :D” comment I just saw - relatable)

There are a few comments that I haven’t addressed yet as they need a bit more time and consideration. Some folks have said they found meeting the NPCs was rushed, but others said it felt right and that they looked forward to getting to know them better as chapters progressed. So that’s something I need to examine more to figure out a good balance. First chapters always end up going through a LOT of revisions.

One commenter mentioned they would like to see more mention of pain and dealing with limitations as a PC dealing with the aftermath of an injury; this is something I’m interested to hear more about from others as well in whatever direction as it is dealt with fairly lightly in the first chapter (with more of it in the subsequent chapters that I’ve written so far).

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I played a bit during a break this morning.

As always, Hannah, I love your writing.

There were a few options that I didn’t see, but would have liked to have in a few choices of your prologue and first chapter.

Specific feedback

An example that is fresh of mind was the “Thank you for your service” choice. As a person who grew up in a military family and has been around both sailors and marines my entire life … I really was looking for an option that was: “It is what it is, but I appreciate it being said very much.” A stoic but grateful answer.

Another such question was:

My preferred option would have been:

  • I want to move on and avoid putting a foot wrong in all of this."

Maybe the fatalistic but hopeful attitude of my military family is not that of others that serve, but I’ve grown up with it.

In a game where I am playing such a MC, not having this type of option in the choices puts me on my back foot, because I am constantly saying to myself: “this is half-right in what I want.”

. :revolving_hearts:

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I really appreciate your insight, thank you so much and I will take a look at those choices. Even though it’s not a real-world setting and there are elements that depart pretty strongly from real life, I would like it to broadly ring true!

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Played a playthrough yesterday and noticed some things nothibg major or at least i recall at the moment lol.
Will be playing more of course but will say in a intial pass i enjoyed it over all. An can concur with what eiwynn said about military familes and choices.
For myself long history particularly navy for my family. So i can say my uncles and dad tend to come in two varitiys generally lol stoic serious or the ultimate prankster type.

Will do another playthrough here in a bit i think and will see if i encounter anything off or bugged and give feed back after at some point if i can.

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I massively appreciate any insights about growing up in a military family, thank you!

(Matia has a dark sense of humour which has come out a few times so far - the PC can join in with it or tell them off, haha!)

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How do ranks work in the Teran army?

I’m curious because my 30-something year old character was a Specialist and that’s a pretty low rank in the US Army. “30 something year old team leader” is something I’d expect to be some flavor of sergeant.

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My 10 year old (smartass of a) nephew caught me playing and says that it’s probably going to be mushy and stupid and even if it’s not it’s about “old people” (that hurts) but in the interests of accuracy wants you to know that “love” and “evil” are phonetic palindromes. I told him that not only is he (very) wrong, it also would depend on the accent of the speaker, but he asked me to tell you anyway because some of your kids might want to use it against their bodyguards and teachers or parents.

(Eventually he’s going to notice girls or boys maybe. I can’t wait to show him this when he does.)

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Thanks @HarrisPS for explaining better the different military specializations in the demo (I don’t know anything about the military)

I started playing and have so far been delighted, but I also ran into that recursion bug with saves, and my phone browser has a habit of reloading tabs on a dime. When I get through the whole chapter, I’ll come back with more notes.

I can, however, say that I really enjoy the broad swath of skills and specialties that the MC can access.

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Yeah, the ranks aren’t completely set in stone. I didn’t use Sergeant because I didn’t want there to be confusion about commissioned vs non-commissioned officers, but that may have resulted in more confusion :laughing: I see in the US Army Specialist is a pretty low rank; that isn’t the intention here, and it’s intended to be around the equivalent of a Corporal. I may change it to Corporal instead.

In the game, the ranks very depending on which role you had. If you’re in the training corps, disaster relief, or exploration, it goes Specialist → Lieutenant → Captain. If you’re in assault and recon, Intelligence, or Medicine, it’s Second Specialist → First Specialist → Lieutenant. There would be ranks between each one but that’s where the PC is placed; again, I may shuffle that around.

@AnneWest that’s very entertaining!

@KingKaiser_8000 no problem at all!

@Hazel Thank you! I have been noodling around trying to replicate the recursion error on my browser but haven’t managed to yet. I’ve seen elsewhere on the forum that it can relate to infinite loops, but my RandomTest (and my testing through node) didn’t catch it and neither is me playing and saving/loading on dashingdon at the moment. If you or @JBento encounter it again, would you be able to screenshot the point where it happened and I can focus on looking at that particular bit?

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