Honor Bound WIP: Creme de la Creme Book 4 [Ch 4 public, Ch 5 Patreon, updated Feb 21]

That makes a lot of sense! There are definitely going to be routes through the game where a PC can be highly professional and focused and have a slow-moving romance/friendship (or neither, if they feel like it). There is going to be generally less in-game social pressure on the PC to try to “succeed” at romance, certainly than in Crème de la Crème, but there are going to be a variety of ways of connecting with people and building bonds.

And for less responsibility-focused PCs, there will be opportunities for fun and frolics too in various circumstances!

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Here’s a more in-depth look at another major character, Raffi Claudian!

Raffi’s a fellow bodyguard, but is from a fancy private security company rather than the military like you. They’re deeply earnest and deeply unwise, and will put themselves on the line without giving it another thought - whether or not they should. Will you make friends, have a no-strings fling, embark on a romance, or something else?

More details here!

Full name: Rafferty/Raffaela/Rafaele Claudian

Age: 25

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

Background: originally from a coastal village on one of the smallest Teranese Islands, Raffi graduated from Teranese Service five years ago, and since then has had many different jobs: wagoneering, bartending, working as a bouncer, and a brief stint as a clothing model. Now, they’ve landed a job as a bodyguard with a private security company and have been assigned to Simone Morarre, a girl in Catarina’s year at school.

Personality: starstruck, loyal, easily-led, adventurous

MBTI: ESFP

Appearance: tall and muscular, with light, tanned skin, nearly-shoulder-length dark brown straight hair, and hazel eyes. They have the look of someone who spends a lot of time outdoors and does a lot of physical activity.

Style: For work, Raffi wears a bright blue uniform reminiscent of your field uniform but with extra golden flourishes. When out of uniform, they tend to wear athletic gear, or for formal occasions, outfits that show off their physique (whether that’s shirts and trousers, or dresses), often in bright colours, though nothing very expensive.

At their best: considerate, fun-loving, guileless

At their worst: directionless, foolish, ditzy

You’ll like Raffi if you like… a thembo, who will look out for you and always have your back, who can work with you to keep others safe, who is easygoing, who is up for all kinds of adventure, who loves making connections with others, who has a goofy sense of humour, who you can call upon to get things done when you need them.

You’ll like romancing Raffi if you like… someone uncomplicated, who won’t play games with you, who is very physically competent even if not so competent at thinking things through, who will always be clear with you about their feelings, who is open-minded, who may not expected commitment but would be delighted to bring you home to their family, who is keen to broaden their horizons, who is impressed by you.

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Thanks for this. That aspect gives me just too much trouble when playing Their Majesties Pleasure.

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My hope is that there will be plenty of room for PCs who want to slowly build romances, who might fall for someone quickly and want to prioritise them, who might hold a torch for someone but not know how to express that until the perfect moment, who want something purely physical, who want a fling that turns more emotional, who want to go on a few dates before making any bigger gestures, who might not see themselves as very close with someone until something happens to bring them together and they see them in a different light… etc. Then there are lots of different ways of becoming friends too depending on the character and PC in question. It’s a lot for me to juggle but I’m feeling good about it at the moment! (And I have five pages of notes about what each character is doing and feeling in each chapter, ahaaaa)

Basically my aim is to make it all a lot more varied than in Crème and Royal Affairs, from character to character but also from PC to PC. If I can pull it off, I hope to make the romances and friendships feel varied on different playthroughs so you’ll see some different sides to the characters. We’ll see!

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Fortnightly update:

I’ve finished drafting Chapter 3, including some playtesting and associated edits, and it was a very positive experience - a ton of friendly, professional, flirty, romantic (and in some cases steamy) scenes with the major characters which have helped me get to know them further, as well as showing how they’re all getting along with each other. Plus various plot seeds and developments which are always fun. I’ve outlined Chapter 4, in which there will be some big shifts plotwise - after the PC has established themselves and their routines it’s always nice to put them on the back foot - and will be getting on with coding all that next week.

Current wordcount: 136147
Fortnight’s wordcount: 19547
Average playthrough wordcount: 34144 (these three chapters are now pretty much the equivalent of Noblesse Oblige in total size and playthrough! whew! This is what happens when I’m working on something almost-full-time and I’m feeling confident about what I’m doing!)

(also for those interested, I did find some photos of Hayley Atwell, Rain Dove, and Taylor Kitsch that make me think of Raffi, with the usual caveat that these things aren’t an exact science by any means!)

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And for the week before the public demo goes up… here is an intro for the last major befriendable and romanceable character, Savarel Lopes!

Savarel is a newcomer to Elene’s Prospect and Ozera School, having moved to the town a few months ago with no family connections there. They briefly had a job elsewhere, but are now starting to put down roots as the town priest, assistant to the town doctor, and school nurse at Ozera. Will you build bonds of friendship or romance, work for mutual goals together, or end up clashing?

More details below!

Full name: Savarel Lopes

Age: 28

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

Background: having grown up in a recently-built town in the rainforest, Savarel remained in the military after completing Teranese Service, trained as a medic, and joined a disaster relief team as a medic and, later, as a priest as well. About six months ago, they were discharged with honours thanks to their aid work in the wake of tsunamis across the Teranese Islands. Now, they divide their time between a few different part-time jobs and associated responsibilities.

Personality: driven, warm, principled, hard-working

MBTI: ENFJ

Appearance: of medium height and build, with olive/light brown skin and dark eyes, and wavy black hair that reaches to around their chin with a few grey hairs here and there.

Style: Savarel usually wears loose, comfortable, flowing clothes in undyed or lightly dyed colours. They always wear a pendant depicting a blue fern, the symbol of the Church of Teran, but no other accessories or ornamentation.

At their best: earnest, ethical, meticulous

At their worst: workaholic, independent to the point of harm, self-righteous

You’ll like Savarel if you like… mutual support, shared experiences of trauma and recovery, teaming up to work for something bigger than you, unpacking layers of obligation and survivor’s guilt; someone who will do what they’re certain is the right thing at cost to themselves or their reputation.

You’ll like romancing Savarel if you like… looking after someone who finds it hard to look after themselves, being looked after at the same time, exploring vulnerability that isn’t revealed to others, someone who will go all in on you, who wants to connect but struggles to feel they deserve it, who is very keen to give comfort and support.

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Does this mean we’ll have the demo to play with over the long (US) weekend?

I’m going to put it up on the 4th July - probably afternoon/evening UK time. I considered changing it to account for the US holiday but I’ve got into my routine of posting things on Tuesdays and I can’t bring myself to shift it now :laughing:

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Forgive my ignorance, but I don’t understand much about the backgrounds of the MC’s, I mean, I don’t know anything about the military, I can imagine the medical and training teams, but I don’t know what the other 4 are about.

There is the prologue demo is acctualy 6 options from the look of it.
1st think boot camp or specialist school trainer for military.
2nd is like it sound disaster relief and all that could entail.
3rd then if course medical which you got.
4th inteligence team havent chosen it but think spy or recon basically gsin info on targets or other nations would be my guess.
5th as a civilian equivalent to assualt or tactical teams i would say something like a swat team.
6th The very bottom one is advebture explorer recon type.

Hope that helps give some idea of course i could be wrong or just rathrr simple explanation lol

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@Valixon has it pretty much right! In the full version I may tweak the wording of the choices to give some more information, as at the moment it doesn’t give a ton other than the basics.

In the PC’s case, their Intelligence team was less focused on other nations and more about keeping an eye on criminal/insurgent activity on the Teranese Islands (though the department would absolutely be doing espionage in other countries too).

For disaster relief, they will be aiding in the wake of natural disasters, either something major and “fast-paced” (in the PC’s most recent assignment it was massive flooding) or longer-term like drought.

The tactical recon team would indeed be something like a SWAT team - dealing with major threats and in some cases guarding something highly valuable/classified against intrusion (think incredibly classified documents that were of international importance that had to be transported from one island to mainland, for example).

The Exploration Service is mostly about surveying unexplored/unclaimed territory as there are still a lot of uninhabited islands - and inland areas such as the deeper parts of the Arracin Mountains - that haven’t been fully mapped yet and which could have tons of resources or alternate trade routes that could be exploited.

In the full game, each background gives you one large and two moderate stat boosts so it’s a way of shaping your character build as well as developing your character’s backstory.

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I’m very pleased - I’ve written about 11,000 words this week and have coded Chapter 4 (and even did a little bit of Chapter 4 writing too). But I also spent the best part of a couple of days balancing the game for Chapters 1-4 - making it closer to equally easy to attain high (or low) levels in each stat, and evening out how often the stats are tested. This is what I learned from Royal Affairs, during which the stat highs and lows were pretty even but I inadvertently made a couple of the stats much more useful than the others, and didn’t realise until fairly late. It took a while but will absolutely be worth it! In doing that, I added a few options in various places, giving more ways of dealing with situations which is always nice.

I’m looking forward to sharing the public demo on 4th July!

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You’re so productive. I’ve taken two payments, one of which I had to back out of the system again, and made a misshapen origami frog.

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Interesting! I look forward very much to exploring this part of the demo, when it comes out.

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Sorry if this is a stupid question. Did I miss a Creme de la creme release? Loved the original, loved Royal Affairs even more. But this is marked as book 4? Which release did I miss?

Holy crap, I don’t think I ever actually realised that was a Creme de la creme title :upside_down_face:

Noblesse Oblige?

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It wasn’t clearly labeled as a series until Royal Affairs, and Noblesse Oblige takes place in a totally different part of the world than Crème de la Crème. It would be easy to miss the connection unless you remembered a lot of the specific place names from Crème.

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Or played the demo for it lol

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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