genre(s): urban fantasy, romance, mystery, supernatural, dark
After a strange encounter, you start to have disturbing dreams and cannot shake the feeling that something is watching you. Plus, that stupid bird won’t leave you alone. How fortunate that the Ornithological Fellowship of North America is here to help, and they only require a few drops of blood. It’s probably not a cult… right?
Gain psychic gifts, choose a familiar, and get to the bottom of your family history as you are inducted (willingly or not) into a secret society that may be more than they claim. Forge bonds and romances with other OFNA members, but remember that everyone has their secrets. Can you really trust anyone?
- Customizable MC, including gender, sexuality, their familiar, and what gift they have
- Learn about your mother’s disappearance, OFNA secrets, and how to control your newfound gifts
- Control your attitude about joining OFNA (accepting vs resistant)
- Five ROs available to all players (more info on them below). This will be a relatively large element, but there will be strictly platonic options for each
Join a cult probably
- Story, choice, and character driven narrative
Sell your soul
Hey, friends! I have been hanging on the forum for a few months and decided that I’m (sort of) ready to post my WIP. I’ve had elements of this story in my head for a few years, and since discovering IF everything has finally come together. I currently have 54k words (~28k per playthrough) spread over a prologue + 5 chapters. I’m planning to update once a month if I can.
Ideally, this will be the first book of a three part series. The other books are mostly planned and the overarching plot is set. If this goes poorly, I do have a backup plan to shift the plot and wrap it up with just this book
Simon(e) Yi - gender set by player preference
- A new initiate who questions nearly everything about OFNA and does their best to drag you into their antics. They’re down for anything but seem hesitant to talk about their past.
Bea(u) Cabot - gender set by player preference
- A new initiate who is a bit of a mystery. Tends to disappear for long periods of time. They seem like a sweetheart, but you get the feeling there’s something they’re not telling anyone.
Jeremy Coleman - he/him
- The Coleman family disappointment who was recently kicked out due to a (totally minor and definitely not his fault) accident. He’s a bit of a mess, but can charm nearly anyone.
Natasha Coleman - she/her
- Experiences with OFNA and her legacy family have left her jaded. She doesn’t care about anyone, aside from her twin brother. Hoping to cash in on her family’s wealth and get out.
Elliot Bhatra - he/him
- The strongest OFNA member in years. With ambition to spare, he would do almost anything to break into the upper ranks. He has big plans and mentoring the annoying new initiates is not among them.
About the romances
- The romances will be a big part of the narrative over the books (mainly because I am a sucker for romance). There will be a lockin point toward the end and a final confirmation at the conclusion of this book because Plot Reasons™
- I plan to implement platonic versions of each route. This is because 3 out of 5 ROs have set genders, so I want to leave the chance to experience the routes as a BFF.
- There will be 2 opportunities to opt out of romance:
- At the beginning when MC preferences are set. This will remove all flirting/romance options throughout the game.
- At the end of the book when a RO route is chosen, there will be an option to select that you don’t have romantic feelings for any of them.
- SPOILER (ish): Every RO has things they’re hiding, but one is on the enemy’s side. There will be some hints leading up to it in their scenes. The feelings were not faked and they are a real RO, but the romance is a bit more complicated.
About the familiars
- There are 5 different bird familiars to choose from, each with a distinct personality.
- The familiar’s personality is NOT tied to the MC’s and they can act completely differently
- This choice will mainly be to make replays mildly more interesting and it will not affect the overall plot. There will be small effects on your character’s growth through the books.
Update frequency and expected length
- Ideally a chapter every month. I’m hoping this is reasonable, but I have a fairly demanding job and I expect the writing to take longer as more branches get written. I am cautiously optimistic for now.
- Expecting 20 chapters total based on my current outline.
- My plan is to post everything here, except maybe the last ~4 chapters if I can find interested parties to privately beta test those.
- This story involves being inducted into a secret society who will not take no for an answer. A player character who resists turns in the story will still be forced to join the organization and is allowed to resent this fact. There may be consequences to being consistently resistant.
- May (at some point) contain strong language, drug & alcohol usage, and mentions of violence, death, and other mature themes.
- There will NOT be anything about sexual and/or child abuse. No descriptions of violence will be overly graphic.
Is the MC’s personality affected by the familiar?
No, the MC’s personality is entirely independent of the familiar choice. The choice in familiar will have other effects down the road in the story, but you can have a very friendly initiate with a grumpy familiar if you want to.
Are you going to add additional familiars later on?
No. I know some people have requested some bigger/cooler familiars like owls or hawks, but I do have set plans for the familiars we have now and likely will not add any more. There are also some narrative reasons for the initiate to have a songbird familiar.
Will my MC be able to kill and/or hurt OFNA members and escape?
I commented on that in this post (post 173). This is not an action story, it is primarily about uncovering secrets and building relationships with the other characters. There will not be options to seriously injure the main cast. First and foremost, this story will focus on the urban fantasy/mystery aspect and the romances. There will only be violent options for self defense purposes.
Will this a standalone or a series?
Ideally, I would like for this to be the first of three books. This one would serve as an introduction to OFNA, the ROs, and a chance to set up your initiate’s personality before major plot events start kicking off. If this whole thing goes really badly, I will shift the plot and wrap it up in one book.
Will we be able to start a relationship with the ROs in this book?
There will be romantic moments/scenes with the ROs (if desired) and a RO route lock toward the end of the book. There will not be a formal relationship (i.e. boyfriend/girlfriend) in this book because I don’t feel there would be time to develop the relationships that far without feeling rushed. There will be significant romantic moments for most of the ROs.
Will the MC gain additional gifts later on? Will they get more powerful?
I won’t say too much about this due to spoilers, but the MC will have better control over their gifts and discover some surprising things by the end of the book.
My tumblr (@ofna) is where I’ll post progress updates between chapters and shout into the void about how hard it is to write IF. Feel free to send bugs, typos, questions, or anonymous hatred.
Images from tumblr
Just for fun! I’ve been posting a little mood board for each chapter I release. All images are from pixabay.
Anyway, I hope you like the story and I would love feedback! Please let me know if you find any typos or grammatical issues, also. Thank you for your time
– Heather Bertiome
May 10, 2021 - Chapter 5 added
- New total word count of 54k (~28k per playthrough)
- Call a bunch of people out on their bad behavior
- Set your height
- Be forcibly inducted into a cult
- Save files will be broken, sorry!
Feb 18, 2021 - Mini update
- Can manually set Simon/Simone’s and Bea/Beau’s gender
- Some starts balanced and additional dialogue options
- Additional variables added to better track secrets
- Save files will be broken, sorry!
Feb 11, 2021 - Chapter 4 added
- New total word count of 37k (~20k per playthrough)
- Optimistic/Pessimistic stat changed to Trusting/Cynical
- Meet the final two initiates (and ROs)
- Nickname your familiar
- Find your first clue about what’s going on at OFNA
Jan 7, 2021 - Mini update
- New scene (~500 words) added to the middle of chapter 3, background on relationship w/ Drew
- Can willingly go to OFNA with the intent to learn more before deciding
- Option to input MC’s hair color if you choose ‘dyed hair’
- Additional choices/reactions in some places
- One branch where you can punch Elliot if you pass a stat check. Have fun!
Jan 4, 2021
- First version!
- Prologue + 3 chapters, 18k words (~11k per playthrough)
- Pick your familiar and gift
- Meet 3 out of 5 ROs (maybe 3 and a half, depending on your path)
- Start influencing your overall attitude toward OFNA (accepting or resistant)