(Formerly “Haven and Hael”!)
I’m trying my hand out at my first CSG game. It’s adapted from a fantasy series I considered sending to my agent, but which I decided was better (and more fun) as a game. Thanks for your support: please enjoy!
Shepherds of Haven is a dark fantasy interactive fiction game. In it, you play as a Mage living in a world where magic is outlawed and your people—those possessing supernatural powers—are oppressed and reviled. The world is ruled by humans who believe in science, technology, and industry: at best, you and your kind are nothing more than a fairytale, and at worst you are the state’s greatest threat.
Thus, using magic has been illegal for centuries. But after centuries of persecution, you are suddenly offered an opportunity to use your powers for good: demons are now returning, and the world needs fighters like you to protect the population from their invasion. Guns and bullets do no good against monsters pulled from primeval nightmares; only your people and your supernatural powers have the ability to fight fire with fire.
So you join the Shepherds: an order of elite heroes and fighters comprised of the very people the world once feared more than the demons themselves. As a Shepherd, you’ll solve magical crimes, slay demons to protect the citizens of Haven, and build your reputation throughout the capitol. Explore the world of Blest, recruit allies and factions to join the Shepherds’ cause, find romance and companionship, investigate mysteries, lead rebellions and exorcisms, and uncover answers to the crises plaguing the world. Where are the demons coming from? Where have the gods or God gone, if they ever existed? And who are you, really?
And will you be the world’s true savior… or will you be its ultimate downfall?
This novel features:
- Strong adult language and fantasy profanity
- Fantasy violence, including descriptions of battlefield violence and warfare; minor mentions of injuries and blood
- Death (avoidable NPC deaths as well as mentions of victim death during investigations)
- Descriptions of playing a law-enforcement officer and peacekeeper in a fantasy context
- Mentions of victim kidnapping and torture during crime investigations
- Discrimination in a fantasy race context; mentions of sexist situations and language
- Forced marriage, in that some non-player characters are described as being betrothed in political marriages
- Optional depictions of player-character trauma or grief
- Descriptions of nightmares; mild to moderate horror situations
- Brief mentions of fantasy drug use and addiction in an investigative context; depictions of non-harmful fantasy smoking and casual alcohol consumption; casual depictions of gambling
- Optional sex implications (non-explicit, fade-to-black ‘candlelight’ scenes)
Rating: This story would likely be rated T for teens or PG-13.
- Play as male, female, or non-binary; play as straight, gay, bi, pan, as well as asexual, aromantic, or aro-ace.
- Customize your own appearance, magic specialization, education, weapon, and racial heritage.
- Choose your personality, values, traits, skills, and responses: are you a charismatic team player or a ruthless lone wolf? An impulsive scholar or a cunning and street-savvy manipulator?
- Recruit, befriend, and even romance up to twelve possible allies, each with their own personal story and character arc. Enjoy a found family dynamic with a crew that grows and changes with your choices over time.
- Solve supernatural and arcane crimes—not all of them demon-related—as well as the mystery of your own origins.
- Build your reputation and prowess in the city. Will you use it to become Haven’s greatest champion against the forces of Hael—or use your newfound power to overthrow the Autarchy once and for all?
- Explore countless branching paths and dozens of different endings!
The game is planned to be 1 prologue, 11 main chapters, and 1 epilogue. It will include:
- 10 romance options and 12 recruitable characters. Each major character comes with their own individual character arc, motivations, special scenes, friendship and romance routes, and character-specific endings.
- LOTS of complex choices that will test your morals, loyalties, and role-playing skills.
- An ever-changing and adaptable codex that changes with the paths you take, unlocking special documents and entries as you play.
- A hubworld-esque “day off” system where you can interact with the city, train, shop, gamble, pray, explore, decorate your room, read the newspaper, go on dates, take on side quests, celebrate holidays and birthdays, and spend time with other characters in between story missions.
- A new game+ system to reward replays.
- 100 hidden achievements to unlock and discover.
- A dedicated checkpoint save system in the final version of the game.
- Much more!
There are 12 possible recruitable characters and 10 possible romance options, some of which are gender-locked. Below is a very brief list of the people you can recruit or romance.
|Blade Bronwyn||Male||Ket||Female MCs||Yes||The enigmatic and cold commander of the Shepherds who comes burdened by a mysterious past.|
|“Trouble” Alder||Male||Norm||Male and Female MCs||Yes||Blade’s second-in-command; a good-hearted but hot-tempered Norm gunslinger who can never walk away from a fight.|
|Tallys Ironwood||Female||Elf||Male, Female, and Non-Binary MCs||Yes||The Shepherds’ reasonable and level-headed Elven archer who holds a secret hatred in her heart.|
|Shery Acquell||Female||Norm||Female MCs||Yes||The Shepherds’ chief of staff, who is almost cripplingly shy but extremely kind-spirited.|
|Riel Syndran||Male||Norm||Male MCs||Yes||The businesslike and logical leader of the Merchants’ Guild who dabbles in inventing and history.|
|Chase Trinaeste||Male||Norm||Male, Female, and Non-Binary MCs||Yes||The mischievous and impulsive leader of the Thieves’ Guild who struggles with his morality.|
|Halek Prince||Male||Hunter||Alpha-only||The serious but lazy chieftain of the Hunters who feels locked into a lifelong prophecy.|
|Briony Stormbreaker||Female||Mage/Ket/Hunter/Elf||Male and Female MCs||Alpha-only||A cheerful and high-spirited Diminished gladiator who has lost her memories.|
|Ayla Aescar||Female||Mage||Male, Female, and Non-Binary MCs||Yes||A nomadic and flighty Wind-Mage who searches for a family.|
|Liefred “Red” Antiqua||Male||Mage||Male, Female, and Non-Binary MCs||Yes||An honest and charismatic teleporter who wants to resurrect a long-dead society.|
|Lavinet Naveen||Female||Norm||Male MCs||Alpha-only||A beautiful, noble-born Norm aristocrat who harbors good intentions but is out-of-touch with the ways of the world.|
|Prihine Naveen||Female||Norm||Male, Female, and Non-Binary MCs||Yes||Lavinet’s spoiled younger cousin and your charge at the beginning of the story.|
|Caine Tavadon||Male||Norm||Yes||A precocious merchant’s apprentice who worships the ground you walk on.|
|Mimir Esthin||Female||Mage||No||A mysterious and enigmatic Seer who claims to see the future.|
|Croelle||Male||Unknown||Yes||A strange “watcher” who seems preoccupied by questions of free will.|
You can view official character art here.
The below portraits were made in Artbreeder, an AI program that combines images together to produce new, computer-generated approximations. As such, some details (such as skin tone, freckles, scars, and eye color) may not be accurate; these images are intended to be approximations only. Rely on your character guide and the game text for accurate and intended details.
Map of the Continent by @ignifex
Map of Haven by @youreyesarelikethesea
Map of the Shepherds’ Compound
Map of Fourth Floor of Shepherds’ Compound
Can’t decide which heritage you should choose at the beginning of the game? Never fear, this personality quiz is here to help you out!
If you want everything about your MC to be random, here’s a fun little character generator for you!
Like, follow, or send in asks! There’s a ton of extra information about the characters and world here!
You can also go here to organize posts/questions by individual characters, romance options, or all characters!
There’s a FAQ here on Tumblr. Future guides and walkthroughs to follow. If you think of any commonly-asked questions that I haven’t put here, please let me know!
You can join the Shepherds of Haven discord and chat with other readers!
Current demo length: ~270,000 words
Total project length: ~640,000 words
Demo last updated: 3 August 2021
19 January 2018
21 January 2018
- Added a few more Prihine scenes (accessible only if one chooses to avoid Caine)
- Added an option to initially turn down the Shepherds (you still ultimately have to join them, no matter what, but this route can provide a way to be reluctant about it)
- Fixed a bug that occurred when fighting the demon with magic/regular weapons while running away
- Added cosmetic customization during the Flower Day/Wreath Day flashback (iffy on whether or not this will stay)
- Working on fleshing out father and background story/hometown more
2 February 2018
- Added chapter title images
- Implemented day off and romance flag system
- Implemented prayer, shopping, and other activities
- Added a rough draft of the first day off and a little bit of chapter 1
5 February 2018
- Added brief mentions of the MC’s weapon abilities in some day off interactions
- Fixed repeating dialogue when returning to the store on day off
- Removed an error that came at the end of the demo and just made it a *finish command
11 February 2018
- Tweaked some lines in Blade and Tallys’ day off scenes
- Tweaked some lines in the conscription scene
- Removed most achievements to avoid spoilers in the code…
27 June 2018
- Fixed some grammatical errors in the prologue that were bothering me
- Removed individual weapons stats and character training sequences (the weapon skills system will be revamped entirely down the line)
- Added strength and magic training to day off activities
- The first NPCs day off scenes will most likely change in the future, though not unrecognizably
30 June 2018
- Added notifications for unlocking codex entries throughout the story. You can toggle them on or off through the codex menu.
- Tweaked the “running away” scene after the church so that the MC uses magic or a Word of Power.
4 July 2018
- Added an appearance area under stats. Please report any bugs that may have come from this!
- Added more content under Tallys and Trouble’s routes.
27 July 2018
- Added a brief change to the conscription scene. Will change achievements in the demo (as most have been deleted to make room) soon.
1 August 2018
- A calendar has been added in the codex.
- Going through Blade’s dayoff sequence will unlock a new document in the codex about the Ket caste system.
- There’s now a chance for you to randomly encounter another Shepherd while strength-training. In the future what your relationship is like with that Shepherd will matter.
- Going back to Chandry’s shop a second time has new dialogue where he asks you a riddle. Giving answers he likes will net you a discount (up to 50% off!). In the future more dialogue will be added so he tells you a different riddle each time.
14 August 2018
- Changed the weapons system slightly to make leveling up the weapon skill more related to strength training or buying upgraded weapons than training with NPCs.
- Changed the MC’s starting gun to a one-shot pistol.
- Changed the magic system: players can now choose what kind of Mage they think they would have been before the Castigation (there are 9 main schools of magic to choose from). This will affect new invisible magic stats: psionic magic, astral magic, and arcane magic, which will help add diversity to spell-casting and stat checks but keep the options believably concise.
- Added another scene where you can be a dick to Chandry.
- Rewrote Tallys and Trouble’s day off sequences, completing rewrites.
19 August 2018
- Added a potential pet for a recruited Caine.
- Added a command activity in the day off hub in case the MC ever becomes Commander.
- Tweaked the day off system with *gosub to refine the system and prevent events from accidentally appearing as selectable for repeated use (excluding shopping).
- Added new names and aliases to appear in the stat screen.
- Added a legendary tier to the weapons system.
18 September 2018
- Moved the inventory to a separate screen from the stats and made it look much more organized and aesthetic.
25 September 2018
- Added scar and tattoos to character customization.
27 September 2018
- New stat names! New stat hints! New chapter headers! New everything headers!
27 August 2019
- Prologue updated
- Day off scenes updated
- Character guide, stats screen, codex system, etc. updated
- Non-binary pronouns and options added
- Much more
6 January 2020
- Public demo updated with Chapter 1 content
- Added a recap section under the “journey” tab on the stats page
- Added a newspaper function in the day off hub
6 July 2020
- Public demo updated with ‘complete’ Chapter 1 and 2, along with new day-off scenes
7 January 2021
- Public demo updated with first half of Chapter 3, new day-off scenes, new codex documents, and a save system skeleton for implementation after publication.
3 August 2021
- Public demo updated with complete Chapter 3, new day-off scenes, and new codex documents.
11 August 2021
- Added new bug reporting system to make user and author experience smoother and more efficient! See here for details!
- Chapter 7 is underway in the alpha build of the game, having just surpassed 620,000 words. I am working hard to continue progress on this chapter!
Thank you for your time and feedback! Enjoy!
My first novel, a science fiction thriller, was published by DAW Books and Penguin Random House on July 6th, 2021, and it’s called WE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN HERE! You can read all about it on my website and order a copy at any of the sites in the link, or even in-person at a bookstore near you! I hope you will consider supporting that endeavor as well!
WE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN HERE
This psychological sci-fi thriller from a debut author follows one doctor who must discover the source of her crew’s madness… or risk succumbing to it herself.
Misanthropic psychologist Dr. Grace Park is placed on the Deucalion, a survey ship headed to an icy planet in an unexplored galaxy. Her purpose is to observe the thirteen human crew members aboard the ship—all specialists in their own fields—as they assess the colonization potential of the planet, Eos. But frictions develop as Park befriends the androids of the ship, preferring their company over the baffling complexity of humans, while the rest of the crew treats them with suspicion and even outright hostility.
Shortly after landing, the crew finds themselves trapped on the ship by a radiation storm, with no means of communication or escape until it passes—and that’s when things begin to fall apart. Park’s patients are falling prey to waking nightmares of helpless, tongueless insanity. The androids are behaving strangely. There are no windows aboard the ship. Paranoia is closing in, and soon Park is forced to confront the fact that nothing—neither her crew, nor their mission, nor the mysterious Eos itself—is as it seems.