Shepherds of Haven (WIP) (DEMO UPDATE: 3 Aug 2021)

So…I refused to join the shepherds and the inqusitors caught me and threw me in a cell. Then I am being executed.
Is it a_emphasized text_ Game Over or it’s the end of the demo???

@Sailendranath_Murmu the whole game is about being in the shepherds order. @rinari provided that so that players could role-play their MCs better (being conscripted instead of joining)


So what is the answer to my question??? Is it game over or the demo ended at that point???

It’s a game-over. (20 characters)


@Sailendranath_Murmu It’s a game-over if you get executed, but the demo continues if you don’t. :stuck_out_tongue:


Ok… thanks… I am going to take revenge on them in next life. I hope I will have the chance to destroy them and revive the old ways where everyone can freely live the way they wanted.
In my eyes they are the most dangerous creature even more than the demons.


Even if it does lead to a quick end to that path of the game, I would like the option for the MCs to put up a fight when getting arrested after having refused to join the Shepherds. Perhaps the amount of resistance the MC gives could depend on the MC’s level of training. Even if the Inquisitors sent to arrest the MC were prepared to deal with a well-trained mage, they could not be prepared for a MC that uses Words of Power while resisting. It is quite a disappointment if a MC that has killed 2 to 3 Revenants cannot even manage to dispose of a few Inquisitors.

@Norilinde That makes sense! But the text notes that the MC is still weak and recovering from their earlier fight with the Revenants and is unable to use a Word of Power, especially if they already used one, as it needs time to “recharge.” So unfortunately the Inquisitors nab them at a vulnerable time!

You may get your chance! :grin:


Hey there! Found this WIP and was intrigued. It seems pretty popular, so I thought to try it out.

I really liked the demo though I can see from all the talk on here that there are a ton of characters that you guys already know about. I’m slowly going through the posts, but @rose-court has graciously given me a quick rundown and linked some great tumblr asks and info for me to catch up on.

I’ve played the demo a few times (haven’t exhausted any path yet), but I’ve got some questions/observations that I was hoping to get cleared up.

My 1st question is how defined is our MC supposed to be? It’s obviously not like The Elder Scrolls games where the character is a blank slate (and I’m totally fine with that), but is it more like Commander Shepard in Mass Effect or Geralt from The Witcher? Those are two very different protagonists; one is slightly defined but free to be almost any personality whereas the other is a set character that you can kind of guide the path they go down, but they are who they are.

The reason why I ask this is because the MC seems to have a bit of a snarky personality built in, especially noticeable in the interactions with the other sheperds. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of room to play a stoic or shy MC. For example, when you train with Trouble, you can be snarky, rude, or indifferent. There’s no in between. With Blade, you have to be extremely bold in flirts; there is no shy option.

The 2nd question I have is about the codex. How integral to the game is it supposed to be? I felt like I had to constantly stop during the game and go check the codex to get information. I thought the codex was more like extra in depth info, but it seems like this one is mandatory in order to play the game. :thinking: Don’t get me wrong, I do love codex entries and love to read them, but I like to do that on my own time, not in the middle of a scene when I’m into the story because I need to make a choice and don’t feel like I have enough information to properly make it.

An example: When choosing an origin, I feel like there’s not enough information there in the text to make a decision. I’d have to go to the codex, which I didn’t really know about on my first time through. Maybe including an author’s note would be helpful, like: Go to the Codex to find more information on the individual races. An alternative could also be to include a one sentence summary of each right before the choice though that only applies to this one specific example.

My 3rd one may be short and might already be answered, but I haven’t come across this yet. If you don’t save Prihine, does that lock you out of a romance with Lavinet since they are cousins?
Just curious in case I decide to roll a male MC that would be interested in romancing her.

My last question is about the conversation options. When talking to the companions during the free day, there is no option to not ask all questions and end the conversation. Is this done purposely? You must go through all the options presented. This may tie in with how defined the MC is though, but I’m not sure. I find that limits roleplay. What if the MC was conscripted? They may not be feeling so friendly. Maybe they only want to ask some of the questions and not all of them because some of them might be out of character? (I hope that makes sense.)

I hope I’m not coming off as rude, but I was left with questions after playing the demo. I actually really liked what I played. (Loved that everything is on one screen for the stats and relationships too.) I thought the characters were really well defined and different from each other—very memorable. I think the premise sounds really fun, and I am looking forward to when this comes off hiatus.


I would gladly be Tallys ho


Hi @spunkycatninja, thanks for the great discussion points! I’ll do my best to answer them in a cohesive way! :grin:

I would say the MC is like the protagonists of the Dragon Age games: there’s room for different personalities and responses, but there’s also some things that are defined and a storyline to follow, though the branches of that story can alter drastically. So in my example, the Inquisitor or Hawke could be sarcastic, ruthless, sincere, altruistic–so too can the MC of this story–but they couldn’t be downright evil or conniving or anarchic. I do think there’s room for this MC to be stoic or cunning or cowardly–running away from various battles, shunning Caine, staying silent–when the DA protagonists couldn’t, but there isn’t necessarily total freedom of roleplay, either. The story requires them to be in a position of power (this mysterious gift they’ve been given) and not able to completely reject it, like Geralt or Commander Shepard or the Inquisitor. And I think the story requires them to be a person on the “good” side of things, though their motives can be drastically different for being on that side. I hope that makes sense!

I do see what you mean about the slight snarkiness: I am in the process of rewriting those scenes with the Shepherds since I’ve tossed out the requirement to train with them, so things in those sequences will change. I think the MC can be stoic in a certain sense, since in the story there are quite a few places where they can choose to say nothing or withhold their opinion (such as when Trouble and Tallys are arguing), but I’ll be careful to go over everything again to make sure snarkiness stays within obviously-snarky choices. My problem with “shy” choices/personalities is that it puts all of the onus on the other characters to spur the conversation forward, and narrative momentum is quickly lost: if a shy MC clams up with Shery, Shery clams up too, and then really nothing gets said or done within those scenes. None of the characters flirt with the MC first–to avoid unwanted advances–except Tallys, and even if they did, it would be hard to program a response where the character can react shyly in a way that’s different from being uncomfortable or uninterested in the flirt. If you have more thoughts on a way to flirt shyly with, say, Blade, in a way that still convincingly signals interest but allows for more roleplaying, I’d love to hear them!!

In any conversation where there’s a bunch of questions listed, choosing the last one in the sequence will almost always end the conversation–so the MC doesn’t necessarily have to go through all questions! The last one will move the scene forward. This isn’t at all ideal or obvious, but I find that having an option that says “End the conversation” breaks immersion and feels abrupt: I try to write the conversations so they always seem to segue naturally to the next topic however they go, so I don’t want to have an opt-out where the MC says “Bye” and can leave. Most of the dayoff sequences have a point or mini-story to tell, or are part of a larger story arc for that character, so if the MC engages with that character, they at least need to have the conversation that spurs or initiates that “point.” (In clearer terms, learning about Trouble’s origins is a crucial part of getting to know his character and spurring his arc forward, so there isn’t really a way to avoid talking with him about his past.) I figure if the MC isn’t interested in those conversations or spending more time with the characters, they can always refuse (as in when Tallys invites them to go shopping) or not seek them out in the first place. :slight_smile:

(And there will be space for a conscripted MC to convey that they’re unhappy or be unfriendly in conversation, but I think overall someone roleplaying that way wouldn’t purposefully seek out the other Shepherds at all.)

The codex is supposed to be purely supplemental information, but I can totally see how it doesn’t feel like that! Almost of the information in it is said in passing or implied in the main text (such as when Prihine describes the structure of Haven’s tiers), or it’s information that doesn’t affect the story at all; but for the races, I haven’t found a good way to include a description of them that doesn’t break immersion. I’ve been told that telling readers to check the codex mid-story is jarring, but trying to find a way to describe the races naturally in dialogue or narration (when the MC and all of the other characters already know about them) hasn’t happened organically yet. I agree with you, though, so I’ll have to think on it more! Maybe allowing the player to pick an origin, read a description, then say, “Is that right?” or let them backtrack is the way to go?

(And if there were any other instances where you felt you had to check the codex before you could make a decision, please let me know! :slightly_smiling_face:)

As of right now, it is extremely, extremely, extremely difficult to recruit and romance Lavinet if Prihine is dead–but it is possible! (However, it’s currently not possible to successfully romance Lavinet after romancing Prihine.)

Anyway, thanks again for commenting! I really do hope you enjoyed the demo (and reading @rose-court’s great asks! :P) And I hope that you’ll continue to enjoy when the project resumes at full-speed! :slight_smile:


I would advise against this, since a player might choose the final question with the intent of asking an earlier question later, or they might see it as out-of-character to ask the final question. Having an option like “No more questions.” is not (I feel) immersion-breaking, and is probably a better way of doing it.


Hmm, I see what you mean about it moving the conversation forward when the player might not want to, but I’m also against having something like “no more questions” because I feel it does disrupt the flow of the conversation: the other character would be like, “oh, okay then,” whereas now it flows naturally to the next topic without a big signifier like “I’m done learning about you now!” In-scene it feels like at that point the MC would just stop talking, lol. I do want to change it though, so I have to think more on it and experiment! Same with introducing the races/origin stories. :sweat_smile:


A compromise approach that I’ve seen many others here do:

option 1: Question 1 asked
option 2: Question 2 asked

last option: Last question asked (continue on) ← with the continue on in parenthesis after the option text.

Another option is to use the hide/reuse script with an internal counter that will hide any question asked, then continue onward with the story once the counter hits the required sum.

The advantage is that it is immersive and it makes sure the reader gets all the info.

The disadvantage is it makes replays more tedious.


I think @Eiwynn suggestion is really good! I have also seen ellipsis (…) used as the last/skip all questions option to indicate silence from the mc, which would still give a natural flow to dialog because the character could be like “No more questions? Good, let’s get going” or whatever they would say.


I love those suggestions, @Eiwynn and @Djone1!! I love the idea of the invisible counter, but my concerns would be (as you said @Eiwynn) 1) it would make replays tedious and 2) it would force the MC to ask all questions to get through the conversation, which doubles down on what @spunkycatninja said about roleplaying and not wanting to exhaust all questions.

What if the last question had a (…) after the choice to indicate the conversation will move forward, instead of a (continue on) in parenthesis?


What about a simple option added saying something like “I think I’m done talking” or something along those lines? It wouldn’t stand out so much, but it still signifies to the reader that if they pick that choice, then that would end the dialogue. It also wouldn’t break immersion.


I think my trouble with “I’m done talking” or “no more questions” or something along those lines is that often the scene needs to continue anyway (such as when Blade starts talking about mythas in his scene after the conversation leads to that point) or it’s implied that more time is spent with the character afterwards, so it’d be awkward to be like “I’m done talking” and then for the other character to keep talking anyway, lol. I need to think more on it for sure!


Why not replace them with something else?

“That was all the questions I had.”

“I have nothing left to ask.”

“Ok, continue?”

Idk. There are plenty of polite ways to stop asking questions and proceed on with the talk.


Yeah, I may just have to rewrite those interactions to have a clear verbal indicator like you guys are saying! :slightly_smiling_face: Those responses might work!