Shepherds of Haven (WIP) (ON TEMPORARY HIATUS)

gender-choice
high-fantasy

#1

titlesymbol

(Formerly “Haven and Hael”!)

Hello, all!

I’m trying my hand out at my first CoG 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. Please note that this is currently on temporary hiatus as I work on finishing my first book. Once that’s done, I’ll return to working on this full-time and will be able to update more frequently then. Thanks for your support and patience! :slight_smile:

Story

Premise

Two hundred years after a cataclysmic war, the world of Blest has been segregated into a ruthless hierarchy. On the bottom are the Diminished: those possessing magical powers and supernatural gifts, now treated as second-class citizens after losing the war. On top are the Norms, power-less but technologically-advanced humans who have established a tyrannical government–the Autarchy–in the wake of their victory.

For centuries, the Autarchy has attempted to corral the Diminished and stomp out their gifts–jealous of the powers the Diminished have been granted by “the gods.” But with the abrupt return of demons to Blest, suddenly everyone discovers that they need those same gifts in earnest.

The Autarchy establishes a fighting force in Haven, meant to protect the citizenry from demonic invasion: an order comprised of the very people it once oppressed and reviled. And you, a Mage living in a land where using magic will get you executed, find that your only chance at freedom is join this supernatural police force: the Shepherds.

In Shepherds of Haven, you’ll solve magical crimes and slay demons to protect Haven’s citizenry. You can explore the world of Blest, recruit allies and factions to join the Shepherds’ cause, and find 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 in a city of hidden monsters, who do you consider your true enemy—and who is really your friend?

Warnings

This novel features strong adult language, fantasy violence, death, and optional mild sex scenes.

Gameplay

General Features
  • Play as male or female; play as straight, gay, bi, or asexual.
  • Customize your own appearance, specialization, education, weapon, and 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 street-savvy manipulator?
  • Recruit, befriend, and even romance up to eleven possible allies, each with their own personal story and character arc.
  • 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!
Other Mechanics

The game is planned to be 1 prologue, 10 main chapters, and 1 epilogue. It will include:

  • 9 romance options out of 11 recruitable characters (up to 10 in a single playthrough). Each comes with their own individual character arc, motivations, special scenes, friendship and romance routes, and 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, pray, explore, go on dates, and spend time with NPCs in between story missions.
  • A new game+ system to reward replays.
  • 100 hidden achievements to unlock and discover.
  • Much more!

Characters

Character Profiles

There are 11 possible recruitable characters (but it is impossible to recruit them all in a single playthrough) and out of those, 9 possible romance options, some of which are gender-locked. Below is a very brief list of the people you can recruit or romance. (Romanceable options are bolded.)

  • Blade Bronwyn: | Male | Ket | Romanceable by Female MCs | The enigmatic and cold commander of the Shepherds who comes burdened by a mysterious past.

  • "Trouble" Alder: | Male | Norm | Romanceable by Male and Female MCs | Blade’s second-in-command; a good-hearted but hot-tempered Norm gunslinger who wears his emotions on his sleeve.

  • Tallys Ironwood: | Female | Elf | Romanceable by Male and Female MCs | The Shepherds’ reasonable and level-headed Elven archer who struggles to walk the line between composure, practicality, and indifference.

  • Shery Acquell: | Female | Norm | Romanceable by Female MCs | The Shepherds’ chief of staff, who is almost cripplingly shy but kind-spirited.

  • Riel Syndran: | Male | Norm | Romanceable by Male MCs | The businesslike and logical leader of the Merchants’ Guild who dabbles in inventing and history.

  • Chase Trinaeste: | Male | Norm | Romanceable by Male and Female MCs | The mischievous and impulsive leader of the Thieves’ Guild who struggles with his morality.

  • Halek Prince: | Male | Hunter | The serious chieftain of the Hunters who feels locked into a lifelong prophecy.

  • Ayla Aescar: | Female | Mage | Romanceable by Male and Female MCs | A nomadic and flighty Wind-Mage who searches for a family.

  • Liefred “Red” Antiqua: | Male | Mage | Romanceable by Male and Female MCs | An honest and charismatic Mage who wants to resurrect a long-dead society.

  • Lavinet Naveen: | Female | Norm | Romanceable by Male MCs | A beautiful, noble-born Norm aristocrat who harbors good intentions but is out-of-touch with the ways of the world.

  • Mimir Esthin: | Female | Mage | A mysterious Seer who speaks in riddles about her visions of the future.

Character Art

mc
MC of the original novel series
blade%20headshot
Blade
trouble%20headshot
Trouble
tallys
Tallys
chase%20headshot
Chase
ayla
Ayla
red
Red
halek
Halek
prihine
Prihine
croelle
Croelle
82a9380addc86c8919cbca3d7bd7f13aabbbf083_1_375x500
Mimir by @forWantOf

Miscellaneous

Fan Art

fanart_terrafallen
By @terrafallen
caine%20fanart

By @impeccably-stressed


By anonymous

By @Dagguro

by @smod (not technically fanart since I requested it)

by @wings-on-earth

Fan Fiction

reflected light, a hollow moon - @impeccably-stressed

Maps

Interactive Map of the Continent
Interactive Map of the MC’s travels
Map of Haven

Personality Quiz

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!

Which race would you be in Shepherds of Haven?

Polls

Links

Tumblr

Like, follow, or send in asks! There’s a ton of extra information about the characters and world here! :slight_smile:

https://shepherds-of-haven.tumblr.com/

You can also go here to organize posts/questions by individual characters, romance options, or all characters!

FAQ

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!

Side Project

My other ChoiceScript WIP, Apex Predators!


Demo

Current demo length: ~35,000 words (complete prologue + codex/glossary + 30% of chapter 1)
Average playthrough length: ~18,000-20,000 words
Last updated: August 1 2018

Updates

Progress

Total project length so far: ~85,000 words
Estimated progress: 8% (??)

Changelog

19 January 2018

Demo posted!

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

  • (Updated demo not yet posted)
  • 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

  • (Updated demo not yet posted)
  • 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

  • (Updated demo not yet posted)
  • Moved the inventory to a separate screen from the stats and made it look much more organized and aesthetic.

25 September 2018

  • (Updated demo not yet posted)
  • Added scar and tattoos to character customization.

27 September 2018

  • (Updated demo not yet posted)
  • New stat names! New stat hints! New chapter headers! New everything headers!
Coming soon

After the hiatus is over, I want to…

  • Finish Chapter 1
  • Draft scenes for repeated visits to Chandry, the church, and the temple
  • Think on how to introduce the races more clearly to the reader without interrupting the story or forcing them to check the codex
  • Consider closed alpha testing and (when the game is complete) several rounds of closed beta testing.

Thank you for your time and feedback! Enjoy!


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#2

Very interesting stuff. I like what you’ve got so far. Mind showing the list of RO? I’m curious


#3

I’ve only played through once so far but I already want more!!!

Intrigued to find out about all the recruitable characters and ROs and I definitely can’t wait to read more about the world - I’m a sucker for lore


#4

I don’t have time to type something in depth out right now, but just wanted to say that I really enjoyed this demo and am incredibly interested in this project going forward, great stuff all around.

Any chance we could get that RO list?


#5

Ran in to a bug:


#6

i have a few issues with the current public link, non are major just nit picks that grind my gears a bit. right well firstly not sure if this is my stupidity and tendency to skim read, but is the character ever specified as a race? i know you can choose a back story and how you were raised, but it feels murky at best, as well as this i feel having the option to be a certain species and choose where you grew up would be beneficial, as a possible show don’t tell device. for example growing up in the “norm” city as an elf or as a dwarf in the elvish city. if written well it could be used to show the hypocrisy’s and general xenophobia in all races to all those different, which seems to be a major theme in the story with the PC being a mage and all.

secondly expanding previously mentioned prologue will help the player find there feet in a sense. and grow attached to the characters presented and make there deaths more impact-full. as well as this if you have the prologue set at the start of the story, while a tad overused is overused for a reason. firstly it helps develop the PC more by quickly showing where they came from to where there going, a good way to create the character (appearance wise) as well as where they live there opinion of the place, as well as develop the surrounding (soon to die) characters.

or you could “persona 5” the backstory in and by this i mean drip feed the player backstory as they continue to caravan towards the wedding, if this is an option you consider that area would need to be extended and slightly reworked due to the longer length, but would give you ample time to develop miniature character arcs for the other caravaners, especially the princess as when given the option there is no real reason to save her, and no inclination to either, shes shown to be an annoyance and as simply a paycheck, but every character needs some redeemable traits (and being pretty doesn’t count, it just helps) now i’m not saying turn her into snow white, as clearly that wouldn’t work with her character, but give her some realistic traits and emotions, for example the princess comes off as arrogant and generally demanding. to counter balance this show emotional weakness and unsuitability, appealing to the white knights and lovers of the damsel in distress situation. obviously there are multiple directions you can take her and shes your character, just a half baked idea. Anyhow back to my previous mention of extending the caravaning scene, it can also be used for obvious expansion of characters, like grumpy guy who tells you to stop talking to the boy, give him a reason beyond casual racism, was he raised that way? (presenting it as hes talking to another caravaner and you can over hear could be an idea) doesn’t want the boy going through similar pain to him? (did his village get destroyed for harboring a mage/ race, causing lifelong disdain for the destruction of his life? or did he fall in love with a mage/ race, get turned down now on a revenge sting or was his loved one taken away from him due partially to him and he cant cope with the loss/ guilt, not wanting the boy to suffer like him). back to the extending caravan segment part again, could be a good introduction to the combat in the game if there is going to be any, with fighting off a kobold attack. kinda 'd&d’ish but should be a good slope into the game.

next point, when entering the new city a man with red hair talks to you about fate or free will. now this is fine i like games that make you question your foundations, its more how its presented, and the limited options of response. i found the responses frustrating, for example there was no response for neither, as from my point of view it’s kind of a paradox, as believing we’re all floating pieces of carbon, means free will must exist as there’s no greater picture here or godly being, but we have hormones, and bodily functions we have no control over controlling how we feel and act, meaning no true free will, yet due to these being extensions of our being which we have natural control over, its not truly the absence of free will either

anyway i think that’s it, as always i got sidetracked as i usually do and forgot a few main points but this comment has gone on long enough and has no doubt (if you took all these ideas to heart) would nearly double the workload, in the end its your story but if any of the ideas mentioned here are even considered i feel this post which honestly has no right to being this long is worth it. good luck

(this post took me over an hour to write, that’s depressing in itself, it was going to be longer too. fun times.)


#7

@WillyJackson Thank you! I’ve edited the OP to include a list of ROs. :slight_smile:

@jediexile and @JMH: Thank you so much! You have no idea how encouraging that is! :smiley: I’ve added a list of the ROs to the OP!

@LordOfLA: Thanks for catching that! I’ve fixed it and will be reuploading the file to Dashingdon now.


#9

Hi @User42, thanks for the thorough response!

I will definitely keep your ideas in mind moving forward. To answer some of your questions, the MC’s race is “Mage,” which has to be that way for story reasons. However, they can choose their heritage, as you said, which will impact the story later on (for example, they can only connect to a certain character if they were raised with a knowledge of X culture or language). The story did start off with more drastically-different childhood origins, but it became a lot of exposition and slow pacing for not a lot of payoff, since the story is more hinged on the “event” that ties them all together rather than the differing circumstances. I will definitely considering returning to that idea someday, though; my concern was that it was taking too long to get to the “meat” of the story!

You’re right in that Prihine probably needs more depth, as I wanted the choice between her and Caine to be more difficult. What’s fun is that any of the choices you make (regarding her, Caine, or Ebert) will have some surprising consequences in the story later on. Because of that, I think you’re right that I’ll probably have to add in some redeeming scenes for her before the wedding.

Finally, I appreciate your thoughts on the conversation with the man about free will! He will consistently crop up at random times to continue the conversation about choice and agency, so I’ll do my best to expand on how to respond to him and give the conversation more nuance then.

Thanks again for your thoughts and for taking the time to type them out!


#10

If the mage grew up in a Hunter village, where the heck were all the hunters when the demon showed up?

Hunters go into a berserk rage around demons, so I feel that scene needs some customizing.


#11

Equal thanks for going through my thoughts,
It will be interesting to see where the free will guy goes, and if there’s one thing i love in games its unseen consequences. and i’ll be back every now and then to add my poorly constructed thoughts, so yeah see ya next update probably.


#12

@stsword That’s a good point that I hadn’t caught! Thanks, I’ll have to tinker with that sequence for sure!


#13

Really liked it so far. Autarchy seriously irritates me. Using the ones they oppressed to protect themselves. I just hope that we get something worth it in exchange. By the way, about the caravan man who does not want us to be near Caine. Can we calm him down without promising anything? You know, the art of language and how to make someone turns in circle. :smirk:
Oh, when I bribed the guard, I checked my money and still has 10 gold.
Oh. Also, there was that moment where I was checking the glossary and all that, when I came back to the game, I was at the start of the story again… Oh is that a typo by the way?

Typo?


#14

I’m super confused. The game keeps restarting with all my stats intact, almost every time I return from the stat page. It’s really strange, and I don’t know why it’s happening.
Are you perhaps updating the game or something?

The silver lining is I now have a rather OP character, I guess. :sweat_smile:


#15

@The_Lady_Luck Whoa, that’s super weird! I did just re-upload the prologue to Dashingdon with some minor fixes, but I didn’t know that it could cause that to happen! I only re-uploaded it once, though; sorry about that!! I hope you can play it through in one piece now! Let me know if you can’t!

@LikeGames Thank you! :blush: To answer your questions, you can’t calm Ebert down without promising anything, because it will have a consequence whether you choose to be friends with Caine or not! :sweat_smile: And thanks for catching the gold, I completely missed that!

I’ve been trying to figure out why looking at the glossary took you back to the beginning of the game! Was it the part where you could go to your codex to look at the newspaper clipping? And no, it’s not a typo, it’s just an old weird way of talking haha! I might change it though! Thank you again!


#16

I quite like this! The amount of customization is perfect, the characterization is done very well, and to be honest it reminds me a little bit of Dragon Age: Origins. In a good way, I loved that game!

I’m excited for more!


#17

This is certainly a very interesting start. It’s well-written, and I loved that my male character could flirt his way past the male guard… I do have a few issues with it, though:

Firstly, I don’t think that the game should ever force you to check the codex (e.g. for the Shepherd newspaper clipping). I would suggest giving an overview in the prose, and then letting the player check the codex if they want later.

Secondly, the flashback ended up changing my character motivations, meaning I might have made several earlier choices differently had I known about it then. I’m not entirely sure how one would do this differently, though, since the flashback does make more sense where it is than right at the beginning.

Finally, I would very strongly recommend not locking the romances, at least if you only have six of them. This could quite easily lead to players getting only one option, or even none at all, and while I certainly enjoy sexuality representation in these games, I generally suggest that each player should have at least three options no matter what.

That’s caused by reuploading it; there’s nothing you can really do except not uploading anything ever, which is obviously not going to work. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Anyway, good luck with the game! :smile:


#18

oh gosh, this is one of the best things that i have ever had the pleasure of reading. The elven keeper reminded me of dragon age though, but srsly, ill be keeping a close eye on this thread no matter how long it takes!


#19

Will there be a choice to not join the Shepherds in the future?


#20

Oh I thought that Prihine would be an RO. I’m kinda disappointed


#21

Wow, I’m absolutely in love with this! Your writing is so good and I’m already sucked in. I can’t wait to see where you’ll go with this :smiley: