Should I genderlock this player character, or can it be made to work somehow?

This sounds so delightful! <3

And I can’t wait to read about the poor semi-disgraced lieutenant. The scandal sounds so intriguing too!

Your idea of a split relationship system makes a lot of sense. But please let the stat check be a combination of both? Like friendship + romance >= 100 or something? Because with some characters, and as some MCs, it doesn’t feel organic to start engaging in romantic shenanigans immediately. But it’s completely your call! I’ll honestly be so interested in reading your book even if it’s simply gender locked, because the idea is brilliant.

I don’t know the full details of your story, but there is one woman, Susan Travers, who did eventually get recognized as serving with the French Foreign Legion. Given the males only rule, she didn’t volunteer as everyone else did but was granted retroactive status for it do to her combat service (though admittedly she started out as a medical driver etc.) .

I found it really inspiring to read this part (copied from Wikipedia)

Travers, driving a self-propelled anti-tank gun, remained with the French Foreign Legion. She later served in the Italian Campaign and the Western Front (in France and Germany), during which she was wounded when she drove over a land mine

So depending on the time frame, etc. I would be tempted to add a secondary route, a woman who was serving in a different capacity but circumstances would allow her to fight, etc. and then be recognized afterward.

Admittedly, a little Alternate History-ish, but this would also have at least one individual who did it.


It’s a simple “too drunky to be promoted”. His (rich) family has lots of commissioned military officers with good ranks in the French Army - except him, who gets exiled to the Foreign Legion instead. There may be a reason why he drinks, though…

The scandal PC is involved in is alluded to in the first chapter (tens of thousands of francs have gone missing, and you’re implicated, justly or unjustly) but the reader won’t know the full details until later.

It will. The relationship stat will be a % bar, and the romance level is a numerical counter (scale not determined yet).

Unfortunately it won’t work for my premise. It starts with you, an 18-year old (or slightly underage) PC with no previous military experience, walking up and enlisting in the Foreign Legion. The only female that would exist around here would be the vivandière who runs the canteen and sells wine. Yes, this isn’t meant to be accurate to history and I’m taking my liberties, but I’m still keeping the setting constrained, to show that this was a different time and place.

According to P. C. Wren, there was an European woman who served as a Spahi trooper, rose through the ranks, and nobody knew of that fact until her death in battle. I haven’t looked up the truth of this, though.

Is there a place where I can post a WIP that isn’t really WIP forum-worthy yet? It’s still much too short, but I’d appreciate feedback on style (not gameplay yet).


Oh fuuuuu–. I know for a fact that I’m already going to fall for this guy, if he’s romanceable. Whether it’s mental illness (Haze from Tally Ho) or tragic backstory (Jun/Junko from Samurai of Hyuga) or both, I’m very interested. :DD


Have I mentioned how interested I am? Please make a note of it, thanks. :-))

Okay now this bit intrigues me. Perhaps a woman/NB person can be retroactively recognised once their cover has been exposed, provided the player did a good job in the game. If not, it’s straight up court martial!

@armadillidium how do you think you will approach same sex relationships in the book, given the need for historical accuracy? It will have to be very hush hush, right? And will the drunkard lieutenant have a crisis of sexuality when it’s revealed I’m a woman? (This is me totally assuming you’re making him an RO and letting us play as women in men’s clothing.)


Maybe this place?


Pretty much. The only times the flirting option will even be brought up in conversation is when the two of you are alone. In front of others, you’ll look like best buds, nothing inappropriate. Unless it’s one of those days where you venture out to a bar in the city and get drunk? Eh, legionnaires aren’t polite company anyway, they’re a ragtag bunch of societal misfits running away from their past (except for the commissioned officers, they’re French).

Honestly, I’m thinking that he’ll find out the PC’s backstory by himself early on, some time before the PC gets reunited with their brother (either he disappeared and you enlisted to find him, or the other way around because of that scandal - if the latter, you won’t know he’s disappeared from home too until this point). This plot point about the foreign newspapers is pretty much yoinked from Beau Geste 1966…

The lieutenant gets foreign newspapers shipped to him - a few months late, but he reads them. If you’re crossdressing, you persuade him to keep quiet. You’ve already impressed him before with a show of skill during your training, and for the past few months he’s seen you handle yourself and earn the respect of other legionnaires like a man would. He’ll keep a closer eye on you, but nothing so overt that will raise questions about favouritism.

Due to the difference in rank between the PC and the lieutenant, I’m leery on making him an RO. I think being a mentor would be a much safer type of relationship.

Either way, making all the RO NPCs default bi would be by far the easiest thing for me to code.
What’s your opinion on making the player choose the RO’s reaction? Either the RO says “I don’t care, I still love you”, “I understand why you didn’t reveal that, I need time to think about this” or “I’m sorry, but I’m not interested in romance anymore, maybe we can still be friends instead”? Because that’s definitely the easiest for me to code…

That could be a good idea for the epilogue, once you have your new identity. And if you don’t have a rock-bottom reputation. Not be a good idea to reveal that when you’re still stuck in the outpost, there are unscrupulous types around.

There will be a female character who is attached to your company, a vivandière, but she’s married to a legionnaire who’s a jerk. I’m considering making a subplot where you can encourage conspirators (nobody likes him) to kill him, and that will open the possibility of romancing her. Not that you have to, you can just kill him for fun because you don’t like him either.

I posted the link there! It’s still very short now and there isn’t really any gameplay, but I’m wondering if this writing style works or not.

And happy birthday, @whitebear!


Yes, this sounds perfect! And I can’t wait to read all about their shenanigans.

I also really like how the lieutenant will find out. You’re absolutely right about the power dynamics, of course. :-(( The higher ups in the military wield crazy amounts of power. But still, won’t stop me from crushing on him. :smiley:

You’ll let us choose? That’s so sweet! I’d prefer for you to go with whatever you find easiest right now since you’re already going to be wrangling with writing the rest of the book! I think the default should be a tendency to be angry/hurt/confused (depending on the RO’s personality) at the “betrayal”? And then maybe you have the option of saying Idgaf what you think (at which point the relationship is over) or ask them to hear you out? And at that point, depending on the personality, they can choose to be like this is cool or ask for some time to think? I don’t know how many ROs you’re planning, but right now I’m excited just to read the book.

I haven’t read Beau Geste, despite it being so famous, but I think I will, soon! But first, to read the first few pages of your book!


Hm, possibly. I’ve never been great at writing romances without things looking rather wooden. This is going to be an adventure for me, too.

It’s a fun story, but be warned, the protagonists aren’t the most politically correct characters. The narrator calls the Touaregs human wolves when he’s rationalising his first kill (their battalion was ambushed during a march between forts). Yes, in the legionnaires’ point of view, the Touaregs want to kill them… but on the flip side, the Touaregs think the same of the legionnaires.

I think watching the Gary Cooper film before the book is a good idea to get a feel of the characters and premise first before diving into dense, old-timey English prose.

This is one touchy topic that I’m not sure how to implement in writing. They don’t talk about this a lot (they’re more concerned on how to not die), but multiple characters throw these sorts of insults so casually when they do, that I wonder if it’s going to ring false if I don’t have at least some NPC’s point of views be this way.

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I get it! And the military honestly teaches stoicism and the absolute suppression of all feelings, right? I was actually thinking of book as I was re-reading Choice of the Vampire, and I came across this one scene where our kind-hearted and trusting RO find out that we’re a vampire.


And speaking of Choice of the Vampire, it deals with bigotry very well. My female MC is always denied entry to gentlemen’s discussions, and at times even being told to come in through the back with the “other whores”. There’s a time when an actual sex worker mocks a former slave turned vampire for her shorn hair, telling her she’ll always look like a slave. At one point a racist NPC spent ages saying the most horrible things about the “savage Indians” who scalp the people they brutally murder to my poor Native American MC, after saying, “Oh, but you aren’t like that. You’re civilised”. (A dialogue I continue to encounter abroad in the 21st century.)

So bits of casual racism would be fine, and even necessary, so long as it isn’t coming from an RO, and as long as it’s a throwaway remark. :slight_smile:

I think I might not read Beau Geste, then. I was such a huge fan of PG Wodehouse until the sixtieth (or something) book I read had the protagonist calling a black person a “Coon” and asking his friend if hitting him on the head would cause the same damage as hitting a white man. Yuuckkk. And then there’s the crazy amounts of racism in Gone With the Wind. That shit’s only acceptable when the author distances themselves from the person spouting that shit and presents it as a flaw.

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When you put a man in a North African fort held by the French foreign legion you picture an adventure á la Indiana Jones (or that movie with Van Damme).

If you put a woman disguised as a man in the same setting instead you picture a romance like “The colonel’s daughter” (I made up the title but just the title make you expect something else entirely).

So, first decide what story you want to write, then decide if it feasible to let the players choose their own gender.

In the end, I remember a novel. “The guns of the south” by Harry Turtledove where a woman is part of the Confederate army disguised as a man. You could give it a quick glance to find stimulus.

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I haven’t replayed that for a long time! I see there’s a big update recently, that looks very nice and polished now. Thanks for reminding me. Was that NPC Samantha, by the way? Something like that coming from her was surprising. So I guess, throwaway remarks made in context of the setting, and as long as it’s not portrayed in a positive light, is acceptable for historical sake?

I’m setting my thing in roughly the same vague timeframe of Beau Geste - turn of the 20th century, give or take a decade or two. Colonialism is still in full force. So far in the planning stage, none of PC’s possible 4 friends would have a direct reason to insult the natives (a French nationalist from Alsace-Lorraine, a gay aristocrat, a repeat felon, and an underage street urchin).

Then I suggest sticking to the 1939 film (unless you want to go for the silent version instead, it’s identical shot-by-shot) - it focuses on the overarching premise and character of the three Geste brothers. No “we hate Touaregs”. Well, check out the film anyway, the way the “mystery” at the beginning was handled is really cool. And you won’t need a dictionary beside you that says every word you’ve never seen and try to look up is obsolete. :wink:

It will be written as a male character first, because of the setting. It’ll be an adventure story like those highly romanticised Foreign Legion stories of the last century (I’m assuming this genre is pretty dead today). The female path, when it’s added later, will consist of mostly flavour text. Either way, she’s going to have to act like a male character, if she’s not to be discovered.

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I’ll definitely check out the movie then, thanks! :-).

Re: the character you asked about, yeah, it’s Samantha Withers. Turns out her reason for hating on the Native Americans is that she saw her family murdered by them as a child. Fun times. .

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If you want to do a slowburn though even I know the French foreign legion had officers that were promoted from the ranks (I think right now and during some historical periods having legionairre officers rise from the ranks was in fact the most common pathway), so if that is going to be an option for the mc eventually too, then the status difference at that time would already be less…it’s also not exactly unheard of a mentor / student relationship morphing into something more down the line. But it is your story…just presenting a gay option. :grin:

So can the mc eventually obtain a promotion too? As I recall one draw beyond the new identity thing is that the foreign legion has historically allowed people from backgrounds the normal army would hardly consider to get on the officer or nco track, provided they survived in the ranks and displayed some leadership aptitude.


The lieutenant comes from a rich, noble family, so I can’t use the “rise from the ranks” justification. A lot of his family are military officers back in France, including him who already has his commission paid for… and then he screwed up and got booted off to the colonies.

There will be a legionnaire you can befriend, and stay friends after he gets promoted into a non-commissioned officer. Non-RO, though - he has a wife back home he wants to return to.

So far I have 3 male ROs (all NPC genders are set), and 1 female RO (only if you choose to kill the character I have temporarily named “mr merde”).

I’m thinking yes, you will become caporal at some point once the evil sergeant is out of the way.

Can it be nonbinary disguised as a man too? We exist.


Agreed. I honestly cant play games that dont allow me some wiggle room to be myself or accurately play a character. But hey, if you enjoy it thats the goal of writing.

Right now it’s currently genderlocked male. The code for non-male (both female and nonbinary) are written in but dummied out for the moment as I figure out how viable it is. There’s definitely a looot of stuff in there where you get no privacy.

Wren did pull it off in one of his novels, but the crossdressing character has someone constantly caring for and minding her. And even with all the precautions she still got found out in the end by an unscrupulous type and had to desert…