Snake in the Grass [working title] - updated May '17

[Edited 3/5/17]

Years ago, in the kingdom of Koth, a corrupt noble assassinated the royal family and took the throne by trickery and deceit. The only surviving royal, still a small child at the time, was smuggled out of the palace in secret by servants loyal to the crown. They raised the child in secret far from their homeland and birthright, preparing for the day when they might depose the usurper and take back the throne. To protect the secret heir from all manner of dangers, they were assigned a devoted companion to follow them always, from childhood all the way to the crown.

You are that companion. Your charge has only just turned twenty one, the formal age of majority. You have done all you can to tutor them and keep them safe, and now it is finally time for them to claim their destiny and take back the crown. This could go very well for you, or very, very poorly.

Snake in the Grass (working title) is an intrigue story set in the neighboring kingdoms of Koth and Tigonne. The plot begins in the capital of Tigonne where you, the guardian of the secret heir to Koth’s throne, have come to recruit allies for your battle to win back the throne.

The story is divided into three acts. In the first act, you establish your cover and get to know the major players. This is also where character customization takes place. You can set a few important biographical details for your character here, some of them cosmetic and others lot-critical. In the second act you select your route and begin hatching your plot. This is also where you get a chance to start influencing the heir’s decisions and molding their approach to both war and rulership. The final act is the execution of the plan, and it takes place back in Koth. This act may be cut short if you made poor decisions along the line…

Character profiles and other details are forthcoming.

[Original post]

I’ve resumed work on an early stages game for HG. It’s a spin on the well-worn trope of a usurped kingdom and a long-lost heir raised in secret. The hook is that the story is told from the POV of the heir’s lifelong companion and guardian. Not necessarily exactly a bodyguard (as in the title) but someone charged with keeping the heir safe for the years intervening, and preparing them for a time when they are ready to take back the throne.

The tentative title right now is Snake in the Grass. I am working on coming up with something better.

As the bodyguard you direct your own actions and influence the actions of the young heir, although you do not control them directly. Both of these characters have a customizable gender. You determine what type of upbringing your charge had, and what their disguise has been in their secret life. This also determines what skills they’re proficient in and how people react to them in their common persona.

Once the main plot begins, your job is to recruit powerful allies in a neighboring kingdom, to help the heir depose the usurper and ascend to the throne. You assess the allies for their skills, their political clout, and especially their reliability. Choosing who to confide your secret to is dangerous, as there is always the possibility that they will betray you to the reigning monarch. Otherwise, a powerful ally may betray you to conquer your kingdom for their own power, or try and manipulate the heir and control them.

My current main dilemma is whether to tie route selection to skills e.g. if you’ve been disguised as mercenaries and are proficient in military-type skills, you would by default choose to ally with the prince who is trained in combat and beloved by his troops. This would also then mean taking a military route to taking back the throne. However, I’m still not 100% on whether this is a good idea.

At some point I will probably introduce a very small amount of optional romance content. The genre I am aiming for is intrigue/political fantasy so this seems most appropriate to me. Not ignoring the subject altogether, but certainly not focusing on it.

It’s too early yet for me to assess what the word count will be, and I don’t have a playable demo because the script I’m working on doesn’t have quite enough meat. I did however want to float this idea out there, to gauge interest and get some feedback on which parts of the game seem interesting versus what seems boring or contrived. I would appreciate any feedback. I don’t bruise easily so don’t be squeamish if your feedback is negative. I can take it.

I think it’s okay to post about a game that’s in such an early stage of writing, but if I’m mistaken, please delete this thread.


If it will help you to make an accounting of yourself then posting this is good.

The story sounds like a fun read, although be sure to read the bodyguard story already in the HG library - if you haven’t done so.

Also, the assassin story might be something to learn from too ( I am not thinking of either title at the moment.

Having different routes through the game would be very interesting, although it is a lot of work to start with.

I’ll have more thoughts later.

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Sounds like this could be an engaging game, could almost be be like playing Lost Heir from the perspective of Sir Grady and company. Seems like you have some strong set up anyway.

I for instance usually play as charisma sneaky politician routes. So If you fix my route to a charisma only alliance game will lost a lot replay value and quality. I as political savvy don’t want pact with other political schemes person. I wouldn’t gain anything except being poisoned to usurp my place. I would want pact with a military general and make a powerful combination. I think paths should be based on choices not in big stat. Then where challenge is? If you already have that stat.

I also would love a route when I could kill the heir and taking power for myself at the end.

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By assassin game, do you mean For the Crown? I also saw a game about a cty guard, but I don’t think that’s the other one you mean.

I’m into it. Faithful retainers are my kryptonite.

Sounds like a good idea :slight_smile: certainly a good way of varying up the fantasy genre, good luck would love to see a yp :slight_smile: .

Perhaps you mean “Double/Cross”?

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Idea seems good
But I would like to choose how to take throne I.e. by force or by other means

And I would recommend changing the title of thread as the first thing that crossed my mind was " isn’t it double cross "

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I very much like the idea. While there’s already a similar-in-concept HG, the setting is enough to differentiate it from that, and I’m pretty sure people are not going to confuse it with The Eagle’s Heir.

I especially like the idea if it’s possible to influence the heir while we work towards regaining their throne. We can have the heir potentially become a naive ruler that nonetheless tries their best to rule justly over the kingdom, or have them become an ultra paranoid monarch that can end up even worse then the monarch they’re trying to overthrow.

One thing though. What’s the age range of the heir? Are they a child, a teen, adult? I ask because the game can go radically different routes if we have the option to change the heir’s age.

Yes, that is one.

The suggested reading list to prepare for this type of project would be:

1: Samurai of Hyuga I and II
2: Double/Cross
3: Choice of Alexandria

and then for general “Behind the Scenes” machinations:

1: Its Killing Time
2: The ORPHEUS Ruse
3: Hollywood Story
4: The Prometheus Project

Now that I made a suggested reading list, I bet @Gower and @adrao are secretly tickled … see what professors have done to sweet innocent girls everywhere? :heartbeat:


Everyone knows you have to assign quizzes or nobody will actually do the reading, though…



A name for this concept…?

How about something like “Shadow of the Crown”

I might make Alexandria my next game. I was planning on playing either Pendragon Rising or Congresswolf first, but I could bump them a little down the queue. I did have the demo for Alexandria installed on my old phone, before it went to phone heaven, so I played the free chapters and it seems pretty much right up my alley.

I will definitely look into Double/Cross too, it seems relevant to my interests.

The heir’s age is fixed at twenty one, rationalized as the age of majority for that setting. You can choose the guardian’s age out of three options which are, IIRC, 24, 31 or 45, or somewhere in that neighborhood.

There would be different routes of taking the throne, based on who you allied with. The aforementioned Prince is the military option, but I also intend to make a more cerebral option, and an economic option. The fourth route is the most complicated, so I haven’t fully figured it out yet.

That’s an interesting idea, although it doesn’t really fit in with the strategies I have plotted in. As I have it, the allies in the game expect the heir (and the guardian by extension) to be able to keep up with their strategizing. It would be awkward to explain why the heir would choose a violent military takeover, for example, when they have the means to execute the same bloodlessly through diplomacy.


Well In my opinion historically people try to searching for what they lacking not what they already are good for. If I already are a military force but I am a terrible political planning. What I need is a spy master and several people who deal that. I would never go and say I am an ace in subtitle and subterfuge. However I have no military force or idea. What ally should go for? Certainly not for someone that has exactly same powers I have. An alliance with someone with exactly same pros and cons have no advantage is all negatives.

Of course that alliance means add drama and conflicting posture between allies but that is good for a game. If all parts are exactly same and have exactly same ideas would make in my opinion a more boring, plain and straight forward game. It would become a select your only stat for win.

Then don’t play it?

I can’t write a game with sixteen routes, and I don’t wish to remove any of the supporting characters. They’re all there for a reason.

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I was just giving my opinion sorry if I sound rude I don’t want sound as pushy. And nor telling you what you do . Don’t worry I wont comment anymore

Apparently my reply came off sounding much, much more hostile than I intended. You can post here or anywhere you want to, I’m not the boss of you.

I brought my idea to HG because I was having doubts and I needed feedback. The community was very forthcoming and gave me a lot of ideas, and as a result I solved the dilemma that I was grappling with at that moment. As far as I’m concerned, the system worked perfectly, no harm no foul. I was a little taken aback by having my game described as “boring” when it hasn’t even been written yet, but in retrospect that might have been me reading too much into things.

I did not call a game It even don’t exist Boring. I was talking about rol playing games and Choice games in general. I normally don’t like being forced to one path in base one stat. But Your game could be amazing every direction you choose.

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