These Reluctant Years (WIP) - Last updated: February 24th, 2021

The demo for my third game is finally in a presentable state! In this story-game, you will have the opportunity to control two main characters and steer them throughout their journeys within the Colonies, an island controlled by the authoritarian Sovereignty. One of your characters is the second child of a noble family, and the other can be part of one of three unique peoples. You will witness the oppression of your nation firsthand, and choose whether you want to end it forever or perpetuate the cycle of tyranny. Whatever you choose, know that the world will be forever changed by the actions you take during These Reluctant Years

In These Reluctant Years, you can:

  • Play as non-binary (including custom pronouns), trans, or cis.
  • Be gay, straight, asexual, or aromantic.
  • Play as one of those exiled from the Mainland centuries ago, or a seal-like or deer-like people.
  • Romance a fiery revolutionary, a fashionable socialite, a casual soldier, a cruel nobleman, or the other player character.
  • Meet new friends, lovers, and enemies from all walks of life.
  • Explore the rich lore and past of the world’s history, religion, and geography in the library section of the stats screen.
  • Side with the radicals or traditionalists in a battle for the Colonies’ future.

CONTENT WARNING

This game contains transphobia, homophobia, misgendering, bullying, xenophobia, imperialist rhetoric, sexism, scenes of colonization, violence/death, cursing, sex, and verbal/physical abuse. None of this content is included to excuse or apologize for the ongoing legacies of slavery, imperialism, and colonization or the oppression of LGBTQIA+ peoples/people of color. These are real, present issues and though the main character can participate in the further oppression/colonization of those they encounter, there will be serious, long-lasting consequences to themselves, those around them, and their legacies.


Changelog

February 8th, 2021: Initial upload.

February 24th, 2021:

  • Lowered entry requirements to get into Gensburg College.
  • Completed MC1’s introduction.
  • Began MC2’s introduction (exile only).
  • Added more neutral options to early decisions.

Word count (including code):
Introduction 1 = 90,969
Stats page = 6,034
Introduction 2C: 5,714

Total: 102,717


GAME LINK: These Reluctant Years
TUMBLR
PATREON


NOTE: This is a game about relationships, and because of this, there will be no skills. This does NOT mean that your actions do not have consequences, though. Every action can positively or negatively influence your reputation with a group or individual. Additionally, you must make specific choices to develop a high relationship value with a romantic interest.

This is not a game where you can meet someone and then bed them on the next page.

It is also not a game that will be terribly exciting to re-play if you mess with the code in order to make yourself the best person ever that everybody is in love with – no one is perfect, so please keep that in mind.


Please feel free to tell me any thoughts, concerns, or questions you may have. I would also like to thank everyone who has supported me in any way during my last projects!

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From the description, this seems like it will be a really good COG. You had me at “It is also not a game that will be terribly exciting to re-play if you mess with the code in order to make yourself the best person ever that everybody is in love with – no one is perfect, so please keep that in mind.” It’s more realistic that way. Though I am guilty of this from time to time :slight_smile:

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Thank you very much – I hope you enjoy it!

Lol! I have no problem with people modding my games, in principle. I suppose I’m a little salty about readers who exclusively use pirated versions with perfect stats and then write tons of reviews about how boring things are, though. Of course it’s boring, everyone loves you!

Thank you again for the post! (:

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As long as the player is not forced to play a certain way then i will try it i like having the freedom to play the way i want and choose to do what i want since i don’t really believe in good and evil they are all just points of view.

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That’s fair! I don’t really measure consequences in those terms, anyway. It’s more like… if you are a racist, sexist, all-around terrible person that no one likes, no one is going to be on your side when it really counts. Consequences are triggered by how you act, and your personality stats can give you different ways to act, but ultimately you will be judged by how you treat others.

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Terrible person that is a point of view i consider myself in the grey or mercenary mind set i am not really good or bad i just do what i feel like in the moment. Like i am not going to stick my neck out for people unless i am going to get something out of it.

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Personally? I found the difference in treatment depending on gender amazingly written, it helped me to really sink into the story, well I’m hooked already, let’s take down those fucking tyrants!!

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I loved this story! I think it’s really interesting. My one quibble is that some of the dialogue from the other NPC characters was very distracting. I don’t think you need to emphasize the dialects and peculiarities as much as you’re doing - sometimes a little goes a long way. There are a few guides on the internet about this - here’s just one guide: How to Write Accents and Dialects: 6 Tips | Now Novel.

Other than that small thing, I absolutely loved what I’ve read so far. The characters are fascinating and I love the family dynamics you’ve set up. I felt like I was actually role-playing my character which I don’t always feel when I’m reading a CoG game. I’m really curious about what will happen next. Looking forward to the next update!

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Quick question, will it be possible to romance characters that are more Foe than Friend? I realize tracking a separate affection variable will be more work but it could lead to some unique character interactions. For example, my MC and Lázaro Goldendoor didn’t get off to a good start with him insulting their grandfather, and they aren’t one for all of the killing talk. Might be an interesting dynamic to explore.

I love this response btw: “Maybe I just don’t like you, huh?” I reply.

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  • When the father greets MC when MC returns from Gensburg and I choose “thank you for asking” and it says the father seems surprised I was confused because actually my MC is always friendly to him. My stats indicate the grandfather has the higher percentage but actually I always chose the friendly options for both the father and the grandfather.

  • This doesn’t mean my MC can automatically attend Sovreign’s Refuge?

The financial cost of higher education is no obstacle – House ____ (well, Grandfather, anyway) has been saving for this since your birth. When you were three, he even obtained a letter from the Prelate of Sovereign’s Refuge which guaranteed your acceptance into the Academy when you came of age, meaning you do not have to physically apply.

I still kept getting rejection letter unless I make my MC completely rude toward the grandfather.

  • Father laments your decision by sighing loudly around the manor. “Ah, well… At least you won’t be a vagrant…” he reassures himself. “And it is hardly the end of the world, having a Fellow in the family…”
    Abner I regards the more metaphysical aspects of religion with skepticism, though not with nearly enough to attract the attention of the Faceless Guard. He has a general interest in the history of the Spiritual faith and how it can be used to disseminate ideas, however, and is softly supportive of your choice in schools.

It was not my decision/choice. My MC was rejected by the other places.

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This was good! And I must ask have you played Greedfall because quite alot of this story feels like it was inspired by it?
And there is another pc story to be added right? I can’t wait to see it

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I’m impressed. Not to undermine other people’s works but I found this little story to be a breath of fresh air amidst the more common troupes of this forum. I like that you aren’t afraid of touching darker themes, and I think it makes the experience all the more authentic.

The lore can be a bit overwhelming at first, especially when you jump into the finer details without reading the information available in the Library section of the stat page. But as you read the story, you start to get a grasp over what the society is, how it works, and all its branches and beliefs.

I am very happy that you decided to get rid of the traditional stat system as a whole. One of my biggest conundrums when playing these games is that I always end up trapped with the min-max mentality, going for the choices that improve my “chosen” stats, just so I can get the optimal outcome in the story. Without said stats, I am free to roleplay my choices without the underlining feeling that I’m “missing out”. This allows the story and my MC to develop in a more natural, realistic way, and as a consequence, I feel more engrossed over what is happening and the characters themselves.

I don’t know if this is a direct consequence from the “stat-free” approach above, but I noticed the choices presented feel more natural than in some WIPs I’ve played in the past. We are not trying to accumulate points to fit into a stereotypical or thematic role that is so common in these games. (I’m talking about the infamous trio of routes - Physical vs Intelligence vs Charismatic; Warrior, vs Mage vs Rogue - sort of deal.) You’re not doing that, or at least it’s not blatantly obvious. I approve.

If I had to point out anything less positive, it would be that the grammatical structure felt a bit convoluted in certain places and could use a little refinement. (Also, I’m not sure what this extra PC entails but I’m not a big fan of controlling two characters at once. I like when the focus is on my MC or, for brief moments, when the PoV shifts to depict what another character is witnessing or thinking.)

That aside, this shows great promise and its definitely getting on my watch list! :slight_smile:


PS: Forgot to add but if the story is going to contain more adult themes further down the road then you may want to consider creating a NSFW thread in the respective section of the forum.

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This feels like a better written version of greedfall, I dig it.

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Just finished this. It was a lot of fun! The worldbuilding is really well done. At first, the lore can be confusing, but the more you know the more you want to know more about them! I am really impressed by how rich it is.

I, too, love the stat-free approach. I think I get too focused trying to do the “right” action/option when the stat is the focus. It’s refreshing to be able to focus solely on the interaction. All the characters are very interesting too, so far, and are all very complex in their own way. I definitely am looking forward to seeing how our first MC and our second MC will meet and interact!

While I don’t really like my father or brother (I’m playing as NB MC and they’re… them) I wonder if we will see more of them? Frankly I wonder what my brother is angsting about re: my mother.

I’m just wondering if there will be a saving system in the future update. I think it can be really helpful! Also, do you have a Ko-Fi page? Would love to be able to support in some way!

Wonderful demo, looking forward to more!

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I haven’t played beyond applying to the universities yet but the player is definitely limited based on choices there…like there is stat system. The universities even know how MC behaves at home somehow, like if MC doesn’t refuse to joke around with grandfather during family dinner at home SRU will somehow know and MC will not be able to go there even though the grandfather even went there too like everyone else in MC family.

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That’s fair, and there are definitely characters in this story that share your point of view.

Thank you!

Lázaro, is that you?? :thinking:

Might you be able to give me more specifics? Like character names, if you’re able to parse out their speech at all, etc.

Wow, really?! Thank you – on my last few games, people would tell me that they wanted more variation in dialogue responses, so I’ve tried to think of more ways for readers to “get into character”. I’m glad it’s working out for you!

I think I’m going to have MC1 go and meet the Frontiersmen Corps squad they’ll be travelling with, and then work on the introductions for MC2 on a per-culture basis.

Possibly, but I don’t think every potential romance option would go for it. Belvidere and Prudence might be up for a love-to-hate-you kind of thing as long as you don’t keep insulting them or hurt them. Without spoilers… Laz and Blythe are special cases that I probably won’t write a hate-mance for. With them, such a relationship would fall into grocery store checkout line-tier romance novel levels of problematic tropes.

Their relationship stats are set up so they oppose each other – you cannot have a good relationship with both.

That is guaranteeing your acceptance to the Academy of the Fellowship, not Sovereign’s Refuge University. Both institutions operate in the same city, which is worded a little confusingly, I admit. I’ll make it a little clearer in future updates!

The Fellowship Academy acts as sort of a “fall back” option in case your character’s stats won’t let them matriculate to SRU or GC. Are you considered a deviant by society but also lean heavily traditionalist? That might make it so you are barred from entry into SRU and wouldn’t be accepted into GC.

Thanks! Is “Greedfall” a video game? I’ve never heard of it, before! What about These Reluctant Years reminds you of it, if you don’t mind me asking? I might want to pivot some story beats if there are too many coincidences.

Yes! MC2 can be a seal person like Harper, a deer person like Boaz, or one of the Wildfolk.

Thank you for your appreciation – I don’t want to shy away from the realities (in our world, too!) of gender/racial/sexuality discrimination.

Yes – I’m also setting it up so you won’t get the same description two or three times if a concept is introduced at different potential points. For example, if you saw the Faceless Guard at the Icebreaking, you won’t get their whole spiel when they show up again.

This is perhaps a consequence of me writing the introductions for the two main characters as formative experiences in their wider lives. The things they say and do now will influence what they have the option of doing (well, doing and succeeding) later. I’ll totally give you the option to try to side with the radicals if you are a die-hard traditionalist that nobody likes, but don’t be surprised if they shoot you on sight.

How do you mean? Are you referring to the accents, like the other poster, or something else? Narrative obtuseness is sometimes intentional, but I’ll be the first to acknowledge that I am a very verbose writer, lol!

Thank you so much! (:

I don’t think the themes I’m tackling are necessarily NSFW, even if they are “adult”. I will totally keep this in mind, though, if people want to have a dedicated place to talk about NSFW topics.

You’re the second person who’s compared it to that, actually! Thank you for your support!

You can probably tell that I love writing folktale-type stories, haha!

I’m going to try and set it up so there will be a few parallels. Time-wise, though, they’re going to meet during MC1’s journey into the Uncharted Territories with the Frontiersmen.

You might be wishing to see less of them in later chapters! (;

There was supposed to be one available, already! Whoops, I guess I set it up wrong in startup.txt… I’ll fix it for the next update, for sure! Thanks for letting me know.

I actually literally just set up a Patreon and Tumblr! I’m totally fine with interacting on whatever platform people are comfortable with, and I’ve noticed that a lot of readers like to engage with writers on Tumblr. If you want to support me in a different way, I’m planning on releasing a bunch more of those “lore” style posts on Patreon.

Thank you for the kind words! ^ _ ^

Yes, your personality and relationships influence where you are able to attend.

MC1’s father went to SRU, not their grandfather. I’ve been trying to make it clear in the text that there is always going to be someone paying attention to what MC1 is doing purely because of their precarious situation in Society. When applying to colleges, especially, I tried to imply that either of the Abners is in contact with whoever is vetting applications at SRU and GC. Do you have any suggestions about how I could make this clearer? Thanks!

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it was an interesting story- and the characters were certainly intriguing.

error?

so many exclamation marks-

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Love it
main

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I really agree with that! That dynamic of ‘we don’t get along but also hey you’re cute tho’ would be a really fun to explore, especially in a game about relationships!

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“My name is none of your fucking business,” best line so far.

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