Turncoat Chronicle (fantasy, intrigue, WIP)

low-fantasy
nonbinary-inclusive
gender-choice

#21

Okay, folks, I have been hard at work both squashing bugs in the code and expanding some scenes in the first chapter to flesh them out. I have also, as you can maybe see, mocked up a primitive title banner (and corresponding chapter banners) that will appear in the next version of the demo. I intend to upload a new version of the demo once I’ve completed the additional scenes. Since I’m still assessing how many of them I’ll need (at least two scenes with the royal consort, for example), I can’t give an exact date just now.

Before I get to the personal responses, I just want to say thank you to everyone who replied, liked, and clicked my little WIP thread. I’ve been overwhelmed by the positive response to this story and I can’t say enough how much I appreciate it.

Right! Onward.

@kirakana:

Summary
  1. The term ‘Noni’ is one of my own invention. There are a few terms for nonbinary family members that are in semi-common use, but since there is no consensus I felt comfortable creating my own. Especially as I’m trying to construct a narrative of a world where nonbinary gender is commonplace and accepted. I am hesitant to italicize it, because that would create the impression that it’s a foreign word, which I feel would disrupt the immersion. I will try to rephrase the term’s first appearances, to make it more clear that it’s a term of endearment for a parent, analogous to Mama/Papa and the like.
  2. On the subject of the MC’s ruthlessness and compassion, I am aiming for these to be relative terms, which means I need to work harder to establish the baseline against which the MC measures their own compassion. I hope adding some more descriptions of King Orust and his reign will help with this.
  3. The subject of the Royal Consort and their reaction to the conflict between their husband and the MC will definitely come up, and sooner rather than later.

@pizzamarket:

Summary
  1. Ha! This is what I get for copying code from the wiki without editing it. Bad programmer, no cookie. I have removed the option to return to the game through the bottom menu. The standard CG menu should work as normal in the new version.
  2. This is a bug to do with the command that ends the chapter. I am going to have to do some more testing and consult external sources, but I’m on it. No worries.

@idonotlikeusernames:

Summary
  1. I knew it would be a polarizing choice so I’m glad to see someone is enjoying Suthis’s native aristocratic arrogance, and generally supervillain-like flair for the dramatic.
  2. Regarding Lux, their gender is determined as being the opposite binary gender as the MC, for plot reasons. For the nonbinary MC there is a selection screen. I do have another character held in reserve, which is introduced would be the opposite binary gender of Lux… I have not yet decided whether or when to add them in. But yes, Lux would likely be tolerant of the Monarch taking lovers, and when the subject of heirs comes up you’ll find that adoption is acceptable as well. I dread the heirs conversation because it will be a coding miasma… but I hope it will satisfy readers somewhat.
  3. As a side note, currently the story is not planned to extend deep into the years of their reign/marriage, so the subject of the Monarch’s lovers is entirely up to your imagination.

@Pumpkaboo:

Summary
  1. Neither Lux (Tamirah/Teven) nor Kidia (the secret heir) are strictly ROs, because they don’t have proper, full-length romance arcs. However, if you choose to marry one of them, there will be a small amount of optional romantic content. Once again, this is not planned to be a full romance arc. There are no ROs.

@Eiwynn:

Summary
  1. Thank you for the detailed feedback! You gave a very helpful response. I really appreciate it.
  2. I am specifically looking at smoothing down some of the transitions between scenes, and removing some placeholder lines that remain from when the first chapter was an outline. As I said above, there are also several scenes I’m adding, specifically to give a better idea of the relationships and dynamics of the Suthis royal family.
  3. I also intend to explicate the timeline more, which should help explain why things are moving so quickly, and hopefully make the transitions seem less abrupt.

@Hoang_Dieu1d:

Summary
  1. I am very glad you enjoy the character of Kidia, I find them a little difficult to get just right. Brash and impulsive, but not foolish. It’s a delicate balance.
  2. If the alliance goes through, you’ll see a lot more of that relationship in chapter two.

@CrimsonGoddess:

Summary
  1. Thank you for commenting. I’m really glad you enjoyed the game, although for fans of Game of Thrones I’m afraid it might not be bloody enough… Only very little murder, really.

#22

For me, the heir is also naive lol. But I guess it makes sense though, they’re still young and that’s why they need Crow.

And just my opinion, one way to depict their complicated personality is that they should have their own ideal (ambitious and they aren’t foolish) and they will do whatever they think is right (they re consistent), sometimes dont care about the consequence (bold).


#23

I love the proactive realpolitik feel of it; too many medieval prince games feel like you’re just sitting around being rich until your father dies, but here you’re actually doing things to take or keep the throne.

That said, I’m curious as to why there’s no path that allows you to take the Kidian heir as your spouse without killing your father, or at least that allows you to suggest it to them. Are both parties just too hostile for that to work?


#24

But consider this: Kidia is an NPC, you don’t see their internal thought process. Sure, they act like a brash, inexperienced youth, but it could all be just an act. Just because they behave in a friendly manner towards Suthis (while Crow behaves with overt dislike and suspicion), doesn’t mean their thought process isn’t equivocal, ambivalent or less than trusting.

Ultimately, Kidia’s reactions will be determined greatly by your actions as MC. That is why they get their own trust bar on the relationship panel of the stat screen. And I can tell you, even though I just began that part of the story, that some of the checks against trust are going to be pretty high.

@Malvastor: He’s not called the Usurper King for nothing. He ascended to the throne by killing Iral and Valini Kidia, and several other members of the family besides. The Kidia heir was the sole survivor, and they have spent the last twenty years hearing about the murder of their parents. They want revenge pretty badly. Now, later in the game there might be a way to talk them into it, if you’re very insistent and very clever. But “marry me so you can sit down to a nice family dinner with the man who killed your mom and dad” is not a good opening gambit, for someone who has every reason to distrust you.


#25

That’s certainly reasonable. I was just curious if this whole thing was absolutely personal for the Kidian heir, or if they were open to more “pragmatic” solutions.


#26

Here’s a question for those who have played through (or are planning to play) the demo. Which kind of MC do you prefer to play?

  • Intellectual MC
  • Physical MC
  • Charismatic MC

0 voters

What about their vices?

  • Ruthless MC
  • Manipulative MC
  • Grasping MC
  • Autocratic MC

0 voters

And a corresponding virtue, because you need to have at least one of each:

  • Compassionate MC
  • Straightforward MC
  • Noble MC
  • Compromising MC

0 voters

Of course “vice” and “virtue” are relative terms… but all the same.


#27
Poll results image

Well, that’s pretty definitive! I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am, a little.

  • Almost everyone prefers an intellectual or social MC to a warrior. I should definitely have seen that coming, this being an intrigue and not combat game (as advertised directly in the title of this very thread).

  • 70% of you chose a manipulative MC over a straightforward one. I imagine many of you selected Arness’s royal court as the location of your sojourn, although there are other ways to raise the manipulative stat as well.

  • Compassionate was by far the most popular virtue, which means dear old dad thinks more than half of you are “soft-hearted”. Second most popular was noble. I think I can attribute this partly to how I phrased the choices in the personality questions, and I might revise that for the next version of chapter one.

In case you’re wondering, I play-test with two test characters. The first one is charming, manipulative, ruthless and compromising, and the second is intellectual, straightforward, noble and autocratic. So I guess in a way I fell right in with you all with regards to the first question, although of course I also test rigorously for options that appear for combat-oriented MCs.

As far as a general progress report, here goes: I have separated the character creation intro from the bulk of chapter one, for better management. The combined intro and ch1 are now a total of roughly 13K words long. There are at least two or three more scenes that need to be written before I can consider this version of chapter 1 done. I’ve done my best to liven up some scenes that felt sparse or utilitarian before, and I’ve moved up the introduction of the Royal Consort to the very beginning of chapter one, in case you’ve been looking forward to getting to know them.

Next on the agenda, I’ll be looking to do some structural work. I’ve established the main plot turning points as *choices in the code, and now I want to establish the main personality turning points. And after that, the main check points for the MC’s trust level with Kidia/Lux.

I expect to have a new version of the demo up sometime late next week, if all goes according to plan.

Once again, I’m immensely grateful for the wonderful reception that my little demo has gotten. This is one of the longest original texts I’ve written that’s actually seen readers’ eyes, and the positive feedback means everything.


#28

I think this game can go places, this is the only game i’d consider paying for.


#29

Good news everyone, I think I’ve settled on some singularly unflattering descriptions for the ‘virtues’ on the un-dad-like side of the personality meters.


#30

My demo has gotten one thousand clicks. I just got the notification. This is amazing and way better than anything I could have hoped for.

To show my gratitude, another poll, and also a question:

What gender do you prefer the Suthis heir to be?

  • Male PC
  • Female PC
  • Nonbinary PC

0 voters

And a follow up question: for people who chose to play nonbinary, are you satisfied with the automatic use of “they/them” pronouns, and the title(s) of Princep/Monarch? I know that pronouns for the MC have not appeared very much, but that will change in chapter two and I want to be prepared. Also, is there an interest in a genderfluid option? I’m considering adding that as well.


#31

I don’t know if you played it, but I heard a lot of very positive feedback about the way The Eagle’s Heir handled presentation for non-binary/fluid MCs.
Essentially, allowing to choose it for major scenes by context: presenting the setting of the scene (a ball for dancing and flirting, a business meeting etc’) and letting people choose what to wear (a fancy suit, a frilly dress, something neutral), and the pronouns would be set each time by whichever they chose.

This is, of course, more work since you need to do that for each major scene individually, and it might influence the way NPCs interact with the MC. But some people certainly consider it more inclusive than determining pronouns through physical characteristics or such (“I was born X but”).


#32

This really interests me and I’d love to see more although I will admit it looks like we’re playing the bad guy and that’s not exactly my thing but hey if that’s how you wanna tell the story far be it from me to suggest you change it though it does seem very out of character that I chose to be compassionate and admire that the father cares for his family and then my MC just up and says they plan to commit regicide


#33

I appreciate your feedback. One of the things that I am trying to work on in editing the second chapter, is to make the transitions smoother and less abrupt. That also includes things like the transition between character creation and the main narration.

I would not say that MC Suthis is a villain, exactly. I definitely set out to show them in an ambiguous light and allow a range of choices, in terms of both morality and personality. However, the relationship between the Turncoat (MC) and the Usurper (father) is central to the theme of the game. This is why I felt it was important that the MC share at least one trait with their father – as well as have at least one trait in opposition.

I will work on the phrasing of the specific option you mentioned – it’s meant to be tied to the trait called “grasping”, which is the opposite of noble. I tried to convey with the flavor text (“put your family ahead of everything else” and “unmoved by any claim of unfairness”) what this trait represents, but I think I can do better for the second version of the demo.

Regarding the regicide aspect, very soon you will have options to express why it is that you choose to assassinate your father. It is possible to express noble, even altruistic reasons for this, not just self-serving motives. It will also be possible to show mixed motivations, for those players who are interested in a more morally gray experience.


#34

Just to update that the second demo (updated chapter one) is almost complete and will be up early next week. Current word count is 20K without code, 25K with.


#35

"History moves in shapes beyond mathematical reasoning."

Brace for impact. New demo coming up later tonight.


#36

dashpic
TURNCOAT CHRONICLE DEMO VERSION 0.2

Big changes:

  • Title image, and chapter title image, in the style of the banner at the top of this thread.
  • Added three significant conversations between the MC and Consort Harim, two of them optional.
  • One of these features the first appearance of sexual orientation code.
  • Don’t worry if you don’t reach this code, you’ll have access to it again in chapter 2.
  • Fixed lots and lots of pronoun bugs.
  • Fleshed out the character creator, adding some details about background characters for verisimilitude.
  • Some “placeholder” narration from the design stage has been removed.
  • Behind the scenes, some invisible setup for later chapters and features, which shouldn’t directly affect you.
  • Personality metrics in the CC have been tweaked.
  • Big fix: the demo should now end correctly instead of looking for a “next chapter” that doesn’t exist.

Features not yet appearing:

  • I’ve started the groundwork for introducing a genderfluid option for the MC.
  • The Consort’s trust meter will become more significant.
  • Sexual/romantic orientation options. The code is rigged so that you can trigger it in several places. If you haven’t reached it in chapter one, you’ll get another chance to trigger it in chapter two.
  • Chapter two’s writing is in progress and going well. It will be much more flexible in its options than chapter one.
  • Gender-related options. This will not appear until late in chapter two, at the earliest. Yes, you will be able to choose for the MC to be binary trans, not just nonbinary. Yes, this will affect the game – but it 100% will not cause either Lux or Kidia to reject you, so no worries there.
  • In parallel to writing the meat of chapter two, I’m working on the bones on chapter three – so that by the time chapter two is finished, I will have a good idea exactly how many possible endings/variations there will be.
  • Relatedly, some achievement work simmering in the background.
  • I have some other surprises up my sleeve that I don’t want to discuss just yet.

I am very excited about this version. I hope you’re excited, too.

Total wordcount: 22,852 words, or 29,026 with code.


#37

I feel like there should be choice to talk to Tamirah about our plans. I chose the real heir, but Tamirah knows what we intend to do now.


#38

Treason never prospers for if it does no one calls it treason.


#39

That choice makes no sense, being to precious for caring for someones well-being, soft-hearted would make mor sense (if I recall correctly that has it been before)


#40

I am in the process of composing a proper response for all the new replies. Don’t worry, it’s on the way. I just had a hectic week and haven’t gotten to it yet.