Turncoat Chronicle (fantasy, intrigue, WIP)

low-fantasy
nonbinary-inclusive
gender-choice

#61

That seems an effective approach to government. I would probably aim for my MC to be a fairly deliberative King, very open to advice and talk things through with his council, and attempt to be just but be willing to bring down the hammer when necessary. The sad truth is good people make bad Kings :joy: On a more personal level, my MC would definitely work with the heir, and probably try to seduce them. Open question right now if he would end up falling for her during that for real :stuck_out_tongue:


#62

Mmm…despite her being the wrong gender for sexual or romantic attraction from my mc he leans more towards Lux as the lie of uniting the two royal houses seems to be just as effective as the real thing and presents far less of a threat to his position or any of his ambitions.


#63

Guess my MC is more of an idealist then! The prospect of uniting the two houses legitimately appeals to him. Besides, if it is the truth the chances of the ruse being found out goes from small to nonexistent! Also, it would be nice to not have to murder one more person.


#64

Assuming your MC isn’t hung up on the idea of royal blood giving some kind of innate ability to rule, this is quite true. Of course, one of the advantages Kidia has over Lux is that they have no family and no people, and literally no allies other than Crow. On the other hand, they are very willful. The same can’t be said of Lux.

The dynamic between the two siblings and their father is pretty complicated. Belinon is more compliant at times, and much more likely to seek out his father’s approval. He’s also envious of his older sibling for various reasons. In this case, both siblings each believe that the other is their father’s favorite. The King however has a tendency to view his family as an extension of himself, which is part of why he was so angry when his eldest left Kantul without asking for his blessing.

I can promise you though that your younger brother is not conspiring against you. For the moment.


#65

Unless there’s male pregnancy (which my mc would absolutely abhor) it’s not like he would be getting biological offspring from Morun either. So if it is lineage Lux would be the safer bet, though he isn’t sexually attracted to her gender and cannot offer her romantic love. Close friendship is the best he could do for her, but then there are plenty of royal marriages that are far worse than that. I just hope for Lux’s sake that she is bisexual cause my mc would have no problems with her taking female lovers for sex or romance, whereas other men would be a threat to the “lineage”. Just as he hopes she would tolerate him having male lovers.

But don’t worry I’ll do at least two playthroughs since I do like Kidia and my mc would probably be sexually attracted to young Morun. I just don’t know if that would be enough for him to risk his own position as there are presumably plenty of attractive men who wouldn’t threaten his ambitions in the same way elsewhere.


#66

Lux is in no position to raise objections to the MC taking on lovers of any gender.

On the subject of heirs, the code handling that conversation is currently about 100 lines of code long (roughly 500 words of text). And that’s after I’ve simplified it considerably. Among other things, it accounts for trans, nonbinary, and genderfluid MCs, and for the possibility of using either a donor or a surrogate. And, of course, adoption.

The actual getting of kids is not within the scope of this game, but the conversation surrounding heirs was important enough that I didn’t feel comfortable leaving it out. I do, however, follow in the footsteps of some of my favorite fantasy authors, and so this world had widely available, universally effective birth control methods.


#67

If you selected a binary gender for your MC and a nonbinary Kidia Princep, you might find some interesting surprises when the “seduction” scene finally comes along. That’s all I’m saying, for the moment.


#68

I have to say I am very entertained picturing that seduction scene already. I hope MC has a good poker face, as I suspect Kidia has different ideas on this subject than the MC does. Adjusting your expectations is the key to a good marriage!

Also, RIP Crow, letting your teenager make their own bad decisions is a difficult part of parenting :joy:


#69

Crow is a very long-suffering guardian. He was originally supposed to be the MC of the first game I planned in this universe (the one thta took place in Tigonne’s capital, Arness). Sadly that did not pan out. Now he’s just a grumpy yet lovable middle-aged mercenary with a problematic foster-child. But, he could still be more than that, if it comes to it.

Actually, come to think, I don’t think I mentioned anywhere in the game’s code that Kidia is actually twenty one – the legal age of majority in their society. Although they do come off a bit adolescent at times, that might be in part because they are a literal Prince§(ss).


#70

So what age is our mc then, late 20’s or even early 30’s?


#71

Character ages:

  • MC: 25 - came of age at 21, then spent 4 years away from court (at one of three locations mentioned in the CC section).
  • (Alme/Morun/Holyn) Kidia: 21 - having came of age about six months prior to the story’s beginning.
  • (Teven/Tamirah) Lux: peobably 22-23, but also a commoner so less likely to know or signify their exact birth date.
  • King Orust: early 50s.
  • Consort Harim: early 50s, probably a couple of years older than the King, actually.
  • Belinon: 19 and technically not of age, though he certainly does not think of himself as a child.
  • Crow: 45 or thereabouts.
  • Sheyer: as mysterious as everything else about them.
  • Iral and Valini, the Kidia monarchs, would have been in their mid-to-late 40s, if they’d lived.

More minor characters don’t really have ages assigned.


#72

Now now, being a rebellious teen is a mindset, some people are just late bloomers. Crow strikes me as the overprotective type, anyway. This is Kidia’s first chance to sneak out after curfew and skulk behind the 9-11 with other miscreants! Metaphorically speaking. Let the kid live a little, old man!

That said, Kidia wasn’t exactly living the high life in hiding, were they? If they are too naive to manage the MC without Crow glaring menacingly over their head, I’d say their overbearing guardian only has himself to blame.


#73

I think Crow would probably rather Kidia take up smoking and shoplifting, as compares to flirting with the very people who put them on the run to begin with. Not that he didn’t take a strict hand with them in general, but now he finds himself with the usual conundrum of an heir’s guardian. Sooner or later, he has to stop being a guardian and revert to being a vassal. Kidia’s gonna be the one ordering him around, for the rest of their natural lives. Now he has to take the role of adviser, and that’s risky.

While on the run they both had to earn a living, and they learned a great deal about the world that Suthis and people like them don’t and will never know. But a lot of that knowledge seems not to be immediately relevant, although in the long term it might make them a better monarch. Kidia is certainly a lot less naive than they put on. They have in fact been training for this moment their entire life, and like a lot of rulers before them, they compartmentalize. In short, it’s Crow’s job to be cynical and paranoid so that they don’t have to be.

If you aim for true compromise, you might yet win Crow to your cause. If not… well. You’ll have some decisions to make.


#74

“Hazel, how hard did you work on Turncoat throughout this recently deceased month of July, 2018?”

“Well…”

(The above image is part of my word cloud for the writing I did throughout the entire month, courtesy of 750words.com. The next most bolded words further down were “true” and “false”.)


#75

Enchanting prose, you have a unique authorial voice!
Jokes aside, coding is as much part of the process as the prose is, so it’s no less of an accomplishment than a regular word count, imo. Of course, it might be less fun for some odd birds who decided to design a game because they like writing, haha.

Also, “no” is a one of my frequently used words too!


#76

Ha. Well, my other WIP, which I worked on intensely in April and May, is a prose novel. And my regular word count spreadsheet counts prose words separately from code, so thank heavens that CSIDE knows how to assess the two separately.


#77

People, I have bad news. The gender identity and sexual orientation code is getting ever more convoluted. I might have to rewrite both subroutines, top to bottom.

This is really difficult.

Edit: I have also decided to punish myself for my own hubris by going through the code line by line, making sure all the choice texts are in first person.


#78

Friends, players, beta testers.

As you know, any potential Monarch needs to be able to prove that they will ensure the continuity of their dynasty. In Turncoat Chronicle, late in chapter 2 there’s a conversation between the MC and either Lux or Kidia about how they would get their necessary heirs. Viable options would be for the couple to have an heir together, for one or both to use a surrogate/donor, or adoption. All of these are legally valid in Koth, because it’s my story and I make the rules.

I’ve explored a few different ways of designing this code, based on a goal of giving as many options as I can, while still making the most common choices clear and simple to find.

Five possible design options.
  1. Mechanically, the simplest way to do this is to let the player select between pregnancy, surrogate/donor, or adoption. Make all three options available, without checking gender or orientation variable at all. Don’t make any assumptions based on which option was selected. Let the player account for their reasoning on their own. This is similar to how Failbetter Games handled the issue in Sunless Sea, which is one of my favorite games.
  2. Similar to above, but with follow-up questions. E.g. if MC and spouse were both male, the player might select pregnancy option, and the next question would be about whether the MC (or the spouse, possibly) is trans. Then a variable would be set in the background. It would work similarly for nonbinary and genderfluid MC, where the sex assignment would be implied by whether they are able to get pregnant. This is a little like how The Sims 4 handled it, IIRC.
  3. Gender and orientation are checked immediately when the question comes up, and the player can choose to make their MC trans, regardless of how they choose to get heirs. E.g. the player could immediately select the option that reads “I am female but I can’t get pregnant” and then later would choose adoption or a surrogate. Downside is that it’s complicated to code, may be confusing, and may seem superficially to conflate trans status with lost of other reasons why people can’t have biological children.
  4. Disregard the issues of surrogacy or adoption, and the conversation focuses instead on whether the heirs will be Suthis, Kidia, or both. Upside of this is that it brings up some interesting issues with Lux and Kidia. Downside is that I lose the option to let players specify that their MC is binary trans.
  5. Move the trans conversation so that it’s totally separate from the question of heirs. Either as an add-on to the gender selection screen in chargen, or as part of a later conversation about Kothic gender norms. Said conversation would be with either Lux/Kidia, or with Consort Harim.

Now that you’ve read that whole long essay, here, have a cookie: :cookie:

And now vote:

  • Choose from pregnancy, surrogacy, or adoption without making any assumptions about the MC (the Sunless Sea option).
  • Choose pregnancy or not, then add follow-up questions to let the player decide if their MC is trans.
  • First choice clearly refers to the gender and orientation of the MC, even if that means lots more (possibly confusing) options to choose from.
  • Heirs conversation totally disregards the question of pregnancy, and focuses on the Suthis/Kidia dynastic conflict, at the expense of better trans representation.
  • Better trans representation, but it appears earlier in the game, and is detached from the conversation about heirs.

0 voters

I worked really hard on this and it’s an issue that’s important to me.


#79

So with adoption for gay guys (since unless Morun is trans natural pregnancy isn’t happening) I assume if Morun and male mc both adopt the same kid that kid would become the heir to both dynasties, despite the lack of any bloodline relationship?


#80

I was downright enthralled from start to finish. Keep them chapters coming lol