[WiP] Not Your Mother's Shire (Ch. 7: The Desolation of Frog)

Then proceeds to ask us about our feelings :joy:

But seriously though those are gorgeous! I love the design, it fits the character I had imagined already, and I’m always a sucker for more art. Great work if those are your drawings! If not, kudos to whoever did draw them haha

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I’ve posted Chapter 7: The Desolation of Frog. While I’ve done a code edit, I haven’t done a pass for prose yet. I wanted to get something up for people to read over the weekend if they like. However, if you wait a few days, I’ll have edited for typos, misspellings, clarity, and effect.

You won't be able to select the Psycho Path decision options unless you start over.

Sorry for this. I’ve decided to treat them like a power. Since I back-coded the framework, old save data will not have your selections stored. If you want to read those options without replaying, DM me and I’ll send you what would have been said

Because I've pre-coded RO gender swap, your relationships will stop growing unless you start over.

Sorry for this. You should still be able to play through ch7 w/o starting over. But, if you want to pursue romance with anyone, you’ll have to start another save. If you just want to see what happens with the plot, you should be good with your current save data.

Special thanks to 3 readers who named or designed NPCs this chapter.

@MadAdam who donated his name and handle to the rebel spy Mad Adam; @Waylon_Royce who named and mostly designed Bunkisi’s right-hand man Vexius Krexius; and @Jackpot1776 for naming the nascent plant-god Maximus Sprout. @Mistyleaf123 , if you want to name Splosh’s pirate commander and/or give me some details about them, you have 10 or so days. No sweat if you can’t get to it. Send me 3 names, and I’ll pick my favorite.

What was your favorite prong of the story?
  • Llorick and Vexius’s incestuous possession-date.
  • Saz and Sulekh’s epic land eel hunt.
  • Vera’s journey to Monkey Do? Temple to meet with Maximus Sprout.
  • The deaths and betrayals in the battle at the end of the chapter.

0 voters

At the end, how did you feel about Bunkisi?
  • A proper conniving villain and trickster of the first order.
  • Dangerous and misunderstood visionary leader.
  • A tragic lonely leader in an impossible position.
  • I fear myself for loving him.
  • F that Frog.

0 voters

What were your 3 favorite non-character story elements?
  • Mistgarden
  • Cavegrow
  • Monkey Do? Temple
  • Pygmy elephants
  • Solar ivy
  • Giant lemmings and ant-sized gorillas
  • Mysterious shapeshifter
  • New shoes and/or earring
  • The land eel
  • The white kangaroo
  • House-shrooms
  • Other (please relay in comments)

0 voters

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This was an interesting start, but alas, I ran into a game-breaking bug in the third chapter.

The artwork you’ve posted so far is really good, but I did have some constructive criticism for the ‘cover image’, of the trio in the dragon’s mouth. If I was browsing games on Steam/Google Play/whatever, and I saw that image, my first impression would be that I am not the demographic it’s aimed at, and I’d probably click past it. Why? Because there are two cute, cartoonish little dudes, and one attractive and well-proportioned elf lady. She’s responsible for 100% of the ‘sex appeal’ in the image, so I’d assume that would carry over to the game itself (and while I am entirely in favour of sexy elf ladies, I’m tired of female characters being used as fanservice while the male characters aren’t even trying). I think that does your story a disservice, since it’s actually equal opportunities for all. My suggestion would be to make her look more cartoonish, or to otherwise balance things out.

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@Elysian Hello! I think I may have corrected the issue which caused your bug. Is there any way you could try it again and let me know if it did the trick?

I see what you mean about the cover. The male characters I chose for being the most visually distinctive were Phill, my hobbit of color, and Melvis, the sumo fairy–to convey tone and genre. Thanks for that insight. Maybe I’ll do up something else and use this as splash art. I would hate for anyone to feel discluded. Cover art is hard because you have a limited space to do so much! I’d gone for gender and ethnicity inclusion and then missed on sexuality. It’s not lip service. I hate having blind spots. Please, keep the feedback coming. Cheers!

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Hi! I’m having a lot of fun so far! I just wanted to mention that as a half-Asian woman, it made me uncomfortable to have to describe my skin as “Yellow/Yellowish” due to racist connotations. I was wondering if it would be possible to change that to olive, or even bronze?
edit: playing as a halfling if that helps though this would apply to any race with human skintones
edit2: oh, and this is less important, but could we get a skirt? perhaps a short one and a long one?

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Hi @LiaSays ! I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself. It’s too easy to change the skin-color descriptor. I’m happy to do it. Sorry to make you feel uncomfortable. :sob: I’m half-Vietnamese, and the colorist for my concept art is Indonesian. :vietnam: :indonesia: :us: I always even feel badly using the words “white” and “black” so I know exactly what you mean.

Long and short skirts? Definitely. There will be a number of wardrobe changes as you travel through different climates: blizzard, desert, . . . Spoiler: toward the middle of the game, there will be a masked ball and, in an optional chapter, there will be a fantasy fashion show where the winnings go to a charity of your choice. (Go Free-Range Unicorn Society!) :unicorn: :rainbow: :moneybag:

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Oh, thank you for your quick and kind feedback. ^^ I’m half-Japanese, myself. Thank you so much for hearing me out and understanding!
That sounds awesome, I can’t wait!:sparkling_heart:

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Hey, absolutely! We all have to stick together. Weezer does a shout out in the song El Scorcho: “God damn you half-Japanese girls | Do it to me every time.” :jp: :heart: @LiaSays

I’ll put the skirts in the beach chapter I’m working on now. If you like, you can make up what they look like, and I’ll put them in. Don’t know if you wanted grass skirts, or silky floral wraps, or what! Probably not this LED one? Cheers!

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Ooh, I’d actually definitely wear that!
I trust your taste with designing them, I wouldn’t want to clash with the world!

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Hi! I just got to Zale. I’m back with more character description feedback. Generally it’s not the best idea to describe the skin of people of color, especially Black skin, with food words, as this comes off as fetishistic and can make people feel uncomfortable. This is a great resource for describing characters of color, here’s the link for writing about skintones: Writing With Color — Words for Skin Tone | How to Describe Skin Color It’s also not great to use the word “kinky” for black hair. The site also offers alternatives for that.

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Hey, that’s really helpful actually! Thank you so much! Probably, that link should be in one of the more general writing or development threads so more people can read it. It’s so easy just to think of your words or actions as harmless because you didn’t intend any harm, but to hurt people’s feelings anyway. Thanks for helping me not to do that. :see_no_evil: :hear_no_evil: :speak_no_evil:

Teamwork makes the dream work.

@LiaSays

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You’re very welcome! Thank you so being so receptive.

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Hey, folks! Wee update and a few treats.

Completed concept art for Vera and Vero.


Early sketches of male and female Saz.


Update: did a first pass edit of ch7a (for those of you who were waiting to read). It’ll need another pass for prose before we’re through, but that’s done. Usually, it takes me like 2+ days to do a big chapter because I can’t bear to read my own writing–like hearing your own voice on the phone.

Based on this closed poll . . .

. . . I’m next writing the Coastal Duchy Chapter, followed by the Blizzard Duchy Chapter. Based on my original plan, I have 13 more chapters to write, with 5 optional additional mini-chapters, e.g. 9.5–1 vacation day per duchy. By the math, with 350k-ish words remaining, it puts the 13 chapters at 22k av each (though the last 2 have been >30k, I like to make later chapters shorter for the feel of acceleration) and the 5 mini-chapters at 12k words each (about 2k/RO/duchy date, so 2k x 6 x5=60k). Barring the unforeseeable, I estimate a completed draft in 4mos. Then maybe 1mo to weave in gender swap, achievements, fine tune stats, etc. I’m considering outsourcing some editing to speed things up, but that’s especially tricky given my propensity for making up words and creatures, as well as using fragments etc. Anyway, now you know what I think I do. Lastly, here are some game design questions people have asked me via DM which I thought I would share with the readership at large:

Will gender-selectable ROs always default to female if you say you're into both?

After I finish the 25 chapters I have planned, I’m coding a chapter 0. There, you will be able to toggle on or off achievements (ruins immersion for some), toggle on or off art (slows old phones and weak net), and choose your gender preferences for ROs. Right now I’m thinking 4 choices:

  1. Set them all to male.
  2. Set them all to female.
  3. Some of each (default or randomize)
  4. Decide one by one (this will be harder for first playthroughs)
Could there be some more halfling-specific text with regards to the height of other characters a halfling player encounters, because in some places it seems calibrated for a human?

Really good catch. When I finish the first pass, I plan to comb back through and insert options for clothing, gender, race . . . In terms of process, it’s just easier for me to get in the little details when the structure is in place. I had nightmares about people pointing at me about the halfling height discrepancies . . . worst fears realized!

Romancewise, will there be a point where we're locked in to a single RO and will it be easy to tell?

To be honest, I haven’t completely decided. All the ROs are player-sexual, and all will be gender-swappable. I think some would be into polyamory, and some would not. For Zale, I wanted things to start physical and work backwards so that the last thing you know is something completely casual like his/her real name. I want to rework Trudy so that you start at 100% and can only lose rep, so that it’s about keeping as much as you can. Probably, I’ll do a poll after chapter 8b, to see what people want. I’m not possessive about the finer details of my stories, so I’m pretty open to what people are interested in.

Will there be sex scenes for all ROs if the player isn't asexual?

I haven’t decided. And it’s hard to ask people due to spoilers. Not one of the ROs has a flat arc, that is, not one is the same person by the end as when you met them. And, based on your decisions, it will be VERY hard to keep them all alive. Plus, they’re different. For Zale, sex isn’t intimate. There will likely be many hookups, but that doesn’t mean he/she will ever tell you the truth about his/herself. On the opposite end, Saz is pretty conservative. I don’t see him/her sex-ing outside a committed monogamous relationship. If you haven’t figured it out, he/she is a widow(er) who very much misses their daughter. His/her deathwish is a desire to either be reunited or stop suffering from their absence.

Thanks everyone for your support and engagement. Even if I never sell a single copy (don’t really care), I will have been glad to work out my issues on the page with you. Cheers! -DW

P.S. As I was unable to fall asleep last night, I plotted a sequel (Still Not Your Mother’s Shire) and two odd spin-offs: “Not Your Mother’s Starship” and “Not Your Mother’s Zombie Apocalypse.” Weird, huh? So, maybe one of those will be on the way come August. If any of you are still around, I’ll put up a poll.

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re: the saz sketches Stop Stop I’m Already Bi! <3 <3 <3

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:smile: Just saw this and was like; My b-day’s in August! XD

also those art pieces are sooo good! I can never get pose anatomy correct :sweat_smile:

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Your art is literally to die for :heart_eyes: :heart_eyes: :heart_eyes:

I need more :joy:

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So . . . I’m writing and coding ch7b, and it seemed appropriate to me that, if you attack a whaling ship with your pirate-ship escort (and the captain’s pet Dolphinator) they might like to induct you into the crew with tattoos and piercings?

Would you want your character to be able to get pirate piercings?
  • Yar! (Pirate for “very yes”)
  • Aye, scallywag.
  • Nay, bilge rat.

0 voters

Where would you want your character’s pirate piercing?
  • Nostrils, so it whistles when I sneeze.
  • Tongue, so my mouth always tastes like metal.
  • Belly button, with an actual button if possible.
  • Eyebrow! If it’s heavy enough, I’ll always look confused.
  • Nipples. I don’t want to say why.
  • Other–feel free to share.

0 voters

Do you want a pirate tattoo for your character?
  • Yar!
  • Aye, scallywag.
  • Nay, bilge rat.

0 voters

Feel free to DM me if you have a specific funny tattoo you want–no promises. (e.g. customizable name in heart banner) If enough people are interested, I’ll code in 3 of each this pass. I’ve already coded in two skirts (one finery, one fun-ery) for @LiaSays Cheers, all.

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Still need a name for female Llorick if anyone has a good idea. Something that sounds similar. I’d been thinking Llyvette or something.

Second COVID vaccination set me back two pretty bleh days of recovery. Hoping to have this chapter finished by or before this weekend. Cheers!

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Loretta, Llorickanna, Lloricka, Llyrick

Just some ideas! (And as always, gorgeous art)

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