To Our Noble End [Fantasy, Drama, "History"]

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To Our Noble End [Fantasy, Drama, "History"]

#1 Post by polaroidcaesar » Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:14 pm

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PROGRESS

Script: ~10%
Lore Writing: ~25%
Character Art: 0%
Background Art: 0%
Music: ~20%
Ideal Length: ~100,000-300,000 words (15-20 hours)





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The Knights of Volère, the preeminent knightly order of the Kingdom of Léonnes, have been massacred nearly to the last by their own countrymen. But the question remains—why? A band of four survivors, led by the First Shield of the order, Ser Renaud Robiquet, flees through the snowbound wilderness in disguise on a quest for answers, and revenge. There is no question about the fact that they have been framed—but by whom? Their pursuers, masked knights bearing an unfamiliar device, might lead them to the root of their inquiries. Their journey takes them across the face of Léonnes, into the high halls of power, and through the deep darkness of their own pasts. For those bound by honor and custom there is no escape. The Knights of Volère must fight to clear their names, or face their noble end at the hands of their pursuers.



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PROTAGONISTS

Ser Imogène fa Ilfance, the Lady of the Lance
"How much more of this can we bear?"
Ser Imogène is one of the younger members of the Knights of Volère, but in her time she has shown her valor. She placed second in the mêlée at Oriflamme in 859 N.O.C., launched a number of successful raids on the Cadalites, and was hand-selected by Renaud Robiquet for the rescue of Grandmaster Odo. In only a handful of years, though coming from lowly merchant stock, she has risen high in the regard of the Knights of Volère. She is known for her quick wit, bawdy tongue, skill as an equestrian, and love of good wine; yet she is widely respected likewise for her spirit, noble bearing, and compassion towards others. She is often called upon to settle disputes between members of the Order due to her strong reasoning, clear thinking, and persuasive argumentation; because of this, she is sometimes referred to as "the Judge". Over time she has developed a close relationship with Renaud, which has led to rumors of illicit conduct between the two. In truth, however, Imogène idolizes Renaud, and sees him as something of a mentor. She is grievously wounded at a certain point in the company's journey, and must suffer the consequences throughout the rest of the story. Although this is more of an ensemble cast, Imogène is perhaps the most deserving of being called the protagonist—she is the narrator, recounting the tale some thirty years after the fact, and much of the plot centers upon her.



Ser Renaud Robiquet, the Chevalier of the Harvest Moon
"Belief is life."
The First Shield of the Knights of Volère, known as the Chevalier of the Harvest Moon, Renaud is the second son of a minor noble house in the western reaches of the Rose Coast, and one of the most renown knights of the realm. He is primarily known for his heroic and death defying cavalry charge against the Cadalite nomads at the Battle of Hot River, which earned him promotion in the Knights of Volère and acclaim at court in Gran Léo. His subsequent duel against the Count of Figo, his dashing display at the autumn Games at Oriflamme of 851 N.O.C., his promotion to the status of First Shield, and, the jewel in the crown, his appointment as the personal guardian of the Queen Yolande, made him the toast of the kingdom. But events conspired against him—Yolande died, the Istrids came into power, the Cadalites kidnapped the aging Grandmaster Odo, and the Knights of Volère were caught in a snare that threatens to bring about their total demise. Renaud is a stoic sort of man, and devoted to his principles nearly to the point of self-flagellation. He strives to be the very paragon honor, loyalty, righteousness, and, yes, chivalry, perhaps as a natural reaction to his somewhat tumultuous childhood, suffering at the hands of an autocratic, cruel mother and an indifferent father. Beneath the façade of the intrepid knight lies a tortured man torn apart by circumstance. The Knights of Volère's quest to discover who framed them and why is the crucible in which his beliefs will be tested. Will loyalty, honor, and righteousness reign supreme over selfishness, treachery, cynicism, and avarice? For Renaud theirs is as much a conflict of ideology as it is of life and death. To him there exists no distinction: belief is life, and life is belief. Without it there is only death.



Ser Fabrice Bardin, the Knight of the Lamp
"Don't you have something you're living for? Why throw it all away?"
Ser Fabrice is one of the lesser members of the Knights of Volère, though still well respected. He earned his appellation, "the Knight of the Lamp", after managing to fend off a group of Cadalite raiders who had stolen into the Order's camp with nothing but a sputtering lamp and his undergarments while awaiting aid from his fellows. He is temperate, and known to have an air of snobbishness, but he accepts criticism and insult with good humor, making him popular as the butt of certain jokes. He now always rides with a lamp attached to his saddle, though he no longer uses it to fight, instead preferring to wield his large morningstar.



Ser Desmon, the Knight of Dusk
"Revenge is not anything to live for."
Though one of the oldest members of the Knights of Volère, Ser Desmon is neither well known nor entirely well regarded. He is frigid in manner, gruff, unwieldily blunt, and more often than not he reeks of alcohol. Little is known of Ser Desmon's past, though it is said that he comes from a noble family (he does not readily reveal his surname for this reason), and that in his day he was a widely renowned chevalier and fearsome tourney fighter. He earned his epithet, "the Knight of Dusk", after his epic mêlée with Ser Teobald Hoche, the Red Star, which lasted from shortly after dawn till, finally, Ser Desmon emerged victorious as the last rays of the sun were fading on the horizon. Indeed, though middle-aged, his physique is still powerful. His weapon of choice is a massive claymore which even some of the strongest men of the Order are unable to wield. Despite some of these qualities, which normally might make him an object of interest, his generally brutish attitude and the unsavory rumors that hang about him ward off any potential investigators. It is said that, at some point in his career in the Order, he experienced a "fall from grace", though just what that fall entailed is not known.


SECONDARY CHARACTERS


Roméo Hondelle, Marquis of Façé
"There is one ruling principle in this world: with power, one can make miracles happen. Armies march; coin is minted; cities are built; mountains are moved with the wave of a hand. Good things, evil things—anything."
Roméo Hondelle is the young head of House Hondelle of Façé, a once-prosperous castle town in western Léonnes, and is widely recognized as the rising star of the realm. He is an accomplished polymath—a scholar (particularly of folklore, astronomy, and the occult), a poet, an able swordsman, and handsome to boot. Roméo "has it all", including the confidence of the newly ordained King Larsa of House Istrid. He lacks, however, one rather important thing—wealth, and consequently, power. Though in better days it exerted considerable strategic and commercial influence in the kingdom, in the past century or so Façé has fallen on hard times. A string of flamboyant and profligate lords has left the once relatively affluent House Hondelle nigh penniless, forcing them to auction off many of their ancestral fiefdoms to make up the costs. No matter how brilliant or handsome, Roméo's dearth of coin has left him out in the cold in the arena of noble marriages. But despite his dire straits, and despite his bastard son Maurice (a suitable heir if no proper wife can be found), Roméo's ambition is relentless; his eyes peer ever upward, towards greater and greater heights, and there is little that he is not willing to do to achieve his ends.

Larsa Hogimbas Istrid, King of Léonnes
King Larsa appears mostly off-screen over the course of the story, but his influence is felt everywhere. The first king of House Istrid, a cadet branch of the erstwhile ruling House Dalphès from the scarcely-populated east, the Istrids are widely considered to be foreigners, even barbarians. The first two years of his reign have been fraught with discord, both internally and externally. Few of the elder noble houses have cooperated with the Crown, despite frequent calls to action against the Cadalite raiders and the rebellion of the Doyenne in the north, and all press for ever greater autonomy. On the other hand, younger and less powerful houses jostle for the new King's regard, something that might grant them advantage over the titans of the realm, like dogs begging for scraps at the master's table. Through all of this King Larsa has shown little leadership or competence; indeed, he has hardly shown himself at all, spending most of his time in the citadel of Fa Lasse in Gran Léo with his family and councilors, including the brilliant Roméo Hondelle, and rarely venturing out. Little is known of him, and what is known only bolsters the aura of enigma that surrounds him.


Abelard fa Vontole, Count of Figo
Abelard is the young Count of Figo, an important city along the River Lorentin in south-central Léonnes, just north of the Cinnamon Coast. He is well-regarded throughout for his able administration of Figo, which has flowered under his rule, and martial feats in the campaigns against the Cadalites. However, his past is checkered, and a decade or so ago he was the subject of much gossip in the court for his effrontery and recklessness. All this climaxed in a now infamous duel with Ser Renaud Robiquet, in which he was defeated in the first thirty seconds of mêlée. However, afterwards he and Renaud became great friends, and continue to be to this day.



Queen Yolande-Ninone Dalphès Jaspolle, or Yolande Dalphès II[deceased]
"If I must love you, then please—let me die."
The last queen of House Dalphès, Yolande was a sickly woman who lived almost her entire life secluded in her apartments. She was, however, born into House Jaspolle, one of the preeminent noble houses in all of Léonnes, and thus she was wed, unhappily, to King Innes IV, known also as "The Sighing King". However, after two miscarriages, both of which she hardly survived, it became apparent that Yolande's infirmities would not produce an heir, and King Innes set about searching for a healthier wife. In the meantime, however, she became pregnant once more, raising the King's hopes; but, as had been foreseen, this was no different than the others, and Yolande died in childbirth in 860 N.O.C. The line of House Dalphès was extinguished not long afterwards with the unexpected death of King Innes, and the rule of House Istrid began. Despite her short and tragic life, she was guarded by Ser Renaud Robiquet, the most famous knight in all of Léonnes.

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Other than writing and directing the whole shebang, I'll also be composing the soundtrack. Although I'm still at an early point in development, I'm already hard at work on the music. In my view, music can make or break a game, not to mention a visual novel, so I consider it to be a central point of development. My greatest musical influences when it comes to composition are video game and film composers like Yasunori Mitsuda, Hitoshi Sakimoto, Austin Wintory, Patrick Doyle, Masashi Hamazu, and Nobuo Uematsu, along with classical composers like Maurice Ravel, John Adams, John Tavener, and Aaron Copland. The soundtrack will be primarily orchestral, and heavily based on various leitmotifs. You can check out new tracks for the OST in this playlist on my composition Soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/user-266858343/s ... le-end-ost



Title Theme/Variations on Imogène's Theme: https://soundcloud.com/user-266858343/t ... enes-theme

And here are a few samples of my previous work:
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I've been playing around with the idea, story, and characters for a couple of years now. Originally, this was going to be the story for an SRPG inspired by Final Fantasy Tactics and Tactics Ogre that a friend and I were talking about working on. As these things tend to do, that quickly fell apart. But I kept the Google Doc where I had jotted down the broad sweep of the story, and I revisited it from time to time, adding a few things here or there, until I became committed to the idea of doing at least something with it. By that time, the way I envisioned the story became too difficult to pull off in the form of a video game, but I also thought that it wouldn't really work as a novel. I wanted the visual and auditory element, and so eventually I decided to start work on this.

The main themes are survival and perseverance, fellowship, the nature of history, idealism vs. cynicism, and free will vs. determinism. It's not the most original fantasy setting (as you can tell it's basically fantasy France with a few exotic elements), but my goal is to tell a memorable story with memorable characters, not to reinvent the wheel. The story overall is fairly bleak and deals with some heavy subject matter, but there will be some moments of lightness as well. I should also note that, despite its appearance, this is not just French Game of Thrones (though that does exist—check out The Accursed Kings series by Maurice Druon). What I mean is that, though the story does involve a lot of political intrigue, and features knights, kings, queens, dukes, counts, peasants (or "smallfolk", to say it in GRRM-speak), sword fights, and etc., this is not an epic. While the geographic scale does become somewhat large, the focus of the story is relatively limited, centering on a small group of four. It is principally concerned with character relationships and the "interior", the thoughts and feelings of the characters, and not with epic battle sequences (though as I said, there are sword fights) and nefarious scheming (there's a fair measure of that as well).

The story will be divided into two parts, and each will be interspersed within the other. One is the story of the Knights of Volère's journey for freedom and revenge. The other will take the form of extended flashbacks—which I'm calling "Tales"—that will delve deeply into the backstory of each of the party members, and will be narrated as their first person POV rather than the rest of the VN, which is narrated by Imogène in a kind of first-person omniscient years after the events of the story. I am not currently planning on having multiple routes, but I might further down the road depending on how things are going.

HOWEVER, unfortunately I am no artist. I haven't discussed this with any artist, nor do I have any sketches or anything beyond character "look" in mind. I'm still on the lookout, though my means of compensation are pretty meager.

Sorry if that was a lot to take in at once! I'm very eager to hear your comments, questions, and critiques!

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Is the premise interesting?
Would you read more?
Is there anything specific that you'd like to see?
Do you have any suggestions, questions, criticisms?
Last edited by polaroidcaesar on Mon Mar 12, 2018 4:22 pm, edited 33 times in total.

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Re: To Our Noble End [Fantasy, Drama, "History"]

#2 Post by Zelan » Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:47 pm

Oooh, politics. :] This one looks cool, and I don't mind a setting that's faux-French.

I really, really like all of your character descriptions. I'd be interested to know more about Ser Fabrice and how he managed to hold his attackers off naked and with only a lamp. Every character has something intriguing about them, though, and I'm curious about how much will be revealed throughout the story.

Your music is great! I think the town theme is my favorite - it perfectly conveys that hustle-and-bustle sort of feeling without being too loud or showy. I also like how the menu theme has a little dip in the middle. Epic themes are great for title screens, but I like quieter bits, too. It makes the epicness stand out more. ^_^

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Re: To Our Noble End [Fantasy, Drama, "History"]

#3 Post by polaroidcaesar » Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:55 am

Zelan wrote:
Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:47 pm
Oooh, politics. :] This one looks cool, and I don't mind a setting that's faux-French.

I really, really like all of your character descriptions. I'd be interested to know more about Ser Fabrice and how he managed to hold his attackers off naked and with only a lamp. Every character has something intriguing about them, though, and I'm curious about how much will be revealed throughout the story.

Your music is great! I think the town theme is my favorite - it perfectly conveys that hustle-and-bustle sort of feeling without being too loud or showy. I also like how the menu theme has a little dip in the middle. Epic themes are great for title screens, but I like quieter bits, too. It makes the epicness stand out more. ^_^
Thanks for all your kind comments! I'm glad you're interested in the project, even though there's not much here yet! There is definitely a lot to be discovered about the characters, and as I mentioned in the OP (I think? Maybe I didn't lol), the second and third acts of the story will contain extended flashbacks called "Tales" (sort of like The Canterbury Tales) which will he narrated in first-person by each one of them. They're all hiding something, I will say that, though some more so than others :wink:

I'm glad you enjoyed my music! For the record, the town theme is my personal favorite as well. It's definitely the one I listen to the most. Who knows, maybe I'll be able to incorporate it somewhere in the VN :mrgreen:

I didn't want to make a separate post for this, but I have found an artist who's willing to work on background art for this and am talking to him about how we're going to go about this whole thing. I'm still searching for someone for character art, but at least I got somewhere! I am also about 30 pages into the script and have ~11,000 words. Not too much, but work is progressing at least. The first act of the story I like to call the "survival arc", because it's mostly about the aftermath of the "Massacre" and the characters' struggle to not only survive the effects of hunger, thirst, and exposure to frigid winter weather conditions, but also to escape from the mysterious "masked knights" who pursue them. It's been pretty fun to write so far :wink:

Along with updates on art and assets, I'll periodically be posting bits and pieces here about the lore of Léonnes. One big feature for the VN I'm thinking of adding is a kind of "lore compendium" where you can read character bios, as well as excerpts from certain documents (poetry, historical and philosophical treatises, myths and legends, letters, diaries, etc.) that give you a feel for the world and reveal key information about Léonnid history. Telling the history in the form of documents, rather than an objective essay or something like that, ties in with one of the big themes of the story—that history is something to be manipulated, and can be viewed from many different angles.

Thanks for your interest and comments! Be on the lookout for new stuff soon!

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Re: To Our Noble End [Fantasy, Drama, "History"]

#4 Post by Zelan » Fri Sep 08, 2017 10:26 am

Flashbacks from different points of view sounds awesome, and I'm glad to know that we'll be learning more about each individual character.

That's some great progress so far! I like the fact that you have that survival aspect as well - politics are great, but these characters have also just been through a devastating battle. Some dangerous situations are to be expected.

Okay, now I'm twice as interested as I already was, and I was pretty interested before. In-depth lore is always a blessing, but I don't find all that many VNs with lore compendiums, and I'd like to see more. I also absolutely love the historian angle that you've got going. :D The idea of changing history to suit one's version of events, or just writing about it with a personal bias, is relevant to real-world studies of history and will also just make your plot that much cooler.

(I'll listen to the two new songs you've posted once I'm back at home. I don't have headphones here so I can't really blast any music, unfortunately.)

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Re: To Our Noble End [Fantasy, Drama, "History"]

#5 Post by polaroidcaesar » Fri Sep 08, 2017 10:52 am

Zelan wrote:
Fri Sep 08, 2017 10:26 am
Flashbacks from different points of view sounds awesome, and I'm glad to know that we'll be learning more about each individual character.

That's some great progress so far! I like the fact that you have that survival aspect as well - politics are great, but these characters have also just been through a devastating battle. Some dangerous situations are to be expected.

Okay, now I'm twice as interested as I already was, and I was pretty interested before. In-depth lore is always a blessing, but I don't find all that many VNs with lore compendiums, and I'd like to see more. I also absolutely love the historian angle that you've got going. :D The idea of changing history to suit one's version of events, or just writing about it with a personal bias, is relevant to real-world studies of history and will also just make your plot that much cooler.

(I'll listen to the two new songs you've posted once I'm back at home. I don't have headphones here so I can't really blast any music, unfortunately.)
Glad to hear you're so interested! Hopefully I'll have more to show off soon so that I can grab your attention even more :mrgreen:

IRL I'm an International Relations major, but my passion is history. The real bread and butter of a historian, once you get down to it, are primary texts, not these grand "authoritative" secondary texts. When you really history you find out that it's by no means a linear narrative as we're taught in high school classes, where one event leads directly into another, but multifaceted, multivalent, and (a large part of the time) entirely fabricated. And of course that's what makes it so interesting! History is never finished business; even if it happened thousands of years ago, it's still a living thing. That's the kind of idea I'm trying to work with in this story. How many people have gone through the same kind of ordeal as the protagonists, and been forgotten by history?

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Re: To Our Noble End [Fantasy, Drama, "History"]

#6 Post by Zelan » Fri Sep 08, 2017 5:32 pm

I agree, primary sources are far better to study than secondary texts. Good if you just want an overview so you're not clueless, but if you really want to get into it you have to look at stuff from the time and place.

It's interesting how history forms its own sort of narrative, too, with people who could be considered "protagonists" and "antagonists," or maybe both. I guess that's why historical fiction is so popular. ^_^

I listened to the new songs and I think you did a great job on the chase sequence. It would probably work well for a surprise attack or battle as well. The one inspired by Sakimoto is cool as well, although I admit that I'm not really familiar with his work and couldn't say whether it reminded me of him.

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Re: To Our Noble End [Fantasy, Drama, "History"]

#7 Post by polaroidcaesar » Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:08 pm

Zelan wrote:
Fri Sep 08, 2017 5:32 pm
I agree, primary sources are far better to study than secondary texts. Good if you just want an overview so you're not clueless, but if you really want to get into it you have to look at stuff from the time and place.

It's interesting how history forms its own sort of narrative, too, with people who could be considered "protagonists" and "antagonists," or maybe both. I guess that's why historical fiction is so popular. ^_^

I listened to the new songs and I think you did a great job on the chase sequence. It would probably work well for a surprise attack or battle as well. The one inspired by Sakimoto is cool as well, although I admit that I'm not really familiar with his work and couldn't say whether it reminded me of him.
Thanks again for all of your kind words, I'm glad that you're so interested in the project and that you're enjoying the music!

The OP has been updated with a new and improved logo and headers to make everything look more aesthetically pleasing. Additionally, the secondary character bios have been posted, and some small details added to the protagonist bios. A subheading, "Soundtrack" has been added, with a little bit of info about how I'm going about the soundtrack, a link to the To Our Noble End OST playlist, and the previous examples I posted of my work. Most importantly, a new track, "Title Theme/Variations on Imogène's Theme", the first piece I've explicitly created for this project (others will be included that I've posted before, but they were not created with this in mind), has been posted in the Soundcloud playlist. Although it is related to Imogène, you could say that this motif will serve as the "main theme" of the game. I hope everyone enjoys!

The script is plodding along, but it is progressing! Any progress is good progress, in my view.

That's all for this update! Stay tuned for more coming soon (hopefully)!

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Re: To Our Noble End [Fantasy, Drama, "History"]

#8 Post by Zelan » Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:49 pm

I think Imogène's theme is super fitting as one that also appears throughout the VN itself. c: It sounded regal, but also a bit melancholy - like soldiers going into battle even though they know that the odds are against them. Like, it could be the music that was used in the final scene of a tragic war movie, y'know? I'm going to listen to the rest of the playlist while I work on my homework. c:

The headers are absolutely gorgeous! They look like they could have been drawn in ink. Did you make them yourself or hire an artist?

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Re: To Our Noble End [Fantasy, Drama, "History"]

#9 Post by polaroidcaesar » Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:10 pm

Zelan wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:49 pm
I think Imogène's theme is super fitting as one that also appears throughout the VN itself. c: It sounded regal, but also a bit melancholy - like soldiers going into battle even though they know that the odds are against them. Like, it could be the music that was used in the final scene of a tragic war movie, y'know? I'm going to listen to the rest of the playlist while I work on my homework. c:

The headers are absolutely gorgeous! They look like they could have been drawn in ink. Did you make them yourself or hire an artist?
Ah, keep in mind, the rest of the playlist except for the Harp & Voice version of Imogène's Theme has been posted here before! It's the chase scene theme and Hitoshi Sakimoto inspired piece. But more will be added as they're made. And I'm glad you like the Imogène's Theme, I spent quite a bit of time working on it ^_^

I made the headers myself :D They were actually quite simple to make, but that's my secret ;)

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Re: To Our Noble End [Fantasy, Drama, "History"]

#10 Post by abscission » Thu Sep 14, 2017 8:46 am

This is very well thought-through!

That it's Final Fantasy-inspired drew it me, I'm a sucker for the entire franchise, haha!

I love the title, it's very evocative of the theme of knights, their mentality of loyalty or death, and the crest — i'll assume it's a crest — is similarly evocative! I enjoy the the tone you're going with, and the music is amazing! I'm a music student, and I can only hope to compose music like your's one day!

Is the premise interesting?

Hell yeah, fantasy history!

I especially like your take on the knight-fallen-from-grace idea, and making the focus of the game on those topics. They are hard topics to tackle, and seeing them in the context of a visual novel is new, novel, and definitely welcome! If I may, I'd like to suggest actively searching for a resolution to those binaries instead of simply presenting them in characters — take the thesis-anthesis-synthesis approach, and since the story is going to be narrated by Imogène years after, you can work some commentary into the narration without sounding forced or tacked-on.

Just avoid presenting clear, uncrossable binaries between differing ideologies, and avoid unconscious messages of damning one, because even if you don't intend such things, they're easy to accidentally write themselves.

Would you read more?

Definitely. I'd especially like to read about the interpersonal interactions of the knights.

Is there anything specific that you'd like to see?

Worldbuilding? :D

I'm a sucker for faux-historical settings, and since this story seems to focus on France especially, I can't wait! Is the geography going to be the same, is the economy, the livelihoods, the social values?

Ahhh, so excited!

Do you have any suggestions, questions, criticisms?

Just the one above, and as of now, nothing else! I love this idea, I hope you this game gets made! I can't wait.

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Re: To Our Noble End [Fantasy, Drama, "History"]

#11 Post by polaroidcaesar » Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:23 pm

Thanks for your kind words, I really appreciate it!
abscission wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 8:46 am
This is very well thought-through!

That it's Final Fantasy-inspired drew it me, I'm a sucker for the entire franchise, haha!

I love the title, it's very evocative of the theme of knights, their mentality of loyalty or death, and the crest — i'll assume it's a crest — is similarly evocative! I enjoy the the tone you're going with, and the music is amazing! I'm a music student, and I can only hope to compose music like your's one day!

As you guessed, the logo is the crest of the Knight of Volère, known as the Stag-In-Splendor, silver on an emerald field :P I'm glad you like the music! I'm putting a huge emphasis on it; to me, it's just as important as the writing, the art, and everything else. It's great that you're a music student! Are you studying for a particular instrument or composition or something else? Not very familiar with how that all works :lol: I'm sure that you'll be able to compose music far better than my own some day, I'm woefully behind on my music theory :oops:
abscission wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 8:46 am
Is the premise interesting?

Hell yeah, fantasy history!

I especially like your take on the knight-fallen-from-grace idea, and making the focus of the game on those topics. They are hard topics to tackle, and seeing them in the context of a visual novel is new, novel, and definitely welcome! If I may, I'd like to suggest actively searching for a resolution to those binaries instead of simply presenting them in characters — take the thesis-anthesis-synthesis approach, and since the story is going to be narrated by Imogène years after, you can work some commentary into the narration without sounding forced or tacked-on.

Just avoid presenting clear, uncrossable binaries between differing ideologies, and avoid unconscious messages of damning one, because even if you don't intend such things, they're easy to accidentally write themselves.

Your comment about thesis-antithesis-synthesis is fantastic, because without giving away too much, that's a huge part of the message of the story. In the four protagonists you see a deeply flawed idealism, which how places a huge burden on them, and for the grand majority of the time, they fail to live up to it. You also see how the realpolitik that frames their order leads to the massacre of hundreds of innocent people; but it might have prevented a full-on civil war. I want to present both sides as being incredibly flawed, and while it might be easier to sympathize with the protagonists due to 1. the focus of the story being on them and 2. being survivors of a genuine massacre, none of the villains are mustache-twirling psychopaths, and have justifiable motivations. And just as you said, in the end there is synthesis, the forging of a middle path between mindless idealism and runaway nihilism. So what if existence is empty, our lives fade away into nothingness, and our hopes and dreams are forgotten? Honesty, compassion, protection of the innocent, honor, and loyalty are still worth fighting for. At least, that's what Imogène concludes. I won't say any more so as not to spoil you, but don't worry, the ideological conflict is most definitely not painted in shades of black and white :mrgreen:

I should also note that Imogène is recounting the story to someone who actually appears in the course of her narrative. It's structured as a frame narrative, and the story Imogène tells is finished by someone else, and her own personal story ends at another point. All of that isn't revealed until near the very end, of course. The whole thing is wrapped up in an epilogue narrated by someone else other than Imogène and the person who she tells her story to. Then you factor in the Tales that are narrated by other characters. So there's a lot of different perspectives going on :P
abscission wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 8:46 am
Is there anything specific that you'd like to see?

Worldbuilding? :D

I'm a sucker for faux-historical settings, and since this story seems to focus on France especially, I can't wait! Is the geography going to be the same, is the economy, the livelihoods, the social values?

Ahhh, so excited!


The naming scheme is really the only thing that's directly lifted from France. The events of the story and the history of Léonnes aren't directly inspired by any one country, though I suppose you could call the eventual fate of the Knights Templar roughly analogous. Otherwise, I didn't draw influence from any one place or time. The geography of Léonnes doesn't really square with France's, though the southern portion of the country, the Cinnamon Coast, is sub-tropical and somewhat akin to Provence. However, the rest of it isn't. In the north, where much of the story takes place, it's really cold and rugged, with spiny cordilleras, buttes, low-lying bald rock hills rather than proper mountains, rich gold mines, ancient evergreen forests, and vast gravel floodplains; it's kind of like a less mountainous Alaska. Then in the east you've got a big ass steppe with very little natural safeguards against invasion, which has led to the construction of huge fortresses and the development of a rigorous martial culture and little else; this is where House Istrid comes from, and where all of the campaigns against the Cadalite nomads from further east were waged. The central and western half of the country, the Capital Land, is ringed on all sides by huge mountain ranges and well-watered by hundreds of different rivers and streams, which makes it extremely difficult to invade; its still somewhat planar though, topographically similar to Central/Eastern European states like Czechia, Slovkia, and Poland. Only in the west do you see a lot of deep forest, with rolling hills that rise to form the Rocks of Ulmo, a high mountain range that constitutes the kingdom's western border.

As for economy and livelihoods, these are roughly similar. There are guilds and a rising "middle" merchant class in the cities, but the grand majority of the population are still serfs who serve a feudal landlord. Social values are different due to the absence of the moralizing influence of an organized, hierarchical religion like Christianity. Faith in Léonnes is polytheist and largely decentralized, and while there is a pantheon of "greater gods", religious practice is greatly localized. For instance, each city, region, mountain, and even each person has their own patron god or gods; in addition, most people engage in a complex system of ancestor worship. There is a priestly caste called the "Tongues" (meaning they speak with in the voice of the divine), or the "Seers", but they're mostly concentrated in the cities. Rural worship is usually done by conferring with a local hedge-shaman or witch doctor, fashioning an altar to make your own sacrifices, visiting a shrine (often found at the bases of mountains, on hilltops, at lakes, or in sacred tree groves), or tending to your own house shrine, which usually incorporates both your patron god(s), the greater gods, and your ancestors all in one. The Istrids, the new ruling dynasty of Léonnes, receive such a cool reception not only because they are from a really wild part of the country and speak a different language, but because they are strident monotheists (they have a kind of Tengri like god), which creates a huge amount of friction and basically forces them to recognize the existence of other gods to be able to exert their rule.

Society is still largely patriarchal, but women are invested with more rights than their medieval Earthling counterparts would've been, as you can see with Imogène being a lady knight. But the whole "women should be homemakers, women should be protected" and etc. etc. is a plot point that is brought up in relation to Imogène. I wouldn't necessarily call the story feminist, but Imogène definitely does feel the gender difference at certain parts of the story and like she has something to prove because of it.

Sorry if that was a lot of info at once! I could go on and on, and will be posting a lot of this info periodically in the "Lore of Léonnes" section of the OP. Worldbuilding isn't the main focus of the game but I do love to worldbuild and have gone to lengths to make the world believable and interesting despite borrowing the naming conventions from France. There will likely be an anachronism here or there or some things that aren't totally consistent with medieval technology, armor, culture, and etc., but after all, this is a fantasy world, so that shouldn't be expected xD

Anyway, thanks for your interest in my project and for all of your kind words and comments! It will likely take a good while to bring to fruition but I will do everything I can to make sure that this gets made with the highest amount of care, effort, and quality that I can muster. Stay tuned for more! :mrgreen:

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Re: To Our Noble End [Fantasy, Drama, "History"]

#12 Post by polaroidcaesar » Sat Mar 10, 2018 11:40 am

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The Masked Queen is a widely popular figure of Léonnid folk imagination—a debauched demon queen whose manifold misdeeds frighten children in their beds. But the Masked Queen is thought indeed to have existed. She was the final monarch of the Ordis dynasty, which ruled Léonnes from 503-667 N.O.C. before being overthrown by the now-regnant House of Dalpés. The Tale of the Masked Queen emerged from the thirty year period of the reign of Narçès the Mad, the brutal ascendancy of the Masked Queen, and the heroic rise of Innes Dalpés. These three decades have been entirely expunged from the record, and what is known of that time is derived from The Tale of the Masked Queen and its innumerable iterations. This version, written in 1331 for an omnibus of fairy tales and folk stories, Fortunes of the Lords of Léonnes by Lafcadio the Young, is undoubtedly highly mythologized. Nevertheless, it is a story that figures prominently in To Our Noble End.





Hello all! I'd just like to say that I'm still alive and working on this project. Finishing university and starting a new job put a significant damper on my productivity, but all this time I've been gradually chipping away at the script and working on music. This project will likely take a long time to complete, but I'm committed to bringing this story to life, even if it takes me years. I hope everyone enjoys this snippet of lore from the kingdom of Léonnes; it'll be included in the in-game compendium, as will any other pieces that I write for Lore of Léonnes. Up next is a piece explaining the Pennant of Fealty, and following that will be a write-up on religion in Léonnes.


Stay tuned! Hopefully there won't be a seven month wait next time!
Last edited by polaroidcaesar on Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: To Our Noble End [Fantasy, Drama, "History"]

#13 Post by Zelan » Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:47 pm

That was an impressive legend! I like the writing style you used, it's very much like reading old mythological stories or fairy tales, which I'm sure is what you were going for. The princess's speech about the changing nature of the future was cool.

I'm definitely looking forward to the next piece. In-game encyclopedias are lots of fun. ^_^

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Re: To Our Noble End [Fantasy, Drama, "History"]

#14 Post by polaroidcaesar » Wed Mar 14, 2018 10:04 am

Zelan wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:47 pm
That was an impressive legend! I like the writing style you used, it's very much like reading old mythological stories or fairy tales, which I'm sure is what you were going for. The princess's speech about the changing nature of the future was cool.

I'm definitely looking forward to the next piece. In-game encyclopedias are lots of fun. ^_^
Glad you enjoyed it! It definitely was what I was going for, haha. The next two pieces are much less literary and much more like real encyclopedia entries, though I have tried to lighten them up a bit so it's not just dry reading. However, I'd love to write some more stuff in this style, and probably will. Folklore is so fascinating to me. The religion essay will lay out all the mythology, but I'll also probably go in and write some actual mythological stories to beef it up.

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