Oct 16, 2021 3:06 PM
owls and grapes do villarosa all together
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"Yeah, that one's great," Naomi agrees. "...it does occur to me that we should maybe at least hear out the rest of the choices before we figure out the entire world, in case something on the list sets up constraints we'll need to work around or inspires ideas we'll need to rework things for. So maybe put a lid on designing elves and angels in detail for now?"

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"Yeah, that's legit. So, what's next after human versus elf?"

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"The next thing is which role each of you is going to play in the story. There are three roles, and each of you has to take one of them. There has to be consensus here, at least insofar as one's own role; you can't say 'I accept my role in the proposed arrangement, but in that case you two need to swap.' The three roles are the Royal Princess, the Duke's Daughter, and the Rich Heiress. The Royal Princess is the daughter of the King of Villarosa, the highest ranking and most desired bachelorette in the nation. This comes with all the obvious advantages, and will by default make whoever assumes the role the alpha female in any room. Yet abuse your royal privilege too much and it may prove less protection than you think. The Duke's Daughter is the only daughter of the highest ranking noble in the land - by default the Duke of Thorns, though the title will change based on the cultural influences you pick for Villarosa. This is a lot like being a princess, but less so. However, what you gain is that your engagement will be an important part of your father's political plans, so you can can call on his resources for aid in defending it. But that'll only last as long as the politics make sense... if things go wrong you will quickly find yourself disowned and left unprotected from your enemies. If you don't want to be nobility for some reason, the Rich Heiress is your pick. You'll be the daughter of the wealthiest merchant in the realm; not noble, but rich and prominent enough to freely move in those circles. You won't have the power of a noble title, but what you will have is money. All the money. And that's a power all of its own. But unless and until you marry the right boy, you're still technically a commoner, and your father's money won't be protection enough if you offend the wrong people."

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"Calling 'not it' on Duke's Daughter, that sounds pretty incompatible with getting my sisters back."

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"Man, I don't want parents," Naomi sighs. "Actually I maybe even more than that don't want you to have parents," with a glance at Ghys. "But if nobody dies then nobody can be conveniently deceased in backstory."

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"I wouldn't mind being a duke's daughter."

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"It would be most...felicitous with various mechanical choices...if it were sometimes the case that it was inconvenient to bring someone back for a while. You could be a Rich Heiress whose parents had died when you were a baby and were not slated to come back until you had finished growing up. You'd still have to be raised by someone, though. For obvious reasons this is less compatible with the Royal Princess option." 

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"Felicitous? I guess we'll find out when we get there. And sure, I'll take Rich Heiress. Heck, maybe we'll have to wait for my parents to come back until somebody actually invents resurrection, that'd be neat."

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"That would work."

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"I guess that makes me the princess, huh? I can live with that." 

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"The next item is 'Your Fiancee.' These are the love interest options to be potentially stolen from you by the heroine of the game. By default the relationship between the two of you is amicable and mutually attracted but not passionate. He is guaranteed to be hot enough to satisfy whatever standards you may possess. The three options are the Prince Charming, the Dark Rival, and the Noble Prodigy. The Prince Charming is the eldest son of the King, the heir to the throne, and all around nice, heroic guy. The same age or slightly older than you, talented in everything he does, and romantic enough to make all the girls swoon - including you. He's also the most likely to take strong offense to any bullying or nefarious tactics on your part. The Dark Rival is the dark mirror frenemy of the Prince Charming, usually close to the same age as him, and therefore you. At the start of the story, he's even more talented than Charming, but ultimately the good guy surpasses and befriends him. You know how the story goes. He can be mean, but never quite evil, and he's got a heart of gold deep inside just waiting for the right girl to unlock it. The oldest of your choices, the Noble Prodigy has already graduated from the academy and made a name for himself. He is of lesser nobility, but by merit has ascended the heights of society. Your setting choices may alter his exact deeds, but by default he will have made a name for himself both as a warrior and a commander. To you he will be cold and formal at first - not cruel, not unwilling to be wed, but certainly the least emotional of your potential fiances. A tragedy in his past drives him and hardened his soul, but love has the potential to melt the armor of ice around his heart." 

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"--Naomi, would you be willing to take the Prince Charming option? He'll be my brother and I don't want Ghys getting her claws in my brother."

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"Sure, I'd be happy to."

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"I think I would like the Dark Rival. He seems to have potential."

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"Fine by me, I'm alright with the Noble Prodigy."

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"That was pleasingly drama-free," the angel observes. "I had honestly expected more argument in these two selections, you three are above-average good at cooperating, which is a little surprising, given the skin thing, but one never knows. Oh, you might find this amusing," she tells Ghys, "one of the recommendations I've put in for an angel seems to be an alt of the person your alt did the skin thing to. And she will have no idea about it, of course."

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"You're right, that is amusing."

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"The next thing to choose is the heroine. The heroine also has three different possibilities, but unlike with the previous choices, there's only one heroine, not one apiece, so you all have to agree on one instead of choosing your own. The three heroine choices are the Poor Princess, the Hero's Daughter, and the Extraordinary Commoner." 

Despite being royalty, the Poor Princess is for some reason neglected and powerless. The most popular reason is for her to be the King's daughter with a previous, politically inconvenient Queen. She might instead be a legitimized bastard daughter, or a refugee from a destroyed kingdom. Regardless of the reason, she lacks most of the advantages of her station that the Royal Princess enjoys, and, while far from incompetent, is the least personally formidable of the potential heroines. What she does have is the a kind heart, a lovely face, and just enough social advantage from her royal blood to tie your hands somewhat."

The hero's daughter's heroic parent died accomplishing some great deed - defeating the Demon Lord, sealing an eldritch god, etcetera. This won a posthumous elevation to the ranks of the nobility. This gives his or her daughter legitimate noble status, but none of the experience or social mores expected of a noble young lady. She will be quite talented, but will lack the extreme genius of the self-made Extraordinary Commoner. What she will have is fame, the inherited gratitude of the country, and connections with her parent's influential and dangerous surviving companions. Your fiance's curiosity with her will soon turn to attraction, and the Hero's Daughter is not to be underestimated."

The Extraordinary Commoner is the 'default' option. Of humble background, without any social status, this accomplished young woman won admission into the exclusive Royal Academy on sheer merit. Given the stratified social structure of Villarosa, this is quite the achievement, but makes her the proverbial nail sticking out. That gives her an obvious weakness, but she is by far the most talented of the potential heroines. She will outshine her more pedigreed classmates and thereby attract the notice of your fiance." 

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"I'm going to vote against the Poor Princess."

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"You know, all this implicit classism is somewhat at odds with the 'literally two generations of people exist and live in comfort and harmony' nature of the world we've been envisioning so far. We might want to take a look at that and figure out palatable reasons why the world is so the way that it is."

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"I can think of some unpalatable reasons!"

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"Maybe the nobility are elves and the commoners are humans? No, that wouldn't work with the 'elevated to nobility' thing of the Hero's Daughter...although, hm, I have read a couple of fantasy books where humans were turned into elves...Ghys I'm probably going to regret this but what are your ideas."

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"We could simply create our first generation of people with an embedded implicit understanding of the class structures we intend for them to occupy. I assume this is already how things are done when worlds are created with false histories, except that in that case they would be receiving their implicit understanding of the world from their false memories of the history they believe they have, and here they would be granted it by pure fiat. Probably religiously backed, if anything; the goddesses created the world this way and so this is the way the world ought to be. And if necessary for social order I'm sure the world-creation system is capable of leaning on everyone's personalities to get them to fall in line."

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"...I mean, I don't love it but I don't hate it... until I start framing it as mind control and then I do kind of hate it a little. I don't know that I have a better idea, though. ...I do kind of like the idea of elves being noble and humans being common except that it makes me, our token technically-commoner, not an elf. Unless I figure out how to elevate myself, I guess, which is definitely also an idea I like."

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