Narrative Nerd

Category: devlog

What’s up with Patriah?

(I made this post available to Patrons on March 6th, but for the sake of accessibility I’m now cross posting it everywhere.)

Patriah has turned into my white whale, in a way, where it’s very difficult to wrangle, but I’m very invested in getting it done. 


So far, I’ve been doing all the writing that I can, which is frankly the most triggering part of it. Maybe I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve taken to writing this with the philosophy of the Patriah 100, which is a bit of a misnomer. It’s a commitment to writing 100 words, but given that I write the whole thing in Twine, it comes out to being a node or two. Maybe not 100 words, but… I don’t care, haha. Throwing myself at Patriah as hard and for as long as I can bear is not a healthy working relationship considering the subject matter, and is terrible for my mental health. Tiny doses are how this story is going to get done.

Wanna see the WIP?

The twine file is broken up into three because Patriah A was starting to get laggy. 

The Patriah A file contains two complete (albeit linear) routes: Joshua and Paul. This file is 17,500 words.

Patriah B is still a wip, but contains the complete Izzy route, and Samuel’s first two days are complete. This file, as it turns out, is 17,000 words. And it’s not done!

The “Patriah True Route” file contains only that, which is a single day per bachelor. As you can see, it’s pretty linear and will probably stay that way. (It’s a modest 1400 words, but only has a day for Paul so far.)

There’s a lot of repeating words thanks to me being lazy with nodes and variables in Twine in order to make my life easier, but I estimated after Joshua that the game would end up at about 50,000 words, and so far that seems to be the case.

What remains to write?

  • Samuel days 3, 4, and his True Route day.
  • Izzy and Joshua’s True Route days.
  • Character collisions. When you choose a different man on different days, the men respond to this in different ways, depending on quite a few variables. I’ll probably write these in as I code the characters into Ren’py.

So I guess the end isn’t too far off? Just a lot of coding in my future.


I’ve been talking with my handsome wife about Patriah’s visuals, because they’re a designer and I am not. I trust Ella’s advice when it comes to making something pretty and accessible. It looks like the sterile white in the demo might end up looking a bit more like this.

This is a for funsies mockup and extremely unofficial.)

So I’ve been working on some inkwash backgrounds for the areas that weren’t included in the Joshua demo.

Inks are fun and I think they add a lot of character. Who knows what this will look like once we slap a bunch of heavy textures on top? It already feels so much more sinister!

That’s it!

Thanks for supporting me and looking forward to Patriah. I know I haven’t talked about it much, but working on it is a bit of an ordeal, and I want it done just as much as you do. I’ve worked really hard, and I want to show it to you. Maybe next year International Women’s Day?

[Devlog] PATRIAH The Bachelors #2: The Large Man

Please mind the Patriah content warnings when reading this post: Patriah contains depictions of physical and sexual violence against women. Above all, be safe.

Bachelor #2 in Patriah is referred to as “The Large Man” upon first meeting the protagonist. His name is Paul.

Who is Paul? Where did he come from? What does he do for a living? These are details that are difficult to get out of Paul. He’s a huge man, and the eldest of the bachelors. One thing is certain: he is not thinking about the long-term. Marriage is not his goal. His goal is sex: carnal pleasure and instant gratification.

Paul is based on morally ambiguous bad boys like Mink from Dramatical Murderand Robert from Dream Daddy. They’re the kind of men who have more going on than is immediately apparent. They have personal goals and needs and will do what it takes to fulfill them. Paul, on the other hand, seems pretty shallow. He wants your body and, given the opportunity, he will take it.

In spite of Paul’s aggression about his desires, Paul is inherently aware of the system that has brought him where he is, and the penalties he will suffer if he steps out of line. Where Joshua respects the game and the rules, Paul plays by them begrudgingly and would love to reject them as soon as possible. He is eager for Patriah to fail to play by the rules, so he can take advantage of the situation. Responding passively to his advances may seem safer, if you can endure him, but nothing will stop him (and enrage him) as effectively as polite refusal.

Paul is physically intimidating, and dwarfs Patriah. Compared to him, she looks (and feels) very small and fragile. The threat of physical violence by Paul is very present. He’s the kind of man who might remind women that turning someone down may lead to murder, and avoidance might be the correct response.

Be Careful, but be Kind.

Check out the demo!

[Devlog] PATRIAH The Bachelors #1: The Man in Glasses

Originally posted here, on Patriah’s page.

If you have played the Patriah demo, you should already be familiar with Bachelor #1, Joshua.

Joshua is a combination of a couple of dating sim tropes, as he is both the Glasses Guy and the Rich Kid. Joshua’s family is very well off, and happens to be a part of the Birth Management System that manages eligible women and their care. Did this connection get him a leg up to be one of your bachelors? Probably not, says Joshua. He believes in the fairness of the system and the lottery.

As someone who is very familiar with the Birth Management System, he knows all of the standards and rules as well as the loopholes. Joshua knows where he can get away with something, but more importantly he values respecting the foundation on which the BMS was built. If Patriah obeys the rules and behaves properly, Joshua is satisfied and content that he can win her over. If she pushes boundaries and defies those rules, he knows the arguments he can make to see no punishment in taking what he wants from her

Joshua is an example of someone at the center of a powerful institution that wants to keep him out of trouble. He is the Harvey Weinstein and Max Landis of an even more dramatic patriarchal system. Joshua will only act on his lust for Patriah when it is safe for him to leverage that power, after she’s stepped out of line.

You can play his route now in the Patriah demo!

Something that will be in the full version of the game that isn’t there now is Joshua’s interaction with the other Bachelors. When Patriah spends time with her other potential suitors, Joshua will become desperate. If you’re curious, I hope you play the full version to see his behavior.

Check out the demo!

[Devlog] Patriah in Overview

A/N: I just realized I hadn’t posted this here, so I hope you enjoy it! Originally posted on Patriah’s page.

WELCOME TO PATRIAH, and thanks to everyone for your support. I’m gonna use my first devlog post to talk a bit more about what Patriah is and the scope of what it will look like when it’s done.

Patriah is a game that was inspired by the way that, as a woman, I find myself having to interact with men. In conversations with other women, I found that they understood this problem all too well. We’ve all been cornered in places where we can’t escape – like at work – where shunning a man’s advances may mean putting ourselves in real physical danger. But not shunning him puts you in physical danger, too. What do we do?

In Patriah, the protagonist’s entrapment is very real. She’s lived in this mansion her whole life, and she cannot leave. She is finally able to choose her husband who will keep her trapped somewhere else for the rest of her life, where her job will be to have as many children as possible. She really has no say in anything, but the system she’s ensnared in is made to look like she does. I think it’s a case of one person along the way who understood that the women in these houses are people who have no control. Maybe he arranged this choosing to make himself feel better, or reduce the odds of suicide.

Now that I think about it, I made this game thinking about gender politics, but it also contains a lot about agency. I’m crazy about agency in everything I read and write. Maybe it’s a typical thing that you can find in my work, but can you have a conversation about gender politics that doesn’t somehow involve agency and power?


I read a lot of visual novels and dating sims, so I had them in mind over 2016 and 2017 when I played Ladykiller in a Bind followed by LISA the Joyful. I think that these two games happening to me so close together were responsible for Patriah. In early 2017 I started applying for game writing jobs and I needed to have a twine game to show for something, but Patriah was the only idea I had. In the end Patriah didn’t get me a writing job, I just had this terrible monstrosity of a game concept about sexism that I couldn’t shake.

Programming Patriah in its original twine form is also how I realized that yes, I could figure out how to code on my own, and then I spent 2017 learning a lot about programming.

I shopped around a lot to find the perfect format for Patriah. I wanted a game with a lot of choices that was text heavy. I wanted the story to rely on the words so that the reader could imagine what they wanted into a text — so that the men who Patriah encounters were monsters of our own imagining more than what the game wants you to see. Twine was good for this, but then I realized that it might be more interesting to lean into the dating game aspect that I had already chosen to use. That’s when I moved the story into Ren’py over the fall of 2017. I’m happy with how the game works now, with NVL-mode overlay reading long pages of text, and potential bachelors in silhouettes highlighting only one definitive feature about them.

Joshua’s route is available in the demo, and came out at around 6000 words. Once the other bachelors are written and their variables are taken into account in his route as well, I imagine it will be closer to 10,000 words. When complete, Patriah should weigh in at around 50,000 words, the size of a NaNoWriMo novel: one route for each bachelor and a classic “true route” necessary for any good dating sim. I want the true route to be a real surprise, so don’t let me talk about it.

Now that I’ve released the demo I’m going to be taking a short break to catch up on other work I had put off to get this out there. I’ll keep the devlogs coming, and talk a bit about each of the bachelors soon. I hope for Patriah to be released in full before the end of 2018.

Thank you! Check out the demo!

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