Subplots and Schemes: Laying Out the First Half of Lords of Infinity

As some of you may know, I’ve been spending much of my time these past few weeks planning out the basic structure of Lords of Infinity. At this point, the basic shape of the first half of the story has more or less solidified. Today I’d like to share with you how this part of Lords of Infinity might play out.

Lords of Infinity starts with the Dragoon Officer, your main character, being inducted into his status as a peer of the Unified Kingdom. Before the King and the Cortes, he puts his hand on Pactmaker (the royal sword of state) repeats the oath of fealty to the King, and is officially acknowledged as the rightful holder of the title he inherited from his father at the end of Guns of Infinity. This carries with it two major implications:

The Dragoon Officer is now a Lord of the Cortes.

As a peer of the realm, the Dragoon Officer now serves as a member of the Cortes, the legislative body of the Unified Kingdom’s royal government. As such, he now holds a significant amount of influence over the way the Unified Kingdom deals with the political fallout of the Dozen Years’ War, and how it makes sense of its new position in the Infinite Sea.

The Dragoon Officer is now a Landed Aristocrat.

As a Baron of the Unified Kingdom, the Dragoon Officer now has his own fief to maintain, grounds to upkeep, and tenants to placate or antagonise. While the Barony provides an income, its infrastructure is decrepit, and the family manor itself is in a state of extreme disrepair. The plundered wealth that the Dragoon Officer might have brought back from Antar might be enough to restore the Barony to level of profitability and improve the lives of those who live upon it, if spent wisely.

These two developments have a lot of common themes. Both deal with the aftermath of the Dozen Years’ War on a personal and a national level. Both delve deeper into the structures and relationships which underpin Tierran society, and they both examine the responsibilities and powers of a member of the Tierran aristocracy. However, the focal points of these two different plot threads are far separate from each other, both in senses of tone and geography. As a result, I’ve made the decision to split the first half of Lords of Infinity into two separate plot threads. After the prologue (when the Dragoon Officer is introduced to his duties as a Lord of the Cortes) and the first chapter (when he returns to his ancestral estate for the first time in over a decade), the player will have a choice to remain on the estate, or to establish himself in Aetoria, the Tierran capital.

In the former case, the player will have a lot more opportunity to develop the Dragoon Officer’s personal holdings, and build a relationship with the tenants living on his land. In the latter case, a presence in the Capital means more opportunities to get involved not only with Cortes politics, but to wield influence in the circles of power, making influential friends and enemies within the various factions quietly struggling over the soul of a Unified Kingdom on the brink of momentous change. Both options will have their advantages and disadvantages. Some characters will be easier to find and interact with in the city than in the country, and vice-versa. A Dragoon Officer who remains on his estate would be able to build relationships with his neighbours and tenants, refurbish his manor, or work to make his fief more economically viable, leading to increased revenue and more influence on a local scale. Meanwhile, a Dragoon Officer who chooses the Capital could ally themselves with powerful figures like the Duke of Wulfram and Princess Isobel (the King’s younger sister), or make their experiences at war heard by joining a commission to reform the King’s Army.

In either case, the decision which the player chooses at the end of chapter one can’t be undone, but it can be walked back from. At certain points, a player can choose to have the Dragoon Officer “switch paths”, either heading to the Capital with an intent to become a political player, or going home and writing off a political career as a lost cause. Doing so is a viable decision, but this too, comes with a price. As for what that price is, and what it entails, well… you’ll see.

As usual, this month’s installments of A Soldier’s Guide to the Infinite Sea and An Adventurer’s Guide to the Fledgling Realmsย are now up and openly accessible.

31 responses to “Subplots and Schemes: Laying Out the First Half of Lords of Infinity

  • Jason

    Sounds freaking awesome. If you go the political route, would your estate fall into complete disrepair then?

    • Paul Wang

      Not necessarily. You’ll still be able to make some decisions, but you’ll lack the information and context you might need to make the “right” decision. It’s easy to be an absentee landlord, but being a competent absentee landlord will take some doing.

      • Martin Tan

        That’s a relief. So to put it differently while it would not rob us of our choices, it would, however, put us in a position with minimal information. Information that would only be complete in hindsight, when the consequences are bearing down on us. Guess we’ll have to explore every option to get that benefit. XD Thanks again.

      • Jason

        Well, you’ve got quite the work ahead of you then. Good luck, Tierra and victory.

      • Jason

        I think you won’t even get the specific choice unless you go the neighbourly route. If you don’t know the issue, you can’t have the choice to deal with them.

  • Martin Tan

    So, wait. If the MC chooses to stay at the capital he has ABSOLUTELY NO WAY to send orders to his home to upgrade, repair or construct new facilities and improvements whatsoever? I can understand not being able to establish or improve new and old connections respectively but at the very least a letter telling people to plug the leaks on the roof, so to speak, wouldn’t be too far fetched. Surely improving the holdings at the very least can be done without personal oversight although perhaps there can be certain penalties to not being there personally like not being able to realize that a certain building material would be more effective and beneficial compared to the one the building crew would use by default should the character stay at the capital. Just a thought. The inner completionist in me is aching to say this. It’s kinda silly to think that the MC can remake the King’s Army but not be able to tell his peeps to repaint the front porch, in a manner of speaking. XD Anyways, I love the Infinite series and am certain you’ll lead us to a satisfying conclusion but still hope you take my 2 cents into consideration. Looking forward to it, man!

    • Ithius

      It’s a Cataphrak game, quite obviously you can’t do everything.

      • Martin Tan

        Dude, read my comment again. Try to understand it this time. I am well aware of that. I merely questioned the possibility of picking the political route and losing the ability to renovate the family home when it’s a simple matter of sending a letter to the head steward (or the equivalent to the senior staff/servant), the MC’s mother (if she’s alive) or his eldest sibling (if the MC has one).

      • The Phule

        I usually manage to, but I’m a bit of a choice script hacker. I like to read to code

  • Trenton

    Ah, the glorious Infinity conundrum, and on the first choice too. Excellent! I’m guessing, after reading through the first few comments, that if the MC remains at home he would get a limited chance to vote in the Cortes as he repairs his estate? Best wishes on your work and thank you for your enticing stories!

    • Paul Wang

      If the MC decides to stay home, he can still appoint a baneblooded agent to vote in the Cortes for him. He won’t be able to micromanage his voting record, or be able to take part in the subplots that require his presence, but he will occasionally get a “the Cortes is voting on [major issue], how should I proceed?” letters from his agent.

      • PendragonBra

        I can only imagine how the Cortes will react to our good Antari friend’s presence in a poll.

  • napoleonfromhalfcourt

    Wow, I love this concept. We’ve had myriad examples of “can’t do everything” in Cataphrak games before, obviously, but this feels like the clearest narrative dichotomy yet, at least that I can remember.

    Do you anticipate this being the last game of the series(at least insofar as it involves our dragoon officer) or will there be more installments after LOI? Thanks Cataphrak, keep up the excellent work!

  • Martin Tan

    Am I correct in assuming that the option of living in the Aetoria region made in Sabres will have an effect on the decision to stay in the capital, since we can surmise that the MC will be much closer compared to the other options? That and will the gift/boon from the MC’s family chosen in Sabres be making a comeback. I’d imagine the family blade or the remodeled uniform would be a kind of memento.

  • George Hansen

    OMG, I can’t wait literally. I’m like a kid on Christmas Eve waiting for Christmas. I am dying to find out if Katarina (when chose that path) actually likes you or if she was just playing you to fulfill her mission. I’m 50/50 on that.

  • The Phule

    It’s going to be difficult, because you’ll have to write two copies of each chapter where it’s possible to switch. Are you certain you’re up to it? It’s twice the work, in the end.

    • Paul Wang

      It won’t be possible to switch at the end of *each* chapter (though you’ll have two or three opportunities). Likewise, I’ve done parallel chapters before (Chapters 5 and 10 in Guns of Infinity, for example), so I think I should be up for it.

      At least I’m not doing three parallel routes like I did with Cryptkeepers of Hallowford.

  • Jose Paz

    When is lords of infinity coming out i liked the other games cant wait to play this one.

  • The Phule

    So, how do you plot out games? Do you write a bunch of… wossnames… outlines? Do you, like me, have a notebook full of sentences that start with ‘wouldn’t it be cool if’? What’s your method?

  • Ferril

    Honestly, sounds like my ideal game. Only one that came close to what you’re describing, and did it relatively well, was Lord of Aswick. That is one of my favorite Choice Of games until I played Sabers of infinity for the first time. I’m really looking forward to building up my estates and my local power base~

  • Joshua

    First of all I believe that this game is going to be great! Can’t wait what karol can actually do. I would like to ask if there will be new romantic character/s? Since i believe that both katarina and eleonora can only be found on the capital, right? Like someone from your childhood maybe..

    • Paul Wang

      You’ve more or less met all of the potential romantic options, but there’s one or two more left to be revealed.

      • Joshua

        Thank you for the reply. I would also like to ask if my baneless men (like corporal marion, sergeant lanzerel) should they survive the war will they take place to this coming installment? It just got me thinking since everyone seems going there own way in the end of guns of infinity.

  • izzi

    Didnt wulfram died? Btw we tierran won the war right? So i been thinking as to what happen to the antari land that we conquer? Did we not get those land? U know like how the brave and good kinght that get the conquered land after the war? And finaly just want to say i love ur work.

    • Ithius

      This has been elaborated on more on the forum for GoI but here’s the gist of it.

      Yes, Wulfrum did die. Now there’s a new Duke of Wulfrum, his son or something.

      No, Tierra won’t be annexing any Antari land. It’d be like adding fuel to the fire that is the civil unrest back home. Hard enough to placate the homeland, why add even more to your plate by bringing in a war-torn territory and it’s own share of problems?

  • Fredrik

    So if I went the political route, how do you intend to impelment the estate?
    Would we get the opportunity to appoint an agent to manage and upgrade the estate?
    If so it would be cool if what the agent could accomplish was (in part) based on the house income + any money the MC transfer from his personal wealth.

  • Cal

    I am a little confused as to the outcome of the war, it is stated that after we won the war the King was unable to achieve all his claims after the war due to outside forces, but what where the reparations after the war, did the Antari purely give us money?

    • Paul Wang

      During negotiations, the Takarans forced King Miguel to moderate or retract some of his demands.
      The Antari still *promised* to pay reparations, which doesn’t necessarily mean they will.

  • Joshua

    I’m just curious, is there a possibility to be awarded again the gryphon of rendower for my gallantry in battle over kharan river. just imagine to have 3 gryphons, hahaha. you’ll be a lion amongst men. hahaha

  • Tony

    Just a question from me, is lord loch coming back in this one? I remember a list of possibilities being made during the second time he was captured, i was just wondering if that was coming in this book or the next

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