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The world of Pastorate

by Nikolay Prokoshev on 06/05/18 09:35:00 am   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

It all began few years ago when I was working on this book about Inquisition. Well, it was a concept at the time which I've been dwelling upon for a couples of month. Before that I'd written another book about Teutonic order, knights, peasants and such, and also there was a posse of inquisitors who got mad on ergot and went on to torture and kill their captives. Gory story, yes, I know.

Anyway, being always interested in history, I thought what if this brigade was part of a special task force instructed to counteract sedition and other “federal crimes”? What if they were called “Domini canes (God’s dogs)” and had this large tattoo of a dog’s head covering the whole of their backs? This way they could be easily identified and always given way and receive help from by co-citizens.

It really seemed like one cool idea, but for some reasons (I can't really now remember what reasons exactly) I postponed developing that subject into something bigger. A year or two later, I'm coming back to this concept, except now it's a little bit upgraded. In the meantime I read some Orwell, Tommaso Campanella and also I managed to find and read this book — Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People, it really had some influence on me.

Okay, now we have Apocalypse which is only survived by a handful of people who in the nick of time are able to find shelter on a remote island. It’s not by luck alone are they able to do so as among them a leader is born. Soon this boy becomes the first Pastor.

My best guess is that if you want to unite people by something then it's better to do so on the religious grounds. That's actually why all cults and sects are really firm and it's almost impossible to tear them apart from the inside. Of course there are defectors, but everyone who stays gets so bound to their leader that they can't literally breath without his/hers permission. However, this is a conversation for another time.

Also, before we go any further, I must say that this concept is turned into a game now, not the book. I've decided to try something different this time and currently Project Pastorate is an interactive novel which can be played as a game on PC. Let's proceed then, shall we?

The game features a Velvet Book which is the encyclopedia that amasses all the lore of this world. If you will allow, I'm taking a privilege of quoting myself (can't say I do that too often, but it seems kinda appropriate here):

League:

Sins of the previous civilization had to be rectified. Nature itself rebelled, meaning to finally restore true justice by erasing the traces of our predecessors’ existence. According to their calendar, the long-foreseen end of the world was bound to take place in year 999 since the birth of the prophet and Lord of that perished faceless crowd. They were perfectly aware that a severe punishment awaits.

Just a handful of hermits survived the cataclysm. They dedicated their lives to good and productive deeds. They sought no fights, no laziness, no feasts. Soon a boy was born, strong and intelligent, who later became the first Pastor.

Today, the League has nearly thirty million inhabitants. It is fully self-sufficient because of its island emplacement. You can wake up any citizen in the middle of the night, and without hesitation, he or she would say that yesterday was the most beautiful day of their life but tomorrow will be even better. That ancient foolish and corrupt human being is almost forgotten now. Previous humanity’s caustic deeds found no affection in the hearts of modern people.

In other words, mankind was reborn due to the teachings of Pastors, Fathers, and Patrons. The country provides itself with everything necessary from needles to sailing ships, not a single inhabitant knows hunger or insecurity. The League has very low crime rate, here you always hear children’s laughter and smell the fresh bread.

Flawed judgments of the preceding prophet led to an inglorious death that fell upon him and his followers, they were permanently erased from the face of the earth. Therefore, everyone living being is obliged to remember one elementary truth: pray for the Pastor on a daily basis and serve him until the end of your days.

League:

Sins of the previous civilization had to be rectified. Nature itself rebelled, meaning to finally restore true justice by erasing the traces of our predecessors’ existence. According to their calendar, the long-foreseen end of the world was bound to take place in year 999 since the birth of the prophet and Lord of that perished faceless crowd. They were perfectly aware that a severe punishment awaits.

Just a handful of hermits survived the cataclysm. They dedicated their lives to good and productive deeds. They sought no fights, no laziness, no feasts. Soon a boy was born, strong and intelligent, who later became the first Pastor.

Today, the League has nearly thirty million inhabitants. It is fully self-sufficient because of its island emplacement. You can wake up any citizen in the middle of the night, and without hesitation, he or she would say that yesterday was the most beautiful day of their life but tomorrow will be even better. That ancient foolish and corrupt human being is almost forgotten now. Previous humanity’s caustic deeds found no affection in the hearts of modern people.

In other words, mankind was reborn due to the teachings of Pastors, Fathers, and Patrons. The country provides itself with everything necessary from needles to sailing ships, not a single inhabitant knows hunger or insecurity. The League has very low crime rate, here you always hear children’s laughter and smell the fresh bread.

Flawed judgments of the preceding prophet led to an inglorious death that fell upon him and his followers, they were permanently erased from the face of the earth. Therefore, everyone living being is obliged to remember one elementary truth: pray for the Pastor on a daily basis and serve him until the end of your days.

The Velvet book

Thus, our setting is established. We have the boundaries inside which we can freely operate. What's next? Right — the characters. Remember our inquisitor posse? Well, from now on they're called "Devoters".

Devoters:

Sometimes the guardsmen are not able to quickly react to the challenges thrown down by the scoundrels and villains, whose dirty methods have become more sophisticated over time. Sometimes these crimes are so ingeniously planned and at the same time so socially dangerous that the investigation requires the participation of the super professional personnel ever brought up by the Pastorate.

These intrepid, incorruptible fighters, have an eagle eye and the scent of a dog, they immediately expose and trap perpetrators in order to subsequently bring them to the court of law. Knowing neither sleep, rest, nor gratitude, they carry out an immense service for the benefit of the provinces, the League, and our Pastor. The Devoters only reward is another saved life, they are willing and ready to die for it.

Prior to that I've had a couple of names for some different purposes, but since those goals were never accomplished, the names are now free for use. That's how Leonard Pinterro and Vinnie Boyd came into play. One is young, fresh out of academy, idealist kinda guy (Lenny) and the second is the exact opposite — experienced and street-smart cynic who've seen it all. They're made partners and sent to investigate the murder of one VIP-official.

Lenny

Vinnie

However, before these guys were drawn, we needed to have some understanding about this world in terms of clothes for starters. Personally I didn't have a clear vision in the beginning and that's why the very first sketch looked like that.

Not something I really wanted

If I knew one thing for certain that was me not wanting your typical, trivial elf-knight-orc-dragon kinda stuff. That's too cliched at the moment, I think. What we needed was some fresh wind, the universe which could resonate in a new way (if that's possible at all).

The next version of the Guardsman

The final version

Sketch to picture

It turned out that we somehow came to decorating with that slight slavic touch. Once we had the quasi-gendarme ready, more or less we knew where to go. So, in future of course we will see more of that costume design. On the other hand, Pastorate gives us complete freedom as the civilization could've headed basically in any direction after the Apocalypse. In this sense, our hands were untied and we could use some kind of eclectic decoration.

If you were paying enough attention to the portraits of Lenny and Vinnie, you'd have seen the difference in their uniform according to the ranks they have. We really give much detail to that kind of stuff because this story is about people who carry out an important service and hence must be differentiated and treated correspondingly.

The guard's chevrons

Looks like that slight slavic touch brought on some eclectism and we liked it. So, we decided to proceed with the mix of styles and patterns. Although, I must add that some of it I'd already seen in my head and known how to develop certain characters.

Here you've seen some of the characters that are present in the game. Now, let's move to the locations.

The investigation starts in the Slums

Later they will visit a druggo den

I would personally describe this game as a mix of The Wire + Training day + Wicker man + Mad Max. I know it's one weird mix, but it's all strangely there. Before I finally bow out, please allow me to share some more quotes which hopefully will give provide a better understanding about what's happening on this island.

Praise Day:

The main holiday in his children’s country. It is celebrated on the day of the summer solstice when the darkness’s reign is the shortest in the year. Even children know that any deed done in the dark is done for the sake of plunder and debauchery.

Every day our tight-knit community kneels to thank the Pastor for the loving care that he wholeheartedly displays so that we always have food and clothing. Then again, our kind-hearted father could not say no when we begged him with tears in our eyes to establish a special holiday so that the entire nation of the League could fall at his feet and kiss them in a single rush expressing our infinite gratitude.

Consequently, three months before the memorable date, a special Pastorate commission starts selecting the most ardent admirers of our creator. Typically, fifty men are selected and sent directly to the Pastorate, where they can prostrate themselves before the Pastor and kiss his feet.

Afterwards, these pilgrims are revered as legendary heroes in their communities. Occasionally they are not buried after death for a period of time so that compatriots from other parts of the League could at least indirectly touch the greatest among the living.

9M:

The so-called Ninth Mill embodies a ragged mob; their existence is a result of neglecting the teachings of our Pastors. Once they were industrious miners, now they are wretched garbage, united on the ground of society rejection and misery, therefore, they are blinded by fierce hatred.

They creep out from under the cover of darkness to drink and bathe in innocent blood. Nevertheless, their days are numbered, still, this scum tries to breed anguish for the Pastorate even in their dying agony.

Those who doubt and still need some confirmation that the course taken by the Pastor very long ago is correct can see for themselves and watch the horrible moral metamorphoses of those who have strayed from the true path. Bethink yourselves! Never repeat mistakes of others if you don’t want to end your earthly days dying by the sword.

Pastor

 

Crest

Poster

ONE FAITH. ONE FAMILY. ONE FORCE. (This is the Devoters' motto)

Well, that about sums it up. I hope I managed to provide some information about Pastorate and its inhabitants. To me they are real people, sometimes they speak to me and if they start to speak to you too, then I can smile happily. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to tell this little story about Pastor and his children. I'm really grateful.

Please do not hesitate to ask any questions should they arise.

P.S. If for some unobvious reason you liked what you saw, please check out the following:

DEMO of the game

The GAME on Steam.


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