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Topics - HobGoblin42

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1
News & Announcements / Reactive Dialogues
« on: June 04, 2019, Tuesday, 03:31 pm »

In the weeks since the last update, we've been hard at work designing quests and locations. And to make sure that our quests are as good as they can be and offer the highest possible degree of reactivity towards the player character, we've also improved our dialogue system and added a handful of new features to it.


In this update, we've going to show you the new features of the dialogue system, as well as screenshots of some beautiful new locations we've added to the world of Argea. The section of the update that shows off the dialogue tool will contain minor spoilers for early content in the game, as well as a side quest later in the game. If you wish to avoid such spoilers, please take note of the warnings and skip ahead.


In an RPG, it is important that the game recognizes the player's character build. And since Realms Beyond allows the player to create (or to recruit) a party of six characters, a diverse party should mean that NPCs react differently to each of them. Different characters should also be able to react differently to NPC statements. While most characters might agree with the assessment that orcs are savage barbarians, a half-orc character might object to such a statement.


Dialogue Half-OrcClick to enlarge

Dialogue options can depend on many things: the player character's sex, race, class, ability scores, skills, equipment, current status effects, faction reputation, and more. If you want to find a peaceful solution with the orcs, letting your half-orc do the talking might be a good idea. Similarly, in a village where everyone is prejudiced towards elves because of an old grudge that has never been forgotten, an elven or half-elven character will have a harder time winning the sympathies of the populace.


Warning: minor spoilers for early content ahead!
To skip any spoiler, please jump to the screenshot section at the end.




In the following example, the player is attempting to escape from prison and spotted by a group of card-playing guards. In the ensuing dialogue, the player can choose to surrender and allow them to drag him into the dungeon cells, ready his weapon and fight, or convince them to play a game of cards with his freedom as the wager.


Dialogue Guards Click to enlarge

Each yellow dialogue option is associated with a certain precondition. If the player has recruited a certain companion into the party, he or she can offer the companion's knowledge of secret hallways in the fortress to the guards. If the player is a wizard, he can offer to cast a spell of their choosing for them. If he's a priest, he can offer them a blessing. And if the player's character is female and has sufficiently high charisma, she can flirt with the guards.


You may also notice that some of the dialogue options, and the dialogue spoken by the NPCs, contain some conditions in themselves. Things like the player's gender, race and class will be referenced by NPCs when appropriate, and rather than writing the entire sentence anew, the scripting capabilities of Realms Beyond allow us to just set a condition around certain words of the sentence.


Dialogue conditions
A simple greeting text with conditional parts


We shall look at a side quest the player will encounter later in the game to see how these conditions can be used in practice.


Warning: spoilers for a mid-game side quest ahead!


During your travels through Argea, you will come upon several wizards living in solitary towers, dedicated to their research. One of these wizards, a man named Obalor, tells you about his rivalry with a fellow sorceress named Jeralis. Many years ago, she lost her eyes in an accident, and went on to craft a pair of enchanted emeralds to return her sight. Wizards all across the realm have wondered how she fashioned that enchantment, and Obalor is determined to find it out. He hires the player party to take Jeralis' emerald eyes and bring them to him, so he can examine the enchantment and learn his rival's technique.


If the player accepts the quest, he must travel to Jeralis' tower and get his hands on her emerald eyes. One way to do this is to engage her in dialogue and convince her that he himself is an arcane researcher and interested in studying the enchantment. Jeralis isn't opposed to borrowing her eyes to someone interested in the workings of their enchantment, but the player's character doesn't quite strike her as a magical researcher.


This is where more complex conditions come in. If the player's character is a highly intelligent wizard, he (or she) can easily convince her of being a researcher himself. If the player's character is a wizard, but has only average rather than exceptional intelligence for his class, he'll have to bluff a little to make her believe him. And if the player's character is not a wizard, he'll have to bluff a lot.


Click to enlarge

As you can see, rather than adding several different conditions to the dialogue choice (our editor allows for up to two conditions to be attached to a dialogue choice at once, so adding three or more individual conditions would be logistically impossible, anyway), we have created a new local condition simply named MAG_RESEARCH, which checks whether the player's character can successfully convince Jeralis of being a researcher of the arcane or not. The custom condition looks like this:



As you can see from these lines of code, the character will succeed the check if he has a bluff skill of 6; if he is a wizard, he will succeed with a bluff skill of 3; if he is a wizard with INT greater than 18, he will succeed automatically.

Our scripting system allows us to make dialogue checks as complex as we need them to be for any given quest situation. We can check the player character's gender, race and class. We can check the player character's attributes and skills. We can check the player's equipment, and whether she's wearing something on an equipment slot at all: a guard might demand your character take her helmet off before she enters the throne room, as it would be rude to enter the royal chambers with a covered head. It is as simple as checking for the condition of BAREHEADED being false.


We can even add dialogue choices based on temporary conditions the player is effected by. When Obalor offers the player the quest to fetch Jeralis' eyes for him, maybe an insane and hungry character might react like this?



This powerful scripting system allows us to recognize any state a player character may be in, and have NPCs acknowledge everything that is appropriate for them to comment on (like a dwarf reacting favorably toward a fellow dwarf and skeptically toward an elf, a priestess mentioning you should take your boots off before you enter the inner sanctum, a merchant greeting you as a colleague because your character is a member of the merchants' guild, etc). It also allows for creative quest solutions. Let's imagine a magic mirror that guards a magically locked door. You can interact with it, but looking into it doesn't do anything. In another chamber of the dungeon you find out that the door only opens for those who stare into the mirror with blinded eyes – you can cast a spell of blinding upon your character, interact with the mirror while the BLIND condition is true, and the door will open!


As for the quest to get Jeralis' emerald eyes there are approaches other than asking her and bluffing, such as intimidation, combat and stealth, but how exactly those can be pulled off is up to you to find out when you play the game! Our quests generally offer at least two possible solutions, usually more. Every player will have a different party and follow a different playstyle, so we try to add multiple solutions and decisions to each quest to offer a large amount of choice to the player – and, of course, a high degree of replayability.




Quest spoilers over. You may continue reading from here if you wanted to avoid them.


Finally, we're going to show you some screenshots of a cozy village on the remote island in the Northern sea. Enjoy the scenes of tranquil village life!


Northern Island - Town
Northern Island - Physician The local physician's house. He cares for the sick and also serves as the local coroner. His cat is doing its best at keeping the village rat-free.

Northern Island - Tavern The chopping block, where prisoners condemned to death meet their end. You can sit down in the  tavern next door and watch the execution through the windows, comfortably seated with a mug of ale in your hands. The pinnacle of entertainment in a sleepy little village like this.

Northern Island - Passage

Northern Island - Prison Fortress He's not drinking on duty! He's merely sampling the ale to make sure it is of high enough quality. A diligent guard would never let his officers taste sub-par ale. He's just doing his duty. Besides, it's not like these prisoners need much guarding. They're locked behind bars, tight and secure, with no way to escape.

And that's it for today! We've given you a more thorough look into how our dialogue system works, along with a glimpse of one of the game's many side quests – and keep in mind, this is the very same dialogue tool you will be able to use to create new modules for Realms Beyond, so all the power of setting custom conditions for dialogue checks and writing quests with multiple solutions and outcomes will be in your hands!


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News & Announcements / Server Maintenance and Migration
« on: April 03, 2019, Wednesday, 05:02 pm »
Later today, we'll migrate the server to a different provider. Therefore, the main page and the forums will be offline for about 1-2 hours.

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News & Announcements / Bavarian Support and a new Senior Team Member
« on: March 27, 2019, Wednesday, 04:59 pm »
We are happy to announce that Realms Beyond has received additional funding from the FilmFernsehFonds Bayern!



The additional funds of 100.000 EUR are flowing directly into development, translating into more high quality content for you to experience.


Senior Level Designer Janos Toth joins our team to fill our world with dangerous dungeons and tranquil villages for the player to explore. He has formerly worked on games like Battle Isle, History Line, Sacred Underworld, Sacred 2, The Settlers 5 and Spellforce 3, bringing plenty of experience with the RPG and RTS genres with him. You can check out his portfolio here.

Soon, we will also post a development update about the game. We have been hard at work optimizing our tools, especially the dialogue tool, in order to allow for heavy branching in quests and conversations, and to give player decisions as heavy an impact as possible. In our next update we will show off the capabilities of our dialogue tool in detail, along with some example dialogues.

Stay tuned!

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News & Announcements / Combat System #4: AI for Turn-based Combat Systems
« on: February 20, 2019, Wednesday, 12:55 am »
When we started out working on the combat system we had a lot to do to lay the basic foundations. We had to get our character animation system running and implement stuff like combat logic, hexboard generation from level topology, or hexboard queries for paths and floodings at runtime.

That left little time to care about something as high level as AI (Artificial Intelligence). As a consequence our first prototype for AI ‘grew’ with time. At first, all it could do were melee attacks. Then we added ranged attacks. Then we implemented an enemy spell AI for intelligent placing of area spells (trying to maximize hits on enemies and minimize hits on allies). Finally we included rather specific routines (like fleeing) for characters that suffered from spells like fear. We realized that AI has to be able to deal with script spells that are loaded at runtime (a feature that could be interesting for future modifications). To allow for that we coded routines that simulate spell executions and judge their effects in a more general way.

Thus our prototype grew and grew until we were sure that we covered every capability that could possibly be required. Then we started to build it from scratch to make it more flexible and debugable. And now we feel like we can finally talk about AI.


Combat AI Debug Visualization in Realms Beyond

 The paradigm we had in mind for development has always been: What do we expect from a turn based AI?
Well, technically, we expect a lot! A demon wizard that fails to choose his fireball spell over a magic missile, or who fails to place the fireball in a way that maximizes damage on the player party is a no-go. An assassin who simply attacks her closest target instead of trying to stab your wizard in the back is not only little immersive – it also obliterates strategic bottlenecks like doors. And a human NPC ally that is not able to plan his path avoiding enemy attacks of opportunity is an annoyance. So when we talk about expectations from a ‘technical’ point of view, one can say that we expect ‘a lot’. A good (D&D 3.5 based) AI has to be able to perform a lot of intelligent choices for enemies that we expect to behave intelligent.

Assuming that we built an AI that is able to live up to those expectations, it is time to consider a different connotation: What do we expect from AI not in terms of quality but in terms of personality?
If every enemy behaved optimally the challenge would be maximized – and immersion would be gone. We want goblins to horde around their closest enemy. We want orcs to ignore attacks of opportunity. And an ogre might even be too stupid to leave an area that is affected by a damage-over-time spell. Even beyond ‘intelligence’ enemies should show personality in every decision that gameplay offers: While most races ignore unconscious or otherwise helpless enemies on the battle field and proceed to face those player characters that can still fight, certain foul creatures like goblins or gnolls should be known for finishing off their helpless foes. It’s those little twists that make combats immersive.

We hope that – apart from the challenge of making our AI capable of  ‘good’ decisions – we also do a good job to diversify enemy behaviours enough to allow you to detect patterns and become especially hateful of one enemy or the other.


A combat in 'Knights of the Chalice'

Once again, allow us to mention Knights of the Chalice here. It is owing to that game that we had a very precise idea about what we had to do when we first started prototyping our CPU-controlled opponents. The AI of KotC (and, of course, its excellent encounter design) made almost all combats interesting. It may be prone to crowd in bottlenecks (a fact can be exploited a lot once you get the stone wall spell) but hey – weaknesses are something you also expect from an AI to have fun, another fact that we are well aware of.

Hopefully, we can soon present you some more combat vids that display various AI behaviours. Until then, feel invited to tell us what you think about our ideas and what you consider important for a turn-based AI. And if you have a memorable story to tell about a combat against an especially cunning AI: please share it with us.
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5
News & Announcements / A Happy New Year - BackerKit surveys have been sent!
« on: January 08, 2019, Tuesday, 09:51 pm »
We wish you all a healthy, happy, prosperous and spectacular New Year!

Since yesterday, our team is back at work.

If you backed our Kickstarter campaign, you should have received an email from us with a special link to your BackerKit survey.


You don’t need to create a BackerKit account to fill out your survey. When you receive the email with the survey, click the survey link to respond. Answer the questions about your reward preferences, provide shipping information, and purchase add-on items if you like. You don’t have access to this survey link yet, but it will be available soon via email!

After you respond to your survey, you can go back later and change your responses at any time before we close the surveys and get our final counts.

If you need to review your information or pledge status, you can return to your survey by clicking the link in your survey email or requesting your survey link under "Lost your survey?" on our BackerKit project page at https://realms-beyond.backerkit.com.

If you used your Facebook credentials to log in to your Kickstarter account, the BackerKit survey is sent to the email address you use for your Facebook account. If you have another email address that you prefer to use, please contact support at https://realms-beyond.backerkit.com/faq.

Due to the request of some backers, we created some add-ons like additional digital versions, the digital soundtrack, the digital world map and others.

For late backers, we added the option to support us by PayPal and other payment types through our pre-order store.


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6
Site Feedback / How to redeem your digital in-game rewards
« on: December 19, 2018, Wednesday, 05:51 pm »
Step 1
Open your personal inventory by hovering over Your Account and selecting Inventory. If you don't see that menu, you need to login first.


Step 2
Paste the unique item key code into the related input field and press Redeem Code.


Now, the item connected to the key should appear in your inventory list. Later, you can upload and/or modify the related content directly in your inventory.

7
News & Announcements / Storytelling #3: Journal and Map – Adventurer’s Tools
« on: November 25, 2018, Sunday, 01:13 am »
An adventurer should always keep his thoughts organized. During his journeys, he will come across many interesting characters who might offer him a job, or just have a skill that might come in useful one day. He might spot a locked door he can’t get open, but wants to remember the place to check it out later. That’s where his journal and his map come into play.

Realms Beyond offers you a detailed journal and detailed minimaps for each location, so you can easily keep track of everything you have encountered on your travels. The journal will automatically record summaries of dialogues and list all the different quests you’ve learned about. To keep things interesting, the quest entries will not be updated automatically at every step of the way. While the clues themselves will be recorded, you have to connect them to the quest yourself!

As an example, let’s look at the simple quest of finding a buried treasure. A citizen of Vedwyd has found an old diary and treasure map when he cleaned out his basement. They belonged to his great-grandfather, a pirate who, when he was older, settled down to live an honest life on behest of his worried wife. But before he settled down, he buried some of his treasure at a location only he knew: a chest containing jewelry that could easily have been identified as loot from a recently plundered merchant ship.

The diary contains a short description of the location, and the treasure map is a crude drawing of what it looked like. "Berried jewls at renner grov", says the diary. "Start at nearby cave entrans. East 6 steps. North 4 steps. Luk at pointy rok bitween 2 trees. Pik it up an dig belo." Clear enough instructions to find the treasure, one might think. But the man doesn’t know what his great-grandfather meant by Renner Grove. There is no grove with such a name nearby. Maybe there had been, once – his great-grandfather had lived long before the Cataclysm, and in the turbulent times that followed, the name may simply have been forgotten. There is a clue, though: there was a cave entrance in the grove’s immediate vicinity.





The journal will update with the basic information you’ve learned about the quest.



With this information in your tow, you can talk to other characters in town and ask them whether they know anything about a certain Renner Grove, or if they know any nearby groves that have a cave in their vicinity. And indeed, Amiella, the local hunter, knows about two groves in the nearby wilderness, both of them close to cave entrances. Both entrances connect to the same system of caverns, and they’re not far away from each other. She will mark both of them on your world map. The journal will automatically record this new piece of information you have learned, neatly sorted into the entries of interesting things you’ve learned from Amiella.



Now, with a proper clue, you can set out to look for the buried treasure. If you follow the instructions from the old diary – neatly recorded in your own journal – you can indeed find a pointy rock at one of the two groves. The old treasure map Mathis has given you can also help you determine which of the two locations is the right one.



Now that you found the rock underneath which the treasure is buried, you just have to pick it up and dig beneath it… oh, snap, you didn’t bring a shovel! You’ll have to head back to town and buy one. But wait! Since you found the spot, you should mark it on your map so you can find it more easily next time.



The minimap in Realms Beyond allows you to set your own markers in order to mark any location you find interesting. This comes in very useful when you explore dungeons or towns, as you can mark places that you want to return to later, or places that you think might hold some significance.



If you get into an encounter that is too hard for you and you wish to return later, place a marker. If you find an interactable piece of environment but you don’t know what to do with it yet, place a marker. If you found a special item you think might be relevant for a puzzle, place a marker to remind you where you found it.

Some markers will be placed on the map automatically, triggered by interactions with objects in the world. As you can see on the screenshot, four of the markers look a little different. They haven’t been set by the player, but were placed after the player received some new information about the area. Areto’s Tomb was marked when the player read the inscription above the door, for example. The chamber of sacrifice was marked when he examined an offering bowl.

In addition to placing your own markers on the map, you can also write your own notes into the journal. Realms Beyond gives you all the tools you need to keep your information organized, without holding your hand. Important information is recorded automatically, but sorted by which character told it to you, not sorted by which quest it is related to – this way, you are free to make your own connections and come to your own conclusions, without the game doing it for you.

With our journal and minimap systems, we want to provide a user-friendly experience without taking away the feeling of discovery and accomplishment the old classics gave you. Of course, taking your own notes and placing your own markers on the map is entirely optional: something you can do if you feel that taking additional notes will help jog your memory. Giving the player options is what we’re all about, and allowing you to scribble all over your journal and map is one of those options.

Interacting with the Environment: yes, you can touch that!

Talking about the treasure hunt – as you may have noticed, it involves picking up a rock and digging beneath it. Many items in the game, and even some pieces of the environment (wall niches, inscriptions, a broken wall that looks climbable…) can be selected and interacted with. Every object can be scripted to be interactable and behave in different ways when interacted with.



Interactable elements will be outlined when you hover your mouse over them. But beware: not every interactable item is beneficial. Some might be devious traps: a magical trigger that unleashes a storm of fire when touched, a lever that locks the only exit behind you, a valuable artifact that makes arrows shoot out of the wall when you pick it up. But they can also open new ways: a heap of boulders that can be cleared by a character of high strength, a magical barrier that dissipates when touched by an enchanted weapon, a tree that can be hacked down to create a makeshift bridge over a narrow ravine.

The many pretty objects that clutter our world are not mere decoration, they are fully interactable and often serve a gameplay purpose. Always be observant, and you will find many things to play around with in Realms Beyond. And since every object you can interact with is highlighted when your mouse passes over it, it means that there’s no annoying pixel hunting. You will see at a glance whether you can do something with an object or not.

This allows us to add elaborate puzzles to the game, as well as alternate quest solutions and plain fun environmental interactions. A statue that requires an item to be placed in its opened hands in order to unlock a secret door. A merchant’s cart that can be toppled over to create a distraction. Or a magic stone that hops away whenever you try to touch it.

The interactable objects in our environments follow the three golden rules of our game design: interactivity, reactivity, and player choice.

 


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8
News & Announcements / World Building #7: Kvenland
« on: November 24, 2018, Saturday, 09:45 pm »
The realm of Kvenland, defined by its dense pine forests and tall mountains, is primarily settled by four major tribes.

Vadians


At the southern shore of lake Kallvatn, right in the heart of Kvenland, at a point where several rivers convene, a trading post named Vadaheim was built. After the Great Cataclysm, the sky had darkened for several years and the cold north missed out on a couple of summers. This led to large masses of ice forming in the mountains, and once the climate normalized the ice melted and raised the water level of the lake, flooding parts of Vadaheim. An enterprising people, not willing to give up their city and stop their profitable trading operations, the Vadians converted their ships into rudimentary homes. Still today many of them live in house-boats and use these mobile homes on their mercantile journeys, traveling down the rivers with their entire families. Most Vadians are in the service of one of the two powerful families ruling the city of Vadaheim. Those who live in the town are better off joining one of the two families than staying neutral – which risks attracting the wrath of both the Ingvarsons and the Grimharsons. For independence is only an option for those who can assert it. But since the long-running feud between the two houses had adverse effects on commerce, they agreed to an armistice and divided the city amongst themselves. But if there is an opportunity to siphon the other family’s profits into their own pockets, they always take it – there may be an armistice between them, but in business, everything is allowed.



A common saying among the Vadians is, "By Valon’s golden apples!" which is an expression of surprise over an unexpectedly profitable business transaction that pulled more gold out of their customer’s pocket than they anticipated.

The origin of this expression is the myth of Valon, patron deity of merchants as well as those who acquire the property of others by cunning means, who helped an impoverished old man. This man owned nothing but a barren, rocky piece of land with a single apple tree that no longer bore fruit. He desperately called for the aid of his god, and Valon finally heard his prayers. He gave the old man a basket with three golden apples which would turn to dust as soon as he gave them away. Valon also forbid him from telling anyone where he got the apples from, and he was not allowed to sell his land before three moons had passed. The old man shrugged, as nobody would want to buy his worthless piece of land anyway, and asked what use the apples would be to him if he couldn’t sell them. Valon merely told him to carry them through town in their basket, uncovered so all could see them, and have a cup of wine at the tavern. "But how should I pay for the wine?" asked the old man. "With the apples, without promising them to another," was the god’s answer, and then he returned to his realm.

The old man did as he was told, and everyone was curious about the golden apples he carried in his basket. Indeed, the tavernkeep not only served him a cup of wine on the house, but also prepared a platter with the best food he had in stock. Soon more and more people asked the old man why he still lived in his rotten old hut and wanted to know whether his land was for sale. With a heavy heart he rejected all the offers he received, which led to the townspeople shoveling ever more gifts upon him in the hopes of gaining the old man’s favor. Soon he lived in one of the largest houses in town, and those who showered him with gifts hoped he would sell them his piece of land with the tree that, so they believed, would be rich with golden apples at the next harvest. Once three moons had passed, he accepted the best offer that was made to him, which was much higher than the best offer made to him three moons ago. Just at that moment his three golden apples vanished. The debts he had with others were not collected, since his creditors were happy to have such a wealthy man as their friend. Only to the poor soul who had purchased the worthless strip of land the old man gave a basket full of apples. Stingy as he now was, however, they were just normal apples, red and green instead of gold, as you can only be truly rich when others are poor – a popular saying among the people of Vadaheim.


Veštani


The Veštani are a peaceful people who value a honest heart over a sharp sword – for which they have little use, anyway, as they prefer to use spear and shield in combat.

Around the village Kvilu, which is located at the eastern end of the Lurking Forest, they herd their flocks of sheep and till the earth of their fields in peace. Their evenings they spend in community, listening to the music of the flute and stories of strange creatures and ominous events, which might stem from their tendency for superstition which their priests can only shake their heads over, try as they might, they cannot drive it out of them. It might be encouraged by their elders, whom they highly respect, as they warn the younger generations of all the dangers lurking in the depths of the forest, amongst the shadows of the trees.



But Kvilu is not as peaceful as it may seem, as the Veštani regularly fall victim to raids of the Gauds, a tribe they share a bitter enmity with.

But voices of reason no longer manage to calm those who lost their loved ones and their homes to the Gaudian raids. Especially the younger generations either support an escalation of the conflict to strike back at the hated enemy in force, or think of leaving their homes for greener pastures. From Vadian merchants they heard stories of prosperous towns and lives without hardship beyond the forests of Kvenland, and now grow weary of the simple and uncertain life in Kvilu.


Gauds


The Gauds are known as the most feared and remorseless warriors of Kvenland, settled in the rough lands to the north of the great lake. Ever since he had slain a dragon on the mountain of Dauganrög, they worship their king almost as a god. After his heroic deed the Gauds hailed King Odulf’s under his new name – Sigimer the Dragonslayer. Together with his retinue he founded the town of Güldinheim, which today has become the most important city of the Gauds.

The king’s treasury is filled to the brim with all kinds of riches, but also with plenty of curiosities – a collection he constantly seeks to expand. He is especially fond of artifacts from a long extinct tribe, whose king Hodar, for whose exploits there are no sources but the songs of bards, is said to have ruled the entirety of Kvenland and even projected the power of his kingdom deep into the lands of Cormac. This legendary king is, to Sigimer, an example to follow. He wants to forge a kingdom to rival Hodar‘s, and he is ready to ally with the Vresians and mercenaries of Vadaheim to take the rich lands of Cormac’s north under his control. But he will never make peace with the Veštani, as his son Sigurt lost his life on a cattle raid against them. Had he the resources for it, he would long ago have marched against Kvilu to raze it to the ground. But the day will come when his wrath will triumph over the worldly concerns of logistics, and for this day he is already prepared.



Even his daughter Siglind he kept from a woman’s comfortable life of home and marriage, so her sword would always be ready for war and not dulled by the need to care for offspring. So he declared her to be a sword maiden, and any men who dare touch her will be condemned to death by stoning.

Vresians




On a northern bay of the Galtan SeaVindeborg sits as the largest town of Kvenland as well as the most important settlement of the Vresians, who are known to be excellent shipwrights and seafarers as well as fearless explorers. The fishermen not only set out to drag their nets through the deep waters, but add to their catch by raiding and looting other ships. Their reputation of engaging in piracy is widespread and almost sealed their fate 200 years ago. Too long they provoked Cormac on the waters, which culminated in a crushing blow against their tribe. Once, they had reveled in their independence, their leaders chosen by election and ready to step down whenever the people grew unhappy with their rule; following this horrible defeat, they put their fate into the hands of the most charismatic among them. Unnar Usbek became the first king of the Vresians and swore on the ruins of old Vindeborg to take revenge on the Cormacian attackers, even if it took generations to pay them back for what they did.



Ever since, the Vresians have worked at erecting an impregnable fortress and training a formidable fighting force to bring the fire of vengeance against Cormac’s shores. They suffered a major setback thanks to the Great Cataclysm, but Bjar Rabek, the most influential advisor of king Hjör, claims that the time has come to make true the promise of the forefathers. He feels obligated to fulfill the old oath of vengeance, whereas the people are fearful of a war they consider to be hopeless, while a longing for the old freedom spreads through their hearts, symbolized by a white albatross – the animal that adorned the Vresian banners before they had a king, and which has now become a call for open resistance, scrawled on the walls in white chalk.



This blog post is also available in German language.




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9
News & Announcements / Pub Games
« on: November 24, 2018, Saturday, 09:28 pm »
At sunset, you and your companions finally arrive in Bridgewater, a famous hub of trade and other, less honest forms of business. Milling amongst the crowds of merchants and citizens, beggars and cut-throats, you slowly wander through the town's narrow alleyways towards the Merry Hangman Inn, in a district of town known for its pleasures – many of them illicit. You enter the tavern in search for a hearty meal, a warm hearth, and some merry entertainment to lift up your spirits.

As anticipated, you find the place is bursting with laughter, singing and cheer as you enter. The smell of good food and beer, and the sound of merry fiddles and happy folk songs out of tune, quickly overwhelm your senses. As some of your companions proceed directly to their rooms in the second floor, longing for a good bed after the strenuous journey, you manage to spot a small empty table in the far corner. When you finally make your way through the crowd of drunken patrons, the tavern maid brings you a battered pewter mug, and asks you with a smile: “Care for a Game?”

Games to spend your hard-earned coin on

Every adventurer needs some time to relax after a long day, and Realms Beyond offers you plenty of games to pass the time with when you return to town after an exhausting adventure. Cards, dice, pit-fighting and axe-throwing are just some of the many activities your adventurers can take part in, trying their luck or skill against NPCs and even wagering some money on their success.



If you’re on good terms with some tavernkeepers or have some coin to spare, who knows… they might even let you prove what you're made of in their underground fighting clubs (no arms, no armor, no spells – only fists and the cheering roars of the crowd).

But be careful with your money – many an adventurer has lost the riches he gained during the day in the games of dice he chose to play at night. If you are clever, though, success at gambling is not only a matter of luck. A character with a high skill at bluffing will be an excellent card player, while a dexterous rogue with sleight of hand can attempt to cheat at dice. But beware! If caught cheating, you might be dragged into a fistfight, and once the guards arrive the cheater is the one who has to pay the fine.

You may even catch goblins playing a game of dice in the dungeon, and if you don’t attack them right away, you may even join in! They are, after all, not the smartest creatures nor the most vigilant guards.

 
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News & Announcements / Sound Design #3: Voice Sets
« on: November 24, 2018, Saturday, 09:25 pm »
You have already heard the triumphant laughter of a wizard as he fries a horde of goblins with his fireball, but there will be many more occasions when your characters show their emotions or make a comment regarding the current events. Like in many other classic RPGs - Baldur's GatePlanescape TormentJagged Alliance 2Wizardry 8, to mention just a few examples - you can pick one of many different voicesets for your character, covering a vast array of personalities.

Whether your character is a lawful paladin or a chaotic barbarian, you can select the voice that fits him the best and hear him commenting on certain situations throughout the game. From a simple laugh, cough, or scoff to exclamations like "Bah, elves..." or "What a nice lady!", your characters will comment on combat events, conversations, or item interactions when appropriate.

To achieve the best quality for these voice sets, we’re cooperating with professional voice actors like Stephen Chatfield. Stephen is not only a highly versatile and exceptionally talented voice actor but also a huge fan of table-top and computer role-playing games. We’re happy that he will contribute not only one but a handful of character voices for Realms Beyond. Stephen recorded two samples of very different character voices to demonstrate the idea.

You’ll listen to a character with a lawful good mindset followed by a chaotic character, in different in-game situations.

[audio mp3="https://www.realms-beyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Voice_Stephen-Chatfield.mp3"][/audio]

If you want to know more about Stephen's work, please visit his website.
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News & Announcements / World Building #6: The Wildlands – Legacy of Virduris
« on: November 24, 2018, Saturday, 09:20 pm »


The Wildlands are one of the most turbulent and unstable areas in Argea. It is a region of numerous different cultures, as humans from all corners of the world came to settle there after the local kingdoms had collapsed and fallen. A land of opportunity, with the riches of the past and abundant natural resources rife for the taking. After centuries of conflict, collaboration, and consolidation, the Wildlands had become a relatively stable region attracting merchants, adventurers and researchers from all across Argea.

But the Great Cataclysm changed everything. Even though the region was spared from volcanic activity, massive earthquakes leveled the major cities and left the survivors with half-collapsed piles of rubble to live in. A large part of the population returned to the lands their ancestors had come from, leaving their ruined homes behind. But those who stayed were not left to rebuild in peace: from the south, orcish hordes pushed into the Wildlands, forcing the humans to take up arms and defend themselves.

This common threat could have united the people of the Wildlands, but instead the vacuum of power left by the collapse caused by the Great Cataclysm led to the rise of three pretender kings fighting over who gets to rule what’s left of this once-prosperous region. Amidst this chaos, the chieftains of the tribes of Pshent, who fled from the destruction of their homeland, have sworn to stay neutral. A difficult stance in a region consumed by a war with so many different sides.



To the southwest, at the border between the Wildlands and what used to be Pshent, only the city of Khuft remains as the last remnant of a once great kingdom. Threatened by the hordes of undead that overran their homeland, more and more Pshentians leave Khuft to seek a better fortune in the Wildlands. Yet all they do is trade one threat against another.



Needless to say, adventurers and mercenaries will find many opportunities for employment in this region. Will you support one of the three pretender kings, help the tribes of Pshent protect their independence, or even join the orcish raiding parties as they push deeper into human lands?



Kalgerth is the strongest of the three pretenders, or at least that’s what he likes to claim. He is seated in the city of Antir, the only city in the Wildlands whose walls are still mostly intact. Holding it gives him more legitimacy than his rivals, but his claims to be the de-facto ruler of the Wildlands are just that – claims. He doesn’t even unite half the population under his rule, and he is too indecisive a ruler to bring more villages under his control. He may have the most solid base for kingship among all three pretenders, but unless he adopts a more bold strategy, his opponents may soon outmaneuver him.

 

What Marek lacks in territory, he makes up for with a fierce army and ruthless command. He may not control as many villages as Kalgerth or Naraya, nor does he have a city as strong as Antir as the seat of his power, but he has plenty of swords and knows how to use them. He wages a ruthless guerrilla war against Kalgerth, ambushing patrols of his soldiers, and occupies villages so their population has no choice but to accept him as their rightful king. His methods may be effective, but they do not win him much support among the common populace.

 

Naraya is known for being an eccentric ruler who cares little about warfare and stays mostly out of the conflict between Kalgerth and Marek. Once, she had invited a cobbler from far Pyrrhenia to fashion sandals like Mirvala’s for her, but sent him away again when he didn’t bring her flowers as a gift. She considered it disrespectful of him to not arrive with a gift, and what better gift for a queen of her beauty than a beautiful bouquet of blooming flowers? Despite her eccentricity, her territory is prosperous, as neither Kalgerth nor Marek consider her a serious contender to their kingship. And yet she is far from weak, with well-equipped troops guarding her borders.

 

 The tribes of Pshent have declared their neutrality in the conflict, but chieftess Duniba knows it cannot last. She wants to unite the different tribes under one banner to defend their independence against the pretender kings, who want to win them over to their cause and involve them in pointless fighting. But the tribes are too reluctant, too adamant in their neutrality. She fears it may need a catastrophe to convince the other tribes of joining her cause, but she still hopes the people of Pshent will realize the need for a strong leadership before it is too late. Of course, she only wishes to lead for the good of her people, not for personal ambitions…

 

The Legacy of Virduris

As war-torn and chaotic as the Wildlands are today, they used to be home to one of the greatest civilizations of Argea in the past. The wizard-kings of Virduris, most prominently the legendary queen Mirvala, once ruled over a powerful kingdom that occupied the territory now known as the Wildlands. But their empire has fallen long ago, and now nothing but ruins and legends remain. Even the language of Virduris is lost to time. The many inscriptions left behind by the Virdurian people are nothing more but strange symbols on the walls to those who look at them today, the meaning behind them long forgotten.



The many ruins left by the old Virdurians offer plenty of opportunity for adventurers to find valuable relics of the past. Before the Great Cataclysm, researchers from Cormac, Pyrrhenia and Sabâg-Hirar had excavated ancient Virdurian sites, but in their current unstable situation, the Wildlands are too dangerous for most scholars. Many Virdurian cities known from legends still haven’t been found, their secrets still buried deep underground.



The Wildlands offer countless opportunities for adventurers. Between the conflict of the pretender kings, the orcish incursions and the ancient Virdurian ruins, those who are brave enough to face the dangers of the Wildlands have plenty of choices.
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News & Announcements / Exploring the World #3: Camp and Survival Part 2
« on: November 24, 2018, Saturday, 08:40 pm »
 



The world of Argea is vast and full of wonders. While exploring the world map, your group of companions will travel through lush forests, climb magnificent mountain ranges, trek through arid deserts and treacherous swamps, and even sail to long forgotten isles. Your adventures will carry you far and wide, either on the soles of your feet or on horse’s back.

But travel is not an easy task: your adventurers will get tired, hungry, thirsty, and fed up with the monotony of the road during a long journey. Your wizard will have to rest to restore his magical power, your cleric will have to meditate upon his faith; and most of all, after a long day of traveling your entire party wants to take off their sweaty clothes and heavy armor, sit down around the campfire, enjoy a hearty meal and end the day with a game of dice or cards while listening to their musically skilled companion play his lute.

When you’re exhausted after days of travel but still far away from the nearest inn, when you’re lost in the freezing north and need to warm your cold limbs, when the heat of the desert makes you want to wait until nightfall to continue – you set up camp and allow your party to have some well-deserved rest. A campsite can be put up anywhere in the wilderness, but not every location offers the same comforts.



Aside from the elementary feature of resting to recover spells and heal wounds, in Realms Beyond your party members will be able to use the camping time to cook and eat, chat and play games to relax, go hunting and fishing, forage for berries, mushrooms and herbs, treat their wounds, craft potions or identify items, scribe scrolls, and even make music around the campfire. The chances of a successful hunt or finding ingredients in the wilderness depend on the environment, however – you won’t find many plants in the desert, and wildlife is more abundant in woodlands than on the plains.



Camping isn’t without its dangers, either. Hostile groups or natural predators might assault your camp while you sleep, and if you are ill-prepared for the weather, your characters might catch a cold or worse. But camping in the hostile wilderness is a necessary risk to take, because the longer you travel the more it tires out your characters and the more it consumes your adventuring supplies. Eventually, your party will become exhausted, your supplies will run out and you’ll risk starvation and dehydration. Camping lets you rest and take some time to gather food and water from your surroundings.



In order to make your camp a little safer and more comfortable, you can stock up on camping equipment in town before you set out into the wilderness. A kettle for cooking, blankets to keep you warm while you sleep, a boardgame and a musical instrument to serve as entertainment. Camping in Realms Beyond is a game of resource management: you have to weigh the dangers of resting in an unknown area (and risking an ambush, or worse) against the downsides of forcing your party to press on. It adds just one more issue to the list of things you will need to consider before leaving town and setting off to unknown territory.

The equipment and supplies you need to bring with you largely depend on the area you want to journey through. Proper footwear, warm cloaks and a couple of blankets are almost a necessity in the frozen wilderness of the north, and taking additional firewood along isn’t a bad idea, either. In the desert, you should take a few additional waterskins along, as water is scarce and the heat is parching. When and where to rest is always an important decision, too: in the desert, it might make more sense to rest during the day and travel during the night, when it is cooler. If your party is already tired but you know there’s a river a few miles ahead that would be perfect for fishing, it might make sense to press on to get a reliable opportunity to stock up your supplies.

Sometimes, however, you might also wish to rest while you’re exploring a dungeon. Your casters have spent all their magical energy and have no spell slots left, your fighters are wounded and you doubt you could make it through another fight. But resting in a hallway patrolled by monsters isn’t the best idea. Within dungeons, you can only rest at pre-determined resting spots placed in sensible locations by our level designers. These work in a similar way to Dark Sun: Shattered Lands and Knights of the Chalice. Some dungeons might not offer you a resting spot at all, forcing you to carefully manage your limited resources until you get through them. Others might offer you a resting spot close to the entrance, so you can rest before every encounter. This system of resting in dungeons allows us to craft varied and diverse dungeon experiences that all play differently.

 
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News & Announcements / World Building #5: Cormac and the Cult
« on: November 24, 2018, Saturday, 08:27 pm »


The gods are dead. Peace upon their virtues.

I was present when Rethgard burned and ash suffocated all cries for help. I witnessed the fall of Caer Pedryvan, long before it fell to the besiegers’ assaults. I listened to prayers lost in the wind, until hunger forced the godsforsaken to feast on their dead. I called to freedom all those doomed souls incarcerated by fear in Eastgate’s walls, hoping the fortress’s stone would keep the disease at bay that crawled out of the Dustmoor as Midlandshire’s righteous scourge. Do you hear the wailing? And the curses of those who had faith in your virtues? The day will come on which "The Black Hand" shall tear down the decrepit fortress and tear out the throats of those who put spoiled corn and rotten meat in the bowls of their brothers and sisters. Hear the wailings arise from Eastgate, while they joyfully watch martial games in Medcaut! They feast above the corpses of those slain for the audience’s enjoyment. Hear the jubilations of those who call the swords of the faithful to swing without rest! They who forge to lively song the chains that force once-proud Tharsians into Kvenland’s bondage. Men and women they wish to break like the trunks of the proud trees they cut down in the north and then ferry down to their stark lands, so they may be fashioned into lances to be shattered against comrades’ breasts. To their grave carry the virtues!

But what weighs such trivial bloodthirst compared to the blistering boil of Waystead, rampantly growing on a mountain of bones! I saw it fester like an ulcer and surround itself with walls upon walls, which cannot manage to keep out the worm that feeds from its putrid flesh. Greed erects its own citadel on Waystead’s hill and stares down upon a city that drowns in it. Do you see the poor lost souls? They are driven through taverns into the voracious arms of the many whorehouses, and declare their love towards ever new piles of useless junk, peddled by crooks and swindlers. At night the great horn resounds to announce the closing of the gates whose hinges creak like the rusted doors within forgotten dungeons. In truth, these districts are the prisons of the destitute! Do you still believe the tale that these walls keep out the foes? They are for you! You are their prisoners! You lie and betray. You defile all who enter your abodes without restraint. And how skilled you are at murdering each other... your ingenuity finds many paths. And the bastard child of your cruelty is torture that causes pain without death, so sweet release may not come to your suffering victims. And you call yourselves the keepers of the virtues? Carry to the grave their legacy!



Originating in this rotten heart, the flood of falsehood flows northward the Greyadder to Cairn Thuath. Is it not blood that surges against the shores of the Galtan Sea, and is the fortress not a butcher whose ramparts reach into the skies as witnesses of incomparable arrogance? To how many who freeze in the cold could the mighty hall offer shelter? O Cirramón, highly vaunted ancestor who on his mighty throne sees, hewn in stone, the ages pass: what do your marble eyes see, o king of emptiness? Sunwardens did you see come and go. And next to them thousands of those damned by their hands. Do you listen with approval to the screams of those who suffocate in the smoke of the fire-wheels they are bound to, burning and choking in the name of the gods? Does no one have pity on the innocent? Is it dissonant to your ears to hear songs of feigned piety at solstice, while elsewhere they scream and scream as the flames consume their living flesh? Fortress of screams! Fortress of bones! Terrible songs of pain resound within your walls. But no pleas soften the hearts of your bloodthirsty knights, who set out on Tuachall’s order to ravage the lands while pennants of virtue stream from the tips of their bloodstained lances. Earl of Glenthearn, I call thee forth to the battlefield of your hypocrisy to submit yourself to the judgment of the slain! Come forth, so your victims may summon a sea of blood poured forth from their wounds to drown Cairn Thuath and your noble line in the consequences of your sins. Carry to the grave the burden that weighs on you!

And also to the west Waystead carries its rotten seed. Towards Bridgewater, which is lovelier in its bloom than silverystar yet just as poisonous, where corrupt collectors take your coin even for crossing the bridges and hang from trees the poor souls who cannot pay, just for the sake of entertainment. Seek they in “The Merry Hangman“ absolvence for their sins at the bottom of a tankard? Or is reflected in the swill that fills their mugs the desperate thrashing of their victims’ limbs? But no, those whose tongues once tasted power over life and death crave to taste again the rush of taking lives, and so they giddily anticipate the next poor fool who cannot pay their extortionate fees! But I ask, when will the fat mayor Henry Fitz dangle from the rope he deserves!? Henry Fitz, who trades women like cattle and commits robbery under the guise of taxes, as long as gold flows into his hands. Who would be surprised to know that these waters, flowing from the west, have their source in Ethuvien, home of the degenerate elven vermin? Just as nightmares are caused by bad food that lies heavy in the stomach, so the land is haunted by the bad waters that flow into it. That is why bad dreams lurk in Fiarach’s dark forests, while restless shadows wander through the ruined castle of Dún Ifrenn.

Even the wilderness is not spared from the depravity. The Drywon of Ynys Dryw isle who call themselves tree-knowers, growing in the forests like wicked weeds. They cavort with vile fey and wild elves, perversions of nature they worship as her protectors. And yet the people are too blind to see their degeneracy for what it is: they harbor love and respect for the Druids and believe in their ungodly lies, worse even than the lies of Cormac’s priests. Their very being violates the rightful order of the world, and yet the elven lies that are Druidic tenets find approval in the ears of men. Like the rivers that run to Bridgewater, originating from elven lands, so the Druids’ enticing words have been told to them by elf and fey. Their little cult flourishes among men, for those who do not participate in the violence and betrayal of the cities instead participate in perverted rituals of faeries. Oh, how great is the humanity of Cormac! Carry to the grave the rotten bark of trees.

Why do you still bow your heads before false prophets and jeweled crowns of gold that have been forged with your sweat and your tears? Recognize your true nature! May the chains break that snake-tongued priests have laid around your limbs and thoughts. Rise, you children of the Inner Flame, so that your Lord may be pleased with you! For he is coming to redeem you. Oh, how he is coming! As a storm, as bolt of thunder, as a dark star. As a falling heaven and beginning of eternity. He shall arrive with fire and with night. His is Hylia’s body, whose wasting rays fashioned your shroud. From burning firmament and thundering clouds will rain down her blood and drench the lands with lust! Then become intoxicated by the setting sun, so you may feel the power of stars in your blood! Celebrate his arrival, you children of the Flame! Celebrate it with relentless destruction! Stride through the wreckage of broken oaths! Reject the bondage of regret! Shatter the idols that enslave you! Give in to your wants and desires! Whatever you crave, seize it! Satisfy all your long-proscribed cravings!

I see a new world rising from the fires of his flesh and with it the armies of the ostracized, who once lived in want like you, but now rejoice in the joyful flames of his kingdom of salvation. Rupture, Argea, for your savior is near! The virtues are dead. Peace be with the gods.

- Pamphlet of the "Cult of the Inner Flame"

This blog post is also available in German language.


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News & Announcements / Storytelling #2: Artifacts Grounded in Argea\'s History
« on: November 24, 2018, Saturday, 08:04 pm »
In the grand library of Galkarru, you’ve read a story about an ancient city in the middle of the desert, situated near a fertile oasis. It was once a prosperous city of tall minarets and flowering gardens, ruled by a proud sultan who decreed that everything within his city’s walls belonged to him and him alone. When he saw a priestess of Aliltu who visited the city, he was struck by her beauty and wanted to have her, so he instructed his men to take her to his palace. But when she was brought before him and realized he wanted to make her a part of his harem, she cursed the sultan and his city: she doomed all who lived in the palace to live eternal lives, their bodies preserved at this moment in time, no longer aging – and unable to leave the palace grounds. The rest of the city she cursed to turn into scorpions, as they were as deceitful as scorpions, first showing her hospitality then allowing the sultan to take her as if she were his property. And so, the legend says, the dreaded scorpion people came into the world.

The story also describes the sultan’s scepter: a precious thing, made of gold and silver and a dozen jewels, and enchanted with powerful spells that enhance the wielder’s beauty and grant him a presence inspiring to all who are near him. The story is widely believed to be a legend, the city a mere symbol and warning of what happens to those of great arrogance. And yet, you set out to search for it. And there, deep within the territory of the scorpion people, you find the ruins of an ancient city partially buried by the sand. When you enter the palace, you are attacked by armed guards, nimble harem dancers, and the sultan himself – their souls driven mad by centuries of being cursed to stay within the palace. You fight them off, your blades granting them the sweet release of death, and when you examine the body of the sultan – there, in his hand, is the legendary scepter, just as it had been described in the story.



 

The magic items you can find in Realms Beyond are all unique, hand-crafted, and rooted in the world’s history. You won’t find randomized loot in your dungeon crawling adventures – everything is placed by our level designers. When you read about legendary ancient artifacts in the history books of Argea, it’s quite likely that they can be found somewhere in the world. But finding them is not always easy.

Time hasn’t been kind to some artifacts of the past. They were damaged in battle or by greedy looters and are now broken into several parts, and a player who wishes to make use of their power must first repair them. Two such examples are the Sandals of Queen Mirvala and the Singing Spear.

The Singing Spear was wielded by the legendary Pyrrhenian hero Lachides, who used it to slay the treacherous dragon-snake Lathraios. All who had attempted to slay it before him fell into its traps, for it was a cunning and stealthy creature, but the Singing Spear warned Lachides with its voice when Lathraios came upon him from behind, and he turned around and thrust his spear deep into the creature’s heart. In a later episode of Lachides’ adventures, he got into a fight with the hero Antikles, who hew the blade of the Singing Spear from its shaft with a quick strike of his sword.

Not much is known about what happened to the broken spear afterwards, but several contradictory tales are told by Pyrrhenian storytellers. Only one thing is common to these tales: the shaft and the blade went on different ways, going through many hands over the course of the centuries, and were never reunited. And indeed, the player will find blade and shaft at two different locations, far away from each other. Once both parts are found, the spear can be repaired by a skilled craftsman, but if the player has only one of the parts in his possession, he can use the shaft as a staff or the blade as a dagger.





Queen Mirvala’s Sandals are a pair of enchanted sandals once worn by the legendary sorceress-queen of the lost civilization of Virduris. Six gleaming jewels were set into them, each one imbued with a different enchantment – turning them into one of the most powerful pieces of equipment in the entire game. But while the sandals themselves are quite easy to find, still worn by the ancient queen’s magically preserved corpse, they are missing the enchanted jewels that turn them into such a powerful item. Mirvala’s tomb had been looted by graverobbers long ago, who pried out the gleaming jewels and left the leather sandals on her corpse. Tracking them all down won’t be easy, but it will be a worthwhile and rewarding quest. With each jewel you set back into the sandals, they gain an additional enchantment.



But not all enchantments are beneficial. Some magic items are cursed with negative effects and can only be taken off with a remove curse spell. Others might have two natures, with both positive and negative effects in their enchantment. One such artifact is The Burden of Knowledge, a crown once crafted by a sorceress to remind herself of the weight and responsibility her knowledge carried with it.



With unique items like these, varied in their effects and rooted in Argea’s history, the exploration in Realms Beyond feels exciting and rewarding. Some of the more powerful artifacts even require the player to hunt down multiple pieces and have them reassembled – epic quests that might last from the beginning to the end of the game.

Of course, not only the items are hand-crafted with an attention to detail. The dungeons are all designed by hand, too, as are the enemy encounters. No random encounters, no procedural generation, no level scaling. Everything is built by the hands and minds of our writers and level designers, as human creativity is able to create more interesting content than computer algorithms ever could.


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News & Announcements / World Building #4: Pyrrhenia
« on: November 24, 2018, Saturday, 04:12 pm »


Many centuries ago, the city states of Pyrrhenia ruled over a massive empire. Their settlers had colonized new shores all along the coast, and their ships had even crossed the ocean to find a strange new world in the west, of which now only memories remain. In the years before the Great Cataclysm, however, Pyrrhenia had been a subject of the Kingdom of Cormac, the zenith of its power long past and now a mere shadow of its former glory.



But in the chaos of the Great Cataclysm, the Pyrrhenian cities declared independence and became free once more. Pyrrhenian lands were largely spared by the catastrophe, and the newly autonomous city states became the centers of a Pyrrhenian renaissance, foremost of all the city of Villenia.

Even though on paper the Pyrrhenian Empire has been restored, with an emperor and a senate made up of representatives of each city state seated in the ancient capital of Tregara, in truth the city states act as independent entities and are in fierce competition with each other.

In Realms Beyond, the player will visit the city state of Villenia, heart of the Pyrrhenian rebirth, where – as High Oracle Andraste told us above – everything conforms to the divine order of the cosmos.

The society of Villenia is divided into three distinct social classes: the craftsmen, the seafarers, and the soldiers. This division is reflected in Villenia’s government, as it is not ruled by a single entity, but by three so-called Tutharchs who each rule over their respective social class. The Tutharch of craftsmen inherits his position from his predecessor; the Tutharch of soldiers is elected by his subjects; and the Tutharch of the seafarers is determined by a contest of wits, skill, and physical fitness.



In the eyes of every proud Villenian, this system embodies the divine order of the cosmos, where every man and woman is at the place the gods have decreed for them. But some voices of criticism can also be heard, claiming the lack of social mobility between the three classes is unfair… but such voices speak folly, as what could be more just than the order decreed by the gods?

In Pyrrhenia, you will find many ruined temples and palaces in the wilderness, the remains of settlements abandoned centuries ago. During the Cormacian occupation, many old monuments fell into disrepair. Now they serve as hideouts for bandits and sinister cults operating in secret, far from the prying eyes of the populated cities. Artifacts of Pyrrhenia’s glory days can still be found in some of the ruins and fetch a high price in the newly independent city states, where the people adore their ancient culture.





In the cities, you will find many well-maintained temples where priests and priestesses hold regular service to the gods. Marble floors, pillars, and plenty of statues decorate these sacred places. Similar to the temples is the architecture of the palaces of nobles and rich merchants: roofs supported by pillars, statues of the resident’s ancestors, beautiful murals on the walls.



When you visit the great city of Villenia, you will be able to experience Pyrrhenian culture at its greatest. You can go to the theater and watch skilled actors play out ancient dramas written by Pyrrhenia’s greatest poets. You can visit one of the many taverns and watch girls dressed in gowns of flowing silk dance to the tune of the lute as you drink a cup of mulled wine. Or you can relax in one of the city’s public bathhouses, where the water is kept warm by an elaborate system of pipes beneath the floor.


As an adventurer, many opportunities await you in the realm of Pyrrhenia. Explore ancient ruins from a legendary past in the hopes of finding artifacts that once belonged to mythic heroes. Assist intrepid explorers and merchants in their dangerous journeys across sea and land. And finally, spend your hard-earned coin on the luxuries offered by glorious Villenia, heart of the Pyrrhenian rebirth!
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