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Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter Update #7: An Introduction to the Stygian Abyss

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Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter Update #7: An Introduction to the Stygian Abyss

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 11 February 2015, 18:31:54

Tags: Chris Siegel; OtherSide Entertainment; Tim Stellmach; Underworld Ascendant

As promised, OtherSide Entertainment published a big Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter update last night. It's a broad overview of the game's setting, now revealed to be not just any underworld, but the exact same Great Stygian Abyss from the original Ultima Underworld. It includes descriptions of the Abyss' various factions, creatures, hazards, and more. I really like the emphasis on constructing a plausible underground ecology. Here's the update's accompanying video and an excerpt:

Enter the Stygian Abyss

The Stygian Abyss is a central character in Underworld Ascendant. An underworld labyrinth vast, dark, deep --- and full of secrets. Folk from the world above look at the Abyss with blind fear, believing it as no more than a den teaming with horrible subterranean monsters. Indeed horrible monsters that darken nightmares lurk. However, the Abyss is far beyond what those who live above might imagine. It’s an entire world unto itself.

The earliest recorded exploration of outsiders venturing into the Stygian Abyss was a small band of humans, led by the stout-hearted knight Cabirus. Cabirus was a dreamer, and held a vision of establishing a utopian colony within the Abyss. Half-remembered stories tell of how he nearly succeeded against all odds. Then the stories tell of how Cabirus’ plans faltered, and fell into ruin. It is presumed he and most of his band were wiped out by the monsters that dwell in the Abyss, where once again darkness and chaos ruled.

In Underworld Ascendant, you return to the Abyss as the Avatar generations after the events of Cabirus’ failed colony. You come as a human from our earth, stepping through a Rune Gate to magically travel across space and time to reach this fantasy realm. At first you are a ‘stranger in a strange land.’ You are dropped into the Abyss nearly naked, knowing nothing of the lay of the underworld, nor how to survive.

You will need to learn fast; the Abyss is an unforgiving place for the unwary. Yet it is not all monsters and dire foes. Others, humans and non-humans, have made a home in the Abyss. Some are friendly and may welcome you. Over time they can teach you the ways of the Abyss and help you survive its perils.

This dark and mysterious underworld will become your new home…

A Dynamic, Ever Changing World

The Abyss is not a static place just waiting frozen for the Avatar to enter. It has evolved over the eons before the Avatar arrives, and will continue to do so for eons after. Within the Abyss are a myriad of moving, shifting and changing elements. Subterranean rivers flood, or run dry. Lava flows cut off halls. Underworld flora blooms and spreads to new regions. Currents bring noxious gasses wafting through areas. The player may reenter an area that was benign the first time they visited, only to encounter fresh hazards.

A clever Avatar can try to manipulate the environment to their advantage. Open a sluice gate to flood a once bone-dry region, enabling the Shamblers to extend their territory. Plant Ripper seedlings, then come back to watch the fun when they start sprouting a few days later. Redirect a channel of lava flow to block off a chamber. Player induced changes can led to interesting and unpredictable outcomes. The only thing certain is that the Abyss will never stay fixed.

Read the entire update, it's really good. You can tell they have a lot of ideas on how to make this game a highly detailed systems-driven sandbox, with that fun, slightly off-kilter Looking Glass twist still recognizable 15 years after the company's closure. Such a shame that this campaign isn't doing better.

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