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KickStarter Vagrus: The Riven Realms - post-apocalyptic fantasy caravan master RPG - now with Sunfire & Moonshadow expansion

Sztaszov

Lost Pilgrims
Developer
Joined
Nov 7, 2018
Messages
73
Hi Rahdulan, If you get to trying out the current alpha build, feel free to share your thoughts about it.

Hey laclongquan, Modding is not yet available and the game is very far from being finished, so not really on the team's mind at this point, but I could image it becoming available eventually, like for similar games. Will see.
 

Sztaszov

Lost Pilgrims
Developer
Joined
Nov 7, 2018
Messages
73
[Source: Steam Devlog #14 | Twitter feed]

Devlog #14 ⚔️☠️ Companion Combat Guide - Part 2: Companion Actions ☠️⚔️

In the previous part of our Companion Combat Guide (Part 1: The Basics) we left off at discussing the Leader's role in combat after outlining the basic rules of an engagement. In this part, we'll cover the actions that Companions can take during their turn.

Movement

All characters can Move to any adjacent position on their side of the battlefield. If they move into a position that is occupied by another character, that character is pushed out of the position it occupies and has to be moved into an adjacent free position (even to the position the moving character has just left).

giphy.gif


Melee Skills, of course, can only be used from the front row. Additionally, not only do characters in the front row prevent melee attacks against characters directly behind them but also make them more difficult to hit with certain Ranged Skills (those that have the Line of Sight property), so moving and positioning is paramount in Companion combat. By extension, Combat Skills that move enemies can be extremely useful to get to pesky support or damage-dealing enemies in the back line or to prevent melee-heavy enemies from using Skills.

Targeting Basics

Skills vary vastly in what or who you can target with them. Some skills target an enemy (or several enemies even) while others your own Companion or Companions. There are also certain Skills that target empty positions and leave some kind of delayed effect on it (for example, a hail of arrows to strike anyone entering the position). Finally, some Skills only target the user, typically self-buffs.

Melee Skills can only be used from the front row. They can only target front row enemies that are adjacent to the attacker’s position or back row enemies if no front row enemy stands in the way.

Ranged Skills can target anyone on the given side of the battlefield. A subset of Ranged Skills have the Line of Sight property - these receive a flat penalty to Accuracy when targeting an opponent behind another enemy or an obstacle (thus gaining Cover).

Multi-target Skills

Some Combat Skills target multiple enemies in a set configuration from one of these:
  • Two Adjacent enemies in a row (for example, Sedarias' Cleave hits two melee enemies next to each other in the same row).
giphy.gif

  • Both enemies in a Line which means a front row enemy and the one in the back row behind it.
  • All enemies in an entire row (for example, Garrik's gas bomb affects all targets in a single row).
combat-gasbomb.jpg

  • Up to four enemies in a square pattern (for example, Finndurarth Lightning Strike targets a 4-position square and hits everyone inside that).
  • The whole enemy side. These skills are rare and extremely powerful (for example, the Jhakra Alpha's Roar potentially Stuns the entire enemy side).
Skill and Movement Combined

A lot of Companions and enemies have Skills that include some kind of Movement in the effects. The case is either that a Move precedes the Skill's effect or that a Move follows it. Javek's Receding Swing allows him to attack someone in Melee and then Move, which is ideal to bring the relatively squishy sorcerer to safety in the back line.

giphy.gif


Morwen's Strafe is another great example: she hits two adjacent enemies in Melee, then receives a Move to the side. This way she can often deal damage while repositioning herself either to protect someone in the back or to distance herself from dangerous enemies.

giphy.gif


Beside Move and using Skills, Companions also have the option to forfeit their turn. This is not only useful when they have nothing to do but outright compulsory when they can not act (for example, because none of their Skills have viable targets and they are prevented from Moving by an effect).

With every Companion and enemy having four Combat Skills and such an emphasis on movement and positioning, combat is deeply strategic and has a lot of synergies even in the Prologue. We hope you found this useful or interesting. In the next part we will talk about defenses and how they affect actions.

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Last edited:

Sztaszov

Lost Pilgrims
Developer
Joined
Nov 7, 2018
Messages
73
Devlog #15 | Companion Combat Guide - Part 3: Defenses️☠️
[Source: Itchio]

Companion combat is cruel in Vagrus and in general you can not heal during it. Your defenses are your main way to mitigate damage, so understanding how they work is very important.

Basics

Vitality (VIT) is the stat that your fighters lose each time they are hit. When depleted, the Companion falls into a Downed state. When Downed, they can not act (they do not receive their turns) but can be targeted and damaged. They have their Downed Vitality for when they are Downed. If that, too, is depleted, they are Out of Action, which means long-term wounds and potentially death. Therefore, it behooves the player to protect Downed Companions as best they can. That said, there are a few methods to bring back Downed characters into action but none of these are easy or cheap.

downed.gif


Armor (ARM) is the stat that mitigates damage: its value is deducted from incoming damage. Some Skills have additional effects that can reduce or outright ignore Armor, so that also has to be considered.

Defense Modes

Your defenses (Evade and Block) are the primary means to avoid or mitigate incoming damage.

evade.gif


Evade (EVD) allows you to completely avoid an attack but you will be moved to an adjacent unoccupied position after a successful Evade. That also means that they may move away from a position that protects another Companion or into a potentially more dangerous position.

block.gif


A successful Block (BLC) provides extra Armor against the attack, mitigating more damage. However, you can still suffer damage while blocking and also suffer adverse effects from an attack, unlike with Evade (see Resistances below).

You can only have one active Defense Mode per combatant, either Block or Evade. Each Companion has different Evade and Block chance but because certain Skills are better against one or the other, you often have to change these to adapt to the situation at hand.

Cover

Additionally, the Cover system also modifies these rules in the following way: if another Companion or objects is in front of a back line combatant, Ranged attacks with the Line of Sight property against them receives a flat penalty on Accuracy (making it harder to hit the difficult-to-see enemy in the thick of combat).

cover.gif


Resistances

Beside direct physical damage, combatants can receive, there is a vast number of Effects the Skills may apply on their targets (Stun, Poison, Curse and so on), as well as all kinds of elemental damage (like lightning, fire, magic, and so on). Each Companion has a set of Resistances that serve two purposes:
  • They lower the amount of elemental damage from the give type (for example, 30% Fire Resistance will decrease Fire damage by 30%).
  • They can negate the effects of Skills (for example, with 30% Fire Resistance, the combatant has 30% chance each time a Fire effect - like Burning - would take hold to negate the effect entirely).
Enemies and allies both have really varied Resistance setups, so it often comes to bringing the right fighters against a tough enemy to gain the advantage. Of course, a lot of buffs, debuffs, temporary and permanent effects, as well as equipment can alter Resistances.

We hope this was interesting to some of you and even useful for learning the workings of Companion combat in Vagrus. In the next - final - part of this guide we are going to cover the movement effects.

Thanks for reading and following us,
The Lost Pilgrims Team

Steam Store Page | Game Jolt page | Itch.io page | IndieDB page
Website | Youtube | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Discord
 

Sztaszov

Lost Pilgrims
Developer
Joined
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Messages
73
Devlog #16 | Companion Combat Guide - Part 4: Movement Effects ⚔️☠️
[Source: Steam]

In the last part of the Combat Guide we took a look at defenses and their importance. This time, we'll delve into effects that involve movement or its restriction in one way or another.

Many Combat Skills in Companion Combat deal some kind of additional effect; some of these involve forced movement on the target or the denial of movement.

Push and Pull

As discussed before, positioning in Companion Combat is paramount, stemming from the fact that many Skills can only be used from either the front or back line. It thus follows that Skills that can change the position of an opponent are very useful as they can deny them an action by making them spend their turn to reposition. These effects are resolved immediately.

giphy.gif


Push is the most common of such effects. When a Skills that has Push connects with a front row target and causes damage (even if the damage is mitigated to 0), the target is pushed to the back row if the Resist roll is failed. If there is another opponent that occupies that position, they both lose 1 Vitality.

giphy.gif


Pull does the opposite, that is, when connected (and dealing damage as well as not resisted), the effect pulls a back row target to the front row. This can be used very effectively to pull squishier or dangerous ranged opponents to the front where your melee squad can punish them severely.

giphy.gif


Control

Certain Skill effects allow you to control the actions of your opponents, though these almost always allow you only to move with the opponent, not to use their Skills. Still, if done well, this free movement can very effectively disrupt the enemy's plans, positioning adversaries into vulnerable places or denying them actions.

Immobilize and Stun

There are also effects that outright deny movement and even actions in general when applied (after the Skill that has this effect connects, causes damage, and the effect is not resisted). These effects can last several rounds at a time.

giphy.gif


A successful Immobilize denies the target the use of their Move action. They can still use their Skills available from that position but this may severely limit what they can do. Certain characters - when immobilized in the right position - can be forced to pass their turn as they can no do anything. A successful Stun forces the target to pass its turn, thus denying them all actions. Stun is a powerful effect that is usually costly to use and is thus limited.

Overwatch and Obstacles

There are other effects that can alter movement and positioning. Overwatch is a Skill type that allows a character to set an attack on an empty position: when an opponent moves onto (or is moved onto) such a position, the attack is triggered. Though the opponent does not see which empty position is overwatched, fear of triggering it may result in avoiding movement altogether.

giphy.gif


Obstacles occupy a position but do not act. They have Vitality and can be targeted. When defeated they simply disappear from the battlefield. Some Skills spawn Obstacles that can be used either to give your back-row characters Cover or deny certain positions on the enemy side (by placing the Obstacle there).

As you can see, these movement-influencing effects can be useful in a large variety of situations. Keeping select enemies controlled in such ways is a very viable tactic to achieve victory even against unfavorable odds.

We hope this was interesting to some of you and even useful for learning the workings of Companion combat in Vagrus. We might return with further Combat Guides in the future.

Thanks for reading and following us,
The Lost Pilgrims Team

Website | Youtube | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Patreon | Discord
 

Sztaszov

Lost Pilgrims
Developer
Joined
Nov 7, 2018
Messages
73
Devlog #17 | Delivering News (Game Design Post)
[Source: Steam]

yj6Hg9.jpg

This time we would like to introduce a brand new game mechanic to you that you will see quite a lot in Vagrus: the acquiring and delivering of news across vast tracts of wasteland. Carrying news between settlements not only makes sense from a gameplay perspective but has its foundations in-world, too, that is, comitati are known to have a vital role in distributing news and taking messages all over the continent of Xeryn.

Acquiring News
News are tied to settlements: each settlement, however small, has its own News entry. You will acquire the entry for the given settlement when you enter the mansio in it. Alternatively, if you already have the entry in your Journal, it is reset to the freshest state when you enter the mansio. Sometimes you can also find News entries through Events as well - these often give you entries from faraway places.

Delivering News
You can deliver news by turning them in at the mansio in settlements. Doing so will grant you coins depending on the number of entries, their freshness, and your current distance from their source. Note that News entries are not lost when you turn them in but you can not turn them in at that settlement again for a while. Entries can only disappear from your Journal when they lose all their freshness (but this can be reset by acquiring that same entry again).

The Value of News
Each News entry is slowly becoming less fresh and thus its value is constantly degrading. This is balanced by the fact that the farther the source of the entry to the turn-in point, the greater its value. Single entries are worth very little but turning in several in as many places as you can, you will gain a constant and fairly reliable side income. Yet you will not be able to sustain a caravan only by taking news between settlements.

How to Use News
All the above results in a system that encourages planning journeys ahead and including as many settlements as possible along the way as well as getting to them as fast as possible. This means more News entries plus more deliveries and thus more income. Yet the mechanic is non-intrusive and works mostly automatically, rewarding players who plan ahead.

This post is dedicated to Chauncey St. John, our Sponsor tier Patron. Thanks for your support, Chance!

Website | Youtube | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Patreon | Discord
 

Sztaszov

Lost Pilgrims
Developer
Joined
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Messages
73
Hey Guys, big announcement: Vagrus is coming to Fig in April 2019
Sign up & Conquer the Wasteland at Fig
More info about Fig's new Open Access campaign framework in this post
 

Sztaszov

Lost Pilgrims
Developer
Joined
Nov 7, 2018
Messages
73
Hey Guys, big announcement: Vagrus is coming to Fig in April 2019
Sign up & Conquer the Wasteland at Fig
More info about Fig's new Open Access campaign framework in this post


Any reason in particular you chose Fig vs. KS?


Yep. Quite a few actually. Mostly had to do with the new framework the guys at Fig cooked up but other factors came into play as well.
You can read more about the reasons in our post here but in short: Fig's Open Access is a mix of traditional KS & EA in which we saw benefits, and they actively support the campaign (even with marketing budget). But hey, ask us again in two months. :)

upload_2019-3-21_23-14-37.png
 

Rahdulan

Omnibus
Patron
Joined
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Messages
5,144
Actually live on Fig as of today.

I also played the alpha some time ago, but I'm way too lazy to write something substantial at the moment. Really liked how it transitioned from "oh, it's one of The Oregon Trail style kind of games with greater narrative" to gradually exposing you to more numbers and systems as you go on until you realize there's quite a lot under the hood. By the time you actually reach Avernum you're ready for another dose of information after you've experienced combat and some choices. Only thing I would complain about is there are way too many empty nodes in the world that are just there to pass days so you have to postpone payments to your crew and pay more when you reach civilization, especially because I guess chunk of the game we got in the alpha is a somewhat narrower tutorial.

At the end of the day I'm not sure what would be Vagrus' intended target audience. Kinda going for pretty specific cross-section of interests there.
 

Sztaszov

Lost Pilgrims
Developer
Joined
Nov 7, 2018
Messages
73
Actually live on Fig as of today.

I also played the alpha some time ago, but I'm way too lazy to write something substantial at the moment. Really liked how it transitioned from "oh, it's one of The Oregon Trail style kind of games with greater narrative" to gradually exposing you to more numbers and systems as you go on until you realize there's quite a lot under the hood. By the time you actually reach Avernum you're ready for another dose of information after you've experienced combat and some choices. Only thing I would complain about is there are way too many empty nodes in the world that are just there to pass days so you have to postpone payments to your crew and pay more when you reach civilization, especially because I guess chunk of the game we got in the alpha is a somewhat narrower tutorial.

At the end of the day I'm not sure what would be Vagrus' intended target audience. Kinda going for pretty specific cross-section of interests there.

Great summary, thanks a lot Rahdulan!

IMPORTANT: in appreciation of all the support you guys have shown towards Vagrus in the last eight months, Lost Pilgrims Studio would like to offer a limited time -$5 discount to ALL RPGCodex members on all pledge tiers of their campaign at Fig.
If you follow the link below you will see a -$5 coupon show up in your cart as you check out. Enjoy! Both the coupon and the game. Oh yes, it might be worth mentioning at this point that Backers get instant access to the current Open Access build via Discord (or itchio if you are a MAC/Linux user).
https://www.fig.co/campaigns/vagrus-the-riven-realms?r=AG&mp=RPGCodex

P.s.: TZ3K, Could you please update the link in the first post to this too? Thanks a lot!
 

Rahdulan

Omnibus
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Messages
5,144
I like the fact that actual gameplay milestones seem to be seamless additions to the game instead of "well, we need more money so we'll add arbitrary features to justify asking for more money". I certainly hope they get $25k to include crew combat.
 

Brutan

Savant
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Messages
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Romania
PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Shadorwun: Hong Kong
You've been nice to us, i am nice to you. I backed. This better not turn out to be all combat and just a token narration.
 

Galdred

Studio Draconis
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Developer
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4,383
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Middle Empire
Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
Damn, I missed the link for a coupon, but thanks!
The game looks really solid, and the universe sounds cool. Unlike Brutan, I would be totally ok with mostly combat and exploration, and a token narration, as long as the game offers enough player agency!
 

Infinitron

I post news
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Messages
97,700
Codex Year of the Donut Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Wrath I'm very into cock and ball torture I helped put crap in Monomyth
https://www.fig.co/campaigns/vagrus-the-riven-realms/updates/913

Two More Milestones Funded | Crew Combat Coming Up Next
POSTED: 05/13/2019

What a Great Start!
Just in a few days from launching the public phase of our campaign we have passed two additional milestones: Scouting and Trade Systems.

Thank you so much to all our Backers and supporters on social media! This would not have been possible without you!

So, let's take count of where we are and what comes next.

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Achieved Milestones
Last week was all about launching the public campaign but we also made some preparations to enable the development of Milestone 1-3, and now we can add Milestone 4 and 5 to the list, too.

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Milestone 1 - Journal improvements | On Track
We've already had fairly detailed plans, including mock-ups, for the Journal updates so we could start implementing those right away. So far the development seems to be progressing well. Beside adding the new features, we also need to break then reconnect some of the pieces. The reason for that is that in the new structure we're changing how and where we store certain data elements. Good examples would be Rumors and Passengers, both finding their new home in our data tables while before Rumors were recorded in our text editor and passengers were added directly in the code. We will also need to make some tutorial changes as multiple user interfaces are affected by this update.



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Milestone 2 - New Combat Backgrounds & Deployment UI | On Track
This update includes two improvements:

1) We decided that the combat backgrounds needed some rework. Partly to make them visually more pleasing but also to harmonize their perspective (horizon, angles, etc.). We are also adding new combat backgrounds, some will come as extra into the stand-alone story Pilgrims of the Wasteland, while others you will only encounter in the main campaign. Producing art assets of course takes longer so we started to work on them soon after entering BackStage Pass here on Fig. The good news is that not only are they ready but our artist working on them had time to create a brand new digital painting for Avernum, too. We felt we needed to do justice to that great city.

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2) The redesign of our Companion Combat deployment user interface - which we prioritized so high based on the feedback of our players, and our experiences during a recent GameShow we attended; a good percentage of players found it unclear which companions were deploy-able vs. fixed already on the battlefield. With this change, though, we are also making preparations for future options, like indicating companions that must or must not be deployed, or the minimum / maximum number of companions to be involved in the given combat, and so on. We will start implementing this part soon after finishing the first Journal update, so while that is being tested we could add this.



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Milestone 3 -Extended Narration | Pending
We reached out to the voice actor who recorded all the lines for Agos the Wanderer in the past but have not heard back from him for over ten business days. It may not mean anything but we need to keep an eye on this. Based on his account updates - or rather the lack thereof - something may have prevented him from practicing his voice over service lately. Our preference and stance on the matter at this point is definitely to wait and keep trying to reach him but eventually we may need to consider recasting for Agos if we were not able to have him record the remainder of the narration for him. We will keep you posted on the subject but even until then feel free to let us know your views on whether to wait. Alternative voice actor recommendations are also welcome, just in case.



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Milestone 4 - Scouting Alpha | On Track (Queued Up)
Have you felt during your Alpha build play-through how nice it would be to have some information about what you can expect on the nodes around you before committing to a direction with your comitatus? If yes, you will definitely like this feature. Scouting ahead will not only bring you intel about the events that may occur in a given location but also the likelihood of crew combat encounters (Milestone 6). Of course, like everything in the game, this will come at a price: you will need to spend movement point (possibly Resourcefulness) and risk your scouts each time you send them out, making you weight the pros and cons of recon missions. Working on the coding and testing of this Scouting feature will come after the completion of Milestone 1, running parallel with the implementation of Milestone 2.



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Milestone 5 - Trade Pricing System | On Track (Queued Up)
Trade Pricing System is a typical underdog feature: deploying it will involve no new shiny interface, it will just runs in the background, minding its own business (pun intended). Yet, it will have vital importance ensuring that hauling cargo between settlements would make sense financially. Well, if you take into account supply routes, actual demands and can deduct what some rumors might entail as to the prices of certain goods in given regions. The development of this feature will only come after on Milestone 4 so it for now just quietly stands in the queue waiting for its turn.



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Milestone 6 - Crew Combat Alpha | Coming Up Next!
The next big thing. Having fighters and outriders in your crew might have given it away already that they would play an important role during your journeys across the wastelands of the continent. The feature that builds on them is crew combat. The design of this feature is in quite an early stage - we are in the process of prototyping our ideas. The main objective is very clear, though: we would like to give the option to players to get through random encounters using this feature instead of the slower companion combat. Players in most cases could pick between those two allowing them to build on their strengths. Of course, there will be many engagements where it is predefined which combat type - or even both - takes place.



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Support Vagrus by Spreading the Word
Hope you are just as enthusiastic about our progress and upcoming milestone as we are. If so, help us pushing the campaign further with spreading the word about Vagrus. Start by sharing this post on your favorite social media channel. Post(s) with the highest Like/Upvote/etc. might earn the sharer some perks on our Discord server. ;)
 

Feyd Rautha

Arcane
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Apr 17, 2009
Messages
1,981
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Nestled atop the cliffs
Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag. Pathfinder: Wrath
New update on fig:

The Lost Pilgrims team said:
How the Riven Realms came to be
Great news! Our campaign has just reached $20k.

We are also happy to report that the development on the first two milestones has been progressing so well that backers might see the new Alpha build - that include the milestones - come to their way sometime next week.

While waiting for that, we thought we would share a post here that gives quite an insight into how our small group of friends stepped on the road to become lifelong role-playing addicts, and how the Riven Realms as a setting started to slowly come together in Geri's - our dungeon master's - mind and campaigns from very early on. So without further ado, let's read his account on 'How the Riven Realms came to be'.

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It's spring 1990 and I'm in elementary school. My best friend brings a book to school that he reads aloud to a small group of us during our big walks at lunch break. The book has a weird old wizard on the cover conjuring smoke from a crystal ball. More interesting are the illustrations on the inside: intricate black and white drawings of strange fantasy creatures and dungeon locations. The little book is Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson's Warlock of Firetop Mountain, translated to our native language. Most of you probably know that it's a gamebook that you do not read from start to end but in branching numbered chapters that make the story personal and add replayability. Yet they are much more than simple choose-your-own-adventure books because they include a stat and combat system you have to manage throughout the adventure - albeit a really simple one.

That, our first interactive roleplaying experience, set us down on a path that culminated in what is now called the Riven Realms and is shaping up to be Vagrus, the game.

So, as it happens, many of you have asked us - either recently or through the years - how the Riven Realms came to be. These questions ranged from inquiring the influences on the setting to implying that it's some kind of an homage or even a ripoff of Dark Sun. Telling the story of how the setting sprung to life over 25 years ago, matured, got altered countless times, grew, and became a detailed fantasy world would probably mean telling the story of my life, which I do not intend to do here, thank god; I could, however, provide an outline for those of you interested in such accounts. So here goes.

Fighting Fantasy and Titan:
There we were, having opened a door to a new kind of storytelling and a seemingly endless well of interactive fiction. Soon, this group of kids delved deep into the Jackson-Livingstone Fighting Fantasy gamebooks. It's not to say that we were previously unexposed to fantasy, because we were (mostly in the form of B movies and animations); but the level of interactivity with these worlds was alien to us before the FF books.

I can't remember exactly how I started thinking about creating my own fantasy world. I used to draw a lot, mostly creatures and warriors and weapons (what boys typically draw at that age I suppose), and soon these drawings would be given a common backdrop. Creatures suddenly came from lands I gave names to and heroes now had a history. Then came Titan, which was essentially a campaign setting book for Fighting Fantasy. I never knew campaign settings existed before encountering Titan. In it were described the three great landmasses of the Livingstone-Jackson fantasy world. One such continent, called Khul, was a dark, forsaken place filled with wastelands, cursed landscapes, and dwindling kingdoms after its devastation by magic and wars. That, more than anything else, influenced my world in its early stages; or I should say the part of the world where Vagrus is set, which is only one continent out of four. I started to draw maps. On them there was now a continent irrevocably ruined by an unspeakable catastrophe...

The 'Land of Survivors'
1992 brought with it the first (and maybe only) Hungarian play-by-mail game, called Túlélők Földje (roughly translated into 'Land of Survivors'). I must confess that I have never played the game myself but my friends were infatuated with it for a few years so I inadvertently learned quite a lot about it. Its world was devastated by a 'great burning' and I remember that I had become really intrigued by this concept, yet I felt that their setting was too lighthearted for my tastes and was constantly trying to picture what a post-apocalyptic fantasy world would look like. So credit where credit is due: if it wasn't for this weird game, I would not have focused on Xeryn so much, probably.

Roleplaying in the Riven Realms
Around this time, we started to play our first pen and paper RPG. Hungary was some 20 years behind the Western world in many respects even after the political changes of the decade, so D&D was fairly unknown, as were boardgames and the large majority of fantasy literature. In most cases, translations did not exist for a long while or were made by amateurs. I recall experimenting with our own rule setting and playing on Titan but that soon became stale. Then came the Hungarian knock-offs of successful RPGs but they did not capture my imagination at all. Eventually, we started to play in our own campaign setting based on the fantasy world I've been busily working on. This brought with it a level of detail I previously thought unattainable and further expanded the scope of the Riven Realms.

We've been practically playing ever since, changing rulesets when we felt the need (but later on sticking to iterations of D&D for the most part) and occasionally trying other pen and paper stuff as well (most notably and extensively Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, D6 Star Wars, and Second Edition Shadowrun). These campaigns were essential in fleshing out the world, its inhabitants, and its history. Countless details (some large, some small) changed during the years to lead to the state in which the Riven Realms are now. It was eerily similar to drawing a map and filling out blank spaces as you go.

CRPGs
Obviously, many computer games had an influence on a budding world such as the Riven Realms had been back then. So many, in fact, that it'd be impossible to list them all. It all began with pirated versions of Ultima 6 as well as Might and Magic World of Xeen, but those influences were more general on world building and less specific to Xeryn.

1998 brought with it Baldur's Gate, followed by a renaissance of computer roleplaying games. By then these products were more readily available in Hungary as well so I got my hands on them right away. I was admittedly more captivated with the games than with Forgotten Realms in Baldur's Gate and its sequel but this era opened up access to a whole new range of fictional worlds and mythologies for me to delve into nonetheless.

There were a lot of games I could name that came later and had an influence on the world of the Riven Realms and the ravaged continent of Xeryn in particular. Chief among these was Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind in 2002. An alien, unique, yet familiar world was something I set as a golden standard for myself from then on.

Also notably, this was the time when English started to become more and more often represented in written material and on maps. This further shifted to prominence with my studies as an English Major at university, eventually culminating in English being established as the primary language of the Riven Realms outside of pen and paper RPG sessions.

Planescape, Dark Sun, Dragonlance, and Ravenloft
With the early 2000s there came chances to obtain and read campaign settings that were previously beyond my reach. Of these, Dark Sun and Planescape were the most prominent influences on Xeryn (and are the most recognizable I think) but Dragonlance with its devastated world and cataclysm, as well as Ravenloft with its dark lands ruled by darker forces were also of utmost importance in shaping the Riven Realms.

As much as I like the comparison to Dark Sun, in fact it was the last of the old TSR campaign settings I became familiar with after my friend Christian lent me the first three volumes of the Prism Pentad and I read them with reverence. The look and feel of the continent of Xeryn had already been established by that time. Of course that does not mean I haven't taken a lot of inspiration from that particular campaign setting, especially concerning the traveling companies and trading houses.

Ancient History
I've always been a history fan, especially when it came to Ancient and Medieval times. Then my little brother became a History-Archeology Major at uni in 2005 and chose the Roman Empire and the Migration Period as his specialization. I used to listen to his long accounts of what he studied when we were back in our parents' house at weekends. We watched documentaries together on the Romans and I read some of his books and notes even. The Empire in the Riven Realms has always had a strong ancient Roman influence but these next few years laid the groundwork for a proper redesign of the Empire into the image of how it was always meant to be.

Tolkien
This might seem a no-brainer yet I think it most certainly deserves an explanation. Because I don't just mean how Tolkien's works influenced my own writing (which they most certainly did) but also how his documented world-building had a powerful effect on my world-building. Even though I had read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings several times before (both in Hungarian and in English), my fairly recent re-reading of the saga and especially The Silmarillion as well as Unfinished Tales were pivotal in conscious creation of fictional myths and a genesis story. Tolkien's essays and correspondence are also great reads for anyone thinking about creating elaborate fictional worlds.

Other Sources
There are a few honorary mentions that had a powerful effect on how the Riven Realms were formed, even though these were more literary influences than ones concerning the setting itself but sometimes it's impossible to separate the two.

The Black Company by Glen Cook: I was fortunate to have come across this sequence of novels some 5 or 6 years ago. Their nonchalant, even cynical narrative and dark world of mercenaries and lowlife characters were things I immediately took to and strove to incorporate into my own style and stories.

Robert E. Howard: I've been reading Conan stories since the late 90s and even though the Riven Realms is primarily dark fantasy, there are hard fantasy elements in it, and what there is had certainly been influenced by Howard's works. Also, Aquilonia has a heavy Roman/Byzantine influence, which might have had its own impression on my world-building (even though I do not specifically recall that).

H.P. Lovecraft: I was obsessed with Lovecraft in my secondary school and university years, reading from him anything I could get my hands on. His influence on unfathomable, cosmic threats present in the world of the Riven Realms is undeniable, even if mostly in essence not in form. Lovecraft's works set in the Dreamlands were especially influential when it came to fleshing out the Outer Realms.

The Present (2018)
It's late summer 2018 and I'm sitting at my desk, thinking about the Riven Realms, trying to give an outline of almost three decades of inspiration and creation (and fairly certainly leaving important stuff out). 28 years of imagination manifesting itself from a child's drawings to crude maps, from roleplaying backdrops to short stories - and now as the setting for a game in development. What a journey it has been! Fortunately, it's not over yet. If all goes well, this is just the beginning, and the Riven Realms might bring joy and inspiration to more than just a small group of friends. I certainly hope so.
- Geri, Lost Pilgrim

Well, that summary was first published nine months ago and a lot has happened since then. Not only did we bring Vagrus to life but you, dear Backers, can already enjoy its early Alpha version and we have been blown away by the warm welcome from across the board. Thank you very much! As we continue to expand the game both in terms of features and content, we hope to see you come back, try the new additions, and help us spread the word about Vagrus so our campaign could cover even more milestones.

The Lost Pilgrims team
 
Joined
Dec 17, 2013
Messages
5,264
Look devs, I don't know much about your game, but you gotta change the title. Vagrus sounds like some serious disease of the similar sounding organ.
 

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