Welcome to the Age of Decadence public beta release! The main purpose of this demo is to get your feedback, as well as detect any performance or stability issues. The demo has all the features of the final game, except for Alchemy, which will be added in the upcoming months.
When you start the demo, you'll be presented with the character creation screen where you name your character, select a gender, choose a background, determining how you start the game and whether or not you belong to a guild, allocate stat & skill points, and (if you wish) tailor your characters appearance.
Bear in mind that the demo takes place in the “urban” setting and skills like lore and disarm (traps) won’t be as useful as they are when you explore the wasteland, ruins, and long-forgotten places. Similarly, Etiquette and reputation will start paying off later in the game – when you’re actively dealing with Noble Houses and do have an established reputation (in the demo you’re building it).
The following guide gives you a quick overview of the most important concepts of the Age of Decadence character, combat, and crafting systems.
1. CHARACTER SYSTEM
There are six primary statistics defining a character's innate physical and mental abilities. Between them they determine the starting values of skills, bonus Skill Points awarded, derived stats (Hit Points & Action Points), as well as modifiers for range, reaction, and accuracy. They are also regularly checked in dialogue and interactive text segments to allow access to specific gameplay options.
Strength (STR) - determines a character's damage modifiers and maximum carry weight.
Dexterity (DEX) - determines a character's Action Points and combat sequence.
Constitution (CON) - determines a character's Hit Points and poison/toxic resistance.
Perception (PER) - determines a character's range and accuracy modifiers.
Intelligence (INT) - determines a character's bonus Skill Points, received per 20 SP earned.
Charisma (CHA) - determines a character's reaction and reputation modifiers.
Hit Points (HP) - determine how much damage a character can soak up before dying, you're dead if it reaches 0 or less. (HP = CON x 5 + 10)
Action Points (AP) - determine how many actions a character can make during a combat turn. Different actions have varying action cost. (AP = DEX + 2)
Please note that once determined during the character creation phase, your character's HP will not be increased - unlike many other RPGs, there are no character progression levels and the HP value is static throughout the game. Consider your decisions carefully.
2. INTRODUCTION TO COMBAT
The combat in Age of Decadence is turn based, which means that each participant takes a turn and has a certain number of action points to use performing actions during each round. Once you enter combat, the fastest combatant will get to act first. When it's your turn, you will see a grid of squares surrounding your character. Take note of your hit points on the left and your action points on the right of your two weapon slots. On the far left is an information window that gives you more details about exactly what's going on during battle. Blue coloured squares are ones where you've enough action points to move during this turn, and if you hover the mouse over one the action point cost of moving to that square will pop up. Green coloured squares are those you can attack with your currently selected weapon (slot highlighted in yellow) and this is dependent on weapon reach and remaining action points. Move the mouse over a potential target on a green square and the name of the target, their rough state of health, and the likelihood of hitting them will pop up. Dark green means you can move or attack that square and red means that you can do neither.
Your character's Dexterity determines how many action points are available during each turn. Each action performed - swinging a sword, accessing your inventory, throwing a net, moving away, etc - has an associated AP cost. For example, a normal attack with a dagger (a fast weapon) takes 3AP, while a normal attack with a two handed hammer (a slow weapon) takes 6AP. Accessing your inventory during combat takes 4AP. There are two weapon slots, so either two one-handed weapons or a single two-handed weapon can be equipped at a time. The weapon's damage, range, and AP cost (modified by your stats, attack type, and ammo type) are displayed in the weapon slot. Right-click on the weapon slot to open a menu with the available attack options.
3. ATTACK TYPES
All weapons (except for crossbows) have fast, normal, and power attack options.
Normal attacks (key: n) - standard attacks that have no modifiers.
Fast attacks (key: f) - cause less damage, costs one AP less, but are more difficult to avoid. Generally most effective against fast, lightly armored opponents.
Power attacks (key: p) - cause a lot more damage, costs an extra AP, but are easier to avoid. Generally most effective against slow, heavy armored opponents.
Aimed attacks - aimed attacks all cost two extra AP's and have different to-hit penalties:
Torso – normal damage range, no penalty, chance to find a weak spot in the armor. (DR halved)
Arms – fast damage range, -10% to hit, disarms on a successful hit.
Legs – fast damage range, -20% to hit, cripples (movement cost doubled) on a successful hit.
Head – power damage range, -30% to hit, but a chance of knocking the opponent out.
Special attacks: whirlwind (melee weapons), impale (spears only), flurry (daggers only), multishot (bows and throwing only), burst (repeater crossbow only).
The versatility of crossbows comes from the different designs available: one-handed, double-shot, scoped, repeating with a magazine, etc. Unlike bows, crossbows have to be manually reloaded. You can right-click on a weapon to see the options available.
Certain weapons are more suited for either fast or power attacks and thus provide an increased damage range when used with these attacks. For example, a simple dagger does 1-6 damage for a normal strike, 1-3 damage for a fast strike, and 2-8 damage for a power attack. However, a curved dagger is better suited for fast, slashing attacks and less suited for powerful thrusts, so its damage ranges are 1-6 normal, 1-4 fast, and 2-7 for power attacks. However, a wide-bladed dagger is the opposite, so its damage ranges are 1-6 normal, 1-2 fast, and 2-9 for power attacks.
4. CRITICAL STRIKES
Critical strikes do more damage (20-40% extra damage tied to the size of your weapon) and can even lower one of your physical stats on a successful roll.
The likelihood of critical strikes is governed by the attackers critical strike skill compared with the defenders ‘vs critical’ score, which is the higher of armour vsCritical, shield vsCritical, or 0.6 x CS-skill. Strikes to the head are compared to the higher of the helmet vsCritical or 0.6 x CS-skill. It's very important once your character is pitted against more skilful and experienced opponents that they have some defence against critical strikes, as many fights are all but decided by well placed or lucky blows. Even if you're built like a tank, getting stabbed in the liver puts a crimp in anyone's style and longevity!
All weapons have 3 important statistics: damage range, attack speed in action points, and reach. Additionally, crossbows have fire/reload speed and, in some cases, multi shot capacity. Some weapons have special abilities like ignoring shields or cutting into the enemy's armor more effectively.
The game offers eight different types of weapon. Each type has its own passive trait that increases along with your skill with the weapon. The higher the skill, the higher the chance to score the special effect associated with your weapon.
Daggers - bypass armor.
Swords - increased chance of a Critical Strike.
Axes - split shields.
Hammers - knock your opponent to the ground.
Spears - interrupt attempts to close in.
Bows - increased chance of Critical Strike.
Crossbows - knock your opponent down.
Throwing - bypass armor.
Armor doesn't increase your chance to avoid attacks. In fact, it makes hits more likely as it reduces your mobility and makes it harder to dodge incoming attacks. However, armor absorbs some of the damage from attacks when you fail to dodge or block an attack successfully. Basically, using armor trades Dodge and Action Points for Damage Resistance.
Sets of armor have different statistics, so you must consider carefully what your fighting style is, and choose your equipment accordingly. Going for the heaviest armor and the biggest weapon may not be the best choice in the Age of Decadence.
Dodge penalty, Sneak penalty - self explanatory.
Damage resistance (DR) - how many points of damage from each attack this armor absorbs. For example, if DR is 6, then the first 6 points of damage per attack will be absorbed by the armor without any harm to your character. Note that damage reported in the info window is the amount of damage taken, after the amount absorbed by the armor has been subtracted, which is also reported.
Max Action Points (MaxAP) - the maximum amount of action points per turn. If Max AP is 8, then even if you have 12AP, while you're wearing this armor your effective AP each round is 8.
Versus critical (vsCritical) - protection against Critical Strikes (attacks that target weak armor spots and vital organs).
Helmets protect the head of the wearer, however they do not add to overall defense. Their statistics are only utilised when struck on the head. Not all opponents will aim attacks at the head, but leaving it unprotected will definitely be considered an open invitation by many more experienced and skilled opponents.
Damage resistance (DR) - usually less than most armor DR, so even if you fail to score a critical hit, you'll cause more damage if you can actually hit someone's head.
Versus critical (vsCritical) - the heavier the helmet, the better it protects you against critical strikes, but the more it limits your field of vision.
To-hit penalty - a helmet's design may limit your vision, thus reducing your to-hit chance.
Shields are used for blocking incoming strikes depending on a fighters' skill at blocking, and is an alternative to dodging attacks. Blocking is only used when holding a shield and having a block skill which is greater than dodge. Any novice can hide behind a tower shield, but the shield strapped to their arm will slow them down and they won't be able to attack as effectively as they would have without the shield. There are times when dodge characters may want to consider using a shield for the defense against critical strikes if gives them or ranged attacks, even with the associated dodge and to-hit penalties.
You can also use your shield to bash enemies and push them away.
Dodge penalty, To-Hit penalty, Sneak penalty, Versus critical (vsCritical), Versus Split (vsSplit)
Versus Ranged (vsRanged) - shields provide superior protection against all ranged attacks, but certain weapons, like pila (plural of pilum) and dagger-like armor-piercing bolts (30% chance) can go through shields, completely ignoring them. All shields are wooden and can be split in half by axes and two handed weapons. Once split, a shield is discarded and can't be repaired.
For the sake of convenience, all arrows and bolts have been combined into universal ammo. Originally, the game had arrows and bolts, but 3 different types times 5 different metals times various alchemy upgrades times 2 (arrows/bolts) was too much to manage and one universal ammo was forged by the Elven council. True story.
Regular - standard ammunition.
Armor piercing - causes less damage, but penetrates through armor better. DR is divided by 3 to determine the effective value, i.e. a DR9 armor will absorb 9 points of damage if shot at by regular ammo and only 3 points (9/3) if hit by armor-piercing ammo. There is also a 30% chance that it will pass straight through a shield, making a block ineffective.
Jagged - causes more damage, but is easily stopped by armor. DR is multiplied by 3 to determine the effective value, i.e. a DR1 armor will absorb 3 points of damage, but a DR4 armor will absorb 12 points of damage.
10. INTRODUCTION TO CRAFTING
You can use the Crafting system to create and/or improve weapons and armor using schematics (available from blacksmiths), material (metal ingots, wood, or leather) and techniques learned from NPCs or acquired through exploration. Armor and helmets can be crafted to increase DR, Max AP, vsCritical, or lower penalties. Similarly with weapons to increase vsDR, decrease AP cost, or increase damage. Shields cannot be crafted in AoD.
In the demo you are given three techniques without any restrictions, although you might encounter references to acquiring them in dialogues. Keep in mind that the Balanced technique is extremely rare and will be very hard to acquire in the full game (maybe 5-10% of players will manage to get it).
Here is the list of all available techniques from the full game:
Metalworking – you’ve learned how to work with metals and are able to forge weapons and armor.
Masterwork – you’ve acquired the secret ratios and temperatures necessary to forge harder and stronger metals and thus are able to forge high quality weapons and armor.
Hardened Edge – you’ve learned how to heat treat and edge quench different metals to harden them without making them brittle. Weapons that receive this treatment have superior armor penetration.
Balanced – you’ve learned the long forgotten secrets of blade geometries divined by the Magi in the olden days. Weapons forged with this knowledge are much easier to wield, which increases the attack speed.
Serrated Edge – you’ve learned how to add serrations to your weapons to aid in ripping and tearing through non-metal materials. Serrations increase your chance to cause a critical hit, but reduce armor penetration.
Studded Armor – you’ve learned how to improve leather armor with metal studs to make the armor more resistant to damage.
Hardened Armor – you’ve learned how to heat treat and full quench different metals to harden them without making them brittle. Hardened armor is more resistant to damage.
Lightened Armor – you’ve learned how to make armor less restrictive in combat without sacrificing its defensive qualities.
Reinforced Armor – you’ve learned how to reinforce armor’s weak spots and joints to protect its wearer against critical strikes without sacrificing mobility.
Flexible Bow – you’ve learned one of the ancient Ordu spirit rituals. It requires blood, tendons, and animal glue, and if performed correctly, will bind the spirits to a bow, making it snap back into position when shot, increasing the attack speed.
Mechanical Crossbow – you’ve learned a carefully guarded secret of Medean artificers: a clever crank which can easily fit inside the stock and make reloading a crossbow a less complicated and time consuming affair.
There are five different metal types: bronze, iron, steel, blue steel, meteor metal. Each ‘higher’ metal increases the damage range or damage resistance by 1. So, whereas a bronze gladius does 2-9 points of damage, a iron gladius does 3-10, steel 4-11, and so on.
The Masterwork technique can help you improve your weapons further by following the exact formulae to forge higher quality metal, thus increasing the damage range by up to 0-2 for each metal. For example, an iron masterwork gladius will do 3-12 points of damage, making it as good as bronze “long swords” like shamshir and handar, but faster.
The Hardened technique allows you to harden the edge of your weapon, taking a point away from the enemy’s DR. When applied to armor, these techniques lower penalties and increase DR respectively.
12. CRAFTING AND DECOMPOSING
To craft an item, open your inventory and go to the crafting tab. Select an item from the list of available schematics, apply any known technique(s), select a metal type or component, and click Forge. When the item is ready, drag it back to the inventory.
You can also decompose (melt) weapons and armor to get metal ingots or components. There is a material loss when you decompose, the higher the skill the less metal you lose
For example, if you find a blue steel heavy armor that weighs 35 pounds, but you would rather forge yourself a blue steel sword and a lighter armor, you can melt the heavy armor, losing, for example, 20% of the metal and getting 28 pounds of blue steel ingots, which you can use to craft yourself a broadsword (handar) – 3.5 pounds – and a cuirass (lorica musculata) – 20 pounds.
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