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Vince
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« on: February 16, 2018, 02:25:17 pm »

I rarely hype games these days, but this is really fucking awesome, so you have to check it out. I insist.

* * *

Once, the world was better, the gods greater, the wars over, the end farther. You were born in the Cloudlands during those days, one of the Ormfolk, forever young and strong, worshiped by those below for your forefathers’ deeds. But all is not well. Now, wolves and worse haunt the night, the law holds no sway, and men’s hearts grow hard toward your kind. Fearful of their dwindling shares of souls, your brothers turned against each other ... and against you. And so you were cast down from the clouds, a fallen god broken upon the bitter earth. You rise, still free from death, with only the slightest hope of winning your way back to the heavens that are your rightful home.

Fallen Gods is an RPG inspired by the board game Barbarian Prince, the computer game King of Dragon Pass, and the sagas, eddas, and folklore of the far north. With a dark, wry tone, it tells the story of a god trying to survive in a dying world ruled by beings with great might and wits, but without the wisdom to heal the wounds left by their wars. The game has been in production for about four years, and its concepts have been building in my head for decades.

At the core of Fallen Gods are interactive events, choose-your-own-adventure vignettes in the spirit of the Lone Wolf gamebooks. Throughout the game, the player will enter towns and tunnels, meet strangers and friends on the road, face earthly and unearthly foes, and witness wonders of all kinds. Each of these events, accompanied by a hand-painted illustration, consists of a series of nodes, each a paragraph of text followed by several choices that depend upon the skills the god knows, the items he bears, and the followers he leads.

These events, like Fallen Gods itself, are about exploring the game’s world, mechanics, and story. In every session, dozens of the hundreds of possible events are spread across a procedurally generated landscape in a way that creates both surprise and coherence. Events are both destinations for the player to seek out and obstacles to bar his way. They provide the landmarks and characters that bring the world to life and make geographic exploration rewarding and dangerous.

Events also provide a laboratory for mechanical exploration. Just as the world is unique in every session, so too is the god, with different skills, strengths, supplies, followers, and gear. These things, alone and together, are powerful tools that can open up new paths, some obvious, others requiring thought and experience. Thus, for example, the Death Lore skill (allowing the god to speak to the dead) and the Wurmskin Cloak (allowing him to understand the speech of birds) can together unlock a new path through the “Windfall” event, which begins with the god finding a field full of dead starlings. Or, in “The Whale,” the player might use the Wild Heart skill (allowing him to bend beasts to his will) along with Nail (a magical spear) to draw back and harpoon his titular foe. In another example, the screenshot below shows a few of the possible forks at the start of the “All Is Lost” event.

As the player passes along these different event paths, he uncovers more about the world and what has befallen it. This “narrative exploration” reflects three values (aside from the basic goal of engaging writing). First, what the player learns should be relevant to the game’s mechanics and thus of practical value. As in the wonderful King of Dragon Pass, an understanding of the setting’s laws and lore helps in handling both friends and foes, in making informed choices rather than guesses. Second, while Fallen Gods involves plenty of words, reading should lead to doing: there is never more than a paragraph of text before the player is back in control, either making a choice with strategic consequences, fighting foes in a tactical battle, or exploring the world while managing resources. Third, the setting should be uncanny and unsettling, rooted in the same rich soil from which modern fantasy springs, but growing along different lines.

That setting grew from my fascination with Iceland and its marvelous Commonwealth, a nation of silver-tongued skalds, quick-witted warriors, troll-women, and land-wights, a land haunted at night by the Northern Lights, where some men still worshiped the beautifully flawed Norse gods. Where but in that Iceland would they compose an epic about a man who “was so great a lawyer that his match was not to be found”? This is Njal Thorgeilsson, the 10th century hero of the hauntingly titled Saga of Burnt Njal, a man who warns that “by the law alone will our land be built up” in a saga that vividly shows the other path, as scenes of farms and families give way to an endless blood-feud that brings Njal his fatal epithet. Where but in that Iceland would men dream up nabrok, wealth-bringing pants stitched from a dead man’s skin, or tilberi, milk-sucking worms shaped by witches from wool-wrapped ribs? What other land, so tiny, so remote, so poor, could bring forth not just Snorri Sturluson but Leif Erikson?

But Fallen Gods is not a “Norse” or “Viking” game; neither is it a Tolkien-inspired fantasy setting. Rather, like Tolkien’s own setting, it is drawn from the old lore and poured into a new glass, hopefully yielding something familiar but also strange.

Over the next weeks, we’ll sharing more about the game’s setting and its systems, its paintings and its pixels, its music and its narration, to give you a sense of what has already been done and what still needs to be finished. The game has no targeted release date because everything about it has taken far longer than I ever imagined. Perhaps it will come in 2018; perhaps in 2019; perhaps later still. One way or the other, it will be done “in the fullness of time.”

* * *

Click on the link to see the screenshots:
http://www.wormwoodstudios.com/2018/02/update-1-introducing-fallen-gods.html
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MRY
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« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2018, 09:05:33 pm »

Thanks for the very generous introduction!
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Vahha
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« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2018, 02:28:20 pm »

Sounds like a description of my dream RPG, I'm also infected with the hype now  Approve Approve Approve
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“In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

― George Orwell, 1984
MRY
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« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2018, 06:59:50 pm »

The Hávamál teaches:
Praise day at even, a wife when dead,
a weapon when tried, a maid when married,
ice when 'tis crossed, and ale when 'tis drunk.

I think "an RPG when played" could reasonably be added to the list.
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Vahha
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« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2018, 03:55:40 am »

I consulted the Elder Edda, and the actual line read as follows:
... an RPG when you've contributed to its development and testing Wink
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“In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

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Astorius
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« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2018, 07:45:17 pm »

Not a fan of the graphics, but it looks interesting.
It will come out this year?
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MRY
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« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2018, 12:40:13 am »

I would be surprised if it came out this year, but it's not impossible.

We've put up our second post: http://www.wormwoodstudios.com/2018/02/fallen-gods-update-2-days-of-yore.html  You'll have to click through for the audiovisuals, alas, but I've put the text below.

(click to show/hide)
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MRY
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« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2018, 11:54:47 pm »

Another update:  http://www.wormwoodstudios.com/2018/03/fallen-gods-update-3-winning-was-easy.html
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Vince
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« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2018, 03:38:24 pm »

Beautiful!
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MRY
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« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2018, 12:12:35 am »

And #4: http://www.wormwoodstudios.com/2018/04/fallen-gods-update-4-fallen-god.html

(For my audience of one, Vince.)  lol
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DorkMage
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« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2018, 04:58:21 pm »

This latest update is my kind of game. Approve
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MRY
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« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2018, 11:28:54 pm »

Thanks -- hopefully we can deliver on what people are expecting. Smile
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CappenVarra
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« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2018, 04:14:43 am »

Great work so far, MRY Salute
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MRY
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« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2018, 11:07:32 pm »

Thanks!
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MRY
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« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2018, 11:21:15 pm »

Update #5: Witches and Dwergs: http://www.wormwoodstudios.com/2018/05/fallen-gods-update-5-witches-and-dwergs.html

Most of the text is really about our methodology and goals, though it's also about two kinds of antagonists in the game.
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CappenVarra
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« Reply #15 on: May 16, 2018, 12:04:14 am »

Excellent update.

I guess I'll re-read some Poul Anderson while waiting for the game...
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MRY
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« Reply #16 on: July 13, 2018, 12:23:41 am »

After a two-month hiatus, our next update, "Mappa Mundi," has been posted: http://www.wormwoodstudios.com/2018/07/fallen-gods-update-6-mappa-mundi.html
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Vince
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« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2018, 06:28:02 am »

Beautiful.
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MRY
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« Reply #18 on: August 18, 2018, 05:49:23 pm »

Update 7: "Followers" -- with many thanks to Vince for his editorial suggestions.

http://www.wormwoodstudios.com/2018/08/fallen-gods-update-7-followers.html
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MRY
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« Reply #19 on: September 23, 2018, 09:57:25 pm »

Next update, regarding violence, is up: http://www.wormwoodstudios.com/2018/09/fallen-gods-update-8-violence.html

Less talk about mechanics and fewer sprites, so possibly of less interest.
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daveyd
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« Reply #20 on: October 24, 2018, 04:29:40 pm »

The setting and gamebook style choices sound fantastic and the visuals are charming.  Only thing I'm not enthused about thus far is the proposed combat implementation.  IIRC, it will be real-time and with limited player input as well.... Of course it's still a work in progress with no announced release date so I suppose this could still change. 
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MRY
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« Reply #21 on: November 22, 2018, 10:59:58 pm »

The combat is never going to be AOD quality. I would describe it as weak but painless right now, which is hardly a selling point. The truth is that I've never "gotten" RPG combat -- I loved and used to be quite good at 4X games, tactics games like the old X-Coms, and RTS games like Warcraft II and Starcraft, but for whatever reason, never found RPG combat engaging.  The result is that it's low in my priority list.  Also, the games that inspired FG (like Barbarian Prince, KODP, Lone Wolf, even Darklands) all had pretty lame combat, so I feel like I set myself a low bar. :/
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