A Polish Fallout and PA site - http://trzynasty-schron.net
- has expressed an interest in AoD and asked me a few questions about this and that. Here is the English version:1. Let's start with obligatory questions You must've answered hundred of times already. Could you tell us who You are and, most importantly, what is Age of Decadence?
We are a small team (4 people, to be exact) working on an indie, last-generation RPG called The Age of Decadence set in a bloomless world filled with dialogue trees and ass-biting consequences of your actions. So if you want to party like it's 1997, you may want to check this game out.2. Iron Tower studio is a small indie developer working in the time when most games are produced by huge teams supported with budgets comparable to the ones of Hollywood movies. What makes You think somebody can find Age of Decadence a better purchase than a shiny product made by mainstream company?
Well, games like AoD aren't being made anymore because the industry moved to bigger, better, and shinier things. So, if someone wants to play a turn-based RPG with plenty of text, meaningful gameplay options and even more meaningful consequences, and role-playing that doesn't revolve around killing monsters.... Well, not a lot to choose from, is there? Basically, we are filling a tiny niche within a small niche. You have to squint to actually see it. It's there, trust me. Keep squinting.3. What was the reason behind choosing the particular setting? An idea of mixing post-apocalypse with fantasy and late antiquity seems to be rather unusual.
That's exactly what Noah said:
God: I've just unlocked a new power. It's called Deluge and it sounds pretty awesome. I think I'm going to try it, so you better do a backup on a floppy... I meant, a ship. You know, just in case.
Noah: A Deluge? Well, that's just fucking great! Like we don't have enough shit to deal with as it is. Not cool, man! Not cool! Besides, the whole idea sucks. Don't you think that PA without bikers and really awesome guns is kinda boring? Well, guess what, we don't have any fucking bikers, do we?4. Some fans of post-apocalyptic settings claim that "it isn't >>true<< post-apocalyptic world if destruction has anything to do with magic, daemons, etc." because PA should deal with real threats. How would you convince them that fantasy can also provide a good background for presenting typical problems connected to PA?
Well, apocalypse usually refers to the end of the world or civilization [as we know it], and post-apocalyptic fiction takes us on a trip to a world-after-the-end. So, as long as we have a civilization, a kaboom factor, and the not so sweet hereafter, it's safe to say that it's definitely and certifiably PA. Someone can make a game about survivors of the Atlantis or the Deluge, which, btw, would be a pretty cool game, and guess what, it would be a 100% post-apocalyptic game.5. How well are the past times remembered by the inhabitants of AoD world? Is it completely forgotten and only few ones have any knowledge thanks to exploring deserted and dangerous ruins (like in Fallout 1&2) or maybe it is remembered with nostalgia as better times of world's greatness (like in Fo3)?
It's not completely forgotten, but it's not well remembered either. Different NPCs have different opinions and beliefs. For example:
Antidas, Lord of House Daratan:
"The Empire was founded more than three thousand years ago. Through military and diplomatic victories, the Empire had conquered the entire continent. Our legions were unstoppable, and our magi could raise mountains and drain oceans.
Then the accursed Q'antari came. Taller than any human, with glowing red eyes and sharp claws, they came from the depth of the underworld and attacked without warning. Entire cities were slaughtered to a man. No human army could withstand the might of the Empire, but the war with the devils wasn't easy to win. We spent decades fighting and when the victory was close, the devils called forth their gods. When I was a child, I saw an old drawing, showing a battle between one of their gods and our legions. Imagine a living horror as big as a tower, sweeping a battlefield with its arms, tearing flesh and armor with his talons and breathing fire. Our only chance was to reach out into the higher planes and summon allies who could help us even the odds.
Eventually, the call was answered and the allies came. They burned the Q'antari and their gods, leaving nothing but ashes. They saved what was left of our people, but they couldn't save the Empire, for too much had been destroyed. Saddened, our allies, the lords of the higher planes, left us to rebuild and restore, but unfortunately, we are still living in our crumbling towns, still fighting each other like the barbarian tribes of the wastes."
Feng, an old, but not entirely trustworthy loremaster:
"Nonsense. The Q'antari didn't have any claws or red eyes. They were as human as you or me. Fools like Antidas couldn't face the fact that the Empire was brought to her knees by anything other than supernatural beasts. I'm sure that the fire breathing giant demons were added later to justify our military failures.
If you ask me, the Empire had ruled for too long unopposed, gone soft, fighting an occasional barbarian tribe or two, and when a real enemy showed up, they didn't know what to do with them. By the time our brave legions remembered how to fight, they lost half of the land. The
both armies fought bravely - because that's all dumb soldiers know how to do - while magi on both sides did their best to burn everything to the ground, turning our land into a dead desert that still glows at night. In the end we've won, so we got to keep a handful of towns and several millions dead covering the lands from one ocean to the other."
Cassius, a loremaster who spent too much time in libraries:
"Actually, I wrote a tractate on the nature of the Q'antari allies twelve years ago - Lord Meru was looking for a new loremaster and I hoped to get that position. I called them the High Lords, which, I think, is a much better name than the Chaos Gods or the Elder Gods.
What's interesting is that the early records mentioned seven gods who had answered the Q'antari's call and attacked our forces, but then the number was changed to four. The names were spelled in so many different ways that it's almost impossible to guess what their real names were. The one we call Thor-Agoth, for example, was originally referred to as Tor-Athagoth and Thoragoth. Many accounts describe the four Q'antari Gods as terrifying beast-like creatures, capable of slaughtering entire legions, while the three Gods summoned by the Empire were always shown as perfect angel-like beings, who, coincidentally, were also capable of slaughtering entire legions. As much as I'd like to dismiss such claims as fairy tales, there are more than twelve different accounts of the Estios battle where Ull-Xerath rose from the deep to met 3,000 General Kesion's veterans and managed to kill over a thousand soldiers before the magi forced him to retreat. The war officially ended when our "Gods", aided by what was left of our legions and magi attacked Zaghoss, the last town held by the Q'antari, killing all four of their unholy gods in one battle. The Q'antari surrendered and were quickly killed to the last man.
What loremasters can't agree on is what happened to the three High Lords that aided us after the final battle. Within days they were gone. Their temples were sealed, and their acolytes and servants were quickly burned to help their spirits join their departed masters. Something doesn't sound right, and plenty pieces of this puzzle are missing, but that's what ancient history is all about."
That should give you some idea of what to expect.6. What has changed in the daily life after the war? Are people living in a constant threat of bandits and dealing with lack of goods or did noble houses manage to maintain relative order?
Everything changed, including the Houses. For example, in the olden days House Crassus was a House of Science and Arcane Research. The House was all but destroyed during the war and was rebuilt by those less gifted who knew of the House's history but didn't understand it or what the Summoning really was. Research was transformed into rituals. Understanding into blind faith. Dedication into zeal. House Crassus became a twisted image of what it once was.
Only seven Houses survived the War. Power grabs reduced this number to three. While the magi played a large role in the Empire, the art has been lost because nobody was allowed to practice it. Since all advanced technology was tied closely to magic (you can think of magic as a different power source that was needed to operate machinery), it was lost as well. Loremasters managed to preserve some knowledge in forms of mantras. Something like:
"You carefully insert a power tube into the opening until you until you hear a soft clicking sound, followed by a low humming sound from the console. You put your hands on the controls and recite "commanding fire elementals to bless ore" mantra, performing the rite as you speak.
The mantra doesn't require you to understand what you are doing, but it does a good job leading you through all necessary processes represented by chapters. Some chapters require to watch the dials and adjust valves to achieve divine harmony, other chapters warn about dangers of overheating and tell you how to keep fire elementals under control..."7. It is well known that Fallout games had huge impact on gameplay of AoD. Was it also a source of inspiration in regards of post-apocalyptic vision presented in the game?
No. The settings are simply too different for that.8. What are other games, books and movies that influenced production of AoD?
Books mostly. Michael Moorcock's Quarzhasaat's atmosphere, Glen Cook's The Tower of Fear's factions' dynamics, Cook's The Black Company's series overall atmosphere, and China Mieville's The Scar's certain elements.