You’re an adventurer. Most of the time that means being a traveller. And you can’t keep walking all day and through the night. So what do you do when you have no idea how far away the next city is located and you have just reached this clearing in the woods. Maybe it’s time to set up camp and get some rest.
For most D&D based games resting was very important because it enables you to recharge your spells. Beside this elementary functionality of memorizing spells or powers, members of your party in Chaos Chronicles can use the time during an encampment to cook, eat, hunt, collect food, cure wounds or to identify items.
But encampments don’t come for free: We mostly want you to keep in mind that you won’t be able to travel forever without risking your party to become first tired then exhausted and finally easy prey for a horde of Goblins that they would otherwise take on laughing.
Both requirements have a similar idea as a game element: It’s about resource management and weighing off the danger of resting in an unknown area (and risking a random encounter) and the downsides of forcing your party to march on. It adds more things you have to consider when leaving a town and setting off into unknown territory.
Setting up a camp can be risky. Since you are not alone in the woods there is always the chance that some monster might consider you easy prey. And depending on the time of day other monsters might be around for a surprise attack. In some areas it might make more sense to rest at night, since humanoids like Orcs and Goblins also might be more likely to sleep when it’s dark. In others it might be much saver to travel in the dark when you can hear every noise and will not be surprised when something awful that only leaves the cave it hides in during the day comes out at night.
There is this another pen&paper roleplaying system beside D&D most of us at Coreplay spent time with in the 90s: Das Schwarze Auge (The Dark Eye) which most gamers outside of Germany may actually know mostly for the computer games based on it. The first trilogy of DSA computer games (that were heavily influenced by the Gold Box games from SSI) were released as Realms of Arkania in English. The first of them called Blade of Destiny (Die Schicksalsklinge) was first released in 1992 (and then in the US in 1993) for Amiga and PC. One thing that might be worth noting for you CRPG addicts is that the game was designed by Guido Henkel who also produced probably one of the best CRPGs of all time: Planescape: Torment.
What was cool about the game was that it was also very open in its design. You had to find a legendary sword and to find that sword you had to put together a map that would reveal its location on the world map. The map pieces were randomized so you might find one trading with a merchant on the road or as a reward for solving a quest that might otherwise only reward you with some gold. This design didn’t only give the game a lot of replay value it also made travelling the world a big part of the game. Quests would often lead you form one city to another and you would have to travel for several days and set up camp for the night on your journey.
Most of the other games we mentioned before have similar elements. We did highlight Ultima for the exploration of Britannia alone, remember? And our fondest memories of Phantasie include the random encounters that would make each journey an adventure. And remember that first time in Pool of Radiance you started moving that little horse around? Suddenly everything seemed possible!
From today’s point of view it is pretty clear why a world map or a world layer was such a clever design element in a game: It didn’t require the developer to fill up a whole world’s worth of cities and woods with buildings and trees and yet it gave the world epic proportions without forcing the player to travel for hours. If you take a look at modern RPGs that have a huge seamless world in full 3D you notice that the designers also had to find a way to fasten up the travelling. Something to think about the next time you ride a griffin in World of Warcraft or you use the map screen to fast travel in Skyrim!
As a small developer we are not really interested in filling a world with things that the player might just skip through or pass flying over. We want you to do your own travelling from one town to the next. We want you to have some sense of vastness that invites you to explore! There is this small path into the woods that strays from the broad and comfy road you are travelling on. Might be worth exploring! Maybe you will find the ruins of a small village that surely holds some treasure. On the other hand – the woods pretty dark. Maybe it’s full of undead warriors that fell trying to defend their homes and have been roaming the area for the last 200 years.
Including a world layer in Chaos Chronicles is a good and yet cost efficient way for us to build a larger world that is open for you to explore. If you’re not feeling that adventurous just stay on the road, it’s safe. Mostly. The world layer is not just a filler between two dungeons. It will add something to your experience that would be much harder to achieve otherwise: The feeling of delving into a large and unknown continent.
We’re still a bit tired from the gamescom 2012. Have you been there? Well, we were. Not in the public area as it is still too early to make hands-ons for Chaos Chronicles. However we showed an early alpha version of the game to several journalists behind close doors. Until then we really, really didn’t know how people would respond to Chaos Chronicles. Of course we hoped that they’d like it, but we feared the reactions cause it was the first time we showed it off. Fortunately, it was a very positive experience and a surprise to see how all those journalists came along with positive feedback about our game. There are already a few previews available right now. You may want to read them (if we find more, we will post more):
So, last time we told you that Phantasie would be the last source of inspiration to unveil. Well, there is another one and it is pen and paper roleplaying. Throwing dice and updating hit points with a pencil and eraser in hand.
Most of us spent a large time of their youth plotting over campaigns as dungeon master or looking through source books for the best skill set and equipment for their character. It has brought us a long way. For some it has not ended yet. Some of us are still rolling dice or dressing up for the next LARP.
What brought about a renaissance of pen & paper roleplaying was the release of D&D 4th Edition in 2008. Most of us had not touched D&D since TSR was acquired by Wizards of the Coast in 1997 and had been revamped as D&D. Those of us who had followed the mother of all fantasy RPGs through its 3rd edition (and the revision of that known as 3.5) hadn’t been playing regularly but D&D 4.0 changed that. It was simple to explain, simple to prepare and the miniature based combat was simply too much fun to resist.
It was a roleplaying system that brought together the more boardgame interested player and the hardcore roleplayers at the same table and while different players may have enjoyed different elements of the game it became a regular thing for a time to sit around the table till late in the evening on a regular basis.
While the character system of Chaos Chronicles might still rather be inspired by the more old school D&D iterations, the combat system of D&D 4.0 inspired some of the elements for Chaos Chronicle’s turn-based combat system.
Actually some of the elements came from modifying the D&D 4.0 system for our playsessions and adding more and more houserules to it. One of these additions was changing the square based grids for the combat maps to hexagons. The hexes add more depth to the game since you can have one side of the six sides of a single field be the clear “back” of the character. Overall facing becomes much more important if you have hexes which adds more depth to the combat.
Another area in which pen & paper based games were a huge influence was the multiplayer. We really want the player who play together have the experience of a shared adventure. Many other RPGs with multiplayer options often struggle to keep up the atmosphere of the game. You start talking more about the game or other things in voice chat rather than about what is going on in the game. What we hope to achieve in Chaos Chronicles is a sense of cooperation that requires all player to be invested in what is going on inside the game.
So, if you are a fan of pen & paper RPGs and often feel as if computer based roleplaying games loose a lot of what roleplaying is actually about, we hope that Chaos Chronicles can recapture some of that flair.
We’ve added the first artworks and screenshots of Chaos Chronicles in the media section: CLICK HERE
With those first impressions of the actual game, we want to demonstrate our aim to transport the look of classical western fantasy RPGs.