New alpha version coming very soon! The previous version of the game was very outdated (it was from June, and a ton has happened since...) I'm not entirely ready with the new alpha version, but in not too long I'll have it ready with all the new things in it. Stay tuned. Introduction Spoiler Hello everyone. I'm new to these parts, but decided to drop by since I'm working on a story-heavy RPG in RPG Maker VXAce. I'm used to making my own game engines from scratch, but once I started this project I quickly realized it would take me a long time before I would get the engine up to the standard that is necessary to make my idea work. I remembered having used RPG Maker 2003 way way back, and thought "why not" as I downloaded the trial. I've been working on the game itself for about a week now (the story and setting is much older), and I'm really happy with the progress so far. RPG Maker VXAce fit my ideas perfectly. But so far I've only played it by myself and had a few people try it, and I figure it's time I get some feedback from a broader range of people, both on the concept and execution. I'd love to hear your opinions on the game so far! Setting Spoiler The story is set in a fictional world called Orbis. Geographically it is based on some of the same principles as our world (north is cold and south is warm), but its layout is completely different. In the time the story takes place, humanity is on the brink of an industrial revolution. Industrialism and science has triumphed as the driving force of the modern world, and a great central empire has risen above all to usher mankind towards a new age. This central empire is called Anteris Senturum, meaning “the central pillar of man”. Remarkably efficient at trade and economy, and with a large army to defend its borders, it has annexed most of its neighbouring countries and brought them under their influence. As a plutocracy it is governed by a wealthy elite of Councilors that answer only to the Emperor himself. The Emperor is treated as a man bestowed with holy favor by the gods; Emperors are chosen through a sacred rite and not through lineage, although for the past two generations the emperors have come from the same family. The people of Anteris Senturum have known peace for almost three hundred years. Despite it now being in open war with several rebellious neighbouring countries, war has never reached the country’s own borders; nobody has yet been able to reach it with any army. In the east, the major country is Senta Johi. While it does trade with Anteris Senturum and a few other western countries, it is very reclusive and a mystery to most people in the west. CalendarIn the world of Orbis, there are different calendars in use. Most western countries follow the calendar of the Avos (forefathers, founders), a civilization that left behind a great deal of knowledge inscribed on stone tablets and other artifacts. From these artifacts, humans learned about measuring the passage of time by observing the stars, and eventually scholars determined that it had been over three thousand years since the Avosi started counting time. At the time of this story, the year is 4320. When using the Avosi calendar, years are referred to as AO (after origin). In the east, countries generally follow the calendar of the Shén. The Shén are their guiding spirits, or gods, who come in all shapes and forms. It is believed everything has a Shén – even inanimate objects – that represents the pure essence of its origin. In accordance with their history, they count time since the Shén first came to Orbis. At the time of this story, the year in the Shén calendar is 7820. The northern countries, though of different faith, follow the Avos calendar. They see time as cyclical and their faith therefore does not count years, but they follow the Avos calendar for practical reasons. In the south and south-east, people mainly follow the calendar of Avos for practical reasons as well. Their dominant faith counts years from the event called the “Great Sacrifice”, which by tracing the age through the generations of people spoken of in their holy texts, happened 1324 years ago at the time of this story. Countries Spoiler AnterisAnteris is an empire formed by the prophet Athaos Kifaios in the year 3890 AO. Together with a large group of refugees from wars in the south, he founded Anteris and slowly developed it into a small port town. As a port town, it eventually started trading by sea with foreign countries. Over time, more and more refugees from wars all over Orbis ended up in Anteris, populating it and contributing in developing it from a small town into a large city. In the year 3949, the prophet Athaos Kifaios died to an illness of the heart. But he left behind the religion of Ortuism, delivered to him through visions. Over the years Anteris grew ever larger, also generating a large army to defend its borders. Eventually the country started annexing neighbour countries by way of trade, military might and politics, but never with any direct confrontation of armies. In the year 4280, the current emperor of Anteris, Theroos Inaios, proclaimed the northern continent of Vetust under rule of Anteris. He decreed that from now on, Vetust would be known as Anteris, and the great city formerly called Anteris would be its capital, named Anteris Senturum. Faiths Spoiler Ortuism The most widespread faith is Ortuism, which originated from the country of Anteris Senturum. It teaches that all men are children of the gods, and that all men are born into an image of one of the twelve. These twelve are seen as blueprints for a perfect composition of society, and all twelve kinds of people must be in balance to please the gods. Bellator: The warrior god. Artifex: The artist god. Lignarius: The carpenter god. Arator: The farmer and cultivator god. Domina: The god of mothers. Dominus: The god of lords and those that may govern others. Repertum: The god of ingenuity and invention. Also seen as the good of science. Relatus: The god of knowledge and stories. Latro: The god of servants. Lupa: The god of prostitutes. Malificus: The god of liers and criminals. Nobody is born in the image of this god, but if a person is found guilty of a crime, it is believed that Malificus clouded the priest’s vision upon the person’s Judgment. Ortus: The god of origin. Only the Emperor is born in his image. A person is judged and his alignment decided six moons after birth by a representative of the Emperor himself. These representatives are called Visions, and are treated as avatars of the Emperor. Story synopsis Spoiler You will take on the role of Leonard Atem and Elena Tures. After their fates became entwined by an event six months prior, you will have to travel the world to seek out someone who might help you solve their predicament. You will switch between the physical world and an alternate realm called the “Incorporalis”, which can best be described as "abstract potential". This is a metaphysical space that is not so much another world as a version of reality where your characters' subjective experiences and the external experiences of everything else in the world are merged together and hard to distinguish. As humanity stands on the brink of an enormous change in its approach to industrialism, the hearts of the people are at disarray. Some cherish this evolution while others curse it. Most are just too busy with making ends meet from day to day to have reflected too much on the path humanity is taking, but the common factor amongst all is that the people now - more than ever - differ in their views on the world. This climate will affect you in the physical world, where you will bear witness to events ranging from small and seemingly minor personal stories to major political events, but it will also have a big impact on the alternate realm and your travels there. The story's heart and soul is to explore the melancholy of entropy. Gameplay Spoiler The gameplay will consist of exploration, abstract puzzles and combat. The combat system is turn based and focuses heavily on strategy rather than the common "rock/paper/scissor" approach. In fact, there are no elemental weaknesses in this game; elemental attacks instead cause debuffs, so that their usage is not dependent on weaknesses or resistances. For an introduction of three of the classes in the game, please see here: Battle introduction post. Characters Spoiler From what I understand there is some stigma associated with using default resources that come bundled with the software. In light of this, I want to make it clear that I chose the following characters on the basis of my character profiles. As I developed and wrote the dialogue their faces naturally affected the tone of voice I used for them, so I have ended up growing quite more fond of them than I had initially thought. Because of that I may or may not change them over time. If I do change them it will likely be adjustments to personalize them some. Please try to leave behind any old associations you might have with these portraits as you read on Also keep in mind that the character profiles here are summaries and leave out information that is essential to the story in the game. This is because the personal journey and the memories the characters will share during the game are important to presenting the story. Leonard Atem A former ranger of the Crimson Order, Leonard Atem fell to an unknown illness of the mind while on a mission with his partner, Elena Tures. Leonard was one of the highest standing with the order, carrying the venerable title of Crimson Sword, a title only allowed the most respected rangers. His background and upbringing is a secret to the world. He carries the scars that follow in the wake of being robbed of one's childhood, raised as a tool and not as a person. He is seen as an introverted strategist, and is known for elaborate stratagems. Elena Tures Spoiler As the partner of Leonard Atem, Elena Tures is also a former ranger of the Crimson Order. Nicknamed the "Iron Maiden", Elena is usually a woman of few words. Hers is the way of action, preferring to "do now" rather than postulate and prepare. Her partnership with Leonard was decided upon based on the mutual benefits it would bestow on them on their missions; Leonard's introverted and analytical nature was a perfect counterbalance to Elena's straightforwardness in battle. But do not make the assumption that Elena is all brawn; beneath her iron facade lies a deep knowledge only afforded to those that have killed innumerable times – and understand that life must sometimes be bought with death. Bernard Piertser Spoiler Scholar and longtime friend of Elena Tures and her family, Bernard Piertser is a man who considers himself the lifetime student of humanity. Mainly focusing on anthropology and the associated fields of wisdom, Bernard is an advisor to the council of Anteris Senturum. However, in later years he fell on ill terms with some of the council members. Sensing that his life might be in danger, he chose to move back to his childhood home, the small town of Parvos in the country of Egris. Here he continues his studies while serving as the village "wise man", helping the township in whatever way he can. Elise Spoiler Abandoned as a child, she grew up on the streets of Anteris Senturum. Blessed – or perhaps cursed – with outward beauty, she found her way into the pleasure houses of the District of Commerce at a young age. Such a life obviously puts a dark and heavy burden on a child's mind, but Elise knew no life of freedom prior to this. Her life reflected the common saying; "A starving man is a slave to his flesh". As such, having a roof over her head and access to a good meal every day, for Elena this was an improvement over living on the streets. She soon realized that men share the most peculiar secrets when the lights are dimmed and the curtains closed, and in this way she gained much knowledge about the world and the people that rule it. Not long after her fifteenth nameday, a great fire swept over the District of Commerce, and in the chaos and looting that ensued her master was murdered in front of her. Upon seeing the lust in the eyes of a man empowered by violence, Elise ran for her life. She ran until the world went dark, and when she awoke she found herself outside the city gates. Not knowing where to go, with barely any clothes on her back, she stumbled down the broad main road with no destination. But as luck would have it – and you'd be forgiven to think that luck had abandoned her for good – she was found by a travelling elder scholar, who took her in and offered her the means to start a new life in the small town where he had his home, a place where nobody knew of her past. But to her, freedom was an empty word. Having seen the frailty of his age, she wanted to stay with the scholar and help him in return for his kindness. With no name of her own, she assumed the first name of the scholar's only child, whom he had lost to war: Elise Piertser. Ajenil Ixesix Spoiler The only remaining council member of Anteris Senturum who still confers with Bernard Piertser. A noblewoman with a mixed heritage, her mother is a common woman from Senta Johi in the east, while her father and his family is nobility living in the Upper District of Anteris Senturum. Ajenil Ixesix is a shrewd woman, and she takes great pleasure in political intrigue. Her family name was stained the moment her father brought a commoner – and from the east, considered even worse – into the family, and Ajenil had to work especially hard to further her career. Maybe because of her mixed heritage, she has garnered much love from the common people, something that is rare for a council member. Many look to her in hopes of change. Screenshots Spoiler It is difficult to take screenshots of the first part of the game without spoiling some key storyline elements, but here are a few that give you a meager glimpse into a few areas. Script credits Spoiler Big thanks go out to the following scripters and their scripts: Yanfly – For a lot of scripts Galv – Move Route Extras Craze – Elemental Merger Yami – Yami Engine Symphony Victor – Victor Engine: Base, Light, Fog That's it for now. I will be updating this with information about cities, towns and countries very soon. In the meantime, please check out the demo or ask me about the world or its characters if they interest you. I'm looking forward to hearing your feedback. Have a great day!