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The Kickstarter campaign for AurumDust's RPG Ash of Gods has seen a surge in pledges and is now sitting at $65,579, less than $10k away from its $75,000 goal. With three more days to go, anything can happen, so there's no point in trying to guess whether the campaign will make it or not. Instead, we can take a look at a couple of new updates.
The first of the two, Update #7 is all about choices and consequences. Dialogue options, journey choices, and random events all play a part in making Ash of Gods a varied and engaging experience. A few paragraphs on that:
CHOICES AND CONSEQUENCES
We're doing our best to ensure that every choice will have consequences in Ash of Gods. To avoid any misunderstandings, I just need to get one thing straight. Everything I've been saying so far applies primarily to the decisions you make in specific situations, not in every reply you choose during the dialogs, although your dialog decisions can also have a major influence on the plot direction.
We wanted to make sure that the choices you make aren't just flavor choices, but we also didn't want to create a "pick your adventure" type of game. Our goal is to tell you a great story, but also to give you a chance to influence and shape it with your own decisions.
In our game, you shouldn't make choices lightly, as they are affected by several important factors. So, what are these factors?
The game remembers your decisions and they affect the way things pan out. What's more, the true consequences of a decision may play out over different time periods and the logic of the repercussions won't always be transparent to the player.
How does this work? Suppose you act suspiciously or rudely in a dialog with a guard and this leads to a fight. In this case, the chain of events is simple and easy to understand from a logical point of view. The game's reaction to your choice is instantaneous.
But, let's look at a more complicated scenario: You've just met a couple of fishy-looking people who might actually be bandits but claim they're ordinary laborers. You don't believe them and end up killing one of them. The others flee, and for as far as they run, everybody hears about your horrible deed.
And then there are some really complicated storylines, where a decision you take at an early stage of the game might seem insignificant to you, but eventually leads to very serious consequences at the end. This can be due to several reasons, such as the presence of unknown factors (for instance, the beautiful weapon you found turns out to be cursed), or because the player's decision has set off a whole chain of events. Perhaps the weapon you picked up belonged to a murdered king: now you stand accused of murder, you're excommunicated for regicide and such a large bounty has been placed on your head that it drives even the ordinary peasants nuts, while a whole squad has been dispatched to hunt you down.
And it isn't just a single decision that might trigger such a chain of events. Sometimes a confluence of different decisions may be at play: in such a scenario, each separate decision will be generating a host of consequences that are unknown to the player and will lead to a specific result in the future. It's impossible to foresee these events, and this boosts the replayability of the game a whole lot.
Update #8, on the other hand, brings us up to speed on the game's tactical combat. Have a look:
When you enter a battle, you have the ability to position your fighters wherever you think they'll be best placed. Of course, this area is limited.
When it's your first move in a round, you can use any character, but unless you have a special skill, that character will be unavailable for the rest of the round until all the other members of your team have made their moves. The next round begins when all your characters have made their moves.
The rounds play an important role in the combat system. A small team can have fewer characters than the enemy, but this means it can start a new round more quickly. Not only does this allow you to use your main characters more often, but you can also use your strong cards earlier than your opponent.
Before each battle you receive five random cards of different strength. Some of them allow you to inflict damage to the enemy or deprive his wizards of their powers, cast control spells, as well as many other abilities. They may allow you to reverse the battle and give you that ace up your sleeve with which to deal a surprise blow to the enemy.
Your strategy will be based on the hand you've been dealt, but the element of randomness plays a significant role when determining what cards will be available in a battle. On a tactical level, however, everything depends on the player and not on any random factors. It will be up to you to decide whether you're going to rush in and destroy your opponent's key characters as quickly as possible or bide your time, lowering the support characters' energy and developing your own heroes. You must also not forget to match the abilities of your characters with the cards you've been dealt in order to get the best possible results.
In Ash of Gods you can only attack an enemy if he's in a straight line from your character. However, in certain specific situations some of your heroes have the ability to damage several enemies at the same time. These are the mass skills and attacks. Also, some attacks consist of random goal-selection.
The role-playing system allows you to develop both the parameters of your fighters and their skills, and not only quantitatively but also qualitatively. This give you the ability to alter your characters substantially, or give them new abilities. For example, an attack that is supposed to hit two enemies at the same time can be increased in strength, but then you'll only be able to damage a single enemy at a time. In this way you can develop your main characters in the manner that best suits your style. You may even find that different members of the same class have different skill sets. And don't forget, your enemies have the ability to improve their skills in exactly the same way.
Passive skills play an equally important role . For example, the criminal elements among your characters can get two moves in a row to kill the enemy, so it's probably a good idea to keep your weak fighters as far away from them as possible.
Some of your adversaries' archetypes have been designed to interact with each other and are a lot stronger when operating in conjunction with other members of the same nation or archetype. Thus, each time the Gellians lose a warrior, their attack strength becomes stronger and more dangerous, so it's better to carefully plan the right moment to kill them. The Frisian commander, a swordsman, isn't just a very good fighter. He's also a very useful support figure with the ability to increase a squad's odds of survival. If you decide to get rid of him by throwing all your forces at him, you just need to remember that his death will lead to a significant increase in the attack and speed abilities of the surviving enemy warriors.
In order to balance these skills, we introduced a bunch of control abilities. You can use your abilities to block a character's turn or keep your opponent from moving a figure, as well as play a character twice in a single round.
It's worth saying a bit more about the cards. Even though the cards have very few limitations in a round, you can still influence the way in which they are used. For instance, if you have a couple of strong trumps in your hand, you could use a card in the early rounds to gain an advantage. Or, just the opposite, you can reverse the tide of the battle by preventing your opponent from using his cards.
Of course, the game's combat system is still evolving, and we're continuously changing it and adding new features, skills, classes and cards. We'll keep you updated and will definitely invite you to test the new builds.