Stoneshard - Early Access Update and Preview

A few days back, the Ink Stains Games team launched their turn-based RPG Stoneshard into early access. That initial release was apparently criticized for a somewhat inadequate save system, and as a result, the developers have put together a patch that acts as a temporary solution to the problem while they’re working on something more permanent. Here’s more on that:

Hello everyone!

To begin with, we’d like to thank everyone who believed in us and decided to support the development by purchasing the game over these last two days. The amount of players was completely beyond our wildest expectations, and we consider it a great success for our team – we will continue to diligently work on the game to repay your trust. We fully understand that the game still has a long way to go. We plan to gradually fix the shortcomings which were pointed out as well as add new content. Thank you all once more -- we are set on doing everything in our power to implement everything we’ve planned.

After receiving the feedback it became clear to us that the biggest flaw of the game is the lack of the save system. We’d like to assure you, it was not a conceptual decision, designed to make players suffer by losing time and progress. Saving on exit is a fairly obvious QoL feature, which we would implement if we had the opportunity. Unfortunately, due to a combination of multiple factors – procedural world generation, huge number of objects in every location, as well as parameters which require saving, this task is impossible to perform from the technical standpoint.

The reason is not GMS2, as it could be misunderstood from the message about “engine limitations”, the reason is our procedural generation engine. The saves currently used by the game technically differ from saving in any part of the game world – they save the seed of visited locations, regenerating the world on each loading, they don’t save the state of the world, as it was left by the player. Otherwise, the saves would end up weighting a few gigabytes and take minutes to load. That’s why the saving is done in designated locations which don’t contain objects requiring their state to be saved – tavern rooms, the archive in the Prologue, the location with Archon etc.

With the addition of a mobile caravan which would serve as a save spot, this problem would disappear on its own, since the player would have a place to save their progress at just a short walk away. However it will take a long time to implement it, and there’s already a need for a solution – that’s why we’ve decided to add extra save spots to the existing world by reworking the current camp system.

Now the brigand camps, initially marked with a question mark on the map, can be cleared out and then used as a save spot by clicking on bed. We’ve changed the algorithm for their generation to spread them more evenly across the map, placing them closer to roads and dungeons. We hope that this measure will make your game experience more pleasant. In the future, as it was already mentioned, there’ll be even more save spots. Other than the caravan, some random locations, roadside inns, etc. will also be used as save spots.

Thank you!



  • It’s now possible to save in brigand camps
  • Map can now be opened by clicking on corresponding Journal tab or with M hotkey. Initially this was planned for the upcoming global map, but many people were left confused and thinking that map navigation isn’t yet available.
  • Journal and Map hotkeys now can be redefined.
  • Maps were added to Elders stock. You can now purchase the map if you somehow lose your starting one.
  • Many text fixes in all localizations
  • We’ve temporarily added small stock of leather/cloth items to Smith’s Apprentice in Mannshire. Initially we wanted settlements to have different distinctive features and craftsmen, but since there’re only two settlements and no caravan yet, the lack of tailor in Mannshire ended up being a nuisance.
  • Added a hint regarding moving the camera around with MMB to the tutorial sequence.
  • Added new brigand camp’s variation for temperate biomes
  • Added new brigand camp’s variation for Steppes
  • Many visual fixes of brigand camps
  • Visual fixes of Witch’s Hut
  • Many visual fixes of equipment
  • Fixed missing on-character sprite for Magistrate Gambeson
  • Fixed playable characters having wrong corpse spites
  • Fixed rare crash upon starting the game
  • Fixed Vampiric Rune-related crash
  • Fixed unique items droplist resetting on load, allowing them to drop more than once
  • Fixed crash on enemy examination
  • Fixed Proselyte Apostate attacking from 2 tiles away instead of 1
  • Fixed carts generation on locations’ edges
  • Brigand Camps spawns now depend on player level
  • Reduced damage of Jorgrim’s starting weapons
  • Reduced damage taken by body parts by 8%
  • Proselytes, mid-tier and high-tier brigands were buffed by ~5-10%, as they didn’t present much danger to 4+ lvl characters.
  • At launch wolves were especially deadly because of their bugged “Rend Flesh” ability causing two attacks instead of one. Now this issue is fixed, so their health and damage values were reverted to pre-Hotfix values.
  • Because of Pain Limit formula changes, passive pain reduction was increased. (-0.1 > -0.13) on >75% Health and additional (-0.15>-0.2) on >90% Health.
  • Dungeons don’t generate 4th floor anymore. Deep 4-5-floored dungeons will return once we revamp dungeon generation to make their exploration less monotonous.
  • Reduced durability of equipment found in Luxurious Tombs.
  • Reduced Jewelry drop rates from Crypt urns.
  • Increased Golden Teeth drop rates from wooden coffins.
  • Antitoxin is now more effective (-20% Toxicity > -25%)
  • Reduced Toxicity of Stardust (+30% > +25%). Now it’s time to reduce toxicity of our Steam discussions.
  • Antivenom now provides +75% Poison Resistance x30t.
  • Food spoilage rates were increased by 50-100% depending on type.
  • Rebalanced secondary attributes of most daggers to make their stats less clogged and more varied.
  • Many changes to default price modifier when selling items to NPCs:
  • Increased base price modifier for Alcohol (+30% > +50%) – it's assumed alcohol should be a valuable trade good to find and sell
  • Increased base price modifier for Medicine (0% > +20%) – during war times people are more willing to pay for medical supplies
  • Increased base price modifier for Beverages (0% > +10%)
  • Increased base price modifier for Drugs (0% > +10%) – they say drugs are a hot commodity… for some people.
  • Decreased base price modifier for Scrolls (0% > -10%)
  • Decreased base price modifier for Treatises (0% > -10%) – no one reads them anyway

And then, you might be curious about the game itself. If that’s the case, you should check out this fairly detailed PC Gamer preview. A few sample paragraphs:

If you like making consistent, smooth progress, look elsewhere. Stoneshard's prologue alone took me several attempts to complete, and once it let me loose in its fantasy wilds, death came frequently.

At least in the early going, Stoneshard frequently feels hopeless. My squishy sorceresses' fire bolts and rays aren't always enough to keep the hordes of bald angry dudes and wolves at bay. If they get in close, I have to hope I succeed on dodge chances or score a critical hit to put them down. Bad rolls mean instant death. She feels like one member of a missing party that should be there to tank and heal for her.

It's something like playing D&D with a stickler of a dungeon master who makes you describe every step you take, and also hates you. You don't just get to 'go back to town' after clearing a tough dungeon: Every square you touch on the way back is another opportunity to hurt, maim, or kill you.

Eventually I gave up on sorcery and started again with a new character, choosing a roguish guy who specializes in bows and daggers (custom characters aren't available yet). Combat's easier with him. He can pelt enemies with arrows and then use a passive ability to switch to his dagger without losing a turn and slice guys up. But on my way back from a successful dungeon raid, I stepped on a trap. No big deal, just a wounded leg. I applied a splint, and then a bandage, and then the trap went off again because I hadn't disarmed it or moved off of its square and I died. Alright, that one was my fault, but still: shit.