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The Felgarin Empire Lore Blog Part 3

A few days late due to stuff that happened last week. This is the third and final lore blog for Felgarin. I will be back in early/mid December with the next lore blog series for the United Nations of Gol.


702 PA – 1025 PA

The key to getting everyone to accept what had happened turned out to be Dorin.

Being a paladin of such renown and high station within the Church gave his words added weight to those who refused to cooperate; but even so, many of those that remained loyal to the Church could not bring themselves to surrender as Dorin suggested. They were torn between their knowledge that while Dorin could not be a traitor that he had turned against Alister and their indefatigable loyalty to the Church. It would be a tense series of months of negotiations, skirmishes, out right battle, and hunting of subversives before the threat of renewed national conflict was doused permanently and the planning for what would come next could begin.

Months of debating about how the Felgarin government should be reconstituted led to a series of public votes. The first vote of which was whether the Church should be allowed to retain total power over the government in the interim between now and the formation of the new government. That result was almost a unanimous no; 95% of the votes cast were against the Church. The next vote was to be to determine the form of the new government.

Out of the debate over what types of governments were possible and would be acceptable, four distinct choices were drafted. The first choice was to emplace a theocracy without the Church in control of the government. Instead, the Church would be divested of all political power and serve only as a public institution. The Children of the Eleven Point Star would be enshrined as the national religion, though other religions would still be allowed, without restriction, to be practiced. Even so, all citizens would be expected to pay tithes to the government and laws would be based on the religious doctrine of the Eleven Point Star.

In place of the Church, the Hall of Representatives would be established; a parliamentarian styled body resembling the Parliament before the Church dissolved. 1100 representatives would be voted into this body by each province; the number of representatives each province would receive would be population based; the lower the population, the higher the number of representatives.

There would be strict rules on who and when could run for a seat in the Hall. This was due to how the Hall of Representatives would be structured. The 1100 members would be divided into denominations of 100 members, each denomination representing a different major deity. To be able to run for election, you must prove that you worship the deity of the denomination for the seat you are running for. If there were no seats open in your deity’s denomination, you would not be allowed to enter an electoral race.

There would be terms limits on representatives in order to prevent any one member from obtaining outsized political power. One term in the Hall would last for seven years, after which the entire Hall would be up for re-election. After two terms in office, you would be barred from holding any public position in the national and provincial governments.

The Hall would also be the seat of justice. Fifteen six-member panels would be created to preside over trials. There would be no juries, instead these panels would serve as the judges and juries. The Enforcers would be restructured into provincial law enforcement organizations. Trials would not be televised and there would be no appeals process for defendants found guilty; however, there would also be no capital punishment except in cases of murder and sedition against the government.

The Church would be restructured into the Holy Sea, an organization that would see to all religious matters not related to the law. Some members of this organization would be elected by the Hall, while other positions would be subject to elections. Elected positions would include deacons, bishops, and high bishops. These would be life-time local and provincial positions. The Hall would vote on the Cardinals who would oversee the running of the Holy Sea. Cardinals would serve for 20-year terms, after which they could redress the Hall for another term or choose to retire and be ineligible to hold the position again.

The Cardinals would be responsible for setting the goals for the Holy Sea, ensuring that the lower orders received and were acting to implement these goals, oversee public events in Shrig at St. Rideon’s, and for selecting the Archbishop who would serve a lifetime appointment. The Archbishop would be the figurehead of the Holy Sea and be a part of the meetings the Cardinals would set to discuss their aims and goals. The Archbishop would also be privy to the full knowledge compiled by the Church and all of the organizations that predated it.

To be eligible to run or be selected for an office within the Holy Sea, you must be a member of the Children of the Eleven Point Star religion and served as a priest for at least six years. In terms of all governmental and public offices, anyone belonging to an Ordo of the Eleven Point Star was to be barred from seeking office. If it was discovered that someone obtained a position by lying about their membership with an Ordo or joined one after winning an office, that individual would be stripped of their position and summarily sentenced to fifteen years of incarceration.

The Enforcers were to be disbanded and reformed into the Guard Force. The Force would consist of three companies: the Realm Guard, the Guardians of the Eleven, and the Security Force. These would form the military for Felgarin and joining would be volunteer only.

The Realm Guard would be comprised of mostly unskilled soldiers; those without any military experience or who did not have a distinguishing performance during training would be assigned here. This company would be responsible for day-to-day provincial security and act as a kind of police force. In the case of invasion during war, the Realm Guard would be the first line of defense.

The Guardians of the Eleven would be an elite unit tasked with dealing with radical theologists from the Eleven Point Star and other religions. They would operate on a tip-based system designed to prevent radicles from forming secret societies that could threaten the peace. Their first task once formed would be to hunt down and eradicate the Ordo Diei Thantulus. During times of war within the homeland, this company would act as the second line of defense and would also break into small platoons who would take command of each province’s Realm Guard battalions.

The Security Force would act as an internal affairs department of sorts for the Guard Force. They would have two mandates. First, they would handle errant Force members that had actively committed crimes during their duties or were suspected of sedition. Second, they would be asked to handle investigations into acts of assassination, espionage, and geo-political incidents or other situations that could lead to increased conflict with other nations. As such, being given such sensitive obligations, members of the Security Force were expected to be able to operate at the same level as an individual of the Knight Guard so the selection process for new members would be quite rigorous.

The second option was the formation of a monarchy with an elected King. The Imperial Palace would be created as a branch of government under the control of the king; however, it would be unable to take actions, in most circumstances, related to the other two branches of the government. Those other two branches would be the Church and the to-be reinstated Parliament.

While these three branches would technically be co-equal branches of government, the only branch with true governmental power would be Parliament. It would handle the day-to-day legislating and operations of the government. There would be several sub-branches that would fall under their control as well: The Guard Force and the Ministry of Justice.

Parliament could overrule any Imperial edict with a simple majority vote and for edicts that they felt were particularly against the interests of the nation, they could censure and temporarily revoke the King’s ability to sign edicts into law. The time frame of which would be dependent on the infraction committed by signing the edict into law.

Parliament would retain its original structure before the Church took over it with one major difference; caucuses would be outlawed. Members would still be elected by each province, but the makeup of the proportions of representation were to be changed as well. Half of the parliament would be voted in by Veltin province and the rest would be split equally among the remaining provinces. Elections would alternate between these halves of Parliament, in 2-year cycles Veltin would have an election for their half of Parliament and on a parallel cycle offset by 2 years the other provinces would do the same for their half. This meant the term in office would be 4 years and members were term limited to serving only three terms either concurrently or in any combination of years served. Once they were termed out of Parliament, they would be barred from seeking employment within the government except for within the Guard Force.

The Ministry of Justice would be under the control of the Parliament, but also have a large degree of independence from them. Parliament could not interfere with investigations undertaken by the Ministry for any reason, they could not influence the judicial process without incurring legal ramifications if caught, and Parliament would have very limited oversight. The Ministry would be responsible for handling cases of national importance or where crimes that were committed crossed provincial borders.

The Ministry would have no power of enforcement of the law, only the judicial system would retain that power, their sole job was to investigate, bring charges, and prosecute defendants within the judicial system. Judges, justices, and magistrates would be elected via each province and then would practice in that province. Judges would sit over the bulk of trials and deal with nearly any type of case within the provincial judicial system except ones where the Ministry was involved. Those would be handled within the national judicial system.

Defendants found guilty would have an option to appeal their case to a higher court, these situations would be handled by the magistrates who would review the case, the trial proceedings, if there was a trial, and the sentence to determine if the claims held merit. If they did, the trial would be handed to a second judge who would retry the case.

If the second outcome matched the first, the defendant would be found guilty and have no ability to appeal the case further. If the outcome was different, then the case would be handed off to a justice in the national court system to identify if any crimes had been committed by the judge or attorneys for the parties involved. The justice would also investigate if there were any issues with the case law around the subject matter of the case at had to determine if any laws were required to be amended or created to ensure whatever happened to invalidate the original case did not happen again. The defendant would receive reparations commensurate with their time spent in court for their case and then cleared of any charges.

Within the national system, justices would directly hear cases and determine if a trial was warranted. If so, then a trial date would be set, and a jury would be empaneled. If not, the justice would hear the case and offer a ruling at the end. Cases within the national system could not be appealed.

The Imperial Palace, and by extension the King, would have control over international matters, domestic operations during states of emergency or if Parliament was for some reason indisposed. The King would have minor powers to enact edicts, but they could not encroach on any legal territory that was under the purview of Parliament, who had the ability to overrule them. The King would also have direct command of an elite company from within the Guard Force called the King’s Guard.

The election of the King was to be a hefty process with many safeguards to prevent radical elements from obtaining the position. To be elected, a candidate would need to secure 60% of the vote and a minimum of 70% of the country would be required to have participated in that election to count. If not, the election would be rerun until 70% of the country had voted. Voting would become compulsory after the fifth failed election due to not meeting this turnout requirement under the legal penalty of two years imprisonment.

Once elected, a King may not refuse coronation and would be expected to rule for 25 years or until removed. There would be two ways to remove a King from power. The first would require 90% of the country to approve of a motion to recall and then if the motion received 80% of the vote with a turnout of 75%, the King would be removed. If the turnout threshold was not met, the vote would fail and two years would be required before another one could be undertaken and the process would start from the beginning. The second was through Parliament; if 90% of the representatives voted for removal, the King could be deposed.

Parliament could only trigger such a vote on criminal grounds up to and including sedition or treason. Upon successful removal, a second vote would be held and if 60% voted so the King would be sentenced to a punishment befitting the crime they were removed for.

The Church was to be stripped of all power. It would be relegated to a public service organization, at least in theory. The proposal was that the Church have no power, but still have influence within the government; a kind of middle-ground that could be acceptable to all. In terms of organizational structure, the Church would still be led by an Archbishop. The Archbishop would be selected by the Cardinals who would each oversee a specific province; there would be six Cardinals. Cardinals would be put into place by each province’s provincial church where the deacons and pastors would vote on who would represent them.

While the Church could take no direct action within the government, they could still lobby Parliament for legislation or the Ministry of Justice for specific investigations. Other than this their only powers were related to administration of the provincial churches and other matters within the religious realm. One of the Church’s new mandates under this governmental option was an obligation to safeguard information. This included the acquisition of relics, artefacts, and other such odds and ends that were related to the Eleven Point Star religion in some way.

To carry out this task, a group of archeologists would be formed to carry out this mandate. The group would be known as the Reliquarians. They would be sent out on missions to collect materials deemed of interest to the Church, sometimes by any means necessary. They would be under the direct command of the Archbishop.

The Ministry of Faith would be dissolved, and the members of the Enforcers would be the first members of the Guard Force, the military for Felgarin. This military would institute conscription so that no undue political influence would infect the command structure of the military as had happened with the Enforcers. Every able-bodied citizen, at age 22, would be required to enlist for ten years. Only after this enlistment period could a member of the public run for a public office.

The Guard Force would be broken up into four main companies: The Realm Guard, the Knight Guard, the Security Force, and the King’s Guard, although it would technically be a sub-company of the Knight Guard. The GF would be a compulsory force, all Felgarin’s would be expected to join at the at of 22 under threat of imprisonment for desertion.

The Realm Guard would act as the main force of the military. They would take most of the recruits that were indoctrinated through the orientation process. They would be responsible for day-to-day security of the provinces and act as a police force. In case of war within the homeland, the Realm Guard would act as the initial defensive line while the Knight Guard rallied and put together defensive plans.

The Knight Guard would be the elite company of the Guard Force. Only those that had proved themselves through service or that showed significant aptitude in training would be allowed to join. The Knight Guard would handle larger operations throughout the empire when needed, things that would normally be too big for the average Realm Guard unit to handle. Examples would be uprisings or large criminal enterprises. During times of war within the homeland, the Knight Guard would form divisions that would then be assigned to a province. They would take command of the other Guard Forces in those provinces and conduct the counteroffensive. Each member of the Knight Guard would have either large amounts of leadership experience or would have shown the aptitude to lead at a sufficient level during training.

The Security Force would act as an internal affairs department of sorts for the Guard Force. They would have three mandates. First, they would handle errant Force members that had actively committed crimes during their duties or were suspected of sedition. Second, they would be asked to handle investigations into acts of assassination, espionage, and geo-political incidents or other situations that could lead to increased conflict with other nations. Finally, they would be tasked with hunting down deserters and conscript dodgers. As such, being given such sensitive obligations, members of the Security Force were expected to be able to operate at the same level as an individual of the Knight Guard so the selection process for new members would be quite rigorous.

The King’s Guard would be responsible for the personal safety of the King and all of his attendants within four hundred feet of his person. They would be required to guard structures within Shrig or on location if the King was traveling. At least two King’s Guard would be present at any time, more for situations where incidents were more likely to occur. During times of war, the King would be protected around the clock by any King’s Guard not deployed. Entrance into this company was through invitation only and only a handful of people within the Guard Force would have the privilege of submitting candidates for review. Even if offered an invitation, the invitees would be required to wait for an opening if there were none.

There would be a maximum of seven King’s Guard, and they would have to be the elite of the elite. Those that had proven themselves in battle numerous times and were shown to be of excellent and sound tactical mind. The ideal was for one King’s Guard to offer the same military power as an entire division of Realm Guard troops.

The third option was the formation of a constitutional republic with the Parliament reinstated as the governing body with an elected president like the days of Vastlin. The Church would be dissolved, and the Ministry of Faith shut down. There would be no national religion and all religions would be allowed to be practiced freely within the constraints of the law.

The rules of Parliament would be altered to outlaw caucuses and each province would get an equal share of representatives that they would vote on every three years. Representatives would be limited to four terms in office and then would be disqualified from seeking election to any public office in the empire thereafter. Legislation created in Parliament would be required to be approved by the President who could veto a bill. To override a presidential veto, Parliament would be required to achieve a 90% super majority on a veto override vote. If successful, the legislation would become law. If this vote failed, the legislation would be rejected, and a new bill could be drafted.

To replace the Ministry of Faith, the Ministry of Justice would be created. This organization’s mission would be to investigate crimes within the country. They would receive tips from the public, notices from Parliament, and even the President could request something be reviewed. If wrongdoing was suspected, an investigation would then be opened.

The Ministry would not deal with adjudicating crimes, that would be the purview of the judicial system. The organization would be headed by a Director of Investigations who would be appointed by the President and confirmed by Parliament. If Parliament voted down the appointment, a new candidate was to be selected. The Director would then fill the positions within the Ministry.

As with the other options, the Ministry of Justice would strictly handle the investigation and building of cases against targeted individuals; they would not participate in the adjudication of the law in respect to the cases they would develop. The judicial system would similarly be structured as laid out in the other government structure options with one key difference, nationally handled cases could be appealed by the defendant.

The Enforcers would be restructured into the Guard Force which would be a volunteer-based military. The Guard Force would be broken up into three companies: the Realm Guard, the Provincial Guard, and the Security Force. The Realm Guard would handle day-to-day tasks such as protecting towns and villages from attacks, patrolling routes for criminal activity, and in the event of an attack on the homeland, would server as the first line of defense.

The Provincial Guard would be a national guard of sorts. Their job would be to remain on alert for situations where the Realm Guard was either not capable of handling or required assistance in dealing with. Think of this as a reservist outfit where soldiers would be called to active duty when needed, but otherwise be free to pursue other things. In the event of an attack on the country, the Provincial Guard would augment the Realm Guard on the front lines and the commanders within the PG would take command over both the RG and the PG forces.

The Security Force would act as an internal affairs department of sorts for the Guard Force. They would have two mandates. First, they would handle errant Force members that had actively committed crimes during their duties or were suspected of sedition. Second, they would be asked to handle investigations into acts of assassination, espionage, and geo-political incidents or other situations that could lead to increased conflict with other nations. As such, being given such sensitive obligations, members of the Security Force were expected to be able to operate at the same level as an individual of the Knight Guard so the selection process for new members would be quite rigorous.

The president would have some unitarian powers that could be overruled by a three-quarter vote by Parliament. These include the power to issue a declaration of emergency, executive orders that would pertain to the operation of the executive office, which the presidency would be part of, short-term, three-month, spending plans for investment into matters of national security, and public declarations.

The term for the president would be six years after which the office holder could run again for re-election. One individual could only serve as president for three terms either consecutively or non-consecutively.
There would be no replacement for the Church and religious expression and practice would be completely at the discretion of the citizens with no national religion being declared.

The final option was the institution of a hegemony of clustered independent states much like the UNG. All forms of centralized government would be disbanded and instead each province would be instituted as an independent state with its own laws and governance and these states would form an official alliance with each other that would be recognized as the Felgarin Empire.

Application of laws cross-state borders would depend on the location of each litigant in a dispute and the laws of the state they resided in at the time of the dispute would be applied. This would lead to complex cases in which a trial might be presided over by multiple jurisdictions with differing sets of laws. So to prevent unfair situations from occurring, agreements were signed that any offenses committed would be tried based on the defendant’s home state and the plaintiff would be subjected to that state’s laws even if they were from a different state.

Each state could establish the type of governance they wished for, there would be no common hierarchical structure to be adhered to. Each province would form, by appointment, a board which would participate in annual multi-lateral meetings with the boards from other provinces. Their job will be to set forth the collective vision for the hegemony for the coming year including trade balances, military exercises, maintenance of alliances abroad, defensive strategies, cross-state military training, border negotiations if expansion is needed for one or more states, and other such matters.

Each state would be expected to support its own military and use that military in the defense of another state should one come under attack. Other than for mutual defense, there would be no obligation to participate in aggressive actions on the part of other states.

Each state would be required to provide 8% of its annual taxes to fund these initiatives. Any changes to these terms could only be carried out if the populations of each state exceeded a vote of 80% on a single-item nature; any changes to the ratified charter could not be packaged together.

After these choices were presented to the populace the requirements for ratification were posted. In order for any of these four governmental options to pass, the option was required to achieve 60% of the total vote. If no option reached that level of support, the bottom two would be removed and the vote would be retaken after a period of three months to allow for further debate.

Once the election had taken place the results were as they were widely expected to be, the Theocracy option received only 5% of the vote. The next lowest was the Hegemony option with 18%. The Monarchy option received 35% while the Constitutional Republic option got 42%. With none of them reaching the 60% threshold, a new election was schedule in three months and the debate continued with the Theocracy and Hegemony options stricken from the docket.

As a means of keeping the vote free from blatant peer-influence, the tabulation from each vote was to be kept hidden until an option had won to prevent influencing voters towards what option seemed popular. None of the vote percentages were revealed to the public, only that no option had reached the 60% threshold and which options were removed.

In the second vote the Monarchy option secured 55% of the vote while the Constitutional Republic option received 45%. This was a somewhat surprising outcome as those conducting the counting believed that those that had wanted the independent Hegemony option would have gone for the Republic option in the second vote. If they had, that meant that a large swing from elsewhere had occurred.

Another three months were allotted for electioneering. After the third vote the breakdown was 46% for a Republic to 34% for a Monarchy. Now Vasin was becoming concerned. This time the vote shifted wildly in the other direction, but there was still no clear winner. It is possible that a bunch of people had chosen to vote for the opposing option this time from their last vote, but that wouldn’t account for all of the vote shift. He raised his concerns with the others, and they agreed that it warranted investigation.

While the two months were ticking by, Vasin would be looking into the possibility that someone was tampering with the vote. The time for advocacy was reduced to two months as a means to try and catch anyone fiddling with the process off guard. Publicly it was stated it was to help speed the process along due to the unexpected nature of what was going on. Another election was held and then another. Both times the vote totals changed widely in either direction, but with neither side grasping a majority over 60%.

By this time everyone was getting exasperated with the process. None more so than Vasin, who had been tasked with the unenviable job of running the elections. He was now being asked by members of the public if someone was manipulating the vote to sow dissent. Vasin had spent weeks interviewing those involved with the counting process along with dozens of voters. He was being run ragged trying to ascertain if there was anything to this and constantly having to field questions about it.

After being cornered by a gaggle of about 20 reporters asking if they would announce the vote totals for the previous five elections for reasons of transparency and if their group had been manipulating votes to try and secure a particular outcome and this was the reason for keeping the totals secret, Vasin had had enough. He stormed through the group, denying any and all allegations of anything, no matter what they were, and said that he had no comment.

As one would expect, this was not received well by certain segments of the population and Vasin’s heated exchange only served to bring more scrutiny and questions down on them. It was at a point where Dorin felt that conflict might show its ugly face once again, so he suggested that they announce a press conference and reveal the results for the last four elections, explain the counting process, and reiterate why these were kept secret until now.

They all agreed and selected Vasin to be the one to do the conference. Both because Vasin was the reason this ability to choose what government the country would implement was available and because no one else wanted to tangle with the press in their current state of frenzy journalism that saw them pumping out all kinds of conspiratorial garbage.

The next day Vasin found himself on a stage surrounded by dozens of reports and hundreds of citizens. He stated that, until now, the vote totals and tabulations were kept secret to prevent shifts in the vote over each election from influencing the next vote. They did not want individuals voting a certain way just to get the process over with, they wanted the country’s genuine opinion on this issue. It would change everyone’s lives dramatically; it was not something to take lightly nor without the proper reverence and introspection.

This seemed to placate most of those in attendance, though there were still some hecklers in the back of the crowd casting aspersions about the process and about their intentions. Next, he revealed the outcomes from the first four elections and stated that going forward, after each election, the results from the election held before the previous vote would be revealed. Thus, he would not be revealing the results of the last vote, nor the current one once it had been completed unless one of the options won or enough successive elections have been held.

He stated that after the third vote that the group running the elections began to suspect that someone could potentially be interfering with the process and that he had been tasked with investigating the possibility. As he finished, a wall of questions and shouting assailed his ears. Members of the press were asking what he had uncovered, some were asking leading questions about conspiracies relating to those still loyal to the Church. Several in the crowd were shouting negative slogans at him, calling him a traitor and thief. Vasin yelled as loud as he could over the cacophony for silence, after a few attempts he got everyone to quiet down. He stated that had found nothing more than a bunch of people who couldn’t make up their damned minds about the future of their country. There was no conspiracy, no plot, no one manipulating the election process.

Almost immediately after he stopped the roaring began again as the press shouted questions at him and the onlookers derided his explanation, exclaiming that he was covering up a plot to undermine the vote. Vasin attempted to regain order several times, but no one was listening now. He shouted a few choice words to one man in particular that had been pointing at Vasin and shouting that he was behind a plot to fix the vote and then walked off of the stage.

While the headlines the next day were not helpful to bringing down the temperature of the rhetoric being flung about by the talking heads, at least some part of Vasin’s statements were getting through to a portion of the public. Several others, including Dorin, did similar press events to help try to smooth over the rougher edges of public opinion about the election process thus far.

Vasin made a second appearance. It was not much more successful than his first, but he did manage to answer some questions this time. He also reminded everyone that if they did not like the results, they always had the option to trigger a public vote of no confidence and start this process all over again. This was a key privilege that was built into this process. For a period of five years, at any point they could trigger a vote of confidence in the government if more than 25% of the voting age citizenry signed a petition to trigger a vote of confidence.

If that vote passed, the government would be dissolved and the selection process would restart with all four options available including the ability for the populace to vote on amendments to the charters developed for each choice. Perhaps there was an unforeseen situation that arose that the government was not designed to properly handle; they could offer an amendment to the charter to deal with that situation and then vote for that mode of governance again.

At the end of the next vote there was finally a clear victor; 28% for a Republic and 72% for a Monarchy. Felgarin would transition to a Monarchy. Now the next biggest decision, who would be King? As was stated in the charter, the King would be elected by the people and be required to serve. A number of candidates threw their proverbial hats into the ring and a six-month campaign was held. After the election was over there was a clear winner; Vasin.

He was as stunned as anyone; he hadn’t even run for the job! He tried everything he could think of to try to get out of it, but the charter was crystal clear; he was now, in the year 746 PA at the age of 33, King Vasin Rafard I. His first action was to carry out the reformation of the Church. He shuttered the Ecclesiarchy, disbanding all of the Enforcer divisions, ordering any soldiers who had committed heinous crimes while acting under orders to be investigated; these were limited to acts of sadism and deliberate murder outside the scope of their orders. Almost everyone else was to go unpunished. Dorin was in charge of the investigation of the allegations and building case facts for the instances where a trial was to be held.

As part of the charter for the Monarchy, Vasin was instituted as the head of the reconstruction of the government which afforded him sweeping powers while overseeing the process. He would have the ability to force members of the institutions implementing all of the charter requirements to adhere to the text of those requirements, he would have the power to investigate any potential wrong doing by those individuals. He would be responsible for doling out punishments in the cases where maleficence was discovered without having to go through the judicial process.

Vasin took these powers with all of the responsibility that they entailed. Someone could easily use these powers to completely corrupt the process and install themselves as a dictator. Granted, they would have to put down a rebellion, but given what they had gone through, Vasin was sure someone could find enough like-minded individuals to pull off such a feat.

His selection for this role meant that the public trusted him to do the right thing. The thought of it terrified him, to be granted this power and expected not to use it corruptly. Any person would face massive pressure to abuse it. He would have to be extremely vigilant both of his own actions and those closest to him.

Over the course of the next two years, Vasin spent all of his waking hours instituting the government that had been voted for. It was challenging and keeping everyone aligned with the will of the people was a monumental task. Many of the existing bureaucrats who were to be retained wanted to work within the margins of the charter to carve out exceptions to retain some semblance of their previous power. Vasin had to constantly monitor the changes being made and bring his foot down on those trying to gain personally from the process.

This led to more than a few of these politicians being charged with crimes committed during the reconstruction of the Felgarin government. While the work was hard, it was paying off for Vasin; his approval with the people was almost unanimous, he had very few detractors. This gave him a lot of leeway to deal with those he thought corrupt as he saw fit, doling out proposed punishments that fit the severity of the crimes and the intents behind them. As more of the structures were put into place, there were less instances of corruption occurring as it was becoming harder to interfere with the process and Vasin could relax slightly.

As time passed and the reconstitution of the government was completed, things settled down and life began to return to what passed as normal after an event of the magnitude the Felgarin Empire had just gone through. Further changes were made as time progressed and obvious gaps in the charter were discovered, which some had tried to take advantage of. However, there was never a vote of confidence called for. Vasin was eagle-eyed, he was determined that all of the sacrifices made during the second Felgarin Civil War were not squandered.

His reign lasted for 35 years until 781 PA when he died at the age of 68 from natural causes. His reign had been a prosperous one that led Felgarin into a new era not seen since the time of Ginna Wallston. Felgarin had once again become a strong economy within the world and had helped lift it out of the remnants of the economic depression that the Arcanum War had thrown it into. He remained well liked throughout his time as King as was regarded as a fair ruler.

He was succeeded by Braidin Dorin, son of the late Garreth Dorin. While he was not his Father, he was still a decent king. His rule was different from Vasin’s, having grown up immersed more in a religious environment, he relaxed some of the less important limitations that had been placed on the Church. While there was some displeasure voiced by the populace, it was seen as mostly a non-event. He ruled for 18 years until he stepped down due to health concerns.

For a time after, there was no king. This was not due to any foul play or cloak and dagger-based plot; there were no candidates that stepped forward to take part in the election and after several attempts at holding one, even no write-in candidates amassed the required vote and turnout totals. The empire went for 9 years without a king in Castle Varour. In 809 PA, Parliament was forced to act when an incident with the country to the east of Felgarin, Yangtallen Emirate, fell after a vicious civil war and those fleeing from the continent sought political asylum in Felgarin. Only the King had the power to grant entrance requests such as these.

In what should have been considered a violation of the constitutional charter put into place after the second Felgarin civil war, Parliament altered the laws so that in the event that no king had been crowned for five years, that Parliament, with a simple majority vote, could proclaim someone king. There was a great haste to fill the throne, but also much political intrigue around who would ascend from the ranks of the representatives.

Historians would later consider this a blatant violation of the charter and the first true act of political corruption since King Rafard I had claimed the throne. Even this being the case, the populace had been very distracted from what had transpired in Yangtallen and the act was mostly overlooked at the time. Later on, there would be a price paid by Parliament.

Brutus Castel was elected to be raised to the station of king. He was a wealthy and highly influential representative for Veltin province. He had a very different vision of his powers as King and routinely interjected himself into the political discussions on laws brought to the floor in Parliament. Many representatives were uncomfortable having a king with that much presence in Parliament, but there was nothing strictly illegal about it so unless they wanted to amend the constitution, nothing would be done. Eventually it just became a normal happenstance to see Castel at the podium arguing his thoughts on legislation.

Castel was also very young, 28, by general standards of members of Parliament where the median age was 54. He was a charismatic speaker and had an intellect beyond his age. This made him a dangerous political opponent. Members of Parliament found it difficult to counterargue against him and so when he put his weight behind legislation, it generally got passed. Castel knew this and used his influence carefully so not to appear to be doing so out of personal gain.

His reign was also, in general, an overly peaceful time internally. Externally, the World was a different story. Baratian and Tarkaan had, had a war, the fall of Yangtallen and the rise of the Dregos Empire in its wake which turned out to be more of an agent of chaos in the world than anticipated. While nothing came of it, the Elves started stirring in Eldawine after a ship from Dregos landed on their shores. There was a brief battle between the citizens of the two countries and some saber rattling, but nothing arose from it, thankfully.

Castel ruled for 58 years until he died in 863 PA of liver failure due to his drinking habits later in life. He had left Felgarin at an interesting crossroads. Throughout his time as king, he found himself increasingly favoring religious institutions. He had actively petitioned and argued in Parliament for a minor restoration of the Church to some if its former power, albeit very minor powers. Mainly, he wanted them to resume the duties carried out by the Ministry of Faith to monitor religions for hostile intents towards the empire.

Dregos had been an exporter of the Tairg religion which had been practiced on the continent of Jellistein /yel-es-tīn/ since time immemorial. Radical sects had been finding success in spreading in Felgarin and Castel wanted it monitored. His legislation was passed, and a version of the Church was reconstituted. The general populace supported this action. The Church had very limited power that amounted to surveillance only. They had no authority to act and had to forward any problematic discoveries to the Ministry of Justice for further investigation.

In the next election, a descendant of Vasin Rafard, Grath Hemmis-Rafard ran for king and was elected by a wide margin. Using his namesake and promoting his ideology, which was quite like his great-grand Father’s, he had won the minds of many throughout the country. He warned that this small movement of power back into the hands of the Church was dangerous, and that the country needed someone who would watch it closely lest history repeat itself.

It seemed like the reminder of what it took to achieve the life they now had in Felgarin rekindled the old views about religious power within the government; sometimes a gentle prod is needed. When asked for his name when he officially registered to run, Grath stated his name was to be Vasin Rafard II. Some speculated that he had always intended to lean on his predecessor’s legacy, not that it was a bad move. In fact, it was greatly credited for his victory.

Grath’s reign was not as smooth as Vasin’s had been. Many trying events took place during his time on the throne including having to deal with and excise the extremist Tairg religions which had grown into subversive elements within Felgarin society. He had, had to give the Church more power, the power to act once more. He refused to do so for as long as possible to see if the situation could be resolved in another manner, but once Shrig was attacked by political nihilists affiliated with the Tairg religion his hand was forced.

Doing so did not damage him politically or in the minds of the people; the opposite in fact, but he knew that the slope had once again been doused in oil. It would be a matter of time before someone attempted to revive the Church in all of its horrific glory.

Grath sat on the throne for 27 years until he died of stress-related natural causes in 890 PA. He had battled for most of his life against a growingly religious Parliament; not on the same order of magnitude as what had occurred all of those years ago, but lines were being tested constantly. In a rare move, though one consistent with the constitution at the time, Grath named a successor to the throne to prevent the Parliament from attempting to manipulate the vote to crown the new king. He worried that they had intended to force a delay in the election to try to expend the 5 years required before they could name their own choice to the monarchy.

Given how well liked Grath had been, his successor easily won the first round of voting and in a surprising move, Felgarin now had its first Queen. Grath had named Garreth Dorin’s great-great-great grandniece, Abigail Transilor, to the throne. Grath had been mentoring her in the ways of the Felgarin government for thirty years, planning for this moment. Abigail was the spitting image of Garreth, aside from being a woman and much shorter. Grath knew that the imagery of a Dorin following a Rafard would be extremely powerful to the masses, and it would lessen the grip of the Church and the Parliament in being able to steamroll over the next ruler.

The move was not taken kindly by Parliament, many of the representatives currently in office were very old, term limits having been one of the casualties during the time of Grath’s reign. They had a very traditionalist mindset and the thought of a woman as Queen irked them. That said, her popularity prevented them from taking overt action to try and deal with her. She had also been groomed by Grath and knew all of the tricks of the trade needed to keep them in their place.

Abigail’s reign was short compared to other rulers; 8 years after her coronation she was assassinated by an individual claiming that she had usurped the throne, that Rafard II had no right to name a successor and that she had risen to power through corruption of the election. It was later discovered during the trial of this individual named Harris Yepolin, that he was a member of the Ordo Diei Thantulus. His motives were quickly labeled religious terrorism by those in charge of prosecuting him. While the Order had not been as vocal or active for the last several hundred years, it had survived the fall of the Church and apparently was rearing its ugly head once more.

A group of more religiously inclined members of Parliament were quick to attempt to cast Yepolin as a mentally disturbed individual who clearly was deranged. This was the first hint that some would later look back on as the rebirth of some semblance of the Church in the modern era of Felgarin society.

Given the nature of the vacancy, Parliament took an emergency action to appoint a new king in the interim while the Yepolin trial was underway. As soon as a guilty verdict was given, they stated that an election would be scheduled. That never happened, though.

After a series of mysterious incidents with the persecutors on the case, Yepolin was found guilty of the assassination and sentenced to public execution. Yepolin demanded an appeal of the ruling, something that was not often done for national cases such as his. In an unexpected turn, his request was granted; it was to be only the third case since the refounding of the empire that a national case would be allowed to be appealed. Even more questions were brought to the forefront when he won by ruling of a mistrial due to evidence that was claimed to have been found to have been fabricated against Yepolin.

Even though this individual had been seen in public executing Transilor, he was now free and could not be tried again for the crime. That said, he did not go without punishment; he was found dead months later, tied to a wooden cross in the Red Wastes in Jostrin where it was clear that vultures had been eating him alive. There was never an investigation as to how he ended up there and who was involved.

Meanwhile, the king that Parliament had enthroned, Gaius Cranthaw, had been using his station to grab more power for the Imperial Castle. Parliament, obviously, did not mind giving up some of their powers. Cranthaw decreed the restoration of the power structure of the Church; it would once again be led by an archbishop that would have sweeping authority. It would also be given more powers; the Church would continue to be tasked with monitoring religions throughout the country, but now would be able to enforce the laws of its own accord. They must still adhere to legal processes and could not extra-jurisdictionally act.

He also tasked the Church with preservation of holy relics and confiscation of materials deemed heretical to the Eleven Point Star, which had been reinstated as the national religion. By this order, the Reliquarians were reassigned from a non-combat group under the control of the Church to the fifth company of the Guard Force that would remain under the control of the Church that would seek out religious artifacts either for preservation or confiscation.

Gaius was intelligent and not afraid to bite the hands that had raised him to his station; they should have known what his intentions were so anything that happened was on those that had voted for him. He was no puppet and would rule as he saw fit too. To make this patently clear to Parliament, he enacted a new law using an archaic loophole in the executive order process barring them from altering the powers of the Church in any way. That power would rest solely with the king going forward.

Gaius was one of the youngest kings ever to sit on the throne, his reign began when he was 19. He often fought with those in Parliament that had hoped that he would act as a puppet for them to use. Instead, he ended up being a popular ruler, popular enough that Parliament could not depose him without the appearance of staging a coup.

He had one flaw, however, one that most overlooked because of the country’s history with Eldawine. Gaius was adamantly racist against Elves. It would eventually lead to his downfall 72 years later.

In the summer of 960 PA there had been an attempt on the life of the King of Eldawine, an ancient Elf going by the name Elisphatus. He had been the ruler of the country for over two thousand years and was one of the oldest Elves known to exist. Gaius, for the last four years, had been attempting to negotiate an annexation of Eldawine into Felgarin as reparations for the destruction and death the Elves had caused during the Arcanum War. This went over very poorly with many in Eldawine, as you can imagine, however, there was a small, but influential, group within the leadership of the country that was much less hostile to the idea.

They argued that what their parents had done was unjust, that they had never atoned for what they had done because of how feared they were as a race. Any other Human country would have been invaded and taken over if they had done what Eldawine had done, as right as they had been to initially fight back against Rosslton after they had invaded.

The broaching of the topic caused a split within the public of Eldawine with hardliners from both sides taking over amicable conversations and steering them into public skirmishes. Many in Eldawine believed that this out of character behavior was the result of external manipulation, quite a few blamed Cranthaw personally, that somehow, he was influencing this violence into existence.

It did not take long for the fighting to take a much darker tone as factions started forming and attacks on opposition groups became more commonplace. There was now active fighting in the capital of Eldawine, an Elvish civil war had broken out. It was very uncommon for Elves to fight amongst themselves, in fact it was almost unheard of. Whatever had spurred on the fighting had ignited into a conflagration that was now engulfing the small country.

Events came to a head when it was learned that, in fact, Cranthaw had, had a hand in the rising tensions that had led to the war in Eldawine. He had been using intermediaries to convince Half-Elves to return to their nation and argue for consolidation with Felgarin within the politic body. There had always been a schism between full blooded Elves and their half-Human counterparts. Many sects of Elvish society viewed them as tainted and no longer pure. Integration with a Human nation was considered a great insult within these sects and tensions skyrocketed as these ideas flooded into the country.

To avoid another war with Eldawine, Felgarin agreed to extradite all half-elves from the country back to Eldawine. Entire families were forced to migrate to their homeland after generations had lived in Felgarin. The intention had been to reindoctrinate these individuals into Elvish society. Instead of stopping the discussion of annexation, it only increased it.

Hardliners within Eldawine blamed it all on Felgarin, they had sent these people knowing that it would lead to further breakdown of Elvish society. They wanted another war with the Humans to remind them of their place in the World. The government of Eldawine refused this demand, stating that nothing but more distrust and retaliation would result from it.

After months of being shut down, the largest of the clans, Gilthanu, took matters into their own hands and marched into Felgarin, targeting the nearest city. As during the Arcanum War, the Elves faced little resistance as they marched through the town, destroying it and everyone that lived there. Unlike back then, though, Felgarin was not without an ample land military.

Once the Guard Force had been mobilized, ten regiments of the Realm Guard and five battalions of the elite Knight Guard were called into action and sent to face the Elves in the South. Elvish technology had not changed much in all of the years since the last war while Human tech had progressed far. The Elves had no answer to the long-ranged weaponry employed by the Humans which allowed them to attack from outside of spell casting range and were dealt with much more quickly than their last foray into Human territory.

Attempting to stop a full-scale war, the government of Eldawine quickly parlayed for a cease fire. In exchange for their surrender and agreement of annexation into Felgarin, Felgarin would give them Cranthaw to do with as they saw fit. Parliament saw an opportunity to rid themselves of a large thorn in their side and were intent to take advantage of it.

Eldawine agreed to the deal and while they were preparing to submit to Felgarin authority, a new Felgarin king was being elected. Arstin Halfer, a high commander in the Knight Guard that had seen the most fighting against the Elves, was elected to the throne. He had urged calmness in the wake of the attack, that this wasn’t the same as back in the Arcanum War, Felgarin had the ability to defend itself now and that he would, if elected, ensure that Eldawine paid their dues for this attack and their past actions if elected.

He also railed on Gaius Cranthaw and the mistakes that led to him obtaining power. He called out Parliament for their role in pushing Gaius onto the throne using powers that did not have and stated he would work to weed out the subversive elements in Parliament and actively attempt to reinstate term limits as that had been a massive usurping of power from the people of the country to control their government.

He beat out all of his contenders easily; none of them had participated in the battles, they were pro-Parliament which was very disliked, and none of them matched Arstin’s optimism for the future.

Major reforms were enacted during Arstin’s time as king. He did eventually manage to reinstate many controls on Parliament that they had been able to weasel out of over the years and he oversaw a complete the annexation of Eldawine. He ordered that all Elves that had not participated in the attack be exonerated and enacted harsh penalties on segregation and discrimination against the Elves. He was determined that this merging of nations would succeed. The only alternative was mutually assured destruction.

It was not an easy task, there was still much animosity on all sides. He worked on easing these by giving Elves the right to hold positions within the government and even went so far as to increase the number of members in Parliament and order that these additional 50 seats be given to the Elves. He had used some loopholes of his own to enact public votes to change the constitution. One of those votes was to give the King the power to increase the size of Parliament, the second was to give the King the power to force a vote on specific legislation within Parliament. Within time, integration would be more or less successful though prejudices would remain for many years to come.

In 985 PA, Arstin died of complications caused by an injury during the Elvish invasion. This stirred up some of the old thorns between the two peoples, but things were kept to a simmer. That year also saw an Elf run for king. There was nothing stating that the king was required to be a natural citizen of Felgarin, but it still was a shock to the political system with large swaths encouraging the idea and some aghast that the thought was even being entertained.

The situation kicked off a movement for equal rights for the Elves, if they were not allowed to participate in running for an elected position such as king, were they truly equal to Humans under the law?

While this would start a social rights movement that would last well into the next millennia, it was a moot point as another candidate had secured the required vote to win the election for king. It was yet another of the Rafard line; it seemed that whenever Felgarin was in political turmoil, a Rafard would show up to try and stabilize it. Some were calling it destiny; others were cursing the day that Vasin gained the throne as his legacy persisted to this day and prevented them from steering the country in the direction they believed it should be run.

The new king’s name was Chennet Vasin Rafard. He instead decided to be coronated under his middle name, understanding the societal and political ramifications of doing so, and became King Vasin Rafard III who still rules into the present day.


The Felgarin Empire Lore Blog Part 2

262 PA – 702 PA

The Felgarin Empire was, finally, founded on 262 PA after much consternation around the total powers that would be granted to the provinces and in which ways and the situations under which those powers could be curtailed by the state. The Felgarin government would be built around a parliamentarian system where citizens of the provinces would have equal representation in the Parliament by way of voting in a three-year election cycle. Each election cycle, all members of Parliament would be up for re-election. There were no term limits, you would serve as long as your constituents returned you to your seat.

Every six years, the political figurehead for the country would undergo a test of confidence via election as well. While there were no explicit rules, language was put into place suggesting that there was a Presidential term limit of 8 terms: 48 years. There was no enforcement mechanism to enforce this suggestion, however, so many saw it as purely academic. The President was responsible for making certain decisions of national importance, weighing in on parliamentarian legislation, though the office had no authority over the enactment of legislation except within specific situations, and was to be responsible for coordinating various parts of the government in times of national emergency.

While there were a couple false starts, the first elections went off relatively smoothly and the gears of political civilization ground into motion. Things continued this way for many years until a shift within Parliament began to occur. One that would test this new form of government.

In the year 390 PA, a faction arose to minor power within the Parliament. They represented a new religion calling itself the Children of the Eleven Point Star. It had arrived within the country a little more than a year ago, brought by traders from the Duchy of Tarkaan, a country far to the east. The President of the Empire at this time was an aging man named Tierel Noggs. He had been in politics for most of his life, starting at the age of 18 when he was elected to Parliament by his constituents in Latis Province. He was a tall and roughhewn man, six feet eight inches tall.

Many credited his rich bass voice for his success in politics; it conveyed a sense of security. He rose quickly through Parliament and amassed much political power. He used it to the advantage of his constituents to press for legislation the empower Latis province as a secondary trade hub to help support Westerly. He knew and played the game for nearly fifty years until he decided to run for President.

His opponent, at the time, was a Parliament Member from Jostrin province named Crias Felhorn. His opponent ran on a nationalist platform, he wanted to restrict immigration, tighten scrutiny on religious groups, and cut international spending and redirect those monies to the provinces.

Noggs chose a different, much more nuanced tactic. He agreed with his opponent that the immigration system had gotten a bit lax as of late and that some changes were needed, but also advocated for increasing the annual cap for immigration by 45%. Because only so many were approved per year, those who had been waiting for as much as a decade were entering illegally because the system was not giving them a fair deal; he backed this up with numerous studies.

He did not agree with his opponent that Felgarin should withdraw from the world by cutting their support for nations enacting policies or conducting operations beneficial to their own interests nor would it make moral sense to cut aid to countries in great need. Sure, there are always areas needing improvement and support within any nation. In Felgarin, the neediest person is still far better off than a person from an impoverished nation. He argued that the cuts to international spending his opponent sought would be heaviest on such nations.

In the end it wasn’t really a contest. Noggs wiped out Felhorn by the tune of 87% of the vote. It was the largest win in the history of the country in those days and started a rivalry between the two men. Felhorn felt he was entitled to win and now that he had lost and in such a spectacular way, he was determined to be a thorn in Noggs side for as long as possible.

These days Noggs once striking black hair was now going from grey to white in his early eighties, but his mind was still as sharp as ever. He had withered brutal political times in the past, most of them figure headed by Felhorn who did indeed make it his life’s mission to see Noggs deposed. The problem for Felhorn was that Noggs was well liked by the people and he ran his office smartly, attempting to not give any possibility for attack from Felhorn or the rest of his coalition in Parliament.

The whole rivalry culminated in an assassination attempt. Felhorn himself ambushed Noggs as the President was walking into his personal residence on a stormy autumn evening around 15 years ago. He had paid off his security detail to go missing for a few hours and attempted to sneak up behind his enemy. He brought along a .56 Keljourner Special, a massive handgun known and favored for its lethality. Noggs was saved by two things that night; the first was Felhorn’s ego, Felhorn wanted Noggs to know it was him that had killed him even though with that weapon he could have done it from sixty feat away. The second was Noggs’ size.

Felhorn did manage to get off a single round into Noggs’ midriff, but Noggs’ had heard someone approaching and had started turning around. While he had a grapefruit sized hole in his side, it ended up not being a lethal hit. He whipped around and caught Felhorn with his fist, sending him head first into the side of a wall where he died instantly from the force of the impact.

The event turned into a conspiracy and 25 members of Parliament, and 10 members of the Office of the President were eventually arrested and charged with participation in a plot to assassinate the President. All of them were found guilty in the court system and were executed. After surviving as close to a coup de tat as could be defined, Noggs would go on to serve as President for another twenty years; the longest serving President in the history of Felgarin at the time.

Given his experience with political intrigue, he had taken note of this new religion. He was uneased by it; he did not know why, but it worried him when it had begun taking such a fast hold within the country. Not that the spread of religion was something to be halted, but it is also true that with quick change can come massive upheaval. What he wanted was stability; stability is what had propelled Felgarin through the past to now with very little conflict, external or internal.

The caucus in question was not advocating for extreme policies either, but he worried about the possibility of such. He had found that throughout his long life that when devout believers obtain power of authority, usually they end up trying to obtain more. Currently, their major goal was to pass legislation giving the Ministry of Faith additional powers to police the registered religions. An odd goal, considering that their own religion was not yet officially through the registration process.

They would eventually find themselves with the votes to pass their bill. With it, they expanded the powers of the Ministry of Faith which would now have the power to perform audits of tithes and collections to ensure that proper taxes had been paid, they would have more power to investigate the individuals of a new religion seeking registration with the ministry. They would have the unilateral power to change tithe and collection taxes which had been the prevue of Parliament. A maximum number of registered religions was instituted, which could only be raised by three fourths vote in a parliamentary vote and if the advisory council that processed registrations for new religions unanimously agreed that the cap could be raised.

In addition to all of these, they also passed amendments to establish a small law enforcement organization under the command of the Ministry of Faith. Their mission statement was to monitor unregistered religions and if evidence of malicious action was found, they had the power to infiltrate, and monitor said religious organizations all the way through to the power to arrest the leaders given proper evidence.

While there was pushback for these changes, it was mitigated by the expansion the Eleven Point Star caucus, as they had named themselves, enjoyed. They were now a quarter of the Parliament and enjoyed certain privileges under the parliamentarian system, such as the ability to propose legislation directly and not through the legislative subcommittee responsible for taking legislative suggestions from minority caucuses and formulating legislation from those suggestions if they decided that there was merit in bringing such legislation to a vote. They also now controlled two seats on that subcommittee as well.

As time wore on, the Elven Point Star caucus started becoming more extreme. With their popularity came with it the attraction of those seeking to leverage their power for personal gains and ambitions. This eventually led to the election of a man to caucus leader who would forever change the nation, an individual that Noggs had worried would one day appear.

His name was Barthold Castillian. He was a charismatic middle-aged man from Veltin province. He was new to Parliament, having just been elected in the last round of elections. His platform was harrowing to Noggs who viewed his ambitions as nothing short of a hostile theocracy. He was a zealot through and through as far as Noggs was concerned. Castillian believed that the Children of the Eleven Point Star was the only true religion, all others were pretenders seeking to sway innocents into the clutches of evil. He believed that all facets of life should be dictated by one’s religious beliefs for if you did not live and act by your beliefs, you were condemned. This included areas of politics and law.

Castillian was a member of an extremist sect of the Children of the Eleven Point Star called the Ordo Diei Thantulus, or the Order of the Day of Thantulus. Thantulus was a major deity of the religion, the God of Light. Castillian’s sect believed that their religion was the one, true religion and that all others were false and subversive to their own and that they had been called upon to either convert or expunge the non-believers.

He had been elected after the previous leader, Swain Holstin, had been embroiled in a scandal involving exploitation of his parishioners. He had led a large congregation for many years before being vaulted to leadership over the caucus.

Barthold had been a fiery opposition against Swain; some would say he went too far in his advocacy for Swain’s removal. He often let his speeches against Swain wander into the realm of veiled accusations based on rumor and hearsay, with no proper evidence to back it up, but with just enough truth that his accusations sounded possible. Swain had no rebuttal to the allegations Barthold regularly launched at him; he believed that recognizing the ravings of a mad man would only ensure that his ravings would be validified just enough in the eyes of those that believed in them.

This turned out to be a mistake. Barthold spent months building up a case against Swain and, with no rebuttal from Swain, argued that his silence was acquiescence that Swain had no arguments to resolve himself before the Lords of Lords, a term used to refer to the deities of the religion. Bethold’s arguments found purchase in many of the caucus members, enough to trigger a leadership vote.

Swain was practically run out of his position; he only ended up with 3% support for his continuation as leader. From here, the EPS caucus became more radical under Barthold’s direction. Those with moderating views were ejected and eventually replaced by more radical voices come election time. They gave ever increasing power to the Ministry of Faith and began writing sweeping reforms to the organization.

Within three more years’ time the EPS caucus made up 54% of parliament, meaning they could pass whatever legislation they wanted to. Things eventually came to a head. Many members of parliament introduced a new bill that would require changes to the structure of the government to require a two thirds majority vote and the approval of the President before legislation passed was enacted into law; changes to the operations of Parliament were one of a handful of situations where the President had unalienable veto power over the will of the Parliament.

Arguments for this legislation were surprisingly met positively by all sides, there seemed to be enough support for it to be passed. Barthold was furious with the situation, he saw it as a personal attack on him and an attempt to stall his plans. He lashed out with the same fiery vigor that he had used to crush Swain, this time aiming for the other caucuses of the parliament, including some of his own caucus members that had publicly supported the legislation as well as Noggs who he knew was his ultimate barrier.

Things began to turn ugly with Barthold claiming that this legislation was an attack on the Children of the Eleven Point Star and that this had been orchestrated by President Noggs who had never been one to hide his views about the Eleven Point Star caucus. It was designed to infringe on their obligations to the Lords of Lords as citizens of the country, practitioners of the faith, and as leaders within the government. That the legislation was designed to target them specifically and prevent the exercise of their beliefs.

His arguments were powerful and as with Swain, no one dared to touch the third rail of supporting or acting against religion mixing with politics out in public. Many felt that strongly voicing opposition to Barthold would only serve to prove him right, that they did in fact have the intent to target the Children of the Eleven Point Star. Instead, they attempted to argue against his statements using allegorical rhetoric about events that could happen in the future without this legislation.

No one listened and once again the lack of strong pushback on Barthold led to his victory. The outcry was so severe that not only did the dissenters within the EPS caucus switch to support the tabling of the legislation, so too did most of the rest of parliament; only 25% voted in favor of the new restrictions. President Noggs even felt the repercussions of this situation and saw his public support, which had never dropped below 90% since his attempted assassination, dip eighteen points. Bethold felt that his time was at hand, he had amassed support from this victory and felt that he could use it to his advantage.

He announced a bill that would fundamentally change the Felgarin empire. He claimed, without proof though that didn’t matter, that the President had been in collaboration with those that had tried to enact the largest suppression of religious freedom seen in the modern world. He claimed that the office of the President was too likely to be used for corrupt purposes, citing more than two dozen incidents in the past where there was indeed large-scale scandal and corruption within previous administrations.

He claimed that there was only one solution; a monarchy, controlled by a religious state, must be instituted. He stated that Parliament would still be responsible for legislating, though that any bill would require approval by the Church before it could be ratified. The Church would be formed from the Ministry of Faith and take on the same roles as the ministry. It additionally would collect tithes directly from the different registered religious organizations instead of through the provincial branches of the Ministry of Faith which were to be shut down. Unregistered religions would be taxed at higher rates and be heavily monitored.

The monarchy would be held for life by an individual selected by the Church. The Church reserved the right to depose the King at any time for reasons of sedition, treason, unbecoming behavior, corruption, or refusal of orders from the Church. If removed, the King would be imprisoned in accordance with the crimes he had been removed for up to and including death.

Most of these proposed changes were met with wide popularity. Large swaths of the populace had become soured to the current government after years of allegations of corruption, financial fraud, and all of the things that Barthold had alleged for years that had been going on. They no longer cared about the veracity of the claims, they just wanted change, any change.

The first king of Felgarin was emplaced in 408 PA; King Russart Vatlim, a man fifty two years of age and of average height and build. He was not particularly intelligent, but he knew his way around politics and was submissive to Barthold. Naturally, he was a strong advocate and believer in the Children of the Eleven Point Star; Barthold ensured that the first King would be a staunch ally to the Church and extoll the intelligence of this new form of government whenever possible. With Russart in place, Barthold began to slowly build support for further changes, biding his time for the opportune moment.

With his power stripped from him Noggs retired to his personal residence in Westerly and passed away of natural causes four years later. While Barthold did not like the man personally, he still ordered to have him lie in state, recognizing that he could moderate some of the negative opinions about him and by himself more time to execute his vision.

As is usually the case, patience bore success. In 415 PA small-scale fighting between the Children of the Eleven Point Star and several smaller religious groups broke out. Several EPS churches were burnt to the ground by extremists from these other religions. This led to larger conflict and fighting across the country as a religious civil war flared into existence.

Members of these two religions, Filstarism and Palisam, felt that the Children of the Eleven Point star were becoming too influential. They found their congregations being actively led to the Eleven Point Star and had been met with hostility when attempting to use shared communal spaces for spreading information about their religions.

Their complaints to the Church had been ignored for years. Even when there had been physical altercations resulting in injuries and deaths, no actions were taken against the Children of the Eleven Point Star practitioners that had committed those crimes. They were taking matters into their own hands.

Barthold could not have asked for a better scenario. He decried the attacks as religious persecution of the predominant religion of the country, one practiced by most of the population, and called it religious terrorism. He called for investigations into these religious organizations immediately.

Within two days the Church had revoked the registrations of both religions and sent out their enforcers to round up all of those who had participated in the burnings and attacks. Over two hundred people were arrested and sentenced to harsh terms in prison, some as high as thirty years.

Barthold then proposed legislation to help address the issues these conflicts had raised. He wanted to enshrine the Children of the Eleven Point Star as the national religion of the country. The Church would become the Church of the Eleven Point Star and be the seat of power for the religion globally. All other religions would be tightly controlled to prevent any further assaults on believers and while they would be free to operate, they could not use communal areas or public spaces for the spread of their religion.

Punishments were to be instituted for religions that had teachings antithetical to the Eleven Point Star. This included imprisonment for up to ten years and severe financial penalties. The Church would be granted even more power over enforcement of the law, with the judiciary being removed from handling cases where religious factors were at play and instead a panel created from and run by the Church would pass judgement in those cases.

While the legislation passed and was ratified, there were repercussions felt for years after. There was much unrest as religions found themselves targeted by Barthold personally, using his silver tongue to weave a tapestry of believable lies to get their religions banned and practitioners arrested. Over the course of a decade, almost all other religions other than the Eleven Point Star had been stamped out in Felgarin and the Church had amassed huge amounts of power.

Time passed and while tensions eased over the hostile takeover by the Church of the government, everyone played along to get along. At least, until the Felgarin Civil war of 680 PA. It was triggered by changes enacted by the Church, through their puppets in Parliament, to enact higher taxes on trade and increasing tithes by thirty percent. They would enforce these changes through the Ecclesiarchy, an organization built out of the Enforcement Bureau of the Church. After many years of stifling trade restrictions enacted by the Church, the populace had started to decline in wealth and prosperity.

These, and other factors, led to the proposed changes being the last straw. It started as a humble revolt in a town called Osterlin in Jostrin province. When the tax collectors came to collect, the people of the village forced them to leave. The Taxmen came back the next day with Enforcers who ended up in violent clashes with the people of the village. Things escalated quickly and the village was burned down; many lost their lives. It was a spark that triggered a conflagration the spread throughout the empire.

Willing members of the populace from towns and villages across the country joined up in Veltin to try to take over the Church and depose Archbishop James Alister, who had been leading the Church since the Great Reformation about seventeen years ago when Parliament transferred most of its remaining power to the Church. Alister had been a member of the Children of the Eleven Point Star since he was a child and was a fully indoctrinated member of the Ordo die Lenich; the Order of Lenich. Lenich was the Goddess of Ice, the tenants of her order were that there was no forgiveness, no salvation for the heretic. Salvation would only give rise to further corruption; the purity of the religion was to be maintained. As such, Alister was brutal in his actions.

The revolutionaries were met by the Enforcers as soon as they entered Shrig and a bloody battle ensued. Both sides took heavy losses, but the Enforces had won out. The revolutionaries that were still alive fled back into the Veltin countryside, searching for somewhere to hide while they recovered and planned their next moves.
After their defeat, the revolutionaries found it hard to recruit new members; many feared what would happen should they join. Most of the families of those who had been captured or slain during the incident in Veltin had been rounded up and thrown in prison as collaborators. Those who were lucky enough to face a trial found themselves sentenced to dozens of years of hard labor for sedition. Many were simply never heard from again.

It was not long before the Church sent out the Enforcers to hunt down the remaining members of the revolutionaries responsible for the attack, using information gathered by those with contact with the group. They were doggedly tracked down to the last man, no one escaped and those that had been captured were sentenced to public execution for treason against the state, their entire families sentenced to prison until they worked off the debts charged to their guilty family members who were held liable for the monetary value of the damage and death they had caused.

What followed was fifty years of abject terror on the part of the populace of the Felgarin Empire; the Church was ruling with every force at their disposal imaginable to stamp out any remaining embers of rebellion. Archbishop Alister was derided as a tyrant abroad, but back at home dissent was kept to a whisper in the dead of night lest someone overhear and report to the authorities. All they could do was hope that Alister would die of old age, which many believed should have happened by now; he was 78, well passed the average life expectancy for that time.

Information on citizens speaking ill of the Church was heavily rewarded monetarily. For information leading to any arrest, the reporter was awarded a sovereign; equal to 10,000 Geldir. The Church had augmented the currency system with new denominations of Geldir equivalent to prevent the wealthy in the country from undue influence nor the ability to finance a revolution. There was not much that the rich could do other than watch their fortunes turn to dust overnight, comparatively.

However, there is only so much push that a population can sustain before an opposite reaction is provoked; and that opposite reaction was about to be elicited. In 698 PA an unknown, relatively young man, aged 32, named Vasin Rafard was causing waves in Westerly in Ralsk, a small town southwest of the provincial capital. Vasin was a stout man with an athletic build and a height of six feet. He had raven black hair and piercing golden eyes that the residents of his birth province of Jostrin are known for. He was born in Marnin and had moved to Westerly eight years ago.

He was tired of the Church confiscating 80% of his profits because his business happened to be located next to a church and the Church felt that the increase in business from this location dictated that he owed more.
He was locally known for pushing the line every tax collection day, he would argue and physically stop the taxmen from doing their job up till the point that they would call in the Enforcers. It became a bit of a betting event for some of the locals; would “Crazy Rafard” get canned today or not, take your bets and no refunds! No one seriously believed that Vasin would do anything, that possibility was too outlandish to even entertain. No one in their right mind would fight against the Church was the common conceit, though they all knew that this was nothing but an excuse. An excuse to allow them to not feel guilty for doing nothing about the situation, both in Vasin’s case and more generally.

After one particularly bad week, Vasin was about to see most of his holdings confiscated to pay the fine for not being able to meet the minimum tax for a business of his size. He had gone well past his usually self-imposed lines and had clocked a Taxman clean off his feet, knocking him unconscious. A sizable crowd had gathered to see what was going to happen to him when the Enforcers arrived.

Vasin was quick of mind though; he had gotten a torch from the nearby blacksmith’s, doused a rag with oil, and wrapped it around it. He threw it at the church next-door to his business. It was an excellent throw that landed upon the roof where it caught the building ablaze. The speed that the structure went fully up in flames was almost supernatural.

Upon seeing what Vasin had done, the remaining Taxman drew out a tiny stiletto and lunged at him. Vasin barely saw the flash of the blade and if it were not for the adrenalin flowing through him from lighting the church on fire, the blade probably would have stabbed him in the side. Instead, he sidestepped the attack and, without thinking, grabbed a sword that was lying nearby and ran the Taxman through with it.

The crowd around him gasped, they didn’t know what they had expected from the situation, but apparently murder wasn’t on their radar. When the Enforcers arrived at the scene, they found no one around except the dead Taxman on the ground and the smoldering ruins of the church. They fanned out through the village, looking for Vasin.

The place seemed deserted, they saw no one; not even children playing in the road or shopkeeps tending their stalls. As they neared the townhall the silence was shattered by an ear-splitting scream as dozens of men flooded out from the building carrying weapons of all kinds. The Enforcers were not prepared to deal with this many malcontents and while they managed to kill some of them, the villagers won out at the end.

Vasin waded out from the middle of the mob and stood atop a nearby cart exclaiming that they had succeeded in doing what they thought impossible, fighting back against their oppressors. His plan had worked only because everyone agreed to take part and played a part in the success. The Church was not unbeatable and they should be answering to them, not the other way around.

He asked for those that wanted to join him to accompany him on a journey through the kingdom to build up a new rebellion to topple the Church and return the rule of their country to something resembling what they had had in the past; the current government was corrupt and nothing but a lap dog to the Church.

Vasin’s message spread like wildfire as did the tale of their deeds in Ralsk. The success they had had and the non-reaction from the Church, who were caught off guard by the ferocity of the events that had unfolded and were unsure of how to respond in the immediate aftermath. It also helped that Vasin was a very charismatic speaker, he was able to bring forth the repressed anger of the people of Felgarin and focus it on one entity: the Church. Vasin’s goal was simple; destroy the Church and everything it stood for, strip it of its power and bring to justice the tyrants that had abused the power they now held.

The Church recovered from their initial shock quickly, but not fast enough to stop the uprising that Vasin had triggered. They would have to stamp out yet another rebellion and prove again that they were in control of this country. Archbishop Alister called up every Enforcer at his disposal with the intent of razing Westerly to the ground if that was what it took to stop Vasin and his followers. He gave specific orders that no one was to be spared, nothing was to be left standing. If the Enforcers encountered hostility upon entering a town, that town was to be destroyed.

Those in the South, while supportive of Vasin’s intentions, did not outwardly support him; they were too close to the seat of power of the Church and did not have the same level of support from the general populace that Vasin did in the North, though sentiments were changing. Meanwhile, the North was awash in chaos. The Enforcers were sweeping toward Westerly, using extreme prejudice against anyone that stood in their way for any reason.

Vasin had been moving his forces South to meet them in combat, eager to stop their advance and prevent any more destruction and death. It was clear to him now that the Church was completely rotten. To issue the orders that they had was as tantamount to evil as could be, while the Church may not be inherently a horrible idea, the leadership must be torn up from the roots. Vasin knew the power of Humans who believed they acted for a righteous cause.

So, he began talking about the need for the Church, that it had been founded for good intentions, but was now being run by individuals who had sought their stations with corrupt intent, for power and nothing else. He stated that his goal was not just about restoring balance in their government and control of it back to the people, but it was about saving the Church from itself.

His words had more impact than he believed they would; people were flocking to join him from all over the northern part of Felgarin. It felt like the whole of the able-bodied country was joining him and he began to feel the weight of that responsibility. It wasn’t something he ever thought about when he started this movement, but now he was responsible for the lives of tens of thousands of people. He knew that he was motivating many of them to their deaths, even if they won. These were mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, aunts, and uncles; all of them had families who cared for them and relied on them in some fashion or another.

Their loss would impact those families greatly. He was asking for individuals to follow him into the Shadowrealm, potentially, and all of these people had agreed to do so willingly. The enormity of it kept him up at night. More than once he considered ending the whole thing and turning himself in to beg the Church to spare his followers. He would then remember that these people had not joined him on a whim and that the Church would give no leniency to them even if he surrendered.

They had joined him because they had been trodden on by the Church just as he had. They had felt the bite of tyranny and sought change. They all knew the consequences of joining Vasin, no one in this country could not know after what the Church had been doing these last years; lest they had been living in absolute seclusion.
Vasin needed an actual plan, winging it was not going to work as they got closer to Shrig, the capital city of the country. The Church was sure to have elite troops stationed waiting for them to foolishly conduct a frontal assault. Instead Vasin went to his followers and asked for those with the most military experience to join him in forming a war council.

They were no longer fighting for freedom from repression, this had and would become the second Felgarin Civil War, a true one this time and one that they could not afford to lose. Everything was at stake and all options had to be on the table. He asked that they consider the ramifications and then join him in a tent he had constructed for the council if they still wanted to volunteer.

As people streamed in, hoping to make a name for themselves, five individuals stood out during the questioning Vasin put them to. In the end, the five Vasin asked to return to him were a diverse bunch.

Gerlow Tarlin, a low-born farmer who had organized a local guard to help keep monsters out of the fields. He was middle aged, but his tactical awareness was impressive, and he had a good mind for strategy. He knew how to place troops, when to pull them back, how to use different formations, and more theory you would not expect a farmer to be knowledgeable of. He had some interesting answers to the questions Vasin had asked him. Vasin had asked what he would do in a scenario where the Church had surrounded him in a village. He would have thirty archers, fifty foot soldiers, and ten cavalrymen. Vasin had expected an answer within the realm of withstanding a siege until such a time that inclement weather would shield an attack against the attacking forces.

Instead, Gerlow stated he would wait until early morning just as the siege camp would be stirring from rest. He would move his archers around the city, stationing them as high as possible while allowing them to remain as hidden as possible. He would give them an order to fire arrows to cause panic and then focus on one area of the blockade to try and thin the enemy forces enough for the cavalry to break through. He would also send half of his foot soldiers with them to secure the opening while the archers provided ranged support.
He would then have the cavalry attempt to charge down the nearby blockade forces while the archers picked off the spearmen and the foot soldiers focused on taking out any other ground forces designed to counter enemy cavalry.

Vasin was impressed; it wasn’t a completely sound strategy, but, for a farmer, he showed an unusual creativity in his thought. It was something that they would need to win, not fighting in a practicable manner, using methods and strategies that, while seemingly crazy on the surface, were deadly when executed correctly.

Marly Hington, a foreign-born woman from the United Nations of Gol, she had been a commander in the UNG military for ten years before retiring and migrating to Felgarin twenty years ago. She was old, but her mind was as keen as a fox’s. She had proper experience in leading men into battle and knew proper military stratagems and theory. She had led assaults on pirates, bandit organizations, she had even participated in the war between Minsor and the UNG forty years ago.

It was where she had gained her promotion to commander when leading her platoon as acting commander when their previous commander, a famous tactician named Henris Gostlion, was slain in action. She came from a military family and so had been raised with her enlistment in mind. She had many shrewd comments about the state of their forces compared to their enemy. She also said, though, that the belief that a cause is righteous and just can overcome a lot of adversity; she would know, her country was born from such a hopeless cause.

It was this history and this knowledge that all those born on Tilrin knew to be true that led Vasin to bringing her on. If someone from the UNG believed a cause was just and righteous, then it must be so; this was a common belief held globally due to the hardships and tribulations during the Galardian era on Tilrin.

Ostil Waeinfroth was an interesting fellow and an unexpected ally, a half-elf looking to prove he bore no ill will to the people of Felgarin and that he was no danger to them; Elves and Half-Elves were heavily discriminated against. Being of Elvish blood, his magic was more powerful than a normal Human’s and that would prove beneficial as the Church forbade anyone of Elvish descent from participating within it.

Vasin hoped that including Ostil would help in four ways; first to reduce the racism against the Elvish and Elvish descendants. Second, that his inclusion would get other Elvish to join his cause, the more of them they had, the more powerful his forces would become. Third, Ostil was very intelligent; some of his initial insights had surprised Vasin for their bluntness and accuracy. Fourth, and most importantly, inclusion of the Elvish and Ostil being an integral part of the revolution would help to signal to Eldawine that Felgarin was changing, that they need not worry about threats from the North.

Carne Hinst another man from Marnin, Jostrin province whom Vasin has known of as a child. He was well versed in magical theory; in fact, he was something of a savant. He was joining because the Church had been clamping down on the practitioners of so called “Black Magic”. He had always hated this term due to the connotations it held. Vasin had not thought about it prior to his discussion with Hinst, but quickly came to agreement that the name was born from an ignorant past. Hinst’s philosophy impressed Vasin, he had many complex views and while he did not completely disagree with the Church and what they had done he did agree that the Church was going too far.

Hinst argued that there was a place for the Church and that their intentions, when not tainted with lust for power, were meaningful and properly intentioned. Vasin and Carne had several extended debates on the morality of the actions undertaken by the Church. It was interesting to Vasin that someone so thoroughly persecuted by the Church would be an advocate for it, at all. Many that had joined them did so because they wanted to remove the Church entirely from its existence as a governmental institution. Vasin had not considered that there could also be a range of views on this topic within his forces.

He was forced to consider the fact that potentially more of their members had similar beliefs to Hinst but were afraid to speak up given the somewhat radical nature of many of the others that he had attracted. He made it a point to figure out how to resolve these differences in opinion before they made their move on the Church; it would do them no good for a portion of their forces to abandon them mid-fight because they couldn’t condone what they were doing.

Hinst also impressed Vasin with his knowledge of magic, he was only seconded by Ostil, though admittedly Vasin didn’t know many mages. In his explanations, Hinst would expand upon how certain magical theories could be manipulated, or even broken, given enough skill with the base elements of a spell. He also talked about how Elvish magic was fundamentally different from Human magic, which was surprising to Vasin.

He had not known this fact, and in fact it wasn’t common knowledge. Hinst explained that while everyone knows that Elvish magic is stronger, it isn’t because the Elves have some kind of genetic factor making it stronger. It was stronger because it more closely resembled the magic of old told in many myths and legends. It was something hidden from the general citizenry of the country to prevent further subjugation of the Elves and to prevent a second Arcanum War from occurring. It made sense though, why Ostil’s magic was so much more potent than most Human mages. Even more reason to get more of the Elvish on their side.

Finally, there was his biggest prize; Garreth Dorin, a defector from the Church. Not just a defector, but a Paladin; one of the strongest warriors in the country that had one of the highest commands in the Enforcers. Dorin was a massive man, almost seven feet tall and an extremely muscled physic. He was one of only a handful of people who were known to be able to wield two-handed weapons with a single hand and Dorin was well-known for his unique fighting style that incorporated two pikes. He had fiery red eyes that seemed to bore into your being and radiant golden hair that reached his midriff.

Dorin could no longer condone what the Church was doing to the people of Felgarin. For years he just followed his orders, putting aside his disdain for the atrocities he was ordered to commit. He could no longer uphold his vows and continue fighting for the “corrupt bastards” as he called them.
Vasin had no idea he had attracted such an individual to his cause. Dorin had made no grand entrance; he had just shown up one day, heavily disguised. He knew the kind of people he was joining, if he did not hide his real identity until the right time, there was going to be trouble. He had hopes that Vasin was a reasonable man; his hope was rewarded.

The intel Dorin brought with him was invaluable. Battle plans, contingencies, operational strengths and weaknesses, supply line locations, information about unit formation, composition, and strength. So much information that at first Vasin thought it was a trap, that Dorin was sent as a double agent. Dorin swore on his oath to the Gods and on his families’ souls that he was here in good faith and Vasin could do nothing except believe him; Paladin’s take their vows seriously, not one of them would tarnish their honor by swearing on them in falsehood.

In exchange for all the information that Dorin bought, Vasin would get so much more in addition. That a Paladin of his stature joined them would further cement their cause as righteous in the minds of those, like Hinst, who still believed in the ideals of the Church. It would further validate Hington’s position as well. It would serve to shock the lower rank and file of the Enforces who were sure to have been told nothing of the defection; it may well lead to individuals laying down their arms and not fighting back.

And in exchange all Vasin was required to do was do what he had intended to do from the start, remove those currently in power from it. This was a boon he had never expected, and it would be a critical one in the times to come.

With his council selected, they began formulating battle plans, starting from initial skirmishes to announce their intentions to the Church all the way through to their final strategies for taking over Shrig. Obviously, these plans would need to be malleable as war is a fickle beast, you never know what you will find behind that unopened door and once open it is hard to close once more. They needed plans that could be altered or even completely redesigned should the need arise; with the minds he had collected, it was a relatively easy task with many counterplans for potential situations. Dorin’s knowledge of their enemy’s tactics and how they would respond to various situations would be instrumental in their success going forward.

Over the course of four months Vasin’s forces fought against the Church and pushed them back into the South. Their numbers swelled each day as the liberated more territory that had been held by the Enforcers. While Dorin had command of the front-line forces, Vasin would penetrate behind enemy lines with a select group of warriors to prepare the next push but sabotaging supply lines, introducing fake intel into their knowledge pool, and taking out mid-ranking officers whose absence would go unnoticed until it was too late.

Archbishop Alister was terrified of the progress the insurgents had made and that the notable voices of the World seemed to be in support of them. He desperately wanted to maintain his power, more than almost anything else in his life. That said, he was also deathly afraid of all of those around him, the defection of Garreth Dorin was a shock to his perceived invincibility. How many others secretly detested him as well?

Because of his paranoia, the resistance put up by the Enforcers was sloppy. Alister had, had all the upper chain of command brought before him to swear loyalty oaths. Those that had refused to show up, no matter the reason, were hunted down and imprisoned even though most were much too busy attempting to prevent the destruction of the empire Alister had built. Many attempted to inform the Archbishop of this, but he refused to listen to them and branded them traitors.

As a result, almost everyone with the experience to fight this war properly had been removed from the battle and the Church’s army was effectively being run by conscripts. It was no wonder that they were being steamrolled by the highly experienced forces that Vasin had put together. More experienced commanders would have noticed company commanders going missing, contradictory information suddenly reaching their desk, and all the other small actions Vasin had been taking to sow chaos. By all rights, the Church should have been winning this fight but for the paranoia of one man.

One month later Vasin and his forces had blockaded Shrig. Almost all of the Enforcers left in the South had either escaped north, defected, been captured, or had been killed. Defying the pleas of the cardinals at Saint Rideon’s Cathedral, the seat of power for the Church and their headquarters in Shrig, Alister refused to release the forces he had imprisoned even now. He had even had the cardinals arrested. He sat now, practically alone, on the Golden Throne of his one great empire, staring out across Shrig at the forces of commoners, traitors, upstarts, and usurpers that had come to end his rule.

He would not be trounced around in public like a common deposed ruler. He refused to accept the humiliation of being defeated by the means of mortal men. If he was going to lose his power then he would do so by answering to a much higher authority, one no man had rule over.

As Vasin and his troops entered Shrig everything was eerily quiet. Vasin knew there were people around, he could see movement within houses and people scampered away from shrouded windows as they passed by. There were no guards, no Enforcers, no resistance of any kind.

Vasin sent word throughout the army for everyone to hold position. Vasin gathered up his five generals and the seven warriors that he had fought side by side with throughout most of the campaign; they would proceed while the rest took up positions throughout the city in case of an ambush or attack from outside of the city while his group headed for Saint Rideon’s.

Saint Rideon’s cathedral was an enormous structure. It rose hundreds of feet above the city like a towering behemoth. It was the largest building aside from the castle in the city and had cost almost six years’ worth of Geldir to build. The design of the building had meaning, it wasn’t just big to be intimidating. It was a temple to the Earth God Rideon who ascended from a commoner to a saint and was rewarded with apotheosis into a major God. Saint Rideon’s was supposed to both symbolize the commoner origin and ascension to Godhood as well as represent Rideon’s protection of the Church in the mortal world.

When Vasin and the others arrived, they found the Plazza de Rideon, a large square area leading up to the cathedral, empty. Normally there would be elite guards stationed all around this place. An unease fell upon Vasin as they continued; why was this so easy?

They entered Saint Rideon’s main atrium, as deserted as the rest of the city; they could hear the clanking of Dorin’s armor booming off the massive, vaulted ceiling as they proceeded through towards the massive triplet staircases that lead to higher floors. Dorin parted with the group here, he was going to check the lower levels to try and find some answers as to what was going on.

The Archbishop’s office was on the tenth floor of the cathedral. It was a long climb up the polished wooden staircase. Every so often a loose stair would creak as they passed and make everyone jump; the tension was at an absolute peak. How could they have encountered no resistance, this deep in the enemy stronghold? They had to know that they were here by now.

Finally, at the tenth landing, Vasin pushed open the massive ten-foot-tall bloodwood doors that lead into the Archbishop’s office. The walls were lined with bookcases filled with ancient looking tomes. Throughout the floorspace were desks and tables with odd looking relics and gaudy furniture.

At the very back of the room was a massive desk that was supposedly carved from a single palo santo tree hundreds of years ago. Laying across it was the body of Archbishop James Alister, his head facing the to the side. His face was contorted into the most disgusting face you could imagine, his hands were clenched tight in a death grip, his fingernails had dug into his palms enough to draw blood. He had been dead for some time, possibly since the morning; his body was cold.

As they sought a reason for his death Gerlow warned everyone to step back. He asked if the others smelled anything unusual. When no one could come up with an answer he said that there was a pungent scent of Ilex in the air, one of the telltale signs of Jhedimar poison. Vasin ordered everyone to back away from the body into the middle of the room. He had heard of this stuff, it killed by skin absorption and very quickly. It was designed to be absorbed into surfaces easily and once it had, be almost impossible to remove. Assassins used it when they wanted to contaminate a crime scene and render it unusable as well as to kill anyone that came looking for their target.

This deluded man believed that he alone should rule over the Church and was determined to ensure that anyone that tried to succeed him would meet the same fate as he did. Gerlow said that the desk, chair, and other objects near the back of the room had been soaked in the stuff. It had started turning the wood of the desk a deep black color as the morning sun shone down on it.

One of the other peculiar side effects of the oils in the poison; they would cause materials saturated to turn black in sunlight. This led to its common name, the Black Death. It was odd that the Archbishop would have this substance at hand; it was considered an underworld-spawned substance due to the affect light had on it.

Dorin arrived a few minutes later and had relayed what he had found down on the basement floors; he found many of his fellow paladins locked up in holding cells. They had told him they had been arrested on suspicion of treason. When he learned what had transpired with the Archbishop he was aghast; such malevolence was unbecoming of a leader of the Church and for him to have had possession of some Black Death was even more worrisome.

For now, they would have the room sealed until they could deal with the Jhedimar; now they had a monumental task ahead of them; rebuilding a shattered country, for they had won. It was not an easy process. Many in the capital were still loyal to the Church, even after the revelations of what had been happening in the north. They would spend a total of four years bringing the rest of the high-ranking officials of the Church to justice and dealing with the disparate groups of Enforces spread throughout the country who were attempting to re-establish a foothold from which the Church could operate in exile from Shrig.


The Felgarin Empire Lore Blog Part 1

The Felgarin (/fel-gə-ren/) Empire

Founding Date: 262PA
Government System: Monarchy
Provinces: Veltin, Neltin, Galig, Latis, Westerly, Jostrin
Capital/Seat of Power: Castle Varour, Shrig, Veltin Province
Current Leader: Vasin Rafard III

The Felgarin Empire is currently the second largest nation in Elisnar. It only recently achieved this status with the annexation of several smaller countries, the Gauslon Hegemony and Rosslton, on its home continent, Colstin. Felgarin is a monarchy that has existed for about five hundred years, making it one of the newer nations in Elisnar. While it boasts the second largest military and economic power in the world, Felgarin’s main resource is its outsized political power, a product of several events that occurred during the historical events that led to the founding of the modern-day country.

25 AG – 262 PA
While on the official records Felgarin was founded in 262 Post-Arcanum, or PA, in actuality it started out as a small meritocracy called Vastlin in 45 Annis-Galardia, or AG, that subsisted solely on trade with other nations, of which the Dunslor Republic to the North would become the most important. Vastlin came about when a group of nomadic mercenaries called the Wargmat encountered the Valoestin as they explored Colstin.

The leader of the Wargmat at this time, Sandil Batlit, was a visionary of sorts. Unlike her predecessors, she did not believe that the Wargmat had a future as a simple mercenary army; she had much greater ambitions. Having defeated the slave nation Galardia in a bitter war 25 years ago, Batlit wanted more for her people than to keep roaming around from job to job. She envisioned a nation, one that would fight injustice just as they had done, but with a permanence that a mercenary army could not provide.

As the Wargmat ventured further south through Colstin, they cleared out countless bandit and corsair gangs that had been infesting the continent. Much of Colstin was free land, unclaimed by anyone with enough power to hold it. The only habited lands, to Batlit’s knowledge, were the three nations far down south, at the furthest southern reaches of the continent.

When they happened upon the Valoestinians, it came as a bit of a surprise. A small village tucked away in a valley that offered decent security from attack and was difficult to locate. Batlit ordered her followers to break off from her group and set up camp several miles north while she and a small group gathered intelligence on the village they had discovered. Batlit selected two men to join her, her second and third in command.

Her second was an older man named Gerrold Havenstalk. He had been serving the Wargmat for nearly all his adult life after his parents were slaughtered by Galardia for refusing to surrender their harvest; they had been farmers. He was incredibly battle-smart and generally was responsible for coordinating the strike groups during operations.

Batlit’s third was named Veasl Corrith, a master negotiator and all-around diplomat. He had secured many small wins for the Wargmat against Galardia before everything went sideways and a full-scale war broke out. He was responsible for dealing with all of the diplomatic channels and goings-on for the Wargmat.

They entered the village with their hands held above their heads to prove they were no threat. Even so, a small group of men, some carrying swords and various farming equipment and others with glowing, swirling energies in their hands, spread out before them in a half circle. Batlit was thankful that Veasl had suggested entering at noon; she did not want to think what kind of impression they would have made slinking into the town in the evening or at night, given their reaction.

She stated who they were and that they were just seeking friends in this bandit-riddled land, seeking allies for protection while they established their own community and perhaps even to share resources. The men surrounding them glanced around to each other and then lead them to the leader of their village, an aged man called Klaius McGregor and his daughter Elaria, whom helper her father with some of the day-to-day tasks of his position.

As they worked their way through the village, Batlit made a mental note of several key pieces of information. First, all of the people here seemed to have heightened physical characteristics; not to the same standard as a race like the Elves, but they were more beautiful and handsome than most Humans. Second, there did not seem to be much military power to be worried about. It looked like the swords the men were carrying were the culmination of their traditional weaponry. Lastly, she noted that the magic being used seemed off; she saw a farmer using a water spell to irrigate his crops, but the power of the spell felt much wilder than what Humans were normally capable of. There were others too, mainly children, using magic that no Human should be capable of.

They arrived at a large, single storied building made from stone. She guessed this was their leader’s house. One of the men knocked on the door and a few moments later a young woman, probably in her thirties, opened the door. She seemed normal enough, average build and height, muddy-blond hair falling to shoulder height, with a slender face and cool, light blue, eyes. Her ears had an ever so slight point at the back. This must be Elaria. Emerging from the house behind her was a man around Batlit’s age, his short and thinning hair a musty grey. He hobbled through the door, suffering a leg injury or some sort of ailment as he was walking around with a cane.

He gestured into the house as he invited Batlit and her men inside. After about an hour of introductions and greetings, Klaius sat down with Batlit to discuss many things. Veasl and Gerrold were nearby talking with some of the men that had stopped them earlier. Klaius was impressed with the feats of the Wargmat as Batlit described how they came to be here on Colstin. Even this remote village had heard of the fall of Galardia apparently.

Before continuing, Klaius asked if Batlit had any questions for him and stated they he would answer anything she wanted to know. She asked how they came to find this place and about their magic. She had expected Klaius to be adversarial, but his demeanor was completely the opposite; he was almost enthused to be talking about these topics with her. She wondered if they rarely got any visitors from the outside, given how hidden away they were.

As she expected, Klaius stated that they were not originally a people from this continent. Their forebearers had fled to Colstin many years ago to escape from Minsor when the Sultanate came to power. She was not surprised, in fact Galardia was influenced by Minsor. Minsor, for generations, had been controlled by a fundamentalist government who believed that people were only worth the capital they could produce, this inherently led to a state-sponsored slave trade. As Minsor interacted with other nations, their ideology was spread along with cultural and spiritual practices. These would be the building blocks that would lead to the rise of the Galardian Empire on Tilrin.

While they traveled looking for somewhere to settle down, not unlike Batlit’s group was doing now, they stumbled upon an enclave of Half-Elves living in this very valley. They had come upon them during a very harsh storm as they sought shelter. The Half-Elves welcomed them into their homes and immediately the two groups bonded. They never left and this was also the explanation for their powerful magic; the people of this area were descendants of Half-Elves, though with each generation their magical potency and the other features of Elvish heritage were receding.

Batlit informed Klaius that the Wargmat were camped several miles to the north and that she and her subordinates needed to return to confer with the rest of the Council. She was going to suggest that they try out some form of alliance with Klaius and his people; mutual defense and resource sharing, then see where it went from there. Klaius nodded in understanding and requested two of the men who had escorted them to his house journey with them back to their encampment. They would return with the decision of the Wargmat Council so that preparations could be made if an agreement was reached.

There was some light discussion on their way back between their guests and Veasl; overall Batlit thought that things had gone well. Now she had a harder task, convincing the Council, filled predominantly with middle-aged men looking to make a name from themselves within the Wargmat, to throw aside their ambitions and help construct a long-lasting alliance with the Valoestin.

Arguments for and against went well into the night. Batlit had a little over half of the council on her side, all that she needed to force the issue, but she wanted a clear consensus that couldn’t be used later by some upstart years down the road to undo the work they were about to embark on. She had Farlon Grenwald, Annis Humloin, Quen Bertol, Sasha Vearlin, and Karith Eskel ready to vote with her. She knew with just a bit more urging she could also get Nance Rightold, Xavier Arcleod, and Reicard Dersh as well. The only problem was her main opponent, Edward Dardin.

Dardin rose through the main ranks of the Wargmat after they arrived in Colstin. He had some renown within the army for feats carried out during the Galardian war. Those helped propel him onto the Council where he took a hardline stance on most issues. He believed that the Wargmat should remain a mercenary army, he seemed to be dead set against what Batlit was attempting to do and whenever possible let her know it. She was quite aggravated by his persistence.

Also bad for her, Dardin was a charismatic speaker willing to engage in debate until he had whittled his opponent down through mental and physical exhaustion, coming up with methods to create circular debate to entrap his opponents in a never-ending loop of nonsense until they gave up. Batlit was the only individual within the Council that wouldn’t put up with his antics and so when they found themselves with opposing views during council meetings, everyone groaned and accepted that they were stuck there for a while.

As Hours ticked by, epic tomes worth of words were spoken, all the while Dardin was up to his conniving schemes to try and win over more supporters to his proposal of parlaying with the Valoestin for a decent supply of food and other materials then leaving. Batlit debated against Dardin fiercely, at times letting her famously wild temper take hold, she was at her wits end with this little whisp of a man who thought that he, in his short time with the Wargmat, was more fit to lead than she was.

Eventually he relented, but only after securing several key propositions awarded to him from gaining the support of Annis and Sasha. They still supported Batlit’s proposed plan, but Dardin would be the one who would oversee diplomatic ties with the Valoestin as opposed to Veasl. Dardin would take several council members with him and form an embassy of sorts in the Valoestin village. They would communicate directly back to the Council from there and act as a conduit for messages to the Valoestin.

This arrangement was agreed to by Klaius. For six years the two groups interacted and intermingled through this alliance. While Batlit didn’t like Dardin, she would have had a hard time arguing that he had not produced results. At times she believed that Dardin just loved to argue because this was a prime example of his character; once the Council settled on a course of action, Dardin would do what he could to implement it even if he claimed he was against it.

In 32 AG, the Wargmat and the Valoestin’s formalized their agreement into a true alliance and over the course of the following year, worked on expanding the Valoestin settlement outward to meet with the Wargmat’s. Several more years would pass as the two communities became integral to each other until 45 AG when the two groups officially formed into a small City-State called Vastlin.

Cutting forward one-hundred and fifty years, Vastlin had become extremely wealthy; the year is now 195 AG. By maintaining a small size, the country was able to funnel the considerable wealth being generated by its citizens into expanding into a global trade conglomerate. This had also influenced the other smaller nations that had been established on the continent towards mercantilism. During that time, Dunslor was founded and had practically become an ally of Vastlin overnight through trade agreements and defensive pacts. Not strange seeing as how it was founded from the remnants of the Wargmat that decided to stay in the north while the others ventured south.

Colstin had become the economic hub of the world, all due to the machinations of this tiny country and its current President, Malthius Drisg. Malthius had been in control of the country for the last six decades and due to his efforts, he had pushed Vastlin further towards its current position as a world economic superpower after generations of his predecessors being content with being a local power and nothing more.

It was not all sunshine and daisies; Vastlin suffered from its success. Piracy was still a large problem, having become known worldwide for the valuable goods they would trade, the trade ships of Vastlin were constantly harassed by pirates. While breakage had always been worked into the balance sheets of the country, Vastlin had to fund a large navy to protect their ships as they transited to and fro.

This meant that taxes were higher for the citizens of the country than in most others. Due to the focused nature of Vastlin’s industry, if someone went into a profession other than as a shipwright, merchant, or related industry, their business was very niche and keeping afloat could be neigh impossible. Due to this, Vastlin has always had issues with poverty and a large gulf between those that participated within the trade industry and those who did not.

Vastlin also had a large immigrant population, given to the wealth that their trade system generated. This, among all others, was the largest problem that Malthius was focused on dealing with at the present time. Too many were immigrating to the nation, consuming all of the land suitable for housing; the push to free up more land for housing led to the impoverished being offered large sums of money for their land. If they would not sell, it would be taken from them by force of law by the companies responsible for maintaining the housing for the nation.

While Malthius would have liked to halt the practice, he could not. Vastlin’s government was heavily structured so that it could not interfere with commerce. It had no power to regulate what corporations did so long as they did not commit treason against Vastlin or intentionally kill individuals without due cause in the course of carrying out their business. This meant that in most cases the corporations carried more power than the state and operated with impunity.

Malthius was wise beyond his years, even as he was getting along in age. He foresaw a possible situation in the future where a peasantry uprising could be possible, if not probable, if they were pushed too far into a corner. So, he did the only thing he could do to resolve the housing issues; used the nation’s considerable resources. In exchange for a large sum of money, the largest sum spent in the history of Elisnar at that time, Vastlin purchased fifty square miles of land from Dunslor. Malthius essentially bought the entire northern portion of the continent outside of the Feld Desert where Dunslor was located. The transaction totaled ten billion Geldir.

This angered some of the smaller nations that resided within this area of land; they had forged contracts with Dunslor to colonize these regions for a tax. Malthius went to each nation personally and offered to pay them the total tax they had paid to Dunslor in addition to the sum they paid in their original contracts to rent the land from Dunslor. Most of them agreed though Westerly, a competing mercantile nation in the far Northwest, refused. Malthius knew the governor of Westerly, a grouchy old man named Bothus McCraig. He was also shrewd to the point of clairvoyance at times which made dealing with him very difficult, he always seemed to know the angles from which his trading partners would come to him.

This posed a problem for Malthius, Westerly was Vastlin’s equal militarily and they had exclusive contracts with Bommerset for trade; something he had been trying to worm his way into for decades. The connection between Westerly and the Baratian Empire went deeper than economics; Westerly was a colony of Baratian that had negotiated for independence some one hundred years ago. The split was amicable and the ties between the two nations were iron-clad.

Malthius was known as a squirrelly one, though, and he had an audacious plan. He went to the largest trading company in Vastlin, he knew the owner; a man called Gras. No one knew his real name, he only went by Gras; no one cared, he was exceedingly good at his job and was one of the four people responsible for building up Vastlin’s trade network to what it was at the time. Malthius went to Gras and asked him if he was interested in a deal that could see him take ownership of the trade contracts and land of Westerly if he participated; he was indeed interested.

Gras showed up in Westerly not a week later, along with a fat purse of Geldir. He approached several of the trading companies that did the most business with Bommerset and offered to buy them out for ten times their worth. No one refused that amount of coin. The process took several weeks, at the end of which Gras was situated to claim ownership of the five largest trading companies in Westerly. As was expected, McCraig hauled Gras in for questioning. He had fully guessed what Gras, and by extension Malthius, was up to, but since no crimes had been committed, he could not stop him. Malthius had told Gras from the start that this had to be on the up and up. If even one company did not agree to the sale, the plan would fail.

Luckily, Vastlin was flush with Geldir and Geldir is the true power in the world for most things, or so Malthius was oft heard exclaiming when faced with a problem. Gras was let go the next day and the plan continued, though with a hitch. While McCraig could not imprison Gras, he did have the leverage to slow him down.

The next phase of the plan was to conglomerate the various trading companies into one operational entity. This required government investigation and approval. McCraig slow-walked this process and attempted to have the laws changed while doing so. His goal was to prevent citizens of foreign countries from operating any incorporations within Westerly.

He ultimately failed, but not before raising some eyebrows within the Baratian empire. Their action was too slow, however; Malthius had outmaneuvered them. With 80% of the profit producing companies under Gras’ control, that money was redirected to Vastlin’s trade routes. The Westerly government fell practically overnight, unable to meet its monthly obligations, and Malthius marched right in and claimed ownership of the small nation several months later, having bought up all of the state-owned property once it was liquidated to cover the debts it owed.

It was a huge scandal at the time; the Baratian empire had threatened to go to war with Vastlin and probably would have if the United Nations of Gol, the world’s largest country, had not interceded. While never officially known, many suspect the reason why Gol did this was due to the Wargmat being one of the progenitors of Vastlin. The Wargmat were instrumental in freeing many of the nations that made up Gol from the oppressive nation Galardia many years ago. Others believed that Gol simply wanted to maintain stability, Vastlin being caught up in a war would have destroyed the world economy.

With Westerly under his thumb, Malthius turned his attention to the other small nation-states around Colstin. It was a slow process, but he steadily unified most of the continent over the remaining ten years of his life. Malthius had no idea that his brainchild would one day be the seed that the Felgarin Empire would rise from out of the ashes of the Arcanum War that would ravage Colstin.

The Arcanum War was a bloody conflict that saw war breakout throughout almost all of Colstin, but the fighting was heaviest in the South where there resided two nations known for their military prowess. The war started out as a border dispute between the nation of Eldawine and their neighbors, Rosslton. Eldawine was the nation of the Elves, a relatively small but long-lived race of Humanoids that have an unusual magic potential. Rosslton had long been attempting to secure the rights to a gold mine just within Eldawine territory. Eldawine was not interested. So, in 526 AG, Rosslton decided it would invade Eldawine and take it by force.

While Eldawine was known for its strong magics, Rosslton was known for its strong military stratagems and their military will to fight. It was bloody from the start; the Elves did not hold back in defending their nation and the fighting soon spread into the heartland of Rosslton. Taken aback by the ferocity of the counterattack, Rosslton asked Gauslon, a nation to their west, for help. Both nations had deep political ties and Gauslon had advanced weaponry for the time.

Combined, they forced the Elves back into Eldawine and advanced, no longer satisfied with just the mine they had been after. Within a month the war had spread northward and skirted the borders of Vastlin. While the Human nations knew better than to cross over into Vastlin territory, the Elves did not care; they routed and forced a large contingent of Gauslon soldiers into Vaslin and pursued them until they reached a border town called Helkin. The people of Helkin had no idea what was happening and assumed the Gauslon men showing up had been attacked by a roving band of pirates or brigands. The Elves cared not who gave assistance to their would-be attackers, they treated them all the same. Helkin was virtually destroyed and Vastlin had been pulled into the war.

You would think that one small nation against the largest on the continent would be an unfair fight, and you would be right; the Elves of Eldawine were decimating the measly land forces of Vastlin. Due to the nature of the threats to Vastlin’s economy, naval power was the focus of their military. The last time a ground battle had been fought on Colstin was centuries ago when the Wargmat swept through the countryside, clearing it of banditry.

Vastlin had no need for a serious land military, until now. The wrath of the Elves was terrifying, their power was immense. One Elven soldier could decimate a platoon of Human soldiers in just a couple of spells whereas the Human mages barely stood a chance against the weakest of the Elves. This disparity in magic ability had been known for years, it was one reason Eldawine was treated with caution.

The Elves swept north through the entire continent after they had neutralized Rosslton and Gauslon in the south and did not stop until they reached Dankwood Forest far in the North where they met their first real resistance. Dunslor was well known for their trade empire, but they were also known for their strong magic as well. While they were not up to the standard of Eldawine, with enough mages working together with the remnants of Rosslton’s, Gasulon’s, and Vastlin’s armies, Dunslor was able to prevent the Elves from their march further northward which would have started to encroach on their lands.

The front lines were constant chaos. Both sides had set up fortifications and would routinely attempt to break through the opponent’s, trying to get a leg up on their enemies. While there was much fighting and blood spilled, the war was stalemated.

The fighting lasted a year before Eldawine relented and traveled back South, coming to the decision that it was no longer worth the expense in life to continue their campaign. Unlike most conquering nations, Eldawine demanded nothing from those they had soundly defeated, they just requested to be left alone. Vastlin, Gauslon, and Rosslton were nearly decimated. Dunslor’s forces had also been severely depleted. Westerly was the only province practically untouched by the war and so it assumed much of the duties as the seat of the government for Vastlin.

Rosslton and Gauslon fared much worse. Their militaries had been eradicated, only a handful of platoons returned after the war ended. The military deaths accounted for nearly 45% of the population of both countries and the civilian deaths added another 18%. They would never truly recover from the impacts of the war. Vastlin was not much better off overall; 25% of the population had been killed and most of the trading ports throughout the west coastal areas were nought but ash.

A new era had begun, the Post-Arcanum era. Due to the actions of the Elves, the World was thrown into total chaos. A depression was stirred into existence as Vastlin’s massive trade empire vanished in the blink of an eye. It was a time of extensive hardship and poverty that lasted for 50 years while the world economy picked up the millions of shards left behind in the wake of the Arcanum War.

In Vastlin things were even worse. Nearly all of the country had been razed to the ground, millions were homeless and without jobs. Many resorted to banditry to get by, attacking the wealthy who ventured out of the wealthier areas of cities without proper protection. Even getting to a point where they could think about rebuilding took 12 years as uprisings and attacks were frequent distractions for the government. Eventually, thanks to their immense wealth and the relationships that the nation had forged in the past, rebuilding would begin, though slow and complex.

There was so much damage that the land of the country had to be subdivided to allow proper money flow with adequate means of tracking how that money was being spent. Five provinces were created: Galig in the north along the southern borders of Dunslor, Jostrin to the East, Nelti to the West, Latis to the south of Nelti, and then Veltin, the largest, would encompass most of the south of the nation. Westerly would find itself with a large chunk of land granted to it while Vastlin recovered; it was allowed to be temporarily spun out as an independent nation-state. Later it would be reabsorbed and turned into the sixth province.

It was at this time that the formation of the parliament occurred as a means of providing structured and centralized support for guiding reconstruction efforts, passing laws to relax some regulations relating to the hiring of unaffiliated contractors, and to form committees that would track expenditures in each of the provinces.

Reconstruction required an obscene amount of Geldir and took thirty years to complete. By that time Westerly had grown into a fully independent nation. When asked to rejoin Vastlin, they had refused; Vastlin no longer had the financial, economic, or military power it once did, and likely never would again. Westerly, on the other hand, had many lucrative contracts and did not feel they should be saddled with the immense debt that Vastlin had accrued over the years.

Vastlin did not take to this news kindly and briefly issued threats. The leader of that era, Ginna Wallston, knew the political game, but without the resources to back her demands up, she quickly knew another tact was required. Instead, she appealed to the people of Westerly, highlighting the deep ties between the nations and the sacrifices that Vastlin had endured while preventing Eldawine from ravishing their lands.
Her goal was to get the populace of the nation to vote to reintegrate with Vastlin; Westerly had become a republic about nine years ago. If she could convince enough to vote for it, the government would be required to execute it under their national charter or be deposed and replaced. The government of Westerly knew full well what Wallston was trying to do, but they could not prevent a public vote once a provision passed the threshold to be put to the public.

Eight months of lobbying later the threshold was met and the provision was put to a public vote. The arguments on all sides had been raucous and three distinct positions had emerged from the initial debate. There were the Integrationists who were fully on-board with returning to Vastlin. There were the Separationists who wanted to remain independent from Vastlin and saw no reason for them to rejoin at this time when Vastlin was clearly fishing for monetary stability by absorbing Westerly’s treasury. Finally, there was the enigmatic group called Westerly for Westerly. No one really knew how this group came about, but they favored independence while also counteroffering to help stabilize Vastlin with reparations due to the immense financial toll the war had brought to them.

Each group represented around a third of the population with around 5% undecided according to the last census that was conducted by the Westerly government before the public vote. Ginna made one last address to the people of Westerly before the vote was conducted. She reemphasized that without the help of Dunslor and Vastlin, Westerly would be in the same state as the rest of the continent and that their prosperity was bought with tens of thousands of lives and the wholesale destruction of most of Vastlin’s lands. She also went on to state that they had no obligation to Vastlin personally, but that if Westerly was ever in a position to require aid, that Vastlin, even in its current state, would not hesitate to offer it and hoped that the people of Westerly would do the same now.

It was a close election, but there were surprises. Contrary to popular public belief, the Separationists ended up with only 8% of the vote; many, including many in seats of power, thought that their message was sure to strike a chord with the people of Westerly. Westerly for Westerly received 35% of the vote, which was surprising for a group shrouded in such mystery. The Integrationists had won with 57% of the vote.

While there were some demonstrations by some of the Separationists demanding for a new election to be held, claiming that the Westerly for Westerly group was a front established by the Integrationists to pull support from their position, the after events from the election were mostly peaceful. While no full investigation was ever carried out, most agreed that the claims by the Separationists were very unlikely to be true and they had no evidence to back up their claims.

A formal process was established to reintegrate Westerly into Vastlin. It took several years of negotiations with trading partners and contract holders to change them over to Vastlin’s ownership. During that time Wallston had been busy securing Vastlin’s control over the provinces, she had plans; grand ones that would require a lot of wheel greasing, but ones that, once they had come to fruition, would put Vastlin back on the map as an economic superpower.

One month after Westerly had been merged back into Vastlin, Wallston announced the formation of a new country, or a reformation technically. Vastlin was an old and proud nation, but its time had passed. Much of the old country had been destroyed by the Elves and what had replaced it was much more modern, fresh, and facing forward to the future.

She exclaimed that the nation’s constitution was to be rewritten. All provinces were to be given full statehood within the country, full support from the government, and would no longer have to redress parliament for financial payments as they had under the old system where each province was treated like an incorporated, but separate, nation-state. The country was unifying, uniting under one flag, one government, one constitution. The name for this new nation would be the Felgarin Empire.

Parliament would be strengthened, given most of the control over the law. A separate body would be created to handle the ministration of justice. A national army would be raised to prevent another Arcanum War from occurring in the future. Lastly, while there would be no official national religion, religious institutions would be required to register with the Ministry of Faith so that formal complaints, monitoring, and other obligations could be carried out and adjudicated within an appropriate venue.

Most of these changes were met enthusiastically; for many, the era felt like a true rebirth of the country, as though a Phoenix was rising from its death ashes. There were dissenters, a good deal, but they knew better than to stir up trouble. Wallston was known for being aggressive in dealing with subversives if they threatened the stability of the country.

It took many years for all the systems to be put into place. More years than Wallston had life left to live. She would not see her efforts bear the fruit of the Felgarin Empire two-hundred and ten years later. Arguments over very specific political processes and the handling of disputes caused major delays and setbacks that required many revisions to the charters of the provinces that everyone could agree on. It was not perfect, but the changes she enacted brought on a small golden age to the nation. With proper support, all the provinces grew at a tremendous rate in population and economically. It was not long before Felgarin reclaimed Vastlin’s title of world economic superpower.


Lore Blogs Are Coming

Yo! I have not forgotten about the lore blogs! I have been working on the first one, but a couple of things lined up into a perfect storm which has delayed it a bit; however, it is coming soon and the format will be changing a little bit.

I have been fiddling around with what I currently have for the first lore blog to see what kinds of issues or limits I might need to be aware of with the blog system here on RMN. Reason I need to know this is that these lore blogs are going to be so much more massive than I thought they would end up being.

I initially thought what I would do with these was a super abridged version of the history/overview for each topic. The first topic area for these will be the countries of the game world and their histories.

When I cut the first draft together and had some people read them, they felt that there wasn't enough context and instead of an understanding of events it felt like they were looking at something that felt like an overview of a timeline; it didn't really give them an idea of the formation of the countries, the different cultural adaptations around the events, and how that all culminated into the present-day game synopsis of the country.

My goal with these is to give you just that, what each country is currently like and the major events that occurred before, during, and after its founding that molded the culture and goings on to what you will see within the game.

Instead of the super-high level overview, I decided to go waist deep into various foundational aspects of the history for each country. So, much more than just a brief overview, but not quite to the level of novelization. What you'll be reading is almost kind of like a story told from only the third perspective; no, or very little, direct dialog from the historical figures and a lot of scene setting of events.

This is a much longer format. To give you perspective, the original draft was 16 pages long in Word. This new draft, for the first nation (the Felgarin Empire) is 28. Yeah, 28 pages in word (17,000 words) for just one of the three countries.

This brings up another issue. RMN has a max character limit of something around 65K for a single blog post. The current version of the blog in Word is 100K characters. Yeah, we're going to have to split these.

I would just have started pushing the first lore blog for Felgarin out today, but I want to try and figure out the best structure for this. Where the best break points are, if I need to reduce the lore can it be done but still give the proper context, that kind of stuff to polish out these blogs.

So, next week I will be posting the first part of the lore for Felgarin. I will have to figure out if I want to do this in two or three posts and determining the breaking points will help with that. I kind of like the 3 post option because then we can do something like pre-foundation history, events during and just after the foundation, and then post-foundation history.

That kind of works well for Felgarin, not so well for Gol because Gol will have much more pre-foundation lore to the point of potentially needing that time period split in order to fit it in a blog. I would like to find something that can scale to any size I need it, but still be a good format for posting.

In any case, expect a lore blog post next week and we will see where it goes from there; I suspect I will need to make modifications as we go and I run into new challenges with the lengths and pacing.

Game Design

Game Mechanics Part 16/17

Game Mechanics Part 16/17

It’s time; the final game mechanics blog post. These were obviously meant to be separate, but due to the delay in posting, you’re getting a mega-blog today. Today we’re going to be talking about all of the mechanics that I said we would talk about and then never got around to actually covering throughout the other blogs in addition to everything related to the Advanced Weapon Plugin.

We’re going to talk about quest indicators, the field journal, critical story moments (this was bought up in the auto-save mechanic discussion), saving changes, an update on battle weather, skill bundling, and then the AWP and all of its related extensions.

This is going to be a big one, so get something to eat/drink and settle in for a nice wall of text.

That floaty thing above your head

RPGs have struggled forever on how to tell the player when an NPC has a quest for them. There are hundreds of game systems developed to figure out how to do this in an effective way. MMOs tend to favor the floaty icon as do many other genres, some games, like Trails in the Sky, have specific locations where you can get quests from. Others prefer to leave you completely in the dark and let you figure it all out for yourself (like Chrono Trigger).

Emilar will feature a hybrid of these three mentioned styles of quest system as we have discussed before. There will be quests given at specific locations, quests that you will happen to stumble onto that will both be recorded as quests in the Quest Journal or won’t be until you obtain enough information to trigger the quest to start.

There will also be NPCs that will have quests for you to undertake. For these NPCs, the floaty icon mechanic will be used. There will be four icons in total; four colors used, and two styles.

First, you will know that an NPC has a quest for you when you see a question mark floating above their heads. The color of the question mark will tell you what general type of quest it is. Blue question marks indicate a general side quest of some type (fetch and kill mostly) while red question marks indicate a special quest. These special quests have a greater chance of being mini-arcs with multiple quests and will usually give you good rewards.

Once you have taken a quest from an NPC, the icon will change to an exclamation point. A yellow exclamation point means that you have not completed one of the quests you have undertaken from this NPC. The exclamation mark will turn green when you have a quest that you can turn in for the rewards for that quest.

I am working on figuring out a way to make these work properly, with a scoping mechanism. Here is how I want them to work:

If you have not taken a quest from an NPC that has one, it should have a question mark of the appropriate color.

If the NPC has multiple quests for you to undertake, special quests should have priority so the question mark would be red.

If you have taken on a quest from an NPC, but there are other quests they have for you, then a exclamation point should be shown instead of a question mark; active quests take priority over new ones.

Completed quests should have priority over uncompleted ones, so if you have multiple quests from an NPC and one of them is finished, then there should be a green exclamation point over that NPC. Once you turn in that finished quest, the exclamation point should either be green if there are other completed quests or yellow if there are unfinished quests.

If you have multiple quests finished, the NPC should process all of them without you having to talk to that NPC multiple times.

The icons used may change as we get closer to release; technically what I am using right now are placeholders, but I may decide just to use them.


Your army diary

With all the new menu options being added into the game, it became apparent quickly that shoving them all into the main menu was not going to work. In addition, there needed to be something that you were given after completing training that made sense within the context of the game.

Enter the Field Journal.

The Field Journal will be a hidden menu option until you finish your Guard Force training. Once you are through it, you will be given a field journal used to record important information relating to your job. This unlocks the menu option.

The Field Journal will be broken down into the following categories:
Party Information
Battle Statistics
Mission Journal
Magic Loadouts
Write Entry (Save)
Read Entry (Load)

The Status, Save, and Load options in the main menu will be removed once the Field Journal has been unlocked. The Quests section will also be removed; this section will contain only basic information on quests. The Mission Journal will be the full system. Here is what each section of the journal is specifically used for.

Party Information
This section contains a submenu for character status, general relation information (related to the character relationship and anima systems), and Felto’s personality matrix which how many points each Anima aspect has and will display a star graph similar to Persona’s social stat graph to visually display the information as well.

Battle Statistics
This section will contain the number of battles fought, the number of kills each character has made (this may be broken out into more detailed statics by type for tracking for Soulbinder), time spent in battle, total EXP/Gold gained from battle, and other more unusual statistics.

This section is the Codex plugin that we covered in Part 2 of this blog series. It is a massive plugin that covers a lot of ground. For the most part, it just keeps all of the information you learn about organized, but within that there are ways built in for you to use that information strategically.

For example, there are system built into the Bestiary that allow you to create optimal grinding sessions, help you track down the best locations to find things or get exp, and that will help you deal with some of the more interesting Grand Class mechanics, like the kill count for Soulbinder.

Then there are ways that I will use the Codex to allow you to investigate certain lore topics which may lead to the discovery of quests, unique equipment, special dungeons, and super bosses. It isn’t just about tracking numbers and information, it is about dragging you into the lore for the game and giving you a way to keep track of progress toward non-story related goals.

There is also a progress tracker for you to enable if you want to that will track your progress towards 100% completion. Certain categories won’t be visible though, such as secret locations, even though they are factored into your overall completion of the game.

Mission Journal
This is where all of the details of the quests you have undertaken are kept. I will be using YanFly’s quest journal plugin for this so each quest type will be subdivided into a category. There will also be sections for complete and failed quests.

Within the Mission Journal there will be other sections as well, Quests is just one part. Think of this as a sub-sub menu. There will also be a synopsis of the story thus far so you can keep track of where you’re at and there will also be a list of the major choices you have made.

This section of the Field Journal will be used to track how your superior is rating your job performance. There isn’t much tied to this mechanic except for the gold stipend you get at the start of each chapter. There may be some other minor story branching that happens based on this mechanic.

In this part of the journal, you will see the actions you have taken throughout the game, large and small, and their impact on your evaluation. There will be a visual indicator of some kind that shows you how close you are to the next stipend grade.

Magic Loadouts
This section will contain each active party member that can use magic and allow you to assign them a loadout to use in battle, clear a loadout, create a new one if you have an open loadout slot, and to edit an existing loadout.

Many of the mechanics for the Field Journal are in place, but the journal plugin itself still needs to be created, so there’s some work to do here for this one.


No save scumming for you (maybe)

One mechanic I mentioned and we never went back to discuss was related to auto-saving. I had stated that there may be some situations where auto-saving would not happen. These situations are called Critical Story Moments; points at which the story has a chance to swing wildly depending on your choice and choices you have made up to that point.

Initially I wanted to implement this as a standard feature which would just happen. I am now strongly considering making it a togglable option that can add an extra layer of difficulty to the game if you choose to use it.

The reason for the change was that maybe you want to see what would happen if you picked a certain option, but didn’t really want to continue the game after making it and instead wanted to continue after making a different choice. With this system in place, you would have to play the game again and then choose the other option; not a good player experience.

Instead, by default the game will still auto-save before these moments and you can save beforehand if you choose to. If this setting is turned on though, auto-saves won’t happen.


Saving is changing, again

So, I have been going back and forth over several possible saving mechanics. From only auto-saves, to point based saving like in most old school RPGs, to allowing you to save whenever and where ever, or only being able to manually save in certain circumstances. There are too many options to choose from.

Instead, I will do something completely different from all of these. Auto-saves will still happen under the following conditions:

Before entering a new location (when you leave a map)
When triggering a boss battle
Before a Critical Story Moment (if the setting to disable this is not turned on)

Manual saving will be allowed; however, you will need an item to save and it will be consumed on save. I am working on the lore background for these items at the moment. You will be able to buy them at most shops; I am not sure of the price yet. It will probably be heavily dependent on balancing.


Battle meteorologists are rioting in the streets

So, I mentioned about wanting to try and see if I could figure out how to implement a mechanic where there would be weather in battle and that would have an impact on the conditions of said battle; like fog causing a drop in hit rate. I still want to do this, but I don’t think it will make it into the initial release of the game. I need to do some more research into the weather plugins I have found and see if I can figure out how I would need to modify them to implement an effects system.

None of the ones I have found do that out of the box.


Not your average status effect damage

I forget if we covered this before, but if we did you can just ignore this section. If we did not, then here is some insight into how status effect damage is going to be calculated.

As with spell damage, I wanted to move away from simplistic formulas in favor of something a bit more in the weeds. One thing that prompted this was my desire to fix Poison. I do know we talked about this before, but to recap RPGs have been doing Poison wrong since what feels like the start.

Poison usually does damage once your turn is over and does damage based on a percentage of health. Well-constructed games can work around the percentile nature of how Poison generally works; RPG Maker is not an engine that allows this to be done well though.

So, I made several changes. The first one was to make Poison do damage after every action you take with a character, not at the end of their turn. The second one was to make Poison’s turn tracker tick down after each application, which isn’t possible to do other than by battle turn by default in RPG Maker. The third was to create a damage system to remove the percentile nature of Poison.

This damage system is what we will be discussing, because I applied it to many of the status effects and it isn’t a simplistic system.

So, the overview. How this damage system works is by taking the stats of the caster at the time of casting and storing them. These values are then used each time the status effect would do damage. This allows the system to make sense; why would a status effect cast on you three turns ago do more damage on turn 4 because the caster got buffed?

If the caster was immobilized for the duration of the status effect, it would make sense. Because the caster is physically maintaining the status effect on you each turn, any kind of buff or debuff should be applied then. Most games don’t do this (DND does for some things).

Instead status effects are generally used as a “cast it and forget it” kind of situation where once the spell that causes the effect is cast, the caster isn’t required to maintain it and can do other things. In this situation, the damage should be locked in unless some other innate factors of the status effect change.

As an example of the above statement, consider an effect that makes gravity-styled attacks do more damage. If the effectiveness of this status effect is increased through some means, the damage from gravity-styled attacks should also increase.

So, at the time of application of a status effect that either does damage over time or that impacts damage from other status effects or attacks, the relevant stats are stored. Each time the status effect activates, these stats are looked up and used to calculate the damage that should happen.

Let’s use Poison for an example. Let’s say you are casting Poison on a target. Your Magic Attack Power (MAP) is 45. This value is stored in a game variable object. Each time the target takes damage from Poison, the game will look up this value and pull the 45 out to stick it into the damage calculation. The target's Magic Defense Power (MDP) is 38.

The current formula for Poison damage is:

Math.floor(10 + (originMAP * 1.50) - (userMDP * 1.25))

Given the MAP and MDP given, your initial damage with Poison would be 35 damage. If the entity taking damage is a player character though, the formula also takes into consideration accessories that reduce poison damage. If you had one of these, the damage would be reduced by a percentage before being applied to you.

If your MAP gets debuffed by the enemy at some point before Poison wears off, it retains the same damage it did before the debuff.

Many status effects operate in this fashion.


Weapons deserve levels too

Alright, it is finally time to talk about the Advanced Weapon Plugin. This is a massive plugin, probably about as big as the Codex plugin, if not a bit larger.

The Advanced Weapon Plugin is, at its core, a weapon refinement plugin. It allows you to power up your weapons and unlock additional stats, status effects, and other features for your weapons. Not all weapons can use all parts of this system. Most of the weapons you obtain through the beginning of the game (first 18 hours) will only be able to be improved; the other systems are not able to be used on them.

The plugin breaks down into the following major areas:

The Improvement system is a leveling system. It works by spending EXP and gold at a Blacksmith NPC to level up your weapons. As you fight enemies, your weapons will obtain 25% of the EXP in combat. Weapons will only gain exp from battles, items that give your characters levels or exp won’t apply to your weapons. Weapon exp is then spent as a resource to level up your weapon.

Leveling up a weapon will increase its base stat values, unlock additional chance to hit for existing status effects, potentially unlock new status effects, unlock new weapon skills, and potentially some other special features as well.

If the Durability system is turned on, leveling up your weapon can also increase its durability.

Eventually your weapon will reach its level cap. All weapons will have one, the rarer the weapon is, the higher the cap will be, that also means that upgrades are more spread out for rare weapons and that there are more of them. Rare weapons will also tend to have more powerful upgrades.

Once your weapon reaches its level cap, it cannot be improved through the Improvement system any longer and you will have to take your weapon to the next stage if it is able to use the refinement system.

Once you can no longer level up your weapon, your next option is to refine it. Refining resets your weapon’s level back to 1, but retains all the upgrades you unlocked. Think of it as a New Game+ for your weapons.

Upon refining a weapon, you will get a flat increase to the stats of your weapon depending on what that stat is.

For base parameters (atk/def/etc), the increase is 5% per refinement level.
For special parameters (Hit %/Eva %/etc), the increase is 1% per refinement level.
For extended parameters (Exp %, Pharmacology/etc), the increase is 0.5% per refinement level.
For status effects, the affliction chance in increased by 10% per refinement level.
For durability, the increase is 15% per refinement level.

In addition to these buffs, as you level up your weapon through the next Improvement Cycle, there can be additional upgrades to unlock. Mainly this applies to weapons from later in the game, but you may occasionally find an instance of an early weapon with improvement cycle unlocks.

I am still trying to figure out how I will let you know if a weapon does have these Improvement Cycle unlockables. I don't want to implement a tier system, but that might be the easiest option.

Many weapons that can be used with the AWP early on will have a max refinement level. As you get higher in rarity, this cap also gets higher and eventually you will be able to find weapons that are uncapped. At that point your only limit is the time you want to put into improving and refining, which translates to grinding for exp and gold.

So, you have this weapon you have been using for a while. It’s at its +8 refinement level cap. What else can you do with this weapon; you may be wondering. Well, you can always combine it with another weapon.

Weapon Synthesis is the process of taking two weapons and combining them. In doing so, you combine the upgrades and abilities of the two weapons together. How much of the upgrades are carried over depends on which weapon is the donor weapon. The donor weapon is the weapon that is to be combined with the base weapon.

Base parameters from a donor weapon are carried over at a rate of 30% for base parameters that are non-zero on the base weapon. If you bring over a new base param, one the base weapon doesn't already have, it goes up to 60%.

The values for Ex and Sp params are 20%/40% for Sp params and 15%/30% for Ex params.

For status effects, an existing status effect’s affliction rate will be increased by 25% of the donor weapon’s affliction rate. If you bring over a new status effect, 60% of the affliction rate is carried over.

If the durability system is enabled, half of the durability is carried over.

Once a weapon has been synthesized, it can no longer be improved or refined. Instead, to continue upgrading it, you must synthesize another weapon into it. This becomes progressively harder over time because of the requirements to synthesize.

To synthesize two weapons, they must both be improved to their level cap and must have the same refinement level. Upon synthesizing the weapons, the refinement level of the fused weapon is increased by 2, even if it goes above the refinement level cap.

So, if your weapons were +3 refinement level, the resulting weapon is now a +5 and you have to get another +5 weapon to synthesize the base weapon again.

You will also be able to rename the fused weapon once you have synthesized it and after each subsequent synthesis. Synthesizing does not, on its own, add anything to the stats of the weapon; any improvements are reliant on the donor weapon used.

Durability System
This is an optional system that can be turned on from the options menu for most game difficulties. Brutal and higher difficulties turn this setting on and it cannot be turned off. When enabled, weapons will have durability.

Each attack made in battle with a physical component (so magic physical attacks count) will deplete the durability by a set amount based on the specific skills used and the number of hits it makes. The amount of durability consumed will depend on the specifics of that skill. If it hits multiple enemies multiple times, your going to see a large durability cost for that.

Once the weapon reaches 0 durability what happens depends on if you have the Break option selected.

You can choose to have weapons break when they reach 0 durability. This means that the weapon is rendered basically useless until reforged at a Blacksmith. All damage done by attacks with physical components will have their output reduced to 5% of the total damage done. So, if your skill attack does 100 damage, it will do 5 if your weapon breaks.

Repairing a broken weapon will be expensive. It will require 90% of that weapon’s exp and a fair amount of gold that will be calculated based on the weapon’s level and refinement level.

Broken weapons cannot be improved, refined, or synthesized.

In this mode, weapon’s gain 40% of your exp in battle instead of 25%. In addition, Durability is increased by 10% and the durability damage taken from attacks is reduced by 20% to make it a bit farer for long-duration battles.

In this mode, you can purchase repair items from the Blacksmith, but their overall effectiveness is reduced so they repair less durability.

The other option is “Standard”. This is the default functionality for the durability system. Once a weapon "breaks" you will do 1/4th the damage you normally would. Weapons can be repaired using items instead of having to go to the Blacksmith. These items can be used in battle as well.

Weapons with 0 durability can still be improved, refined, and synthesized.

The Enhancement system kind of works like the socket systems in ARPGs and the magic upgrade system in this game. Certain weapons have several enhancement points into which you introduce materials that the weapons then absorbs when heated (partial lore on the system here). This allows you to add some large-scale changes to the weapons. Unlike the ARPG systems, changes mage by the enhance system cannot be undone; they are permanent.

You will only find weapons able to be enhanced in treasure chests, they will not be sold, and any weapon can have an enhanceable variant. There may even be ways to make non-enhanceable weapons enhanceable using certain high level crafting components.

Examples of enhancements are:
+25% exp gain
+10% Strength
+18% to all damage

There may also be rare enhancement items that can add unique abilities to weapons but will be hard to find/obtain.

Enhancements are done using enhancement items. These can be found out in the wild or made through crafting. Some of them can only be found while exploring though. Some can also be crafted, but to craft these items, you will need to be Crafting Level 5 or higher.


How does magic work in this game, anyway?

You have probably noticed throughout these blogs that I have said that magic isn’t arcane in my game. Let’s expand on this now because I feel that this topic needs explaining to better illustrate the next AWP mechanic we’re going to cover.

In Emilar, magic users do not derive their power from natural sources around them. Instead, they manifest the spells by conceptualizing what that spell is, they are essentially willing it into existence. This process requires mental energy which is then consumed. Hence why MP means Mental Points in Emilar. All spells require MP to use them and as with their Magic Point counterparts, the stronger the spell, the more MP required.

One key aspect of this bit of information is that this process only applies to Humanoids. The spells of monsters and other non-Human creatures are derived from the arcane and are, in fact, stronger than their Humanoid counterparts. This means that non-Humanoid enemies are not subjected to this next mechanic we will talk about.

To restate, MP stands for Mental Points and the use of magic drains Humanoids mentally. This cost system operates just as it would in other games, but here comes the catch.


Mental fatigue is real

In Legend of Emilar, magic is a tactical resource. You can’t just go shooting off stuff willy-nilly and expect not to get clapped on harder enemies. There are a multitude of systems that enforce this from limited magic loadouts to cooldowns that apply across an element and others.

This next mechanic is the most impactful of them all because it will change how you proceed in battle using magic. As you consume Mental Points by using magic, your effectiveness also decreases. This applies to any spell that would do damage or heal HP, including spells that could cause status effects that do damage over time.

How it works is that your current MP is divided by your max MP to get a percentage. Under 75% of your max MP, you will start to lose effectiveness with your spells; the damage or healing they would do is reduced by 20%.

Under 50%, they are reduced by 40%. At 25%, the reduction is increased to 75%. After you go below 25%, the reduction doesn’t increase.

So, let’s say you have 45% of your MP left and you go to heal a party member with a spell. The calculated heal value is 350HP. Because you are at 55% Mental Fatigue, your spell will only heal for 140HP. Similarly, if you cast Poison and normally Poison would do 35 damage, at 55% Mental Fatigue you're only going to see 14 damage out of it per action.

I am considering adding another gauge to the normal battle gauges that tracks Mental Fatigue, but it would really just be an inverse of the MP gauge. So, it almost doesn’t make sense to do so unless there are other ways for the MF to be increased. If other things can increase your MF, then this system needs to change.

So, here are two proposed implementations for this Mental Fatigue system.

Implementation 1
The system works as stated above. Mental Fatigue is based strictly on your MP% remaining and there are strict value ranges where the effectiveness of your magic is reduced and by how much it's reduced. The gauge is linked to your MP gauge.

Pretty simple.

Implementation 2
Instead of the above explanation, the Mental Fatigue system will work like this:
Each magic-using class has a Mental Fatigue parameter; possibly larger for more advanced classes.

Each time a spell is used, it causes a certain amount of Mental Fatigue to the caster. This would be dependent on the strength of the spell and what it targets. A weak spell that targets all allies will have a higher MF cost than one that only targets a single ally, for example.

Enemies may have attacks, status effects, and other abilities that can increase your MF. For example, a status effect that causes Mental Fatigue to the afflicted each turn which reduces your magic effectiveness.

The MF gauge is not linked to your MP and your MP% left is not a factor in increasing your Mental Fatigue.

I am favoring Implementation 2 at the moment because it adds a unique mechanic to the game that can be utilized in several ways. With the first implementation, it is strictly based on how much you use magic and when. The second one, the enemy can place you in a situation where your magic is severely impaired if you have no ability to counter what they do. This allows me to craft battles that are much harder because of the weakening of your magic.

For example, consider a boss that can both cause the Enfeeble status effect and has a status effect to drain your mental acuity. This could lead to issues with both healing your party and doing significant damage through spells and offers a way for enemies to weaken more complex spells like Phys/Magic compound class spells.

There will be items to reduce your mental fatigue in either implementation of the system.


You’re a mage, aren’t you? Why aren’t you using mage things?

The next AWP mechanic is also magic related. You know how in most games mages get staves or rods as weapons? Sometimes they may also get maces (clerics). But why do they get these weapons? The answer is, there is no actual reason; it’s just a fad that caught on and has never changed in like 30 years. Some game, probably Final Fantasy, did it and everyone else copied them and that game probably did it due to Tolkien. Other than aesthetics, there is no reason for them to be restricted to those weapons.

That isn’t the case in Emilar; there are reasons why you want to stick to certain weapon types with magic-users. This is the Focus system; yes, influenced by the DND system of the same name. Each magic-using class has at least one weapon they can attune with in addition to fighting with no weapon at all.

Magic-users use these Focus weapons to focus their mental power and get as much effectiveness as they can from their spells. They can also use their body to do this and thus don’t have to have a weapon to get the full power out of their magic. The downside there is that they don’t get the damage increase that comes from using a weapon.

Mages can use rods, staves, and books as their Focus weapons, but they can also use daggers and maces. Using a dagger or a mace will reduce the effectiveness of their spells, though, by 25%. It may be possible to find a dagger or a mace, or to create one, that can overcome this 25% drop in power if it adds enough Mental Attack Power (MAP).

Clerics can use maces, staves, and books as Focus weapons. They can also use gloves, rods, daggers, and short swords with the MAP penalty.

When it comes to the Compound classes that mix spells and physical skills, the Focus is the primary weapon type for the class. For example, for any of the Lancer/Mage Compound classes, the Focus weapon is a spear.


Should I go one-handed or do I need two hands?

The versatile weapon system is another one I have mentioned before or even done a full-on section on, but we’re going to cover it again here. This won’t take too long.

Certain weapons can be used in different ways; this normally will apply to swords, but I might also include rods and staves as well. This will be manifest as being able to set a weapon as a one-handed or a two-handed weapon.

In practical terms, versatile weapons have two usage modes they can be shifted between for different boosts. Using a versatile weapon in one hand will reduce their damage but increase your attack speed and allow you to wield something in your other hand be it a weapon or a shield. This applies to staves too.

If you switch to the two-handed mode, you lose the boost to your agility and the additional weapon/shield, but you can do more damage and, in the case of a physical weapon, it will add armor penetration to your attack so some amount of enemy defense will be ignored.


Ranged weaponry is actually ranged

One of my piffs with a lot of RPG Maker games is that Bows aren’t real. Sure, they might give you a weapon called Bow, but it's actually just a generic weapon with no differences in mechanical function within the battle system.

In Emilar, ranged weaponry will require ammunition and the ammunition will add more damage and different effects as well as have an impact on what abilities you can use.

Each weapon will have an ammo type; bows and long bows will use arrows, crossbows will use bolts, and guns will use bullets. There will not be a separation of bullet types for different types of gun weapons; at least not right now. Maybe, if I get enough feedback on it, I will implement specific ammo types for guns at a later time.

Weapon skills for ranges weapons will require you to have a certain amount of ammo to use them. If you don’t then those weapon skills will not be available to you. This leads to a problem though, what if you have no ammo at all and then can’t attack? Normal attacks are gone, after all.

I am still working on how this system should work and the lore around it; however, in those situations, you can use your HP to use those abilities. At least that is the plan right now. I don’t know how or why this is possible yet, in terms of the story. I am trying to find some fallback plans in case it becomes too wild to justify blood-sucking weapons (maybe they are all cursed? But then who cursed every gun in the world and why?).

One way or another there will be a way to deal with situations where you have no ammo.

In the skill selection menu, for abilities that use ammo there will be an indicator of the type of ammo, the amount required, and the amount you have. Skills that require ammo will list the type they need in the Codex.

I am working out a way to add ammo information to the skill description as well; if I can find one that works then I might be able to just display the types of ammo you have and the amount somewhere on the screen and leave the skill selection window alone.

Ammo will be a collective resource. All ranged characters will use the same ammo pool. Ammo is stored in the party inventory. So, if you have several characters with classes that use arrows be sure to stock up on enough so that they can function in battle.


Bundles of skills

The last game mechanic we’re going to discuss is skill bundling. While there are already some other mechanics that limit the spells you can equip, there isn’t anything on the physical skill side that does this. This means that while your skill list may be manageable, it will still be messy at times.

Skill bundling solves this issue once and for all. I mentioned this a bit a while back I think when talking about elemental magic and how similar elements would be combined into a sub-menu. Well that was this mechanic I was talking about.

Currently these are the plans for how this will work. All weapon skills will be bundled under a Weapon Skills selection. Class Skills will be bundled under their own heading. Additional Skills will be the next one, this one is for skills added by the equipment you have on other than weapons (some accessories will grant you use of skills). Then finally, each element of magic gets a bundle as well.

This should mean, baring me forgetting a type of skill, that your skill selection menu should only have the following options:

Weapons Skills
Class Skills (non-magic skills and physical magic skills)
Additional Skills
Fire/Water/Light/etc. Spells (magic-users only)

When one of these is selected, a sub-window will open with a list of the skills within that category for you to pick from. I don’t know if I will bundle within the sub window or not, I would rather not but if enough feedback comes in that Compound classes have too many listed skills, then I may consider it.

That’s it! 17 blog posts over ~half a year. We’ve covered all of the game mechanics currently implemented into the game or that are planned. I may add in new mechanics as the dev on the game continues and there may be tweaks and other changes to the mechanics as described here in these blogs. I will try not to cut anything that has been covered in these, but if I do need to I will make new blog posts.

Similarly, if something changes with a mechanic or something new is added, I will probably make a new blog post at some point once enough changes have been compiled or I feel that it should be disclosed (like before the demo is released).

So, what I will be doing now is releasing lore blogs that give you more details about the game world and the people in it. I will likely have some updates to the characters page to add in some new ones soon as well. These lore blogs will be slower coming, maybe once a month, and will cover two or three topics. In terms of length, I would expect them to be fairly chunky most of the time.

If you have been following along with these game mechanics blogs, thanks for doing so! Please feel free to go back to older ones and ask any questions or add any comments or feedback you may have. Part of the process for this game is making sure that player feedback is taken seriously and incorporated where it makes sense and early on in the game dev process you have a much better chance of changing something than once it has been set into place so if you have anything please let me know.

Thanks and I will see you in about a month with our first Lore Blog where we will be discussing three of the ten nations in Elisnar.

Game Design

Game Mechanics Part 15

Game Mechanics Part 15

After a bit of a delay, it is time for part 15 of our on-going blog series. We are definitely nearly at the end, I think we just have two or three more to go. Today we're going to be talking about the Character Skill and Magic Upgrade systems as well as talking about how tools are going to work.


Repetition is key

We talked about the World Systems a while ago and then brushed up against this system while discussing the item crafting system last week. This is technically an extension system of the World Systems mechanic. It plays several important aspects in the gamification of those minigames.

First and foremost, character skills are a means of giving you a goal to achieve. It isn’t enough that you can make stuff, for example, you also need additional incentive to spend the time doing it. In terms of crafting, there is a multitude of systems that make it worthwhile to craft items.

The crafting level plays a part in those systems. For other skills, this is also true by varying degrees. In most cases, your skill levels will impact the success rate depending on the difficulty of the task, the rewards you get from completing the task, unlock more advanced versions of tasks, or give you additional bonuses for completing the task.

In the case of crafting, your crafting level has a tangible impact on item crafting. It can cause you to use more items than you would otherwise need to, it locks off certain types of items from being crafted, it can impact bonuses on your crafted items, and acts as a gate on the manual inclusion of those bonuses.

In all, there will be six-character skills, one for each world system:


Crafting has been covered extensively so we’re going to skip that one. Let’s go over the rest of these, we’ll also be digging deeper into the world systems themselves here as well.

Mining Skill
The Mining skill will determine the number and class of resources you are able to acquire through mining. Mining is undertaken at specific points; these points will be indicated with a floating icon indicator.

When you interact with these spots a check will be conducted. Generally, if the mining level of the lead character is up to 2 levels off of the required level, you can still mine a mining point, you will just receive less from doing so and any specific material types only minable at the required level will not be given to you.

You will also need to have the tool required to mine that point. For example, to mine a rock mining point, all you need is the hammer tool, but if you are trying to mine a metal point, you need the pickaxe. If you do not have the required tool, you will not be able to mine that point.

If your skill level exceeds the required level for the mining point, even by one level, you will get bonus materials. In some cases, mining certain spots with more advanced tools may yield different returns. In these situations, some kind of indicator will be present on the tool selection menu. Oh, let’s talk about that as well; that will be our third mechanic topic.

For the most part, mining is just a means to get stuff for item crafting. The exception is Magicrystals. We talked about this a few times before, but Magicrystals will play an integral part in upgrading some of the systems in the game. Right now, they are used for improving the Amulet of Iskandour, the secret detection item, and, probably, adding in more spell loadout slots.

Magicrystals are formed in locations where the ambient concentration of magic is high, and they take many years to grow from their seed crystals. Once they do start growing, though, they grow quickly, and they can be harvested in such a way that they are able to regrow after a time.

To harvest Magicrystals you’ll need to have five levels in Mining and have the specialized tool needed to harvest the crystals without destroying them. You CAN harvest them without the tool but each crystal you harvest in this manner will never regrow. This allows you to get the crystals a bit earlier, but for a tremendous downside. Magicrystals will probably be a component for some of the more exotic craftable items, so keep that in mind as well.

Magicrystals won’t exactly be rare, but they will only be found in specific locations; they won’t be found as quest rewards or in chests. You may also not be able to harvest them right away; the crystals must be of a certain size first, so you may have to wait until the story progresses some time before certain Magicrystals can be collected.

Here is a list of the tools that can be used for mining:

Mythril Pickaxe
Composite Pickaxe
Magicite Extractor

The quality of the materials mined will determine the amount of skill exp you receive. The more advanced the material, the more exp. As such the exp given for an item will be configured per mineable item. Generally, though, it will break down something like this:

Tier 1 Materials – 100 exp
Tier 2 Materials – 200 exp
Tier 3 Materials – 400 exp
Tier 4+ Materials – 500 exp

Example of these materials are:

Tier 1

Tier 2

Tier 3

Tier 4

As with other games with fishing minigames, you will require a rod and some bait. Depending on the rod and the bait used, different qualities of fish can be acquired. Once you have obtained a rod, fishing tournaments will be unlocked. There will be several on each continent and will have some interesting, and unique, rewards.

If a cooking system is implemented that allows cooking of food that can impart status buffs, fish will be used as ingredients in that system. For now, fish are intended to be caught and sold for gold when you are not partaking in a tournament.

Depending on the size and quality of the fish, you will get skill points. Each fish will have a size range that it will fall in. If the size of the fish you catch is in the bottom 30%, you will get 10% less exp. If the fish is in the middle 30%, you will get the configured exp. If the fish is in the top 30%, you will get 10% more exp. If the fish is in the top 10%, you will get 30% more exp.

What this means is that if we have configured a Bass for a pond to have a size range of 1lbs to 10lbs and the EXP for catching is 20, the following will be true:

For a Bass sized 1 – 3lbs you will get 18 Exp
For a Bass sized 3.1 – 6lbs you will get 20 Exp
For a Bass sized 6.1 – 9lbs you will get 22 Exp
For a Bass sized 9.1 – 10lbs you will get 26 Exp

Each fishable area would have it’s own config for the fish and sizes so these can scale based on where the fishing area is located. Some dungeons may have fishing areas as well. I am not sure how these areas will be identified yet.

The Farming skill will control how many items you can harvest from a crop tile. Only specific tiles can be used and will have a floating indicator icon to identify them. Generally, you will be able to grow food stock, though some rarer things may also be grown. You can also grow plants and fungus as well.

Farming technically encompasses two skills, Faming and Harvesting. The act of reaching the final growth cycle gives Farming exp while harvesting the thing you grew will give you Harvesting exp.

It is possible to create farmable tiles, but the item required to do so is very expensive and can only be bought and then can only be used in specific locations. These locations may also require you to complete some kind of quest, think of these as locations you can unlock for helping a town, ala Skyrim with the homes you can earn. As such, these will likely be tied to side quest related things.

To farm, all you need to do is bring some water to the farming tile every so often. Each time you water the tile, a growth cycle will execute. Once you reach the fourth cycle, you will get Farming exp and will be able to harvest the grown item given that you have the right harvesting tool.

There will be no tools needed for farming, just a farming spot and a Farming Kit (purchasable for 65,000 gold) if the tile is not farmable yet. There will be farmable tiles for you to use without needing the kit; there will be a few around your house in Cleria and some scattered around the game world.

The Codex will keep track of the ones you find, set up, and keep track of their state and if they are ready to be watered again.

As with mining, the quality of what you grow determines the exp you get. Examples below.

Tier 1 Material – 50 exp
Tier 2 Material – 125 exp
Tier 3 Material – 250 exp
Tier 4 Material – 400 exp
Tier 5+ Material – 650 exp

Tier 1 Materials
Acacia Berries
Lennet (flower used to make Mental Potions)
Various sellable items

Tier 2 Materials
Climbing Vine

Tier 3 Materials
Ghlot Pods

Tier 4 Materials
Calstori Flower

Tier 5 Materials

Foraging will be the act of collecting things that have been grown on a farming tile or that you find out in the world. Certain items may require specific tools for collecting. As with Farming, the exp you will get for foraging will be based on the tier of the material collected.

You will have the option to collect three different amounts of resources from foraging spots:

A few – 1-2 items, the spot will regenerate the fastest
Several – 3-5 items depending on tier, the spot will take a while to regenerate
Many – 4 to 8 items depending on tier, this spot will regenerate after a long period of time.

I am not sure how the time will be tracked, but I am thinking it will be done via the timer plugin I am using for the Lantern. I can set up multiple timers with it. The only question I have is does that have any impact on performance and do the timer still run while away from the maps they were triggered in (I would assume so, but it is something I need to test).

Tier 1 Material – 20 exp
Tier 2 Material – 60 exp
Tier 3 Material – 140 exp
Tier 4 Material – 300 exp
Tier 5+ Material – 480 exp

At specific points, you will be able to excavate a tile. In many cases you will have the chance to find items. What you find will be entirely random, you might find something really trash or hit that one in a thousand chance and get a good item.
I am still thinking about how best to implement this system. Currently this is where I am headed in my thinking.

Several factors determine the chance of finding an item. Items will be the most common, accessories will be the next least common, then armor, followed by weapons which will be the least common.

Next the item tier will play a factor. Any items capable of being found by excavating need to be configured with a tier or rarity; this might be able to leverage the crafting system as well for this. The rarer or higher the tier of the item, the less likely it is to show up.

In certain areas where quest items need to be excavated, I need a way to allow those to be found more easily. If you must dig for a quest item, you should be able to find it quite easily compared to something of moderate rarity. Same goes for stealing.
I also think the location you are excavating should play a part as well. If you are in a high-level dungeon, that should influence rarer items to be excavated more often.
Contemplating if excavation points should be single shots or if they can be re-excavated after a time. Leaning towards single time digs.

Some secret areas will be found via this mechanic as well.

Not sure if there will be a tool set or if you will just need a shovel and that is it. Leaning towards just the shovel or having the shovel break after 10-20 digs and making you need to get another one. Possibly some dig spots could allow you to dig multiple times depending on your excavation level, kind of like the Mr. Digg mechanics from Last Remnant.


Push it to the limits!

Those who have been following the project for a while and watch my streams of the game’s development know that I had been working on a plugin for Magic Crafting for the game/public release. This system allows you to pre-configure spell combinations using elements are crafting materials. Once you know the theory of a spell, you can then take the elements required and creat that spell.

The crafted spell takes on some traits from the selected base spells as well as a portion of their base damage, which gets added to the base damage of the crafted spell. There are item catalysts as well that can be used to enhance various aspects of the spell.

For example, you can increase the number of hits, make a spell cast faster, increase the damage, add elements, even upgrade the spell from a single target to multiple targets.

There’s just one problem. I won’t work for my game anymore. Decisions about how the classes are structured, changes to the Magic Schools plugin, and general gameplay design decisions for the Legend of Emilar mean that Magic Crafting is out. It would be much too complex and complicated to implement into the game now.

But I really want to keep the positive aspects of the system I designed for that plugin because I feel that allow you to modify your spells allows you to further differentiate your characters from each other. For example, Character G might have Sola Ard, so might Character H. But Character H also has an upgrade to Sola Ard that makes it hit enemies three times and increases the chance of inflicting Burn. Character G’s version of the spell doesn’t have those attributes but does 35% more damage and can be cast 15% faster.

Where as without the system you would look at these two characters as the same and just pick who you liked for a battle with a boss weak to fire, now you have to choose “do I take the higher damage and faster casting time, or do I take the higher chance of Burn which does more damage to this boss too along with multiple hits?”.

These are the kinds of scenarios I want to for you into while playing the game. I don’t want you asking “which character do I like more?” I want you asking “which character is better for this fight based on the way I have built them?”.

Enter the Magic Upgrade system. A much simplified version of the Magic Crafting plugin that keeps the upgrade aspects but does not create new magic spells in the game’s data. How it is going to work is that every mage will use the database data for the main information on the spells they use. Then, on that character’s data, I will create and store the upgrades to their specific spells and those changes will be added onto the normal spell data when used.

How does this system work?
Like with the original plugin, this system will act like a crafting system, just without the actual crafting. You will select up to three catalyst items which will apply various effects. Based on the catalysts used, you will need to pay some gold for the upgrade.

The more powerful the effects, the more gold and the rarer the catalyst item required will be. Some effects will only be possible using crafted catalyst items (effects like adding absorb, changing the hit type , and larger boost values).

At higher levels, catalyst items will start adding multiple effects; some good and some bad as a balance. For example, Amplifier Σ will add 10% more damage to your spell but also increase the MP cost by 2.5%.

Types of Effects
The following the list of effects you can add to spells so far. More may be added as the game development continues.

Damage Up
Defense Down
Shield Penetration (if the enemy has a Ward Shield , this effect will cause more damage to it)
Shield Nullification (bypasses Ward Shields entirely)
Hit% Up
Increase Casts
Add Element Damage Type
Remove Element Type (in case you add an element that negatively impacts damage due to bad synergy)
Magnify Element
Amplify Element
Reflect Element
Absorb Element
Increase Element Resistance
Decrease Element Resistance
Change Targeting
Decrease MP Cost
Decrease TP Cost
Change Hit Type
Increase Casting Speed
Decrease Casting Speed (slower, but will make spells much more powerful at higher levels of the effect)
Add Status Effect
Remove Status Effect
Increase Cooldown Time
Decrease Cooldown Time

Are there any limitations?
Very few. That means you need to be careful of what effects you’re adding. If you add Reflect to an offensive spell, you’re going to be casting reflect on the enemy, for example. Some effects allow you to undo certain upgrades, but that doesn’t apply to everything. For now, you can only do this for element damage types and status effects.

In addition to that, removing an unwanted or accidental effect still adds onto the upgrade counter. For example, say we add on an ice damage element to a fire spell, let’s say Bast Ard. This negatively impacts the damage because there is a negative synergy between the two elements.

Bast Ard is now Bast Ard +1 because we upgraded it. We want to remove the ice element we added, so we use the catalyst item required to do so. Bast Ard goes up one upgrade level to +2.

Why do we care? Because each spell has a max upgrade level. This section is titled “Push it to the limits” for a reason and this is it. Each spell can only be upgraded a certain number of times and as spell strength increases, that number gets lower. This is not a hard and fast rule, but in general the upgrade limit breaks out like this:

Standard Classes
Low power – Mid power spells: 15 upgrades
Mid power – High power spells: 10 upgrades

Compound Classes
Low power spells: 10 upgrades
Mid power spells: 8 upgrades
High power spells: 6 upgrades

Grand Classes
Low power spells: 4 upgrades
Mid power spells: 3 upgrades
High power spells: 2 upgrades

Once you reach the upgrade level that spell is restricted to, you cannot add another upgrade to it.

Unless you do this specific thing.

There will be an exceedingly rare item that can remove an upgrade level from a spell without removing the effect added. It doesn’t mean it makes the upgrade permanent though, you can still remove something you don’t want. It just allows you to have an extra upgrade level.

The catch is that you must use this item in an upgrade before your spell reaches its max upgrade level and as mentioned, this item is rare and hard to find. I don’t know exactly how you will get it yet but I am leaning one of three directions:

1. This item is only obtainable from winning super boss fights. This gives you a bit more incentive to take on the super bosses.

2. It will be the most difficult item to craft and require a massive amount of resources and time to make.

3. Obtainable from very specific quests.

If I go with option 3, there will be at most 5 of these items obtainable in the game.

If I go with option 1, there could be up to 12. If I go with option 2, there will be an unlimited number available, but the limit will then be the time you want to put into making them.

I am leaning towards 1 or 3.


There is, almost, always more than one way to skin a cat

The final topic we’ll talk about in this post is how tools will work. At various points in the game, you may come across obstacles that you can remove using tools. I think we discussed the topic of Obstacles a while back, but if we didn’t then we’re going to cover it now. If we did, then it’s a needed refresher because I can’t remember what blog it was in.

Obstacles are an exploration mechanic in the vein of Legend of Zelda and Pokemon. These are objects that can be removed once you have the proper tool for the job. Interacting with these obstacles will bring up a tool selection menu. From here you can pick the tool you want to use to deal with the stuff blocking your path.

Obstacles will normally take the form of fallen tree logs, rocks, plants, and other things that prevent you from proceeding. Most of the time they will be obvious, they will be blocking a chest or some area of the map you can’t get to any other way. Sometimes, though, they will be vaguer. Not all instances of an object that can be an obstacle will be one.

There will also be some instances where you have more than one tool that can get the job done. In these cases, all of the applicable tools you have access to will be shown in the Tool Selection menu; it is up to you to decide which to use and when. Be aware, though, that some times there may be consequences to the tools you choose to use.

There will be indicators used within the selection menu. Usually these will be used to tell you when using a tool will consume an item or destroy a tool (such as when a shovel wears out), other times the indicator will be used to indicate if a more advanced tool can be used on the spot you are interacting with.

That’s it for this mechanics blog. I think we probably have two or three left until we are done. We have a few related systems to talk about along with the Advanced Weapon Plugin. I hope you are ready for a wall of text; I am not looking forward to typing it.

Game Design

Game Mechanics Part 14

Game Mechanics Part 14

It’s that time once more, more game mechanics ready for delivery. This week we’re discussing item crafting and three magic systems; adding in one more because it will soften the “what the hell?” aspect of the second magic system we will be talking about.


Why make it when you can buy it?
Item crafting is one of those systems that everyone and their aunt throw into their games. Popularized by Minecraft and added in, in half-assed ways a lot of the time, to games. There are some games that use this mechanic well though. Some examples are No Man’s Sky, Space Engineer, and Trinity Trigger.

Out of those three, what you’re going to find in Emilar is going to be closer to Trinity Trigger. In that game, the crafting system is used to give you a way to get things for a much lower cost but requires you to spend the time to get the materials to craft the items.

Items then are set are a higher cost, thereby making crafting, and the time spent to get the materials, worthwhile because money is a bit harder to come by than usual in an RPG.

In Legend of Emilar, this is a focus point for the crafting system. Purchasing items will be more expensive than crafting them, but crafting will take a bit longer due to collecting the needed materials. There will also be a secondary focus that channels No Man’s Sky crafting system more as you get into more powerful items with a chain of crafting needed to make the various components needed for a more complex item.

How does crafting work?
In Emilar, crafting works much the same as in other games with this system; each craftable item has components that make it up. Collect these component materials, pay a bit of money, and Bob’s your uncle you have yourself an item.

Or you can craft them yourself, for free. There are some additional considerations, though. First off, the number of materials needed will be determined by your skill at crafting. Crafting skill is tracked per character and can be improved over time by crafting items or by finding books to train your crafting skill (we’ll talk about this system next week).

So the higher a character’s skill in Crafting, the more efficient they are at making things thus the fewer items needed.

Your crafting skill level is not accounted for when having an NPC craft the items, but each crafting NPC will have a different item and gold cost determined by their own skill at crafting. So, a higher-level crafting NPC may require less items to make something and also have a slightly higher cost.

Another way to reduce the cost of crafting is by finding or crafting the components needed. If you have a component in your inventory, the NPC won’t need to craft it which reduces the cost. This will make more sense in the crafting cost section.

Note that if you do not have all the base materials required for each component item of something you are trying to craft, you won’t be able to craft it. If you have all the base materials needed, you can still craft the item. I will talk about how this works in the Base Material Crafting section.

The Material Map
The material map is a way to visualize what materials are needed to craft an item. The map is built into a leveled structure where each crafted item represents a level of crafting. This crafting level then is broken down into another level which contains a list of items needed to craft that item and so on.

This needs a visual example to be fully understood, I think. So, consider the following material map for a Small Health Potion.

There is a lot here to take in. First, note that there are several items listed here: Glass Vial, Water, Powdered Acacia Berry, and Extract of Helmsleaf.

Of these, all of them except for Water have things listed under them. These are crafting components, or items that are crafted from other items.

Water is a base material; you don’t need to craft it.

Depending on the number of components within a crafting map, the cost for an NPC to craft that item goes up and so the time it takes for you to craft it yourself does as well.

Let’s say you wanted to craft a Small Health Potion. Your character’s crafting level is 1. At level 1, you can craft a level 1 item without any trouble. A crafting level is a reference to how many crafting levels that item has.

The Small Health Potion is a level 2 crafting item; it is crafted from level 1 crafting items.

Extract of Helmsleaf is a level 1 crafting item; it is crafted from base crafting materials.

This means that when you go to craft the Small Health Potion, you may notice that you need additional component items because the potion’s crafting level is higher than your crafting skill level.

So while normally to craft a Small Health Potion you need 1 Glass Vial, 1 unit of Water, 2 Powdered Acacia Berry, and 1 Extract of Helmsleaf; for your crafting level 1 character you’ll need double the amount of water and Powdered Acacia Berry.

Only certain crafting components will be affected by your crafting level and those will be configured per item. The number of items you will need is increased by the original amount required for each additional level over your character’s skill level. So, if an item takes 2 Small Health Potions to craft and is a level 5 crafting item while your character’s crafting skill is level 3, you will need 6 Small Health Potions.

If you are crafting those component potions, well you can see how that adds up quickly. There are workarounds!

The first one is having a character with a higher crafting level do the crafting. Second, upgrade your character’s crafting level. Third, craft up to the crafting level your character is capable of, then take those components to a crafting NPC and have the NPC finish crafting your target item.

Base Material Crafting
A quality-of-life feature being built into this system is the ability to craft an item without having all of the crafting components needed, but where you have all of the base materials required. Let’s do an example using our Small Health Potion.

In your average crafting system, to craft your potion you would need the Glass Vial, the Water, the Powdered Acacia Berry, and the Extract of Helmsleaf. If you don’t have one of these items, you will not be allowed to craft the item.

I find this restriction unacceptable and illogical; I would go as far to say that this restriction is bad game design. As such I am implementing a feature that I call Base Material Crafting.

This feature allows you to craft an item if you have all the base materials required for each component, at each level, of the material map. Looking at our Small Health Potion, the base material list for this item is:
  • Fine Sand x4
  • Borax x1
  • Water x2
  • Acacia Berry x4
  • Helmsleaf x3

If you have all these items in your inventory, you can craft the Small Health Potion. NPC crafters will allow this as well.

Why should you have to craft the berries into the Powdered Acacia Berry and then must craft those with the other stuff into the potion? It’s wasted clicks and sloppy, lazy game design. If you have what you need, you should be able to craft it.

Crafting Costs
When crafting an item yourself, there is no cost to you other than the time it takes to get the materials you need. When you have an NPC craft something for you though, you will have to pay them some gold for their services.

There is no fixed cost for crafting and what you will pay depends on the rate the NPC charges and what you give to the NPC to craft. Let’s look at the Small Health Potion example again; this time I will include the cost information that I left off of the material map above.

Let’s go through this piece by piece. First, at the top, you can see the total cost to you to craft the item. 83G in this case. The number directly after that is the service fee from that NPC; this NPC charges 10% of the total crafting cost. This fee is always rounded up. The 25G after that is 10% cost of the market value of the item you are crafting.

The lore reason for this 10% cost is that if you have all the component materials for an item, you could have the NPC craft it for essentially free, so they add in 10% of the market value of the item you are crafting.

So how do we come to the 83 number in the first place? Via the cost of the base materials used. As you look through the material tree, you will notice that each level is a sub-total of the components or materials used to make that component item. Glass Vial is 45G because it requires 4 Fine Sand and 1 Borax, the costs associated with these base materials is the cost to craft them into the component item.

Remember when I said above that one method of cost reduction when using an NPC to craft an item was to have found or made the crafting components yourself? Here is how that works. So normally, for this NPC you are using, the cost for a Small Health Potion cost is 83G, but what if we already have a Glass Vial?

Since the NPC doesn’t need to craft the vial, there is no cost associated with that component, dropping your cost to craft by 45G down to 67G total instead of 117G. You might now be wondering what the cost would be if we had all the component items.

In this case, it would be 31G; 5G for the Water, 1G for the service fee, and the 25G market value fee. A fair bit better than the 250G market value for a Small Health Potion (this may not be the final cost to buy a SHP in the game, I just used this value as an example).

When we start getting into more complex items with higher crafting levels, you can see how using this method of crafting can be useful to reduce your costs further while allowing you to reduce the grind as much as possible.

To recap, there are three methods for crafting items:

You can craft the items yourself from the base materials all the way up the material tree until you can craft your target item. This way is free, however it can take more time depending on the character you are using to do the crafting, due to their crafting level not being sufficient.

You can have an NPC craft your item from the needed base materials, though this will cost you some gold. The cost is broken down into the NPC’s service fee, the cost to craft the base materials and component materials into the target crafting item, and a fee based on the market value of the target item. The service fee can change depending on the skill of the NPC, but usually a higher crafting level also means that you need fewer base materials or component items.

Or you can combine the two. This method takes more though, but it minimizes your material and component usage, your item grinding time, and your crafting cost with an NPC. You craft up to your highest crafting level and then, if more crafting it needed, go to an NPC to finish crafting your target item. This reduces your crafting costs at the NPC, reduces item waste from your crafting process, and, due to that waste reduction, allows you to spend less time hunting down items.

Crafting Bonuses
This is a sub-feature I am debating adding into the crafting system. This would apply to NPCs and high crafting level characters. It would work like this:

When crafting an item, additional bonuses might be added to it. For example, you craft a sword, and that sword has an additional 10% attack damage bonus because of how skilled your character is at crafting.

Bonuses would be dependent on the item type. A weapon would not give you increased defense, armor would not increase your attack power, etc. I feel that this is needed because there should be further incentive and rewards for getting your crafting level to a high value or from using a highly skilled crafting NPC.

Crafting Skill Exp
As mentioned above, there will be a skill for crafting tied to your character. As you craft things, you will gain experience from them. The amount of experience is dependent on the item’s crafting level. Right now, I am considering using a flat scale, but I do see the merits of having rare items within a crafting level giving more experience points.

For now, though, here is what I have:
Level 1 Items – 50 exp
Level 2 Items – 125 exp
Level 3 Items – 160 exp
Level 4 Items – 200 exp
Level 5 Items – 275 exp
Level 6 Items – 350 exp
Level 7+ Items – 450 exp

Again, an item’s crafting level is related to the number of stages of crafting needed to craft the target item. So a crafting level 7 item has components that are comprised of 7 levels of crafting, meaning their material map is massive.

A way to visualize this is:
Base Materials -> Level 1 Components -> Level 2 Components -> Level 3 Components -> Level 4 Components -> Level 5 Components -> Level 6 Components -> Level 7 Components -> Target Item

The Small Health Potion we have been using as an example is a Crafting Level 2 item. It has Crafting Level 1 components that are used to craft it and those Crafting Level 1 components are crafted from base materials. So the Level 7 item can require a massive amount of items to craft if you don’t have a specific component needed.

Special Items
By far the most complex crafting you will do in Emilar is to create special items. These are items that will require hard to find materials or take a lot of crafting to make them. They won’t be craftable at an NPC and will require you to reach a certain crafting level to make them. This class of items will be used within the item crafting and magic upgrade systems to improve the things you make.

An example would be the Amplifier α. This item can be used as a catalyst when upgrading magic to improve a spell’s attack damage. The Magic Upgrade system is something we will be talking about soon.

Crafting Catalysts
A catalyst is an item that can be used during crafting to impart some kind of effect onto the item being crafted. The types of effects that you can add will depend on the item type, similar to the item bonus system.

Catalysts cannot be bought or made by NPCs. You can find them in chests, get them as quest rewards, or craft them yourself. While most catalysts won’t be too difficult to craft, the materials they require may be hard to find. This is especially true when dealing with powerful effects like increasing exp or high-level bonuses to stats.

To use catalysts in crafting, you will need to be at least level 5 in crafting or use an NPC that is level 3 or higher.


Hitting the magic books
The Legend of Emilar will feature a unique magic learning system. Instead of unlocking spells as your class level’s up, you will need to visit an NPC to be trained on your new spells to unlock them. In addition, there will be primary and secondary magic schools which you will unlock.

The system works like this. As a mage or cleric class, you get to pick the types of magic you excel in. These are your magic schools; schools in the context of the game are elements. So, Fire is a school of magic. Within each school, magic is broken down into trees and each tree contains the spells that you learn.

This structuring of magic simulates older systems from games like Final Fantasy where you have Fire – Fira – Firaga. In Emilar, these spells are grouped within a tree together to signify that they are inter-related.

These trees can also unlock other trees which branch off at certain points.

For example, with in the Ard (Fire) tree you have the following spells:
Estol Ard
Baes Ard
Bast Ard
Sol Ard
Sola Ard
Scran Ard
Tsvar Ard

This is the primaris tree, or base elemental tree, for the Fire School. “Primaris” is a term from the game. There will be other trees unlocked by learning certain spells from this tree. For example, the Fireball tree unlocks when you learn Bast Ard. The Flare tree unlocks with Sola Ard.

To learn spells within a tree, you just need to meet the level requirement and have the proper amount of gold.

Primary and Secondary Schools
Each mage or cleric class will have a set number of primary and secondary schools of magic that they can learn. These increase as you unlock more advanced classes and allow you to organically build out your magic over time.

A Primary School is a magic school that your character excels in. They can learn every spell within the trees of these schools.

A Secondary School is a magic school that your character can learn spells from but cannot master. Therefore, your character cannot learn every spell and some of the level requirements for spells are higher.

This allows you a large degree of freedom in how you want to build your magic abilities. You can have a cleric that knows attack magic or a mage that masters in healing spells, or you can do both. How you build your magic repertoire is entirely up to you.

Carryover between class trees
One of the harder features to figure out was how would your magic selections carry over between classes and trees. I have gone back and forth on this one many times; even decided to remove the feature all together more than once, but I think I have settled on a happy medium between all of the ideas I had for how this would work that does work.

So, this feature works by stating that the spells you know are not tied to your classes. They are tied to your character. With each new higher mage/cleric class unlocked, you gain access to more Primary and Secondary slots, allowing you to add new schools. In this way, as you change your class either upward or back downward, your selected magic does not change.

The reason this has to be tied to your character is that if it was tied to each class, you would lose access to things you had learned while using a higher-level class. A Wizard has more school slots available to it than a Mage, going from a Wizard back down to a Mage would mean losing those extra slots and the stuff you had learned.

By making it tied to your character, you retain everything. It also makes your choices more impactful; you don’t get to build out a mage/cleric class in isolation. Your choices will stick with you for the rest of the game.

If you change to a non-magic using class, your choices are still there, you just won’t be able to use them as your current class is not a magic using class.

Interactions with Compound and Grand Classes
One place this mechanic is going to cause some trouble is dealing with certain Compound classes. I threw Grand classes in the section title, but I can’t think of anything that has the same exposure that Compound classes do; at least for now. It is a possibility though that there will be some kind of cross-interaction at some point.

What am I going on about? Well, mainly Compound classes between a non-magic class and a magic using class. Since you can build your magic anyway you see fit, dealing with what skills and spells are unlocked in the Compound classes will be harder.

Namely, I can’t rely on you knowing any one particular elemental school, so I need to create spells for every school in Compound classes that mix a non-magic and magic class. Let’s look at the Lancer tree for a moment. Lancer Compound classes get magic jump abilities when mixed with a magic using class.

I will need to create jump skills based on every type of magic because I won’t know what you will have picked throughout the game until that point. I am going to have to figure out a way to handle this within the system. So, in the case of a Lancer/Mage you will have to learn some of your skills through the school system as well as have skills that unlock based on your level using the built-in RPG Maker mechanic.
Example time.

Let’s say you are a Legionnaire, a Lancer/Mage Compound Class. You have unlocked the Fire school. You are going to have skills you learn from leveling and skills you learn through the Magic School system:

Skills Learned via Level:
Jump/High Jump – level 1 (you learn these in the Lancer tree, so they are automatically unlocked)

Primaris Jump – Level 10 (this is the first jump ability that can be used with magic; you have to unlock this to learn any magic jump abilities).

Primaris High Jump – Level 25

Primaris Ultra Jump – Level 50

Here you can see three magic jump abilities from the Legionnaire skill tree. These unlock at level 10, 25, and 50. Once you unlock the Primaris Jump, you will be able to learn skills from magic jump trees that are connected to the Primaris skill trees for your Primary schools. Yep, you can only use your Primary schools when mixing with other skills like this.

Here is what the Primaris trees for Fire jump skills might look like:
Bast Ard -> Fiery Dive α -> Fiery Dive β -> Fiery Dive γ
Sola Ard -> Searing Drive α -> Searing Drive β -> Searing Drive γ
Tsvar Ard -> Hell Dive α -> Hell Dive β -> Hell Dive γ

To unlock the Fiery Dive tree, you will have to know Bast Ard and have learned Primaris Jump. This will make the Fiery Dive tree available for you to learn within the Magic Schools mechanic. Same goes for the other jump trees listed above.

This means the unlock requirements for Fiery Dive α would be:
Level 10
Bast Ard
Primaris Jump

You might be wondering; well, how should I manage all these abilities? It sounds like I am going to learn dozens of skills.

We will cover that in the next mechanic, but I also want to talk about how these Primaris Jump skills work as well. We will be talking about this other mechanic later, so I am not going to go into too much detail here.

So, while other jump skills are skills in and of themselves the Primaris jump skills are a classification of jump abilities. The Primaris Jump, for example, is not a jump skill on its own; it must be paired with magic to be used. This means that if you unlock this skill, but don’t have any jump abilities for it unlocked in your magic school trees, you won’t be able to use this skill.

Emilar will have a game mechanic that allows me to combine certain skills and magic together into a sub-menu. So, when you go to pick a fire spell to use, you will see “Ard” in your skill selection window. Selecting this will open a sub window with all the fire magic you have learned.

This way your selection window remains clean, and you are not scrolling through dozens of options looking for the specific one you want. In the same way, the Primaris Jump is just a selection that opens a sub window. Within that window, any magic jump abilities you have learned from any of the Primaris trees in your Primary magic schools will be listed.

So, you will see Fiery Dive and Mirage Dive if you have Fire and Wind as Primary schools and have unlocked those Dive skills. You’ll then select the one you want to use.

This is another one of my quality-of-life features, I can’t tell you how many games I have played where near the end of the game your item or ability lists are so massive that trying to find the right skill or item to use is really hard and in some cases has gotten me killed because enemies can attack you while you are in a menu.


Choose wisely…
Yes, that is a Last Crusade reference. So, what could this one possibly be? An interesting, and probably controversial, mechanic is what it is. I recently played Final Fantasy I for the first time, I did not like it overall; shocking that one of the first RPGs from the 1980’s would have bad game design choices.

One thing I did like, eventually, was one of the ways it handled magic. For those that have not played FF1, in that game you have a limited number of slots to learn magic with. Once you have filled up the slots for one level of magic, you can’t learn any more. This means that your mage characters are specialized, the magic they know matters.

In many games where mages can learn everything, your mages don’t matter as individuals. One mage can be switched for another, and your preference then boils down to if you like their character or not within the story. I want to make it much harder for you to decide which characters you want to use in battle; sorry.

So, on top of all of the other systems that limit what each character can learn skill/magic wise, there will also be a limited number of spells that you can have equipped from your repertoire at any one time. The number of spells will increase as you progress up through the class types and, like your learned magic, the slots you have unlocked are tied to your character and not the classes.

This means that you have choices you will need to make before heading out on a quest. Do you think that you’re over-leveled for the quest and don’t need healing magic? Well, build out your mages with only attack magic. About to fight a boss? Might want to revise your spells.

One thing I have not nailed down yet is whether you will be able to change your spells on the fly or if you will need to go to a specific NPC to do it. I am leaning towards the former just because the limitation makes no sense. If you know something, you should be able to swap it in at any point.

This system makes your magic a tactical choice. You need to determine what spells you think you will need based on what you know about the area you are in. If you have enemies that are weak to wind, for example, grabbing some Pho spells would probably be a good idea.

These limitations do not apply to non-magic based skills; so things like Primaris Jumps and their related sub-skills are always available, even if you do not add the required magic spell to your character’s magic load out.

Speaking of load outs, segway.


Options, we need options!
So, the first problem I anticipated people being frustrated over with the above system was going to be something along the lines of “But selecting all of my magic takes so long” once they got to a certain point in the game and had lots of stuff unlocked.

I also have faced similar instances myself in games I otherwise loved that got me a bit mad. It seems like this should be a simple leap of logic right? Well, the player can select things they use, we should give them a way to set up a preset of those things to make it quicker.

However, this leap of logic seems to be a leap too far for so many game developers it’s, frankly, embarrassing. The only game I have seen do this recently was Monster Hunter World. What am I talking about?

Load outs!

In Legend of Emilar, as a magic using class, you will gain access to an item that allows you to set up magic load outs. I am still working on how this mechanic/item is going to be introduced, if it will be something you unlock based on a quest, if you just have it, or what have you.

Basically, it works like this; at the start you get access to three load outs. The load outs allow you to select the magic you want to equip to your character. The number of spells you can select will change depending on how much magic you can equip to your character. So, as you gain more slots, you will unlock more slots in your load outs.

From the magic selection menu, you can choose to either manually select magic to swap out or you can choose to use a load out to change all your magic at once.

A massive quality-of-life upgrade.

As you progress through the game, you will be able to unlock more load out slots using Magicrystals to upgrade this item. This is one of the reasons I am not sure how I want to implement this mechanic story-wise yet, because if it is an item then each character needs one and since you can upgrade it, it would need to be tracked per character. If it is just a mechanic you always have access to, I could somehow implement it outside of the lore of the game so that it applies to all characters at once.

I like the later idea better because it is just easier for everyone. The only downside is that it wouldn’t be based within the lore, which is something I am trying to avoid; I want everything to have a reason for being and have a reasoning for how it functions grounded within the lore of the game. There may be a happy medium where skill loadouts are both not item related but can be tied to each character and be explained within the lore.

I will keep working on that.

So, there is this week done. This was a long one to write to be honest. Longer than I thought it would be. See everyone next week!

Game Design

Game Mechanics Part 13

Game Mechanics Part 13

Yo! Another week or so has passed, time for another edition of the game mechanics blog series.

Tonight we will be talking about boss battles, quests, and how story branches will be handled. Let's get into it.


Boring Bosses? Not on my watch
Boss battles are an integral part of any RPG. What a boss battle is has evolved greatly since the days of Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy I. These days many games treat boss fights as spectical set peices.

Which is cool and all, but kind of hard to do with RPG Maker. So I am opting for the next best thing; interesting boss fights.

Every boss fight in Legend of Emilar will have at least two phases. Most will have more; mainly the first three or so will be only two to get you introduced to how the battles will work.

Normally some kind of battle event will happen at each phase shift and not all phase shifts will be large scale. In most cases, these are just a means to let you know which third of the battle you are in so you can attempt to predict when the difficulty will ramp up. That's also a purpose shared by the HP gauge system.

Other times, these phase shifts have practical implications for your strategy. A hypothetical example might be that an enemy that had a weakness to fire nullifies that weakness once you reach a certain point in the fight. There might be an event scene during the battle when this occurs (usually there probably will be).

As I have mentioned a number of times, there will be three boss types. Regular bosses, super bosses, and optional bosses.

Normal Bosses
Regular bosses are your standard, run of the mill boss that you will run into every so often throughout the story.

Optional Bosses
Optional bosses will be tied to certain side quests and non-quest/story related encounters. Generally optional bosses will be harder than normal bosses, but not insurmountable without preparation.

Super Bosses
Super bosses are end-game content save for a few you can run into earlier on. Super bosses are intended to be extreme challenges on any difficulty that will require you to understand the battle mechanics of your character's classes, be able to utilize advantageous status effects, have counters to common negative status effects, and to take advantage of every weakness that the boss has.

These boss fights will not often be gimmicky fights where they are immune to all things under the sun except this one obscure skill. Most will have certain immunities, but there will be a multitude of ways to beat them. Obviously there will always be a certain golden strat, maybe a few, that allows you to taken them down quickly or with less preparation than others.

Most super bosses will have high stat values and millions of HP. Grand classes will also most be a necessity against these due to their unique abilities and their damage output. A couple super bosses will have sub-1m HP which you can run into and fight around mid-game. Those specific bosses will be designed to be beatable with Compound classes.

Each super boss will have at least 8 to 10 abilities which will include charge abilities that will do major damage if not interrupted.

Ideally it should take between 15 and 30 minutes to take down a super boss if you are not overpowering them. Using the specific tactics to defeat them should also cut down the time by 25 to 50% depending on what the strat entails. For example, enhancing an elemental weakness will make the fight end sooner than exploiting a weakness to Slow or Stop.

Rewards from super bosses will include the usual gold and exp. You will also get some unique items such as stat/level increasing items, rare materials for the crafting system, unique equipment, and more. Defeating some super bosses will also lead to new lore discovery and can unlock new side quests.

On top of all of that, each super boss will unlock an achievement upon defeat.

In most cases you will be required to hunt down super bosses, though in some cases it is possible to stumble upon them by doing certain actions. You will find a bit of seed information to start out. This will be something like a mention of a powerful creature, maybe some kind of myth or legend, or historical reports of some sort.

This will add an entry into your Codex. As you find more information about a target, it will be added to the codex entry. At a certain point, you will gather enough information that you will be able to start deducing the location that the creature had/has been spotted in. This might be a lengthy process or you might find something that points you to a location quickly; it depends on the super boss, what information you find, and what you know about the game world.

This is where the hunt starts. Once you track down the creature you will usually be given a choice to attack it or not so that, if you don't feel ready, you are not immediately thrust into the battle. Sometimes you won't have a choice, though, so be sure to be ready for such situations.

You can run from any super boss fight and return later to fight it. If you are beaten you won't get a gamer over. Instead you will exit the battle and then a retreat event will occur, sending you to the nearest town.


The meat and bones
Quests are very important to RPGs, a lot of the time these are the means by which the player learns a deeper level of understanding about the game world. They can also be responsible for the downfall of a game if not done correctly. Next to actually writing the story for the game, I would say quests are the next hardest thing to do well because placing the wrong quests at the wrong time will destroy the pacing of the game.

In the Legend of Emilar, I will be taking a holistic approach to quests, while also having some of the more divisive traditional types as well. What are these divisive types of quests? Stuff like fetch quests, monster hunting quests, and all of the other typical things you would associated with padding or MMOs.

Fact of the matter is that I hate MMO quest structure. I find it dull and unimaginative. The problem is that those types of quests are quite easy to do and in many games the side quests are treated as throw away tasks only there to give you more exp and gold.

We're going to have those, though usually they won't be tied to anything and you won't be required to do them.

Quest Types
There will be five types of quests in Legend of Emilar:

Main Line Quests - These are quests directly related to the plot of the game. Doing these quests will advance the game forward. In most cases this won't have any affect on accessibility of other types of quests, but in some cases areas may become inaccessible for a time. In those situations you will be told ahead of time when you are entering a part of the game where your ability to travel may be limited for an extended period.

Requests - These are the general side quests. They will range from kill, escort, and fetch quests all the way up to mini-story lines and lore related quests that aren't usually part of the main story.

Hunts - A hunt quest is at its heart a bounty quest. You are given a target and a general location
of where that target was last seen. In many cases your targets will be in that area, in some you may have to track them down. These will usually be harder fights as many of the monsters you will face will be variants that are causing problems, though you may find yourself hunting down outlaws as well.

Character - A character quest is a quest related to the one of your party members or a potential recruit. Each party member will have a series of quests that, once completed, will allow them to put their full effort behind your mission and unlock their full potential. Some recruitable characters may request that you assist them before they join you as well.

Expeditions - Expeditions are a unique type of quest where you will be contracted with an NPC to investigate what amounts to a dungeon. These could be anything from lost ruins to underground cave systems. These are a good way to gain some levels mid-game and give you access to areas of the world needed for some super bosses.

Quest Chains
A quest chain is a series of quests that are related to each other and are unlock by completing them in sequence. You will be able to see if a quest is part of a chain or unlocks a chain from the Request menu.

Most of the time quest chains will be built from side quests, though there may be times where a main line quest unlocks or is part of a sub-chain, or a side quest chain started from a main line quest.

For example, say you finish a quest that has a world changing event. As a result of the changes you caused, a side quest chain is made available dealing with these changes. This would be a sub-chain.

Generally you will only see these for main line quests that have a large impact where the after effects are not going to be dealt with within a main line quest chain. There will be some outcomes with main line quests that will essentially pause the main plot of the game until they have run their course.

These types of events will generally have large impacts to the game world.

While I don't like having to do it, there will be some instances where quests that will give you certain key items will be included in quest chains with the more "padding" styled quests though I will attempt to minimize these.

There will also be several Ocarina of Time styled trading quest chains that will give you access to some useful items, so be on the look out for the tell-tale signs that you've stumbled onto those.

Hidden Quests
Not all quests will be handed to you on a silver platter. In many cases, you will find a few NPCs per town that, throughout different parts of the game, will have tasks for you to complete that won't be available through the Request system. These quests won't generally differ from requests that much, but some will.

Then there will be the other type of hidden quests, ones that you will stumble upon while playing through the game and exploring the world. At first you probably won't think that you have found a quest location, or maybe you will. Early on in the game, during the prologue, you can find one of these quests. The idea behind including one early on is to expose you to this game mechanic early on so you can recognize them when other events happen.

For these types of quests, you'll start out with something added to the codex. As you play through the game you will be able to learn more information about the quest until you have enough to try and complete it. Generally these will be lore-based puzzle quests and the answer to the puzzles will be found through exploring the lore. In many instances you will also need to find certain items, a lot of them you'll only be able to find by exploring.

These are designed to feel similar to Super Boss hunts; you won't immediately know what you need to do or won't be able to do them because you will lack the required information/items to complete these quests; though I wan to try and limit the instances where if you know what to do, you are prevent from doing so because of magic character knowledge.

Let me explain that term. Magic character knowledge is what I call it when you, the player, know something, but the characters do not. As a result of the characters not knowing, you are prevented from carrying out an action until they do know. I find this sloppy when it comes to puzzles and certain quest types.

For the main story; fine, sometimes you need plot McGuffins, but for side content no; if I know the combo to a safe, I should be able to open it without finding the combo first.

In most cases, hidden quests will be a mid to long-term effort and will require some level of exploration of the world to complete unless you already know how to deal with the puzzles, though if items are required then you will need to find those first.


All aboard the MQL Express!
Okay, that joke physically hurt me; I hate terms like "Main Quest Line" and "Main Story
Quest". It implies that these are the important quests and that the other quests are not worth your time. In an MMO, maybe, but in a single player game you should endeavor to build your quests better.

That said you still have to have a way to tell the player that doing this specific quest will progress the story; so I shall continue my emotional damage and be using Main Quest Line to describe these types of quests.

The MQL progresses the story; fairly obvious statement. How they do this though, is a bit more interesting. As spoiler free as possible, throughout the first 10 to 14 hours of the game you will be on a linear quest progression. Each new segment of story leads directly to the next. Once you reach Chapter 3, though, you are given your choice of how you want to proceed.

Think of it kind of like a Mega Man game, you get to pick the order of how you take on the Mavericks.
Similarly, in Emilar you will have the ability to choose how to proceed with the story starting in Chapter 3. Certain paths may be harder than others, maybe you won't have a particular set of abilities that would make enemies in an area easier to kill due to an elemental weakness, for example.

The story will be chunked out similar to Mass Effect 2/3. You will have a series of destinations to choose from, then some mid-game events will happen that will pause the main quest while they are dealt with. These are not events caused by you, but story related events that are designed to break up the two halves of the game and give you a break from total, unfettered freedom and bring you back into linear story-telling land.

Then, in the second half, you again will have free reign of what you will be doing until all of your objectives are completed and the end-game is upon you.

All throughout this process, you can trigger cascade events that will thrust you into events that will prevent you from continuing with the main story. These events may even trigger a branch to occur.

Story Branches
A story branch is when an event shifts you onto a new path within the progression of the story.
Most of the time, these are minor deviations which will eventually feed you back into the main quest path. Other times, however, these may represent adverse shifts that take you down a series of cascading events that change how the story progresses and ultimately will end.

These types of branches can be triggered by both actions during the main quest line and also by some side quests, those those will be very limited.

Most of the time, causing the story to branch off will, by necessity, prevent other branches from occurring if they happen around a similar time frame in the story. There will be a few cases, though, where a story branch can branch off of the main quest line or also another story branch, causing a series of compounding world events.

These types of complex interactions have the greatest chance to permanently alter the story progression.

In all I have planned out 13 story branches. 5 of them are minor branches that represent a small portion of time and only cause minor changes before you are thrust back onto the main quest line.
another 5 a more mid-length versions of these minor branches that will take longer to work through, but ultimately won't change much with the story; these ones though, will change more about the game's world.

Finally there will be three branches that will cause major changes to the story or unlock an entirely unique story progression that will lead you to a unique ending to the game or change the main quest line story drastically. These three will be requirement-heavy to unlock and require you to pay attention to story beats, information discovered during earlier related quests, and things that those quests unlock in order to find them.

Another week done, another set of mechanics explained. Next week we're going to be talking about item crafting, the magic system, and magic loadouts.

Game Design

Game Mechanics Part 12

Game Mechanics Part 12

Welcome to our twelfth blog on game mechanics! Today we're going to be getting into some minutiae and talk about several small RPG Maker mechanics that are almost always done wrong, we'll discuss damage formulas and how I am utilizing them, and we're going to be discussing minigame mechanics.

so, let's jump in.


Sweating all of the small stuff

If you have been around RPG Maker long enough, you know that there are some game systems that commonly suck among RPG Maker games. This isn't because the game developers did these systems wrong; they are bad because RPG Maker itself does them horrible and fixing them is sometimes a pain in the ass.

These are systems like escaping from battle, the attack hit system, enemy balance, and status effect interaction.

In the Legend of Emilar, I will be attempting to address all of these annoyances, though getting them to work the way they should is hard in RPG Maker because the coding behind these systems is not sophisticated enough.

While I could try to update the code, I think, for the time being, it isn't worth the amount of effort it would take so I will be trying to fix these issues through plugins, adjustments to formulas through some YanFly plugins, and other small-scale changes. A plugin may be made/used on a case by case basis as needed.

Can't I just escape?!

Escaping from battle in an RPG Maker game can be an exercise in futility. Unless the developer has taken some time to work out a decent formula, escaping is almost an impossibility.

In Emilar there are going to be some modifications to this system. First an foremost, escaping will generally be an almost guaranteed success, but there will be some situational impacts as well.

First, if you are facing off against more enemies than you have party members, that will impact your escape success. If you are facing off against twice your party size in enemies, it will impact your chances writ large. If you are facing off against enemies that have a higher combined agility rating than your party, this will impact your escape success.

If you are fighting two or three enemies and these enemies are slower than your party, escaping should be quite easy.

Each of these conditions is not exclusive. If you are facing off a small group of enemies, but those enemies are faster than your party; your chance of escape is going to be a bit lower.

I don't have any hard values, but here is how I envision this breaking down:

More enemies than party members

Each extra enemy (if you have two party members and they have 3, that is 1 extra) reduces your chance of escape by 1%. If there are twice the number of enemies compared to battle party members, the amount is increased from 1% to 5% for each enemy.

If they out number you greater than 2 to 1, even by 1 enemy; the amount is increased from 5% to 8%.

If you match their numbers or out number them, no change is made to the base success chance.

Enemy team agility

If the enemy team is as fast as or slower your team; no penalties or bonuses are added.

If the enemy team is slightly faster (up to 25%?), a small penalty of 2% will be applied to your escape chance for each enemy in the enemy team. This per-enemy penalty is designed to be very disruptive if fighting larger enemy groups.

If the enemy team is moderately faster than your party (up to 75%?), a penalty of 8% will be applied, not on a per-enemy basis.

If the enemy team is double or higher your party speed, a penalty of 12% will be applied, not on a per-enemy basis.

Enemy levels

Enemy levels will factor into this calculation as well though the impact will be less substantial. However; in a close contest, it could be the deciding factor if you are able to escape or not.

If the combined average enemy level is lower or around the same as your party's, no penalty will be applied.

If the combined average enemy level is somewhat higher than your party's (within 2-3 levels), a penalty of 5% will be applied.

If the combined average enemy level is higher than your party's (over 3), a penalty of 8% will be applied.

Enemy type

Enemy type will also factor in here too. Most normal bosses will prevent your escape. Optional and super bosses should generally present your with no issues when escaping unless that specific enemy has abilities or traits that hinder you from doing so.

Normal enemies will get a base 0.5% chance of preventing your escape for each enemy in the team.

Variant enemies will get a base 1% chance of preventing your escape for each enemy in the team, even if the other enemies are not also variants. So be on the look out for variant enemy teams that have multiple enemies.

so what does this all mean? Let's whip up some examples.

Example 1
Let's say you are fighting 5 enemies with three party members. Three of the enemies have low agility, one has normal agility, and the last has an about average agility leaving your party agility score at 50 and the enemy's at 64. Let's also say that the average enemy level is 4 levels higher than your party's. All of them are normal enemies.

Following the rules set out above, your chance of escape would be reduced from ~80% to ~57.5%. -2.5% for the enemy type penalty. -8% for the enemy level penalty, -10% for the enemy agility penalty, and -2% for the enemy team size penalty. That is a total penalty of -22.5%.

While you may be able to escape, it might take you a try or two under those circumstances.

Example 2
For this example, let's say your are fighting a single enemy with two party members. It has an average agility, but it is 10 levels higher than your party's average. This enemy is also a variant.

Considering the above, here would be your penalties:
-1% for enemy type
-8% for enemy average level

so your final escape chance would be ~71%. So pretty decent chance of an escape on the first attempt. But, let's hold on a moment and make this a bit more interesting.

Let's say that at the start of the fight you are confident that you can beat the enemy so you go in pretty hard. Then about halfway through the fight, the enemy uses an ability that spawns in four minions. Now you aren't so sure you can win; you have used up a good deal of your healing items in fights up to this point and are running low on MP. While the minions are average in terms of their agility, the extra values pushes the enemy team ahead of yours (45 to 105).

So you decide to try to run, however the new enemies have shifted your chances, dramatically. Here would be your new penalties:

-5% for enemy type
-21% for the number of enemies compared to your party (almost 3 to 1; 8%/enemy w/ 3 extra enemies)
-12% for enemy agility (over double)
-5% for the average enemy level (because the minions are lower level, the average level difference is now 3)

Total penalty: -43%
Escape chance: 37%

So now your chances for escape are much lower than before and you might find yourself trapped for a few turns; given the number of enemies and your party's state, that is all it might take for your party to be taken out.

It may seem silly to put this much thought into such a small and insignificant system, but it won't feel so insignificant when you are faced with the situation posited in example 2 and in that situation, if the escape system is using the normal cracked RPG Maker system, you're going to be very frustrated while trying to escape.

In the instances where you need to escape, but can't or have a hard time doing so, an item will also be available to force you out of battle. It will not be cheap and finding shops that have them will be an uncommon occurrence. You may also find them in chests once in a while.

Why do I keep missing?!

Another common issue with RPG Maker is that the hit rate system makes no sense. It will have you missing attacks 15% of the time when you are not blinded, the enemy has no buffs, or anything like that.

In Emilar the ideal working of this system will be that, barring a higher agility enemy or some other considerations, you will always have a 100% hit rate when no status effects are in play.

Enemy agility will play a small factor in your hit success chance. It should be minimal though and require the enemy to have a substantially higher agility to dodge your attacks on a regular basis.

If you are impacted by a status effect, you will see some of the more significant hits to hit success rates. Blind will drop your hit success by 60%. You will get the occasional hit, but more of your attacks should miss.

If you are hit with Slow, your agility is lowered so that might impact your hit chance. The status itself will also have a minor hit rate penalty of 10%.

There may be other status effects that will impact your hit success rate as well. In addition to that, your magic hit chance can also be impacted. Blind will do so and there will be some specific status effects that will lower this stat as well.

In addition to status effects, battle conditions can play a role too. While I have not nailed down all of the details of the system yet, there will be a battle "weather" system. If you are fighting in light fog, for example, your hit chance goes down. There will be some other aspects to this system we will discuss once I am ready to talk about it and know it is feasible to do.

0 damage?! Fuuuuuu!

If you have played a lot of RPG Maker games, you have probably seen the incredibly annoying "0 damage" message a number of times. What causes this is when your enemy's stats are high enough to nullify your attack damage.

In most cases, this isn't a problem for shorter games where the stat increases per level and gear upgrades are substantial. In longer games, like this one, it is a huge freaking problem. I have a two-fold approach to this one. One of them we're talking about in the damage formula section.

The other one is a scaling plugin from Yanfly. How it works is that it takes your attack power and the enemy's defensive power and then scales them against each other to try and prevent there being no damage calculated. While this plugin is a god send, it is also not quite enough on its own to be utilizable, at least to my liking. The enemy levels plugin also screws around a little bit with this too.

Why didn't Wet remove Burn?!

The last of these smaller systems we're going to talk about are status effect interactions. A lot of the time, this is something that game developers might overlook. If I have a status effect that seems like it should be exclusive to another one, and then I have that other one applied it should remove the original status.

To that end, I am putting some pretty hefty consideration into all of the status effects and the interactions each would have. For example, if you have both types of poison status effect applied, the damage they will do to you each action is increased.

If you are afflicted by Burn and are hit with a fire spell, that fire spell is going to do more damage.

If you are bleeding and then are poisoned, the damage that poison does and the number of turns applied will be reduced.

If you are afflicted with Wet, ice and lightning attacks will do more damage to you.

These are few of the examples.


Damage, where does it come from?

The humble damage formula. The source of much jubilation and much anguish. It is also something that is hard to get right and easy to mess up.

If you have never dabbled in RPG Maker before, the way all attacks do damage is via a damage formula on the skill. Every type of attack in RPG Maker is a skill, even normal attacks. Items also have a damage formula.

In a lot of cases, damage formulas are not spicy; they are just basic calculations that go something like this:

a.atk - b.def / 2

Not even joking. I have seen that in some form or another in many RPG Maker games and that, in fact, is very similar to the default damage formulas that are used on the example skills.

These formulas can be so much more though, you have a lot of tools to be creative. For example, you can use checks against status effects, game variables, switches, and a number of other Javascript functions to make things much more interesting.

I would suggest, though, to enterprising RPG Maker game devs to use YanFly's skill and status plugins so you can utilize Lunatic mode to do your complex stuff in the note tag boxes instead of in the damage formula as you only get one line and adding in complex logic is hard to maintain in there.

Anyway, in Emilar damage formulas are very spicy. For example, there are a number of level-based formulas for skills. What does "level-based" mean? It means that your class level is taken into account in the formula somewhere. This is done to make sure that weaker skills retain their usefulness as you progress through the game.

Here is an example, the humble Stab weapon skill:

Math.floor((2 * a.level) + (a.atk + (a.atk * 0.50)) - (b.def + (b.def * 0.35)))

So, what the hell is all of this you may be asking. Let's break it down.

Math.floor((2 * a.level) + (a.atk + (a.atk * 0.50)) - (b.def + (b.def * 0.35)))

This is a Javascript Math function. What it does is rounds down to the nearest whole number based on what value you give it. So if you give it 78.98, it will give you 78 back.

Yes, this means that all damage in Emilar is rounded down.

Math.floor((2 * a.level) + (a.atk + (a.atk * 0.50)) - (b.def + (b.def * 0.35)))

This part here is where the level-based nature comes into play. The first part of this section is the base damage. All attacks will have a base damage that is guaranteed to hit. This is to stop the 0 damage attacks from happening and to give the Armor Scaling plugin we talked about earlier a bit more to work with.

The base damage is then multiplied by your level, so the higher your level the more guaranteed damage Stab is going to do.

Math.floor((2 * a.level) + (a.atk + (a.atk * 0.50)) - (b.def + (b.def * 0.35)))

Next up is your damage calculation. Most, if not all, attacks in Emilar will consider your total attack power and then add some percentage of it into your damage. In this case, your attack damage is your total attack power plus another half of your attack power.

Math.floor((2 * a.level) + (a.atk + (a.atk * 0.50)) - (b.def + (b.def * 0.35)))

This section calculates the enemy's defensive power. Similar to your attack damage, the enemy's entire defense power is taken and then another percentage of it is added.

Attack and defense are switched to their magic equivalents for spells, though some spells use both physical and magical stat attributes.

So, let's get an example using the formula above going. Let's say you're level 82 and have 177 attack power. Let's say the enemy's defense is 190. How much damage would you do? Let's find out.

Math.floor((2 * 82) + (177 + (177 * 0.50)) - (190 + (190 * 0.35)))
Math.floor((164) + (177 + (88.5)) - (190 + (66.5)))
Math.floor(164 + (265.5) - (256.5))

So you would end up doing 173 damage before the damage variance and any status effects are applied.

Here is another interesting one:

b.isStateAffected(90) ? Math.floor(b.hp * 0.6) : Math.floor(b.hp * 0.3)

This formula is from a "Gravity" like skill. Gravity, also known as Demi, is a common RPG spell that cuts your health down by a percentage. In this case, though, we have a status effect check. It is using what is called a ternary which is basically just a true/false statement written on one line. If the condition is true, the first outcome is used, if not then the second is used. In this case, the condition is "are you afflicted with status effect 90?".

If you are afflicted with that specific status, your health damage goes from 30% of your current HP to 60% rounded down. In this instance you can see why I am rounding damage down as opposed to up or to the nearest whole. If we did either of those, this type of spell could kill you.

By always rounding down, these types of spells cannot kill you because at some point you'll be taking less than 1 damage which will always be rounded down to 0. That said, scaling may prevent the "don't kill" aspect of this formula set up; I haven't tested the two together yet.


World Systems, fancy name for minigame

In Emilar there will be a number of side-systems that allow you to do stuff that has no real impact on the story, but can help you with side quests, crafting, and other activities. These are called World Systems, but really they are just minigames.

Farming, mining, fishing, collecting, and digging are the planned minigames.
Each minigame requires a specific type of key item to do and there may be certain stages to the game that require more advanced tools.

For example, a standard pickaxe can be used for mining general resources from rocks and stones, but in order to mine Magi-crystals, you need a specific tool.
This will be similar for all of the minigames.

For the most part, fishing and farming are just things to waste some time one.
There may be a few side quests that require you to use these systems. For example, you may need to have a certain level in farming to instruct someone how to cultivate food to help them sustain their village or you may need to find or grow a certain plant for someone.

The fishing minigame will be more of a minigame than an additional system.
Each fish category and size will impact the amount of gold you can sell them for. Some of the more unique fish types may give you buffs when eaten in battle.
Certain quests might require you to catch certain fish, participate in fishing tournaments, etc.

Mining is one of the more utilizable minigames. Crafting is going to be heavily incentivized. The total cost to buy an item vs. crafting that item will be about 3 to 4 times. So while a potion might cost you 150 gold, you can craft it for 25 gold plus the materials needed. This price scale gets larger the more valuable and complex an item is. A Mythril Shield, for example, might cost you 2500 gold, but you can craft it for 275 plus the materials.

Mining is also the most common way to get Magi-Crystals for the secret finder. You might find them occasionally in chests or as rewards in battle, but not in enough quantity to properly utilize the secret detector.

Collecting is kind of a catch all phrase for harvesting (kind of related to farming as well). There will be certain plants and other objects that you can collect materials from over time. Each type of object has its own tool. For example, to harvest leaves for potion crafting you need clippers. To collect wood for making hafts for swords, you need an axe.

Digging is the final minigame and is what it sounds like. Grab a shovel and start digging. I am still working out how digging should work, if there should be a specific type of tile that indicates "HEY, you can dig here!" or if it will be a system where you can dig anywhere and there would be a random chance of finding something.

I am leaning toward the former because that is easier to control balance-wise and I don't need to create some kind of crazy plugin to make that happen. It also allows for me to specifically tell you that something can be found in a location rather than you having to Metroid the game in a second way.

You can find lots of things by digging; gold, items, equipment, maybe even hidden areas (?!).

We will talk more about the crafting system at some point, but you kind of get an idea of the level of detail it will have if you'll be crafting hafts.

Well, that is it for this week. Catch you next week for part 13! Questions and comments below.

Game Design

Game Mechanics Part 11

Game Mechanics Part 11

Welcome back for part 11 of this game mechanics blog series. Today we're going to be discussing equipment types and the equipment system, the magic naming convention I mentioned in part 10, and go over how the Steal and Snatch mechanics will work.


1 slot, 2 slot, 5 slot, 6 slot
The Legend of Emilar will feature a custom equipment system powered by YanFly's Equipment Core plugin. Similar to the way equipment is handled in ARPGs like Diablo and Torchlight, you will find that you will be able to fully equip your characters with gear.

Available equipment slots will include two weapon slots, one of which can also be used for a shield, a headgear slot, body slot, leggings slot, and a boot slot.
In addition there will be four ring slots, five accessories slots (1 pendant, 2 earring, and two armlet slots).

Most of these are self-explanatory, but let's talk specifically about the accessory slots and accessories in general before going over all of the equipment types.

You probably noted above that there are what amounts to 9 accessories slots. The game will allow a massive amount of customization of your character through the use of accessories and each type of accessory has a specific purpose or a set of them.

Pendants, for example, will generally deal with status effect related options. These range from reducing tiered status damage, to nullification of a status effect, to auto-abilities that are put into effect at the start of battle.

Rings have two main focuses: magic stat buffs or elemental effects. You may find rings that increase your MP, enhance your magic attack/defense, or that might give you elemental resistance buffs and even some that will allow you to absorb elements and amplify elemental damage.

Armlets will be focused on the physical side of things by granting attack and defense buffs. Some may even give you access to new skills while they are worn.

Earrings will be exclusively used for increasing max MP, reducing MP costs, and elemental resistance buffs.

There will be a number of armor types. These include Light Armor, Medium Armor, Heavy Armor, Magic Armor, Robes, Boots, Shoes, Greaves, Leggings, and other types.

I won't break down the type of armor by class as we kind of already did that in a previous blog, but I will explain some of these groups.

The different weight-class armors are body armor for non-mages. As you work your way up these class trees, you will gain access to heavier types of armor, usually. Some class trees, like the Thief tree, can only use Light Armor and then Medium at Tier 2.

Magic Armor is a special category of armor that is planned for use with specific Compound classes and the Grand classes. These pieces of armor are incredibly rare and usually very powerful. That also means getting them is generally going to be hard.

There will be a number of weapon types in the game including the following: one-handed swords, two-handed swords, daggers, scythes, maces, rods, staves, short bows, long bows, crossbows, tomes, gloves, lances, guns, and claws.

Each weapon type is used by at least one class and each type of weapon has special traits that affect the stats for that weapon.

One-handed swords are your bread and butter sword type. They have all-around good stats, but don't excel at anything in particular. They can be dual-wielded with other one-handed swords or any other equipment that only requires one hand such as a shield or dagger.

Two-handed swords take up both weapon slots. While they have greater attack power, they also are heavy and so they reduce your agility slightly. Some two-handed swords will have armor piercing traits.

Daggers are small, light-weight weapons. These can easily be dual-wielded and while they feature low damage, they increase your agility.

Scythes are one of the heaviest weapons in the game. They feature a fairly decent penalty to your agility, but feature high damage and more armor penetration than two-handed swords. These also take up both weapon slots.

Maces are a stable of the Cleric tree. They offer a solid, weighty weapon with good damage for a small reduction in agility.

Rods are primarily for magic casters. They feature both physical and magic attack damage buffs, though the physical side is lower. There are some rods that are full staff and take up both weapon slots. These ones feature greater magic damage and may have unique traits.

Staves are pretty much the same as rods, though they have equal parts magic and physical attack buffs. As a trade off, staves generally reduce your agility slightly.

Short bows take up both weapon slots and feature slightly higher agility and average physical damage buffs. These bows cannot fire more than once.

Long bows are just better versions of the short bow, although some of them can fire multiple shots.

Crossbows are the high damage bow-class ranged weapon. They do high damage and have good armor penetration. They do have a modest impact to your agility though.

Tomes are the high-powered magic caster items. They take up both of the weapon slots and feature higher magic damage, but cannot be used to attack physically. Some tomes also have extra magic buff traits in exchanged for increased MP consumption.

Gloves are the main pugilist weapon and can be dual-wielded. Gloves will increase your agility and feature good physical damage, but will leave you open to taking more damage.

Claws are pretty much the same as gloves, but they do more damage. Most claws also feature bleeding abilities.

Lances are the weapon of the Dragoon. Jump abilities can only be used when a lance is equipped and most lances require both weapon slots, though some rare ones can be dual-wielded.

Guns are the strongest ranged weapon, but lower your agility and require ammo that can be hard to find at times. Most guns feature some level of armor penetration, but some of the stronger and more specialized ones can be quite nasty.


Cracking the magic name code
In Emilar, most magic will be named based on a convention system that replaces the name of the element with something more unique and also contains a level naming system inspired by Dark Ages/Final Fantasy.

Each element has a lore-based name and those are as follows:
Fire - Ard
Wind - Pho
Earth - Rhys
Water - Waise
Light - Tial
Shadow - Jor`Bal
Ice - Cyl
Thunder - Zal

Non-Elemental doesn't have a name in this system. Each of these element names is paired up with the level of the spell. There are currently 6 level designations and more will likely be added over time:

Level 0 (Novice magic) - Estol
Level 1 - Baes
Level 2 - Bast
Level 3 - Sol
Level 4 - Sola
Level 5 - Scran
Level 6 - Tsvar

So if you see something casting Sola Ard, you're about to be hit by a level 4 fire spell. Each level gives a damage buff to the spell:

Level 0: none
Level 1-2: +0 base damage and +15% ~ 25% Magic Attack
Level 3-4: +15 base damage and +25% ~ 50% Magic Attack
Level 5: +24 base damage and +50% ~ 75% Magic Attack
Level 6: +38 base damage and +75% ~ 120% Magic Attack

The base damage buff is added to the elemental base damage and then added to the base damage of the skill or spell. The Magic Attack is an additional calculation added to the damage formula for that spell level.


Steal from the rich
Emilar will feature two stealing systems. The first is a traditional steal system where you have a chance of stealing a random stealable item. The second is the Snatch system, if you have played Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass you may have seen this in action.

Both systems are implemented through YanFly plugins. Each enemy will have at least two items that can be stolen. The type of item depends the class of enemy. Stealing from a bat isn't likely to bag you a weapon, for example.

There will be gear, class traits, and status effects to help improve your chances of stealing stuff.

Snatch is a bit different. The Snatch system shows you a list of the items you can steal and the chance to steal them. This allows you to do pin-point stealing so if you are grinding for certain items, it becomes a lot less RNG-based and you don't have to worry about grabbing something you don't need.

Another additional feature Emilar will be using in certain battles will be the steal debuff system. This is a system where stealing certain gear from an enemy debuffs them.

As an example, say the boss is wearing a piece of armor that you can steal/snatch. If you manage to grab it, the boss will lose the benefits that armor provided it and be weakened.

Right now I am only planning on using this on Humanoid variants, bosses, and super bosses. I might expand it to other enemy types though.

Well that is all I have for this week. Comments/Questions below, as usual. I will see you next week for part 12.

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