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Purpose:
This is an RPG for those who want high levels of customization and difficulty. Be warned that the challenge level of this game is much higher than just about any commercial RPG.

Features:
-About 25 hours of gameplay
-The Soul System, kill enemies and steal their soul, equip it to gain that enemy's strength and learn their abilities.
-Finite grind, the effectiveness of JUST gaining XP is severely limited (though there are many other ways to improve your characters), as a result strategy and wits are required to topple challenging enemies, not just grinding away levels.
-Unique script additions coded by me that you won't see anywhere else. Along with completely altered battle mechanics and formulas.
-Totally revamped graphical interface, compared to the standard RMXP build, the text is a lot easier to read, graphical meters are used for various stats, and multiple windowskins are offered, as well as much better status, shop, and equip interfaces.
-The Impulse System, fill your IP meter to unleash special attacks on enemies.
-The Shard System, shatter enemy souls into shards, equip these shards to gain special effects.
-General Complexity, many more than the stock character stats have been added to this game in order to create more room for strategy and customization.

Latest Blog

ANNOUNCING SOUL SHEPHERD 2.00

This update has been a long time coming, but here it is. I've itemized what can be expected from the new version below:
-New Content! Gameplay hours increased from ~12 to ~25. New maps to explore, enemies to fight, treasure to find, and bosses to defeat!
-Introducing: The Labyrinth of Naraka, a side dungeon that can be accessed throughout the game. Enemies here are harder versions of the ones you can find outside it, along with some new faces, and lots of rewards. Warp Crystals won't let you escape from this area, and its layout and enemies will be certain to bring the pain.
-Introducing: Hyper. After defeating the game's first full boss, enemies will be able to show up in a Hyper state. Enemies in this state are much more powerful than normal, proceed against them with caution.
-Introducing: Formations. Later on in the game you will gain access to Formations, these allow you more control over distributing Threat and AoE damage to your party members. Use this strategically to your advantage to help achieve victory.
-Introducing: Soul Synthing. Accessed later in the game, use souls you find from fallen enemies to forge powerful equipment.
-Introducing: Soul beastiary. You can now see stats and skills on any soul you've had previously. Though you must have learned the skills before for them to show up here.
-Visual upgrade. The early game maps have been brought up from their modest roots to be a bit more aesthetic.
-Increased equipment variety. Generally 3-6 options per slot per upgrade.
-Massive improvements to Impulses. Don't underestimate the power of these skills in tough spots!
-Improvements to Shards. They now have a greater impact on combat and more diverse effects.
-Improvements to Rallies. Their potency and scope have both been increased, making them more valuable tools for survival.
-Lots of rebalancing, so don't be surprised to see some different numbers.
-Randomized random encounters (you heard me!) Enemy formations are now generated according to secret formula magix. The end result is that instead of a dozen or so combinations of enemies per map, you get dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of possible combinations. Between this and hyper, random battles are much more dynamic, and you may run into an encounter as tough as a boss fight when you least expect it! Keep those wits about you.

This version has been through alpha and beta testing... but you can never have too many bugs, right? If you find any, let me know! And I'll get on 'em as quickly as I can. Good luck.

IMPORTANT: If you have a save from the old version, you will have to start the game over. Much of the game has been changed from its previous incarnation, so hopefully it doesn't feel like repeating the same content. Future versions will be compatible with saves created in this version.

v2.05 update (Critical Bug Fix):
-Fixed a bug where Panic-ing non-Vespas would now bug the game. <_<

v2.04 update (Bug Fix):
-Fixed a bug where Panic-ing Vespa could crash the game.

v2.03 update (Balance):
-Starting skill limit on player characters increased by 1.
-Defeating Kerberos no longer increases skill limit by 1.

v2.02 update (Balance):
-Added Rags as starting armor for the homonculi. These give 1 PDef/MDef, but more importantly give them a healing Impulse at the start of the game.
-Confuse ailment re-worked. Confuse now wears off from any form of damage AND any form of healing. Players have a 100% base chance of wearoff from damage/healing, enemies have a 50% base chance. AoE damage/healing have 1/2 the normal wearoff chance.
-Help file updated and made more fancy. Both the one included with the game and the one on this site.

v2.01 update (CRITICAL!!!):
-Fixed a bug related to the new soul beastiary.
  • Production
  • zombero
  • LockeZ (Co-Map Maker)
  • RPG Maker XP
  • RPG
  • 11/01/2010 03:09 PM
  • 09/04/2016 02:14 PM
  • N/A
  • 156277
  • 44
  • 1015

Posts

Looks great dude. Gonna play it today after work. Question though, is this a SMT fan game?
After playing it for 15 min or 20 I have three thoughts. Very interesting idea with soul thing. Very very hard. Why inkeeeper keeps charging me more every goddamn level.
It is not an SMT fan game, however it is heavily SMT influenced since my RPG tastes were heavily influenced by that series. It also has a lot of Etrian Odyssey influence. It's probably safe to say that people who like SMT are much more likely to like this game.

Yeah, the inn scaling is to help keep gold useful and to discourage using them more often than necessary. I like my RPGs hard :) feels more rewarding that way. I'm glad you find the idea interesting!
Craze
it's been a long winter
12846
Trying this out... eventually. Downloading, at least.
I had a bit of feedback, I only got into the labarynth before dying however. The intro was icredibly well done, and the transition into the second world. However, it could be a little clearer about what your supposed to do when you get there. It tells you to speak to the old man, but he doesn't really say much. Then I just wandered off to the south and got myself killed.... three times :) Good start though!
post=Craze
Trying this out... eventually. Downloading, at least.


I looked at some of your LP stuff, it was pretty entertaining. It would amuse me greatly if you did an LP of my game. Though doing one for the whole game would be... lengthy.
post=Everguard
I had a bit of feedback, I only got into the labarynth before dying however. The intro was icredibly well done, and the transition into the second world. However, it could be a little clearer about what your supposed to do when you get there. It tells you to speak to the old man, but he doesn't really say much. Then I just wandered off to the south and got myself killed.... three times :) Good start though!


The old man does mention to try the southern path first, but in general it is a largely open-ended and combat mechanics-focused game. And yes, very difficult. :)
Before I continue playing this awesome game I have one question: is it finished?
post=Coy13
Before I continue playing this awesome game I have one question: is it finished?


It is not, it's about 10-12 hours of gameplay and ends after the first full-fledged boss. The full version will be pretty long, at least as long as a standard commercial RPG, but I don't really plan to do the whole incremental release thing. So this demo will probably be the only version of the game for quite a while.
Trying to use Nightmare with the Preta's Reaper ability seems to cause an error when the user's turn comes up:
http://i51.tinypic.com/b7e5qb.png
Script 'Game_Battler 2' line 431: NoMethodError occured.
undefined method `mp' for #<Game_Actor:0x8cae2d8>
I didn't realize it was Nightmare+Reaper at first because the error occurs before the attack animation. I had to restart quite a few times because my Preta was learning Nightmare near the end of the dungeon each time.
I don't know how you even got that far... no matter what I try I cant beat the first dungeon:)
post=Silently
Trying to use Nightmare with the Preta's Reaper ability seems to cause an error when the user's turn comes up:
http://i51.tinypic.com/b7e5qb.png
Script 'Game_Battler 2' line 431: NoMethodError occured.
undefined method `mp' for #<Game_Actor:0x8cae2d8>

I didn't realize it was Nightmare+Reaper at first because the error occurs before the attack animation. I had to restart quite a few times because my Preta was learning Nightmare near the end of the dungeon each time.


Ah, sorry about that, thanks for the info.
hey zombero, do you mind if I use some of the music in this game in one of my games? (specifically Imperial Sorrow and Muladhara) I'm really big on having perfect music in a game, and these seem to fit my quota...
I'm not sure where to go now.
I've reached the end or the sealed doors of the caves connected to the towns, both forests, the water cave near the house, and the harpy mountain. I've unsealed the angel and demon doors, but I don't know how to open the others. I think I've obtained every kind of soul so far except for Isonade. Am I now supposed to fight Cerberus? I imagine I'll need to use Warmth+Weak+guard to survive his ice attack.

Also, at the location with the 3 treasure chests in the water cave, there was a chest that was already opened when I got there. Is it supposed to be like that? I had opened most (or all?) of the other chests before getting there.

post=Everguard
hey zombero, do you mind if I use some of the music in this game in one of my games? (specifically Imperial Sorrow and Muladhara) I'm really big on having perfect music in a game, and these seem to fit my quota...


Sure go ahead, they aren't original works anyway.
post=Silently
I'm not sure where to go now.

Yep, all that's left then is Kerberos. No that chest shouldn't have been opened, I'll look into that too. Though I wouldn't worry about it, none of those 3 chests had anything important in them.

P.S. Good luck :)
I tried fighting Kerberos
and it seems he has breaths of all 3 elements rather than only ice. I assumed he only had ice because I only got that far into the battle before (when my characters only had ~600 HP) and he's blue. Since I had not yet thought of getting the Cancer's Aura, I don't think I would've been able to keep up with the damage anyway.

It looks like I'll also need to acquire the !Heat skill, but I don't remember which enemy has that.
I've played through most of the demo. I'm a fan of the SaGa, Shin Megami Tensei, and Etrian Odyssey series, so I'm not opposed to 'difficult' games. I thought about posting a review, but I may as well just post my thoughts here. It'll come off as less vitrolic if I'm writing to the designer instead of an imaginary audience.

When it comes down to it, the difficulty of any kind of RPG isn't the actual battle, it's devising a tactic and preparing your party appropriately. With that in mind, a number of the decisions in the game confuse me. Why are souls randomly dropped? Why does taking the Soul off anyone other than the main character break it? Why do we have to relearn abilities if we want to place them in our active slots again, and why does taking the Soul off of a character reset their learning progress?

None of these make the game harder or improve it, they simply make the process of battle set-up considerably more tedious, or inspire you to go into a battle with a knowingly sub-optimal set-up because it would be irritating to spend the time to do otherwise. In fact, the pointless grinding involved, and the levels it will provide, additionally incentivizes wasting your time! The Soul system is obviously inspired by SMT: Nocturne. So why aren't you following its lessons?

The Magatama in Nocturne are in pre-defined locations, making acquiring them predictable and not tedious, and can be swapped freely, allowing you to change your stats and resistances according to the needs of the present battle. Yes, you might lose out on a skill at level-up, but it's generally considered worth it to go into the Matador battle with Resist: Force regardless.

Yes, there's limited slots and no databank of previously learned skills in Nocturne, but you only have one character to which that applies - your demons are much more flexible, and it's easy to have a large set you switch between appropriately. You can rotate through your selection of demons, phasing out the old and experimenting with new set-ups, without being significantly deprived. If a new set-up fails on a demon you don't want wasted, buy a earlier version of that demon and try again. Soul Shepherd has no equivalent. The limited skills mean that players will tend to gravitate towards templates; your 'physical' and 'magical' characters look very similar, because experimenting means having to grind back the more generally useful skill afterwards.

I sincerely suggest you make soul drops conditional or guaranteed instead of random, remove the Soul breakage, and implement a "switch present skills for previously learned ones" databank mechanic, and then rebalance accordingly. As is, Soul Shepherd is not "difficult," it is "needlessly grindy," and in that respect it feels very little like the games that apparently inspired it.


There's other little issues. (The escape rate is ass in a game where you're already punished in three different ways for not fighting enough, and seriously, a max of 9 items of any one type? Despite the fact that you're unlikely to keep Detox and there are enemies that use full-party Poison spells? Dick move. The "back to town" items also need to be able to go somewhere other than the initial town.) That said, the ones addressed in the previous paragraphs are the big ones, and the ones which should be your priority.
Alright, there's a lot I disagree with here, so I'll have to do a point-by-point:

"Why are the souls randomly dropped?" -- I'm not sure why this is a problem. In SMT - Nocturne demon negotiations are randomly successful, even if you pick all the right answers. You mention conditional drops later, I assume specific actions that trigger the drop? Killing them is the specific action. I like to kill things. I think a poke-ball type effect would be pretty annoying in my game too...

"Why does taking the Soul off anyone other than the main character break it? Why do we have to relearn abilities if we want to place them in our active slots again?" -- To encourage strategic planning in what souls you equip and skills you learn. By observing the enemy in battle you can see all skills that their soul will give you and plan accordingly. If there were a skill bank, not much thought or care would have to go into this process. But I'm rather merciful in how easy it is to correct your mistakes... especially compared to Nocturne. The main char can -NEVER- re-learn any skill that you forget on him, and fusing a demon with a lot of skills you want takes more time than forging a skillset does in my game.

"why does taking the Soul off of a character reset their learning progress?" -- To allow you to re-learn skills you passed up previously.

"The Magatama in Nocturne are in pre-defined locations, making acquiring them predictable and not tedious, and can be swapped freely, allowing you to change your stats and resistances according to the needs of the present battle." -- Yes, but Magatama are more like equipment than souls, which I also let you swap freely. In Nocturne, all the points you put into your main character's stats are permanent and all the skills you passed up are permanently gone. Magatama give a few minor stat bonuses and a resistance. Admittedly my EQ doesn't have resistances yet (it will later on), but it does have stat bonuses. So yeah, have that.

"Yes, there's limited slots and no databank of previously learned skills in Nocturne, but you only have one character to which that applies - your demons are much more flexible" -- I powerfully disagree here, fixing your demon's skillsets is much more time-consuming then fixing your skill sets in this game. I spent 4 hours trying to inherent 5 skills I wanted on Michael. If you don't want to spend hours rolling every demon, then you are forced to be content with a "sub-par skillset" as you complained about earlier.

"implement a "switch present skills for previously learned ones" databank mechanic, and then rebalance accordingly." -- You should play Digital Devil Saga, it is a lot like Nocturne, but it has this databank mechanic you speak of. I've played both games, and as such I know what system I like better. In DDS I felt generic, I felt like there was no design strategy to my team because I could just swap skills out any time I wanted, very little thought when into the whole process. However, I thought Nocturne went too far with how much of a pain it was to undo decisions, so I marked Soul Shepherd as a midway point between these two. Which is why I'm really confused on your comparisons to Nocturne.

"As is, Soul Shepherd is not "difficult," it is "needlessly grindy,"" -- You are the only person I know of that thinks that. Soul Shepherd severely limits the benefits of grinding. What there is benefit to is having well designed skillsets, the latest souls, and enough money to buy equipment (grind with a purpose if you will). Beyond that point, grind does almost nothing. And once you've reached that point, the game is still pretty difficult. The benefits of grinding in Nocturne are much greater as it is directly tied to your character's power.

"The "back to town" items also need to be able to go somewhere other than the initial town." -- They do.

"Dick move" -- Yes. Yes it is.
Mmm. I don't consider demon fusion for skills to take too long, when one considers the ability to buy back demons, though I suppose that is a matter of opinion. I really do think Souls are considerably closer to Magatama than equipment; they both teach abilities, alter stats, and change your native resistances. Equipment does the second and sometimes the third but never the first, and Magatama and Souls always do all three.

And yes, I've played DDS. In DDS, however, your characters all start on a given path and have natural stat growths, and as such aren't as flexible; while Heat can learn Ziodyne perfectly well, he'll never be good at casting it without many +Stat items. In that respect, your party in Soul Summoner is more like a set of four Demi-Fiends or Serphs than the other characters of DDS. You'll probably still split roughly 2-2 physical/magical because of Soul constraints, but it's not otherwise imposed that I'm aware of.

I consider a few of the mechanics needlessly grindy, yes. I'm not fond of having to repeatedly refight enemies for Souls without being able to affect the drop chances. Negotiation in SMT is sort of random, but it also follows patterns and your chance of success therefore rises after an attempt. A Soul isn't statistically any more likely to drop on your fifth try compared to your first, and the lack of ability to personally influence it also makes the random nature more of an irritant if you're particularly unlucky.

I don't think the Soul breakage particularly adds much; in the time it takes for the character to learn all three skills, you'll probably get another one if it's a soul from a random encounter. It just means it's not guaranteed. It's understandable to have it break if it's a boss soul or is 1-1 on its shards, certainly, but I don't really see how it adds much value otherwise.

I also consider the relearning unnecessarily grindy. In my opinion, the only practical difference between "buy back skills" and "reacquire through releveling the souls" is the grinding necessary. If the concern is that skills will be swapped too freely, why not require the skills to be bought for money or exchanged for experience? Grinding allows you to acquire both of those, and it means that sufficient amounts of either allow you to save time while still making you feel some sort of penalty. There's just something discouraging about knowing that the only way to get a skill back is to invest time. Time leads to money and experience but it's still more pleasant to spend either of the latter two.

Still, as mentioned, I'll probably end up playing through the final release. While these things were irritating and the game was a bit too wipe-happy for my tastes, the overall product was good. I'll be looking forward to any news.