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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.

-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


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
  • 11/17/2018 02:11 AM
  • N/A
  • 218099
  • 47
  • 1199


Dying to the first battle is unsurprising, but 37 times is a lot. Are you going south first like the NPC suggests? This may be too late, seeing as you deleted it already, but if you need some help getting through the first area: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6CA_Sf6Whww
Finally I got this game to work on OSX with the help of CrossOver. I feel that the game is now easier than the first version, due to rally healing skills at the start as well as a strong weapon you could find at the beginning. Still, just when I was careless, I was annihilated by a group of red blobs, so it is still not too easy and constantly putting pressure on the player.

I couldn't find anything on this, but is the skill limit lifted or something? I could learn more than 4 skills at the beginning. Not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I think I need to play more to find out.

Also, the record of each soul's skills is a great addition. Really appreciate that.

The game is fantastic and I have to that this is much more fun than Shin Megami Tensei IV. Will keep playing and come back with more feedbacks later :)
Hey, suuuuper late response here, hadn't gotten any activity here for awhile so I haven't been checking it regularly...

Yeah, the beginning is easier. The longer the game gets, the more okay I am with the beginning being a bit more lenient. But I definitely prefer utilizing active commands to ease the difficulty (like the new Impulse skills) so that the relief isn't just handed to player, they have to actually make use of it. I wouldn't want it to get too much easier than it is now, though.

The skill limit was raised to 5, and it no longer goes up with level. Instead, it is raised periodically through boss slaying. This helps new players explore the skills more at the beginning, and they don't feel the impact of the skill cap until later on when they have an idea of what skills do. This has a similar tradeoff of being less hardcore, but it gives the game's difficulty room to grow (and grow it does ;) )

Yeah, eventually I'd like to add some flavor text lore on each of the soul's mythology, SMT style. I'm currently working on a SMT: Nocturne hardtype hack, it's about 3/4 of the way done, after that I plan on returning to Soul Shepherd.
this game, while it has fun interesting mechanics, is very very needlessly grindy
this game, while it has fun interesting mechanics, is very very needlessly grindy

I read this comment awhile back and just didn't have very much to say in response. However, I recently had a lengthy debate with someone about grind in video games, and I feel I could give more of a response now.

To start, let me share a few thoughts about the presence of grind in general. Consider 2 scenarios: an area that would technically take 10 minutes to get through, but vaguely requires 20 minutes of grind, and an area that takes 30 minutes to get through, period. Here are some reasons why I, as a player, would prefer the former scenario. First off, the 20 minutes of required grind (in this game, at least) will be only vaguely required. I could perform only 10 minutes of grind and then accept some risk in pushing forward, if I wanted. But with a 30 minute area, I don't have as much control over my gameplay experience. There's nothing I could do to try and cut that time short, and I wind up feeling like the game dev is taking me by the hand and pulling me through the game rather than me defining my own route. I also feel that having some amount of necessary grind contributes to the oppressive and imposing atmosphere of the game, it makes the game *feel* harder. A game could be technically just as difficult without ever interrupting your forward momentum, but that interruption has a profound impact in terms of how dangerous the world within the game *feels*. This is a tone that I like to experience as a player, and want to create in my game. Of course, it is a balancing act, and I don't want to include much more grind than is necessary to accomplish the above goals.

As an aside, one grind-related mechanic I *do* hate is when games allow you to grind to an extent that makes the difficulty trivial, and this game doesn't allow that. Once you have the souls from the current enemies and the gold to buy the current equipment, merely gaining XP does very, very little to improve your performance. In fact, without acquiring any equipment or souls, the first boss completely wipes the floor with a lv 99 party. Additionally, this makes the grind in the game more targeted. You're grinding to get some particular soul(s) or some particular piece of equipment or to learn a skill from a soul you have, rather than grinding to gain some arbitrary amount of levels. I find it substantially more motivating and interesting to have such short term goals in my sights when grinding, and when in the right proportions, it doesn't really feel like grind to me. It just feels like playing the game.

Having said all that, I'm currently working on hardtype mods for Ogre Battle and SMT: Nocturne, but when I am done with those I plan to get back to this game. Once I am working on this again, I will do another run through the current game and see how I feel about trimming the grind in some areas. It's a thing that turns off a lot of players, but is also deeply valued by some players. At its current level, I'm inclined to believe trimming the grind some would do more good than harm. It would most likely come down to just deciding how much.
Saving in the very first inn in the first spot seems to result in a game crash.
Is the old LPer ever going to finish? If not, I may go ahead and do my own lp. I remember this game being really good.
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
I was the old LPer. I'm not gonna finish, no. I stopped because the videos were getting like... four views within the first three weeks. And because I felt like I was doing a crummy job talking about the game.
Ah, okay. I started playing again, and now it feels... to use Omnion's words, needlessly grindy and boring. I wonder if he made changes to the drop rates, because it took ages to get even one soul to drop.. I dunno, I might make videos, I might not. I think watching videos of me battling 500 times to get souls would be stupid.
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
Most of the grinding for me was at the very end of the game, because the final boss fucking terrified me and kept kicking my ass, so I got every single item and skill, and also changed my party build two or three times.

In my 3 1/2 hours of let's play videos, I think I only cut out parts where I was redoing things that I had died after doing? I could be remembering wrong but I don't remember ever needing to cut out any grinding. I would still enjoy seeing someone else do a video playthrough, even if the commentary is 100% complaining.
Any changes to the grind amounts since earlier versions have been to lessen them, and they will probably be lessened a bit more in the future. The drop rates tend to hover around 20% per enemy, so if it takes more than 2-3 battles to get your first one, you'd be entering into unlucky territory.

It probably goes without saying, but I'd certainly love an LP. ;)
I think LPing this would be really hard because I'm primarily farming here, but I'm going to give it a try. I suppose I'll show most enemies and moves off at least once, and then farm offscreen and devote most of the LP to exploration/bossfights.

I think I was just really unlucky. The drops started picking up now. It's also just really hard when you battle a Serk your first fight.

Also: Can you do anything with souls other than equip/shatter?
RPGs in general tend to need pruning to produce entertaining LPs, and SS exacerbates this by being grindier than most. On the other hand, the fairly persistent threat of normal battles might make them more interesting to watch than in most RPGs. It would probably require some discretion to decide what to cut.

Also: Can you do anything with souls other than equip/shatter?

Later on in the game, souls are used to synthesize equipment. Other than this, no.
Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sW4kMiM2rY
Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXvPHa3oBP4
Part 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTFQDHRv0uw

Commentary is captioned; turn on cc.
Most farm done offscreen, but I show when I get a soul and when I face new enemies. Detailed segment description is in the description.
Kobold killed in about 15 mins.

Tell me what you think!
Hmm... I enjoyed watching it, but I'm the game creator. I feel like not having any game audio is going to make it hard to keep anyone else's attention. Having audio commentary also helps, but I assume there's some reason you aren't doing that.

Good work killing Kobold before getting any souls from the other paths, btw. I typically don't even bother trying to do that haha.
Yeah, I realized that the audio didn't record. Unfortunately, I recorded parts 1/2 before realizing that. Apparently, "Play BMG/SE" got unchecked in the game's f1 menu, and I was playing with it muted at the time. Part 3 has audio.

I don't do audio commentary because, 1) I don't have a proper microphone for recording it, 2) I just don't like doing it.. I guess it's because of my preferences when watching LPs, I often have my volume off and like written commentary.

Thanks, haha, it DID take me 3 tries to do it though. It's generally possible as long as he doesn't 1-shot anyone with Spincut and your strongest 1/2 characters can survive Lunge.
Ah, no biggie. Might be a good idea to add a note letting viewers know that there is audio in the rest of the LP.

So how far had you gotten in the game prior to this LP?
I beat Kerberos on one of the first releases. This was several years back, so I don't remember much about the later bits. We'll see if I can figure out a strategy for Kerberos this time around, heh...
Aha, well, Kerberos isn't the end of the game anymore. ;)

Part 3 was much improved! A couple needed changes I noted from the playthrough thusfar: Panic shouldn't prevent Impulses, particularly not if I'm going to call them "Panic" and "Impulses", and the dialogue with Claire needs to be changed to a monologue. There was a time when it was unclear if the protagonist was going to be silent, but at this point I'm pretty certain that I don't intend to give him a narrative personality. For that matter, I should give an option to pick a female protagonist.
Saving in the very first inn in the first spot seems to result in a game crash.

Sorry, I didn't see this initially.

Strange... I and others don't have this problem. Do you get an error from the game itself or does it just close? Freeze? I use RMXP's default save system.