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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
  • 11/17/2018 02:11 AM
  • N/A
  • 170726
  • 46
  • 1069

Posts

More after Kerb? Cool! Though I'm not sure if I can imagine a harder challenge. I remember Kerb had some breath thing that can insta-sweep your team, haha

I'm going to guess the final boss is the High Templar.
author=EdgeOfChaos
I'm going to guess the final boss is the High Templar.


Well, the game still isn't finished, so no ~final~ boss yet. But the game is about twice as long as before with a second full-fledged boss.
author=zombero
author=EdgeOfChaos
I'm going to guess the final boss is the High Templar.
Well, the game still isn't finished, so no ~final~ boss yet. But the game is about twice as long as before with a second full-fledged boss.


Wow, I guess this will be super long when it's finished. Nice.

Also: Part 4: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7zbXBkWrDM

Hour and a half of content condensed to 18 minutes o.0.
Why does the skill Nightmare exist by the way? It's pretty lame...

I really like the hyper mechanic. Great work on that.

Also, you're probably the only person on RPGMaker who know how to make stairs, so good job.
author=EdgeOfChaos
Why does the skill Nightmare exist by the way? It's pretty lame...

Why does an instant death skill exist? Hmm... because it's an RPG tradition, I suppose, would be the main reason. I can't think of any reason instant death skills need to be in a game. The closest I can come up with is that it instills fear and is a unique threat that players need to try to avoid and manage. The "avoid" (which currently comes in the form of the Sanctuary rally) admittedly needs some work. It reduces the chance of instant death succeeding substantially, but I also want to change it so that even when it does work, it knocks any character at above-critical HP down to critical HP instead of killing them.

author=EdgeOfChaos
Also, I really like the hyper mechanic. Great work on that.

Thanks! Me, too. I've actually actively regretted that it takes so long for Hyper to come into play, because it makes normal battles substantially less repetitive, but there's no way I could just throw it in the start of the game. The starting difficulty would have to be lowered substantially to make room for Hyper. Plus, the beginning already throws a lot more mechanics at the player than most games do, and this would add to the pile. Beyond the start of the game, the different paths sprawl out, so the only clear place to begin Hyper seems to be after Kerberos. Plus, since I plan to have the game be about 4 times as long as it is now... I guess it comes with the territory that I need to spread the mechanics out some.
author=zombero
Why does an instant death skill exist? Hmm... because it's an RPG tradition, I suppose, would be the main reason. I can't think of any reason instant death skills need to be in a game. The closest I can come up with is that it instills fear and is a unique threat that players need to try to avoid and manage. The "avoid" (which currently comes in the form of the Sanctuary rally) admittedly needs some work. It reduces the chance of instant death succeeding substantially, but I also want to change it so that even when it does work, it knocks any character at above-critical HP down to critical HP instead of killing them.

I see. Well, it's especially annoying for me when I'm going to a place I've already been to 100 times, try to run, it fails, then he insta-deaths me. I either have to waste a phoenix down + SP to heal, or just teleport back. I'm looking directly at Onryo on this one. This actually happens very frequently. I don't mind it so much in newer areas where the enemies are supposed to be a threat. Reducing to Critical would be a very welcome change for it.

Some other random feedback I thought of through the first section:
- Soulshards seem a bit useless past the first few areas, because the enemies just repeat the same soulshards. Shattering higher level souls gives no benefit because it just gives the same thing as some lower-level soul.
- The journey from the east town to the beach seems inordinately difficult. There are two bosses on the path, and two lands worth of new enemies players have never seen.
- Some warning before the 4-kobold team would be nice. Unless you have incredible reaction time, you can't get away before they fight you. Luckily I knew it was coming, but it could suck if you ran out of SP.
- Maps are really well made. I really like the new terrain you gave the first map.
- I'd like something you could do with the early-game souls. I know there's a soul forge, but those seem to only use the souls from that area. I'm kind of clogged down with 30 or so of each soul type from early on.
author=EdgeOfChaos
I see. Well, it's especially annoying for me when I'm going to a place I've already been to 100 times, try to run, it fails, then he insta-deaths me. I either have to waste a phoenix down + SP to heal, or just teleport back. I'm looking directly at Onryo on this one. This actually happens very frequently. I don't mind it so much in newer areas where the enemies are supposed to be a threat. Reducing to Critical would be a very welcome change for it.

Hmm... The chance of instant death to succeed is Will-based, so lower level enemies would have less of a chance to kill you with it, but I could possibly take a look at the ailment rate formula and escape success formula for ways to make them more favorable when your soul levels are significantly higher than the enemy.

author=EdgeOfChaos
Soulshards seem a bit useless past the first few areas, because the enemies just repeat the same soulshards. Shattering higher level souls gives no benefit because it just gives the same thing as some lower-level soul.

Shards have kinda been an on-going struggle. It'd be a lot easier to go back and flesh out the shards in the earlier parts of the game after I have everything finished. Currently, I don't want to use all my Shard ideas up early on in the game.

author=EdgeOfChaos
The journey from the east town to the beach seems inordinately difficult. There are two bosses on the path, and two lands worth of new enemies players have never seen.

It's generally expected that the player will sleep at the inn between the two fights, and possibly after the second fight as well. It takes 3 inn stays for them to respawn. I do agree that it is a rather difficult segment, but it's kinda meant to be. Maybe the walk distance from the beach entrance to the beach house could be reduced.

author=EdgeOfChaos
Some warning before the 4-kobold team would be nice. Unless you have incredible reaction time, you can't get away before they fight you. Luckily I knew it was coming, but it could suck if you ran out of SP.

I can do that.

author=EdgeOfChaos
Maps are really well made. I really like the new terrain you gave the first map.

LockeZ deserves a lot of the credit there. He did probably almost half the maps, and they tend to be the better looking half. Maps are the only part of the design process that I try to outsource when I can~

author=EdgeOfChaos
I'd like something you could do with the early-game souls. I know there's a soul forge, but those seem to only use the souls from that area. I'm kind of clogged down with 30 or so of each soul type from early on.

Yeah, the synth shop only helps the issue going forward, and doesn't do much retroactively. And then Naraka makes matters even worse. I'll have to see what I can come up with. There's always selling them, if nothing else.
Maybe as an easy solution to the soulshard stuff, shattering a higher level soul could give some number bonus. For example, shattering a Bat will give Tailwind lvl 1, but shattering some other gives Tailwind lvl 2, and a slightly higher bonus.

author=zombero
It's generally expected that the player will sleep at the inn between the two fights, and possibly after the second fight as well. It takes 3 inn stays for them to respawn. I do agree that it is a rather difficult segment, but it's kinda meant to be. Maybe the walk distance from the beach entrance to the beach house could be reduced.
I didn't know 3 inn stays resets bosses, that's useful. Though, still in my run I dodged the second boss so that was a non-issue. I guess my main issue with that segment is that it spans so many areas, the enemies are difficult, and that the path is not distinct.

What do I mean by that last one? Well, take the little area with the bridge for example. If you walk up to that place and see the bridge and the other area, RPG sense would dictate that the place across the bridge is the next area, and the area off to the side is a bonus. However, if you take the bridge there's only an item there, and you face a minimum of 3 battles going there and back. It takes several party attacks, detoxes, and heals, so you'll waste probably 30-50 SP on each character, and have to waste the Chakra Kit just trying to get it back.

I don't like having to go to a new area after being severely weakened. Typically, the new areas are accessed from the towns or from areas that no longer pose a problem. The forest segment will drain your SP hugely, even if you rest after the Lindorm. It's important to be able to heal before a new area because then you can adequately farm the souls before moving on.

Before getting the souls, a new area will easily crush you if you battle more than 3 or 4 enemies there. The Basaan is new, and the Nekomana or w/e seems to not spawn in more than 1s before, so these enemies will probably kill you if you battle them for an extended period of time without their souls - but getting the soul is hard and lengthy, especially considering if you rest once more, the bosses come back.

Overall I think it's mostly fine, but the beach part is the real killer. And I really don't want to go back after the entire forest anyways. Even with resting after the first boss and ninja-avoiding the second, I only survived the beach due to astounding luck in my run.
-----------
Some more stuff I thought of:
- Having souls disappear when unequiped seems somewhat needless. After all, you did already get them.
- I'm not actually sure if this is intended... but if you stun an enemy who can double or triple attack, they can still attack once or twice. It seems to only cancel one attack instead of canceling enemy's turn. I'm not sure if bosses can be stunned, but Hyper enemies can be.
- Some soulshards seem vastly underpowered compared to others. The biggest offenders are Viral Mutation and Somnolance. I can't see any circumstance where these would warrant equipping. Mantra also seems bad, as neither Wrath nor Malice work against bosses, and it's quite a low chance. You said you're planning to look back at soul shards after the game is done, but just wanted to put this out in case you didn't consider it.
- Misc technical issue: if I play for a long time, the Escape and Enter keys stop working and I have to restart my computer. *probably* not anything related to the game (windows 8 is a piece of garbage, probably its fault) but if you know anything about it, that would be nice.

(important edit)
After playing a bit more into the next area, I will say that Gloom is completely game-breaking. Even with will-heavy characters, a battle with 3 of those Bat things easily kills me.

Also, after I got the bat soul, I started spamming gloom. It annihilates everything. This even kills Hyper enemies (o.0), which takes most of the challenge out of those...

I don't really think insta-death has a place in a game like this, but I could go either way. Insta-death for EVERYONE though? That is certainly not good.

(final thing)
Is the fight against Ares won after a certain number of turns (so it's like a survival challenge?) because I don't see how I can do 100,000 damage a turn to counter Eternal Warrior.
I don't mean to be impatient, but any news on this? It's been around 2 years since serious updates.
Hey, thanks for the interest! I have every intention of finishing this project, I've just been busy working on a hack for Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen. It was a project I intended to only take a few months, but I kept adding and adding to the scope of the project and now I've spent over a year on it. I've gotten to the point where I'm releasing individual stages for that hack now, though, and I hope to have it done within a couple months.

Some info on what has been done with this project, that is not in the current release: over 80% of the remaining maps in the game are complete. Maps are my least favorite thing to work on, which for some reason translates into me wanting to get them done first. LockeZ helped with several of them as well (along with a good portion of the maps already in the game). I've also picked out hundreds of enemy names and sprites and come up with a general sequence that I expect to include them in the game. Though I'd like to replace a lot of the current enemy sprites (all the ones that now use RTP sprites), which will inevitably involve renaming them and some tweaking of their souls in places where their skills or stats no longer fit. So most of the things I have left to work on are the stuff that I enjoy more: enemies, skills, equipment, battle mechanics, etc.

Something I have been thinking I would like to do soon with this project is make an update that drastically tones down Ares. He has been beaten by one person, so it's possible, but there are several people who I personally know that love difficult RPGs and hard boss fights and have not beaten him, which tells me he needs to be less difficult. And it kinda sucks to leave this game out there with a final boss that is nearly unbeatable. I'd also like to put savepoints before the 2 major bosses. I originally didn't include them to prevent brute forcing the bosses, but I think it's pretty clear that the bosses are completely unkillable, no matter how many times you try, unless you apply the correct counters to their designs. And lastly, I'd like to add the elemental shield consumable items to the beachside shop.
Nice! Happy to hear that.

author=zombero
I'd also like to put savepoints before the 2 major bosses

This is really nice to hear. The walk with random encounters (3-6 minutes) is the most annoying part of trying Ares, especially when you miss first turn Agony.
I finally did it! I beat ares. I realized I had been using the wrong strategy all along. I'm not sure if this is how you intended the battle to go, but I did the vast majority of his HP in one turn. Actually, I did not even need the battle to be dangerous at all in order to win (and if I was to do it again, I could heal much more and still kill him). I'm going to put video on the LP thread.

First I inflict every buff/debuff in the game and Agony, then deal some minor damage - a few Claws per turn - and using Aura twice. I use Flame Guard on the turn when the fire is used, or Siegfried will die. This takes all characters Impulse meters to 100%. Next turn I use Charge on all three of my attackers and Lifewater on Siegfried. This triggers Blessing+ on him, allowing him to survive the coming fire spell. Next turn every character uses Cleave. This triggers Wounded Animal and Master's Touch, allowing them to do huge damage.

In fact, with perfect luck and execution, I would not need to attack Ares a single time before this burst damage. Characters who trigger Wounded Animal deal 25K each with crits, and without it 20K crit/17K crit depending on chat. If two of them have wounded animal active, this would do 67K damage (a fatal blow).

More things I've thought of (though I might have mentioned a few of these at some point in my posts)

- Imo ares should have less Will stat. I'd like it if you could always or almost always land Agony. There's nothing more frustrating than losing the battle on the first turn because Agony missed.

- There should be some way of analyzing enemy defenses to find out what stats they're weak for. Without this, it's just trial-and-error (and this can fail if you haven't learned any of that element). For example, I still don't even know what Lindorm is weak to.

- I think some change is needed to status conditions. Statuses are - in general - much more lethal to players than they are to enemies. Enemies only need to kill you once, whereas you need to fight 5-10 battles before you can get where you need to be. When a status is only landing at all 50% or less of the time (as it mostly is), I take that as a sign that you are not supposed to use statuses.

- I don't like pure random soul drop. A few days ago I was playing soul shepherd from the beginning, and got to Claire's house, and I tried to farm Nekomanika soul for over 45 minutes with no luck. There are other times when I got a hard soul first battle. A pseudorandom generator might be better.

- Some way to get a bigger backpack and be able to store more than 9 items would be cool. At this point in the game, they are not very useful in battle but are very useful for preserving SP outside of battle.

- The bonus for defeating the bosses (+1 stats) seems kind of lame, seeing as I have about 100 as my highest stat at Ares.

- Agony seems to have no use besides on Ares. There aren't many healing enemies in the second part. I can only think of one (Tyrant)

- When you're learning a new ability, the cursor should start outside of the ability box and you need to press an arrow key to select an ability. Or else when you click through the battle quickly and miss the Ability Learned text, you delete ability 1.
Congrats! I think you're only the second person to have done so. Pretty much everything except getting the Wounded Animal procs is intended, and it's possible to do it without Wounded Animal, though that would help seal the deal if you get some bad luck.

-"Ares should have less will stat" - Yeah, probably. Though a save point near bosses would take care of most of that frustration, too.

-"There should be some way of analyzing enemy defenses" - If I can come up with a tradeoff for this that I like, I would be okay with it. Perhaps if it cost an amount of gold based on the target's soul level, but didn't require a turn, or something.

-"When a status is only landing at all 50% or less of the time (as it mostly is), I take that as a sign that you are not supposed to use statuses." - This I don't really agree with... If you can Numb, for instance, half the enemies in a fight, it pretty much makes that fight trivial to win. Plus ailments are inflicted using the same stat you heal with, so anyone you spec as an ailment user is also filling a vital party role for difficult battles. Poison, Wrath, Sleep, and Malice also feel pretty useful to me just for dealing damage. Why is 50%, or even 40%, a bad rate for AoE statuses?

-"I don't like pure random soul drop." - I feel like the only real defense for having purely random soul drops is that there are almost no other RPGs that spare player from the random drop mechanic. Granted the only RPGs in which those drops really matter are MMOs and difficult indie games like this one. And of those, MMOs gobble up player time by design, so they aren't a great point of comparison. At times I've considered a couple different options for this. 1) higher drop rate on souls you haven't gotten yet (particularly for FOEs on this one) and 2) a guaranteed drop after <x> amount of kills. Perhaps a combination of both.

-"Some way to get a bigger backpack and be able to store more than 9 items would be cool." This is by design. Actually some items are going to have caps lower than 9, and no item will have a cap higher than 9. The only other possibility would be me abandoning this inventory system entirely and going to a Dragon Quest / Etrian Odyssey style inventory system, but I'm not sold on that idea. I will say I'm not super enthralled by the way this game handles SP right now... but I haven't taken the time to come up with any solutions for it.

-"The bonus for defeating the bosses (+1 stats) seems kind of lame" - Yeah, I'd been shying away from having the player get a boss's soul from killing them, but I've decided I'm going to do it. So whenever I add the next section to this game, you'll have Kerberos and Ares souls (though Ares might get a rename to go with his rework).

-"Agony seems to have no use besides on Ares." - I've definitely used Agony against hyper Tyants, but yeah it doesn't have much use yet. It is a skill you get in like the last 1/5 of the current game, though. I intend for it to more commonly have use later on.

-"When you're learning a new ability, the cursor should start outside of the ability box and you need to press an arrow key to select an ability. Or else when you click through the battle quickly and miss the Ability Learned text, you delete ability 1." - Yeah, I can do that.
author=Zombero
- This I don't really agree with... If you can Numb, for instance, half the enemies in a fight, it pretty much makes that fight trivial to win. Plus ailments are inflicted using the same stat you heal with, so anyone you spec as an ailment user is also filling a vital party role for difficult battles. Poison, Wrath, Sleep, and Malice also feel pretty useful to me just for dealing damage. Why is 50%, or even 40%, a bad rate for AoE statuses?

Well I meant 50% for landing at all in that use. It seems that around half of the time statuses miss everyone in the battle. I should have stated that better. For abilities like Numb and Gloom that are devastating, that's true. But consider early game statuses, namely Blind, Sleep, and Confuse.

Sleep: Players have to queue up all their orders at once, so this seems like one of the worst abilities because you can't change your orders when you see who it lands on. I suppose you could give Sleep to only your slowest team members, but it seems that people who learn statuses and have high will are really fast (scourge). Not only do you have the chance of waking up the target you slept the same turn, making the sleep literally a wasted turn, but you also cannot use party damage moves on characters slower than the caster (or you wake up 100%)

Confuse: Same deal as sleep

Blind: Lots of enemies have Tail Wind, nullifying this. And enemies also frequently hit through it. Despite that this seems like the most useful one of the early game skills.

To be honest, for abilities like Sleep I would prefer a single target spell with a very high chance of success. This would allow me to surely not wake up the target, and be able to focus down the dangerous members of the battle and remove them for some turns.

Numb is a really late game spell, and it's probably good that it misses frequently seeing how strong it is. The only reason I didn't spam it like Gloom is that I didn't find out who learned it til later.
Sleep is more of an offensive status. Any physical attacks against sleeping targets always hit and always crit, which can combo with Simply Stunning and Master's Touch and potentially more things in the future. Magic damage doesn't wake enemies up nor receive any bonus from sleep, but sleep doesn't last very long, so it isn't great at simply disabling enemies.

Tailwind is a farcry from nullifying Blind. The highest possible hit rate with Blind is 50%, Tailwind can only affect your innate chance to miss, and doesn't extend further into Blind's chance to miss. It has a higher hit rate than Numb, but it does get pretty outclassed by Numb.

Confuse isn't very good for players, no.
Is this you streaming Soul Shepherd on Twitch I see? :O
Yep, I sometimes stream Shepherd. I tried streaming a speedrun to Kerberos once which was an epic fail (probably due to no game skipping glitches, to Neko taking over 45 minutes to drop a soul, and to my poor build; maybe I'll try again some time, but with breaks, as it'll take many many hours), and streamed ares attempts. I've learned that twitch is a much more reliable recording software than the other stuff I used, and that it's able to upload videos to YouTube without preventing me from using the Internet for an hour or more. And two people saw me take down ares, so there's that :P
Did they appreciate the gravity of the moment? :P
Haha, I actually doubt it. They probably didn't have a clue what was going on. Oh well.
I'd be pretty into watching SS speedruns. Route optimization for it would be a fairly complex process. Though, in the context of speedrunning, did you really need to try for Nekomata for so long? You'd probably have to be willing to skip some souls, at least until a mechanic that gives guaranteed drops is implemented.