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LIONHEART is the rebirth of an RPG called The Tower that I was developing nearly a decade and a half ago from this writing, in 2002, when I was only 16 years old. I have learned an unbelievably huge amount about every aspect of game design since then. Prompted equally by my acquisition of the High Fantasy Resource Packs from Pioneer Valley Games and by the Halloween 2014 Revive The Dead Event here on RMN, I have decided to revisit that world, that story, and those characters fourteen years after they were abandoned, to finish, knowing what I know now, that which was left unfinished back then.

Lionheart is a story-driven dark fantasy RPG set in the World of Chimer. As a plainly stated a priori disclosure, it is notably inspired by, in no particular order: Dungeons & Dragons (the tabletop game), The Elder Scrolls, Vagrant Story, and the Souls series of games (Demon's Souls, Dark Souls, et al). If you find elements of, similarities to or references to these properties in the game itself and its associated world-building (and you won't have to look terribly hard to find them), those are almost certainly included as an intentional homage.

Brief Plot Synopsis

"Is evil something you are? Or is it something you do?"

For over a thousand years, the Church of Iocus has been the dominant cultural and political power in the Kingdom of Tetral, which in turn is the largest, most populous, and most powerful nation in the known world. Church and State in Tetral are united in the persecution of sorcerers and arcanists. The pursuit of arcane magick is proscribed by the Church's doctrines as evil and blasphemous. Practitioners of the 'Black Arts' are harshly punished by the Church's Inquisitors and Templars.

In the mind of one Church Seer, Morigoth the White, purging the Black Arts from the homeland is not enough. Plans for a new Crusade are forming. A Crusade the likes of which the world has never seen, which will send the might of the Church's Templars far to the north, to purify and cleanse with fire a most sinful kingdom.

A Crusade into the blighted wastelands of the nightmare kingdom of Nod-Gamorra. A land stalked by vampires, wights and worse. The land of a mage-lord--The Necromancer Lord Thanatos--who trafficks with demons. A benighted land where Necromancy is a way of "life". The stage is set for a decisive battle between "Good" and "Evil" to begin. Or so it would seem...

Initially, the player will take control of Sir Garinol DuCourt, the Paladin chosen to lead this glorious crusade into the heart of darkness. As the game progresses, however, different characters will become playable, allowing the unfolding battle to be seen from new and different perspectives.

NOTE
The Current Build (Version 0.01, 10/30/2014) was put together under extreme "MAXIMUM RUSH" conditions. It probably has all kinds of bugs. I stayed up until 5AM trying to stamp out the worst of them, i.e. the fatal ones, and I *think* I got all of those. But don't be surprised if you run into weird glitches, pass-ability errors, and whatnot. There just was not time to do the level of quality control I wanted on this build without going totally insane.

Latest Blog

Cessation

More or less, this project has been unofficially in hiatus for like nine or ten months now. Scoring Happy as a hire and then having him vanish was a torpedo to the hull: motivation and dedication to complete this hemorrhaged until it was all gone. This is just a badly belated attempt at courtesy by making the project's limbo status official.

To the fans: I am very sorry.
  • Cancelled
  • Max McGee
  • RPG Maker VX Ace
  • RPG
  • 10/29/2014 09:10 PM
  • 08/22/2018 01:03 AM
  • N/A
  • 40365
  • 25
  • 462

Posts

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How long do expect it to take to play this?
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
9219
I would estimate 30 minutes to an hour for the current build. It really depends how quickly you get through the combats. If you die a few times, then maybe up to 90 minutes.
Linkis
Don't hate me cause I'm Cute :)
1025
GREAT, 60mins. of dying....I'm just gonna love the hell out of this demo :)
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
9219
Personally, I think compared to most of my games, this one's pretty easy, at least at the beginning. Then again, I've been wrong before.

(It's really more about how long you take with the battles than if you live or die, if that makes sense.)
Linkis
Don't hate me cause I'm Cute :)
1025
Your right Max, it's if you live or die but how you play the game :)

Ain't died yet so onward Christian soldiers.....but I'm thinking that head guy may have something evil up his sleeve :)
HOLY CRAP

WELCOME BACK, MCGEE

(first Origin, now Linus, now this? Why did everyone pick NaNo month to start making awesome games again?)
Feedback inbound.

-Initial impression: game is slow and crunchy, giving off that Dark Souls vibe. The setting is also probably the DnDest, Tolkeinest thing I've ever seen.

I appreciate a game that is willing to dump a million options in front of the player with no preamble, then expect them to figure out how best to deploy them in combat. The fact that more abilities start to pile in on top of that is surprising, and I have no idea what this would do for balance and ease of play in a longer game.

-Bugs: Str buffs read as "Strength 0{" when they deploy.

The werewolves in the werewolf cave fall on the chest when they die. This doesn't make it inaccessible, but it does hide it quite thoroughly under a whole lot of lycanthropic bulk. Leaving the werewolf room and re-entering causes helpful gremlins to move both bodies a few inches to the right.

Enemies respawn. Is this deliberate? It's letting me grind up hella high, at the cost of resources, so I suspect that it is.

-Comments: battles start very lopsided. My first outing into the woods began with a werewolf hitting everyone in the party, dropping my tank to a quarter health, and throwing a bleed effect on my healer. This is shocking the first time it happens. After that, it becomes an element of strategy. Some players may have a profoundly averse reaction to this.

The whole game comes off as a bit overwhelming at first, which again matches the Dark Souls tone. It mellows considerably with a bit of strategy.

This is super minor, but I like that 'turn undead' is written as 'turn the undead.' This bothered me so much when I was first getting into tabletop. Why would I want to turn anyone into undead?

An inventory primer on status effects would be real handy. I had to operate by guesswork on most of them, and they're all very important.

-Overall: I would certainly play more. There was definitely some clunk to the feel of the gameplay and graphics, but that gets balanced out by the crunchiness of the game system. Lionheart feels like a slightly more forgiving To Arms!
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
9219
-Bugs: Str buffs read as "Strength 0{" when they deploy.


Argh, I know. I found a scriptlet that purported to fix these "junk text symbols". When I switched it live, it crashed the entire game on startup. Yikes! I'm stuck with these for now it looks like.

I appreciate a game that is willing to dump a million options in front of the player with no preamble, then expect them to figure out how best to deploy them in combat. The fact that more abilities start to pile in on top of that is surprising, and I have no idea what this would do for balance and ease of play in a longer game.


Yeah, abilities are going to keep coming. It is more overwhelming at the beginning than I'd like actually. I added some 'Combat Manuals' for each PC, briefly explaining the fighting style of each one, i.e. the skills available to each of them. This helped a lot.

Generally compared to most of my stuff, this one is supposed to be a bit more 'power fantasy/holy shit look how awesome I am' and a bit less 'oh gosh how can I even SURVIVE this world of murder'. This was a way early build and I'm still tweaking. So I may tone down the early Winterwulfs and Werewolves if they feel a bit too scary (less frost breath and less damaging frost breath from the winterwulfs: the werewolves feel about right to me).

An inventory primer on status effects would be real handy. I had to operate by guesswork on most of them, and they're all very important.


I'll consider a status effect codex, but another thing I'm doing is tweaking the status effect icons to be more intuitive and informative. I.e. an icon that said 'Sluggish' now says 'Numb' which is a major improvement as that's the actual name of the status as referred to in the in-game tooltips.

-Overall: I would certainly play more. There was definitely some clunk to the feel of the gameplay and graphics, but that gets balanced out by the crunchiness of the game system. Lionheart feels like a slightly more forgiving To Arms!


Awesome.

Would you like to serve as an alpha tester on this when we get to the point where we have more playable content? Let me know, I can add you to the project page as a tester.
The first battle was really the only place where I felt like the game difficulty was overwhelming (in a negative way,) and that was largely because it was set to random. First time out of the hat, I pulled three winterwolves and a werewolf, and they went first. My party was bleeding, numb, and at half health before I even got to act. This wouldn't be awful for a later battle, and it definitely sets a certain tone, but maybe pre-scripting the first encounter would make for a less polarizing game experience (just for funsies, I reloaded and tried again and encountered only two winter wolves on my second time around.) Maybe a pair of gryphons would make for a decent warm-up? Gryphons are pretty straight-forward.

As for the status effects, maybe just throw some descriptions for them into the manual? I would be totally happy with even a doc file that came with the download and talked a little about game mechanics, since some details (like numb reducing accuracy) were not intuitive to me and may not be intuitive to other players.

I am about 1000% down to alpha-test this, but with one caveat. I'm going to be writing like a wordbeast for the rest of November.

I may be able to test if a bit of content appears before the end of the month, but I won't be able to in-depth multiple-runs game-break anything before December starts and I have three hours added back into my days.
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
9219
Yeah, you make a good point about the possibility of the first encounter being a tough one. I'll consider limiting it to like three wolves or something more moderate, although then I'd worry that since the encounters are avoidable, the player might dash past the first few "softer" encounters into something "steeper".

I probably won't have anything substantial done until at least December, so that's alright timing wise : )
I would argue that if the player knowingly dodges the first combat in the game, they either know what they're doing or else they deserve to get in over their head. There's no need to force the players into a tutorial battle, but it would definitely be a helpful resource for folks who might need it.

edit: for the sake of reference, this was my threat assessment on the encounters in the demo. Winter wolves and harpies were brutally hard, werewolves and gryphons made for a good, meaty fight, and ogres and zombies and the glacial elemental boss were squishy speedbumps.

High dodge rates, miss-chance-inducing AoEs, and global damage spam made the winter wolves the worst to fight. The harpies' weren't quite masters of stunlock, but any group of two or more hugely bogged down the party's ability to react. If you'd mixed the two of them into one battle, I would've thrown every last bomb at it.
DE
*click to edit*
1313
The legion dies but does not surrender.

Good to have you back in the game, m'friend.
Alright, now that I've got my NaNo wordcount in a chokehold, I am seriously jonesing to play more of this.
Otokonoko out of fucking NOWHERE with a live playthrough nitpick list.

- As already noted and recognized by the creator himself, the portions of the exposition taking place on the map background need a textbox to be readable. I would argue this also applies to the descriptive text shown when you first examine a save point.

- During the exposition going over the long journey, the audio seems to have an annoying glitch right at the start that makes it VERY notable when the song loops.

- Upon further investigation it appears I can occasionally trigger a very annoying sound by advancing dialogue during this sequence. What the eff.

- "This sneaking and sulking is possibly only..." - pretty sure that's supposed to be "possible".

- The first chest in the caves, near as I can tell, contains absolutely nothing useful as an equipment upgrade apart from the money. Intended, or just a result of giving better equipment as part of the demo?

- Not sure if it's necessary to have a separate notification of levelling up and learning new skills when the new skills show up both times.

- I didn't have any troubles with the battles as of the version I downloaded 12/7/14. Only had somebody get KO'd once and that was just because I wasn't paying attention rather than "holy fuck that thing just one-shot me." Also the rate of BP gain feels really low but given that even the first available break art wrecks faces almost too much to be allowed maybe it's for the best.

- In general I feel like everything starts to blend together after awhile, graphically. I had troubles picking out the two chests in the boss-fight area.

- Speaking of the boss fight, there's a bit of a jarring transition after you beat it in that the game returns to the dialogue boxes with the Stranger and the party conversing for a brief moment before the screen flashes and fixes itself to be the party going "what the hell they TELEPORTED?!"

- Additionally I had to move off the spot and move back on to trigger the ropes and end the demo.

I liked it overall and realize it's early going so I'll be watching.
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
9219
I done fixed a lot of that already, so that's good. Not the typo ("possibly"), though...I've played that part a million times but never noticed it. I think this is due to the brain's tendency to autocorrect typos mentally during the process of reading.

All of the gameplay that currently exists is taking place during night time. Not ALL of the game is going to be at night so sometimes stuff will be easier to see i.e. during the day. But I still might tweak brightness/contrast/saturation etc. to make chests more visible because that seems important.

TY for playing m8.

By the end of next week I should hopefully have enough new playable content for a tester to check out. Not planning on a new demo release for quite a while though (although there will probably be one before final release). No particular need to be saying this except that my rate of abandoning projects is so high it feels appropriate to periodically say "I HAVEN'T ABANDONED THIS ONE" just so people know.
author=Max McGee
By the end of next week I should hopefully have enough new playable content for a tester to check out.


Yeeeeeeeesssssssss...
So...when's the new playable content going to be available? :D
author=Max McGee
Sorry man, my health has really fucked up that prediction.


Aw, crap. I'm sorry to hear that, and I hope you feel better.

I'll keep sledgehammering away at my novel in the meantime, and I'll be ready for whenever there's more Lionheart to test.
I strongly recommend brightening your link color on this page. It has almost the same brightness as your image background, and therefore has no contrast.

The hue difference will make sure it stays visible amid normal text.
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