Let's Play AoD!
A few months ago we decided to start a "Let's play AoD (The Age of Decadence)" thread. If you aren't familiar with the "let's play game X" idea, here is how it works: someone plays a game, posting screenshots documenting each step of his/her progress and letting the audience make all decisions, from the character system to quests and in-game choices. In my opinion, that's a great way to present a new game, as it's more honest and straightforward. It shows you not what developers want to show you, but what the audience wants to see. Anyway, while you're welcome to visit our forums and participate in the Let's play AoD thread, it's a 50-page long beast filled with arguments, counter-arguments, argument-busters, and tactical nuclear arguments, so if you are only interested in the screens and some commentaries, this article, the first in a short series, is for you.
Without further ado:
Let's start by going through the character system options. You pick your name, gender, and profession (assassin, mercenary, knight, loremaster, thief, merchant, grifter, or none). Your profession isn't a class. It doesn't affect or limit your character development in any way. Instead, it determines how the game begins and your relationship with different factions. It implies that your character had a life before you showed up. If you don't like it, pick "None" and play a stranger.
After long deliberations Titus (in loving memory of Rome's Titus Pullo) the Assassin was created.
Next step - the stats. The stats determine your starting skills' values and extra skill points.
Str, Dex, Con, Per, Int, Cha. Min - 4, Max - 10. 40 points in total.
Other than affecting the skills, dialogue checks, offering special traits for heroic (10) values, and being used in "text adventure" situations:
Str modifies damage (-2 to 4).
Dex determines your AP (Dex+2, which gives you 6-12 range)
Con determines your HP (25-50; HPs are static, so don't count on increasing them later) and poison resistance.
Per modifies to hit chance (-10 to 20)
Int determines your starting skill points and skill point bonuses (0-4 for every 10 points gained)
Cha affects NPCs' reaction (-2 to 3)
So, we've created a character and distributed 14 skill points (Int x 2). Also, as you can see, you've got some reputation modifiers. All Noble Houses look at you fondly, because they use your services often, but not as often as the merchants. The guards think that you are scum and if you were a real man, you would have joined the navy. Oh well...
Right now you get a profession-based selection of items: assassins get this nifty-looking leather jacket, hood, standard crossbow, 10 regular bolts, 5 armor-piercing, heat-seeking bolts, 5 barbed ass-shredding bolts, and some rope to climb things and make dramatic entrances. And the traditional 100 fantasy bucks, of course.
We're considering assigning items to skills and generating items based on the top 5 skills. So, high Sword, Block, Throwing, Crafting, and Trading, for example, would give you a short sword, shield, 10 throwing knives, iron ore, and extra money.
Anyway, our inventory system is weight-based and our motto is: if you can lift it, you can carry it. Everything is stackable. You can scroll up and down, and you can use those handy filters at the top (weapons, armor, jewelry, alchemy (potions & ingredients), crafting, and miscellaneous) to quickly find what you need.
Since you are an assassin, you start at the local assassins guild called The Boatmen of Styx. Instead of saying "halo brave adaventurer! plz taek some itamz from my chest and equip them!", the guildmaster pretends that you and him are old pals and jumps straight to business. You get your first quest - to kill a trader who crossed Commercium, the merchants guild. You ask a few questions and head to the inn where the doomed trader is staying.
Now, about this quest... The game starts with a short vignette. We took a simple situation and played it from different angles. Your profession determines your role and introduces the gameworld to you. If you play as a merchant, you'll start at the merchants guild and your first task will be to order an assassination of a recently arrived independent trader. If you play as a mercenary, you'll start as an inn guard and will be assigned to protect the trader. And as an assassin... Well, you get the idea.
P.S. Our audience didn't like the face on the dialogue screens, so we removed it.
That's your journal, a trusty friend of every adventurer. It shows your quests (active & completed), alchemy & crafting techniques you've learned in your travels (basically, it's an overview of handy things you can make), items (lists all items you find, their descriptions and stats), locations overview, factions overview and your relationship with them, locations overview, notable characters (faction and character entries are tied to your actions), and lore. Lore is an important aspect of the game, and you'll collect many different, often conflicting accounts of what happened in the past.
Our map is a standard fare. You click on one of the known locations and you'll be taken there automatically. Your journey may be interrupted by not-so-random encounters. Studying maps and notes and talking to certain NPCs will add more locations, and roads connecting them, to your map. The map is pretty big, so don't think that what you see in the window is the entire thing. If you want to see the "big picture", visit our forums - it's gotta be there somewhere.
After killing the trader, our forumites decided not to leave any witnesses, but instead of attacking the guard honorably, they distracted him and killed him in a dialogue mode. While it looked easy, it's only because our hero is fast and furious. There are three different Dexterity-based outcomes, so it's not necessary the best option. It can instantly kill your opponent or only wound him or even put you at a serious disadvantage:
2b. The guard moves to the side and the bolt head tears his neck, but misses the vitals. Blood gushes out and the suddenly pale guard charges at you. (loses 5HP per turn, penalty to hit 20%)
2c. The guard swiftly moves to the side and hits you with the pommel of his sword, dazing you. He smiles unpleasantly, showing rotten teeth, and charges at you. (-2AP)
Ok, everyone's dead now. Finally some peace, quiet, and the moment we've all been waiting for. It's looting time! There is nothing like the first time you loot a fresh corpse in an RPG. It's a magical experience, like a first kiss. Maybe even better. Hey, look at these totally awesome, next-generation looking gems. Well, now they are yours!
You return to the guild and report. The vignette is over and now you are free to do whatever you like.
(To Be Continued...)
Information aboutAge of Decadence
Developer: Iron Tower Studio
Play-time: 20-40 hours
Regions & platforms
· Platform: PC
· To be announced
· Publisher: Iron Tower Studio