Eschalon: Book II - Peek # 1 @ RPGVault
RPGVault has posted a nuts and bolts preview from head basilisk wrangler Thomas Riegsecker for the upcoming sequel in Basilisk Games' Eschalon rpg series, Eschalon:Book II, complete with a pair of interface screenshots:
For those returning to the series, awaiting them is a familiar gameworld with intriguing new play options. New players will be stepping into an old-school role-playing adventure with flexible rules that allows for everyone, both experienced RPGers and not, to enjoy an adventure that is a perfect challenge for their respective skill levels.
Gamers who have played pen and paper RPGs might recall that every Game Master seems to enforce his or her own set of sub-rules, for example whether or not to require that characters must eat during the adventure and therefore must carry a suitable supply of rations with them. With Book II, we've implemented a similar system of allowing a customizable set of rules that can be chosen before the start of each game. Each rule imposes a unique set of restrictions, allowing the players to make the adventure as challenging as they prefer. The tradeoff is that the more demanding they make it, the more the system will reward them with bonuses to the quality of random loot, additional experience points, and a higher rank at the end.
On the Challenges system and scores:
Another element that has been added to the Book II engine comprises objectives called Challenges, which are various goals that players can attempt to achieve during the course of the campaign. These may be character class restrictions or involve statistical goals. The idea came directly from the fans themselves, many of whom began to challenge each other with various objectives as a way of increasing the replayability of Book I.
Once inside the game, players can access a Game Statistics screen to see how they have done on the various challenges thus far. For example, the True Thief challenge requires never resorting to bashing locked chests or doors open; they must be picked or unlocked with a key. Furthermore, the character must never be caught in a criminal act, or be taken off-guard by a trap. If any of these restrictions are violated, the test is failed and the the end-game rank bonus and the title associated with it are lost.
An important aspect of these challenges is that any class can participate, so your character may be a Ranger who can still achieve the True Thief title just by adhering to the set restrictions.
Many of these challenges directly oppose each other, so far example it would be essentially impossible to achieve both the Pure Mage and Pure Warrior challenges in the same game simply because of their respective requirements. Choosing which ones to pursuit often means sacrificing others. However, like the rules, they can ultimately be ignored by any player who has no interest in participating in them. Success or failure with them does not affect the game in any way.
Finally, many have inquired about the end-game ranking that has been frequently mentioned. This is a score that reflects how successful an individual is at completing the game. It is based on cumulative experience points, quests finished, challenges met, and rules that were in affect during the campaign. Whether a player uses this score as a goal to beat on subsequent playthroughs or just for bragging rights among others is up to him or her.
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