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J.E. Sawyer

Update #5 - Souls, Technology, and Adventuring Companies

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Developing setting and atmosphere are very important to us at Obsidian. We try to build worlds that are believable even when they are fantastic. To do that, we strive to create people, cultures, and conflicts that are both strongly defined and heavily interconnected. In observing community discussion about the game, we've noted two recurring requests for more detail: on the nature of souls and on the level of this world's technology. This update deals less with culture details and more specifically with those two topics since they are fundamental to the way the world works. There's also some information at the end about a new $5,000 backer tier we're excited to introduce. Thanks for reading!

 

N.B.: I know I said I'd talk about mechanics today. I forgot that I had already said I'd talk about technology earlier. Sorry! The next update I do will talk about non-combat skills the nature of classes in Project Eternity.

 

Souls

 

As we hinted at in our pitch videos, souls are A Big Deal in Project Eternity's world. The mortal world has not unlocked all of the secrets of how souls "work" and differing schools of metaphysical philosophy can be found in virtually every culture. What is known is that sapient souls move through an endless cycle of waking life and purgatorial slumber among the gods. Often this slumber lasts for years of "real" time, but occasionally it is brief, with a soul immediately moving on to a new life.

 

Far from being a flawless process, souls are subject to "fracturing" over generations, transforming in myriad ways, and not quite... working right. Some cultures and individuals place a high value on "strong" souls, souls with a "pure" lineage, "awakened" souls that remember past lives, "traveled" souls that have drifted through the divine realms, or those that co-exist with other souls in one body. However, the opposite is also true, resulting in negative discrimination and sometimes outright violence.

 

Through a variety of techniques (e.g. martial training, meditation, ritualistic evocation, mortification of the flesh), some individuals are able to draw upon the energy of their soul to accomplish extraordinary feats. These abilities range from the mundanely superhuman to the explosively magical. Having a strong soul seems to make this easier, but sometimes even people with fragmented souls are able to accomplish the extraordinary. The individual's body seems to act as a conduit and battery for this power, drawing in replenishment from seemingly omnipresent "fields" of unbound spiritual energy in the world around them.

 

Thinkers, spiritualists, and scientists of the world have theorized for thousands of years about the nature and purpose of this process, but others have turned to prayer for answer. Rather than illuminate the presumed higher purpose of this cycle, the gods have obfuscated the truth, at times spreading cosmological lies, pitting believers and empowered chosen agents against each other, and tacitly approving the prejudices of their followers to maintain power.

 

Whatever the fundamental nature of mortal souls is, the people of the world accept the reality of what they have observed: that all mortal bodies contain perceptible energy bound to the individual, and that once they die, their energy will move forward in the eternal cycle that they are all a part of -- that as far as they know, they have always been a part of.

 

Technology

 

The cultures of Project Eternity are in a variety of different technological states. Though some remote civilizations are still in the equivalent of Earth's Stone Age or Bronze Age, most large civilizations are in the equivalent of Earth's high or late Middle Ages. The most aggressive and powerful civilizations are in the early stages of what would be our early modern period, technologically, even if they are not culturally undergoing "Renaissance"-style changes.

For most large civilizations, this means that all of the core arms and armor of medieval warfare have reached a high level of development: full suits of articulated plate armor, a variety of military swords, war hammers, polearms, longbows, crossbows, and advanced siege weaponry. Architecturally, these cultures also employ technologies found in Earth's Gothic structures, allowing them to create towering vertical structures.

 

The most recent technologies seeing use in the world are ocean-going carrack-style ships and black powder firearms (notably absent: the printing press). Cultures with large navies and mercantile traffic are exploring the world, which has led to contact with previously-unknown lands and societies and settlement in new lands. Despite their intense drive, these explorers have been restricted from aggressive long-range exploration by monstrous sea creatures that pose a lethal, seemingly insurmountable threat to even the stoutest, most well-armed ships.

 

Black powder firearms are of the single-shot wheellock variety. Largely considered complex curiosities, these weapons are not employed extensively by military forces. Their long reload times are considered a liability in battles against foes that are too monstrous to drop with a single volley, foes that fly or move at high speed, and foes that have the power of invisibility. Despite this, some individuals do employ firearms for one specific purpose: close range penetration of the arcane veil, a standard magical defense employed by wizards. The arcane veil is powerful, but it does not react well to the high-velocity projectiles generated by arquebuses and handguns. As a result, more wizards who previously relied on the veil and similar abjurations have turned to traditional armor for additional defense.

 

New $5,000 Tier

 

Bam! We started with a $5,000 tier that allowed the backer to set up an inn and receive some additional items. Fortunately or unfortunately, that sold out almost immediately. We've come up with a new tier that is aimed toward (but not limited to!) the forum communities that have shown (and continue to show) us so much support. Some of the most fun we've had as players, DMs, and game designers has happened when we got to deal with a group of enemy adventurers -- mercenaries, thugs, whatever you want to call them -- squaring off against the party. This new tier allows you to build a fighting force of extraordinary magnitude to throw at the player. We've also switched around a few of the bonuses in this tier, giving out more digital downloads. We can't wait to see what you come up with.

 

That's all for this update! Tomorrow we'll have some words from Chris Jones about the technology we're using to build Project Eternity.

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I really like the souls idea and am looking forward to see how that fits with the mechanics--classes. Hm. I'll remain neutral on the guns; I'm sure Obsidian will balance them in a fantasy game appropriately. (Oh hello, armoured arcane mages. Interesting.)

 

Thanks!


The KS Collector's Edition does not include the Collector's Book.

Which game hook brought you to Project Eternity and interests you the most?

PE will not have co-op/multiplayer, console, or tablet support (sources): [0] [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Write your own romance mods because there won't be any in PE.

"But what is an evil? Is it like water or like a hedgehog or night or lumpy?" -(Digger)

"Most o' you wanderers are but a quarter moon away from lunacy at the best o' times." -Alvanhendar (Baldur's Gate 1)

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This sounds great.


Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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Armored mages and shields that behave in a similar (yet the contrary but nvm) way to Dune shields.

 

Am I dreaming? Upping pledge.


1669_planescape_torment-prev.png


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Josh what can you say about adventuring companies? The whole thing has really got me intrigued in a very good way.

 

Thanks.


sonsofgygax.JPG

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As the description implies, powder guns have a very specific use against the magical barriers, so I would say that that will make them quite balanced, as they cannot substitute another ranged weapons for general use.

Edited by pedroantonio
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New world discovered, possible colonial exploration and conquest in sequels?


The area between the balls and the butt is a hotbed of terrorist activity.

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Heavily armored mages actually makes sense in a realistic point of view as well: Front line warriors need to be able to move around, thus often favouring lighter armor, mages however, are usually stationary in combat, so why not wear something protective. Damn, the more I think about this the more sense it makes.

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The Souls sound just utterly fascinating. There is so much I know you are going to do with this. <3 Also i think the setting/technology sound perfect. Especially entire sea going vessels wiped out my monster of the sea. Great stuff.

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eeeee! :D

 

^__^ kay, I'm good.

 

Love the way you're handling souls. :3

 

<_<

>_>

Also, someone mark the return of Gromnir! X3

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Despite this, some individuals do employ firearms for one specific purpose: close range penetration of the arcane veil, a standard magical defense employed by wizards. The arcane veil is powerful, but it does not react well to the high-velocity projectiles generated by arquebuses and handguns. As a result, more wizards who previously relied on the veil and similar abjurations have turned to traditional armor for additional defense.

So a crossbow bolt would be too slow to break the veil? Because I imagine it would be a lot cheaper and reliable to use.

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At least my mage won't have to wear a ridiculous wearing hat and long robe. Forget armor, I'd be happy if the only good gear for a mage didn't look like a dress. Maybe pants, shirt, vest, and boots? I have to travel in this stuff, after all.


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Remembering tarna, Phosphor, Metadigital, and Visceris.  Drink mead heartily in the halls of Valhalla, my friends!

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I have to say that I am extremely pleased with Obsidian's dedication, absolutely amazing. The daily updates are greatly appreciated and these new bits on souls and technology are just amazing. I can't say anything besides just THANK YOU.

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1zq6793.jpg

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I imagine one soul breaks the cycle or the truth about gods lies would come out?

 

Mages in armor? Huh...

 

Also, if a magical veil comes from purity of one's soul, and gun can break it, is it going somewhere near Arcanum problem of tech vs. magic? The whole fact is kinda weird, to tie material force to metaphysical one.

Edited by Shadenuat

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As a result, more wizards who previously relied on the veil and similar abjurations have turned to traditional armor for additional defense.

--Yes, finally! Mages that aren't limited to wearing pajama's!

--The soul stuff as an explanation for abilities sounds interesting. Can one be an unbeliever? :biggrin:

--I'm not normally into (or against) guns in fantasy rpg's but I'm loving the sound of the way you're using them in this game. It feels like it makes sense/there's a good reason to have them and I like that they're old gun tech.

 

Again, thanks for the update.

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“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts

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Good update, thanks. Soul part seems intriguing. Anti-mage guns aren't really fresh idea though.

Hmm, souls, something is gonna happen with PC's soul, isn't it?

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this sounds.... outstanding! thx for update! could we please have a teaser screen in tomorrow's update? :w00t:

Edited by Semper

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The most recent technologies seeing use in the world are ocean-going carrack-style ships and black powder firearms (notably absent: the printing press). Cultures with large navies and mercantile traffic are exploring the world, which has led to contact with previously-unknown lands and societies and settlement in new lands. Despite their intense drive, these explorers have been restricted from aggressive long-range exploration by monstrous sea creatures that pose a lethal, seemingly insurmountable threat to even the stoutest, most well-armed ships.

 

Sounds a bit like Dishonoured. Also, the world reminds me of Arcanum before steam engine were stolen from the dwarves.

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