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archangel979

Serpent in the Staglands - new party based RTwP RPG

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I am sure some of your heard about it but for the rest I decided to mention this cool little game.

 

It is a new party RTwP RPG done with PIXEL ART and the shortest description of gameplay/story would be: Imagine someone taking Darklands, Baldur's gate and Fallout 1 and mixing it up to make a cool new game.

 

The longer official description you can find here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/335120 (there is a GoG versions as well here http://www.gog.com/game/serpent_in_the_staglands)

 

To hype you up let me leave some of my impressions and experiences with it.

 

Story

 

 

 

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You start as a Moon God that is stuck in mortal realm and must find his way home. As you must take a mortal body to travel and find out what happened you can be slain. You can create more than one body at start and travel with full (5) premade party if you want to or you can collect companions through the game (or kick premades to make room for companions). I been told there are around 30 possible companions to find. Some of them are only temporary with you and if you want to roleplay an evil guy/god you can bind their souls to yours so they lose their free will (they change their behaviour than).

The story is very free form like Fallout, you explore the overland map like in Fallout at your own leisure and run into random encounters or villages/towns/places of interest in your quest to return to the Moon.

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Character System

 

It is a classless system but you can choose from couple of races which each have 3 subraces. Your race gives you your look while subrace gives you a mechanical bonus

 

Serpent-in-the-Staglands-Character-Creat

 

They are not a direct copy of any other RPG I seen.

You don't get to choose a class but skills are split into 3 groups: War skills, Spells and Aptitudes. War skills and Spells each have 3 ranks that you can get access to as you raise their primary skills during level up (Str and Dex for War skills and Int and Occult for Spells) while Aptitudes are a mix of non-combat skills and unique combat abilities (for example Linguistics lets you use an Incantation book to cast Curses on enemies and environment (a powerful curse can speed up day/night change which normally you can only do by spending money on a Inn, camping supplies or running around the Overland Map) but also lets you examine certain things in the world or get more from some conversations while Woodwise will detect/set traps and give you more information about nature phenomenon you run into).

You get points at each level up and can put them into War skills, Spells or Aptitudes of your choice that you have access to.

 

There is of course an inventory system that is like in BG games, one spot = one piece of gear but lots of items can stack. The whole party has one common inventory (the system is done better than in PoE) while the inventory itself is split into combat and non-combat items (two button filter one of the other part).

 

 

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Inventory screen will show for each character how currently equipped gear affects their stats while on Character Screen you can see the total results that take into effect your active War Skills and spells.

 

 

Gameplay

 

Like expected you get to explore the world, talk to many NPCs and try to loot anything you can see original.gif (NPCs will give you one warning if you try to loot their items)

 

 

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You will often need certain Aptitudes to get access to quests or just a bit of extra stuff (in above scene 1 point in certain Aptitude will give you a cool special item). Thing to note is that the game does not hold your hand. I am not kidding. The game has a Journal screen but you need to fill it yourself (although many quests will put scrolls into your inventory that will usually have most info you need), and the local area map is just a zoom out of your normal view that you can then scroll around to get your bearings or watch your party move long distance over the map. But it has many cool things hidden that you can find with the proper use of ingame resources and a functioning brain.

 

Combat is often brutal like in BG1. Remember the first time you went out of Candlekeep and got murdered by a single wolf? Yes, that can happen here as well. Play smart and the game will reward you with victory. The start is hardest, I can tell you that. Your created characters start naked and with little money (and first shop has no armor to sell), but companions you can find early start with armor and weapons so use them well (or loot their stuff and kick them in good old Bg1 style :D). Read what your spells do and come up with good battle plans that uses most of your party skills and you will do well. Combat is often short and brutal so don't be afraid to use all resources at your disposal.

 

 

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War skills are all passive and you can have 3 of them active at any time and can change active one at any moment. There are all kinds although lower level ones are just some direct combat boosts (the notable exception is skill for Elixir bag that lets you elixirs do splash damage - yes you can throw Elixirs in the game as a weapon original.gif )

 

Unlike Bg1 spells in this game are not as OP, they are more toned down like in PoE but you don't have any limits on spellcasting.

There two basic type of spells: those that need to channeled and those that don't. Channeled spells last until you stop channeling them which locks down your caster for that one role, while other kind last a fairly short time (except Shapeshifting which can be prolonged a lot if you build your character right) and use those at start of battle. There are no classic fireball/Lightning/invisibility/teleport/fly spells but you can still do a lot. Some fun spells can do things like turn a target into a Fiend that makes everyone around want to attack him (both friend and foe) and he channels negative energy while being attacked and releases that as a AoE damage once he dies.

There are some fun outside of combat uses for spells like using some spells to change your form so you can fit where you normally would not be able to.

What is that cat doing therewink.png

 

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Aptitudes can also be used in combat to charm enemies, summon helpers or curse them (like I mentioned earlier), set traps, craft potions to use in battle or check out the stats of your enemies to know how to fight them better.

 

Closing Word

Of course the number one question will be: Can I play games with pixel art?

If you can answer this question with YES go buy this game today. It is only 20$ (and on Steam sale atm), done by only two people (can you believe that), it has 30+ hours of content and devs are improving it fast (mostly some UI issues left now) while listening to the best community suggestions.

 

If you like the game spread the word around as all mainstream sites have completely ignored this gem.

 

BTW, both Chris Avellone and Sawyer tried it and liked it.

Edited by archangel979
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It's criminal how little attention this game has gotten since release, it was a successful Kickstarter campaign made only by 2 people. And it's better then a lot of games created by massive dev teams.

Edited by diablo169
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I'd forgotten all about this, thank you for the reminder.

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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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How combat-heavy is the game?  Is there a lot to do outside of combat?  Are there non-combat skills that come into play frequently?  I ask because Pillars, quite frankly, burnt me out on RtwP combat and the combat that I played in the demo of this game was, quite honestly, dull as dishwater, granted that was with starting characters lacking much in the way of abilities.

Edited by Keyrock

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The combat options open up as you level up. The cool thing about spells is that you unlock whole rank of them once your Int+Occult get to total 26 and then 32 so you can play around with many of them. Yes they are all less or more useful with 0 points put into them but they do open up new options.

 

I would say there is less combat than in PoE but also less talking in starting area. I have not gone far outside starting area to tell you more.

 

There is a reason why I said it is a mix of BG and Fallout and not PST or PoE. It has some nice C&C (your actions during the game decide what kind of end you get, not your actions at the end; also your actions can cause death of whole villages).

Edited by archangel979

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I'd forgotten all about this, thank you for the reminder.

Same here. Just bought it though. I am installing it first thing when I get home. TY for the reminder.

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Tnx guys for supporting this developer. I want them to get enough sales to make an even better and more ambitious game.

Edited by archangel979

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It's criminal how little attention this game has gotten since release, it was a successful Kickstarter campaign made only by 2 people. And it's better then a lot of games created by massive dev teams.

I hope the reason is E3. Hopefully after E3 some bigger sites put out reviews.

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This game is the next on my docket, assuming the Witcher will let me go, but i've got to say that i'm surprised by the muted response to it. Is this just the usual distaste for an outdated graphical style, or are there more pertinent problems with the game if I may ask those in the know?

 

Edit: I'd heard that there were bugs galore on the initial release but that the two developers are performing Herculean feats to resolve and crush them, has this impacted the reception?

Edited by Nonek

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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This game is the next on my docket, assuming the Witcher will let me go, but i've got to say that i'm surprised by the muted response to it. Is this just the usual distaste for an outdated graphical style, or are there more pertinent problems with the game if I may ask those in the know?

 

Edit: I'd heard that there were bugs galore on the initial release but that the two developers are performing Herculean feats to resolve and crush them, has this impacted the reception?

The problem is more that no review site has done a review. And than E3 happened very soon afterwards.
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This game is the next on my docket, assuming the Witcher will let me go, but i've got to say that i'm surprised by the muted response to it. Is this just the usual distaste for an outdated graphical style, or are there more pertinent problems with the game if I may ask those in the know?

 

Edit: I'd heard that there were bugs galore on the initial release but that the two developers are performing Herculean feats to resolve and crush them, has this impacted the reception?

The problem is more that no review site has done a review. And than E3 happened very soon afterwards.

 

E3 is 100% capable of overshadowing any game that doesn't get press there.  Releasing a game prior to E3, and it not being a AAA game that will be talked about there, isn't a wise move.  That said, I think if the right people do reviews on it it will turn out fine.  I wonder if it is on TotalBiscuit's radar?

Edited by Ganrich
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They don't need to make it big with this game, just get enough money to make the next game and put everything they learned from this one into that one. Their head is in the right place (they want to continue making hard games that don't hold your hand).

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Looks interesting. Going to buy now.


"Take your child murderin' god and shove his him up his own ass."-Volorun

 

"...the vote of a black redhead disabled homosexual transsexual Jew should probably be worth the same as at least a hundred white heterosexual Christians."-Rostere

 

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