Part 1: Welcome to Fort GanrickUpdate 001 Fort Ganrick
Go on, get out of here.
Weird. No patrols, no nothing
They were sent in a time when the Empire was at peace! There was no context for their actions!
You can try!
I'll be an adventurer, and cast spells, and go to every tiny little corner of these caves!
I DON'T KNOW YOU.
Is this it? Are we free?
Yes, yes we are.
"Ugh... I hate nightmares."
Hello, and welcome to Exile 2: Crystal Souls. This first update will cover the basics of the gameplay, as well as explore the first town we're in. The next will be character creation where I will ask for submissions from the readers to fill out the rest of the party. Let's get to it, shall we?
"Oh, my head... I need some water."
This is the main screen on which the game is played. On the left is the visible area, with the active party in the center. You can scroll around by clicking on the grey edge of the area, but for the most part you won't be doing that unless you're taking some long distance shots in combat. In the middle, you can see the lead character of the party, which in 91% of the case will be this lady in the purple poncho.
In the upper left is the primary status screen. It cycles through three different types of display though I have the second one up. The first is the general overview of the party. Their current health, spell point reserves, any positive or negative statuses or the like.
The second, here, is the detailed breakdown of the status of an individual party member. Art here has all of her stats laid out in a reasonable manner. I'll go over everything in more detail in character creation, but for now, there are two things I would like to point out. The first is the 'Weapon 1' line which shows off the bonus to-hit and bonus to damage that comes from our stats on our equipped weapon(s). This is a new feature in Exile 2, one for which I am truely grateful. The next line is Encumbrance. Poorly explained in Exile 1, this is a number that goes up the more equipment you are carrying. At 1 or 0, there is no negative effect, but past that and the character starts to lose actions points in combat and has a chance to fail at casting spells.
Not shown are the personal inventories of the characters (16 items each, up from 12! HALLELUJIA!), and the pages of Key Items that we will eventually have.
The lower right is the activity log, which records the last 20 or so messages you've received while playing the game. It can also be used to display special messages, and I'll record those properly.
At the bottom is the command bar. From the left is Cast Mage Spell, Cast Priest Spell, Look, Talk, Pick Up, Use (manipulate environment), Map, and Combat Mode. These should all be self-explanatory, though Use is primarily done to open or close doors. Oh yeah, you can do that in this game too, if you want to.
I'll show off Combat mode when it's time.
Now, where was the mess again?
This is the map screen. The unmapped parts are shown by the dots, open ground the grey. Doors are boxes in the walls, while boxes on the floor are places you can see through, but cannot walk on (unless it's a special encounter).
The largest advancement made is that all towns and dungeons are no longer fixed to a 36x36 map, but rather they are now scaled to small (Fort Ganrick, 24x24), Medium (36x36) and Large (48x48). This change only improves the game as it reduces wasted space on maps.
AND WHERE THE HELL IS MY KIT?
Argh... Water first. Equipment later.
Oh, sorry. Wrong room.
This is the talk screen, which pops up whenever you talk to a friendly NPC. The top-left shows a picture of whom you're talking to (though that should be obvious). The bar on the top right allows you to type in whatever subject you want to talk about. You pick out (or are given) a key word to ask about, type it into there, and the NPC will respond. The next two segments are where the NPC gives their response, while there are some instructions below that.
The bar of buttons at the bottom should be easy enough to understand, except for the 'Save' Button. Save is the saviour of this LP as it allows me to dump into a text file every response given to me. Without it, I would be transcribing thousands of lines of text, which would not be fun. At all. And like in the last LP, I will be bolding the words required to advance the conversation.
A scrawny man wearing the robes of an apprentice mage is reclining on the bed. He seems to have a headache.
I'm Ian. Who are you?"
I'm Art. I don't suppose you have anything for the headache?
He looks you over. "Oh. Adventurers. Go away."
Seriously? That's just rude.
"Go away. I have a headache."
So do I!
"You're here to help against the Nephilim, right? I thought so. Well go run off and do something, there's a good chap. My head hurts."
Do I look like a chap to you? What's your problem?
"Yes. From my journey. Wake me if we get attacked."
You little prick! It couldn't have been that hard to give you a problem like that. At least I have a reason! Where are you from anyways?
"From the tower."
The Tower? You with a unit?
Yes! From the Tower of Magi. Perhaps you've heard of it. A place where magi can learn and grow and gain power without having to fight kitties and Sliths and whatever. It's far to the south. Too far. Now will you please go away?" He rolls over on the bed and grumbles at you obscenely.
I hate you too, buddy.
As this is a narrative LP, I will be using mostly the actual lines for NPC responses. However, I will flesh out, tweak and expand them as I see fit to make the narration work better. All conversations will be true to the game, but the actual words said may change.
Maybe the sign will give me directions?
You can (L)ook at a sign on a wall to read it.
Or maybe not.
Ugh... Where's the pit?
Damn me. I should have done better. Stupid Art. STUPID!
Rook would laugh at me if he saw me like this. Isn't that right, Mister Lizard?
Not everyone you can talk to will be obvious. There's a lizard in the garbage pit back here, and you can talk to it! My discovery of this 17 years ago was mind blowing.
A small lizard darts happily across the floor. It looks up at you. Then it skitters around some more.
So, what do you do around here?
It doesn't seem to be interested in discussing its career prospects.
Thought so. Well, no sense in delaying things. Who knows when they'll show up?
And of course it's a dead end. This place isn't even finished yet!
And why would someone throw out a perfectly serviceable club back here?
No, not going to leave yet. Got to wait for the new meat.
Where is it?
Items on the ground can be picked up, and outside of combat, you can determine who gets what. In combat, it's the active party member. Art's not grabbing anything right now.
Dammit! I know I had it with me when I got here last night!
Not back here, either.
Behold, secret passages! These are often means by which you can find additional goodies, or bypass dangerous areas, or to simply advance the plot.
Logical. If my brain was currently working through logic at the moment.
WATER! Oh Mother-Of-Us-All, water!
If you're thirsty, serve yerself, Ma'am. You meet a harried, balding man. He doesn't want to slow down to talk to you.
Thanks! Art, by the way.
"I'm Gridley. And I don't have much time to chat. I'm the quartermaster for Fort Ganrick. And I need help!"
With what? And hand me that stack of plates, I'll earn my keep, thanks.
Here. Pot's over there. We need help more than anything. More people, more supplies. As things are, we can't hold up under a serious attack. We keep asking Fort Draco for supplies, but the Empire has them so scared they won't spare anything to fight the Nephilim."
"You passed Fort Draco on the way up here. It's just a little ways south."
I know. Actually, there's supposed to be a detachment of trainees coming up sometime today to help out. I'm supposed to be their teacher. Where are the Nephilim anyways?
"They live to the east. We're here to hold them in."
Thanks for that. You must have fun, being quartermaster.
"Yeah. I keep track of supplies. Well, that's supposed to be my job. But I also cook. And clean. And hold the kids hands. And try to get everything in shape before we get attacked."
You think that'll be soon?
They have to. It's in their nature. They've been wandering all around here, between the river and the dragon for years now. That they've finally settled down after their last place got blown to hell, what, five years ago? Yea, about that. Anyways, they have a base and they're making themselves a nuisance.
There is no in-game correlation between the events of update 13 of my previous LP and the presence of the coming dungeon, save the ones I created wholesale for the sake of the story.
I would have thought they would have disbanded after Anastasia died?
No clue. Have you talked to the Captain yet? She can tell you more about what you need than I can. And thanks for helping out. I appreciate it.
No need to go in there. But I should check to see if they're here.
Hrm, my people aren't here yet either. Damn.
Some items are not available for taking. If you try when someone is watching, you'll be a thief, and the guards will attack you. Guards will ruin your day like nothing else ever will. So don't steal!
Maybe I should check in with the Captain now. That water hit the spot.
Might as well get this over with.
You meet a small woman with long red hair and intricately made chain mail. She wears the insignia of a captain, not to mention two long, vicious looking rapiers.
Greetings, Captain. Art, Unspecified Services.
"Cecile Vidican. Captain Vidican, to you. Welcome to Fort Ganrick."
What's the situation, Captain?
"I'm trying to help this fort get established. That's where you come in. There's Nephilim to the east. And a reward in it for you."
You mean the reward money I dropped off when I got here yesterday?
She nods. "Five hundred gold if you can kill their chieftain, a fierce Nepharim. He's somewhere deep in their fort. If you can find the rear entrance, though, you might get close to him. Should you succeed, come ask for your reward."
Feels weird accepting a bounty like that.
You know the rules as much as I do.
Right. How's the Fort doing? Granick, right?
"Fort Ganrick. Before the Empire attacked, this was a peaceful mining area. Then the Nephilim snuck up here, wiped out the miners, and got established. Now we're here to hold them in until we can root them out."
"The kitties have established a lair to the east. We don't have the troops for a frontal assault, but we have high hopes that a small band can sneak in and do some damage to keep them off guard. The hard part is getting past the gate." She pats her blades. "We have to do something before they attack. We're ready, but not that ready."
You sound certain they'll attack soon.
They've made raids in the past. We're worried they'll attack this fort in the near future. Small sorties we can handle, but we're not ready for a pitched battle yet." She thinks. "If we do get attacked, we'll need your help. Be sure to use the armory."
I saw it. I was looking for my kit at the time.
"You can find supplies in the rooms to the east. Help yourself. We won't send you into the jaws of doom empty-handed. We don't have much to offer, I'm afraid. Little more than stone weapons, until Formello sends up something."
Actually, I'm headed there myself as soon as I can. How is Formello these days?
She sighs. "Formello's the biggest town in these parts. It's where I grew up. It's a ways to the southeast. I've been all over, and Formello is the nicest place in Exile by far." She sighs again. "Of course, that's not saying much."
Now that the pleasantries are out of the way, where the hells is my sword?
I put it in my room for safe keeping. You were in no condition to keep it in your quarters. She gets up for a minute, then returns, bearing Art's weapon. Never seen its like before. What is it?
Officially, Boutell's calling it the Alien Blade. He's not sure what alloy it's made of, let alone who did.
All wavy like that. How can anyone handle it?
Surprisingly well. The curves seem like they would make a mess of things, but it's actually pretty good once in motion. It's also hard to block because you can't tell exactly where the edge is.
You actually sound like you know what you're talking about. I expected less from a fake.
You're a fake. No way a looker like you
You think I'm a looker? That I got this job because of my face?
Yes! That, or you slept your way into position as a morale officer. There's no way that you did everything people say you did.
Oh come on!
It's people like you who give good soldiers a bad name!
Easy for you to say, sitting in your office worried about some damned Kitties! I was actually out on the front, doing actual work!
I don't believe you. There's no way anyone could do the things people say you've done. Kill Sss-Thsss? I can believe that. But a Demon Lord? And the Emperor? And that you found the Exit? Impossible! You know what? I'm sick of you. Get out of my office.
Typical. But I suppose I'll just practise here until they show up, then I can start their training.
And that's that. Now it's time for the thread to suggest characters to join Art in her new adventure. Exile has room for six people in the party, and I'd like to have you guys create the rest. Check out the post on Character Creation, and design a PC. Remember that you'll have 60 Skill Points and unlimited funds to work with! Write up a backstory or a character description and post it in the thread. I'll compile them, and once I feel we have enough selection, I'll select one PC to joint the party outright, then have the rest voted on by you guys.
And here's the map of Fort Ganrick, with locations marked.