Coming Soon: Arx, After the Reckoning

  • The common people of Arvum wouldn't really call the last thousand years a 'golden age'. Since the founding of the Compact of Arvum, the five great noble houses of the realm have schemed and warred against one another, locked in a millennium-old struggle for dominance kept only in check by the occasional powerful monarch. But even as the fragile peace frays with the latest dynastic crisis, creating courtly intrigues in the capital city of Arx, ancient foes that took mankind to the brink of extinction a thousand years ago stir once more.

    Currently in closed alpha, Arx is a low-fantasy, original theme game, built from evennia to create a heavily coded mush/RPI hybrid that incorporates a lot of the ideas from both that we find to be the most fun. We like a lot of the stronger story-telling aspects of mushes, while we also like the heavily coded games ability for players to make their own fun and affect the game world without being as GM-reliant (a selling point of games like RfK, Firan, RPIs, etc). Arx will have a story driven, episodic style metaplot that changes the game world significantly over its span separated into different distinct 'Seasons' of the game's story, able to go in wildly different directions based off player actions.

    Posting about this now since most of the systems are done with, and soon it'll be time to start breaking things in a spectacular fashion in a closed beta and seeing if I can drive our coders into a bleak depression with how many things need to be rewritten.

    Features wise, our design philosophy has been to focus on implementing systems that promote consequential RP between characters developing organically, which ideally will in turn free up staff to focus on the metaplot and the overall story. This means there's a lot of design choices that some people will love, and a few will very sincerely tell me I'm a bad designer that should feel bad.

    For example:

    Fully coded and automated combat, without GM interaction. Both small scale tactical combat that can include character death, and large scale army combat as nobles can go to war with one another, conquer each others' lands, and create all sorts of problems without putting in a single request/job.

    Player-controlled noble fealty system and land control with a civ-style minigame, along with organizational minigames that let players influence the political power of different groups.

    Crafting system, all the player-controlled items that implies.

    Gossip/Rumor system and Prestige system of player-controlled political influence.

    A slew of different RP promoting systems that are similar to ones in other RP formats (play-by-post, MMOs, tumblr, etc) to encourage characters being interconnected. Character journals, changing timelines of character relationships, shared character milestones, rewards for RPing about character niches, things like that. As well as a number of minor system to encourage IC communication over ooc ones to give a more immersive, organic feel. I personally believe it's hard to overdo it on giving characters fun reasons to interact with another, while never making them feel forced or obligated to.

    Alright, but what's the setting like?

    Completely original world, because we wanted more freedom in storytelling. Well, 'completely' is a bit of a stretch, since there's going to be homages (shameless ripoffs) to any number of series that we love, and being low fantasy there's going to be parallels to Game of Thrones, and I'm a huge fan of Joe Abercrombie's First Law trilogy so there's many a homage there. But it'll be low fantasy in the sense that while magic and fantastic elements exist, they are rare/understated enough that thematically there is doubt they exist, and the emphasis of stories will fall on a more human, character-driven element.

    Except aesthetically, which is an odd thing to talk about in pure-text games. Because while I respect gamers who adore historical costume pieces, I think most people would rather not be in a frock. The aesthetics for the game are closer to eastern style high fantasy ridiculousness found in games like Aion, Tera, Guild Wars 2, Archeage, Black Desert, etc. So low fantasy world, high fantasy aesthetics in the medieval stasis trope.

    To the brave and extremely curious that want to glance at the lore, you can look at our painfully basic webpage that exists as awkward testimony that none of us are the least bit proficient in CSS here. That will be completely redone before we launch.

    If anyone has any questions, I'll be happy to ramble on endlessly about the up and coming game.

  • I'm looking forward to it. :)

  • I'll play just to see evennia in action.

  • @ixokai said in Coming Soon: Arx, After the Reckoning:

    I'll play just to see evennia in action.

    Same. Everything I've read shows a lot of promise but I really want to see what playing on an Evennia game feels like.

  • Since it's a base framework and we wanted to be able to accommodate both RPI and mush players, we tried to heavily alias a lot of common commands in both formats to work. Like for example standard mush page syntax works, and standard 'tell' syntax in muds works also. Can't do it completely without rewriting the command line parser, but it probably won't feel that alien in terms of interface.

  • @Apos
    Can you \\Test to @emit?

    Cuz like, if I can't "\\Stuff" to "@emit Stuff", I will be deeply sad and screw up every time.

    Even when I'm posing something that starts with my name, when I could use :smiles, I type my name out as \\Ixokai smiles. Its pure habit. Its deeply ingrained, my fingers have a direct connection to my brain on this point.

    It seriously stopped me from roleplaying on a MUD once when I wanted to try it out for some sort of nerd-anthropological quest.

  • Crafting system. Is that going to go hand-in-hand with an economy/money system?

    Are we talking Firan-level here? With somebody having to go out and mine the iron ore for the blacksmith to the make a sword, and that's the only way to 'get' a new sword is from a PC blacksmith? With customizable ansi coloring (256?) and ascii enabled descriptions/names opposed to just 'iron short sword'?

    Or somebody having to raise the sheep and shear them to make wool for the weaver/etc? Want your noble to have 'pretty jewelry', you need to pay for the gems and precious metals and jeweller and not just desc yourself as wearing the hope diamond because 'omg i r noble'?

    Or something less than that?

  • Pitcrew


    Goods for crafting are all available on the market, in finite quantities that replenish at preset times. You don't have to raise/mine anything if you don't want to (and have the money not to have to). You can look at "crafting introduction" on the website introduction, and of course there are in game files, but to address some of your questions:

    • Each ability level will unlock recipes you can learn by typing "learn recipe", then so long as you have the goods in your inventory, you can craft them. Some things you can gather yourself with applicable skills but again - the market will also have stock of everything. The prohibitive good in this case is meant to be money, not the materials themselves.
    • Customizable ansi coloring, XTERM 256 - yes. Also, Tehom has made an @gradient command like the one you might remember from Firan for helpful gradienting. There is no static name - IE you can make an iron sword and name it Starcatcher and nothing else if you want.
    • We want the crafting/descing system to be opt-in. So if you do not use crafted clothing/jewelry at all, it will be assumed that you are wearing a normal outfit for your stature. But if you want to be wearing iridescite jewelry with dragon tear will need to shell out the money for that. (I am really proud of iridescite, ok).

  • Thanks for the answers! Sounds pretty interesting so far. :)

  • Creator

    I am loving this idea!
    So tell me:

    • Is it possible to raise and breed animals for better yield of materials or better horses? (like specifically breeding 'Far Strider' horses that can't carry a lot but could indeed go farther in a day that a 'normal' horse?

    • Housing and home? I know on Firan if you didn't know the crafting system inside and out you couldn't really do your IC job, which meant no money which mean.. you'd loose your housing and no access to the baths.. which meant you smelled. (down down the drain). until some noble took pity on you.
      How do you prevent that from happen?

    • Are we purely locked into having characters from a Roster who don't belong to players? Or are those just examples?

  • @Songtress said in Coming Soon: Arx, After the Reckoning:

    I am loving this idea!
    So tell me:

    • Is it possible to raise and breed animals for better yield of materials or better horses? (like specifically breeding 'Far Strider' horses that can't carry a lot but could indeed go farther in a day that a 'normal' horse?

    • Housing and home? I know on Firan if you didn't know the crafting system inside and out you couldn't really do your IC job, which meant no money which mean.. you'd loose your housing and no access to the baths.. which meant you smelled. (down down the drain). until some noble took pity on you.
      How do you prevent that from happen?

    • Are we purely locked into having characters from a Roster who don't belong to players? Or are those just examples?

    Good questions, I appreciate them.

    1. For the first, yes eventually, but we're trying to avoid going super far deep down rabbit holes at the start since I don't want to create a system that's too complex for people to intuitively grasp and get into. For example, making components in crafting easily accessible rather than a mini-game collecting/harvesting type approach mandated that also means you store up mountains of random bits of a hundred different components for crafting. I think that style gets really overwhelming, so think of it closer to a gw2 style locker of having permanent access to all sub components without a very MUD orientated, 'trying to carry everything on you and mix and matching non-stop'. Similarly, while we'll eventually go down the, 'And you can refine this by doing Y', we're avoiding that initially to try to make sure it's not overwhelming in the, 'I want to raise horses' 'well what kind of horse, how were they bred, how were they...' of 10 thousand questions that someone doesn't want to deal with.

    2. Similarly, I personally found firan's approach extremely newbie unfriendly and alienating, with no disrespect towards them. I generally am extremely strongly opposed to design in RPI type games that force players to handle a lot of upkeep. I think most players despise that, and really, really resent feeling forced to engage in tedious minigames instead of RPing. So our approach economically is to have a tremendous amount of voluntary sinks of things players would -like- to do, without a true upper end of it no longer being useful, but without a lot of things where you feel like you absolutely must have it. So a much stronger carrot rather than whip approach.

    To elaborate on that slightly further, my design philosophy is to implement systems that encourage RP, but never, ever any that remove player agency, which is where I think most mush players nope the hell out from RPIs. 'If my character forgets to eat, I starve to death'. This is an absurd situation since no character is moronic enough to forget to eat and just die from it, if they have access to food. So any kind of maintenance type system that seems silly for characters to not be doing is right out.

    1. No, player created is totally fine. And every character on the roster was generated using the exact same CG that all players will have access to. Generally speaking, I'd try to give hooks to each player-created CG to help them tie into the metaplot in small ways so player created ones aren't alienated from the game as a whole, which I think is a failing in a lot of roster vs new CG games.

  • Creator

    Ok, you've hooked me @Apos, consider me at least, looking!

    I think I'd reallyl ike more House lore, (as I sit down at the game and start reviewing as Guest, I see house names mentioned by no.. on game access to that info. ( I mean, their holdings, physical attributes, Pantheon afflitations, that type of stuff.

  • Pitcrew

    Also, with the opt-in nature of the crafting system (IE No one will be yelling at you that you are naked if you don't have a crafted outfit), and the fact that we aren't going to make you buy food or stink if you don't bathe, it shouldn't be too terribly painful for people who are very casual and/or not interested in that type of 'minigame'.

  • Due to other threads, I am generally wary of anything that says 'RPI' (thanks Redshift!) but there were aspects of Firan I liked, so I am interested in checking this out and seeing what you've built. Especially with crafting. Crafting is something my girlfriend loves and if you did this well... hell maybe I'll be able to get her more heavily invested in the hobby.

  • @Lithium I think a lot of the other threads can give anyone a gut aversion to the words 'RPI' and that's understandable. It's also fair that I'll have different tastes than other people, and some of the things I've made people will hate, and some they'll love. But I'll definitely appreciate someone with a much different point of view trying out the game, since it'll help clue me into obvious blind spots of things that might appeal to them I have no idea about, or big turns off that I just wouldn't otherwise notice.

    @ixokai Now that you mention it, double \ is an alias for emit from the evennia base code. I absolutely didn't even notice that till you asked. Whoops. Thanks!

  • Pitcrew

    What is with people always making fantasy mu* without magic? I don't understand it. Then again, I disliked Firan and I dislike the Game of Thrones (endless sex romps are not the same thing as backstabbing, character-driven rp). On the other hand, I -can- see how too much magic can take away from a character focus...but its like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I don't get it, I never will. Tolkien used to be the prototypical low magic world, and now he's high fantasy by comparison. Lack of imagination these days.

    That being said, otherwise sounds like your really thinking. Best of luck!

  • Admin

    @secretfire A lot of grimdark fantasy the last few years has no magic-using characters at all, they are only antagonists or quest-giver types.

    It's also a fact a lot of fantasy systems are very unbalanced in favor of spellcasters so maybe games are trying to get away from that trope?

  • Pitcrew

    In the case of Arx, there is a LOT of plot waiting. There are planned 'seasons'.

    I mean, I don't want to spoil anything, but there's very little about the state of the game at the beginning that is set in stone. It's meant to be a story, and stories move. In this case, magic is very much a part of the world, it's just not the done thing in Arx (the city). as the story opens.

    The game's design is not at all shying away from magic users, or trying to avoid magic as a plot device.

  • @secretfire I like high fantasy quite a bit, and I very much agree about endless sex romps not being the same thing as character-driven RP. But for me the difference between low fantasy and high fantasy is just pitch and degree, since it's about making characters and how they react to the world and their setting.

    A character that lives in a world where magic acts as a constant deus ex machina and they have magical travel and can magically handwave hand wave all diseases/ailments/common problems immediately has a different tone in stories from ones where problems like that just can't be solved. This doesn't make high fantasy bad, and this doesn't necessarily even make low fantasy grimdark, it just changes the perspective of characters from ones where cure all panaceas might exist to ones where they very emphatically do not. I personally find high fantasy focus a lot more on describing the world and their possibilities, since they are so markedly different, while low fantasy take a perspective closer to the character and playing more the similarities.

  • Everything devolves into wild sex romps, because sex sells. Sex and Violence.

    As for high vs low fantasy, there is magic in Game of Thrones, it's just very rare unless you take into account the corpses turning into zombies and babies being turned into white walkers and the dragons and the sorcerers and... well nevermind.

    Low Fantasy, High Fantasy, Cyberpunk, Transhuman, Sixth World, it's all neat backdrops but what really matters is the story and how it's told. What part the PC's play in it.

    Time will tell.

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