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Welcome to Exilian! We're one of the friendliest communities on the internet, democratically run and existing to help facilitate a range of projects in fields including game modding/content creation, programming, drama, music, debating, writing, RPG and wargame design, e-learning, and more. You can also come here to chat, discuss the news, post poetry, play forum games, and just to meet a diverse range of people from all over the world.

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Spoil a wish
Ierne November 14, 2019, 10:35:07 PM

Studying the dissemination of history via computer games
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Fortunately, Unfortunately
Tusky November 14, 2019, 01:30:22 PM


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Posted on November 01, 2019, 02:05:43 PM by Jubal
Rome Total War - Vanilla Extended Released!





Korsakoff's Rome Total War: Vanilla Extended mod has been released! This mod replaces a number of the vanilla Rome: Total War factions with additional historical realms, from the post-Macedonian mediterranean Kingdoms of Pergamum and Epirus, to the tiny Bosporan kingdom and mighty Media Atropatene in the east, or the Celtic Tribes on the northwest fringes of Europe. There are also reworked unit rosters for a number of factions, with an extended range of troops available to Numidia, Thrace, and Dacia among others, as well as tweaks to the campaign map. The whole mod retains the feel and balance of classic vanilla RTW, giving you its classic gaming experience that gamers have enjoyed for the past fourteen years - do check the mod out at the links below:

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Posted on September 30, 2019, 10:01:08 PM by Jubal
Updates from the Forge 35: Autumn 2019

Issue 35: Autumn 2019

EDITORIAL

Autumn browns and damps are seeping into the forests across the northern hemisphere, colder winds are beginning to blow, and the slow days of summer are coming to an end. And with that comes your Autumn edition of Updates from the Forge, Exilian's newsletter of creative geekery! This issue contains news from across the site for July, August, and September - since the change to a quarterly schedule we're ending up with very packed issues, and there are several projects, including some fantastic game dev work, that haven't made it in this time, but we'll prioritise those for the next issue of course. We've got two entirely new projects on Exilian this time, which is always nice, and a great array especially of medieval themed game dev going on - appropriate as your editor is about to start teaching a university course on medieval topics in computer game design!

There's not much news from across the site this time - the summer months are usually quiet - but there've been some discussions starting on some MUCH bigger news for 2020, so keep an eye out for that in the Winter/New Year edition. We'll also have elections coming up in December and we'd love to see some new faces on the team, so if you'd like to help make this newsletter happen or otherwise support our work helping creative projects out, do give one of the admins a shout or ask about it in Questions & Suggestions.

And with that, here's this issue's nine projects in the showcase...

CONTENTS:

  • Editorial
  • Game Development
    • Tourney: Fools and Foibles, Statues and Surgeons
    • Mostly Intense Monster Defence
    • Introducing: HEUSS!
    • Onto the grid - AI tactics from Heralds of the Order...
    • Rome:Total War - Vanilla Extended Returns!
  • Writing & Arts
    • New Exilian Music Releases!
    • Meeting Megiumi in Aviarium...
    • Mountain Leopards: One Year On
  • Miscellany
    • Let us know what you're reading - and find recommendations!


GAME DEV

Tourney: Fools and Foibles, Statues and Surgeons



Exilian moderator Tusky's wonderful project Tourney continues to come along, with several new additions to announce. One notable one is the surgeon's tent, where injured knights can get "fixed up" after a joust goes wrong... though with the standards of medieval decidedly medieval, they may have to hope that the cure isn't worse than the injury! As well as the surgeon, the jester has also arrived to the tournament ground to wander around and entertain - or perhaps make fun of and annoy - your various tournament guests. More detail has been added to many of the characters as well, including subtle tips that may help you annoy enemy knights in critical banterous moments. With all this, and more features like statues starting to be added, there's a great deal to be looking forward to - and you can find regular updates on the Exilian devlog thread.




Mostly Intense Monster Defence



New Exilian member Patsui has recently released Mostly Intense tower defence, a game with bouncy pixel graphics in which you must defend your dungeon from hordes of downright impolite "heroes" (who do they think they are) who are showing up to ruin your day. Skeletons, goblins, mages, and other monsters can be summoned to bolster your defences across a sixteen level story mode or, if you're feeling the long haul, an endless mode with an eternity of randomised waves of foes to be thrown at you! With lots of humorous dialogue through the campaign as well, and an interesting "tactics wheel" control system that allows you to switch the focus of your defending troops at speed, there's plenty to look at in this new title.




Introducing: HEUSS!



Another new project, this one from Manic Arts, Heuss (pronounced roughly rhyming with "goose", in case you were wondering), is an upcoming medieval themed combat game inspired by One Finger Death Punch which involves a centred player being attacked by enemies from both sides, with the combat arts and skill of dodging, blocking, and of course swinging a sword being the core focus of the gameplay. As well as basic spear-wielding grunts, enemies will include sword-and-board heavies capable of defending themselves, archers whose shots you will need to dodge, and sneakier quick-attack foes among others.



Heuss is especially well worth looking at for any aspiring developer as well thanks to its exceptionally well crafted series of YouTube devlogs, the "Road to Steam" series which is a core part of the project. These take the watcher in great detail through the process and design decisions in making the game, relating them to other games and showing the production process and results clearly on the screen in bite-sized episodes of just a few minutes each. The short format and effective delivery make these a particularly good playlist for the aspiring developer. Well worth checking out!





Onto the grid - AI tactics from Heralds of the Order...



We've had some fantastic new devlog posts from Archaean Games, creators of Heralds of the Order, on their grid-based tactics system. There are some really interesting insights involved on how their AI calculates units' tactical options, and the necessity of building an AI that provides for a fun game over and above one that gives the greatest effectiveness via tactics that feel wrong from a human perspective. How the range of units and gameplay style functions in is also discussed, as well as the underlying systems of influence maps and behaviour trees that allow the AI to calculate what it thinks is the correct move for its unit in any given circumstance. These new articles are a really good under the bonnet look at the constricution of a game AI and are very well worth having a read through. With an upcoming improved demo release apparently likely, we're hoping to hear much more from the Heralds of the Order in weeks to come!




Rome: Total War - Vanilla Extended Returns!



Korsakoff has recently returned to Exilian with some cool new updates on his Vanilla Extended mod for RTS/TBS classic Rome: Total War! This mod keeps close to the classic game but extends it to better showcase the wars of Alexander's successors, the diadochi. RTW: VE's faction list has recently undergone some changes, with the Briton-only faction being switched out in favour of a broader "Celtic Tribes" faction straddling the English Channel that will have more room for expansion on the European continent. Another change is the removal of Parthia in favour of Atropatene, one of the actual historic counterweights to Seleucid dominance deep in the Middle east.

Exilian grew out of the Rome Total War and Mount & Blade modding scenes more than anything else, having provided support for mods including Rome Total Realism, Warhammer Total War, Persian Invasion, Valar Morghulis, Narnia Total War, and more - and it's really good to see some RTW modding continuing here. Please do head over to the RTW modding forum and discover many new options for playing one of the greatest classics in strategy gaming!




ART & WRITING

New Exilian Music Releases!


We have new music from Jubal on the Exilian Media YouTube channel, with two new songs including the above new original sea shanty "Salt Horses", written in a traditional style as one of two poems produced for Tusky as a prize from one of our creative competitions. The other new song is another of his long series of Game of Thrones themed pieces, a long House Arryn themed ballad called The Falcon Knight. Jubal's Game of Thrones song cycle project started several years ago, but new GoT themed music keeps emerging from it now and again, with nearly all of the major houses having their own songs up on the channel now!

Exilian has two YouTube channels - The Exilian Channel for vlogs and news, and Exilian Media for songs, convention talks, drama/audio projects, and more besides. Please do subscribe to both: we'll hopefully be updating bits of them more in the coming months and we'd very much like you to be along for the ride.





Meeting Megiumi in Aviarium...


In Aviarium, Ierne's world of fantasy and flight, we've been introduced to new character Megumi. Enigmatic and blunt-spoken, her role as guide to the new world that Winter must explore will no doubt be important, aided by her wide array of expertise as a time traveller and adventurer and her apparently very limited array of expertise as a void ship pilot. There's also her folding bed. There has been little detail as of yet about the folding bed, but the folding bed undeniably exists, it is undeniably Megumi's, it may or may not have been heavily discounted, and it may prove crucial to the fate of the multiverse. Or it might just be a folding bed. Who really knows what secrets lie in a creaky set of easily foldable bedsprings?

Aviarium is the setting for some upcoming fiction by Ierne, but is also getting setting updates and periodic art releases on the forum which are well worth looking at, with some lovely creative bits of world building that are worth looking at for inspiration. It's a multiverse fantasy setting with the eponymous focus on flight, but with a gentle undercurrent of Pratchettian/Adamsian whimsy that brings its characters all the more to life. With other time travellers, mages, and dragons all appearing in watercolour in the Aviarium thread, as well as side discussions on Ardan Shakspeare and the logistics of magically generated wings, this is a great project for lovers of light hearted fantasy to go and follow.



 
 
 
 

Mountain Leopards: One Year On



Jubal's fantasy webcomic, Mountain Leopards, reached one year old in August, with 22 episodes released so far. Based on a mix of Caucasus culture and world folklore, in a style inspired by comedic fantasy titles such as The Order of the Stick, this comic follows Botso Kakhaisdze and his friends - or at least, his acquaintances - as they stumble across adventure in the wild mountains of the far-flung kingdom of Datvieti. Complete with scheming priests, murderous assassins, an unexpected visit from Annie Lennox, and a very great deal of banter, the comic romps on into its second year of existence with many new pages planned and the main plot really beginning to get underway. Read on!



MISCELLANY

Let us know what you're reading - and find recommendations!

In Exilian's Storytellers' Hall, we've got a long running "What Are You Reading" thread where Exilians have periodically over the last ten years been posting about their recent reading matter, giving thoughts, reflections, and recommendations. It's well worth a leaf through to find thoughts on books from N.K. Jemisin's Broken Earth to Sholokov's cossack epic The Don Flows Home To The Sea, and much in between. We'd like to hear from you as well - giving recommendations and discussing recent reads is a great part of our community, and we hope you'll head over and take a look...






And there you have it. Hope you enjoyed this issue, take care as the year turns colder, and see you in December!

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Posted on August 13, 2019, 06:08:25 PM by Jubal
Fringe Planet Kickstarter is Go!

Fringe Planet - The Kickstarter!


The Fringe Planet kickstarter is happening! As of today, you have 30 days to go and back Beebug Nic's horror-themed block-based game set on a floating rock in the dark void of ethereal space. On this strange frozen world, a small band of peons will struggle for existence. They may not make it through the trials that their harsh and barren existence throws at them - but those that do will learn to harvest and live alongside the nightmarish spirits that inhabit the void alongside them, and grow stronger - and, just maybe, discover something of the lore of their new home and the secrets of their own past!

As the player, you must shepherd your peons through their attempts at survival, building new constructs, protecting them from the horrors of the void, and hopefully not having them go too mad... click the image link below to see the kickstarter campaign and back the game, with rewards including the game soundtrack, the ability to name and provide backstory details for peons, and at higher backing levels even to design creatures for the game!


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Posted on July 07, 2019, 03:21:23 PM by Jubal
Updates from the Forge 34: Summer 2019

Issue 34: Summer 2019

EDITORIAL

Welcome back, friends! One of the issues of moving to three-monthly newsletters is a blessing that turns into a curse - namely, that there's so much to put in them! This might be the longest issue of Updates from the Forge we've ever written, and there's still more that could have been included. This summer edition, there's something of a theme of exploration, whether it's to gentle musical backgrounds in the worlds of minecraft, in person with travelogues that take you through the history and culture of different European cities, into peril with the madcap crew in Pixel Dungeon adventure, or on into the deep wildernesses traversed by Aure's Roadwardens of Viaticum. We hope your own summer explorations are going well, and that you enjoy this issue!

Around the Exilian community, Jubal (that being myself) and Tusky have been re-elected as Basileus/Chair and Spatharios/Moderator respectively - we're still short on several volunteers and would be very happy to hear from anyone interested in getting involved in anything from social media to writing to tech stuff. We've got plenty coming up nonetheless - whilst we had to postpone doing a chain-writing project because the person organising it was busy, we're still hoping to get that done in the next few months, there's at least one very exciting Kickstarter coming up which we'll keep you updated about, and of course plenty more on our regular projects to be done.

So once more unto the breach, dear friends, for a whopping nine article blockbuster of an Updates from the Forge...

CONTENTS:

  • Editorial
  • Game Development
    • Ride out as a Roadwarden!
    • Tackling Big Issues: Neofeud II
    • Keep the Home Fires Burning
    • Empires of the Undergrowth: Introducing Leafcutters!
  • Writing & Arts
    • Jubal's Travelogues
    • Pixel Dungeon Adventures Get Demonic...
    • Tales from the Fediverse Issue 1 Released!
  • Miscellany
    • Textures from Eric Matyas
    • Let's Build: SOTK plays Minecraft


GAME DEV

Ride out as a Roadwarden!

After the beautiful and well recievedTales From Windy Meadow, Roadwarden is the new game project from Aure of Moral Anxiety Studio. In it, the player character - the titular roadwarden - is tasked with protecting the roadways and helping scout new trade routes in one of the wilder parts of a setting where mankind is already far weaker compared to nature than in many settings we might be more used to. The game features a distinctive sepia-pixel art style with a range of carefully rendered locations - an army camp, a fortified tavern, a mysterious dolmen, a crossroads - that the player explores between, expanding the map with each new location.



The game mainly progresses via an almost choose-your-own-adventure style system, which provides a wide range of choices and options, some of which can only be accessed with particular prior choices, inventory items, or specialisms, giving a huge range of options for how to play and progress through exploring the world. Further increasing the possibilities, the game includes a range of "attitude" options which allow you to set your character's mood and stance towards the characters you interact with, giving greater possible variation in the results. Whilst there will be at least one 'final ending', it's not necessarily one that players will reach on every playthrough, and you can retire and decide that your reconnaissance is over at any point and get a readout of your eventual fate and how you did, too!

Find out more about Roadwarden here:




Tackling Big Issues: Neofeud II


In the Neofeud setting, the backdrop to the adventure game of the same name by Silverspook, a cyberpunk dystopia in the not-so-far future is ruled over by a tiny number of ultra-powerful families, flying in palaces filled with technology of which most can only dream - whilst far below, in a mess of flats, drug dens, brutal law enforcement and homeless camps, much of the population lives desperately trying to stay on the bottom rung of the ladder, scraping what jobs they can together and hoping it will be enough. The first Neofeud game, which you can get on steam, introduced us to this world as some unlikely allies worked their way through the neofeudal elite's struggles for power.

The second game, Neofeud II, is now under development and it looks like it'll be tackling a range of issues that are all too unsettlingly familiar. From teasers like the one included above, it looks like the player characters will be coming up against the potential surveillance use of drone technology, crisis-stricken refugees outside heavily manned border walls, the threat of "deep fake" footage indistinguishable from the real thing, and more besides. Neofeud's signature hand-crafted game art renders all of these in a unique frame-animated style that makes the events unfolding on the screen feel larger than life - and yet, somehow, sharply real.




Keep the Home Fires Burning

It's London, and the year is 1918. The First World War has been ravaging Europe, and though it is now coming to a close, there is a new threat stalking the streets of London. Here is an enemy that you can't shoot, can't propagandise against, will ignore tank rounds and which no trench will stop. The Spanish Influenza has infected the city, and before the end of the epidemic it will claim many tens of thousands of lives. Amid the backdrop of this city battered by war and now ravaged by disease and the loss of so many of its young men, stranger things are occurring, with paranormal activity being reported as darker beings are attracted to the climate of exhaustion and fear that comes with this new threat. This is Keep the Home Fires Burning, a savage worlds setting that pits the players against horrors and more venal, everyday enemies alike in a London that's at its weakest after the long war.

Keep the Home Fires Burning has recently received a new blogpost - it's one of a number of potential Utherwald Press settings that may see more development in future and for which the new Adventurers' Edition of Savage Worlds has given a good excuse for some new additions to the general collection of blogposts and rules that turn up on the Utherwald Press blog. Of course work continues on Utherwald's other settings, in particular the dieselpunk 'Realms of Darmonica' with its tundra-bound Frozen Skies setting which you can get a full setting book for. You can keep up not only with news on the many settings and rules Utherwald Press produce on their forum.




Empires of the Undergrowth: Introducing Leafcutters!


Empires of the Undergrowth is a game about ants. Forming and building great dwellings and societies in the undergrowth around our very feet, ants are industrious, numerous, colonial... and expansionistic. In EotU, you play in a novel RTS-style game controlling an ant colony as it expands and seeks to find food and survive in a range of different scenarios. Game mechanics are carefully tailored to the realities of ant colonies, whether that's controlling your ant groups by scent trail, the very different experiences at different points of day/night cycles, or  The recent addition of leafcutters adds a range of new game mechanics, including fungus growth and the eponymous leaf-cutting, for hours of additional gameplay with new units and scenarios - and new threats to your colony, of course...






ART & WRITING

Jubal's Travelogues

Our own Jubal has been doing quite a bit of hopping around Europe by train and plane for work in the last few years, and has written a number of travelogue pieces about the places he's been - not just describing them, but delving - as a historian from a family of naturalists, what else would one expect - deep into the history, creatures, culture, nature, and folklore of each place as well as reflecting on the connections between them. providing photos of wildlife, buildings, and more. Recent travelogues have included trips to Klagenfurt, Austria, and to what's now (but, it turns out, hasn't always been) called Limburg, on the borders between the Netherlands and Belgium, and nearby Aachen on Germany's western border.



In Klagenfurt, capital of the southern Austrian state of Carinthia, Jubal discovers a mythical lindworm and a mythical dwarf both of whom are said to have flooded the valley, a recent returnee from Africa, a writer who fled fascism, and a lot of sparrows. In Limburg and Aachen, meanwhile, his travels took him to Maastricht, Genk, and then Aachen, seeing various friends along the way - in a trip that among other things featured a Rodent Of Unusual Size, a bookshop in a church, a disused coal mine, a digital sundial, and one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Europe.  so if you want to discover more about the travel stops, history and mythology of both areas, and read on...


 

Pixel Dungeon Adventures Get Demonic...



The comedy fantasy webcomic continues, as three pixellated friends continue their travels around the world and meet an array of strange and exciting characters along the way with more or less catastrophic results! The brave but not necessarily sharp-thinking hero Sir Bob, the shady minmaxed wizard Lady Val, and the, uh, big robot rogue Auto, along with their noble steeds (one of whom is a bard), continue their... quests? Adventures, let's say they're adventures - quests sounds rather more directed and heroic than even the average adventuring party often aspires to, and in terms of chaos caused, the three friends seem to be very much beating the average! Recent events include a body-snatching demon, the bard being surprisingly competent, and an encounter with a bounty hunter. Who knows what will ensue next? Read on to find out!



Tales from the Fediverse Issue 1 Released!



The Fediverse - that is, the federated social media system that includes the microblogging system Mastodon and the image sharing network Pixelfed among other projects - is a hive of creative wizardry, and one that Exilian, via our @exilianofficial@mastodon.at profile, interacts with frequently. One project that has emerged from this network is Tales From the Fediverse, a collection of comics and stories compiled and hosted by user 'David, A Webcomic', and contributed to by a range of users, one of them being our own Jubal with the tale "Of Lusku and how she became a mariner", which is a storytelling tale and part of his World of Kavis setting. Other contributions include David's own fantasy adventuring tale, a wordless comic about social media, and a science-fiction exorcist!

There will be future Tales from the Fediverse issues, and they'll likely be announced on DaW's mastodon page. You can download the PDF of issue one here on Exilian - do give it a read!




MISCELLANY

Textures from Eric Matyas



One of our regulars in these newsletters, and on the website generally, Eric Matyas has created and maintains a huge archive of textures, music, and sounds, SoundImage, which are all free to use in both commercial and non-commercial projects with attribution. Recent additions to the textures section are many and varied, from strange alien skins that might cover some creature from the far void of space, to seamless metal textures ready for application to your tanks, industrial wastes, and rusting armours, to stone textures for that golem who needs a better look, the mighty carved cliff-face of a cave monastery, or the carefully carved statue you've been working so hard on. With so much choice, and more always appearing, we're always happy to be able to put in reminders that SoundImage exists - it's such an important and exciting resource, and we hope it'll be useful to you as it has been to so many people already.



Let's Build: SOTK plays Minecraft


Son of the King (or SOTK for short) is one of Exilian's longest standing members, and he's recently been putting together some new Minecraft let's play videos. Without commentary or action, these are rather just relaxing building videos which could spark off ideas in your mind for how to construct the world around you in the game. Their mixture of calming digital scenery, nice backing tracks, and neat creations will be a fun watch for the Minecraft players amongst our readers:






If you're reading this, thankyou as ever for taking the time to nose through these pieces that I put together. It's always nice to hear from readers so do let us know if you discovered a cool project or found this enjoyable to look through! Have a great summer, friends, and we'll be back for more updates when the year starts turning to Autumn. Until next time!

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Posted on March 31, 2019, 06:24:38 PM by Jubal
Updates from the Forge 33: Spring 2019

Issue 33: Spring 2019

EDITORIAL

Updates from the Forge is back! Everyone's (OK, probably not anyone's, but a writer can dream) favourite indie/hobbyist creativity newsletter has another wonderful round of projects for you to look through As you can tell from the gap we're now onto a quarterly schedule, due to a mixture of short staff and health issues that have meant your writer/editor is now typing this in arm braces. We're keen to step up the schedule again if we can find an editor or more writers, of course - let us know if you can help.

We've also made some format changes, and are looking at making more, dividing the newsletter more clearly into linkable sections to help you find what you want. Other changes I'm looking at include having a section at the end for recent advertisements (eg for playtesters). I'm also considering whether tabletop and PC game dev should be split into separate sections, and whether the "community news" part of the newsletter, currently incorporated into the editorials, should actually have its own section so I can use the editorial space more for general musings that might be of interest to our readers. Please comment or get in touch to let me know what you think of the changes that have been made or proposed!

In the first three months of 2019, we've celebrated Cyril & Methodius Day, raising over £100 for charity, had the results of our creative competition, which was won by Comrade_General with his painting of a candle, and had our eleventh birthday. We've been producing articles as well, including a new interviews series that's started with Tales From Windy Meadow creator Aure, and also a special issue of our An Unexpected Bestiary series in which Jubal goes into the myths and folklore around his beloved pangolins. You can find all our articles in their own section of the site here.

And with that, I (and the imaginary llama who co-writes this newsletter) present a new bunch of Updates from the Forge!

CONTENTS:



GAME DEV

Cogito Colony Continues

Returning after a year, we've had some good updates from Thalanor's Cogito Colony, a cyberpunk metroidvania style game with cool pixel graphics. In the most recent update, Thalanor revealed that the game will be moving to a new and more easily maintainable engine, which will include moving to a less performance-intensive and more flexible sprite animations system, the first hand-drawn anims from which look excellent!

DRAMATIC MUSICAL CUE IS DRAMATIC

One part of the work that is going fast is the soundtrack, where lots of tracks have been added and updated over recent months, including the DRAMATIC MUSICAL CUES of the track Methusalem, above. Even if you're not a metroidvania type gamer, they're a good listen (and make nice atmospheric backing music for your life generally!), and you can find them all on Thalanor's soundcloud.

You can read and ask more about the project in Thalanor's devlog:




The Exile Princes: Characters and Catacombs

Jubal's python-built RPG set in a world of medieval manuscripts and madness, has reached its first major beta milestone - the 005/6 closed beta releases give new features including clearly marked map edges, companion characters who will upgrade over time, new quests, and a range of other features. Additional writing and depth has also been added to enrich the world, whether it's reports on how well you slept in a tavern to unexpected twist endings to certain quests and plotlines. Modular, flexible generated quests may well be a feature of future versions of the game, and some additional quests have been added that will lay the groundwork for this.


A newly hired priest goes out to smite some wibulnibs. Fear the holy banhammer!

Companion characters are perhaps the largest major recent addition - companions can gain skills, giving either bonuses around the map or powerful new battle abilities, as well as providing a solid addition to your fighting force - some missions will only allow you to take companions alongside your hero, making these characters vital for, among other things, exploring mysterious tunnel networks below the cities. So far the sergeant, ranger, and priest companions are all working and ingame. Future plans include providing a lot of additional depth to the character system, with the groundwork for character personalities giving the potential not just to get to know your fellow travellers better but potentially also for new plot hooks involving them.

The game is very much in want of playtesters, so please do contact Jubal if you're interested in contributing and helping shape this game and its world!




The Cursed One RPG


“She shall be the one to bring chaos and death.” Or will she?

It's always great to be writing about new projects in these newsletters, and. Nanna, who first came to Exilian via writing us a great article on Nordic Larp, has returned with new RPG project The Cursed One! This RPG, inspired by classic pixel games like Legend of Zelda, sees its protagonist Ellie, marked from birth as an agent of chaos and death, set out to prove the prophecy wrong and save the world. Can the bringer of destruction manage... not to?

The game is made with RPG Maker MV and will likely move into beta testing in April, offering a mix of problem solving, NPC interaction, exploration and battle to its players. You can find out more about the game at the links below...




ART & WRITING

Enter Aviarium

In another really exciting new project that's appeared here in recent months, new member Ierne has been posting some lovely art and ideas from her setting Aviarium, a fantasy of time and universe travel with a range of fantastical creatures and flight as a core element. In this picture, you can meet a dragon called Mishka, who's a delicate-looking fireheart, and an Adhar fire-mage, Aliya - both capable fliers even if Aliya's ethereal wings aren't currently showing!

The setting centres on Atana, a world entirely cut off from other universes, inhabited by dragons and other winged beings. Meanwhile, in a more familiar world, a perfectly ordinary time-traveller,  called Winter is busy with continual wandering, befriending Shakespeare, and so on. Parallel universes just seem like a quaint myth, until a pathway across to a very different world indeed opens in a familiar location...

It's always exciting to see new worlds and be able to explore them along with their creators, and one of the nicest things we've managed in the past year has been to get a few more active projects in the writing and arts sections of the site - hopefully there'll be more to come through 2019. You can of course find out more about Aviarium, and ask questions of the author, on her thread!



 

More Mountain Leopards


Caption Goes Here

Jubal's webcomic based on Georgian & world mythology has seen some new page updates, as the characters meet a new friend who may have more skills than meets the eye - we also get our first brief glimpse of the great city of Gulansharo, find out what some of the more eclectic spells available to clerics of Otarid are, and discover that for scrying, it's pretty important to get the right person's hair...

The comic's art style and self-aware fantasy setting is an homage to the excellent Order of the Stick, but the story and mythical background invite you to discover a very new and different fantasy world. Between a drily witty storyteller-cleric, a deadpan jerk of a soldier, an upbeat but cunning runaway maiden, and a dramatically inclined enchantress, there's a whole lot of fun to be had - and mysterious plots beginning to unfold.




Want to share some poetry?

Quote
It is dawn, and the light wolf comes
Howling quiet
And as if her fur were gossamer
She glistens

Exilian's poetry and writing sections are always looking for new writers to come and share & discuss their work! Whether you're writing just for your own amusement, to seek to get things published, for stories to put within other contexts - we're very keen to see what you've got to share! There's also of course loads of stuff in there if you're an avid reader, with our archives stretching back over 11 years of uniquely crafted stories and poems that you can have a read through and comment on.

We're also likely to have a new chain writing project in the next two months, after the success of last year's project which created three excellent writing chains, so please do keep an eye out for that. We're always keen to do more projects and host ideas that will help new and less experienced writers get experience and get started, so please do jump in!




MISCELLANY

Riddles in the Dark...

Most readers of the Hobbit, and many more besides, will have discovered a love of riddles and riddle-games at some point. A pure match of wit and wordplay in which unwrapping the meanings and hidden effects of words is vitally important - as long as nobody ask's what's in their pocketses! Try this one for size...

Quote
My name's said when you lift a load,
To carry it along the road,
And though you fear me, run, and hide
You'll rest tonight with me at your side.
What am I?

To get the answer. and play more riddle-games, do join Exilian's "Riddles in the Dark" thread, where members take turns to post and guess riddles of varying types and complexities, leading to lots of original brainteasers being produced. Whether you're getting interested in riddles for the first time, or are just bored of the set of old riddles you already know, Riddles in the Dark is the forum space for you to hone your skills - and of course grab some new riddles to take away and try out on others...






And that's your lot! Apologies that you're getting far fewer of these this year, but it's good to have another issue done and I hope you've enjoyed reading it and want to find out more about some of the lovely projects we have coming along. And of course, do let us know about your own work as well - it could be you in the next issue of Updates from the Forge!