Author Topic: Updates from the Forge 34: Summer 2019  (Read 3004 times)


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Updates from the Forge 34: Summer 2019
« on: July 07, 2019, 03:21:23 PM »
Issue 34: Summer 2019


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...


  • 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


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...


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 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!


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!
The duke, the wanderer, the philosopher, the mariner, the warrior, the strategist, the storyteller, the wizard, the wayfarer...