Author Topic: Updates from the Forge 37: Spring 2020  (Read 3412 times)


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Updates from the Forge 37: Spring 2020
« on: April 08, 2020, 12:00:52 AM »
Issue 37: Spring 2020


Dear reader, this issue has been delayed, as so many things are at the moment. For once, I don't have to start worrying about whether I should have been geographically stipulating more when I say that we are living through events unprecedented in all of our lifetimes. That is at least unless we have any centenarian readers born prior to the post World War One Spanish Flu epidemic - if we do, hi, congratulations on surviving an awfully long time on a ball of rock confusedly flying around a giant gas ball, and please disregard the previous sentence. This is big, there's no doubt, and it's hard to say where things will end up.

There's really not much we can say about the world's situation that hasn't been said elsewhere and better by brighter, better people, but we'll say two things anyway. First, do the smart thing, follow relevant guidance, and look after yourself and those around you as best you can, please: we think you're all great and want you to stay healthy. Secondly, we're going to be right here for exactly what we're always here for, doing the same thing we do every night: plotting to take over the world providing you with awesome creative content, escapist geekery, and a friendly community. If you're feeling isolated, and a lot of people are during this time, please feel you can drop by our offtopic areas and chat about it, this community is here for you, dear reader, even if you just read these pages silently now and again. Thanks for sticking with us, and let us know if we can help.

Around the site, we're now twelve years old and heading on strong into the third decade we've existed in. We'd like to take this opportunity to draw forum users' attention to a clarificatory update to our Terms of Service. which we've amended to make clearer our obligations regarding posted material. The update mainly makes it clear the circumstances in which we might for practical reasons end up retaining copies of posts that are removed (for example in backups), and sets better limits for what we can reasonably ask our volunteer staff to do for users in this regard. You can see the Terms of Service here.

We've got some great projects for you this time - we couldn't even fit everything in, amid a ton of great creative stuff going on, and we're really excited to see what some of these projects will be looking like in a few months from now. This issue of Updates from the Forge includes space roguelikes, Roman warfare, mysterious meetings in taverns, a very oblique Monty Python reference and cheese on toast. What more could you ask for, dearest reader?

And with that ramble over - it's Updates O' Clock!


  • Editorial
  • Game Development
    • For The Warp!
    • Illyria Reborn in Rome: Total War
    • Beer, Buffs and Berberis in Tourney
    • Rome Total War: Vanilla Extended V16
    • Duels and Hunts in the Exile Princes
  • Writing & Arts
    • Three Coins and Seven Stones: Tales from Norbayne
    • Exilian Chainwriting Launched
    • The tales of the Ytrair
  • Miscellany
    • The Jolly Boar Kitchen reopens


For The Warp!

A new release in our game dev section, For the Warp is a roguelike/deck-building game that sees you pilot your ship through five star systems of increasingly challenging enemies as you attempt to fight your way through to the warp gates and make it home rich. Along the way you can pick up distress calls, search ruined space-temples, and collect abilities ranging from launching drone fleets to ship-disabling pulses to powerful plasma burn weapons. Conserving precious resources like fuel and avoiding ship damage which is hard to repair are both important imperatives for you on your voyage.

This is the first released game from Massive Galaxy Studios, and it's really excellent fun. Whether you're going to play the long game and rely on high powered shielding and grinding your enemies down, or whether you're going to go in with the biggest guns you can find blazing, whether you're going to go for a self-repairing ship or yet more engine boosters to keep your weapons charged and ready, your journey to the next warp gate awaits!

Illyria Reborn in Rome: Total War

We've had a great run of project announcements from the RTW modders lately, including this new released mod by Korsakoff, Illyria Reborn. It restores the planned Illyria faction that was going to be in the original RTW game, replacing Parthia and using the original planned assets many of which were included with the game and which would eventually become part of Thrace in RTW's release version, including the blue and teal colour scheme and serpent banner. Meanwhile Thrace return to their original planned yellow and black colour scheme, and the Seleucids are a far more notable starting power with their ability to build up strength further east at the start of the game.

Beer, Buffs and Berberis in Tourney

Hear ye hear ye! Travel to ye Tourney in style!

Tourney, made by our very own Tusky, is a jousing game in which you geto to build up a jousting arena with its surrounding tents, food sellers, peasant onlookers, and so on, and then hold mighty jousts, including training knights and a whole host of mechanics to feed, water, and just plain get on the nerves of the various knightly contestants.

Recent updates to the tournament ground have included the lovely wagon above, which brings spectators to your tournament ground, the important introduction of toilets and the response to something that some mysterious knights in a forest apparently demanded of the developer. Meanwhile on the gameplay side, work has been done on the training menu, where you can spend achievements to unlock various titles for your knight and give them small resulting buffs. The beer cart and hog roast wagons have also had their menu, uh, menus improved, so you can tweak the beer and fat content for amusing effects on knights and onlookers alike. You can check out Tusky's regular progress at his Exilian thread - do go have a look.

Rome Total War: Vanilla Extended V16

Sweeping in with his dramatic retinue of... one librarian? That said, never underestimate a librarian.

Ahowl11's Vanilla Extended mod version 16 has been released! One of the biggest Rome: Total War modding projects ongoing in recent years, Vanilla Extended keeps the general look and feel of classic Rome: Total War whilst packing in tons more diversity of units, gameplay options, and other possibilities. Ahowl is one of the longest-running RTW modders around, with huge experience from working on projects like Rome: Total Realism, and his commitment to making awesome RTW content continues to provide much awesome fun for fans.

In this release, changes include tweaks to the Martial Law building that make it function as intended, so that keeping it for too long will be economically damaging and the AI doesn't misuse it badly. Rather than having Area of Recruitment, this release also includes faction-specific mercenary pools, allowing more diversity of mercenary options without the Area of Recruitment issue of ending up with the Greeks suddenly fielding armies of Gauls or vice versa. New features have also been brought in from Rome: Total Realism 5.4, including a significant change to Egypt's unit tree, allowing them to recruit more vanilla-style Egyptian peasantry and low tier units in many areas whilst still maintaining their hellenic elites and pikemen, better modelling the historic army of the Ptolemies.

Duels and Hunts in the Exile Princes

The emblems of the great houses...

Jubal's Exile Princes version beta 008 is now complete! In The Exile Princes, you move around a procedurally generated fantasy world exploring its quirks, cities, and characters, ultimately aiming to make your house ruler of all the cities in the Exile Lands. Start almost alone and build up a warband, ultimately rising to take control of cities and fight wars for supremacy, picking up companions, exploring mysterious tunnels, and finding strange and monstrous beasts along the way. With four factions to choose from - the houses of Scholars, the Phoenix, Generals, and the Dragon - each with its own unique playstyle, there's a huge range of ways to play and things to do.

Additions in 008 include new quests for lords that will see you asked to fight duels to settle scores and hunt rare beasts like giant albino kinklades to retrieve rare trophies. Many of the newer quests are only given by lords with certain character traits, so the ruler's personalities are increasingly being reflected in gameplay. You now also need to wait a while to build siege weapons before assaulting a city - this slows down later game combat and makes it more of a risk to go to war, as you'll be bogged down for far longer and your own cities may be exposed to attack. Your character's resilience stat is now upgraded separately to your defence as well, making the way you build your character more flexible.

Copies of the beta are available on request in the subforum - please do come and join the testing group, the more feedback the merrier!


Three Coins and Seven Stones: Tales from Norbayne

We've been brought a huge new series of tales from Phoenixguards' RPG and setting Norbayne, via the playing logs of his campaigns. Written in epic-level scale and depth, with both blow by blow renditions of the gameplay and , the logs will be of particular interest to GMs but are a good fun playthrough story for fantasy readers of all kinds too. A classic fantasy setting but with many twists and turns to it, Norbayne sees humans rub shoulders with the sapient marsupial Leathe, elf-like but brutal Danaan, and other strange peoples besides.

Sunrock, capital of Benden.

In Three Coins, Two Birds, and a Gilded Sword, a warrior named Harold Oakenshield is elected leader of a rag-tag band comprising a light-footed leathe assassin and two brutal danaan, a mage and a ranger. Can this party, and the additional friends they pick up on the way, map the twists and turns of the intrigues of the border town of Summer Hill, between Elspeth and Naille? And if they do, where will the results of this border conflict ultimately lead them?

Meanwhile, in the new adventure, Seven Stones and a Pale Shadow, a mysterious voice leads a rugged northern mercenary, Michael, from his long journey into the unusual company of a leathe called Ailbhe Blackrose in the town of Stonebridge. Their jarring meeting - unexpected by either of them, is cut short as they interrupt a local gang shaking someone down for some coin. But what has brought them together? And who are the mysterious Black Hand who the local gang seem to be working for?

Find out the answers to these, and more, boozier and gruesomer questions besides, in Phoenixguard's epic campaign stories here on Exilian:

Exilian Chainwriting Launched

“I think it’s time to give up on the air breathing octopuses. We’ve run twenty nine emulations now, and the best one only lasted less than 40 gigaseconds.  We need to go back and look at the bears again.”

Sergei shook his head in frustration. “Environmental collapse every time with the bears. Twenty runs, and they all ended the same way. Overfishing, overeating. You can’t build a decent civilization with a species that hibernates. It has to be octopuses. They are intelligent, they have fine motor skills and mainpulative ability. Just get them out of the water so they can learn metallurgy. Let’s try one more time.”
In one of our previous chain writing stories, two characters consider their next plot twist.

Exilian is doing a new chain writing project! Those taking part will write 250 words each in a chain of 8 or 9 people. They don't know who else is in the chain or get to communicate with them - they just have to write With a range of different chains and themes, we'll be producing some great stories for you which will be available and published in five or six weeks' time. With participants from a huge range of backgrounds and countries, we hope you're every bit as excited as we are to see what awesome ideas everyone comes up with.

Our last project, in 2018, created three great stories - Last of a Kind, in which a terrifying plot to wipe out a whole species may be being orchestrated by forces unexpected to those involved, Of Storms and Silence, in which a weary traveller must protect their comrades from horrifying monsters, and The Divine and the Feline, in which the age-old arguments of Greek deities intertwine with the life of a housecat in unexpected ways. You can read those here.

We still haave a few writing slots available, so if you want to get in touch and join in you can do so until midnight, next Sunday, April 12th.

The tales of the Ytrair

"And if there are things here unsaid, it is because they have been lost to the fast-flowing river, time, that pulls us all toward the open water."

A new creative writing piece by Jubal, Tales of the Ytrair is a story loosely based upon a playthrough his modified version of Civilisation II, War of Realms. Following the Ytrair people from their nomadic beginnings to the birth of the Republic, a writer called Syesh carefully documents the recieved wisdom of his people about the trials of their past. The piece is written in the style of a medieval chronicle, and goes not only into the usual campaign log details of an AAR but the imagined heroes, kings, and ideas of the Ytrair, how they saw the other peoples of their world, and the tales of great explorers among them who discovered far off lands... read on to discover more of this unique little creation!


The Jolly Boar Kitchen reopens

Come and chat about it, even if it's just cheese on toast. No wait, especially if it's cheese on toast.

Many more of us are stuck at home than usual, and one of the things we can still all enjoy in trying times is food. But as it's harder to eat communally and more cooking may be needed, now seemed like a great time for us to re-open a previously mothballed part of the site - the Jolly Boar Kitchen, Exilian's food discussion forum! Head into the Kitchen to post recipes, discuss what you're eating, ask for advice on how to use up your ingredients, and pick up ideas for what to eat. Whether you're cake-making, cress growing, or just having some good ol' cheese on toast, the Jolly Boar Kitchen awaits. Come along, pull up a chair, get a drink of your choice and have a chat:

As usual, please leave your feedback in the comments, and if you can think of any ideas to improve these columns, do let us know. Hopefully by the summer issue things will have turned around, and we won't need to worry so much about Fox Box goblins stealing our loo roll. But until then, give us a shout if we can help out, take care of yourselves - and we'll see you next time.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2020, 12:11:57 AM by Jubal »
The duke, the wanderer, the philosopher, the mariner, the warrior, the strategist, the storyteller, the wizard, the wayfarer...


  • Megas Domestikos
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Re: Updates from the Forge 37: Spring 2020
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2020, 01:47:56 AM »
Lots of good content here. Going to be slowly picking my way through each one over the next few days. Also going to be downloading Exile Princes this weekend if I can.
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Re: Updates from the Forge 37: Spring 2020
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2020, 02:41:54 AM »
That looks great, lots of new content!

I'll check it out in the morning during coffee time.  ;D
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Re: Updates from the Forge 37: Spring 2020
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2020, 04:21:09 PM »
So good to see the RTW mods getting love on this site, thanks for the well written post on my mod too it is 100% on point, and expect a new release today for your next article!
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Re: Updates from the Forge 37: Spring 2020
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2020, 10:00:37 PM »
Thanks guys :) I wish I had time to write more of these, but the usual readership doesn't really justify it and we don't have the manpower. Sharing always appreciated of course, the more people see Updates, the more reason there might be to up the schedule rate at some point.
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Re: Updates from the Forge 37: Spring 2020
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2020, 11:54:35 PM »
so much hard work from everyone here! one day ill have the time to sample it all i swear
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