Author Topic: Updates from the Forge 51: Autumn 2023  (Read 7556 times)

Jubal

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Updates from the Forge 51: Autumn 2023
« on: October 01, 2023, 10:33:33 PM »
Issue 51: Autumn 2023

EDITORIAL

Welcome to another issue of Updates from the Forge! This is Exilian's newsletter of creative geekery, telling you what we've been getting up to over the past three months across the community. This time we have another eight updates from different projects, featuring kobolds, intergalactic warfare, the monuments of Armenia, and songs about necromancy, among our usual multicoloured miscellany of topics.

It's always worth noting that our main articles here are only a handful of the things going on among our members: other projects are getting some great updates, including a new steam page and trailer for BeerDrinkingBurke's excellent Innkeep. Also, excitingly, our top article from last issue, Under the Yoke from Priory Games, now has a launched Steam page so you can head over, watch the excellent new trailer, and wishlist the game.

Nor are the projects all we've got happening around the community: there's been plenty of lively chatter about people's reading and gaming, fun in the forum games area, and continued chatter about politics around the world. Other parts of the community outside the forum also include our monthly video-call meetups where we've discussed things from gelatinous cubes and warlock patron flumphs to the fluid dynamics of some very particular fluids. Why not drop by sometime?

In any case - we have plenty to show you for this issue, and it's time to get on with doing so. Without further ado, here's issue fifty-one with eight more updates from the creative forges of Exilian!

CONTENTS:

  • Editorial
  • Game Development
    • Can you survive the elements?
    • Yip! Yip! Yip Quest!
    • Jubal's Warhammer Campaign Systems
  • Arts & Writing
    • Exilian Chain Writing 2023
    • Ben, Books, Bones, and Barbie: Jubal's Music Returns
    • BagaturKhan's Potestas War
  • Miscellany
    • In the Shadows Of Mountains: A Yerevan Travelogue
    • New Lo-fi Music for your projects from SoundImage

GAME DEV

Can you survive the elements?


Mixing the action-roguelike and JRPG genres, new Exilian member samobee has come along with Elemental Survivors, a madcap, colourful game with an auto-attacking system, randomly generated fantasy landscapes, and a wide array of special abilities, powerful equipment and unique attacks for players to use as they forge a path through the game. The world has been overrun by a vast number of foes, and it's a peril you and your train of allies must end. Area runs last around 20 minutes each with a boss spawning at the end that provides an extra powerful challenge. Permanent upgrades and stronger equipment may help you bounce back from defeat as you try to survive the onslaught.

Elemental Survivors went into Early Access on Aug 25, and is available from Steam now, with future elements to be added including evolutions of attacks and high-powered summons that can turn the tide of your battles. The game's plans promise regular updates based on community feedback, so if you know what you want out of a game like this, getting in there at this early stage may be a great way to help shape the game's development. Why not take a look?





The kobolds ponder their next move. At least, to the extent kobolds can be said to ponder anything.
Yip! Yip! Yip Quest!

New Exilian member Ramorama brings us a kobold themed point and click adventure, Yip Quest, a tale of three kobolds trying to rob the treasury of a local princess, buy their own cave, and get as wealthy (and drunk) as kobold life allows. You need to switch between the three kobolds in your party to make use of their different abilities - Ram's strength, Raga's sharp eyes, and Kog's skinny gap-wriggling - as you concoct a fiendish and surely absolutely foolproof plan to boggle the minds of the princess' guards, and get into her luxurious treasury as seen on her PikPok profile. What nasty secrets might you find out about the princess' life and staffing along the way? And will you turn out to be the only ones with an interest in the luxurious royal treasury room...?

The game is entirely free to download from itch.io and is a delightful short old school point and click adventure made for the $107 Adventure Game Challenge. Its gameplay includes a fun range of item puzzles, whimsical comments on the scenery, and kobolds getting up to what can only be described as shenanigans. Very worth checking out if you need a silly hour or so's puzzling in your life!





Jubal's Warhammer Campaign Systems

Some older style wargaming content has come up recently as Jubal has recently released the rules for two Warhammer Fantasy campaign games he ran in 2009-10, with updated rules to make more readable and clear rulebooks. The two systems are Of Stone and Iron, set in the subterranean depths around the Dwarfs' ancient Underway road, and Of Wood and Water, an exploration of the Turtle Islands in the far southeast of the Warhammer world. Both systems offer detailed exploration rules on tile-based maps, with impassable and difficult terrain, natural disasters, monstrous encounters and the construction of new buildings and military units among strategic considerations for the player generals. Individual bonuses or objectives for different factions emphasise a variety of playstyles at the strategic level, adapting to or changing the landscape itself as the different peoples of the Warhammer world play to their strengths in these struggles for dominion.

While the rules were originally written for Warhammer Fantasy Battle 7th/8th edition, much of the system should be adaptable to other editions of Warhammer and indeed probably to other battle systems like Dragon Rampant or Kings of War. Let us (and Jubal) know if you have feedback or have run these campaigns yourself - a new way to experience the tabletop gaming hobby on a grand scale beyond single battlefields, adding strategy to the classic modern games of fantasy warfare!




ARTS AND WRITING



Exilian Chain Writing 2023

Quote
There was time to spare, for once, but that night’s journey was still uneasy.

Following her companion, the stocky little woman crept through unlit passageways with a level of quiet, slow purpose more usually reserved for snails than people. Light was not an option. Talking was not an option. Breathing was just about acceptable, as long as she held the imagined death-stare of a librarian in her mind to ensure, with withering glances, that she kept the noise down.

She adjusted her pince-nez and re-pinned a stray grey braid as she walked: there was no need for haste, and keeping her hands quietly busy helped with the nerves. The route was cool, even airy, but a nervous sweat still moistened her hands...

Exilian has done another chain writing project! This project had one chain story, a whimsical science-fantasy in which the mysterious Xellians bring a human to a piece of machinery awesome in its power. But to what end was this secretive project done? And what choices will the human - a grey-haired lady with pince-nez and a penchant for obscure books - make with a machine beyond all humaning reckoning in front of her? The answers to these questions may delight, excite and amuse you...

Our chain writing projects involve a range of writers each adding 250 or so words in sequence to make a roughly 2000 word story together - without conferring, so the tale can take many unexpected twists and turns as elements introduced by one writer get repurposed and pulled in different directions by another. The result is an exciting test of writing skill as the different writers have to adapt to and work with what they have available. Read on and see how our seven authors' penmanship shaped up!




Ben, Books, Bones, and Barbie: Jubal's Music Returns

After some months with a broken guitar and awkward attempts to learn the mandolin and gusle not getting to recording quality, Jubal's guitar is functional and that means music is finally back on the menu! Two new songs have arrived on the Exilian YouTube channel in the last month or so. Firstly, we had the Star Wars/Barbie Movie crossover parody number you very much weren't asking for, I'm Just Ben, in which Ken's earworm number from Barbie becomes a ballad for Obi-Wan to contemplate his past upon meeting Luke Skywalker. The song drops in a number of well-timed Kenobi lines with the backing video montage, and should be But that's not all...


...because there's also the song above - A Song of Books and Bone, based on Veo Corva's wonderful Tombtown novels, wrapping up the themes of these necromantic slice of life adventures and turning them into the sort of soft folksy lyrics that suit both artist and subject matter down to (and indeed, down beneath) the ground. If you like fantasy folk songs, queer magic adventure fiction, or just some warm lyrics about found family and community, this may be a song to have a listen to!



BagaturKhan's Potestas War

In the huge Infinitas setting created by BagaturKhan, thousands of years of interplanetary history and myriad alien species battle over the fate of the cosmos. One villain, however, stands out - Salazarr, a being millions of years old who takes the role of deciever and destroyer to civilisation after civilisation. He has been given many names: Marfur-Niari, the Dragon of Chaos, the Serpent of the Tempter, Bringer of Strife and Darkness. In some places, his name is forbidden, and in others it is reviled - but there is no telling whether he will bear the same name and guise when he next arises.

The Potestas War, a war so expansive it spilled even beyond the frontiers of our own galaxy to Andromeda and beyond, was one of the great rises of this ancient and terrible power, even greater than the Acheronian War and etching damage onto the stars themselves. BagaturKhan's latest story, Revenge of Tyrants: Salah'zarr War, deals with this cataclysmic conflict, tying in his with other Revenge of Tyrants stories and the rest of the Infinitas setting. The full story can be downloaded via the thread below - do go and have a read!




MISCELLANY



The Cascade staircase monument in Yerevan.
In the Shadows Of Mountains: A Yerevan Travelogue

Jubal's travel writings are a perennial feature of the Exilian forums, with historical, nature, and sightseeing notes on locations from Bordeaux to Venice, Tbilisi, and Tunis. In the most recent instalment he travelled in June to the Armenian capital of Yerevan, and his travelogue In the Shadows Of Mountains gives a detailed account of the city, its sights, and its deep and complex relationship with the mighty mount Ararat, today part of Turkey but still looming and overshadowing the Armenian capital. Seeing Armenia's capital through the eyes both of a traveller and a historian, the travelogue includes a lot of reflection on how the difficult history of Armenia does - and doesn't - interact with life in the modern city.

Besides the interwoven thread betweenpast and present, though, there's a great deal to be learned about Yerevan. From sheltopusik lizards in the Hrazdan gorge to the poetry and chatter of Cafe Ilik, from the Pulpulak fountains to the mighty sweep of the cascade staircase monument, it's a city with a great deal to discover and explore. An introduction to Armenian food, transport, and money may stand you in good stead if you ever want to visit Armenia, and if you won't be there any time soon then the pictures and discussion of monuments and artefacts alike will be an excellent remote view of the city. Read on to journey across the Caucasus...





New Lo-fi Music for your projects from SoundImage


SoundImage, the huge free-to-use music and texture library created and run by Exilian member Eric Matyas, continues to grow as time goes on! Recent experiments have included a big new range of lo-fi versions of Eric's tracks, eliminating some sound frequencies to build a softer, atmospheric soundscape for your games and other projects. Some of the tracks added in the past month in new lo-fi versions include some sci-fi themed pieces, Alien Colosseum, Stranded in the Outer Rim, and Tunnels Under Metropolis. Could the lo-fi versions find a home in your next sci-fi or space themed ideas?

Eric's music releases also include OGG music packs: unlike the free MP3 versions, these can be bought in reasonably-priced bundles and which offer greater looping and streaming capacity for game and similar uses. Unlike MP3 sound, which sometimes discards tiny bits of sound at the start and end of loops leading to momentary blips in the sound quality, OGG files allow for a much smoother sound whilst still be far lighter and less filespace intensive than filetypes like WAV. You can find all of Eric's OGG files via his gumroad page.

Why not check out SoundImage and see what's there for your project? Maybe there'll be some sounds you need for the next steps of your creative endeavours!







That's all for this autumnal issue - do keep letting us know about your current and upcoming projects on the forum, we're always very happy to have new things to put in Exilian's newsletter. For big announcements like kickstarters and full releases of games or books we can also sometimes do separate front page announcements, too, just get in touch if you ever need to ask about that. We'll be back in three months at New Year for yet another issue, so see you then for more Updates from the Forge!
The duke, the wanderer, the philosopher, the mariner, the warrior, the strategist, the storyteller, the wizard, the wayfarer...