Author Topic: Updates from the Forge 50: Summer 2023  (Read 6440 times)


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Updates from the Forge 50: Summer 2023
« on: July 22, 2023, 04:20:56 PM »
Issue 50: Summer 2023


This is an extra special issue of Updates from the Forge, being Issue Fifty! It's therefore extra especially late just so you can savour the lateness about fifty times worse than the average issue. Nonetheless - since this newsletter started in May 2016 (it was monthly 2016-18, quarterly from 2019 onwards) we've now achieved fifty rounds of updates from wonderful Exilian projects.

Looking back to some of the early issues, there are both familiar and unfamiliar faces there. We gave you early updates on some great games that have since gone on to some success, like Bigosaur's Son of a Witch which, still under its development title of My Mom Is A Witch, was the very first game we reported on in 2016. There have been some ongoing projects too: we first reported on Eric Matyas' SoundImage music library in July 2016 and on Phoenixguard's Norbayne universe in January 2017, both of which are still great projects that we're regularly reporting on and supporting as an Exilian community.

On that note - please make sure that if you enjoy reading this newsletter, you pass it on to friends and other nerds and creative folk of your acquaintance. Our creators are hobbyists and small indies who need your support if they're going to be able to keep making their lovely work, and Updates from the Forge is largely here to report on their efforts making a wonderful array of eclectic creative materials. The wider this newsletter circulates, the better we support everyone in it, and the. It only takes a minute to repost the link to this issue on the alternative site or outlet of your choice, and we hugely appreciate it every time you do so.

To give some community news, it's been an interesting late spring and early summer here on Exilian. We've had some great member successes - congratulations especially to Veo Corva for their successful Books and Bone kickstarter, which we reported on the progress of in Spring's issue. Our new chain writing project let by Spritelady is also underway and we hope to report back on some successful storytelling from that in our next issue. We've had another good series of online meetups, too, and welcomed a number of new members into the community which is always exciting. If you're reading this and you're new to Exilian, perhaps you'll be next - we'd love to hear about the creative things you're doing.

And with all that said, a special issue this may be - but it's an issue nonetheless, and that means we're here to bring you another round of Exilian's exciting updates from the forge!


  • Editorial
  • Game Development
    • How might you fare Under the Yoke?
    • Cepheida: The Exploration Game
    • Beer's Back On The Menu, in Innkeep!
  • Arts & Writing
    • The Birth... of a Lich!
    • Ren: The Girl With the Mark - Series Two Trailer Release
    • Poems by Kjelda
  • Miscellany
    • What tabletop games are you playing?
    • The Homeromanteion
    • From Tarragon to Tomatoes: Exilian's Kitchen Gardens


How might you fare Under the Yoke?

An upcoming title from Priory Games, Under the Yoke will be a simulation of English medieval peasant life, following a peasant family through years of richly reconstructed medieval activities. With an open system in which you can work on a wide array of possible goals from love to neighbourly respect to prosperity, the game will take your peasant family from their entry Domesday Book right through the medieval centuries. Work in recent months has included development of the UI and of the game's events system, which will include personality traits for characters that help shape their decisions and possible paths through hundreds of possible dynamically triggered in-game events.

Owen of Priory Games will already be a familiar name to those who have been at our Coding Medieval Worlds events or at several of our recent virtual meetups, and we've been delighted to recently welcome him and Under the Yoke to the forum as well. You'll be able to keep up with the game's development both via the Exilian thread and via his website, which also allows you to subscribe to email updates. Do check it out!

Cepheida: The Exploration Game

And it shall be said of each one who steps into the night:
That they shall walk in the darkness, and so find the light.

A new project, or perhaps a resurrected one, from Jubal's tabletop games set: Cepheida, Jubal's sci-fi setting, is getting new rules for a tabletop exploration game! Using a high degree of randomisation to build new worlds and challenges to explore with every game played, the game constructs everything from a place's geology to its local resources, wildlife and cultures as players set foot on worlds as yet unknown.

Cepheida is a setting about exploration, aliens, and discovery, putting the weird, wonderful, and alien rather than the horrifying, human, and militaristic at the forefront of a futuristic vision of a star cluster inhabited by a huge array of creatures and spacefaring civilisations. The tabletop exploration game is based on the rules of his Greek underworld dungeon-crawler Hetairos, but putting the players in charge of exploration vessels from a range of Cepheidan factions as they attempt to collaborate or compete to achieve their objectives. The factions include the communally minded S'ruba, their cultic cousins the Lexihad whose prophet is to be sought out among the stars, the heavy honour-bound might of the mantis-like Verwynn knights and their nervous Gruth subjects, the plethora of aliens in the trading Hanstellartic League, and the innovative genius of the cyborg-like Tangalak. Who will you choose to explore the stars with?

Beer's Back On The Menu, in Innkeep!

The Master's Book in Innkeep! What will end up being recorded there?

After a while taking a break from game dev due to illness, we're delighted to see our friend BeerDrinkingBurke return to development of Innkeep, the roguish fantasy tavern simulator where as the master of the house you will find yourself not just serving food and drinks to your guests, but finding ways to squeeze an extra coin or three out of them to make ends meet - whether that's dramatic cost saving measures on the food, customers' items quietly going missing at night, or using what you overhear at the tables to your advantage.

Recent devlog posts, available on the innkeep website and on Patreon, include notes on improving pixel art characters, and a dive into the Master's book, which records your thoughts, charms, information tidbits and skills as you progress through the game. The book will also contain your inventory, with not just physical items in the inn's stocks but also gossip, rumours, and ideas that have very real currency to an innkeeper just trying to make an honest living... lots to delve into, and maybe some inspiration for your own projects too!


The Birth... of a Lich!

The cave air was wet and motionless. Lilith wasn't quite sure what she'd expected, but especially the lack of any air movement was making her feel on edge. As they walked deeper into the cave the light from the entrance gradually faded, leaving her ball of light to seem evermore fragile in the face of such dense darkness. All around them teethlike stalactites and stalagmites reached towards each other, giving one the impression they were walking into the maw of a giant beast...

Another new teller of stories has been spotted on the streets of Exilianople - AHuggingSam bringing us his tale Birth of A Lich! The story so far follows Lilith, a young squire to a pair of paladins, as they investigate mysterious reports of and find that they may be more than mere peasant panic and superstition after all. In the damp, stalactite-toothed tunnels of Glassburrough's caves, something - or someone - is lurking whose power extends beyond the grave. Whilst Lilith's superior is determined to stop the threat at its source, his followers are not convinced that what awaits them can be dispatched so easily... what will happen next?

Exilian's storytelling and writing areas are a great place to find feedback and thoughts on your writing projects, and we'd love to see more tales being woven there. Do feel free to add your own to the mix! AHuggingSam's tale of tension, faith, and undeath is the latest among a wide stable of stories posted over the years, and it's a great addition to the narratives penned in Exilian's workshops. We hope you'll enjoy it too!

Ren: The Girl With the Mark - Series Two Trailer Release

Friends of Exilian and previous convention guests Mythica Entertainment recently released the trailer for series two of their crowdfunded fantasy webseries Ren. Re-cast with Oriana Charles and Alexander Hackett in the lead roles of the eponymous heroine and her travelling companion Hunter respectively, Series Two follows Ren after her flight from her home village at the end of Season One, which was released in 2016. Camera expert Neil Oseman has taken over as showrunner for the new series, and we're very much looking forward to more indie fantasy filmic goodness! You can check out the trailer below:

It looks like in Season Two, Ren will struggle with the realisation that she is now partnered with a Mahri spirit, something she has long been taught to hate and fear, and that the Kah'nath troops dedicated to enforcing the spirits' suppression are more than willing to continue hunting her to the ends of the earth. What will happen to her next we'll see when the series is released... you can subscribe to Mythica's YouTube channel to ensure you get updates, and discuss the new releases on their dedicated Exilian subforum!

Poems by Kjelda

a man on the train, dressed in tweed, olive green
looked over at girls who in turn looked at screens
and he wrinkled his nose in disdain...

A new poetry thread has been pulled from the looms of the fates too - AHuggingSam was not the only new writer contributing to Exilian in the last three months, as Kjelda also added a poetic debut to our writing community. Kjelda's poems are inquisitive, reflective, but also observational. Kjelda first joined us via Coding Medieval Worlds this February and has also been making some lovely musical contributions to our virtual meetups in recent months, so there's plenty more to be excited about for what other creativity may be coming from this quarter. Do check out her poetry and give your thoughts and appreciation over in her Exilian thread!


What tabletop games are you playing?

Tabletop games! Here's one someone made earlier.

A new thread from BeerDrinkingBurke adds a new pillar to our already well-used computer game What are you playing and our literary What are you reading threads, opening a general chatter thread for discussing what our recent tabletop gaming exploits have been. Discussions have in just a few days covered games from A Feast for Odin to Bolt Action to Betrayal at the House on the Hill to Carcassonne, with forum members sharing thoughts on the difference between Euro and American style boardgames and how player counts can make a difference to the setup and play style of particular games as well.

If you're looking for inspiration on what to buy and play next, or if you have particular recommendations to make to other Exilian users, or simply some good tabletop gaming stories to regale us with, please drop by and let people know what's going on in your gaming world!

The Homeromanteion

3d6 tables are, it turns out, nothing new!

In case you thought that random dice tables were a feature only of modern gaming rulebooks, here's a thread to make you think again. The Homeromanteion was a 3d6 dice table from the 2nd to 4th centuries AD that produced random Homeric quotations as a way to answer questions. The use of special texts for sacred or ritual divinations goes back a long way, and this dice-based automation of it was originally supposed to be used at designated times according to an accompanying chart, with prayers to Apollo and holding the question in one's mind while rolling the dice. Prognostication is interesting in how core a historical use of magic practices it is compared to its relatively limited role in modern fantasy, limiting heroic agency as it does. But perhaps the randomness of a dice chart to hold one's fate loops round part of the fatalism of prophecy?

You can even have a go at the Homeromanteion yourself, with a modern version based on Arabella Currie's 2015 translation of the Greek - just click each die number to roll it, and then hit the button to discover which Homeric quote solves your particular life quandary. And let us know what you discovered about your (or someone else's) future on the Exilian discussion of course!

A quick test for this piece got us 6 5 3, ἐλπωρή τοι ἔπειτα φίλους ἰδέειν καὶ ἱκέσθαι - "Then there is hope that you will see your friends and return". So we hope to hear from you all soon!

From Tarragon to Tomatoes: Exilian's Kitchen Gardens

Cucumelon, tomato, aubergine... just some of the plants from Jubal's kitchen gardening experiments.

In Exilian's kitchen area you can catch up with members' valiant (or not) attempts at growing food as well as preparing and eating it! The Exilian Kitchen Gardening thread includes recent updates from Jubal on his attempts to grow tarragon, cucumbers, and other food plants, as well as psyanojim's potato crop and the uncertain fate of Tusky's cactus companion, Citizen Spikes. Being able to grow small amounts of herbs or other food can be a fun and tasty hobby and accessible with relatively low effort, so if you're thinking of getting into it, the Kitchen Gardening thread might be a great place to discuss what you're doing and ask questions of fellow food-gardeners from across the Exilian community. Oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme - the options are endless. What's your next plant going to be?

And there you have it, fifty issues, probably between two and three hundred reports on at least a hundred and fifty or so different creative projects over the last seven years. And we're very much not done yet, dear reader, so make sure you send this to some friends, enjoy the creative goodness that the Exilian community's members have been coming up with - and, of course, join us next time for the fifty-first issue of Updates from the Forge!
« Last Edit: July 22, 2023, 04:26:41 PM by Jubal »
The duke, the wanderer, the philosopher, the mariner, the warrior, the strategist, the storyteller, the wizard, the wayfarer...