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Engines of Ascension

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Psionic-Entity
Engines of Ascension

The Engines of Ascension OPEN BETA is now live. You can log in and play the 2-4 hour campaign prologue by entering engines.ddns.net in direct connect. Please consider visiting engines.freeforums.net to download the required files, it's faster and it saves server bandwidth. If you enjoyed the campaign or have comments/suggestions post here or on our forums, we appreciate the feedback.

 

The Campaign

The year is 1763, and you take a trans-oceanic airship ride from Azure City to Calidor, the so-called world's capital. Instead of enjoying a quiet two-week journey in the clouds, you bear witness to events that could mark the beginning of a new era. On arriving you find a city where order and stability are on their last legs. To survive the coming days, you'll need to throw yourself in to the pitched battle of corporations and politics, a war that in recent years has come to encompass everything from courts and legislatures to back alleys and cramped sewers. Meanwhile the constant infringement on the once untamed world has not gone unnoticed. In ignorance the young races break pacts older than even the most ancient legends, and in doing so risk retaliation in kind.

The campaign will be released in parts, and as a result of the live server implementation accessing campaign updates is as easy as logging in. Designed to support multiplayer at every stage in the campaign, you'll find a mix of open world dungeons, single player instanced story areas, and party instances for bosses and important events.

The Engines System

Engines of Ascension uses a game system that takes a significant departure from the standard dnd engine. Combat is still primarily d20, but values for health and damage are significantly higher and armor is based around damage reduction rather than avoiding hits. Instead of uses per day, abilities rely on a stamina bar that regenerates over time, and instead of magic characters use technological means to attack at range or produce special effects. The entire system uses a heavily modified UI, including an extremely simple character creation process (which includes no gameplay decisions that can't be reversed later) and a character sheet that supports levelling and ability selection.

Skills: Instead of relying on levels and classes for determining what a character can do, you progress skills by using them. Armor is progressed by resisting damage, weapon skills by dealing it, stealth by sneaking, mercantilism by buying and selling, etc.

Levels: Experience is earned by progressing skills and completing quests. When a level is gained a character selects to increase one of health, stamina, or carrying capacity by 10. In some sense carrying capacity functions as a spell pool because consumables are heavy.

Abilities: Characters who advance in level earn an ability point. Ability points can be spent on passive or active abilities, many of which are similar to those used in the Legacy engine, ie. full combat abilities with special animations and effects.

Items and Creatures: Engines features a script system for generating creatures and equipment, allowing for an effectively unlimited variety in loot drops and enemy encounters.

A full document describing the Engines system will be made available before the beta launches. The campaign is also designed to be playable from scratch, with an inbuilt tutorial system that introduces game mechanics in digestible parts.

Setting

The campaign is based around Calidor, the largest city in the world and a trading hub along almost every major trade route. There are five playable races, Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Half-Elves, and Gnomes. Humans are the dominant race in Calidor, known for their ambition and innovativeness. The dwarves are master metalsmiths and creators of monolithic machines, characteristically obsessed with ale, shotguns, and axes (or shotgun axes, for those who want the best of both worlds). The elves are the least technological of all races, preferring small, intricate inventions to the massive engines favored by humans and dwarves. Gnomes, formerly a slave race to the others, have risen to prominence since the institution of intellectual property laws and now occupy positions as legislators and inventors. In the future, developments to airship technology will allow players to travel to the realms of the Elves and Dwarves, where they'll find side plots to the mains storyline.

While magic does not exist, many extraordinary creatures do and it will often be the case that players need to fall back on technology to combat creatures much stronger and larger than themselves. While the trend seems to be that mythical beasts reside as far from developed land as possible, the slow unravelling of the old world has brought them in to conflict with the intelligent races on many occasions. Religion does not play a role in core game mechanics, but faith in the Triad, the dominant pantheon, still drives the actions of many.

Schedule

1. Demo Release: Live server demo module will be released tomorrow with the entire prologue section of the campaign and the full combat engine. Includes a test section of the server where characters with first name "TEST" will be able to mess around with game mechanics. You can play through the beta by yourself or with a party.

2. Development Period: Once the beta goes live we'll spend a week or two fixing any bugs that pop up and then move on to developing Act 1 in tandem with creating the open world.

3. Launch: Once Act 1 and the open world goes live we'll consider the server out of beta, meaning no vault wipes or extended down time for any reason.

Screenshots

http://imgur.com/a/MTjj0 (I'll update these as I go. When I figure out a video capture mechanism that doesn't suck I'll try to add in some of the new feats and item abilities)

New UI

http://imgur.com/a/nnTBg (All WIP, images of the finished versions will be up shortly)

How do I get involved?

I'm still looking for a couple team members to round out some semblance of a server staff. If you enjoyed the beta and like building consider dropping me a line, particularly if you're comfortable with area building or quest/dungeon design.

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