Building a World, Part 5 – Creatures

It’s time for the fifth and final post in my world building series for my Tale of Enki universe. This time I’ll be talking about some of the creatures I’ve created that aren’t classed amongst my main races. A lot of them are prominent, but most would be classed as “monsters” that players would just slay their way through. Others? They can be a touch more complex.

The first and most prominent are the earliest creatures I designed for the series. The fruitbugs! The applebugs being the first of this kind. They’re insects around the size of a cat that live inside fruit-shaped shells. Rumour has it that they originate from another plane and are ruled over by their king, the pineapplebug. They’re one of the most common enemy types in the series, but they’re also fairly easy to domesticate. Peachy, a Pilgrimage party members, is a prime example of this. Fruitbugs aren’t overly intelligent, but some can comprehend language and commands to a very basic degree even if they can’t speak it.

Applebug

An applebug, one of the many types of fruitbug.

Racial mounts are something I wanted to take from World of Warcraft even though I have no goals to make an MMO. Seems like too much of a headache! Although I really like ESO, I won’t lie. I went for two typical mounts, two did choices and two original creations. For ogres I went with a typical giant wolf and for enkians there are horses. For rocklopes I went for giant goats because mountain goats are great climbers which fits with the stone-themed rocklopes. For sheepah I went for giant tapirs. It’s bizarre, yes, but they look cool. Reason be damned! Vulpah have what I call klugants. They’re bipedal lizards with horns. Very clumsy, but very forceful. Vulpah are the opposite spot provides a nice contrast and to make up their deficiencies. Lokor use rogurr. Think a faster turtle with no shell. I definitely wanted to use a reptile for the lokor.

There are a lot of creatures which you’d find in the real world too. Aside from the horses, goats, tapir and wolves, you’ve got pigs, foxes, sheep, gorillas, many varieties of insects, etc. It doesn’t fully reflect reality because it defeats the purpose of being a fantasy world somewhat. If you’ve ever tried creating a bestiary, you’ll find yourself creating creatures which resemble real animals so much that you just roll with using real animals.

Moving onto the elementals. If you’ve read the magic post I made (Part 4 of this series) you’ll know that covers the nature, fire, ice, radiant and gore elements. Elementals are tiered in strength. The weakest are conduits. The next level up are demon lords. The level above that are titans. It goes behind that, but you get the idea. They’re generally amoral as conduits and will mostly follow instinct. As demon lords they become intelligent and are often power hungry. Titans can be cataclysmic if unopposed and can even be ten metres tall. Good luck fighting that without a magician army.

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A nature conduit, the weakest form of a nature elemental.

I’ll give an example of an abomination created by a deity now just to get away from more ordinary. The abagun are abominations created by the god of disease and corruption, Zalgan. They’re monstrosities designed to be perfectly loyal to him, but untameable beasts to anybody else. They crawl around on their many legs using their many arms to rip enemies to pieces. Their faces are bloated and swollen in some sections and gaunt and terrifying in others.

I’ll round off this post taking about dragons. Dragons have been done to death so I’ll do them once more! There are dragons to represent each element: nature, fire, ice, radiant and gore. They’re colour coded as green, orange, blue, gold and red, respectively. I’ve kept them similar to the D&D model where they’re very intelligent beings that have a range of alignments. Dragons tend to stay out of the way of the main races because it’s rare for a town not to have at least one or two powerful magicians that can deal serious damage to dragons. More often than not they seek or await an honourable challenge from a worthy opponent or group of opponents.

That concludes Part 5 of this series and finishes off my Building a World series as a whole. The topics here will definitely be covered more in the future either here, in-game or through another medium, but hopefully this gives some clarity on how I went about building and filling my world. Maybe it can give you some inspiration for your own.

Happy creating!

Building a World, Part 4 – Magic

Time for Part 4 of my world building series. This time I’ll be talking about how magic comes into play in the Tale of Enki universe. This one should be a fun one!

There are two key aspects when it comes to casting magic in Tale of Enki. The first is the element and that determines the type of spell damage or effect the spell has. The second is the magic level which ranged from first to seventh. First level spells being basic, but effective and seventh being absurdly powerful.

Magic types are also broken down into divisions like spells, rituals and enchantments. There are others, but these are by far the most common and only ones that will be explored in my game, Tale of Enki: Pilgrimage. Spells are magical effects this can be cast quickly and on the spot. Rituals are more time consuming, but also have greater impact. Enchantments are magical effects placed on objects like weapons and armour.

Those are the key things you need to know about the classifications of magic, but I’m going to now go into further detail about the elements. The five elements in Tale of Enki are: Nature, Fire, Ice, Radiant and Gote. Nature represents the world with its rocks, plants and creatures. Fire represents destruction and anger. Ice represents water and divinations. Radiant represents energy and defiance. Gore represents life and death. There’s, again, some crossover, but it’s usually fairly clear which spells fit into which category. A fireball spell would obviously be fire, poisoning something would be nature, healing would be gore, etc.

Each of the elements have their own distinct planes that they draw power from. Nature magic comes from the Mountain Garden. Fire comes from the Great Furnace. Ice comes from Cryovariance. Radiant comes from Radienerverse. Gore comes from Fleshriver. These planes are some of the earliest planes in existence and came to be as they were needed. They’re some of the few planes without creator gods, but they do have powerful beings of their own. Elementals are the key inhabitants of each of the planes and have a variety of levels of power.

Spells themselves are contained within crystals and they’re required to cast spells instantaneously. The strength of the spell is evident by the amount of elemental essence within the crystal. A first level spell will have only a small amount of essence within, whereas a seventh level spell will be nearly exploding with essence and have a swirling mass of energy around it. Magic can technically be cast innately in Tale of Enki, but you’d have to be absurdly powerful to do so. Most magicians harness magic through manipulation of the essence inside the crystals to unleash their effects.

Rituals on the other hand require a number of reagents and a few more complex steps in order to gain their usage. Effects of rituals can range from speaking with the dead (a gore elemental ritual) to creating a pocket plane (a radiant elemental ritual). Their effects are wildly varied, but have been very important throughout the history of Eperos.

Enchantments are sort of what you’d expect if you’ve played many tabletop RPGs or other video games. They make your weapons and armour stronger, give them a variety of effects and can make them near indestructible. The elements of these effects don’t necessarily grant damage of that elemental type and the element an effect from may not be immediately obvious, but they do indeed all come from an element.

That concludes this section about magic in Tale of Enki. It’s one I really enjoyed typing up because I didn’t feel like I was trying to cram a book worth of information into a blog post. Hopefully it’s quite clearly laid out. In the fifth and final part of my world building posts I’ll be talking about creatures in Tale of Enki that aren’t part of my main races post.

Building a World, Part 3 – Nations

Welcome to the third part of my world building series. If you haven’t read the previous parts then I’d strongly recommend it, particularly Part 1 where I talk about the main races of my Tale of Enki setting. This post will talk about be nations.

To start with I’m going to address the names of various areas. The plane itself is referred to as Enki and the planet is also referred to as Enki. There are indeed planets way off on space. The main continent of the world that the series focuses on is called Eperos and that’s home to many nations filled with the main races of Enki.

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The nations are as follows:

  • Aionas
  • Cloudreach
  • Crawthmaul
  • Feyral
  • Foxwood
  • The Grand Gorge
  • Greenrock
  • Kalshar
  • Kathrul
  • Khoramoon
  • Volendrall
  • Westridge
  • Wintermount

The climates range from the cold, high altitude northern region of Wintermount to the hot jungles of Crawthmaul. Some countries are relatively lush like Foxwood and others are a bit more sparse like the deserts of Kalshar. It doesn’t encompass every possible terrain and climate, but I’d say it would cover more than enough to explore over the series.

The countries owned/controlled by the enkians are: Aionas, Westridge and Kalshar. Aionas is the heart of the empire where the great enkian city of Home can be found. Westridge is ruled over by a king, but the enkian emperor has final say on most matters. Kalshar is the desert region that’s exchanged hands many times, but the enkians manage to always take back under their own control after bloody battles.

Crawthmaul is the deep jungle region of Eperos that’s watched over the the ogre overlord in the city of Fortress. Volendrall is home to a subrace of ogres called the dark ogres and it has little contact with mainland Eperos.

Kathrul is a strange place. It once belonged to the vulpah, but was taken by the ogres and the enkians. The ogres and enkians have an uneasy truce that allows both races to maintain living here under their own laws as long as the keep out of each other’s way. It’s lasted for a few years so far, but it’s very unstable.

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Cloudreach is the mountainous region belonging to the rocklopes. The current ruler, Chief Blackflint, makes sure that the borders are maintained securely, but he has no desire to expand past that. Previous rocklops chiefs have attacked Kalshar as they see it as rightful rocklops territory, but victory there is usually costly.

Greenrock is the main country the sheepah live in. They’re ruled over by their mysterious leader in Trader’s Grove, but they try and keep to themselves outside of trading. The sheepah of the neighbouring Grand Gorge are even more isolated, even from the sheepah of Greenrock. The city of Mistside forms a good cloak that lets them hide from the outside world. The neighbouring enkians, rocklopes and vulpah tend to leave them alone in the Grand Gorge.

Foxwood, home of the vulpah, was once a much larger nation. As the enkians, ogres and lokor expanded the vulpah lost territory and many of their soldiers. Foxwood is a shadow of its former self with parts of it becoming Kathrul, Feyral, Khoramoon an Crawthmaul. Other areas were taken as part of Aionas.

When the lokor first appeared on Enki they seized part of Foxwood as their own and it became Khoramoon. It’s ruled by King Julius Disdainus V from the magnificent Black City. Another area, dubbed by the lokor as Feyral, was seized from the vulpah. It’s less secure than Khoramoon, but the lokor kings have used governors as proxy leaders to rule over Feyral from the Exiled City.

Wintermount is unique in that the race that predominantly lives there, the bigfur, aren’t classed as a main race because don’t have a big population and tend to avoid leaving Wintermount. They’re similar to yetis as they’re large and furry. It lets them live in the harsh weather of Wintermount with food being their only real concern. The northeastern region features the tallest mountain in all of Eperos, the Neverclimb, can you guess why it’s called that?

I’ve got a lot of history and areas within each country planned as well as the current leaders of each nation. It’s hard to fit into a blog post in a way that’s nice and easy to read so it’ll be explored more naturally in my games. Hopefully it explains a bit about the setting and why some countries ruled by the same races are still classed as separate countries. Who knows what could happen if I do any times jumps? It’s an exciting idea I may explore in the future.

The next topic I’ll explore in Part 4 is something I’m very excited about. Magic! How does magic work in Enki? How is it classified? What can it do? That’ll be coming up very shortly.

Building a World, Part 2 – Deities

This is the second part of my world building series for my Tale of Enki universe. For this post I want to focus on the deities prominent on Enki and the planes beyond. Just as a preface I want to address that I’m a Catholic and I take the Tolkien approach with this topic in that these deities aren’t meant to represent or undermine God. They’re rather a sub creation of my own mind. Nothing more, nothing less.

I initially started with three deities. Jorren, Maiyel and Krawth. Jorren was meant to represent righteousness and order, but he’s known to be very harsh and strict. Maiyel is the god of chaos and that more or less explains itself. Krawth was originally planned as the evil deity of murder and brutality who turned the ogres into demons. The deities have since developed into having somewhat different spheres of influence that I’ll mention below. Shortly after creating these three I expanded to include the deity Sindor, god of nature and the creator of the vulpah, sheepah and ogres. Within a few days it became a list of twelve gods.

I tied the deities to the races a bit even though there’s some crossover. Enkians worship Jorren with some worshipping Yulgus (god of knowledge). Rocklopes don’t follow ay deities in particular. Vulpah and sheepah worship Sindor, their creator. Ogres used to worship Sindor when they were known as the boarah, but now worship Krawth who corrupted them and gave them their lust for fighting. Lokor worship Permia (goddess of darkness), who banished them to Enki in the firt place, in order to try and regain her favour. Lokor also occasionally worship Yulgus as they value knowledge.

There are also a lot of lesser sects and cultists which worship other deities. People who worship Zalgan, the deity associated with corruption and pain, are usually psychopathic nutjobs and would this be shunned by society. I wanted to make sure deities could be tied into cultural values, for better or worse.

The list of deities are as follows:

  • Acoustis, god of willpower and change.
  • Caprius, god of mystery.
  • Ferule, goddess of day and night.
  • Jorren, god of conquest and loyalty.
  • Krawth, god of violence and brutality.
  • Layran, god of hope.
  • Maiyel, god of madness.
  • Nightmare, god of revenge and torment.
  • Permia, goddess of darkness.
  • Sindor, god of nature and beasts.
  • Yulgus, god of knowledge and exploration.
  • Zalga, god of corruption and disease.

I wanted to include a wide range of positive, neutral and negative spheres for the gods to represent. That way, whether it’s a meek scholar or a violence serial murderer, almost every character trait can fit with at least one deity. It also allows for some religious conflict (and even outright warfare) to occur in the lore and that’s always interesting to explore.

Either deity has their own place where they reside, but they are able to extend their reach to various other planes. This doesn’t just include Enki, but as the lore follows events almost exclusively on Enki it’s the only one that really matters.

That concludes the second part of this world building series. Next up I’ll discuss each of the nations on the main continent, Eperos, in Enki. Part 3 coming shortly!

Building a World, Part 1 – Races

I’m going to try something new here and do a few posts about creating a fleshed out world for my Tale of Enki universe. I’ll go into detail about some of the core aspects that I considered in regards to world building and address how I came up with idea as well as how they evolved.

the first topic I’m going to tackle is something that an awful lot of good fantasy universes have and that’s a variety of races. In Tale of Enki, I’ve got six core races with five of those races being playable characters in Tale of Enki: Pilgrimage. The races are: enkians, rocklopes, vulpah, sheepah, ogres and lokor.

The enkians are basically a hybrid between half-elves and ancient Greeks. Rocklopes are rocky, tribalistic cyclopes. Vulpah are humanoid foxes who are very nature focused. Sheepah are humanoid sheep who come from tribes of traders and tradesmen (carpenters, builders, etc.). Ogre are humanoid pigs who have been corrupted by a brutal deity that have since managed to progress back towards some form of civilisation. Lokor are demons banished from their home plane by their creator god who have been forced to make a new life in the world of Enki.

Tale of Enki Cast

L-R: Drusilla the lokor, Ka-gu the vulpah, Peachy the peachbug, Gargan the ogre, Rook the enkian and Twostone the rocklopes.

I went with six races because that m.atched the races available in the first Baldur’s Gate. That’s honestly the only real reason other than I like it as a nice round number. The first two races I devised were enkians and sheepah who appeared in one of my early platformer games, Land of Enki. On a side note, that series share the name Enki and some of my early ideas come from there, but it’s a separate universe. Enkians were initially envisioned as being similar to Hylians from Zelda as Land of Enki was a Zelda II tribute. Sheepah exist because I wanted some mind of silly merchant for the game and came up with a humanoid sheep-man called Sheepadeep who spun off into a whole race. They’ve largely remained unchanged from my initial plan.

Rocklopes were planned to appear as a race of helpful NPCs¬† in the unreleased Land of Enki 3 and my roguelike, Enki Adventures, that became abandoned due to the programmer having a busy uni schedule and then my focus on Tale of Enki. The rocklopes have some influence from Zelda’s gorons, but later they became more like fantasy barbarians in the style of Conan with a bit of typical dwarven culture to them. Ogres were also created for the roguelike and they were more or less naked pig-men that chucked spears at you. Over time I transitioned them into wearing clothes. A good decision!

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Junior, one of the rocklopes designed for my old roguelike project.

I wanted a demonic-looking race as well as one who fit the dark elf/drow type of aesthetic somewhat. The lokor were born from this. They’re typically isolationist ethnonationalists with very little interest in anything besides themselves and their own. They’ve been split into two with the larger group being the aforementioned ethnonationlists and the smaller group being civic nationalists in another smaller country, but more about that another time. That’s one of the more complex races for sure and it’s somewhat reflective of the modern right wing. Both sides have plenty of valid arguments to be made, but it brings them into conflict with their own kind.

That then brings us to the vulpah. They were the latest addition and were devised as NPCs for my roguelike, but now they’ve expanded to a race that was once at the top of Enki, but have since been beaten down and their numbers have dwindled. They’ve since succumbed to their own degeneracy with interests of the flesh and substance abuse running rampant throughout their population. They’ve managed to trap themselves in a spiral of self-defeat so it’s going to be very interesting writing future lore/games that show them trying to break that cycle. Will they be able to come back strong or will they end up wiped out?

There’s a lot of conflict between the races, but also a lot of respect for various aspects. The rocklopes are probably the closes to being universally well liked because they generally keep to themselves and defend their borders, but have no desire to expand those borders. Ogres are predominantly seen as the villains because of their savage history and worship of a god of brutality, but most are decent folk. Enkians are both loved for their many advances in technology, the arts and magic, but they’re reviled in other ways because they’re part of an expanding empire. Of course this is all generalisation and there’s a lot of complexity to each of these races, but that gives you the general overview.

That covers my first article on how I’ve started building my world. I’m next going to touch on deities. It was the next step I took in building my world so it only fits that it’ll be my next topic.

Last of the NPCs

Tale of Enki: Pilgrimage is coming close to a wrap up point. We’ve probably got another couple of months of adding the last of our features and play testing like crazy. The main reason for such silence on the project at the minute is that I was on holiday with my girlfriend for a month and Howard took some time off with his family too.

During the time I was off, but Howard was still plugging away, he managed to implement the bulk of the remaining NPCs. We’ve spent the last few development sessions discussing the remaining one, moving the new NPCs from our testing map to their proper positioning, etc. Everything is going smoothly right now…too smoothly.

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In all seriousness, we’ve taken some great strides ahead. I’m currently working on the Steam banners using the recently commissioned art for the game. I want to see if we can give a bit more character to the promo art rather than just have Gargan standing there. See what you think of one of the pieces.

More new coming soon as we move into play testing.

Azurael’s Circle – Out Now!

Hi folks. It’s new game time!

I was working on a point and click horror-adventure game with my brother last summer, but he didn’t have time to finish working on it. So I redid it from scratch myself!

It’s in the RPG Maker MV engine and I’ve heavily modified it to be more fitting of an adventure game. I was able to reuse most of my original assets so the whole thing only took me about two weeks in between doing work on Tale of Enki. Not half bad!

It’s available to play for FREE on Newgrounds and Itch.io, but I recommend the Itch.io version because it runs nicer as a downloadable title rather than a browser-based game.

https://enkiangames.itch.io/azuraels-circle

Happy hauntings…