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Skald: Against the Black Priory

Skald: Against the Black Priory’ is an old-school roleplaying game that combines modern design and a fully realized narrative with authentic 8-bit looks and charms. 

Delve into a dark fantasy world, full of tragic heroes, violent deaths and Lovecraftian, cosmic horror. Explore an engaging, branching story mixed with rich exploration and crunchy, tactical, turn-based combat that will seem familiar yet innovative to RPG fans, old and new.

“Skald: Against the Black Priory” will launch on Steam and GOG May 30th 2024!

Check out the store-page today and to wishlist the game and play the free demo:

 

Stay Posted

Subscribe to this devlog, follow us on Twitter and join our Discord!

Cheers,

AL

Join the Experimental Branch!

Hi there!

We’ve set up an Experimental Branch on Steam for PC. The purpose of this branch is to post builds and updates there for live testing before we make official updates! This is SUPER helpful to us as we are small team and there is no substitute for high volume testing!

We’ll be looking into adding Mac and doing it for GOG as well but one step at the time!

To join the branch:

  • Turn off steam cloud saves. Right click on the game and choose properties, then go to General and unclick the steam cloud saves.
  • Back up their save data. Found at “C:\Users\USER\AppData\LocalLow\High North Studios\SKALD_ Against the Black Priory\SaveFiles” copy the SaveFiles folder and put it on the desktop for example.
  • Go back to steam, right click on Skald and select Properties. Select tab Betas. Type in the pass: experimental and hit the button Check Code. Now select the branch from the drop down list.
  • Enter password: “ experimental”
  • Restart steam to trigger steam client to download the update
  • Please note that going back and forth between the Default and Experimental branch could POTENTIALLY cause issues with save files though we’re of course doing everything we can to avoid that.

Any feedback from playing on the Experimental branch should be reported to the feedback_experimental_branch sub-channel on the Discord.

See you in the Outer Isles!

AL

Week 1 Update and Patches

What a week! Skald went live to sterling reviews from both audience and press! I’ve been working around the clock since then trying to onboard new community members, staying on top of social media and preparing todays Update (Version 1.0.4c). More info below!

Yesterday, we broke 500 reviews on Steam and we’re now “Overwhelmingly Positive”! As the name implies, I’m overwhelmed! Thank you to everyone who’s left a review – It means the world to me.

Due to the amazing momentum we’ve been building since launch, we’ve agreed to extend the launch discount until June 13th. So if you have this game wishlisted, consider picking it up before the summer starts (to help you keep out of the sun)!

Got Bugs?

Do you have bugs?

Discord is by far my favorite community and it’s thriving and very helpful. We have FAQs there as well as a helpdesk and channels dedicated to feedback. If you have very serious bugs that stop you from playing the game, reach out to me personally in a DM in the Discord @SkaldRPG.

We also patrol Steam and GOG forums constantly so feel free to leave questions there.

Finally, please consider reporting to the Raw Fury customer support desk. All tickets there also get consolidated and sent to me.

Version 1.0.4c Drops Today!

As I said, I’m working double time to patch bugs and act on feedback. I’ve also fixed more typos than I thought humanly possible. V. 1.0.4c drops today and is the first in a series of updates intended to consolidate the game after launch. We’ll keep a rapid cadence for now with no more than 2d7 days between updates.

Version notes at the end of this post to avoid spoilers

Experimental Branch

We’ve added an experimental branch for Steam – PC. We’ll be uploading new builds here about a week in advance of the Default branch and I sure would love to have your help in testing it! To join it, read this!


Thank you all so far! Want a sequel? Spread the word about this awesome little cult-game and consider leaving a review!

Have a great day!

 

Anders

Version Notes (Spoilers)

=== Version 1.0.4a-c ===

FEATURES: The life-length of combat pop-ups can be adjusted under Settings -> Gameplay -> Combat Pop-Up Length [Needs Testing]

FEATURES: Whether to give XP to downed characters after combat is now a setting in Settings -> Difficulty -> “XP For Downed Characters”. It is now set to “Enabled” for all difficulties except High.

FEATURES: The recipes listed under and ingredients “Use in” entry are now hyperlinked.

FEATURES: When selecting new spells, you can see all the spells in the relevant school. The spells that are currently locked are marked with a gray padlock.

FEATURES: Feats that increases the tier of a spell school now lists all spell available to that school

 

MISC: Added some error checking to achievement setting 

MISC: Fixed about 150 typos

MISC: Slightly improved mouse interactions with multi-tile prop hitboxes.

MISC: Made it so that spell aptitude increases both the min and max value of the damage / healing output.

MISC: Further worked on improving performance and limiting FPS-drops

MISC: Versioning no longer says pre-launch

MISC: Made the breath-holding puzzle under the lighthouse easier by adding 1 turn to the breath holding duration

MISC: Increased the Vitality provided by heal effects.

MISC: I made the ground tiled darker to improve readability and reduce bleeding.

MISC: Removed a few unnecessary uses of the “C-word”

 

BUG: Pressing the button ‘2’ while naming saves caused the dialogue window to close.

BUG: The Steam Cloud file was visible in the save folder 

BUG: Dropping items on tiles like open doors or on tiles with hidden script triggers did not cause the “bag” icon to show.

BUG: Hospitallers could not use heavy armor

BUG: Some players had the game start fine and then made a save and quit. Upon starting again the game would hang after the logo reveal – before the menus loaded in.

BUG: Ilya in Firgol had “Hound” set as her race.

BUG: The issue with the two guards in the cellar under Oleg’s house should not be less pronounced

BUG: Some props (like trapdoors) were missing labels (names)

BUG: Tried again to fix item weight bug

BUG: Circle of mental restoration stunned targets

BUG: There was a formatting issue in the credits menu with the Raw Fury names (the tabulation was too big)

BUG: Selecting a new character with a potential level up while in the Feat screen did not trigger the level up pop-up 

BUG: Certain equipable items (jewelry) would be tagged as stackable and equipping them would cause the entire stack to be equipped. These stacks should now be split up upon loading as non-equippable item can be tagged as stackable.

BUG: In some very narrow cases, if Iago was somehow knocked out in the Father fight, he would occasionally NOT spawn in the sea-cave after leaving the party.

BUG: Fixed a bug where the crafting station in the brewery in Firgol was boxed in.

SKALD IS OUT

“Skald: Against the Black Priory” is now out on Steam and GOG!

The game is a retro-style party-based RPG set in a grim-dark fantasy world of tragic heroes, violent deaths and Lovecraftian horror.

 

 

The game sells for 15 USD for the Standard Edition or 25 USD for the Deluxe Edition. There will be a launch discount of 10% so get it while it’s fresh!

If you want to give this project a little extra boost, there’s nothing that helps the product visibility on Steam and GOG more than leaving a positive review!

Now, venture forth and enjoy!

Anders

Setting Sail

Skald launches tomorrow (May 30th, 7pm CEST) on Steam and GOG for PC and Mac. It’s priced at 15 USD or as a jam-packed Deluxe edition for 25 USD. 

Reviews Inbound

Today at 4pm CET, the embargo for Skald will be lifted. That means that press and content creators can finally begin talking about the game!

This is an exciting and terrifying moment: The game we sent them two weeks ago has improved on an astronomical scale in the last two weeks and there were of course a bit of rough patches in the press/creator build.

Thankfully people have been beyond helpful in bringing us bug reports and the like and the game has improved vastly because of it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I adore it and I know you will as well!

I’ll post an abbreviated change-log as well as some info for users who have been playing on the press/creator build below. READ IT.

Launch Build Version Notes

The following changes are the major changes that have been implemented since we sent out the press build. 

For players using a Press/Content Build: These changes will NOT automatically be added to the press-branch of the game. That branch will be frozen in time for eternity to ensure backwards compatibility and stability (more below).

NEW Features

  • The magic-system has been redesigned somewhat, making spellcasters a lot more powerful and fun to play. Also added a few new spells.
  • Leveling up spellcaster Feats allows you to now manually select new spells (it used to be auto assigned)
  • The Feat trees for most classes have been reorganized with an emphasis on balance.
  • The Rogue’s backstab ability is made a lot more powerful by multiplying backstab damage by the weapons critical damage modifier
  • It’s now possible to “abort” leveling up, meaning you don’t have to spend all your development points each time you enter the Feats screen. This makes it possible to take a break, and examine your character or the rest of the party etc.
  • Added in the missing end-slide cut-scenes and artwork
  • Dogs bark when you pet them (!)

Misc

  • Around 100 typos fixed
  • Fixed numerous bugs
  • Added dozens of minor QoL tweaks
  • Made encumbrance more forgiving
  • Made the game a little more willing to give out gold
  • Added more gold to vendors so it’s easier to sell loot
  • Added more sound effects
  • Added a few more alternate solutions to combat situations (stealth and diplomacy)

Performance

Thanks to feedback from reviewers, we were made aware of performance issues in certain parts of the game. This has slipped past our QA runs because it seems to be system dependent.

95% of players will not notice this at all.

I’ve done what I can on short notice and the issue should already be better at launch. 

In the case that you still suffer FPS drops, try going into “Settings -> Display” and disable “Fancy Lighting” and “Weather Effects”. This should improve performance on all systems. Beyond that, I have a new patch ready to go on Monday, once it passes QA so I feel VERY confident this issue will be resolved shortly.

If you are currently on the press build, you can improve performance by pressing TAB and entering the console command “{clearFogEffect}”. Note that console commands are case sensitive.

A Note On Press Branch Compatibility

This only applies to Press and content creators playing on the games Beta Branch (meaning you activated a press key).

Once the game launches, you have the option of setting the game to the Default Branch. Doing so gives you the proper, updated version of the game. However it is not compatible with saves made on the press branch.

However, you can stay on the press branch as long as you will and finish your run. Just know that the “real” version of the game will be found on the Default branch going forward. 

Wish me Luck

I have been getting a lot of questions lately of how to support me as a developer beyond buying the game (Ko-Fi, Paypal etc). To that I say: BUY THE DELUXE EDITION. And if you still have money to spend: Buy the game as a gift to your friends.

What’s more: It also helps the project’s visibility immensely if you eventually leave a review.  

I’ve poured my heart and souls into this project and I really hope you all love it as much as I do. Wish me luck and please offer a silent prayer to some Elder God tomorrow at 7PM CEST.

I’ll be here; pacing nervously. 

To stay posted, be sure to follow the Skald Twitter and Discord and wishlist on Steam if you haven’t already!

Much love,

 

AL

 

Party Time!

 

56 hours and counting!

The hours are passing by in a fever-pitch at the moment. The amount of polish that has gone into the game since we sent out press-keys is INSANE. One one hand, I’m sad that the reviewers didn’t get to see all those wonderful updates, but on the other hand, it’s far more important that you – the community – get a game that looks amazing on May 30th.

I spent all weekend playing through it and let me tell you: If your RPG tastes are like mine, you’re in for a treat. So in other words: you better smash that “buy” button once we go live!

 

Rogue’s Gallery

Today I’ll do a short feature of the six pre-made recruitable characters in the game. There was originally going to be more of them but I landed on the choice of giving maximum attention to fleshing out a handful of them instead of spreading it too thin. 

The upside is of course that you can also recruit fully customizable characters if you want a bit of variation, allowing for endless mixing and matching.

Roland

Roland is a sell-sword veteran of countless bloody campaigns. He carries many a scar both without and within. Mercenary work is cruel and unglamorous it would seem.

Roland is a dangerous and brutal man . He’s also laconic and prone to bouts of melancholy but unerringly loyal.Roland is an Armasmaster who prefers to vade into melee with his trusty “two-hander” sword.


Roland is an Armasmaster. A class that excels in straight-forward and brutal combat.

Kat

Kat is an indentured guild-sailor who was part of the crew of the ‘Zephyr’. She hails from the Imperial mainland where her cut-throat brother sold her into servitude after their parents died. Needless to say they did not part on good terms.

Kat is outspoken and exuberant with a foul mouth that stands in stark contrast to her fair appearance.

Kat is a Thief and excels in stealth and lock-picking. She also employs her deadly Backstab ability in combat to deal large amounts of damage and crippling injury conditions.

Driina

Driina is a cleric of the Sepulchite order, bringing the light of the Golden Dead to the Outer Isles. Imperial religion places great significance upon the dead and the mummified corpses of long dead Magi and Emperors are the Empire’s most prized relics , 

The Sepulchites are the custodians of the Dead. This makes a somber and austere lot but they are also experts of the flesh and great healers.

Driina is a Hospitaller: A front line healer combining the sacred magic of the flesh with a robust combat presence.

Iben

 

Iben is a quiet man with a sharp wit and sharper eye. He’s traveled the Empire far and wide and eventually ended up in the Outer Isles where he found happiness – for a short while. Though he can be humorous and warm when he so wishes, it is clear that he prefers the stillness that only the wilderness can offer.

When pressed about his background, Iben tends to grow distant while he thoughtfully chews his pipe.

Iben is a Ranger. A warrior that combines an unmatched skill in ranged combat with the magic of the natural world.

Iago

Iago is a swashbuckling smuggler hailing from the Ombarian city-states to the south. A man of the world, he’ll tell anyone who will listen (and most who won’t listen) that he owes his legendary good luck to being the favored son of the Blind Maidens.

Iago prefers to never stay in port for long. Something about ‘wronged husbands’ and ‘little misunderstandings’.

Iago is an Officer: A warrior who boosts the fighting prowess of their comrades by issuing orders across the battlefield.

Embla

Running bare-foot through the hedge-maze on the grounds of the Berryn estate. Both of you children: Embla in-front, just out of sight.

That’s how it’s always been. 

All is not well in the house of Berryn and you must venture once more to follow her into the maze. Perhaps this time you’ll finally catch up to her.

In Closing…

We’ve been sending keys to content creators and press and word is seeping in that they’re having a lot of fun with it. Are YOU a content creator or a Press person? Get in touch for a key to the game:

creatorscreators@rawfury.com

presspress@rawfury.com


To stay posted, be sure to follow the Skald Twitter and Discord and wishlist on Steam if you haven’t already!

See you in 56 hours!

 

AL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Late Stage Feature Bonanza

Hello!

As I’m writing this, there are 227 hours, 11 minutes and 23 seconds left until launch. That feels surreal, terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time. Just like a good cosmic horror grimdark RPG in other words.

The game in question is, of course, “Skald: Against the Black Priory”. A retro-style roleplaying game releasing May 30th for PC and Mac on Steam and GOG.

The game will sell for 15 USD with a Deluxe Edition priced at 25 USD. This game is VALUE PACKED in my humble opinion so please consider getting the Deluxe edition.

We’re keeping it safe and saying the game has a core path of about 15 hours but in reality, every single first run I’ve seen has taken 25+ hours and that’s not mentioning replayability.

Some New Late-Stage Features

In the blood-red rush of caffeine fueled crunch madness I decided to add a few nice little late stage features. Rejoice!

Mercenaries

Do you want to adventure with the pre-made characters? Or would you rather make every character in the party from scratch? Perhaps a combination of the two?

Oops all new characters!

Fear not! The Outer Isles is full of “Mercenaries”: Blank characters that you can hire and customize fully.

Up to 18 characters can be part of your group and you’re free to swap them in and out from the party management screen that you get access to when resting in beds or at inns!

This game suddenly feels a lot more like murder-hobo pokemon!

You’re even free to leave all your companions in camp and venture forth alone if you want a bit of an extra challenge.

The Weathermaiden

As you set sail across the Outer Isles on the fine ship “Weathermaiden” you can use her as a mobile base of operations.

Sleep, cook, craft, socialize, organize your party, trade and store your loot in style as you plow the steel-gray seas of the Outer Isles!

Ultimate Mode

Also known as “Nostalgia Mode”! This is a small one but it’s such a sweet little feature I can’t help but show it off! The Deluxe Edition (amongst many other cool things) allows players to activate the special retro game frame!

This is sure to bring back some fond memories for a lot of you! Did I mention that you should buy the Deluxe edition?

Deluxe Map

The Deluxe Edition will now come bundled with a high resolution version of the overland map! And don’t worry: We’ll include both a spoilery and a non-spoiler version!

Sound Effect Update

I’ve done a MASSIVE overhaul of the sound effects in the game! Hoooo boy let me tell you it makes all the difference in the world to actually hear those guts spill onto the floor!

I didn’t have time to record footage of it but believe me when I say you’re in for a treat!

In Closing…

I’m planning to showcase the pre-made characters and I should also do another feature-focus on advanced combat stuff. We’ll see what I can squeeze in before launch and during the launch week.

In any case I’m BEYOND excited to show you the game. We’ve been sending keys to content creators and press and word is seeping in that they’re having a lot of fun with it. Are YOU a content creator or a Press person? Get in touch for a key to the game:

creatorscreators@rawfury.com

presspress@rawfury.com


To stay posted, be sure to follow the Skald Twitter and Discord and wishlist on Steam if you haven’t already!

See you in 227 hours!

 

AL

Project Update: Versions and Pricing Overview

 

Greetings one and all!

Below is a short summary of pricing and versions for Skald once it launches on May 30th. Note that changes may occur before launch.

Also, see the end of the devlog for some info about the incredible people who made our live-action trailer for us!

Pricing and Platforms

“Skald: Against the Black Priory” will launch on Steam and GOG (be sure to wishlist today on your store of choice).

The game will be available for PC and Mac upon launch.

The Standard version of the game will be priced around 15 USD and the Deluxe version will be priced at around 25 USD.

Deluxe Edition Content

We intend to offer a Deluxe edition of the game that will provide you with a bundle of extra content giving you the option of having a slightly different game experience mechanically speaking. It also comes with the OST and a good handful of cosmetic items.

The Deluxe edition will contain the following items (amongst others):

  • The Base Game
  • A pack of extra character portraits
  • Unique Dice animations
  • 3 extra character backgrounds to choose from during character creation.
  • Malachai, the Magical items merchant: A vendor that is available from the mid game and onward that sells a handful of unique magical items.
  • Two wallpapers from the game
  • The OST with 38 (!) tracks
  • A Special “Nostalgia” frame for the game
  • Two high-resolution versions of the game’s hand-drawn overland map

Remind you of any particular game?

We’re constantly looking into more cool stuff to add into the Deluxe edition whilst still making sure it does not detract from the main game. The idea is that it should be a value-packed way of supporting the developer (which buying the deluxe edition greatly does).

Skald at WASD Live 2024

The game is being presented at a WASD Live 2024 in London 25th-27th of April along with a collection of other awesome Raw Fury titles! If you’re in the area and you feel like checking out Skald and its awesome siblings, be sure to visit WASD

Trailer Credits

Our “Release-Date Announcement Trailer” has been getting amazing feedback from the community and beyond. I’m just so grateful for getting to play a part in making such a cool little piece of retro-inspired media.

The credit for the main action scenes of the trailer however, goes to Swedish media production company NAIVE. What you see here is the result of their incredible craftsmanship and attention to detail.

You’ve blown me away with your amazing work and I can’t thank you enough! Now go give these amazing people all the likes and follows!

Naive

Web: naive.se
Instagram: @naive.society

Directed by:
Robin Jonsson, @robijons ( instagram )
Oskar Gullstrand, @o.gullstrand (instagram)

Cinematography:
Simon Rudholm, @simon.rudholm (instagram)

Sound Design:
Jakob Oldenburg @oldenburgsound ( instagram)

VFX:
Oskar Gullstrand
Cecilia Azout

Editing:
Robin Jonsson


To stay posted, be sure to follow the Skald Twitter and Discord and wishlist on Steam if you haven’t already!

Cheers,

 

AL

Launch Data Reveal Trailer

The time is upon us, the Dragon has awoken and the LAUNCH DATE IS REVEALED: “Skald: Against the Black  Priory” is launching May 30th 2024!

Check out our AMAZING Launch Data Reveal Trailer now!

Did you see all the awesome hidden references?

Once you’re done rewatching, head on over to Steam where Skald is participating in both a Lovecraftian Steam event and the #TurnbasedThursday Fest.

We’ve even UPDATED THE DEMO so you can play the latest iteration of the game TODAY!


It feels amazing to be this close to sharing Skald with you all! Keep your eyes peeled as we go forwards: We’ll be posting frequent updates over the next weeks!

To stay posted, be sure to follow the Skald Twitter and Discord and wishlist on Steam if you haven’t already!

Cheers,

 

AL

Feature Highlights: Combat Introduction

 

Ho there traveler!

It’s time for another feature highlight! This time, talking about combat rules! This is a big subject but I have to start somewhere, so today we’ll have a look at a few core concepts. Forgive me if this reads a bit like a chapter out of the D&D Player’s Handbook (though I suspect quite a few of you like that).

Some dungeoneering motifs by John Henderson!

In case you’re reading this and don’t know what game we’re talking about, you can start by checking out the SKALD demo on Steam (and don’t forget to wishlist):

Combat in Skald

Combat in Skald is turn-based and takes place on a tile grid. I’m a huge tabletop RPG nerd and there is a strong influence from 3rd edition D&D and beyond (including games like Pathfinder and, of course, 5th edition D&D).

At its core, this means that combat in Skald cares a lot about proper positioning and synergies between party members and their different skill-sets.

Battle is Joined!

Once a combat is triggered, you get to deploy your party. Use this phase to make a plan: Set up charges and flanking. Make sure your spellcasters have good angles of attack and take advantage of the terrain when possible (there’s nothing wrong with a good choke-point).

Characters act in descending order of initiative. Agile, lightly armored characters tend to act earlier in the initiative order. You can view the initiative order using the initiative widget on the left side of the screen at any time.

Note how you can also toggle the “tactical overlay” to superimpose a grid over the battlefield. This makes the characters’ exact position more easy to spot.

Also, you should always try to pay attention to the statistics of your opponents and party members (things like damage resistance are great to know about). Thankfully this is really easy with the popup tooltip system!

Action Economy

A character can move a number of tiles each turn equal to their Combat Moves. These are indicated by the yellow pips on the side of the combat map:

The purple pip(s) indicate the number of attacks a character has. A character can forgo attacking and instead spend their attack action to move one extra tile.

Once a character has attacked, it is no longer possible for them to move (in other words, their turn typically ends after attacking).

Some characters have multiple attacks. You cannot move and attack more than once each turn. So to take advantage of your multiple attacks you must dedicate your entire round to attacking.

Moving out of melee (Disengaging) or swapping places with an ally, consumes all your remaining movement and attacks.

To-Hit Mechanics

At a very basic level, hitting an opponent comes down to the following:

Attacker rolls 2d6 + relevant skill (Melee Attack or ranged Attack)

vs

2d6 + defender’s Dodge skill.

If the attacker rolls equal to or above the defender’s roll, a hit is scored and damage is rolled equal to the weapon’s damage score + relevant modifiers (such as a Strength bonus for Melee Attacks) .

If the defender is wearing armor, part of the incoming damage is absorbed by the armor (a random amount from 0 to the armor’s Soak value).

Basic Tactics

There are hundreds of spells and abilities that can be used in combat depending on your class and build. Today however, I’ll give a very short overview of some of the basic general tactics that help setting up the game’s positional gameplay.

Charging

A charge is executed by moving at least 2 tiles in a straight line before executing a melee attack.

A charge attack gets a bonus on the to-hit roll and the damage roll. This bonus increases the longer you move in a straight line before attacking (Momentum builds up).Classes of the Warrior archetype tend to have feats that improve their charge attacks.

Flanking

A flanking attack is performed whenever two attackers stand on opposite sides of the same defender.

Flanked opponents are much easier to hit. They also lose the Dodge bonus derived from using a shield. You can spot a flanked target by looking out for the Flanking icon:

Flanking also ties in to one of the Rogue’s special abilities: Backstabbing.  I’ll talk more about backstabbing in a later post, but in short, whenever a Rogue attacks a character that is either defenseless (Paralyzed etc.) or flanked, they automatically perform a Backstabbing attack that deals a lot of extra damage.

So for any party with a Rogue in it, setting up and taking advantage of flanking can result in very rewarding tactical play.

Hold Action

Another easily overlooked but vital feature is the “Hold Action” command. This basically moves the current character to the end of the initiative queue (meaning they act last in the turn order).

This is a lot more powerful than it seems as it allows your characters to act with more synergy. Perhaps your rogue would rather wait to attack until after the magos has blinded their target for them, setting up a sweet Backstab attack?

Pass and Defend

No very exciting but also worth a mention. A character may choose to pass their turn without acting. Typically this is done if a character has no relevant action to take. However, this also gives them a substantial bonus to their Dodge score until their next round.

Consider using this tactically to increase the staying-power of your front line fighters whilst your ranged strikers wear down your foes from the back ranks.

Injury, Death and Morale

Characters in Skald have two “hit point” reserves: Vitality and Wounds.

Vitality is represented by the green bar under the character portrait. Vitality points are numerous, easily lost and easily regained. They can be restored using healing potions and spells and losing Vitality has no immediate negative consequences. The problems begin once you lose all your vitality points!

Once all your Vitality is gone, damage is dealt to your Wound points. This represents actual, severe physical damage being done to your character. You have few Wound points and they are much harder to recover. Wounds are represented by the purple bar under your character portrait. When you take wound damage two things happen:

First you sustain an injury. Injuries (represented by red circles in the character portrait) give severe penalties to your character. They can only be removed by resting fully in a camp.

Secondly, the wounded character must make a Will save or begin to Panic and flee.

Unlike Vitality, lost Wounds can only be recovered by resting. In other words, once you start to get party members with lost Wound points and lots of injuries, it’s time to start looking for a camp site (see last month’s devlog).

I’m not the only one hearing the crackling of the fire, right?

Getting Knocked Out

So what happens when you’re out of both Vitality and Wounds? Well, if you’re a player character you’re lucky: You’re Knocked Out until end of combat. Once combat ends, if at least one character is left standing in the party, all Knocked Out characters wake up with 1 Wound point restored.

The only real downside of getting knocked out in combat is that knocked out characters don’t get their XP share after the fight. This may seem harsh and it might change down the line but I do like a bit of stakes in my combat and I think it works well all in all.

Moral

Finally, I also alluded to the Panic condition above. This is worth a mention as well as it plays a large part in combat. Whenever something traumatic happens, a character must make a moral check (2d6 + Willpower vs a difficulty number). This can be triggered by:

  • Seeing an ally get killed / knocked out
  • Taking Wound damage
  • Certain spells and abilities

A character who fails their moral check will no longer act during their turn and instead try to flee. There is a chance each subsequent turn that they may regain their composure but needless to say, having your party members rout is VERY dangerous.

Thankfully, Priests and Officers excel at boosting your party’s moral. Also actively trying to erode your opponents will to fight through clever use of spells and maneuvers is an excellent tactic.


I think I’ll leave it here for today. This is such an extensive subject and I’ve only just scratched the surface in this post. Hopefully it gives you a bit of an initial impression though. For a lot of you TTRPG fans out there, you can probably start seeing some of the lineage of the system.

I’ll go more in depth on spellcasting and special abilities etc. at a later point (there’s A LOT to talk about) so stay posted!

Be sure to follow the Skald Twitter and Discord and wishlist on Steam if you haven’t already done so!

Much love,

 

AL

 

 

Project Update: Feature Highlights 1

Greetings one and all! I hope  this  finds all you fellow RPG nerds well! I think it’s about time for me to emerge from my developer’s cave and write a little bit of a project update!

Art by Gustav Samuelson / @MechaBarbarian

In case you’re reading this and don’t know what we’re talking about, you can start out by checking out the SKALD demo on Steam (and don’t forget to wishlist):

News

Skald has been making the news! We’ve gotten a round of some fantastic, organic coverage in the last few weeks and truly there is no better feeling for a solo-developer than to have people talk about your project in such glowing terms! A few of the bigger ones are PC-Gamer, Eurogamer and CRPG YouTuber Mortismal Gaming.

And best of all: These are just the biggest ones! There’s been a score of other content creators and gaming-sites talking about the game lately and I truly couldn’t be happier.

In a world where discoverability is likely the largest hurdle to indie success, word of mouth has once again become tremendously important.

Feature Highlight

There are so many things I could (and probably should) be talking about that it’s hard to choose. True to form I picked some of the things that are at the top of my head and those are some of the secondary systems in the game. For today I chose camp mechanics, crafting and magic items.

Camping

The idea of your party sitting around a warm campfire with a belly full of stew and a pipe stuffed with fine pipe-weed sharing stories of battles past is just so appealing to me.

I’m not the only one hearing the crackling of the fire, right?

Beyond that, camping also serves as a way of reinforcing the game-loop that is essential to RPGs: You occasionally need to take a break from adventuring to rest, recover and restock!

Camping in Skald serves as a way to recover lost resources and clear the injury conditions that accumulate during combat: You can recover lost vitality easily enough (by using spells) but if you get hit hard enough you may end up with injuries. These make adventuring harder and eventually you’ll need to make camp to recover!

You can either pay to sleep at an inn or, more commonly, you’ll be resting in the wild! Most surface areas are usable for resting (no sleeping in dungeons).


During rest, you need to feed the party. If you have less than the required food available, the party will not recover fully (providing only 50% of the food will only restore 50% lost Vitality etc). This means that gathering and crafting food is a good idea (more on that later).

In addition to eating, your party can also be put to work with camp activities! Activities like foraging for supplies, fletching arrows and training or entertaining other party members makes different classes and skills shine.

Camp logistics not your jam? Well, the game comes with a powerful set of difficulty settings allowing you to disable the food requirement so you can get the exact RPG experience YOU want!

Crafting

As it’s already been featured in the demo, the crafting system is not really “new”. However this system has been recontextualized a bit with the introduction of camping because it influences the use of food in the game.

A character needs to eat 10 “points” of food per night. Eating a raw potato might give 1 point of food. Eating a bowl of vegetable stew might offer 10 points. So in other words, even though you can chomp down on raw ingredients, your characters’ lives become A LOT easier if you cook for them. Also, I’m making no promises here but I would just LOVE to give party members favorite foods. I’m trying to decide what Roland would like. Perhaps something sweet? Or sausage?

Oh and I also added alchemy to the game! Gather ingredients like flowers, monster parts and fungi and use them to create potions!

So how does it work?

Gather ingredients and examine them to learn which go together to craft new items! You can experiment with combining ingredients and you don’t lose them if you fail so there’s no reason to not play around. It’s a bit of a mini game and I find it to be a lot of fun. You can also find scrolls with recipes on them that automatically unlocks the recipe.

As it currently works, you always succeed at crafting if you attempt a valid recipe. However depending on your crafting skill and the item’s complexity there is also a chance that you get a superior result (more than one new item for instance ).

All in all, I’m happy with the system. It doesn’t take up much space and if you don’t want to deal with it you don’t have to. But if you do chose to interact with it, it adds a layer of logistics that I personally enjoy a lot in games like this. Actually having to plan out the expedition to the nearby dungeon adding in stops for resting and making sure you’re carrying enough raw materials to craft the consumables you need as you delve into the darkness is my jam.

Magic Items

I’ve also been giving a lot of love to magic items lately. This one might be a bit divisive: There will be a lot of procedurally created and semi-randomly placed magic items in the game.

I know a lot of you don’t like this and I can certainly sympathize. In an ideal world, every item would be lovingly hand-crafted and placed in the world. The problem with this is that it takes a lot of time. As in A LOT a lot.

The result would be much fewer items to be found and after testing this game for hours on end my conclusion is that the game works better with more items even if that means they are procedurally created and placed.

Just to be clear: The fact that most items are procedural in the game does not mean there isn’t also the occasional hand crafted item to be found. Also, magic items are not dropped from random encounters. Once the game starts a set number of items are placed in the world and these remain static. The game does NOT feature Diablo-style grinding for loot-drops and there is no way to save-scum the system.

I’m going to make every effort to keep a close eye on the system here to make for a balanced and interesting distribution of magic items and I feel pretty certain that it will work out for the best in the end.


And there we go! A summary of three fairly nerdy subjects that I’m sure will be of interest to at least three of you!

To stay posted, be sure to follow the Skald Twitter and Discord and wishlist on Steam if you haven’t already!

Much love,

 

AL