Spire of Sorcery - Qfasa


It’s been a while since we last spoke about the Spire itself – the different rooms, and their purposes. Over the last two weeks, this part of the game has been in our focus as we continue to implement different layers of game mechanics. Today, we’d like to bring you up to date to where we are, in terms of our current plans for this part of the game.

But before we dive in, we’d like to explain the approach of “scoping” that we apply in our development efforts.

There’s the old truth that “one can never really finish a book; one can only stop working on it”. True to this saying, we still regularly add new content and new features to our previous game Gremlins, Inc. that we released over three years ago: as long as we have time, we will continue to develop it further.

With a game like Spire of Sorcery, it’s the same story – the list of possible features and content is nearly endless. This presents a certain risk: as our plans become more ambitious, our release date may be pushed further and further; and this is where “scoping” saves us.

Whenever we talk about a particular part of the game, we never plan for “the final version”; rather, we plan only for the next stage – the Early Access version that we expect to launch in a few months. And when we plan, we ask ourselves three questions:
  • Is this feature within the scope of the current part of the trilogy that we develop?
  • Is this feature really necessary for the next stage of the game?
  • Is there a way to make it in a simpler way at first?
Thus, for example, when we considered the opportunity to send and to receive gifts – including some that would be threatening or cursed – we all agreed that it’s a great fit for the next part in the series, where politics and interaction with other Spires is at the core.

And when we recently reviewed trading as a feature, we decided to move it to the “after Early Access” stage, because you can already finish the current main campaign without it.

Finally, when we went through the mechanics of healing, we saw that we can release in Early Access even without a dedicated Hospital room in the Spire, starting at first with a simplified healing mechanics.

We hope that this explanation helps you to better understand our approach to development. We like to move in small steps, and we plan our work around the goal of releasing in Early Access as soon as we can. Who knows, what extra features Spire of Sorcery will have one year after launch? We prefer avoid distractions by staying focused on features and content that are absolutely critical to reach the next stage as early as we can, and then we’ll see!



And now, let’s talk about the rooms:

THE STRUCTURE

Throughout the game, you make a lot of decisions in different areas. Setting aside quests (that unfold beyond the walls of the Spire), there’s research, magic, alchemy and other areas that require your attention in order to advance the main campaign.

All the actions that belong to the same area, are organized as one “room” section – a separate part of the game’s interface that offers information, upgrade options and tasks to manage. Each such room offers you a particular perspective into the current state of your Spire, exposing problems and presenting opportunities.


BUILDING ROOMS AND ARRANGING ITEMS INSIDE OF THEM

Earlier in this blog, we shared our vision about building rooms and then arranging items inside of them: rather than add “5 efficiency” to a Library, we eventually want you to produce or acquire an actual candle-holder, and then to place it into the actual room, seeing it lit up as its efficiency increases.

Recently, we decided to push this feature back to the period after the Early Access launch: while this part of the game promises to be fun, the underlying mechanics can be done in a more basic form, helping us to release the game in Early Access earlier.

At the time of the Early Access launch, you are able to spend resources and magic energy on improving efficiency of rooms as well as their capacity – in a rather straightforward manner.

Then, at some point after the Early Access launch, we plan to add the opportunity to build the actual rooms. Thus, you will be able to have several rooms of the same type and manage these rooms separately. For example, you may want to have a small Library with very high efficiency – reserved for selected few among your disciples; and a larger Library for everyone else. As for now, we mark this advanced feature as being “out of scope” for the Early Access launch.



THE SCOPE

Overall, our game designer’s vision calls for 24 different rooms in the Spire. We plan to have 10 of the rooms available at the time of the Early Access launch, with the further 14 added along the way with major updates between the Early Access and the full release versions (plus the option to upgrade the Spire’s defense).

Rooms that we plan to finish before we launch in Early Access:
  • Mage Suite
  • Living Quarters

  • Classroom
  • Library

  • Laboratory

  • Workshop
  • Alchemic Studio
  • Kitchen

  • Warehouse
  • Magic Energy Storage
Rooms that we plan to add after we launch in Early Access:
  • Mess Hall
  • Hospital
  • Prison
  • Meditation Room
  • Game Room

  • Practice Hall

  • Observatory
  • Glasshouse
  • Cavern
  • Kennels

  • Treasury
  • Portal

  • Distorted Room
  • Slumber Chamber
In the same period we plan to add the option to manage the defense of the Spire (by building a moat, erecting a watchtower, adding animals and creatures outside the walls, etc.).



Let’s look at the first 3 rooms that we currently work on:

MAGE SUITE

This is the room where your mage works from.

Upgrades available:

Efficiency.

Because there can be only one mage in the Spire, there is no opportunity to increase the capacity of this room (even though I, personally, still hope that at some point we will be able to add the space for mage’s familiar creature).

Information:

(1) biographies of every disciple as revealed in interviews upon their arrival;

(2) personal notes that players can make about every disciple (for example, writing down suspicions of possible traits or skills);

(3) personal event logs of every disciple i.e. the short history of everything that happened to this character since their arrival to the Spire.

Actions:

This is where your mage can perform magic rituals.

Policies:

(1) this is where you establish the Traditions of the Spire (a set of rules that apply to all disciples, such as whether they wear uniforms or not, whether they must give up all of their personal inventory items to the Spire upon arrival, and so on);

(2) this is where you set the mage’s personal and the Spire’s overall daily schedules.


LIVING QUARTERS

This is the room where disciples spend their time off.

Upgrades available:

Efficiency. Capacity.

Capacity of Living Quarters defines the number of disciples who can sleep comfortably in their beds. Any disciples whom you accept above that capacity will have to sleep on the floors until you expand the room further, which will affect their rest negatively.

As to efficiency, this determines how well do they rest while they sleep.

Resources:

Each disciple has their own “personal chest” with their private inventory. These chests are separate from the Spire’s main Warehouse. This screen also includes your own, mage’s, personal chest.

Actions:

This is where you can transfer inventory between the Spire’s Warehouse and personal chests of different characters, giving gifts or taking things away from specific disciples.

This is also where can expel disciples from the Spire.

Policies:

This is where you define the rules of what happens to personal items of characters that die or disappear. It may sound like a small matter, but it actually matters a lot to some your disciples, whether their chests will be “buried with them” or “looted by their peers”.


CLASSROOM

This is the room where disciples study. This is also where you examine disciples when you want to invest time and effort into uncovering their skill values.

Upgrades available:

Efficiency. Capacity.

Actions:

This is where you can assign the roles of teachers and students to various disciples.

To be effective as teachers, characters need a fully developed secondary skill of Teaching (it belongs to the primary skill of Social Magic) as well as a high level of the specific skill in which they plan to teach.

As to students, their progress is determined by their interest in the skill being taught (as you may recall, we have 5 levels of interest: from “very much interested” down to “very much not interested”) as well as their learning disposition for the particular skill (which is a value based on two primary stats responsible for this skill).



That’s it for today! In the next issue of the blog we’ll talk about Workshop, Alchemic Studio and Kitchen. As always, for updates on work in progress, please check the game’s official Discord server.

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ːsummer_magicː Spire of Sorcery – Character Generator (Steam)
ːsummer_magicː Official Discord server
ːsummer_magicː Twitter (game updates)
ːsummer_magicː Facebook (game updates)



ːmaliceː Official Discord server
ːmaliceː Twitter (game updates)
ːmaliceː Facebook (game updates)
ːmusicː Original Soundtrack on Spotify



ːnotebookː Twitter (studio news)
ːnotebookː Facebook (studio news)
ːnotebookː "Behind the scenes" Instagram
ːnotebookː YouTube
Spire of Sorcery - Qfasa


Another week, another issue of development diary. Are you having fun reading about our studio’s development process – or do you enjoy only the information about the game itself? Please let us know in the comments!

For example, today we can talk about how many people work on Spire of Sorcery. Of the full-time developers, we are 7 people and 1 dog. 2 more people work on specific assets outside of the studio (sound effects and inventory art), and 5 translation teams help us prepare the release internationally (based in Japan, China, Korea, Germany and France).

Among the core team, only one of us has a simple role: Daisy the Shetland Sheepdog. She doesn’t comment on art, she doesn’t write blogs and she doesn’t animate creatures. Rather, she is fully focused on helping the rest of the team feel good, going around the office asking for belly rubs.



The rest of the crew wears multiple hats. Monika draws, animates and manages localizations, plus directs music and sound effects. Andrey writes codes, designs user interfaces and draws. Rita provides art direction as well as creates most of the concept art. Sergey helps with game design and handles community work. Paul writes tools and the core code. Alexey handles everything related to game design, and also writes lots of code. The other Sergei produces the game, runs the studio and covers communication.

In pretty much every aspect of the game, you can see the contribution of each of us. Sometimes one of us begins with the sketch, and another finishes with full-color art. Other times one of us flashes out a design idea, then others finalize the details. It is nearly impossible to find something which is not the result of the collective effort. To us, such close collaboration is the magic that makes us able to produce a rather complex game with a fairly small headcount of the studio.

And speaking of magic, today’s topic is: magic skills, magic spells and magic rituals.


MAGIC SKILLS

Out of the total of 13 character skills in the game, 5 skills deal with magic:
  • Battle Magic
  • Travel Magic
  • Domestic Magic
  • Social Magic
  • Concentration


Battle Magic is about causing direct damage to others: hitting one opponent, or a whole party, with a variety of means, from small-time to absolutely deadly. Battle Magic also includes spells that summon demons and other helpful allies.

Travel Magic is about improving one’s life on the go: increasing speed of travel, being better at pathfinding, casting temporary bridges to cross rivers at any point, controlling weather, protecting parties from mosquitos and other inconvenient environmental factors specific to certain biomes – all the way up to protection against Chaos, which is a must if you want to enter the Distorted Lands and come back alive.

Domestic Magic is about repairs, cleaning, conservation, pest control and, finally, construction (which will not be available in the Early Access version, though, as we plan to add construction mechanics only after the Early Access release).

Social Magic is about affecting the minds of others: temporarily blocking the feeling of pain, casting illusions, changing likes and dislikes, making people trust you without any grounds to do so, and so on.

Finally, Concentration is what you could call “pure magic”: it deals with magic energy, from controlling a new Source of power to accepting new disciples into the Spire, extracting magic energy from obelisks and idols and similar.

SPELLS

Spells are cast momentarily and can have either immediate (one-shot) or temporary (several hours) effect.

For example, a spell that opens a loot chest is immediate: BAM!! The chest is open. Or, WHOOSH! The magic bread is created.

A spell that hides one’s party in a cloud of fog is temporary: BOOM! For a few hours, the party of explorers remains hidden, then the effect fades away. Or, HISS! Wounded character’s pain goes away – for a while; once the spell’s effect dissolves, the pain returns.

Most of the spells are cast by your disciples based on their own decisions, while they are away on expeditions – or while they’re performing complex tasks in the Spire. Some spells you will cast through using your own mage character – probably, the most powerful ones that require the highest level of skills.

Casting spells requires one-time expenditure of magic energy. There is no need for additional energy later on.



RITUALS

Rituals take time to execute – from one hour and upwards.

Performing rituals requires one-time expenditure of magic energy, which is sometimes followed by the requirement to continue spending energy regularly in order to support their effects (but not always).

Some rituals have permanent effects, and some – effects that last as long as they are being supported. For example, the Call of the Spire that attracts new disciples to the Spire is a typical ritual: it requires a constant expenditure of magic energy in order to keep it going.

Some magic actions can be done both as a spell and as a ritual. One can summon a demon during a battle, which would cost a one-time energy spend and cause the creature to appear for a limited period of time; or one can summon a golem or an undead back home, to add it to the transport or defense systems of the Spire itself – which would cost a one-time spend, as well as require continued expenditure of energy in order to support the creature’s very existence.

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO CAST SPELLS OR PERFORM RITUALS?

Spells and rituals require magic energy.

If you don’t have the required energy, you can still cast/perform them – driving your current HEALTH character stat down. With younger disciples, HEALTH may be later restored. With the mage character, this is much less likely, and thus such “borrowing” of the energy costs dearly.

Some spells and rituals also require special ingredients. Like with recipes, the requirements do not concern specific items, but rather alchemic properties, so if a ritual requires an item with the property of “Chaos”, any item with such property will do.

The requirement of ingredients is not obligatory, however: if you don’t have them, you can replace them with an additional amount of magic energy.



HOW DO YOU LEARN SPELLS AND RITUALS?

Spells and rituals are “special knowledge” items – just like recipes in Alchemy, or specific creatures in Monstrology.

Once anyone in the Spire learns a special knowledge, it becomes accessible to everyone whose skill level allows them to use it.

Spells and rituals can be found in scrolls and books. They can also be discovered during research in the laboratory.

WHAT CAN YOU FOCUS ON, WHEN CASTING?

When casting spells or performing rituals, you can focus on:
  • A character
  • A whole party
  • An item
  • A location
  • A specific room in the Spire (when construction mechanics is introduced)
CHANCES OF FAILURE

If one’s level of Theory in a particular skill allows access to the special knowledge that contains specific spell or ritual, those can be attempted. The lower the Practice in the skill, the higher the chance of failure.

Some failures are harmless (say, you create an ideal food ration, but end up with spoiled food ration instead); and some failures are very risky (say, you try to lift a spell off a chest, but end up releasing a curse on the whole Spire).



That’s it for today! As always, for updates on work in progress, please check the game’s official Discord server.

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ːsummer_magicː Spire of Sorcery – Character Generator (Steam)
ːsummer_magicː Official Discord server
ːsummer_magicː Twitter (game updates)
ːsummer_magicː Facebook (game updates)



ːmaliceː Official Discord server
ːmaliceː Twitter (game updates)
ːmaliceː Facebook (game updates)
ːmusicː Original Soundtrack on Spotify



ːnotebookː Twitter (studio news)
ːnotebookː Facebook (studio news)
ːnotebookː "Behind the scenes" Instagram
ːnotebookː YouTube
Spire of Sorcery - Qfasa


Just a few weeks ago, we basked in the sun on our studio’s terrace. Today, dressed in autumn sweaters, we’re looking at the rain and wind that rage in the garden outside.

With the change of seasons, things change outside the studio – and things change inside. Earlier, each of us worked mostly alone, focused on one specific issue at a time. Now, we touch upon multiple aspects of the game in one go, mostly working as a team that’s tightly strung together by instant communication.

This week in particular, several systems are coming together: magic spells and magic rituals; visual design for rarity levels of items and item stacks; visual design for alchemic properties; and interface design for quest log and character information screens. That’s dozens of revisions for each topic, and a lot of comments to process!



ASSIGNING QUESTS AND TASKS

As you may recall, the majority of your mage’s time is spent assigning and reviewing “quests” and “tasks”.

Quests are what happens outside of the Spire – for example, when you equip and send parties to explore ruins in the swamps or harvest fluter’s wings in the Distorted Lands.

Tasks are what happens inside the Spire – for example, when you assign someone to cook diet food rations, or teach another disciple in a specific skill.

Both quests and tasks can be assigned for time and/or for specific goals. For example, “spend one month exploring ruins” – or “explore ruins until they are fully explored”.

This allows for flexible management of your disciples and parties of explorers.

Sometimes, you will want your disciples to produce exactly 100 food rations before a large party is sent off; and sometimes, you will want your disciples to produce food rations on a daily basis, using a part of their worktime.


QUEST PROGRESS

When you send a party on a quest, you are able to follow their progress on the global map – but you are not able to micro-manage an expedition that is currently in progress. This is a key point of the game.

While on a quest, characters may fall ill, or even die. While you will not know the exact events that befall the expedition in progress, you will immediately see the change in the party’s icon on the global map. If the party suffers casualties, the icon starts to pulse, then fade.

While on a quest, characters may also experience ordinary and extraordinary events. Say, you send someone to the swamps to harvest raw material, but before reaching the location, they encounter a party of adventurers. Or, perhaps, they come across a corpse and access new loot. While you will not see the details of such events at that time, you will immediately see the event icons that correspond to the type of event experienced.



QUEST REPORT

The end result of a quest is the Quest Report, presented by the party upon return to the Spire. If the whole party dies while on a quest, their Quest Report can be retrieved by another expedition from the place of death of their last member.

As we started to work on this part of the game’s interface, we put in place some additional mechanics that you should find helpful:

Firstly, there’s the timeline that you can use to navigate the report. Perhaps you don’t have time to read everything and want to just sort through the most important events – such as death of characters, or new discoveries on the global map.

Then, there’s the global map highlight, showing you the part of the world where the particular event being reported has happened. This adds context and helps to build a more detailed picture of the world in your mind as you read through the reports.

Finally, there’s the personal reactions of your characters to the events that unroll.



PERSONAL REACTIONS

As each disciple is a character with their own stats, traits and mood, two different characters would normally view the same situation differently. An old abandoned chest found in catacombs is a promise of great loot for one (trait: brave, state: happiness) and a source of fear for another (trait: cautious, state: depression).

Most events in quest reports feature a personal reaction of one of the characters in the party. The particular phrase is affected by the character’s stats, state and traits. Such reactions are meant to provide a certain insight into the character’s personality – even when you don’t know yet anything at all about that character.

At the same time, there’s no direct correlation between specific values and specific phrases, but rather a general connection between the character’s overall personality and the probability of seeing a specific reaction. So, while you will develop some ideas about your disciples, you will not be able to search the game’s Wiki for a particular phrase in order to confirm a particular corresponding trait.


INVENTORY ITEMS – RARITY LEVELS

While we’re talking about quests, we wanted to share with you the current version of how we show different levels of rarity for inventory items. After going through over 20 different versions, we arrived at this:



INVENTORY ITEMS – CONDITIONS AND STACKING

Another practical matter that we want to share with you is the solution for displaying different damage levels, which also affects stacking.

All inventory items are in one of the following conditions:
  • New (76-100%)
  • Damaged (51-75%)
  • Heavily Damaged (26-50%)
  • Almost Destroyed (1-25%)
When item is damaged beyond “Almost Destroyed”, it disappears (whether it’s a food ration or a sword). Identical items with the same condition are stacked together, and the exact percentage of their damage is not shown.



COMMUNITY FEEDBACK ON LOCALIZATION

Even though Spire of Sorcery is not yet available to the general public, we already started to translate the game into different languages – and collect community feedback on such localizations.

Today we’d like to thank ːnotebookːStandard of Ur, ːnotebookːImpsuley and ːnotebookːnsk for their detailed comments and comprehensive review of the Japanese translation of the game’s core terms. We’re very grateful for the chance to work together with the community on improving the accuracy of our professional translations ahead of the game’s release! (if you would like to get involved with this project, please join us on the game’s official Discord server).



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That’s it for today! As always, for updates on work in progress, please check the game’s official Discord server.

–––



ːsummer_magicː Spire of Sorcery – Character Generator (Steam)
ːsummer_magicː Official Discord server
ːsummer_magicː Twitter (game updates)
ːsummer_magicː Facebook (game updates)



ːmaliceː Official Discord server
ːmaliceː Twitter (game updates)
ːmaliceː Facebook (game updates)
ːmusicː Original Soundtrack on Spotify



ːnotebookː Twitter (studio news)
ːnotebookː Facebook (studio news)
ːnotebookː "Behind the scenes" Instagram
ːnotebookː YouTube
Oct 19
Spire of Sorcery - Qfasa


WHEN WILL THE GAME COME OUT?

One of the rules of this dev blog that we established early on is to write only about content and features that are already designed. On one hand, this saves us time: everything that you see here has been created in the course of regular production. On another, this guarantees you full insight into our development process: everything that you read about, is real. We write about what is “done”, and not about what we only “hope to do”.

Today, for example, you will read about books – because we just added this mechanic to the game. We very much would like to avoid the risk of over-promising. If you will decide to buy this game, you should do this on the basis of what this game is and not what we hope it will be. If you will be in any doubt, you should not purchase the game because we definitely do not want you to be unhappy with the purchase.

Sometimes people ask us on Discord if they can “destroy the capital of Empire” or “command an army of a thousand flying demons” and we are always quick to answer: “No”. Rather, we will give you a game where you will teach disciples and explore the dangerous world of Rund, trying to survive in the depth of the Wild Lands by magic and alchemy.

Over the last few weeks, we received a lot of questions about the expected release date of the game. While we don’t have a specific date for you, we are trying to be fully transparent in regard to our development progress. We don’t give you any promises, but neither do we hold any secrets from you. Developing games – if you focus on quality – is an unpredictable occupation. There are already 36,000 people on Steam who wishlisted the game. This means a lot of responsibility for us not to disappoint them with the product when it comes out!

Please think of us, and of this dev blog, as of a restaurant with an open kitchen. You can observe us implementing alchemic properties and moving on to add books, then proceeding to the system of special knowledge, and so on. In a few weeks, once we are done with updating user interface, you will start seeing screenshots from the updated version of the game; and then one of these weeks we will write: “Please get ready for the closed beta to begin soon!

When? We don’t know yet! But through this blog, you can see us getting closer and closer to that moment, without any secrets from you.



And now let’s dive into today’s topic –

WHY DO YOU NEED BOOKS?

In the world of Rund, books serve two purposes:

Reading fiction improves character’s mood, and sometimes provides snippets of extra knowledge (for example, reading about the adventures of a famous hunter may give you additional experience in monstrology). These books can also open new locations on the map of the world (for example, reading about the famous explorer of the Wild Lands may reveal quite a lot of waypoints in that part of the world).

Reading non-fiction yields special knowledge related to the topic of the book (topics are organized by skill). These books also increase character’s Theory experience in that skill. Reading books is not as effective in increasing one’s skill as attending lessons, but reading books has another advantage: there is no need to have a teacher. Which is especially important for developing your mage character, because no other disciples can teach him/her (the skills of the mage are so much more advanced than theirs).

And whether you read fiction or non-fiction, any such reading also improves character’s Literacy skill.



WHERE DO YOU KEEP BOOKS?

Most books are kept at the library of the Spire and can be accessed by every disciple.

Some books may be privately owned by specific disciples (for example, if they bring them when they arrive to the Spire; or if they find them during an expedition and decide to keep them; or if somebody gifts these books to them for private use).

HOW DO YOU OBTAIN BOOKS?

You can find books as a part of the loot (this is the most common source, especially for rare and ancient books).

You can buy books in cities and towns. But not all the books are widely available on the market – each book belongs to one of these three groups:
  • Open circulation
  • Restricted
  • Prohibited
Open circulation books can be bought in a regular book shop. Restricted books can be found in the shops of underground booksellers. If these are found by the Inquisition, they are confiscated, and owner is fined. Prohibited book are nearly impossible to find for sale. If these are found, they are confiscated, and owner is jailed.

Sometimes, you can trade books with non-human dwellers – in the rare cases when they kept some from the ancient times.



CAN YOU COPY BOOKS?

Yes, characters with the required level of Literacy skill can copy books.

CAN YOU WRITE NEW BOOKS?

Yes. Disciples with advanced skill of Literacy (as well as your mage) can write new books on their own (both fiction and non-fiction).

HOW LONG DO THE BOOKS LAST?

Books are damaged by use. The exact damage depends on the perks of the reader: some characters are very tidy, and cause only minimal damage; and some are horrible in that regard. The more damaged is the book, the less experience they provide. Eventually, a book can be completely destroyed through use.

WHAT DOES A CHARACTER NEED IN ORDER TO READ A BOOK?

Each book has its own requirement as to the minimum level of Literacy skill to be accessible. It is quite common that lower-skilled disciples are unable to access some of the advanced books in the Spire’s library.

Non-fiction books specific to particular skills may also require a minimum level of certain skill to be accessible. For example, to explore a book dedicated to top-level Healing, its reader must already possess significant skill to begin with.



HOW DO YOU READ A BOOK?

For the books that contain special knowledge or location items, reading such books for the first time unlocks these items for the whole Spire.

Each book takes a certain time to complete. The more knowledge items it contains, the longer it takes to read. Each character can read each book only once. Each character remembers their progress for each book (so if you ask them to get back to the book they already started reading before, they will continue from the point where they stopped the last time).

At this moment, it takes the same amount of time to read through the book regardless of who is reading it. Perhaps at some point after Early Access release, we will adjust this so that slow characters read slower and fast characters read faster (“slow” and “fast” are both character traits) – no promises, though.

LANGUAGES

Most books are written in the modern language of Rund.

Some, though – especially the most advanced among the prohibited – are written in the ancient pre-human High Tongue. To be able to read such books, characters must unlock the relevant secondary skill in the family of Literacy.



ACCESSIBILITY LEVELS OF BOOKS

Books have 4 levels of accessibility (and each group has a different inventory icon):
  • Simple – these require the basic Literacy
  • Regular – these require medium level of Literacy
  • Advanced – these require high level of Literacy as well as medium level of skill that this book is dedicated to
  • Exceptional – these require high levels of both Literacy skill specific skill that the book covers



SCROLLS

In addition to books, there are also scrolls in the game.

Unlike books, scrolls don’t require time to read them.

Each scroll contains just one piece of knowledge (for example, one spell; or one alchemic recipe; or description of one new location on the map) and can be used only one time. Once you read a scroll, the knowledge is spread among the whole Spire.

ACCESSIBILITY LEVELS OF SCROLLS

Scrolls have 3 levels of accessibility:
  • Notes – simple scroll that any literate character can read
  • Scrolls – writing that requires significant literacy
  • Ancient Manuscripts – scrolls that require significant literacy as well as the secondary skill of High Tongue



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That’s it for today! As always, for updates on work in progress, please check the game’s official Discord server.

–––



ːsummer_magicː Spire of Sorcery – Character Generator (Steam)
ːsummer_magicː Official Discord server
ːsummer_magicː Twitter (game updates)
ːsummer_magicː Facebook (game updates)



ːmaliceː Official Discord server
ːmaliceː Twitter (game updates)
ːmaliceː Facebook (game updates)
ːmusicː Original Soundtrack on Spotify



ːnotebookː Twitter (studio news)
ːnotebookː Facebook (studio news)
ːnotebookː "Behind the scenes" Instagram
ːnotebookː YouTube
Spire of Sorcery - Qfasa


If you missed our news from the last week: Spire of Sorcery’s Character Generator became available on Steam as a free companion app! Download it here:

https://store.steampowered.com/app/893560/Spire_of_Sorcery__Character_Generator/

This tool allows you to generate random characters from the world of Rund as well as to create your own custom characters, with their unique stories and looks. You can also export character portraits as images, to use as avatars on Steam and in Discord.

And now, today’s blog topic: alchemic properties in the world of Rund.



HOW RECIPES WORK

No matter how many campaigns you complete in Spire of Sorcery, alchemic recipes will always remain the same – because recipes don’t deal with specific ingredients, such as “mix dry powder of fluter’s wings with root of mandragora”. Rather, recipes deal with required alchemic properties of ingredients used.

For example, this ointment will keep mosquitos and other insects away when a person travels through swamps and forests:

Stinky Ointment
x1 ingredient with “smelly” property
x1 ingredient with “greasy” property

Whether you use the fat of tasljuk (which has a lubricating property) or the blood of mechanoid (which also has a lubricating property), is up to you: the recipe works as long as the required alchemic properties are present.



HOW PROPERTIES ARE ASSIGNED TO INGREDIENTS

Every ingredient in the game has a preset number of properties with different levels of rarity. For example:

Emerald
x1 rare property
x1 uncommon property

At the start of each campaign, when the world of Rund is generated for that campaign, ingredients are matched with specific properties.

In one of the campaigns, emeralds may generate like this:

Emerald
Rare property: knowledge
Uncommon property: calming

And in another campaign, emeralds may generate like that:

Emerald
Rare property: death
Uncommon property: depressing

Thus, even though you may already know all the recipes, in each new campaign you will explore the world anew in order to understand the particular alchemic properties that are each time matched to ingredients in a unique fashion.



RARITY LEVELS

Every item in the game has one of the 6 levels of rarity:
  • Basic – everyday items
  • Common – items that are easy to find
  • Uncommon – items that can be found in specific regions
  • Rare – items that are hard to get/expensive to purchase
  • Very Rare – top-level items
  • Unique – extraordinary items that exist as a single item for all the world of Rund
Basic items are things like berries and vegetables. Unique items are things powerful amulets and personalized weapons. Everything else is in-between.

As to alchemic properties, they have 4 levels of rarity, from Common to Very Rare.

For example, “poisonous” is a common property, “exciting” is an uncommon property, “magic” is a rare property and “Chaos” is a very rare property.



GROUPS OF PROPERTIES

Each alchemic property belongs to one of the following four groups:
  • Physical properties
  • Mental properties
  • Substance properties
  • Fundamental properties
Below is the list of the properties that are currently already in the game. We think that this list will grow a little, but not much:




WHAT DOES ALCHEMY PRODUCE?

Alchemy produces potions, ointments, elixirs, powders and other dangerous or utilitarian substances – from acids and combustibles mixtures to perfumes, fertilizers and food.

While simple alchemy doesn’t carry much risk even if preparation fails (let’s say, you prepare an ideal ration, but fail – so you waste ingredients, and receive spoiled ration that’s quite unappealing), powerful late-stage alchemy carries significant risks: from explosions to poisoning.



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That’s it for today! As always, for updates on work in progress, please check the game’s official Discord server.

–––



ːsummer_magicː Spire of Sorcery – Character Generator (Steam)
ːsummer_magicː Official Discord server
ːsummer_magicː Twitter (game updates)
ːsummer_magicː Facebook (game updates)



ːmaliceː Official Discord server
ːmaliceː Twitter (game updates)
ːmaliceː Facebook (game updates)
ːmusicː Original Soundtrack on Spotify



ːnotebookː Twitter (studio news)
ːnotebookː Facebook (studio news)
ːnotebookː "Behind the scenes" Instagram
ːnotebookː YouTube
Spire of Sorcery - Sergei Klimov


The summer is over, and the nights are getting really cold around here. Cafes and restaurants remove their tables from the streets as few customers are ready to brave both wind and rain during their lunch hour; and our favorite coffee shop acknowledged the arrival of autumn by lighting up its cozy fireplace.

To us here at the studio, this is the best season for developing games: we’re still full of the summer energy, while there are no longer any distractions in the outside world. The sound of rain helps to focus, and the warmth intensity of pu-erh tea sustains it throughout the day.

Historically, our studio delivered its best development work during the months of September, October and November; and then in the months of February, March and April. We think that these months are when we perform at our peak, and we’re excited about the opportunity to use this year’s autumn for bringing Spire of Sorcery into its Closed Beta period.

While you wait for us to reach that stage – and if you speak Chinese! – we highly recommend you check out the recently released 太吾绘卷 (The Scroll of Taiwu), which is an amazing RPG from a Chinese indie studio. The amount of work that they’ve put into this game, from content to user interface, is simply mind-blowing.

And now let’s talk about this week’s main topic: Spire of Sorcery’s loot system, that is – the things that your disciples will find while exploring the world of Rund.




LOOT

How does a powerful mage make sure that her precious book full of secret knowledge is not stolen from under her nose? By locking it up in a magic chest, protected with a strong spell.

How does a rich merchant make sure that his valuable gems do not disappear from his house while he visits the capital to arrange another deal? By locking them up in a strong chest, protected by a huge lock.

Highly valuable loot includes:
  • artifacts
  • rare and ancient books
  • rare and powerful potions
  • rare and precious items (gems, money)
  • rare weapons and travel equipment
These are the items locked by the mages of the past, back in the Age of Mages.

More common loot includes:
  • regular weapons
  • regular potions
  • regular books
  • money and precious items
These are the items locked in the modern days by adventurers, outlaws and non-humans.

All the chests that contain loot items are so heavy that they cannot be transported except by a powerful, high-level spell of levitation.


Different types of chests (concept art).


WHERE CAN YOU FIND CHESTS?

At this time, chests can be found in:
  • Ruins
  • Catacombs
Ruins are located above ground and can be encountered in any type of biome – from swamps to hills and to ancient forests. Catacombs are located underground and can be encountered in most of biomes as well.

When a party of disciples discovers one of these locations, they have an option to explore them further. Some characters will be curious enough to do it every time they have an opportunity. Others will be more cautious and will prefer to report back on the discovery without spending the time on exploration – and bearing the associated risk. When sending a party to explore the world, you can also instruct them specifically on how to explore the world (from cautious to neutral to aggressive behaviours).

If exploration of ruins or catacombs is successful and the specific location indeed contains a chest, the existence of such chest is marked on the map. Whether the same party wants to try to open it, is another matter.


Ruins in the Ancient Forest (concept art).


WHAT TYPES OF CHESTS EXIST?

Chests can be old and modern (depending on when they were created); as well as regular or magic (depending on how they are locked).

The location of chests in the world of Rund is determined at the beginning of each campaign. Such locations are graded by difficulty of accessing them: some are on their own; some are protected by difficult terrain; some are additionally protected by curses; and some are protected by non-humans who still guard them.

The rarity of items inside these chests corresponds to the difficulty of accessing them, so that you won’t have to fight a strong non-human guardian to get a chest that contains only a cheap traveler’s cloak that you already have anyway.




OPENING THE CHESTS

Depending on the type of chest and its protection, in order to open the chests your disciples may employ:
  • The skill of Skullduggery (a secondary skill; belongs to Social Magic)
  • A lock-opening spell (belongs to Domestic Magic)
  • One of the lesser combat spells (belongs to Battle Magic)
  • Brute force (if there’s equipment and if someone’s strong enough to use it)
  • A magic ritual (if the chest is locked with a powerful spell)
Sometimes the same party that found the chest will be able to open it, and sometimes this will be a quest for another party – equipped specifically to deal with such challenge.

And if, using the spell of Levitation (Travel Magic) or employing a golem to carry the chest, your disciples manage to bring it to the Spire, you can learn to open such types of chests by researching this specimen in the Laboratory (using the skill of Artificing combined with the specific skill that you need for this type of lock).


CHARACTER GENERATOR ALREADY AVAILABLE!



In just an hour or so, Spire of Sorcery – Character Generator, the free companion tool for the game, will become available on Steam! Download it here, create your own characters – and share them with the community!

https://store.steampowered.com/app/893560/Spire_of_Sorcery__Character_Generator/

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ːsummer_magicː Spire of Sorcery – Character Generator (Steam)
ːsummer_magicː Official Discord server
ːsummer_magicː Twitter (game updates)
ːsummer_magicː Facebook (game updates)



ːmaliceː Official Discord server
ːmaliceː Twitter (game updates)
ːmaliceː Facebook (game updates)
ːmusicː Original Soundtrack on Spotify



ːnotebookː Twitter (studio news)
ːnotebookː Facebook (studio news)
ːnotebookː "Behind the scenes" Instagram
ːnotebookː YouTube
Spire of Sorcery - Sergei Klimov


It’s another busy week here at Charlie Oscar. Our game designer is somewhere on the beach, playing board games; and our front-end developer is somewhere in the mountains, logging online from time to time in order to play Factorio in the afternoons.

Some years ago, this would be a cause of concern for us: why isn’t everyone crunching in the office, spending weekends over takeaway pizzas? But following the release and the subsequent stream of constant updates of Gremlins, Inc., we know better: to release Spire of Sorcery in a state that most of you will find fun to play, we cannot afford to be so tired as to miss the great ideas that always seem to come precisely on the last stretch of the game’s production.

Thus, we try hard to avoid any sort of drama at this stage. Like good architects, we cannot sign off on the blueprints just because it’s been a long week, and we simply want to go home. So, in the mornings, we drink sencha. And in the afternoons, we switch to oolong. And when this is still not enough, we go get coffee. With soya milk. Because drinking plain espressos is reserved for the post-release week of quick fixes =).




LET’S TALK ABOUT ALCHEMY!

This week let’s talk about another game mechanic that we recently balanced in the game: that of the skill of Alchemy. But first, let’s remember the three groups of skills that each character has:
  • Concentration
  • Domestic Magic
  • Social Magic
  • Travel Magic
  • Battle Magic
  • Literacy
  • Alchemy
  • Healing
  • Astrology
  • Artificing
  • Herbalism
  • Geology
  • Monstrology
Alchemy is the skill that allows characters to prepare potions, ointments and powders; and through the associated secondary skill – Cooking – it also allows characters to prepare food.


YOU SAID “COOKING”?

Yes, cooking food in the world of Rund belongs to the realm of Alchemy, as it involves transformation of items. For example, taking “fish” and “salt”, and making “travel rations” for the party that you’re about to send on a long trip to the Distorted Lands.




WHAT ARE THE SECONDARY SKILLS?

In Spire of Sorcery, most skills have associated secondary skills that are focused on specific areas of application. For example, the skill of Monstrology has such secondary skills as Hunting and Fishing; and the skill of Social Magic has such secondary skill as Streetwise.

Unlike the main skills, secondary skills don’t have a visible progress bar and are not mandatory. Where Alchemy would have a specific value, such as “50” or “150”, secondary skills like Cooking are either “known” or “unknown” to a character.

And where a character with Monstrology at 0 is simply unable to perform any tasks that rely on this skill, secondary skills are not required in order to undertake relevant activities: you can still send a disciple to hunt, even if such disciple doesn’t have “hunting” unlocked yet; it’s just that having unlocked specific secondary skills, characters receive a bonus to the success rate of such activities.


HOW CAN CHARACTERS LEARN A SECONDARY SKILL?

Characters can unlock secondary skills by:
  • Reading books that teach them (for example, the widely acknowledged fifth edition of “The Traditions of Rund” that provides a brilliant introduction to the basics of cooking, among other instructions);

  • Attending classes where more experienced characters use their teaching skill to improve the specific skills of students;

  • Practicing the relevant activity (for example, applying the character’s Monstrology skill to hunting to eventually unlock Hunting as the associated secondary skill).

INGREDIENTS AND RECIPES

Now, let’s say that one of your disciples made you proud by advancing her skill of Alchemy, and you’d like to start producing all sorts of potions and powders with her help.

To start with this, you will need two more things –
  • Recipes
  • Ingredients



RECIPES

Recipes list the properties of ingredients that are required to produce the desired item. We currently think that once you will discover a recipe, it will remain accessible to you in every subsequent campaign.

Yes, you’ve got that right: we think that once you know how to make, say, a burning ointment, you should be able to carry that knowledge into your next main campaign without having to re-discover the same thing from scratch. And this is possible because recipes don’t change between campaigns.

For example, a burning ointment’s recipe may say: x1 burning, x1 poison, x1 depressant. Normally, the same property can be found in different items in the world of Rund, so you’re not limited to having to find a specific item; rather, you’ll be looking for whatever is already accessible to you, that has the required property.

Recipes can come from books (which you may find, or purchase) as well as through discovery in the Spire’s laboratory (which requires a character with certain skill level to spend a certain time with a focus on a specific area).




INGREDIENTS

Ingredients are the items that you may collect or purchase in the world of Rund and use in the Spire. This includes animals and non-humans, plants and minerals. At the start of each campaign, when the world is generated from scratch, different items get assigned different properties based on their “property slots”.

For example, mandragora has 3 property slots: one common, one uncommon and one rare. And while in one campaign this may result in it being sweet (common property), sleep-inducing (uncommon property) and life-boosting (rare property), in the next campaign these properties will roll differently.




HOW DO YOU DISCOVER ITEM PROPERTIES?

Each item in the game has three layers of knowledge:
  • You know about the item in general (name)
  • You know what the item looks like (picture), and where it can be found (source)
  • You have full knowledge of the item’s effects and properties
For example, from the start of every campaign you will have pages in the encyclopedia that are dedicated to such common items as berries, mushrooms, rats, crawlers and, say, iron and copper.

For some of such items, you will also already know how they look and in which biomes they can be found.

To obtain full knowledge, however – to learn item’s effects and properties – you will need to bring a sample back to the Spire, and research it in the laboratory; or to find a book that yields the same knowledge.

As to the rare items – for example, dark dew, hot ice or bone creatures – initially you won’t even know that such things exists; and will need to encounter them before you can begin your research into their properties.




FINDING OR BUYING?

Finally, all the products of Alchemy – potions, ointment, powders and food – can be bought and sold, if you find a willing party out there in the world (some of the items are illegal, and to sell or buy these you will need to find the right contact first); you will also have a chance to find such items as you explore Rund.

If you buy a potion, it already comes with the instructions on how to use it. And if you find a potion, you will have to perform some research before you understand what it is and how to use it.



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That’s it for today! As always, for updates on work in progress (including the Character Generator), please check the game’s official Discord server.

–––



ːsummer_magicː Spire of Sorcery – Character Generator
ːsummer_magicː Official Discord server
ːsummer_magicː Twitter (game updates)
ːsummer_magicː Facebook (game updates)



ːmaliceː Official Discord server
ːmaliceː Twitter (game updates)
ːmaliceː Facebook (game updates)
ːmusicː Original Soundtrack on Spotify



ːnotebookː Twitter (studio news)
ːnotebookː Facebook (studio news)
ːhypnoheartː "Behind the scenes" Instagram
ːfireappleː YouTube
Sep 7
Spire of Sorcery - Qfasa


With each day of development, we’re getting closer to the day of closed beta (what people in the industry generally refer to as “CBT”). In our case, this will take the form of a “secret sale” of about 1,000 keys that will become available here on Steam store through a special link. We think that having one thousand players is enough to get a variety of opinions – while allowing us to process feedback real fast. And how far is this day right now? Let’s say it this way: we hope to start with the closed beta before the first snow of this year.

Here’s a snapshot of what we’re currently busy with, to give you a taste of our dev life:
  • we’re working on the overall art direction of the user interface in the game
We haven’t posted screenshots from the recent builds yet because we feel like our current UI is a bit too generic and does not reflect the underlying drama of the runaway mage. We are currently playing around with different concepts of how we should change this, so that the game looks exactly like it sounded two years ago when our game designer introduced us to the idea.
  • we’re working on the main music theme of the game
The central place of Spire of Sorcery for any player is their Mage Quarters – a player profile that accumulates all the artifacts, achievements and records between the campaigns played. Working with Anna, the game’s composer, we went through 7 different music themes for this place, and we’re not 100% happy yet. Tonight, Anna lands in Vilnius to spend the next couple of days side by side with us as we all try to find the theme that would be “near perfect”. Not too aggressive, not too depressing, not too fast and not too slow.
  • we started with creature animations
When the game will come out in Early Access, it will already have at least 12 creatures (humans and non-humans) animated. Perhaps this sounds like a small thing, but seeing creatures move – and hearing their unique sounds – adds a lot to the immersion. Our animator, Monika, already worked with our composer, Anna, when they created animations and sound effects for emoticons in Gremlins, Inc., so this will be not their first collaboration.
  • finally, we started with both regular playtests and weekly Steam builds
If some of you are friends with different members of our dev team, you may have already seen us playing Spire of Sorcery on Steam – because we finally moved to the stage where we comment the actual build, rather than separate assets. While this doesn’t mean that we are ready to run the closed beta next week, the progress already fills us with confidence; it is after one of the forthcoming weekly updates that we will push the “RELEASE” button, and it’s a question of weeks/months now, rather than of quarters/years.



And now, let’s move to the main topic of this blog –

LET’S TALK ABOUT FOOD

The food in Rund comes in three categories:
  • raw (berries, mushrooms, etc.)
  • cooked (different kinds of rations)
  • created by magic (magic porridge)

Each food item has three effects on the characters consuming it:
  • nourishment
  • health benefits
  • taste

NOURISHING FOOD

Each character has a (hidden) value of just how nourished she/he is at the moment.

When characters become “hungry”, an icon appears next to their portraits – and this state starts to affect their mood.

When characters are hungry for prolonged time, they move on to the next state – “starving” – which starts to negatively affect their HEALTH value. Eventually, characters die when their HEALTH is decreased to zero by continued starvation.

Each food item has its own value of just how nourishing this specific food is. For example, “Filling Ration” is almost x1.5 times more nourishing than “Regular Ration”.




HEALTHY FOOD

Each character has a STAT called HEALTH, which defines their overall constitution – we call it “MAX HEALTH”. This is the maximum that the character can attain without further help from alchemy, magic and artifacts.

In addition to MAX HEALTH, characters also have their actual health state (we call it “ACT HEALTH”). This reflects possible damage that they may have at the moment. For example, someone may have MAX HEALTH at 18 and ACT HEALTH at 16, so that you can heal them to drive their health from 16 to 18 (when ACT HEALTH will match their MAX HEALTH).

In addition to being nourishing, some food items also have beneficial effect on the health of characters that consume it – and thus can be used to heal people. For example, a “Diet Ration” offers the same nourishment as a “Travel Ration”, but in addition Diet Ration also gives +2 health points (it takes several hundred health points from food to move HEALTH STAT up one notch).




TASTY FOOD

Taste of food items affects the mood of those who eat them. If characters have special traits (such as “gourmet”), this is even more pronounced – but even without relevant traits, eating “Spoilt Rations” (taste: -1) will have a negative effect on most disciples.

Tasty food is not cheap and is not easy to produce, but in situations where your characters experience negative effects from other parts of their daily life (for example, are sick – or work too much – or are in stress because of personal relationship issues) it is a great way to improve their mood a little.

To give an idea, a “Regular Ration” requires just one type of raw food and Alchemy Level 1 to cook it and provides 30 nourishment points; a “Gourmet Ration” that provides exactly the same number of nourishment points – 30 – requires one more type of raw food, plus a delicacy plus spices to cook it, and requires Alchemy Level 15. The only difference? It has +4 on the taste scale – a value higher than any other cooked food, and most of raw food.




CAN YOU MANAGE WHAT SPECIFIC CHARACTERS EAT?

No, you can’t. That would be the level of micro-management that we don’t want to impose on players. You can direct the disciples that cook for the Spire on what sort of food they should cook, and how many items per day, but you cannot control who eats what – and when (for example, if the food is not tasty enough, some gourmets may go hungry for days rather than eat it).


FOOD ON THE GO

When you send characters out on a quest, it’s always a good idea to give them some Travel Rations to go. Once these run low, they will start spending their time to harvest food along the way (picking berries and mushrooms, hunting and fishing). Generally speaking, parties of disciples that travel across the global map are self-sufficient in terms of food supply.

While harvesting berries requires a very basic skill (Herbalism Level 1), Hunting and Fishing are secondary skills that require somewhat advanced skill of Monstrology. And as always in Spire of Sorcery, it’s all about the context. It doesn’t help to have a great fisher while traveling through the Ancient Forest just like it doesn’t help to have a great hunter while traveling through the Distorted Lands.

Finally, your characters can also buy food whenever they visit locations such as villages and towns. Locations are also a great place to purchase Vegetables (that your Spire cannot produce without an extensive garden and lots of care).

Oh, and one more thing. If characters are out of cooked food, cannot harvest raw food and don’t have access to locations – or money to spend on food there – magic will come handy. Spending some magic energy and using the skill of Domestic Magic Level 10 or higher, any disciple can produce “Magic Porridge”. It lasts only 1 hour, and it tastes like crap (taste: -2), but it’s as nourishing as a Regular Ration, so as long as your party has magic energy to spend, it may get depressed from eating lousy food – but at least they won’t go hungry!




CAN RIVERS RUN DRY?

It is important to know that each region in the game has a limited number of resources, whether it’s wood or mushrooms or rabbits. With time, resources regenerate, but it’s a fairly slow process once they get depleted – so you’ll need to not to over-fish, or over-harvest. If you keep sending your disciples to pick berries in the same forest just outside the Spire, you will soon have a forest that doesn’t yield much.


EXPIRY DATES AND RECIPES

Each food item (raw or cooked or magic) has its expiry date, after which is it no more useful (it just disappears from the inventory). Some items last very short time – Magic Porridge has the “shelf life” of just 1 hour, and Spoilt Ration lasts for 24 hours. Other items last longer – Diet Ration lasts 500 hours, and Travel Ration as much as 1,000 hours.

As to the recipes for cooked food items, each item has a recipe of its own, which are fairly flexible. Simple Regular Ration requires just one type of raw food to cook it. Advanced Ideal Ration requires not only three different types of raw food, but also a delicacy and some spices.

So, if you want to impress your disciples by offering them items like Gourmet Rations, Ideal Rations and Balanced Rations, you’ll have to explore the map far enough to be able to bring in a number of different raw foods on a regular basis!


COOKING YOUR FOOD

At last, some words about cooking food. Cooking requires the skill of Alchemy and the secondary skill of Cooking, with different items requiring different levels. If you try to cook a specific type of food and you fail, you get Spoilt Rations instead of whatever you were trying to make happen. As to the Cooking, you will need to have it developed 100% – or face a higher chance of failure when performing actions.

Let’s take Ideal Ration as an example. Cooking such ration requires Alchemy Level 20.

Can you attempt to cook it, with some success, when the Theory value of your Alchemy is at Level 20, but the Practice value is lagging behind? Sure! The closer your practice is to the required level, the lower the chances of failure.

Is your success rate 100% when the recipe requires Level 15, your Practice is at 15 and your Theory is at 15? No. At this level, you will most likely succeed in performing the task, but this is not guaranteed. However, the good news is that as long as there’s risk of failure, your character also continues to gain experience. And once your practice reaches Level 25, your chances of success while performing a Level 15 task will indeed become 100%. Correspondingly, while your success at such task will become guaranteed, you will at the same time stop gaining any experience whatsoever from such actions (that would be too simple for your character at that time).



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That’s it for today! As always, for updates on work in progress (including the Character Generator), please check the game’s official Discord server.

–––



ːsummer_magicː Spire of Sorcery – Character Generator
ːsummer_magicː Official Discord server
ːsummer_magicː Twitter (game updates)
ːsummer_magicː Facebook (game updates)



ːmaliceː Official Discord server
ːmaliceː Twitter (game updates)
ːmaliceː Facebook (game updates)
ːmusicː Original Soundtrack on Spotify



ːnotebookː Twitter (studio news)
ːnotebookː Facebook (studio news)
ːhypnoheartː "Behind the scenes" Instagram
ːfireappleː YouTube
Aug 31
Spire of Sorcery - Qfasa


It’s another hot summer day here in Vilnius, Lithuania! With half the development team on vacation, things are more quiet than usual – which, actually, is great for pushing ahead on several key topics. Some development work cannot proceed effectively without colleagues: for example, choosing icons for character skills among 30 options presented. Other development work, though, requires nearly absolute seclusion: for example, drafting game mechanics for character traits – which is what we’ve been doing this past week!


LET’S TALK ABOUT CHARACTER TRAITS

As you may recall, every character in Spire of Sorcery is born with STATS:
  • Health
  • Intellect
  • Memory
  • Willpower
  • Intuition
  • Charisma
Then, throughout childhood and teenage years, characters acquire SKILLS:
  • Concentration
  • Domestic Magic
  • Social Magic
  • Travel Magic
  • Battle Magic
  • Literacy
  • Alchemy
  • Healing
  • Astrology
  • Artificing
  • Herbalism
  • Geology
  • Monstrology
The third essential block, TRAITS, comes both from birth and from life experiences. Typical traits that are assigned at birth: “snoring” and “high pain threshold”. Traits that are acquired through experiences: “cruel” and “gourmet”. Overall, we expect to see around 40-60 character traits in the game at the time of its full release; and as of today, the current build of the game already has 32 traits.


ARE THERE POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE TRAITS?



Generally, we don’t like to polarize character traits. Most traits are neither good nor bad but will help or hurt players depending on the specific situations.

Some of the traits that we consider to be more negative than positive:
  • Pessimist
  • Lazy
  • Weak
  • Easily distracted
  • Greedy
Some of the traits that we consider to be more positive than negative:
  • Kind
  • Orderly
  • Attentive
  • Hardworking
  • Affable
And here are some traits that are neither positive nor negative:

“Indifferent” – on one hand, a character with this trait might hurt others by not thinking about the consequences of certain actions for others. On another hand, a character with this trait might be exactly the party leader that you need, in order to succeed with a dangerous quest (where she will leave behind a wounded party member so that others may escape the poisonous mines).

“Sociable” – on one hand, a character with this trait can make new friends easily and would be a good negotiator to send on trading missions. On another hand, if you send this character on a quest with someone whose trait is “reserved”, then the other character will end up totally hating the guts of this chatterbox, which will negatively affect his mood.



BORN-IN AND ACQUIRED TRAITS

At this time, characters are born with 2-3 traits, and then acquire more as their biographies are shaped by different events (each event that affects character’s stats, skills or traits we call “origin”; currently, each character has 7 origins that define them).

It is important to note that the traits acquired through origins are already aligned with the born-in traits. For example, if a character is born as “brave”, she will have a higher chance of experiencing events like “got hurt in a fight with the street gang” or “used magic to save a child from drowning” – which, in turn, affect the character further (the first may give -1 to Health; the second may give a new trait, “kind”).

Does each origin necessarily have the same consequence on a character? Not really.

While some origins in biographies will have mandatory effects on every character who gets them (such as -1 Health and -1 Charisma for characters who have “Sick child” as a part of their life story), most changes are only a dice roll (“Often played with other children” results in a 50% chance of +1 Charisma and a 70% chance of advancing Theory and Practice for the skill of Social Magic).

And then for some effects, the dice rolls would be exclusive – for example, characters with “Read a lot of books as a child” origin have a chance to acquire advanced Theory in Monstrology OR Alchemy OR Astrology OR Artificing OR Herbalism. So that two characters with the same origin in their biography will end up having different acquired effects.

CAN TRAITS APPEAR AND DISAPPEAR LATER IN THE GAME?

At the time when Spire of Sorcery releases in Early Access, the game will not yet support such mechanics. Character traits generated at the time when character appears in your campaign will remain throughout the campaign. On the road to full release of the game, however, we’re considering certain “life-changing events” that will indeed change character traits (and stats) “on the fly”.



HOW CAN YOU UNCOVER THE TRAITS OF YOUR DISCIPLES?

You may think that just like with STATS, you can use advanced Astrology to reveal all of the traits of your disciples – but this is not so; Astrology will only reveal for you the traits that your disciples were born with. All right, I hear you say, we will then examine our disciples – in the same time-consuming way that is used to reveal all of their SKILLS! Yet this is not possible.

Instead, you have three ways of discovering the traits of your disciples:
  1. Astrology is a great way to reveal all of the born-in traits.
  2. Every time when any (born-in or acquired) trait is activated in the course of the campaign, there is a chance to reveal it (different traits have different chance values). For example, a “greedy” character whose mood goes down whenever someone else is gifted with an item of value in the Spire, eventually will reveal himself as a greedy person – after, say, the tenth such occasion.
  3. You may understand the traits by observing your own experience with characters that have similar origins in their biographies (for example, characters with “Hungry childhood” are often penalized with -1 Intellect or -1 Memory or -1 Health, and often acquire advanced Theory and Practice in the skill of Social Magic); and by observing the behavior of characters in the current campaign (for example, if every roommate of a certain character becomes tired and irritated after rooming together with that character, you may deduce that this is due to “snoring” of the culprit).

SOME EXAMPLES

We’d like to conclude this week’s blog with some real-game examples:

A “glutton” likes to eat a lot, regardless of the quality of the food. When such character is hungry, his mood plunges down faster, and lower, than that of a regular character. When such character is left to his own devices, he will definitely overeat, making him less effective – and consuming, in the process, more rations of your party than is necessary. At the same time, if your own mage is generated a glutton, there is some consolation here: at least you will have a straightforward way of improving the mage’s mood, by throwing lots of (cheap) food at him! (Consider, however, that this is not healthy, and your mage will live a somewhat shorter life as the result).

A “gourmet” is very perceptive to the quality of food on offer. Low-quality foods (such as field rations) greatly affect her mood, sending it to the bottom; high-quality foods (such as “ideal rations” or “exquisite rations” that include vegetables, cooked proteins – meat or fish – and spices) have the opposite effect, leading to elated states. Is this a positive or a negative trait? If your Spire already produces high-quality food (with supply secured, and a talented cook in the kitchen), then this is great – you can guarantee great mood of your gourmets, making them much more productive. But if your Spire struggles on that front, every gourmet becomes an additional liability, as not only will they be unhappy, but also, they will make other characters unhappy through everyday contacts.



Finally, let’s look at characters with “high pain threshold” and with “low pain threshold”. A character with low pain threshold will suffer even from such trifles as wasp and mosquito bites and will try to avoid at all costs some medicines – such as “stinging ointment”, which causes certain pain but is a great way to disinfect wounds. A character with high pain threshold, on the other hand, may receive the same damage but remain unaffected by it, and therefore as efficient as someone who hasn’t been hurt at all.

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That’s it for today! As always, for updates on work in progress (including the Disciple Generator), please check the game’s official Discord server.

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ːsummer_magicː Spire of Sorcery – Character Generator
ːsummer_magicː Official Discord server
ːsummer_magicː Twitter (game updates)
ːsummer_magicː Facebook (game updates)



ːmaliceː Official Discord server
ːmaliceː Twitter (game updates)
ːmaliceː Facebook (game updates)
ːmusicː Original Soundtrack on Spotify



ːnotebookː Twitter (studio news)
ːnotebookː Facebook (studio news)
ːhypnoheartː "Behind the scenes" Instagram
ːfireappleː YouTube
Spire of Sorcery - Qfasa


DEVELOPMENT UPDATE

Welcome, welcome, welcome! It’s been a while since we posted an update here, because one part of our team was busy with the development while another was taking a holiday in the mountains. Yes, a holiday! Because this is our approach to releasing the best game that we can: getting enough rest to stay sharp and smart, rather than crunching through the last few months – which often results in loss of creative vision or lack of integrity. What we want with Spire of Sorcery, on contrast, is to offer you our best development effort!

Work in progress: there’s a lot of effort that goes into each inventory item icon that we create. These must be easy to understand for every player, at a glance. The team behind all inventory items: 3 artists (Rita, Ignas, Andrey), and our game designer (Alexey). We believe in collaborative work.

DISCORD POPULATION: 1.500+

We’ve hit another milestone with the game’s official Discord server: it now has over 1,500 members. We thank you all for your continued support – it means a lot to us! We make games for a living, and we make them for you. To be able to share with the community our work in progress, sketches and ideas, is a priceless opportunity to receive player feedback early on, and we are truly grateful for your attention. The game’s Discord server has been a sourse of much motivation for us, thanks to all the players who comment there on our work in progress.

SPIRE OF SORCERY – CHARACTER GENERATOR

As you read this blog, our development work on the game’s standalone Character Generator should already be finished. We currently plan to wrap it in a few days and send it for translation into 5 languages. Once we have it localized, we will release it on Steam for free, for all of you to experiment with. The link will be posted here on Steam forums as well as on Discord. We are really excited about this upcoming event and cannot wait to see the sort of characters of Rund that you will create and share!

Coming soon to Steam (as a free app): Spire of Sorcery – Character Generator.

CLOTHING IN SPIRE OF SORCERY

And now let’s start with the main topic of this blog post: clothing sets. Every character in the game is dressed in a specific set, related to profession and/or place and/or social standing. Each set has a single visual representation, so that you can immediately recognize, for example, a hunter; or an Inquisitor. Each set is represented by a corresponding inventory item, and is reflected on character portrait, so that when characters change clothing, their portraits also change.

CLOTHING SETS

At this time, we have the following sets already in the game:
  • rags
  • herder
  • hunter
  • villager
  • townsfolk – poor
  • townsfolk – regular
  • townsfolk – rich
  • merchant
  • performer
  • soldier
  • mage’s mandatory uniform (Guild of Mages)
  • Inquisitor – footman
  • Inquisitor – principal
  • Inquisitor – grand master
  • wildling
  • traveler
  • disciple’s basic uniform
Between Early Access and full release on Steam, we plan to introduce a number of other professions (such as beekeeper, for example) that will further enhance game mechanics – because clothing sets are a meaningful part of the game, and not just some cosmetics.

Villager

Rags | Herder | Hunter

CLOTHING AND DISCIPLES

The biography of a disciple defines the clothing set that he, or she, arrives in. Once accepted into the Spire, disciples will continue to hold on to their clothing until such time when you decide to change it.
If you follow the path of strict discipline in your campaign, you may declare that everyone in the Spire must wear a uniform – and produce these uniforms for all the characters. Some will like it, and some will hate it. It’s up to you, how this fits with your overall strategy.

If you want, you may also produce new clothing sets– as long as you have the required resources and someone who can tailor – and assign them to disciples at will. So, for example, if someone came to you in rags, you can improve their outlook by sewing for them a townsfolk’s clothing set.

Of course, you may also just buy those sets on the market in towns and villages if you have money. Or you may confiscate a set of clothing from one disciple and give it to another – but beware the effect that this will have on the person from whom you take the item!

Townsfolk – poor

Townsfolk – regular

Townsfolk – rich

SEWING CLOTHING

To manufacture clothing sets in the Spire, you will need the resources – cloth, gems and extras (if required) – as well as a disciple that already unlocked “Tailoring” as a part of their Artificing skill. While Tailoring is not a very high-level mastery, it is still not something that every character will know by default. As to the resources, you will need to buy rolls of cloth, especially if you need silk for a particular set (for silk, try trading with Weavers) and buy or collect the gems (for some of the more fancier sets).

CLOTHING AND FUNCTIONAL ITEMS

Clothing is separate from the functional items such as “swamp boots”, “winter cloak” or “armor plate” – rather, it reflects social standing and affects its owners as well as those who interact with them. Like most of inventory items, clothing sets have durability and are subject to wear and tear. So, for example, with time, hunter’s clothing set will turn to rags, and you will need to repair or replace it.

As any other inventory items, clothing sets can be owned by specific characters or be the property of the Spire, and any character may own, and carry, multiple clothing sets – using his/her own judgment as to what to wear, and when, if out on a quest.

Merchant | Soldier

Performer

THE EFFECT OF CLOTHING IN THE GAME

So how do clothing sets really work in the game? Each set has a number of properties that are important for certain situations. For example, imagine a party of 5 entering a town, and going to the market square. If they are dressed in rags, they will raise immediate concern: possibly, this is a band of adventurers, here to commit crimes – or sell stolen goods. If they are dressed as proper merchants, though, the locals will be much more likely to engage in open trade.

Or consider visiting the Guild of Thieves. If your main quest was to trade on the town’s market, then getting dressed up as rich townsfolk works great. But if you will then visit the thieves dressed in the same fashion… it’s quite likely that the thieves will try to take advantage of such visitors!

Some of the non-human races also have strong response to particular clothing. For example, Weavers, the producers of silk, are in awe of fancy dresses, and use different colors among themselves to communicate social positions. Guests dressed in luxurious clothing will have a much higher standing – and, correspondingly, trading options – with Weavers, than those dressed as wildlings or travelers.

Finally, clothing may also make available certain quests inaccessible otherwise. Let’s say one of your disciples is such a great tailor, that she can sew Inquisitor’s clothing sets. You may then send a party to the nearest office of Guild of Mages, that will pretend to be Inquisitors on inspection – and choose the most skilled mages from the Guild to take away for “further placement”. On one hand, this is an amazing opportunity to boost up your Spire with strong recruits. On another, this is also an opportunity to anger the real Inquisition to such a degree that it will make finding and destroying your Spire one of their priorities.

And one more thing. Clothing is one of the things that affects the mood of your disciples. Some won’t care about they wear. Some will crave higher status. And some will yearn for discipline. Choosing your policy in regard to the uniforms and managing individual clothing for specific characters that are sensible to this aspect is yet another part of your role at the helm of the Spire!

Wildling | Traveller | Disciple's basic uniform

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That's it for today. As always, for updates on work in progress (including the Disciple Generator), please check the game's official Discord server.

–––



ːsummer_magicː Spire of Sorcery – Character Generator
ːsummer_magicː Official Discord server
ːsummer_magicː Twitter (game updates)
ːsummer_magicː Facebook (game updates)



ːmaliceː Official Discord server
ːmaliceː Twitter (game updates)
ːmaliceː Facebook (game updates)
ːmusicː Original Soundtrack on Spotify



ːnotebookː Twitter (studio news)
ːnotebookː Facebook (studio news)
ːhypnoheartː "Behind the scenes" Instagram
ːfireappleː YouTube
...

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