Anamnesis, of Renascents and Monsters,

A text-based simulation and role playing game of exploration, warfare, intrigue and romance in a low fantasy, early 20th century environment.

Monday, May 18, 2015

On Feeling Like Doing Something Different

The illustration I mentioned in the previous post is done and it actually won one of two prizes available in the contest, making me a profit of a whooping 72,85€ after subtracting the costs of the materials.

Anyway, there are some things I've been considering. You've given me some valuable insights in the past, so I'd like to share another question with you and see what you think.

For a while I've been in some sort of system-building mood rather than a content-writing one. This has been having a small effect on performance, but more importantly it's proving to be a lot of wasted potential since Anamnesis at this point requires a lot of content before new systems can be developed. I'm presently stuck with all this content writing because I just wanted to add this one more system, after all.

I don't want to drop Anamnesis because I like it and I'll feel like making new content in the future again, but I believe it'd be more efficient to have an option to properly focus the system-building energy. This is probably going to happen in the short to mid term, but I haven't made up my mind on the best way to do it.

The first option would be to make a new game with a much greater focus on procedural generation. In many ways it'd still be similar to Anamnesis, still trying to feel like a pen-and-paper rpg, but of a different nature and a less developed setting.

The second option would be to do practically the same thing, but inside Anamnesis. It could involve fleshing out other alternative eras not just as the same game with slightly adjusted mechanics and different flavour, but basically as different games. Players would be able to choose which kind of eras they want to play or just leave it to chance. Perhaps instead of different eras these games within the game could simply involve optional trips into the mainland, the outer lands, or the fey worlds. I haven't made up my mind but there are plenty of ways to stitch everything together.

This is not something I'm going to start right away because the whole thing would require more planning and I'm not precisely swimming on free time, but for now I'd appreciate it if you let me know what you think of the whole thing.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Best and Worst Stats

Right now I'm prioritizing an illustration I'm submitting to a contest in order to probe my capacity to actually make at least some side money as an illustrator, so these last few days Anamnesis has been rather neglected. It's a long story but I've also reluctantly become a bunny owner, so there's also that.

Anyway, I went ahead and, as requested in the comments on the last post, slightly expanded character creation by allowing you to choose which stat of your character will tend to go up and which one will tend to go down. Your best stat will increase slightly more often and decrease slightly less often, your worst stat will do the opposite.

I decided to do things this way because a simple one time boost at the beginning of the game would probably become diluted a few turns into the game. You will be able to choose either one of the four basic stats, (Resistance, Mobility, Intelligence and Terror) or one of them at random.

For kicks, and a little added challenge, you will also be to choose to be good at no stat and be bad at all of them.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

History and State of Telecommunications In The Steppes

The most rudimentary form of telecommunication to be found in The Steppes was the ordinary mail developed in a largely military fashion in order to coordinate the many tenant farmers on the public stallian crops and the stallian army. This ruthlessly efficient military mail service was much later exported to Tershelle-Val and is still maintained with typically stallian punctuality. Despite how seriously stallians take their mail and parcel delivery deadlines, other cities have never adopted this model, instead allowing civilian corporations to take over the endeavours.

The development of communications at a distance halted to a stop for many years after the establishment of the stallian mail service. Citizens of Arrakans have always appeared to have their communication needs covered with vigorous shouting and yelling, so there was zero development on their part.

It wasn't until the construction of the veshite-stallian railway that necessity pushed thinking heads to develop faster wire communications. The telegraph appears to have been conceived by observing "patterns in pulses of energy" inside barely functional saurian era machinery. The first telegraph was deployed along the railway as a way to convey quick information between Stallia and the different garrisons along the line concerning the construction's progress and above all enemy raids and attacks, shortening the different garrisons' reaction time.

It was later in Ill-Vess that the telephone was developed. For many years, Ill-Vess stood almost alone in the use of telephones while Stallia and Arrakans lagged behind. The city's response was the creation of the Veshite Telephone Company in order to lobby for the advancement of telecommunications all over The Steppes. The company has ever since diversified to adapt to newer forms of communications and their laboratories have been the driving force behind many innovations in the field. They are estimated to have built almost 80% of all telecom networks.

The latest development on the field was the wireless radio. Over the last few years the Veshite Telephone Company's laboratories have been refining and improving on their original designs to such an extent as to allow the implantation of relatively small transceivers not only on ships but also land vehicles and even planes or some unfortunate grunt's backpack. While originally conceived for military uses, forward-looking veshite and nivharian media tycoons were quick to seize this new invention and turn it into a mass phenomenon.

The nivharian case was especially dramatic, with hundreds of radio stations, some no bigger than a teenager's bedroom, sprouting like mushrooms, altering the city's profile with countless antennae and radio towers. The increasing number and power of receivers had however an unaccounted effect, showing all of The Steppes to be showered in radio waves emanating from nearby celestial objects, specially what has been deduced to be artificial satellites in low orbit, likely of saurian origin. These transmissions seem to consist almost exclusively of noise, but sometimes patterns can be recognized in them. Amateurs and laboratories all over the place have been trying to decipher these transmissions ever since without any proven success.

The Veshite Telephone Company is of course leading all the efforts and has in fact undertaken the self-imposed challenge of communicating with the sources of these transmissions. For this purpose the company has been developing new technologies outside the telecommunications market strictly speaking. For example, the use of radio waves to detect objects at a distance seems to be undergoing testing stages and is widely believed to have already been employed for military purposes and even to aid in the location of these orbiting bodies.

Monday, March 16, 2015

History and State of Medicine in The Steppes

There is currently no consensus on how to treat many sicknesses inside The Steppes and of course each city has a slightly different way of seeing things.

The first physicians of The Steppes were literally butchers serving in the stallian army whose particular set of skills seemed to be the most indicated at the time to perform the necessary battlefield medicine during the struggling first years of the city. They performed plenty of amputations right on the floor of the trenches, but ultimately managed to save few lives. Since it took very healthy individuals to survive these butchers, it is believed, this influenced the current stallian healthcare with its heavy focus on the preventive through a healthy lifestyle, diet and exercise.

When something similar to scientific progress started to take place during the following years, the figure of the barber-surgeon eventually emerged. These individuals, sometimes through training and sometimes through self-perceived talent, removed undesirable things from people's bodies, be that hair, decayed teeth, excessive blood or gangrenous limbs. A few of these individuals still thrive to this day especially in Arrakans, where they serve as something in between folk psychologists, charlatans, surgeons and singers. They are not particularly good at any of these fields, but they are often able to keep a secret, which is an attractive trait for crooks.

Medicine as a science took off in Ill-Vess. The quest for a greater knowledge on the human body led to a series of unpopular experiments and procedures practiced on both living and deceased individuals that caused the public to call for legislation. This legislation only caused the rise of grave robbers and the schism of the so called "Stitcher" doctors, which continued to pursue their amoral goals in an undercover way. The term stitcher originated in a veshite tabloid article, which originally assumed a serial killer was stitching together pieces of their victims, but the name stuck around ever since. These stitchers consider regular doctors hypocrites for benefiting of their research while condemning it, while the establishment blames stitchers of simply repeating useless, poorly controlled experiments on humans which they claim are nothing but cruel tortures on disguise.

As technology advanced, new medicines and equipment has been put into the service of medicine. This expensive equipment made necessary the creation of hospitals, as opposed to physicians working from their own homes. The first hospital was built in Nivhar not that long ago, followed by Ill-Vess' and the smaller imitations on other cities with lesser resources.

X-rays are all the fad, there are about half a dozen different types of antibiotics in use, optical microscopes are used to perform a series of medical analyses, and surgical procedures with a varying degree of success are performed regularly, more often than not in clean rooms.

The latest development in medicine is the differentiation of a significant number of nivharian physicians from the veshite model to seek a more psychosomatic approach, putting together psychology, sociology and behavioral sciences. This branch is too young to prove itself,  but other cities remain skeptic so far.

A lot of research has of course been put into the workings of samples of the beastfolk mutagen, which has given researchers a significant insight about genetics. But current instruments are not powerful enough to make much practical use of this.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

History and State of Manned Flight in The Steppes

Let's cover some miscellaneous lore topics in to kill some time until the release.

The first manned flight in recorded history above The Steppes was that of an unidentified contraption assumed to be operated by at least 2 beastfolk. The event took place shortly after the foundation of Stallia and involved the sight of what was described at the time as "a fireball or meteor" that streaked across the Stallian airspace and touched ground a few kilometers east in a wheat field. The explosion and subsequent fire caused the device and its occupants to be spread over a 800 meter radius, leaving little to study. Historians to this day argue about whether this was a poorly operated savaged saurian era flying machine or an oddly-shaped rocket with beastfolk strapped to it for some reason.

During the first desperate years of The Steppes no man-made machine significantly lifted off the ground neither in Stallia nor Arrakans. During the construction of the Veshite-Stallian railway there were attempts to use observation balloons as some kind of mobile watchtowers. They were generally tied to escort wagons, but the weather often grounded them as they approached the hieronhortean lands, where they were most direly needed.

During its first years, Ill-Vess also failed to develop a sizable number of aircraft for the same reason. The weather just did not allow a local market of lighter-than-air or wood and canvas machines to develop.

The advances necessary in metallurgy to make air transportation possible, although veshite in origin, did not arrive until the time Nivhar was being constructed. The city received the know-how when veshite industries poured in. The entrepreneurs quickly realized that the mild weather of Nivhar was perfect for the new machines, and so the nivharian aeronautical industry and its flying culture was born.

Soon all the young people in Nivhar were trying to learn how to pilot an aircraft. The "air craze" resulted in landing strips in almost every villa or hamlet surrounding the city and farmers were soon fantasizing about the (mostly imaginary) wonders of airborne agriculture. Acrobatic air shows were all the rage and you could hardly watch an action movie without at least a dogfight in it, sometimes involving no other weapons than the pilots' bare hands.

Presently, because of the coastal location of the main centers of trade, most flying takes place in seaplanes. Ill-Vess is particularly partial to flying boats as their mountainous terrain limits their available space for sizable landing strips. Arrakans, on the other hand, is more interested in floatplanes, with several smugglers already specialized in delivery of small valuables through the use these nimble machines.

Airstrips further inland in The Steppes are mostly reserved for military operations, since neither Stallia nor especially the embargoed Tershelle-Val offer many commerce opportunities. The military's interest is both in logistics and the fact that planes equipped with retractable gears can easily outperform those that are forced to drag their floats around all the time.

Ill-Vess has been forced to solve its spatial problems with the development of rotor aircraft and helicopters, but this technology is still in its infancy and still subject to the weather. The technologies to manufacture turbine engines and metal fuselages approach optimization in The Steppes, but jet engines are still only in the fantasies of reclusive engineering types. The hypothetical invention of a functional jet engine would revolutionize flight and, along with the use of saurian alloys, theoretically allow the creation of much bigger, faster and durable aircraft.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Children's Fire Prevention Booklet Released

The children's booklet is finally finished, so at least that's one thing out of the way. I'll save you the trouble of suffering it because I'm actually pretty embarrassed of the whole thing.

The guy that asked for it did complain about one of the kids having "the face of a possessed maniac" in an illustration in which he blindly swung a baseball bat near his friends, but I appear to have been able to otherwise restraint myself pretty well. Interestingly, it's not the first time I hear this very same complain about my characters' expressions.

All in all, I still think it was a good idea not to share anything about Anamnesis with people in my immediate surroundings.

Unfortunately, I don't really have anything noteworthy to report about the game's development, as I'm still fleshing out the espionage options for each unit and aristocrat as well as some remaining events for affiliation to lobbies. As usual, I already have plans for the next release, but I still need to finish writing down all those flavour lines for the new content on this one.