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, 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.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Initially Unavailable Relic Pieces!

I just went ahead and put just 2 located relic pieces at the start of each game in 2 territories.

I had to make a few changes on some hidden mechanics for resurfacing pieces, since they took  too much priority over other events, but they are now independent systems, so there shouldn't be a problem there.

Since I pretty much work in other people's holidays, you can imagine these last few days have been extremely unproductive. They also asked me to write and illustrate a children's booklet on fire prevention, so that's also been taking some more time.

That's right, the same person that is making Anamnesis was also asked to do a tale for 6 year old children. That's how low our society is falling.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Initially Unavailable Relic Pieces?

Lately, I've been toying around with the idea of making relic pieces appear gradually during the course of the game instead of giving away all their locations at the start of each game.

I gave this a try by simply making them unavailable and waiting for them to appear like they do after a territory has been destroyed, and it resulted in a more leisureable, slow-paced game in which doing useless things felt less of a waste of turns. However, I would understand this idea to be bothersome to some players, so I'd like to know a few opinions before considering this change.

It could even be possible to make small changes so that players have to be proactive to find the location of the pieces to begin with, but I don't know how I feel about that. At the very least it'd have to be a flavourless endeavour for now if we want the next release to come any time soon.

So let me know what you think. I'm currently leaning towards hiding at least some of them at the start of each game.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Espionage Tweaks

There is enough content to properly test the whole espionage thingy now, so a few changes have been made to the original concept.

First of all, those events specific for each aristocrat will only be available to non-monster units, since it was a little silly to have hieronhortean savages and unspeakable horrors gathering and conveying information and such.

Secondly, to avoid free lunches, those actions that would lead to the impoverishment or humiliation of an aristocrat will also cause a slight decrease in the aristocrat's health. This makes some sense and should also keep players from for example just stealing over and over from an aristocrat unless they are interested in completely destroying the target individual.

There is also another thing I'd like to tell you now. The reason I started doing that "something involving renascents" in the To Do list was to provide a little variety to this release's development. It was never intended to make it into this release and spying already provides that much needed diversity, so there won't be any more work on that until at least the following release. The work won't be lost in any event.

From now on and until the next version we'll probably engage in lore posting (still open to suggestions there), perhaps sprinkled with some more development as long as it doesn't require intensive writing and thus won't further delay the release. I'm also kind of in a graphic-making mood, so maybe something will be done on that most neglected front as well.