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An original turn-based role-playing game set in a world of machines and magic, a world that stopped spinning thousands of years ago.
Enter a beautiful world haunted by its fateful past and join a party of unlikely heroes on their journey to rescue Amon's uncle from an ancient cult and uncover the secret of the Earthkey.
Enter a beautiful world haunted by its fateful past and join a party of unlikely heroes on their journey to rescue Amon's uncle from an ancient cult and uncover the secret of the Earthkey.
4,506 backers pledged $178,193 to help bring this project to life.

The joy of turn based combat!

Going back to the roots...
Going back to the roots...

We wanted to give you all a closer look at the combat systems. In this update we'll detail a little more about how combat works currently and future plans for improvements.

Please keep in mind that all of the systems detailed here may change during development based on feedback and testing.

We chose to go with turn based combat, first and foremost, because we all have fond memories of playing games featuring turn based combat. We wanted a strategic approach to combat and to let the players be able to take the time to think about their next move rather than stressing them out with active time hybrid models or real time combat. There is nothing wrong with either of the latter models, but we feel that turn based combat is a good fit for Earthlock.

  • Turn based combat: plan your moves rather than reacting 
  • Combat Pairs access unique pair abilities 
  • Chaining of elemental attacks 
  • Enemy states change during combat 
  • Full control over all pairs during combat 

Combat Pairs 

To make more variations to the normal combat team setup, we have paired two and two player characters.

  • Pairs are composed of one Warrior and one Protector 
  • Warriors are the main damage dealers 
  • Protectors buff, debuff and heal. 
  • Some protectors also have offensive abilities.

We have capped the team at three pairs at the moment, but the system can easily be expanded should we wish to do so.

When pairing two party members, they become one battle unit with shared health and stats. You can swap the protectors and this will greatly affect the pair stats. For example you can pair a protector with high magic stats and a warrior with high attack stats to create an all round team or you could pair two characters with high magic stats to make a strong magical team. This will allow for you to customize combat tactics depending on how you enjoy playing.

Revive - VFX by Supergenius
Revive - VFX by Supergenius

Special Combo Abilities

The warriors and protector pairs when combined in different ways grant each other unique abilities that will greatly affect the combat when facing larger enemies and bosses. For example, Ive and Taika have a combined electricity and wind attack called “Perfect Storm”, which will only be available when pairing Taika and Ive. Pairing Taika with Amon instead will yield another type of combination ability. These abilities will have both characters work together to perform them and consume a lot more SP than other normal abilities.

  • Meet new playable characters as you explore Umbra
  • New playable characters means more available pairing options
  • More pairing options means more combo abilities
  • Bond system - pairs for stronger the longer they are paired

We have an idea for an ability tree for each unique pair. Some of the abilities gained will be transferrable when you pair up new characters, but some will only be available to each unique pair.

Status Effects System

  • Status effects give positive or negative effects to yourself or your enemies
  • Immunities will negate some effects
  • Status effects can last complete combat, a few rounds or until healed or counteracted

These effects can modify your health like Poison or Regeneration or modify other stats like Shield adds to the defence stat or Darkness reduces the attack stat. Abilities can also add types of elemental status effects described in the next section.

Elemental System

The elemental system is the classical system where an attack can have a type of element associated with it and if the target has a weakness towards that type of element the attack will have a much larger effect.

Crablers go into their defensive mode after a series of ice-attacks.
Crablers go into their defensive mode after a series of ice-attacks.

An example would be that an Ice Attack will deal much more damage to a Fire type enemy, as we have shown in the GIF above.

We are trying to incorporate the system so that all or at least most of the abilities will have a type of element and a lot of the tactics when fighting is figuring out what type of element the enemy is weak against. The type of element can be indicated through the look of the enemy, the area the player is in or even be completely hidden on some enemies.

Damage chart
Damage chart

The 10 ‘elements’ defined at the moment are:

  • Ice
  • Fire
  • Electro
  • Wind
  • Earth
  • Water
  • Dark
  • Light
  • Psy
  • Sonic

Abilities with certain elements can have a chance of inflicting what we call an Elemental Status Effect.

  • Chain elements to achieve greater damage
  • Example: Fire Pearl causes "heated", follow-up Wind Spud causes "Blaze" for added damage
Stacking abilities - VFX by Supergenius
Stacking abilities - VFX by Supergenius

These elemental status effects will not last long though so you will need be fast with the chaining attack. The goal is to create enough depth in the tactical combat to keep things interesting for a long time. In order to use any magical attack you will need to bring the right ammo. And to get the ammo you will need to grow it.


The game will feature a wide variety of weapons for each Warrior, but we do not want the weapons to become outdated as soon as you obtain a new and better one. Instead of simply being better than the last the weapons will feature both advantages and disadvantages to the Warrior. This will be achieved through properties or passive abilities on the weapon that modifies the warriors stats or adds some sort of effect. Some weapons can have more attack power but lowers the warriors defence or have fire boosting effects while being weaker than regular with other elemental attacks. 

When you have found a weapon you like we want you to be able to keep using it in combat for as long as you want. For a weapon to stay relevant throughout the game we will have a weapon upgrade/crafting system where the weapon can be boosted and or modified to suit your needs. This system has not been designed fully yet so we will talk more about it later.

Oliver Bacon, Josh Wise, and 38 more people like this update.


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    1. Vince Vazquez

      Well I bumped up my pledge a few tiers :)

      It sucks that you guys are ending this thing on Friday - with PAX East starting up that day, it would've been a nice time to for a big final push along with all the indie games that are going to be getting attention there. I believe you guys showed up at PAX Prime last year, didn't you?

    2. Jeremie Lariviere

      Wonderful update! Thanks for the details, and wonderful news about turn-based combat! Real-time is so extremely hard... And nice preview on the art, I'm looking forward to the art book!.

    3. Vince Vazquez

      I am serious thinking of bumping my pledge to Art Book tier. I wanna help the game more, and man, this art is great!

      I love me some turn-based combat, but it's definitely nice to see you have some wrinkles in store. Because man, the last few years of turn based systems in games like Eternal Sonata (which has WORMS-style turn based; where you move around in real time for a certain amount of time when it's your turn) and Radiant Historia (where you fight on a grid, and attacks push enemies into new spaces so other party members can hit more than one enemy if you "stack" them on a single space) has absolutely shown me how much more room there is in the turn-based space. The partner stuff sounds like a brilliant little twist that, frankly, I can't believe no one has done before! I wish Ninokuni did something like that, because I HATE navigating those menus with their controls while trying to run around (and taking hits despite stuff not physically colliding with the models). THANK YOU for moving away from "hybrid models".

    4. Chelle M on

      Indeed, Frits.

    5. fceramic on

      Well if some people think "WTF happened to the game? Are they going 2D?" and then scrolled down to see what's going on, the illustration is doing its job. :)

    6. Gabriel Morgan on

      Personally, I understood it wasn't a serious picture. I can see how other people might not, but I should hope that they have the common sense to scroll down a little further.
      I understand first impressions are everything, but it would be really silly if they don't scroll down an inch and see that video.

      Anyway, I can't wait to play this game! It looks amazing.

    7. Chelle M on

      They can't edit the update very much after it is published. I think there is like a 30 min window or something.

      I dig the chibi look and all, but I do agree it does cause some dissonance with the target look of the game. I think it was just Frits having a little fun. :)

      This update was rather cool, though, because of all the great information about the action of combat. Its great to see a game return to the turn-based style of combat.

    8. Charles Brandon Adkins on

      agree that turn based is ideal for this game!
      Pets/companions matchup is awesome!
      agree with Matthew Baldo: first pic did not leave a good impression.
      had to scroll down quickly to see 'wtf happened to this game!?!?!' LoL
      relieved to see you are still 3D focused ;)

    9. Matthew Baldo on

      Guys I love the update but I would change the first pic. I understand that it is probably in jest but I was put off seeing it at the top. I would hate to have people get the wrong idea of what the target look is.

    10. Missing avatar

      Bdtry on

      I tried the demo a few months ago and loved the combat. Unless I missed it, it seems to have gotten even better since then.