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Set sail to stop a sequel to the greatest war the world has ever seen in this 16-bit era, console style RPG by the makers of Ara Fell.
Set sail to stop a sequel to the greatest war the world has ever seen in this 16-bit era, console style RPG by the makers of Ara Fell.
Set sail to stop a sequel to the greatest war the world has ever seen in this 16-bit era, console style RPG by the makers of Ara Fell.
432 backers pledged $14,166 to help bring this project to life.

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Rise of the Third Power

$14,166

432

Art by Caladium, Logo design by Logobee
Art by Caladium, Logo design by Logobee

100% FUNDED!!

We did it! I'm so happy! Thanks so much everyone! If you're here to check out Stretch Goals, please view update 3 or scroll to the bottom of the page.

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Rise of the Third Power is a retro-themed, console-style roleplaying game loosely based on the political climate of Europe in the mid 1930's. The events take place in the land of Rin at the height of the Age of Sail.

The passage below details who we are, what we intend to do, what Rise of the Third Power is all about, and why you should support us!

The story of Stegosoft Games begins way back in 2000 with a hacked version of RPG Maker 95 and too much free time one summer vacation. Since then, we've turned a pipe dream into a real company with a released game under our belt.

In 2016, we released Ara Fell successfully, and received more attention and acclaim for it than we expected! It didn't light the world on fire, but it did give us the opportunity to keep making games for a living. Since then, we've turned to our next project; similar in style, but larger in scope, with more playtime, greater ambition, and a deeper narrative.

Rise begins in an era of uneasy peace following Rin's version of World War I, which, like its real-world counterpart, has also been dubbed the Great War.

The story follows a desperate group of resistance fighters attempting to undermine the newly reformed Arkadyan Empire, the antagonists (from their perspective) of the previous conflict. It is led by Emperor Dimitri Noraskov, who many fear intends to forcibly reunite Rin under a single banner and a single god.

Unlike his predecessors, Noraskov is not driven merely by imperialism or a lust for power. He is driven by ideology.

A bird's-eye view of Evenheart, capital of Cirinthia, and the namesake for the treaty that ended the Great War.
A bird's-eye view of Evenheart, capital of Cirinthia, and the namesake for the treaty that ended the Great War.

This game, as was the case with our previous venture, is propelled largely by its characters. However, where Ara Fell could be described as high fantasy, taking place on a fairy world floating in the sky with a plucky teenage girl as its protagonist, Rise of the Third Power is more down to earth. It stars stars a gritty veteran of the Great War with a drinking problem, a rogue with a fetish for going out in a blaze of glory, and a naive princess forced onto the world's stage. This tale is not driven by a magical McGuffin; it is driven by politics and conviction.

At the onset of Rise of the Third Power, twenty years have passed since the last shots of the Great War were fired. Two nations of the victorious Eastern Alliance remain intact, the others having shattered under the weight of debt and the death of a generation. In the sands of the south lies the ancient republic of Tariq, the world's only surviving democracy. In the north, the decadent kingdom of Cirinthia, who suffered the least by the invasion of the Second Arkadyan Empire.

Rowan accepts his fate. Art by Zedotagger
Rowan accepts his fate. Art by Zedotagger

Arkadya, whose people fought fiercely to the bitter end, was brought to its knees and forced to surrender its imperial lands. The Great War, much like its real-world counterpart, was by far the costliest military endeavor in history at that time, and the blame for it was laid solely at the feet of the Second Arkadyan Empire.

Humiliated by their defeat and the harsh demands of the Treaty of Evenheart, bitterness came to dominate Arkadyan politics, and the king put on the throne by the victors of the Great War found himself unable to contain infighting among the local nobility. 

In this vacuum of power, Dimitri Noraskov led a successful rebellion, killed the king, and claimed the throne of Arkadya for himself. As his first act as emperor, he publicly burned Arkadya's copy of the Treaty of Evenheart and styled his new regime the Third Arkadyan Empire. The events that followed sent the world tumbling into a collision course with what many fear will be a reprise of the Great War...

Rise of the Third Power features a cast of 8 playable characters, as well as villains, allies and neutral parties, all with their own unique motivations and goals. 

A brief description of three of these heroes is available below.

 Here's the rest of the cast, including allies and villains and those somewhere in between...

Art by Calpon
Art by Calpon

 We'll get into the details of Rise's various gameplay systems next, but first, let's start with a glimpse at the menus.

Example of the character menu! The middle column is the party organizer, with dividers representing battle lines.
Example of the character menu! The middle column is the party organizer, with dividers representing battle lines.

 Every element has been designed to eliminate as much tedium and obfuscation from traditional menu systems as possible. Most elements are on a single screen, and have been streamlined without sacrificing depth or functionality. Incidentally, their design (not to mention the bulk of the R3P's design) was inspired by this famous Extra Credits video on complexity versus depth.

The item menu! We've tried to keep the number and types of healing items small and to the point. Who needs 10 different ways to restore health cluttering up your inventory?
The item menu! We've tried to keep the number and types of healing items small and to the point. Who needs 10 different ways to restore health cluttering up your inventory?

Now, on to the battle system!

Battles are a turn-based affair, familiar to anyone that's played games like Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy 6, with three combatants entering the fray at a time. Each character has their own unique specialty, such as single-target damage, tanking, debuffs or AoE, as well as special synergies with other characters.

Above is an example of what our battle system will look like, and further down, you'll find a battle diagram with a detailed description of how combat works, as well as the unique aspects of it. - Background art by Fabio Fontes
Above is an example of what our battle system will look like, and further down, you'll find a battle diagram with a detailed description of how combat works, as well as the unique aspects of it. - Background art by Fabio Fontes

I'll use Corrina and Rowan, pictured above, as examples.

Corrina has a passive ability that allows her to deal additional damage to debuffed targets, dealing more with each additional debuff. She also has an ability called "Mark" that she can use to lower a target's defense, which is a debuff itself. "Mark" also has a special property that allows ranged attacks to ignore defense.

Rowan carries a saber and a pistol, the latter being ranged. With his saber, he can use an ability to cause living targets to bleed, a debuff that slowly drains the target's health pool.

You can tell how this will work already! Corrina marks a target, Rowan fires his pistol to ignore enemy defense entirely. Rowan uses his sabre to apply a bleed debuff, which gives Corrina two debuffs to trigger her passive ability.

Every character is being designed with the ability to combine their strengths and skills with every other character in some way, without any set pairing that is meant to be optimal. Hopefully this will allow for dynamic and even surprising synergies!

While our combat takes inspiration from Chrono Trigger, there's one important difference. In Chrono Trigger, you can have a maximum of three combatants in any fight, but you have seven playable characters in total. You can choose any three of those seven to participate in battles, and the rest are left behind in a "base."

That system works, but it has some problems. 

1) Whatever characters are left in the base do not get to participate in the story. 

2) Going to your base to change your party is tedious.

Our system aims to rectify this by allowing all eight party members to participate in both the story and in battles, with three active at any given time. As described in the diagram above, there are three lines of combat. The Front Line, the Back Line and the Aux Line.

The Front Line and Back Line can be swapped as a unit on any active character's turn to act, and characters in the Aux Line can be swapped in individually. Characters in the Aux Line provide unique passive bonuses to those in the front line. For example, the priestess Reyna provides a constant regenerative healing bonus when placed in an Aux slot, Corrina increases the party's critical strike damage, and so on.

The end result is the ability to command all eight heroes at once without the hassle of actually cycling through all eight of them during battle, and without being forced to leave some of them behind.

Bosses are being designed with this in mind as well. For example, one of our mid-game battle encounters involves an enemy that deals a massive torrent of damage that only the "tank" classes (or specially equipped other classes) can survive. A strategy for tackling this boss may be to load your most survivable characters in the Front Line, your damage-dealers in the back, then swap them when the heavy damage phase of the fight has concluded.

Outside of combat, players can jump, swim, grapple and use other abilities to traverse dungeons and the game world. You can find hidden treasure, solve puzzles and unlock new areas through clever use of these abilities.

Rise will also feature crafting and a unique equipment system.

Rather than purchasing replacement equipment and selling or disenchanting inferior gear, characters each have 24 permanent upgrades that can be purchased, discovered, stolen and/or crafted.

Every upgrade you obtain is persistent. Those you can buy will only be available by buying them, and those you discover otherwise will only be available through exploration, side quests and the like. Each new town, new side dungeon or new quest can present the opportunity for a permanent upgrade, whether it be a stat boost, an ability boost or a passive augmentation.

Lastly, our levelling system. This isn't the version that will appear in game (we'll be matching the rest of the UI graphics, as shown above), but it'll hopefully make how the system will actually work easier to understand.

In the spirit of making sure none of the party members ever feel left out, we've devised a party-based levelling system rather than levels for individual characters. In this system, the entire party gains experience as a unit and level up together. In other words, you won't need to sub in other party members to your Front Line to make sure they don't fall behind.

The player will acquire skill points to spend with each level, as well as quest rewards and occasionally as loot. These can be spent on generic upgrades for the entire party such as increased life or attack damage, or they can be spent on individual party members, granting unique bonuses to their abilities.

Music for Rise of the Third Power will mostly be licensed from the very talented composers at Audio Jungle. A sample of some of the pieces chosen for this project can be found below.

Every adventurer should start their day with a healthy breakfast! Well, or a stack of pancakes... Art by Caladium
Every adventurer should start their day with a healthy breakfast! Well, or a stack of pancakes... Art by Caladium

The audio below has been watermarked with "Audio Jungle" by the storefront to protect the composer's work.

Return of a War Hero by Simon Stevens - Title Screen

Irish Flute by Alan Berlin - Villages of Cirinthia

Pirates by 407 Music - Battle Theme

The Small Princess by loftymusic - Arielle's Theme

 Don't let the fact that the music is being licensed throw you! I love the soundtrack we've created for this project, and the vast amount of songs to choose from on Audiojungle allows us to find the perfect piece for every scene, every fight, every area.

 So, we're asking for $10,000.The game actually costs quite a bit more than that to produce, but $10,000 is the minimum we'll need to complete it with the features in-tact as described above.

$4000 of our funding is going into Graphics, primarily for the battle system. This includes backgrounds, enemies, hero sprites, animations, ability effects. Should we get over-funded, most of the money will be invested into improving animations. Here's an example!

Animation by Shanen Opolis
Animation by Shanen Opolis

Another $2000 is going into Additional Art Assets; things like tilesets, sprites and poses. 

$1500 is set aside for the Battle System, which includes compensating people who do the work I can't do myself; more specifically, the coding.

$1000 should offset our Audio expenses, which includes both music and sound effects. Should we become sufficiently overfunded, one possibility is to have our music and sounds created specifically for the project, rather than licensed from Audiojungle.

We're setting aside $500 to cover Backer Rewards, which will mostly go into the posters and worldwide shipping. Most of the rewards are pretty self-explanatory, but here's an example of the poster design we're considering.

Pretty adorable, eh?? You'll be able to pick the character and background you want to use, and can do it with or without the text! If feasible, we could also allow folks to choose custom text as well.

Finally, $1000 will cover Miscellaneous Expenses, such as assets for our final trailer, emergency funds to keep us alive if anything should happen, and anything we haven't thought of.

I said finally, but there's actually one other piece of the puzzle to talk about concerning funding, and that's Stretch Goals. Now, personally... I don't like them. It feels as though it's very easy to get in over your head when you get over-funded, promising things you can't really deliver (or worse, growing the project outside the scope of your abilities and sinking it entirely) in the hopes of getting backers excited and attracting more of them.

I won't do that.

EDIT : Now that we're funded, I still won't... but we did come up with some stretch goals that will work for us. I believe these goals are in line with what I described above, as well as being goals that won't overburden the project, nor mislead any current or future backers. So here we go!

Stretch Goal 1: Nintendo Switch Port - $12500

So, as I said, this is something we're definitely going to do anyway. But development gear is pricey. This won't cover the full cost (probably) but it'll make sure we can get most of the stuff we know we're going to need.

I don't recall what I'm allowed to talk about given the NDA we signed with Nintendo, but I will say Stegosoft Games has already been approved for Nintendo development, and all we need is the gear!

Incidentally, we'd also like to port to the handheld systems, but we're not yet sure if this is feasible... I'd add it as a stretch goal, but I'm not sure if this is going to be a funding issue or just a development issue.

Stretch Goal 2: Custom Soundtrack - $15000

We've found a wonderful composer to work with; Jacob McNatt. He's got a great idea of how we want to do the soundtrack and is currently working on replacing some of the pieces we planned to license from AudioJungle with original music.

At this funding level, we'll be able to have more of these pieces replaced. However, I do love the soundtrack I've put together from AudioJungle, and I'd rather the music that I think works best than using an original piece simply because it's original. We'll attempt to convert most of the soundtrack here, but we'll ultimately go with what we think works best for the game.

Stretch Goal 3: Tileset Replacement Project - $17500

So, some of you might have noticed that Rise of the Third Power is largely made with free-to-use tilesets called REFMAP from First Seed Material (or is it First Seed Material from REFMAP..?)

These graphics are what Ara Fell was mostly made from, with lots of custom edits and additions. The same is true of Rise of the Third Power, though our current goal is to not have anything that appeared in AF to also appear in R3P. That's a lot of stuff to replace, but it's doable.

With an extra $5000, we can replace most (maybe all?) of First Seed Material with custom but still essentially matching tilesets. You can see some of our work below!

This isn't quite finished yet; for example, you can see the sparkle effect on the ocean doesn't look right, and some of the windows on the new buildings don't quite match. The more funding we have, the more we can replace. At this funding level, we'll endeavor to replace all of it. But let me make it clear that I won't promise to replace all of it... that's a huge undertaking, and creates a lot of overhead. But I do promise to try. Old stuff is on the left, new stuff is on the right! Old stuff is on the left, new stuff is on the right!

Old stuff is on the left, new stuff is on the right!
Old stuff is on the left, new stuff is on the right!

Okay, I think this little spiel has gone on long enough. Thanks for following along and thanks for any support you can give.

We'll try to make you proud.

Let's do this! Art by Calpon
Let's do this! Art by Calpon

Links!

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Wishlist us on Steam!

Risks and challenges

Let's be real here; traditional roleplaying games really aren't easy to make. This is why so many developers shy away from them. You've got a huge world to design, a novel's worth of dialogue, a complicated story to tell, dozens of pieces of equipment, abilities, stats to fill, levels to set, treasure to place... These games really are some of the hardest to make.

This isn't going to be easy.

But we've got one similar game under our belt in Ara Fell, and the expansion of the scope and complexity of Rise of the Third Power feels in line with the skills and experience we acquired with our first game (not to mention 17 years of hobbyist experience). With Ara Fell, we just kind of winged it and hoped for the best. It worked out, but this time we've got a gameplan, a development pipeline and a much better understanding of what it actually takes to get this done.

I think we can do this.

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    All previous rewards, plus you'll be allowed to design an NPC, along with what they say and how they look. This will be supervised, so that your design can fit with the game world, but we'll try to give you as much freedom as we can!

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Funding period

- (30 days)