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By Dusty Games
$7,757 pledged of $36,000 goal
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About this project

 Official Site        Twitter         Devlog         Press Kit

Chronicle of Ruin is a real-time tactical Japanese-style RPG. A bit of a mouthful, isn't it? But, with roots in so many games and (sometimes long-neglected) sub-genres, hours upon hours of trying to fit Chronicle of Ruin neatly into a predefined genre has brought me to one conclusion: the usual classifications just fall short. 

"RTTJRPG? Is it.. real-time Final Fantasy Tactics?"

Sort of, but the way it plays out is a bit more Fire Emblem-esque...

"So it's a real-time Fire Emblem clone!?"  

Rude, but getting warmer. Imagine a Fire Emblem where you commanded your units in real-time, except your units weren't just individuals, but entire squads drawn from a wide range of classes. You then used them to not only complete objectives and engage in strategic traditional turn-based combat across the stage, but also to explore the world in an up close and personal fashion, same as you would in a classic JRPG.

"Oh! So it's like Ogre Battle meets Final Fantasy VI!" 

Bingo! Close enough, anyway. 

The only problem now is that we live in a world that hasn't had an Ogre Battle game in nearly 20 years. I can't really say "X meets Y!" when you might not know "X", can I? So, without further ado...

Hello, my name is Andrew Silverman, Chronicle of Ruin's (lone) developer, and I'll be your guide through the game today.

  • TRPG meets JRPG, with a real-time twist - Experience a unique gameplay fusion of the large-scale army management of a TRPG in with the intimate elements of classic JRPGs, tied together with real-time map control.
  • An Engrossing Narrative - Journey with a cast of memorable, complex characters through a vividly detailed and morally ambiguous world.
  • An Army at Your Command - Lead an army that grows from a handful of unseasoned units to up to 50 veteran fighters.
  • Nearly 40 Character Classes - Shape your army as you see fit by managing your units growth among 28 standard classes and 10 unique hero classes.
  • A New Take on Strategic Turn-based Combat -  Battle in a refined version of the classic combat system designed for creating engaging tactical encounters with a focus on class interplay, timing, and intelligent battle management.
  • Dozens of Meticulously Crafted Stages - Adventure through detailed stages that combine the unique characters and compelling stories of JRPGs with the the strategic demands of TRPGs.
  • Deep Character Customization - Customize each of your units so that no two are alike through a wide range of equipment options, hands-on stat growth, and flexible class design.
  • An Expansive Crafting System - Outfit your army yourself by crafting everything from mundane consumables to legendary weapons and armor.
  • Releasing for PC, Mac, and Linux summer 2017

Nothing escapes the ravages of time. Stone crumbles, metal rusts, people grow old and die. All things end in dust, crushed fine by the turning of the ages. The lone weapon against such an inexorable force is constant vigilance.

But even that can only hope to stave off the inevitable for a while longer.

Amidst countless generations of unbound war and reckless destruction, peace had always been a distant dream. Twenty years ago, that dream was violently realized when the Traitor King Weyrin unleashed his curse upon the land. In a matter of weeks, the entire kingdom of Galamonde fell under its shadow.

The remaining great nations of Valessia, Ondora, and Zaragos managed to broker a truce quickly enough to hold the curse at bay, but the land it blighted endures, a festering threat in the heart of the world. 

In the ensuing decades, what was once open warfare has devolved into restrained hostility, as the powers that be struggle to hold themselves together under constant threat of outbreak, uprising, and the inevitable resurgence of total war.

In Chronicle of Ruin, vigilance is the distant memory of a world unknowingly on the brink of its end. Centuries of chaos and strife have hastened it to this decisive moment, wherein one final push against its cracked foundation will send it all plummeting into the abyss.

Your view over the precipice and into the blackness beyond is seen through the eyes of your party members, a diverse group of characters from all corners of the world, each a fully developed and integral part of the game's tale. 

(Some of) The Characters

The Influences

'Story' is a hard thing to frame in a game like this without being harmfully reductive or giving everything away, especially when you're trying to keep things to a Kickstarter-appropriate length. Rest assured that more details will come in updates, but for the here and now, I think that the most important thing to convey isn't the precise specifics of what the story is, but how the story feels, and that's best done by talking about its influences.

Stylistically, the game's greatest influence has been the work of Yasumi Matsuno; namely, Ogre Battle, Tactics Ogre, and Final Fantasy Tactics. I have a deep and enduring love for their strong focus on their worlds' overarching high politics and the ways that characters exercise their beliefs and agency within the tide of massive geopolitical turmoil that's turned the world into one big moral morass. Hitting the balance of the political and personal that these games strike so finely is one my my highest aspirations for the story. 

Structurally, the narrative's greatest influence is another timeless classic: Final Fantasy VI. Final Fantasy VI's story was one told through the lenses of multiple characters, and it was never afraid to swap them out and move forward through a new viewpoint. That feeling of each character having worth, purpose, and self-contained motivation, of a story with a unifying cause rather than a single obligatory protagonist, is a driving force behind Chronicle of Ruin's narrative and has shaped it on both the macro level of the world story and the micro level of the moment-to-moment interactions the characters have with each other and their surroundings. 

This game does begin as the tale of one man's mission, but it quickly escalates into something much greater. This isn't a story that revolves around an individual's quest to fulfill his or her destiny. It's one that focuses on a disparate bunch of people working together through a hostile, unpredictable world, in which there are no promises of easy answers or happy endings.

Like most TRPGs, Chronicle of Ruin puts you in control of an army, starting with a scant few recruits and growing to eventually encompass up to fifty seasoned veterans. In this game, your units are grouped into squads of five, which you command at three basic levels:

The Tactical Map -  In which you control all of your squads in real-time across a stage that illustrates a broad region of the world.

Battles - In which one of your squads faces off against an enemy squad in strategic class-focused turn-based combat.

Garrison Points - In which you assume control of a squad's leader to explore and interact with a location in traditional JRPG style.

Each stage begins at the tactical map, which is defined by its terrain, enemy units, garrison points, and strategic options. It's here that you deploy your squads to explore the stage, battle the enemy, and complete your objectives. 

Squads and Heroes

So what makes a squad?

Each squad in Chronicle of Ruin is composed of five units, four standard units of various classes and a hero character with a unique class who acts as the squad's leader. The squad's class composition, formation, and leader character define every squad's tactical use, as these features give it strengths and weaknesses that allow it to occupy its own niche in your army.

Adding to every squad's strengths and specialization are the unique Map Skills and Map Bonuses that hero units bestow upon their squads to turn the tide of battle in their favor and define their area of expertise on the tactical map.

Map Skills are active abilities that heroes bring to their squads. They enable your squads to do things like smite the opposition with a blow from the heavens, summon waygates to travel quickly across the stage, stealth past unsuspecting foes, and more. 

Map Bonuses on the other hand, are passive traits that, while being less immediately impactful, give your squads distinct benefits in certain situations. Heroes provide multiple bonuses to their squad and include things such as increased movement speed through various types of rough terrain, the ability to spot enemy ambushes, an increased chance of starting battle with preemptive strikes, among many others.

As you lead your squads through a stage, you're bound to come across a variety of interesting places that stand out on the tactical map, known as garrison points.

Garrison Points come in many forms: bustling towns, imposing fortresses, dark caverns, and forgotten ruins are just some of the locations you'll encounter. As you can probably deduce from the name, your squads are able to garrison themselves in these spots, which heal their wounds and grant defensive bonuses in combat. More importantly, however, is that every garrison point in the game can be entered and explored.

Entering a garrison point shifts gameplay from the tactical map's overarching army management to the traditional JRPG form of controlling a single character in their immediate environment. Inside, you assume control of the garrisoned squad's leader and interact with and explore  the environment in the same manner you would a town or dungeon in a standard SNES-era JRPG like FFVI.

Exploring garrison points is a crucial part of any stage. Not only will your objectives often lay within, whether you're looking for a person, item, place, or fight (among other possibilities), but these locations are filled with the means to give you a greater understanding of the game's world and the best chance at success. They're where you meet its characters, find its sidequests, dig up its treasures, and discover its secrets.

Chronicle of Ruin utilizes a turn-based combat system, with an emphasis on making every encounter engaging, strategic, and important in the overall flow of the stage. Sorry, no "mash 'Attack' to win" filler random encounters here!
 
Instead, you'll have to know the strengths and weaknesses of both your squad and the enemy's and decide on a the plan that works best for both the immediate fight and the larger battle for the stage itself.
The fundamental elements that enable you to make these decisions are the battle system's emphasis on class counterplay and squad formation. The interaction of ranged and melee, abilities and defenses, buffs and debuffs, the strengths of your formation versus the weaknesses of the enemy's and more all determine the make up of each battle and demand different strategies every encounter.

While classes warrant their own section further down the page, Chronicle of Ruin's battle system also has two other distinguishing: timed hits and an aggro system. Maximizing the effectiveness of these two systems is an integral part of emerging victorious from stages that often stack overwhelming odds against you.

In combat, every character's basic attack animation has a slight pause built into it, and hitting the action button during that exact moment grants your units' attacks a significant damage bonus.

If you've ever played Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, you know what this is all about. If you haven't, you should definitely bump that to the top of your to-do list. Anyway, it's a simple concept to understand (and an underutilized one in general), but it adds another layer of tension and strategy to every single turn.

The battle system's other defining feature, the aggro system, should be familiar to most people nowadays. Essentially, certain skills and abilities allow you to guide the enemy's focus and therefore intelligently direct battles in your favor. By keeping the enemy's attacks geared towards the units that are better equipped to take damage, you're able to reduce their effectiveness and boost your own.  

Classes

Classes are an huge part of the 'tactics' that make Chronicle of Ruin an RTTJRPG. With an army of dozens of units, the character of your forces is defined by the class choices you make for your units and how you group them into squads.

There are 28 standard classes in the game, with the broadest defining aspect of a class is the class tree it belongs to: soldier, scout, disciple, or mage. Each tree encompasses seven classes split between three tiers:

As your units gain experience, they're able to be upgraded into increasingly powerful and specialized classes with new and interesting ability sets. These upgrade opportunities are designed to present you with a distinct choice for the role the unit will play in your army's future. For instance, the starting tank class, the soldier, is able to upgrade into a knight for increased crowd control and defensive capabilities, or a raider, which takes the innate toughness of the soldier and supplements it with more offense-oriented stats and skills. Subsequent upgrades provide similarly divergent decisions.  

Beyond these standard classes, each hero in your army has his or her own unique class whose strength far exceeds that of a standard unit. Hero classes combine the best abilities of a number of standard classes with unique abilities and improved stats. Against often overwhelming odds, heroes are your ace in the hole.

Character Growth

Ranking up your units earns them both predetermined class-based stat increases and bonus stat points that can be freely distributed to allow hands-on control of each characters's growth and lets you tailor every single one to a specific purpose.

Classes are designed with flexibility in mind, meaning that there's no "right" way to assign stats and that every unit provides you with the opportunity to creatively shape it for a variety of roles. With a little bit of foresight and planning, two units of the same class can end up being dramatically different in function.

For example, your vanguards, the tankiest of the tanks, will never be great mages, but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of options for them. DEF, the measure of a unit's physical resistance, is the obvious choice for bonus stat points. But pump enough points into STR and you have a tough-as-nails front-liner that that can dish damage out as well as soak it up. Or, you could bolster the WIL stat to balance out the unit's strong physical resistance with equally stout magic resistance. You could even go crazy and throw all of your points into SPD, throw on a +SPD item, and abuse the vanguard's powerful crowd control as often as possible. It's all up to you.

Speaking of items...

Equipment and Crafting 

Crafting is an extremely important part of Chronicle of Ruin, because while many items will be available through combat, exploration, and questing, crafting will often be a quicker and more direct method of kitting out your army. After all, an army on the move just doesn't always have the opportunity to run into a weapon store and pick up the latest and greatest gear.
While many standard items will be able to be forged with relative ease, the means to forge rarer and more powerful items will require persistence and ingenuity. Not only does this mean finding scarce and valuable materials, but also the knowledge for how to use them. Chroncle of Ruin follows the recipe book model of crafting, so while a standard crafting handbook might be easy enough to procure, the truly powerful tomes that contain the means to craft the best equipment are hidden away for the most resourceful and diligent players to find. 


Rewards Matrix 

Reward Quick Notes:

  • All tiers include all rewards from previous tiers
  • Backer-exclusive items do not alter the the game's balance.
  • Alpha access is slated for summer 2016, beta access for spring 2017.
  • Add $20 for int'l shipping on pledges over $100, $45 on pledges over $150.
  • Design rewards - These are subject to creative oversight to ensure an acceptable level of cohesion with the game world.
  • Design rewards - Backers can contribute as little or as much (within the tiers' boundaries) as they want to their rewards' designs. The purpose of these rewards is to allow you to leave your own mark on the game, not to have you do design work for me.
  • Design rewards - For any questions regarding whether your idea for a design reward is okay, please contact me via the link at the top of this campaign, with the first words in your message as DESIGN REWARDS. As a general rule, you'd have to go pretty far to get a 'no'.
  • Pledges over $350 - Additional minor custom decoration, such as a unique sign, is available for custom buildings and garrison points.
  • Pledges over $750 - Additional customized standard NPCs can be added to expand upon your custom content's backstory.

REWARD DETAILS

$1 - Backer
Every dollar counts and is greatly appreciated! Backing at this initial level gets your name in Chronicle of Ruins credits as a backer.

$10/$15 - Soldier

We're getting serious now: backers at the $15 tier ($10 for the early birds) will receive a digital copy of Chronicle of Ruin via Steam or DRM-free. 

$25 - Scout

Backing at $25 nets you digital copies of Chronicle of Ruin's instruction manual and art/production book, "The Chronicle of Ruin", which will contain all of the game's artwork, detailed game information and lore, and personal production notes and backstory available no where else.

$35 - Mage

Backing the game at the $35 rewards you with a digital copy of Chronicle of Ruin's soundtrack, composed by the incredibly talented Jonathan Geer, and an additional copy of the game, via Steam or DRM-free.

$50 - Disciple

Backing at $50 and above gets you access to Chronicle of Ruin's beta. The beta will be made available once the game is essentially content complete and is going through final fixes and balancing. Estimated release in the first half of 2017.

$75 - Knight

Pledging $75 dollars or more means you'll a be able to claim an enemy squad in the game and customize it by choosing its leader's class and name, both of which will be displayed on the tactical map. All enemy names are subject to creative oversight, which basically just means nothing profane, and nothing so spectacularly out of place it would distract from the game itself.

$100 - Sage

Pledging $100 or more gets you a physical 24x36" poster featuring a piece of Chronicle of Ruin's artwork. Final artwork is TBD and will be voted on by the backers from several different options. 

$150 - Spy

A pledge of $150 or more receive a number of new rewards. First of all, you get a physical copy of Chronicle of Ruin's art/production book "The Chronicle of Ruin". Second, you get access to Chronicle of Ruin's alpha, which will be distributed once the first two of the game's four chapters are complete, and access to tester forums to help improve the game in its early stages. You'll also be able to help design an item for the game, including its name, icon, stats, and flavor text. Finally, your credit thanks will be upgraded to signify your status as an elite backer.

$250 - Vanguard

Pledging $250 or more earns you the ability to add a customized standard NPC into the game, with the name, model, and dialogue of your choosing. Standard NPCs have up to three lines of dialogue which, as always, is subject to creative oversight. 

$350 - Inquisitor

Backers at $350 will be able to put a customized building into one of the game's garrison points. This includes choosing its tileset, contributing to its layout design, and giving it a specific name or purpose if necessary, like naming an inn or a person's house, for instance. Small unique custom environmental decoration, like a sign, is available for backer content at this tier and above.

$500 - Sentinel

Similar to the Inquisitor tier, pledging $500 and above allows you to customize a garrison point, including its name, tileset, purpose, and backstory. Note that this tier does not include any additional custom buildings.

$750 - Archon

At $750, you're able to help design and place a completely unique custom NPC in the game. This means the character gets its own model, animations, and dialogue that are seen no where else in the game. Moreover, pledging at this tier and above grants you additional custom standard NPCs to help flesh out your designs. After all, what's the point of making, for instance, a character who's the leader of a gang of thieves if there isn't going to be any gang?

$1000 - Commander

At $1000, you're able to tie all of your creations together with a custom sidequest. Standard sidequests are contained within a single stage and are made up of a wide variety of mission types, including collecting items, finding secrets, defeating certain enemies, and more. Additionally, you'll also receive one of the original pencilings of a piece of Chronicle of Ruin's art and have your credit thanks upgraded to the highest priority "Legendary Backer"

$2500 - Lord

At this highest tier, you get to create an entire sideqest chain to tell your story within the game. Additionally, you'll also receive an extra custom building, garrison point, unique NPC, and a unique in-game monument memorializing your incredible contribution to the game.

(AND 'THE TEAM') 

Hi there! My name's Andrew Silverman, and I'm Chronicle of Ruin's lead developer. I'm also, essentially, its sole developer. A game of this size is a whole lot of work, but thankfully, I do have some help. 

While most of what you see on this page is my output, I've also been working with several freelancers over the course of development. Most notably, Chris Pariano has been an enormous help in the visual art department (instagram, website), and the game's music is being composed by, Jonathan Geer, who is known for Owlboy, Heart Forth, Alicia, Neon Chrome, Cook, Serve, Delicious, and more (website). 

Continuing to operate in this way, however, is something that can't continue without your help. 

Character portraits, tilesets, battle backgrounds, unit animations, visual set pieces... these things are all quickly and easily integrated into the game, but producing them requires a far greater time investment. Although I can certainly finish Chronicle of Ruin at the general visual level demonstrated in this campaign on my own, doing so would take an enormous amount of time, and doubly so if I was only able to work on it part-time.

More important than the visual art, however, is the music, because while I can handle the spritework at an 'acceptable' level, I simply don't have musical talent to give this game a soundtrack, much less the one it deserves. With help from you, however, we'll be able to get Chronicle of Ruin the soundtrack a fit for a game whose inspirations have some of the most memorable, classic songs in all of gaming.

In summation, to answer the question of this section: Chronicle of Ruin is on Kickstarter to enable me to focus on the game's development full-time, and to afford the art and music content necessary to finish it in a reasonable time period at the highest possible level of quality.

Risks and challenges

This Kickstarter carries the same risks as any other crowdfunding campaign: delay, and/or a low quality final product. Yeah, just writing those down is anxiety-inducing (and plenty of people have told me that I should skirt around these issues), but if you haven't picked up on it yet, I'm not a big fan of beating around the bush.

There is something else I want to address first, however.

I know that many of you have read through this campaign, especially the previous section, and thought to yourself something along the lines of, "One developer for this game? Yeah right. Buh-bye." To those people, I want to say this: what you think of as this project's biggest red flag is actually one of its greatest strengths.

Thanks to my sole developer status, the scariest of all Kickstarter scenarios is practically an impossibility, becase the ability for me to complete this game is (almost) entirely self-contained. There will never be a day where Chronicle of Ruin is canceled because I can no longer pay a someone to write the code. I'll never lack the means to produce the in-game art. I may not be a composer, but getting the music for this game written is priority number one when it comes to allocating funds, so if you truly believe that this game won't even pass square one, I'd honestly advise you to close this window and run the other way.

In other words the chances of this campaign being an objective failure are incredibly low. You know, short of me being run over by a car or something equally unpredictable and catastrophic. But outside of that, with my name, reputation, and future tied to this game, failure is simply not an option.

A delay, on the other hand, is possible. I've spent the past year constructing Chronicle of Ruin's systems in a way so that at this point, with the game being neatly compartmentalized into stages, classes, existing systems, etc., much of what's to come is dropping things into and expanding upon an established framework. Because of this, content is produced quickly and can be changed or fixed even more so. However, it would still be stupid and/or extremely naive to rule out the possibility of a delay. Whatever happens, I will always be transparent, communicative, and do my utmost to keep all of the promises that I've made with this campaign.

Now, the final issue: a low-quality final product. My number one tool for combating this hazard is you, the backers. I sincerely believe that the kind of people who would be interested in this project have been waiting for something like it for a long time, and in that time have come up with a plethora of ideas that can make significant positive contributions to this game. At the very least, I'm very comfortable in assuming that any potential backers who are willing to back at a high enough tier to test the game will also be more than happy to yell at me about what's wrong with it, and that's something I intend to encourage to the utmost.

In the end, we'll all be looking for the same thing: for this game to be as great as absolutely possible. There is nothing I want more than to create something that lives up to your hopes and expectations, and your voice will be a vital part making that happen.

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    -- (Early Bird) Soldier -- A digital copy of Chronicle of Ruin and a backer exclusive in-game item.

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    -- Disciple -- Access to Chronicle of Ruin's beta (est. 2-3 months prior to full release).

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    -- Knight -- Leave your mark on the game by claiming an enemy squad and customizing its name and class that appear on the tactical map.

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    -- Spy -- Design an in-game item (including stat values, flavor text, and custom icon), gain access to the Chronicle of Ruin alpha (est. availability late summer 2016), receive a physical copy of Chronicle of Ruin's art/production book 'The Chronicle of Ruin', and have your name in the credits upgraded to elite backer status.

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    -- Vanguard -- Customize an NPC in the game by choosing its model, giving it a name, and providing it with its own personalized dialogue.

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    -- Archon -- Design a completely unique NPC, with its own model, animations, dialogue, and backstory.

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    -- Commander -- Design a single-stage custom sidequest to make your own contribution to the game's world, story, and lore. Additionally, receive one of the original physical pencilings of a piece of Chronicle of Ruin's art (optionally signed), and have your name in the credits upgraded to legendary backer status.

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    -- Lord -- Design a quest chain spanning multiple stages to make your own incredible contribution to Chronicle of Ruin's world, story, and lore. Additionally, receive an extra custom item, building, garrison point, and unique NPC, and receive an in-game monument forever memorializing you and your contribution to the game.

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Funding period

- (30 days)