That Which Sleeps is a turn-based strategy game where the player assumes the role of an ancient being who was sealed away in ages past but has now returned to reclaim dominion over the world. However, when you waken you are weak and must lurk in the shadows to avoid a return to your demonic slumber.
This is where That Which Sleeps deviates from the typical turn based strategy formula. Rather than directly affecting the world by building or training troops, you use your power to indirectly influence the world utilizing uniquely designed Agents who can infiltrate the nations of the world, terrorize outlying farms, and perform esoteric rituals to create the perfect situation for your return.
The player must balance an aggressive approach utilizing his considerable power and eager hordes with the need to remain unknown to the Champions and Heroes of the world. This allows for multiple play styles and various meaningful decision paths - all made more unique and re-playable due to the large cast of available agents and awakened demons aka "Ancient Evils". In addition, the world is customized at the beginning of the game as you explicitly lay out how you were sealed away, and what methods you used to manipulate the world in your slumber.
The priority of our stretch goals were voted on by the community, and we couldn't be happier with the final ordering of results!
Minion Art Pack - ACHIEVED - A responsibly rendered minion is a happy minion, and with this art pack we'll be able to create the thematically consistent look for the less celebrated tools of the Old One that they deserve.
Gods and Religion - ACHIEVED - The Gods have returned in all their fractious glory! Cultures can be polytheistic, monotheistic, or shamanistic - and of course none of the religions will be on friendly terms and even inside the Pantheons themselves you're bound to find friction, just the thing that a conniving Old One like yourself can capitalize on. In addition to the Gods themselves as AI entities, you will be able to start a religion yourself and present yourself as a savior to the gullible masses. Cults round out the feature set representing splinter groups that fixate on one particular aspect of their religion and pursuit it all costs.
Religions will become an integral part of the game, but just like guilds you can set the number and relative importance. Take on a world dominated by a single monotheistic faith or find your agents embroiled in a religious war with several fronts. Rally your strength by recruiting The Apostate, and prepare to confront three new hero types based around the Priest archetype.
Rival Old Ones - ACHIEVED - You think you were the only Ancient Evil set to slumber? Whatever occurrence caused you to rouse from your sleep has brought others to consciousness as well, and you must contend with their motivations. Not to worry, they aren't all bent on world domination like you are - but their oft times ineffable logic may frustrate your ambitions. Work with them if you'd like, or even better position yourself as savior of the world and join the Alliance to stop a great evil. Then you... well... you know what comes afterwards.
Configure the amount of Old Ones on a game by game basis to fill the world with foes or have a solemnly terrifying time to yourself. Set up Kingdoms ruled by Mythical Creatures from your age that have remained in the world while you slept and teach them that they have merely been stewards of a world that yours alone. Finally, you can enable randomized events that spawn lesser creatures of ancient power that jealously wish to usurp your throne.
Endless Simulation - ACHIEVED - Get ready for the long haul. A plethora of engine changes to enhance the simulation aspect of That Which Sleeps. By reducing dependencies on fundamental assumptions of the engine we can make the world and AI more independent, and the benefits of these changes flow down into the modding world.
What does this mean for you? It means a game with less limitations - play an endless world where your rise to power is simply another event. Survive wave after wave of insurrection while you solidify your control and remake the world in your image, or ride the wings of fate on a new dynamic prophecy system that rewards you for obtaining obscure results in the game world.
Procedural Generation - ACHIEVED - An infinite amount of replay! Genealogical generation of a sprite based map that will itself be used as a basis for a dynamically created scenario. Instead of making decisions "after the fact" with our current Scenario Generation, you will observe a world as the cultures start as tribes and push forward into a civilized state. Use your limited power to interfere at key moments and alter the shape of the world and its peoples. Choose to begin your game at any moment in the world's development and then do what you do best.
This will give you an infinitely re-playable world with vastly different dynamics in every game. You may find yourself a lost God amongst primitive tribes during an age of colonialism, or you awaken just after your defeat to a world fresh with desire for revenge. Environmental effects will become more powerful as you raise volcanoes to choke the world with ash or flood it from its rivers.
Life Goes On - Achieved - At least that's what people tell themselves, and with this Asset Pack it becomes easier than ever to determine which pieces of the world are flourishing and need your corrupting presence. Trade routes will now be illustrated by caravans that ply the roads and sea, farmers will tend their fields, and workers will labor on new buildings in capitals - all modeled at the proper resolution to be able to be identified without obscuring other more salient pieces of data. This and a suite of other changes will make the world feel more alive than ever before.
The Horrors of War - ACHIEVED - Now that we've drawn the world at peace, let's give it a more appealing aesthetic. Refugees will cry in terror as they emerge from their burning homes, armies will drill beyond city limits, and your Terrorizing Challenges will emerge onto the map before you. In addition, all POIs will gain a graphical indicator of their defenses and you'll see your progress as the walls crumble.
Ritual Impact - ACHIEVED - After laboring for fifty turns to finally be able to raise a fortress into the sky, it can be a little disappointing to only see an icon on the map. We'll be taking some of the most potent Rituals and rendering them the way they deserve - lord over the world in your flying citadel, see the forbidden outlines of The Horror as it draws madness from the populace, or watch the Colossus laboriously pound the walls of your enemies' castles to ruin.
For information on our latest Stretch Goals please check out our update.
- Corrupt, conquer, charm, and manipulate - with a fully realized world driven by thematic AIs that follow their own interests you can pursue multiple paths to victory.
- Customize the world with your choices at the beginning of each scenario, choosing an Ancient Evil and selecting his origins and what dire deeds he has wrought on the world.
- Make difficult choices with limited agents, choosing to send your Prophet to rouse the orc hordes or beset Kings with maddening dreams will greatly change the flow of the game.
- Disrupt the Balance of Power by creating famines in the farmland, stoking the flame of old vendettas, or recruiting pirates to the sea.
- Watch the fame of your Agents rise and heroes will begin to hunt them down. Let them fall as scapegoats and keep your name secret, or imbue them with dark power and take the fight back to the heroes.
- Each action you take leaves clues behind that cunning heroes can decipher, eventually leading them to the truth. Kill or corrupt them before they find a receptive ear at court
- A fully functioning in-game Editor that allows you to create your own scenarios, old ones, heroes, artifacts, and even agents
- Localization supported for multiple languages and character sets
That Which Sleeps is based around configurable Scenarios, each of which is a hand-crafted experience designed to maximize the strategic and thematic potential of the game mechanics. Populating this world are complex AI entities ranging from heroes who wander the world pursuing their goals (generally being meddlesome) to Kings who must weigh their personal desires against the best interest of the country.
The AI is designed in such a way that you will never feel like you are playing against the nations and heroes of the world, instead they often work at cross-purposes. Leave them alone and they may fight wars, wound one another in duels, and pass discriminatory laws against other cultures. Give them a little nudge in the right direction, and the fireworks really start to fly.
Points of Interest (PoIs)
The building blocks of the map are Points of Interest (PoIs), which are highly detailed nodes that serve as cities, villages, ruins, and other more diverse landscapes. The PoI system allows us to make sure that every point on the map is richly detailed, consisting of cultural and social breakdowns and containing the potential for epic quests and clever stratagems. You may find yourself burning the farmland of a village, infiltrating the local Mage's Guild, or excavating ancient tombs to find more powerful rituals for your reconquest.
Guilds, Orders, and Cabals
While Nations remain the primary methods of AI agency we have several institutions that exist outside of national borders and spread their own agendas regardless of nationality. While many of them are detrimental to your cause as they promote order and development, most are just a short "change of management" away from being a useful tool for spreading corruption and chaos.
The player takes the role as an Old One - an extremely powerful demon that has been sealed away from the world for generations. Some of these creatures are unknowable eldritch abominations of mysterious origin and intent, others are men fallen from grace as they ascended to the ranks of true power. Each fundamentally changes the way the game is played, with ability trees that are devoid of "fluff" or redundancy.
Meet Azlan - the Dreaming God, He Who Lurks, the Disembodied Titan, the Twilight Confessor, the Usurper of Dreams, the King in Gold, the Severed Tendril. All of these names are associated with abilities and legends inside the world, that the Heroes will pursue and attempt to decipher. If they learn them all, you will find your ability to battle them greatly reduced as they gear up and prepare to defeat you. When we say "The World Has Forgotten Your Name" we mean it.
Dream Host - Azlan's body was torn asunder in the ancient past, but his spirit ascended to the world of dreams. He wields the power of this surreal existence to alter reality itself, and as he grows stronger he will eventually bridge the gap between the two remaking the world in his twisted image.
The Night Whispers - In the night man drifts into the world that Azlan calls home, and as prisoners they listen to his ravings. The most defining ability of Azlan comes from this tree, allowing him to tag a certain number of Heroes, Leaders, or other AI entities and over time adjust their personality. Drive the Pious High Theocrat to abhorrent behavior, or make the brave King of the Cylarians a coward.
Belial the Deceiver is a coward, a lurking evil that festers in jealousy, greed, and the desires that turn man against his fellows - but their is strength in small things and power to be found in whispered secrets. With a wide range of Agents to recruit and abilities that augment any play-style you pursue, Belial is the natural choice for a versatile game.
Will over Fate - Belial sees deep into the pools of time, at first you will be limited to simply perceiving events before they occur but as you waken you will be able to take control of fate and bend it to your will. Force an earthquake to strike the walls of a besieged city, or turn a stray arrow to a King's throat.
Dwelling in Darkness - Belial finds his ways into the darkness of all creatures, twisting them to his will. While you stir only carrion feeders and other beasts heed this call, but how far is man from beast in the end? Ravens will be your eyes in the far corners of the world, and in time the cowardly will fall to your will.
Power drew Sisyphus on a noble path, a hero destined to save the world - but like so many before him he found in his own uncompromising ideals a nightmare of benevolence, a world frozen in imperfection. Sisyphus is tormented by his failings but will try, eternally, to create the perfect world of his dreams - he will look to The Chosen One to uncover the flaw in his character.
Of Mortal Birth - Born of man but ascended to the ranks of the Ancients, Sisyphus strives to erase all trace of his mortal past. That past still defines him, in his life and even more so in his death. He gains abilities based on choices made during Scenario Generation and by interacting with The Chosen One.
The Price of Victory - The quest for peace lead Sisyphus to Godhood and the world bled for his dream. Those who serve him will sacrifice as well and lend strength to his divine designs. Your imbues are far stronger than the other Ancients but they come at a cost, useful for pursuing very particular strategies.
Karth the Scarred saw the rest of the Primal Entities fall as the Old Ones claimed the world for their own, but war is an eternal truth beyond even the designs of the Ancients. Struck down by the Old Ones, from his blood the children of his rage emerged and their fires would engulf the world. Karth wakes quickly and is a powerful figure on the map - it can be hard to maintain a low profile with such an occurrence but Karth isn't one to pursue a subtle agenda.
War Without End - Karth is the last surviving Primal God. Time tempered and made anachronisms of his peers but in every Orc battlecry, in every scream of the slaughtered, therein lies praise to Karth. War is hell, but with Karth around it becomes so much worse - expect more wounds in combat, more attrition in battle, and tempers to rise in the halls of power.
Call of the Horde - The heirs to Karth's legacy lay scattered through the land, but their time has come. As you stir you will only be able to bring orcs and goblins to rise, but as you waken all of the creatures that thirst for battle will come to your call, from the furthest corners of the world.
Limos howls and screams at the abomination that is life. Tortured, he has been kept at bay by the Ancients and before them the Primal Powers, but now his time has come and he can bring an end to the motion and sound that engulfs his every moment of awareness. Choose Limos if you want to bring a true end to the world, but it may be difficult to draw the living to your crusade.
The Gift of Death - To Limos even the Undead are reprehensible, but still they are better than the living. He is able to easily raise the dead to his legions and bestow the eternal gift on Agents and Heroes, bringing them to a more sympathetic view of his position.
End of Days - Limos is the end of all things, and in his hands the apocalypse will come in every form that man has feared. Choke the healthy with plagues, raise the seas and poison the rivers - you will put the world to the test and see if they can come together to put an end to your rise before it is too late.
A mysterious Old One whose Crystal Towers slowly covered the earth emitting a sickly luminescence draining both color and spirit from the world around them. Her minions scoured the world drawing out those of their choosing to the mysterious depths of the Towers. Still, there were those who made the Sojurn to her lair and returned - a tale of wonder on their lips.
Reflections of Grace - Seraph descended as light, and created for herself a home to magnify her form and splendor. From it the seeds of crystalline growth are spread, and within the bounds of her magnified light she can easily manifest - projecting her will into solid crystal. As she wakens her light shall grow stronger, and her powers within her expanding domain as well.
Celestial Artifice - Much of her light was lost in the shattering of her palace, and the pieces of its ruin scattered across the world. Recovering these shards will return Seraph to her full strength, and utilizing the remnants she may grant her followers rituals and artifacts of celestial strength, or craft crystalline forges to create golems to bolster her forces.
Weak and bound still to your terrestrial prison, you rely on those of dark inclination to serve you. At first only the soft minded will rally to your cause, but as your power and influence grows you can call powerful demons to your side, exhume ancient allies, or bend to your will the Lords of the world.
Agents move about the world beneath the gaze of armies, kings, and even heroes unless their fame rises too high or their activities are dangerous enough. They infiltrate cities, terrorize farmlands, muster military units, cast ritual spells, and even excavate ancient ruins. The possible actions an Agent can make are bound to their skills and traits, which they supplement by recruiting minions from the areas they've corrupted around the map.
You may only have a certain number of Agents active at a time, so choosing the proper Agent to supplement your strategy is critical to victory. All Agents are valuable, even though some of the later Agents are more ostensibly powerful each has their role to play. In addition to their skills and abilities each Agent has a unique Scheme that only they can use, proper usage of which can change your fortunes.
The Peddler is one of your early agents, a weak-willed failure whose dependence on the bottle makes breaking his spirit easy even in your weakened state. He is uniquely suited for low level espionage and fails to raise warning flags at villages due to their acceptance of the traveling merchant. He is able to sell cursed items and poisoned potions to unwitting Heroes.
Scheme - Prey Upon Fear - It isn't just wares that the Peddler deals in, but also rumors and information. Knowing just what to say at the right moment can turn a tranquil marketplace into a ready and able lynch mob. Turn the crowd against magic, and see that pesky sorcerer Hero strung up before nightfall.
Speaker of the Dead
Earn the respect of one of the necromantic cabals and you may be able to recruit their leader to your cause. The Speaker is a rough hand at infiltration but is second to none at terrorizing the countryside and turning a few isolated undead groups into a horde that can upend a kingdom. Failing that, you will find no other Agent who can so easily extract information from Heroes, dead or alive... preferably dead.
Scheme - Scorn the Grave - The Speaker can bind a deceased Hero, gaining access to his skills, abilities, and knowledge. This ritual is considered a horrible affront and you can expect other Heroes to come try and free their tortured comrade.
From the moment an Orc Tribe joins your forces you can recruit this beast of an Orc. A skilled commander and an even better recruiter, Drall is the cornerstone of any good Orc Horde. Expect to see his star rise quickly, he often makes a useful scapegoat to avoid arousing suspicion of your return. Prop him up as the Great Conqueror, let him fall, and move along to your next plot.
Scheme - Lessons in Bone - The ultimate tool in Drall's arsenal, by sacrificing an Elite unit Drall can give that Elite's special ability to another Elite. The humans think they counter your Goblin Fanatics with their Heavy Cavalry, just wait till they see them ride into combat on Ogres. Seeing that look of surprise is what makes Drall get out of the bed every morning.
While your agents and minions are out pursuing your agenda doing nefarious deeds, there are a host of heroes in the realm going about their activities as well - questing for their liege, searching for treasure or artifacts, and hunting monsters.
We first previewed heroes in our development blog HERE.
Heroes have their own set of traits and goals that guide their activities during the game. A sage may seek out tomes or lore to create a magical spell or artifact, while a warden may seek to root evil out of the nearby wilderness. In addition to following their archetypical interests, they have desires they seek to fulfill. Some heroes may seek gold, others to join an exclusive Order, or maybe just to be the greatest warrior in the world. The personality traits derive from culture, so when you see an Errus Warrior you can guess that he's not going to run away from a fight.
Things change as you interact with the land - heroes may begin to pick up clues to your existence and begin to either seek out your agents or find prophecies or artifacts that will help defeat you. Decreasing the potency and frequency of the release of dangerous clues by not calling on your Ancient Powers will mitigate the danger, but also lowers your efficiency at pursuing your goals. Striking a balance between the two is an uncertain task.
Another major way the player interacts with the world is through a series of branching and interconnected events. We draw our inspiration from great games such as King of Dragon Pass and Expeditions: Conquistador.
We understand that striking narrative paired with varied decision paths that directly influence both short reaching and long reaching game states can really create memorable situations and really immerse the player into the game.
We have already created hundreds of unique events and the supported mod tools allow players to create countless more.
Combat is the crisis point of the challenges Agents face, and the decision of whether or not to stand and fight will always be a difficult one. Our mechanics for combat are primarily to reinforce the idea of meaningful sacrifice and long term strategy vs short term gains. The battles are, even in their smallest skirmish, consequential and evoke the type of boss battles often encountered in RPGs, except this time you're the boss.
That Which Sleeps boasts over 45 minutes of unique, custom made music produced by the extremely talented Paul Giangregorio, or Gluglug as he is known to his League of Legend Parody fans. We couldn't have asked for a more evocative soundtrack.
Everything you see in the scenarios were developed completely inside That Which Sleep's in-game editor. We are firm believers in modding as a requirement for a game to call itself a real strategy game, and we are confident that the tools we have in place will not disappoint. I expect to see some pretty amazing community contributions once the game is released.
You can make new Old Ones, Agents, Heroes, Events, Campaigns, Guilds - the list goes on and on. All of it from inside the game engine, and if you really want to do some modification of the files they are all in standardized XML. Each class has an XML Serializer helper class to facilitate our mod support that checks for localization information, override folders, and image substitutions.
Want more than 1 copy of the game? Just add an additional $10 per copy to your reward tier!
That Which Sleeps has been in development for over a year and has been entirely self funded up to this point. We have a stable working game engine and what we feel is a fun and engaging concept, we just lack the art resources to bring the visuals to the next level.
We have a full time coder and all the major game systems and are in place and successfully implemented. We do not, however, have an in house artist - so we'd be using your funds primarily to cover graphic updates, and animation. We think with responsible use of your funds we can overhaul several of the major art assets - including portraits, heros, and agent sprites & animation.
Any additional funding will go directly into stretch goals.
King Dinosaur Games was founded by two friends who have known each-other for over 15 years.
Combined we have not just the critically important design and development experience to create a game of this scope, we also have the discipline to properly budget and execute in an efficient and timely manner. Mix that with the overwhelming passion we both have for creating innovative, fun games and we like to think you have a recipe for success.
We have been chronicling the design process on IndieDB since June. We have several blogs posts and over an hour of video logs for you to check out HERE.
Risks and challenges
By waiting until we have a fully functional and working game engine we feel like we successfully mitigated the most common risks that many games on Kickstarter face. We have a working game that we will complete and deliver in a timely fashion.
The biggest risk faced by a backer here is that we will not meet our planned release date. Though not an insignificant risk, please be aware that we are professionals, we respect both your time and money and the faith you put into us as individuals and as a company.
We promise that we will stay in constant communication with backers every step of the way and make sure that everyone understands where we are in the release cycle.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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