Update #24: Less than 30 Hours to go! Life and Death, and Audio CD Soundtrack!
By the time this update is posted, we'll have only about 30 hours or so before the end of our Project Eternity Kickstarter campaign. You've helped us make amazing progress over the weekend, easily surpassing the $3.0 Million Stronghold stretch goal -- and it looks like we may, in fact, Dream the Impossible Dream of Big City #2 at $3.5 Million.
Physical Audio CD of the Project Eternity Soundtrack
For the last final hours of the Kickstarter, we have a limited run add-on of the Project Eternity Soundtrack in a physical audio CD format for $20. You need to be at a physical tier ($65, $100, $140, $250+) to add-on the audio CD soundtrack.
Tonight, don't forget to tune in and watch some Obsidian dungeon-delvers tackle a one-shot D&D 3.5E Forgotten Realms adventure in a live stream of BLOOD IN THE BRINE (there will be weresharks). Check out the live stream on USTREAM starting at 5PM PST. A recording of the play session will be made and released later for those that miss it.
Life and Death in the Dyrwood
For today's update, I was supposed to do a lore update, but I decided that I wanted to talk about a specific subject and how lore and mechanics tie into that subject. Today's subjects are LIFE AND DEATH. Project Eternity is a fantasy RPG inspired by several A/D&D-based settings in which death is, for those with means, a temporary setback (for the Nameless One, it's even less problematic). The priests of the Forgotten Realms run around with boatloads of cure x wounds spells, the ability to banish disease, and even the power to bring the dead back to life.
In Project Eternity, prospects are not so bright. And when death comes, some try to stay, some choose to go, but most people believe that once they make the trip to the other side, there is only one way back: to begin a new life.
Project Eternity's world is one with limited medicine and medical understanding. Unlike many fantasy settings, there is very little access to curative magic. Remedies for health problems often have only a palliative or placebo effect at best, owing their continued use more to folk beliefs and tradition than any basis in scientific methodology. Though soul-based magic has helped the great exploring cultures from suffering massive pandemics and has helped some individuals overcome illness over the long-term, there is no quick magical "cure" for disease or illness. Most people go through life and death in the ordinary way -- unless they put themselves in harm's way, that is.
Stamina and Health
In Project Eternity's combat, players need to be concerned with two elements of a character's vitality: Stamina and Health. The majority of damage a character takes is subtracted from his or her Stamina. Stamina represents how much general abuse a character can take before falling unconscious. Characters lose it quickly and regain it relatively rapidly, even without assistance. Soul-based abilities are able to help replenish or regenerate Stamina and are often used on the battlefield to turn the tide of combat. If a character hits 0 Stamina, he or she is knocked out. Intervention from another character can bring an unconscious character back into a fight.
For players, the Health of their party members is a tether that makes them consider how far they are willing to venture from a safe resting spot. Though Health is typically lost at a lower rate, when the PC or a companion hits 0 Health, he or she is maimed (in standard play) or killed (in Expert mode or as an option in standard play). Magic may help mitigate damage to Health and slow the tide, but once characters have died (in Expert mode), there is no known magic that can bring them back.
A Lottery of Souls
The world belongs to mortals. As time has progressed, mortals have lifted themselves out of ignorance and into ages of increased self-awareness, harnessing the power of their own souls to amazing effect. So... why worship the gods, anyway? For many mortals, worship is a matter of respect and tradition. They consider their gods (or, in some cases, all gods) to be their creators. They follow the guidelines of religion because history tells them that the gods have punished individuals -- and entire nations -- for ancient episodes of religious disrespect and dismissal.
For others, religious worship is a matter of karmic self-interest. Often, people believe that if an individual's soul arrives in the realm of a pleased god, the god will place that soul into the body of someone who will have a good life. To such believers, choosing to not worship or is to risk spiritual confusion and aimlessness in the afterlife. They speculate that the faithless are entered into a "lottery of souls" from which many will wind up no better -- or much worse -- than they did in their last life. Some of the same faiths also believe that religious apostasy or lax observance is a cause of soul splintering upon death, which many consider to be an even worse fate.
Gods for All Seasons
People worship many gods, but usually the ones who are most associated with their way of life. Farmers may worship gods of light, growth, or storms. Warriors worship gods of battle and fortune. Though some faiths are exclusionary, most people will say a prayer to any god when the circumstances are right -- farmers praying to a god of battle when their lands are invaded, warriors praying to a god of growth when they're starving in the wilderness.
Sometimes the same god -- or gods -- may have a different identity in a different part of the world. The most notable is one of the most widely honored, if not warmly embraced. Called Berath in Aedyran and Cirono in Vailian, it is the god of cycles, of doors, and of life and death itself. People commonly place or carve the figure of Berath in doorways, windows, and other "portals" from one place to another, figurative or literal.
In Eír Glanfath's ruins, explorers have discovered two common figures, Caoth i Bhád and Bád i Caothaí (Life in Death and Death in Life, respectively), semi-skeletal female and male figures who occupy positions opposite each other in doorways -- like a twinned display of the split aspects of Berath/Cirono.
Despite the assumed natural cycle of things, there are individuals in the world of Project Eternity who either want to know more about that cycle or who choose to alter that cycle. Broadly speaking, "necromancy" refers to any attempt to do either, whether that involves speaking with the soul of a dead mortal, attempting to tap into the unconscious past lives of a living soul, or to bind soul energy or a complete soul inside of a dead body.
These acts are viewed with differing levels of criticism depending on the culture. Many folk share the interest of necromancers and would like to understand more about the eternal cycle, but are also afraid of what they might learn. Some extremists are opposed to any and all necromancy, and tales say that a quiet and powerful cult that has worked for centuries to discredit, trap, and even murder necromancers for their efforts. To the people who oppose necromancy with such violent passion, mortal understanding should have limits, and they fear the consequences for the world should those limits be unraveled.
That's all for today's update! Thanks for reading.
Update By Josh Sawyer