Cette page est également disponible en français.Diese Seite ist auch auf Deutsch verfügbar. Realms Beyond: Ashes of the Fallen is a fantasy computer role-playing game with turn-based combat and a party system that allows you to control up to six characters at any one...
Realms Beyond: Ashes of the Fallen is a fantasy computer role-playing game with turn-based combat and a party system that allows you to control up to six characters at any one time. Whether you yearn for an open world to explore at your own pace, tactical combat that allows you to plan your moves carefully, or want to lose yourself in the rich fabric of our world, trying to survive and make your mark, Realms Beyond offers endless choices, lands to travel, monster-infested dungeons and a host of storylines to follow.
Realms Beyond: Ashes of the Fallen is inspired by the classic RPGs of the 80s and 90s, taking the best elements of the beloved old classics and reforging them into something new in a powerful modern engine. In Realms Beyond, you will find the tactical turn-based combat of the Gold Box Games, Temple of Elemental Evil and Dark Sun, the world exploration and camp management of Realms of Arkania, the interactivity and living world of Ultima, the choice-driven quests and reactivity of Fallout and Arcanum, and the rich NPC interaction of Baldur’s Gate and Planescape Torment, along with fresh new features that haven’t been seen before in the genre.
Realms Beyond is an RPG true to its roots, knowing that in order to reach the skies, it must stand on the shoulders of giants. But it is more than just a simple throwback to the old days: it’s a new take on classic concepts of the genre, taking the best ideas of the past and adding its own fresh concepts to create a unique game with its very own atmosphere and personality.
- A complex turn-based combat system featuring hundreds of spells, feats and actions, based on the rules described in the (3.5e) Revised System Reference Document (SRD) covered by the Open Game License v1.0a (OGL) by Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
- Custom-built, isometric graphics engine that combines zoomable 2D and 3D technology to bring never-before-seen levels of detail to life in massive, hand-crafted levels
- A bustling open world spanning entire continents, replete with believable NPCs, complex cultures, factions, societies and a fascinating centuries-long history
- Create a party of up to six characters where you can choose from 7 different races and 8 different classes and completely customize their appearance, equipment, feats, and skills
- More than one hundred spells, each with unique, stunning visual effects
- Over a thousand individual items to use and interact with
- An epic background story, massive quests, uncounted missions, hordes of monsters and a world that is steeped in lore and mystery
- Create your own adventures, campaigns or even entire worlds using the powerful RPG Engine of Realms Beyond
- Platform: PC Windows
- Languages: English, German, Russian, French
- Distribution: Steam, Digital Download (DRM Free), Physical Box (DRM Free)
- Timeline: Combat Beta (mid of 2019), Early Access (end of 2019), Release (early 2020)
- System Requirements: Windows 7/8/10 (32 or 64 bit), Intel Core i5 3570/AMD FX-6350 or better, 4 GB RAM, NVIDIA GTX 660 2GB/AMD Radeon 7850 2GB or better
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Half a century ago, the world was shaken by the great cataclysm. Volcanoes erupted, spewing fire and ash across the lands, and earthquakes ravaged the countryside. Entire regions were devastated, villages swallowed whole by the raging earth, forests and pastures incinerated by the volcanoes’ fires, and civilizations propelled to the brink of collapse. Kings and queens struggled to uphold law and order in their realms as panic swept through the populace. Thousands fell victim to the Cataclysm’s wrath, and the world drowned in chaos.
Now, almost fifty years later, the world has regained a semblance of order – but it has become a different world. In the wake of the Cataclysm, maps were re-drawn as oppressed populations took advantage of the turmoil and declared their independence from their former overlords. Large swathes of land still lie barren, and the areas around the Cataclysm’s epicenters are burned hellscapes ruled by grotesque creatures that crawled out from the underworld as the earth cracked. Outlaws and monsters roam the countryside and make travel a dangerous affair.
It is a world ripe with adventure – old ruins offer undiscovered treasures, and rulers eager to return law and order to their realms offer rich rewards to those who are willing to brave the dangers of the wilderness. And it is a world of opportunity for those who wish to leave their mark on it.
These are the central realms of Argea, and the forsaken badlands left behind by the Cataclysm’s raging fury. In this world of squabbling kings and queens, whom will you offer your sword to?
The 3.5e System Reference Document (SRD), as covered by the Open Game License v1.0a (OGL) provided by Wizards of the Coast, Inc., allows us to forge a game with a classic character system based on the most popular pen-and-paper role-playing system of all times. It is a familiar and easy to learn system that provides many opportunities for character building, offering different races and classes, dozens of feats and skills, as well as over a hundred magic spells for the player to train his characters in.
Our world is inhabited by many classic fantasy races, seven of which are playable characters in the game: the prolific humans, the sturdy dwarves, the graceful elves, the inventive gnomes, the savage half-orcs, the crafty halflings and the talented half-elves. Each race comes with its own distinct characteristics, ensuring that the choices you make during character creation matter throughout the game!
Along with the 7 different races, the player can choose from 8 different classes for their characters, each offering a unique set of abilities and a distinct gameplay style:
With plenty of feats and skills to invest in and several special actions performable in combat and outside of it, Realms Beyond opens many avenues for character development. Whether you are a powergamer who wants to optimize his characters or a roleplayer who wants to give his party a personal touch, you can create any type of character you want. In addition to the regular classes, high level characters will be able to pick a prestige class, giving them additional flavor and specializing their role in the party even more.
Realms Beyond made one significant change to the established SRD 3.5e combat system. We decided to use a hexagonal grid instead of the traditional square grid. The reasons that led to that decision are complex, but here are the two most relevant ones:
Unlike squares, where diagonal movement is actually longer and diagonal squares touch each other only in a single point, hex positions always share entire sides and crossing from one field into an adjacent one is always the same distance. In square grids, the game somehow has to account for the longer diagonal distance. Typically this is done by ignoring it and therefore providing a built-in exploit, as it becomes cheaper to move diagonally, instead of making the two straight moves that would otherwise be necessary to reach the same field.
Within a hex grid, you simply do not have that problem. Every move covers the same distance and can, therefore, safely have the same cost. We felt that in a computer game where you want to simply point at your target field and have the character move there by itself, it was not only much easier to calculate the path across a hex grid, but it was also more balanced because no movement points were squandered as a result of some awkward navigation.
Outside of combat, we have a world that is supposed to look natural or even organic. To achieve this as best as possible, we do not limit our level designers to build their levels based on a fixed grid, especially as the grid is truly only relevant during combat and combat makes up only one part of the game as a whole. Most areas of a level may never even have the grid enabled because no combat encounter will ever occur there. When we ran a number of tests, it also turned out that hex grids were much better suited to represent natural-looking scenes. By comparison, if we were to use square grids, we would have to readjust entire scenes to make sure they align with the square grid. While this is fine for buildings with straight walls and rectangular corners, for a path through the woods with rocks splattered across and fallen trees partially covering the ground, it would have had a severe visual impact.
This material is published under the OGL
If you would like to know more about our combat system, please read our past blog entries. Furthermore, some months ago, we released the video of an early version of the combat system here:
Realms Beyond: Ashes of the Fallen offers a large world for the player to explore. Cities, villages, camps, dungeons – many places both populated and abandoned await the intrepid adventurer. Our custom-built engine allows for enormous dungeon maps filled with enemy encounters, devious traps and tricky puzzles that require all of the party’s abilities to overcome – and despite the large size of our maps, loading times are so fast you won’t even notice them!
Due to our fully interactive environments, almost all objects in the game world can be picked up or manipulated, and even have spells cast on them. Maybe you can open that gate by casting a telekinesis spell on the lever on the other side? Experimentation is key, and an inventive player will unearth many secrets in the depths of our dungeons.
In towns and villages, you will meet hundreds of NPCs to talk to and do quests for. Our dialogue scripting system allows NPCs to respond to your character’s race, class, and even appearance – and, of course, to your past deeds!
Our design philosophy highly values the player’s agency, and so the player is always free to choose whom to work for. The city guard or the criminal underworld? The loyalists or the rebels? The innocent townspeople or the sinister sorceress who wants to turn them into her slaves? Realms Beyond: Ashes of the Fallen never forces the player into a set path. The choice is always yours!
Our NPCs aren’t just static quest dispensers, either. They have their own lives, setting off to work in the morning, having a beer at the tavern in the evening, and locking their doors to sleep safely at night. Different NPCs have different schedules, reflecting their personality and position in society. And not every NPC does the same things every day – most workers will stay at home during the night, and a tavern enthusiast may drink at a different venue every night. The alchemist goes out to gather new ingredients once a week. Our complex and diverse NPC schedules ensure that the world feels alive, and that every character has a purpose in the world.
Players who want to go for a more unsavory type of adventuring party have plenty of opportunities to follow their urges, too. With a rogue in your party, you can pick the lock of any home or shop and rob the owner while he sleeps. You can sneak up on NPCs and pick their pockets. But a rogue’s skills can not only be used against innocents: use your rogue to disarm traps in dungeons, sneak past enemies to get into an advantageous position, or even stealthily pour a vial of poison into the bandits’ cooking pot to get rid of them without having to draw your swords.
The world of Realms Beyond: Ashes of the Fallen is massive, spanning multiple kingdoms and empires across two continents, and it is completely open for exploration, with no artificial limits to rein the player in. Just like in games such as Fallout and Arcanum, the player’s party can freely travel across the world map and discover new locations through exploration. But when it comes to exploration, not all areas are equal – your party moves much faster on roads than on open terrain, forests and mountains block your line of sight and hostile environments such as deserts and volcanic ashlands will be a drain on your resources.
A successful explorer is a prepared explorer. If your characters go without food and drink for too long, they will suffer from hunger and thirst. If your characters explore icy, snow-covered mountains or the hot, dry desert without proper equipment, the cold and the heat will drain their stamina and make them delirious. And after a long journey, your characters will grow tired and need to rest their feet: that’s where our camping system comes in.
At any place in the wilderness, the player can set up camp to grant his characters some rest. But camp time can also be used to replenish supplies: the party’s ranger can be sent out to hunt and supplement the rations, or he can gather herbs to brew potions from. Of course, a deep forest will yield better results than a barren desert – the environment you’re in always matters, whether you’re traveling or camping. And some of your characters should stand guard at night to avoid nasty surprises…
Just as you can travel freely across the world map, so do other characters in our game world. Guard patrols and merchants travel along the major trade routes, peasants travel from their farms to the nearest town – but not all faces you meet on the road are friendly. There are no random encounters in Realms Beyond. Bandits, monsters, and even other adventurer parties travel across the map the same way the player does, and if you spot a dangerous enemy party in the distance, you can run away from them… or they can run away from you, if they deem you too strong to engage. This creates a dynamic world map experience where encounters make sense and don’t just hit you out of the blue: trade routes and the immediate surroundings of major cities will be safe due to the presence of friendly guards, while enemy groups are especially numerous around bandit camps and monster lairs.
Our world map is a persistent and dynamic place in many ways. If the player destroys a monster lair, or drives bandits out of a fortress, no more wandering enemy groups will spawn from these places. Some quests might even change the function a location has on the world map: an impoverished noble has tasked you to drive out the band of outlaws that has occupied his castle, and if you succeed at his quest, the area around the castle will be patrolled by troops loyal to this nobleman and merchants will now travel to the castle and sell their goods there. The player’s actions will have noticeable and lasting consequences that shape the face of the world – the results of which can be seen directly on the world map.
To get from place to place more quickly, the player can buy horses and camels to ride on, and beasts of burden or a horse-drawn cart to carry additional loot. But the most valuable investment is a ship that allows the player to take the shorter and more direct sea routes from harbor city to harbor city! But the waters are not without danger, either – pirates roam the seas and sea-monsters lurk in the depths, and if such an enemy is encountered, the player will have to defend his ship in tactical turn-based naval battles. To gain an edge in these battles, the player can install cannons and ballistae on his ship to increase its firepower, or reinforce its hull with copper plating to make it more resistant to damage.
Along with the game, we will also release our editing tools (the UrWelt Engine) to the players so they can create their own worlds and campaigns. Modders will be able to use the very same level editor and dialogue editor that we are using to create the game, allowing them to forge new campaigns and even new worlds with the same level of complexity as our own.
It is also possible to import your own character models, objects, textures and sounds – so a dedicated team of modders could create a completely different game scenario. We want our modding tools to be as flexible as possible, comparable to the legendary toolsets of Forgotten Realms: Unlimited Adventures and Neverwinter Nights.
The core of the UrWelt framework is the level editor, which allows you to create your own maps – from small ones with 48×48 tiles (about 5,000 m²) to gigantic ones with 512×512 tiles (about 600,000 m²). The ground can be raised or lowered to create a flat or hilly landscape, and textured and decorated with decals. Buildings can be constructed from modular walls and objects can be placed freely on the map. To create an encounter, just place a group of enemies on the map and set them to hostile. You can also place sources of light with adjustable intensity and shadows, impressive visual effects, flocks of birds, shoals of fish, lively critters, and ambient sounds to spice up the atmosphere of your map. The editor is easy to get into, and extremely powerful once you master it.
With our dialogue editor, you can write complex branching dialogues and create NPCs who react to everything the player is doing and saying. Want an NPC to laugh at the player for wearing a funny hat? You can script that. Want a dialogue option that only appears if the player has a score of 18 in charisma? You can script that. Want an NPC who refuses to talk to you unless you gift her a bouquet of flowers? You can script that.
With our modding tools at your disposal, the only limit is your imagination. You can convert your long-running pen and paper campaign to the PC, or come up with something completely new. Share your works with other users through platforms such as Steam Workshop. If you ever wanted to create your own RPG campaign, Realms Beyond will give you the chance to turn your dreams into reality!
It’s an obvious thing: Atmosphere is not only a visual thing, and it’s not only created by gameplay. There are many more factors at play, so many, in fact, that it’s hard to even count them. Atmosphere is what you get when you put all the components of a game together and everything fits. Often overlooked, but without a doubt, one of the key elements to create an engaging sense of atmosphere is the sound design. Imagine, if you will, an RPG without driving combat themes, or an epic main theme. It would feel like a movie with the TV muted. Distant, remote… But not only the music is of importance, sound effects and atmospheric sounds are every bit as important. It’s all in the details.
But what are those sonic details? Let’s pick one and discuss. If you look back at games like the original Realms of Arkania trilogy (German title: Das Schwarze Auge: Die Nordland-Trilogie) you’ll find that a great deal of detail went into those games. Just take the inventory, for example. There’s even special, unique sound effect playing when you put some new leather gloves on one of your characters. It is details like those, things that don’t make a huge difference in the game as a whole, but add a little special attention to things that we want to achieve in Realms Beyond.
Naturally, not every item in the game will have its own sound effect (with over a thousand items in the game, that would be an exorbitant number of sounds), but there will be a great many small sounds for several item classes. If you change from a dagger to a heavy sword, you’ll hear the Shing! of steel. Putting on leather gloves will play a different sound than putting on brass gauntlets.
Especially in computer games music can affect the mood in many different ways. And that’s the reason why we care not only about adequate graphics but also about precisely-tailored music. To achieve this goal, we pay a lot of attention to the creation of the music for Realms Beyond: Ashes of the Fallen.
For example, to create a tense atmosphere during combat, we decided that we needed not only a few generic pieces, but also several matching themes. The driving force behind this decision was that we felt it was important to underscore different types of combat situations with different types of music. A small skirmish has a very different feel than an epic battle, and the music needs to appropriately reflect that. But it goes beyond that. Skeletons, for example, are very different from human knights. Not only do they look and move differently, they also require a different auditory set.
- Example: Undead Encounter
- Example: Battle versus Orcs
Outside of combat, the music in Realms Beyond is intended to evoke the mood of the location and the time of day. Every region in our world has its very own musical style, which can be heard in the variations of each locale’s theme. From the resonant horns of the north to the playful flutes of Pyrrhenian shores, Argea’s different realms not only look but also sound different.
- Example: A human town in the evening hours
- Example: A haunted dungeon deep below the surface
- Example: Ruins in the forest
(Music by Bastian Kieslinger)
While the engine and systems are mostly finished and implemented by now, we still need to fill the game with more content. Success in this Kickstarter will allow us to hire additional writers and level designers, produce more assets and animations, and create a memorable world that will be a joy to explore.
The majority of the funds will be allocated to writing and level design, the core elements of a good RPG. All of our content will be hand-crafted and the player will be presented with non-linear quests and dungeons that require a lot of work to design, implement, and playtest.
To support the narrative nature of our game, we also want to create more NPC animations for dialogues and events.
Beside content and visuals, the funds will be used for additional sound effects to enrich the immersive atmosphere of our world. To attain the best quality, we will be working with the fantastic people over at Only Sound.
And finally, we would love to hire the amazing composer Edwin Pickett to create additional combat and background themes for the game. Here, you can listen to some of his previous works:
The mass production of goods is definitely not our business and we don’t want to spend money and time on frivolous consumer rewards. Promotional items such as miniatures, t-shirts, hoodies, USB sticks, etc. often come cheaply produced and are of questionable quality. Since we personally don’t like that stuff, it would be wrong to offer it to our backers.
Therefore we will completely focus our efforts on the production of the game box and its contents. Here, we want to deliver the Ultimate Goldbox standard: Solid cardboard packaging, a coin made of bronze, a map applied on high-quality cotton paper, and a printed manual and spell book. Beside this game box, there will be only one other physical reward: A handmade amulet that refers to a significant item from our game world.
More than two years ago, we established Ceres Games for the sole purpose of developing a complex party-based RPG that would resurrect those qualities found in the classics of the 80s and 90s. Led by industry veterans Peter Ohlmann and Timothy Drude, among whose numerous titles include The Settlers II, Knights and Merchants, and the SpellForce series, we found other RPG enthusiasts to join our project early on.
Ceres Games is fully independent and not affilitated with any publisher or investor. A successful crowdfunding campaign will allow us to stay on this path.
Our team is currently comprised of international developers who love the computer role-playing games of the past. This passion is the guiding force behind Realms Beyond: Ashes of the Fallen.