In our last update for That Which Sleeps we introduced you to two of our early agents who, while interesting, lack the strategic element of deciding whether or not to attempt to recruit them, which is a core component of strategy in That Which Sleeps. To help illustrate just what goes in to these choices, well be showing you Baron Greywind, a late-game Agent who can be an incredibly powerful ally in your fight against the kingdoms of the world.
In addition to looking at Baron Greywind we will look at some sample heroes, so you can get an idea of what opposition you'll face in your campaign.
All Art for Agents and Heroes is considered ALPHA ASSETS and will be updated after our Kickstarter
The Baron is a towering figure, on both on the map and within the game itself. He is a potent combatant and military leader, especially when campaigning against his hated culture. We'll go into more of his background and how to recruit him after the next screenshot, but lets review his abilities.
When Baron Greywind returns to the land, he is capable of bringing with him an army of fallen soldiers and will immediately seize the POI his castle is in unless it is held by foreign soldiers. Once this happens House Greywind is formed on the map as an Ally of the Old One. The downside to Baron Greywind is that a quest can be given both his hated culture and his liked culture that will result in his being "put to rest" along with all his soldiers. If you are making heavy use of Baron Greywind it is imperative you stop this quest from being given through influence in those nations, or failing that stop the Heroes from completing their goal.
- Strengths: Combat, Command, Terrorize
- Weaknesses: Magic, Infiltration
- Scheme: Memories of Blood - If House Greywind holds at least 3 POIs of its hated culture, the Baron may perform this ritual. If succesfully completed, all POIs it controls of his hated culture lose half of their population, switch to his favored culture, and fallen soldiers are spawned in those POIs.
- Ability: Undead - Undead agents take reduced damage from mundane weapons, resist certain attacks, and regenerate over time. They are, however, susceptible to certain spells and effects and also cannot heal normally.
- Ability: Lord Greywind - The Lord of Greywind can summon ghostly hordes from the Ruins of Castle Greywind, and even restore Castle Greywind itself with sufficient Labor.
- Ability: Spirit of Vengeance - This ability allows Baron Greywind to truly dominate against his chosen cultural foe, which in the North Rises is the Welthaus people (Arden and New Caledon). You can see what it does in the tooltip in the screenshot above.
- Ability: Penetrating Strike - Penetrating Strike turns up to two points of damage that exceeded his target's armor into penetrating damage, also affecting any hero that is being guarded by the targeted hero, generally a nice squishy mage.
Recruiting the Baron requires having an agent with 25 or higher fame travel to the POI that holds the Ruins of Castle Greywind and performing a Tier 1 Infiltration challenge. This will allow you to Ally with Baron Greywind if at least one nation of his hated culture is at war with his liked culture. However, you can also gain Baron Greywind by performing a Tier 1 Ritual challenge with an agent that has the Necromantic ability. This allows you to Bind Baron Greywind to your Cause with essentially the same results, though it spawns more clues for the heroes to decipher. However, in addition to this, an Agent who is either Welcome at Court in a liked culture or Wanted in a hated culture may perform a Tier 2 Infiltration challenge to Pay Homage to Greywind, spending one gold and gaining the Ennobled of Greywind ability. Of course, you may also never even meet the Baron - your strategy may run a different course or the heroes may perform a quest to set him to peace.
As you can see, our late game Agents add a lot of complexity and theme to the game. It may seem that Baron Greywind is heavily tied into this scenario, but in actuality he is easy to add into any scenario or to mod. In order to add him to a scenario you simply
- Place the Ruins of Castle Greywind in any POI
- Assign Baron Greywind a liked culture from the scenarios list
- Assign Baron Greywind a hated culture from the scenario list
There you have it, you can even have him on the map with cultures that don't exist, just a sad relic of ancient times who may rise up and attack a hero randomly walking through his ruins.
If the only elements of the game were POIs and Agents it would be an easy game, but alas for the player the game begins with a random set of Heroes spawned, their particular classes and races depending on the scenario itself. Heroes are aesthetically simple, as opposed to the Agents who are each unique with their own art and animations the heroes are built off a simple model with variations for classes and cultures. This makes conflicts between the heroes and agents resemble epic boss battles of old, while at the same time reinforcing that it is the agents that truly matter on the map.
Heroes will not always be seen on the map view, only heroes that have a certain level of fame or who are spotted by an infiltrated POI or Agent. Infiltrating POIs, corrupting guilds, and influencing nations is important to let you know what the agents are up to. Though most of the time they are busy doing basic quests, you will want to be able to interfere with their more important epic quests.
The Sellsword is a basic Warrior class that prioritizes Strength and Command. It really is the player's favorite class to see because Sellswords rarely go for any of the more dangerous and rewarding quests, instead being content to work on easy quests for gold. They will never go for an Epic Quest unless a nation has sponsored it with gold. They tend to work alone, and form friendships less easily than other classes - both good things for the old one. When a Warrior class has been disheartened, and has low willpower, it may change into a Sellsword.
Let's take a look at the Hero Screen and break it down so we can understand what's going on.
- Fame, Health, and Willpower are the top three values. Fame is an indication of how successful and well known this hero is, Health is how much life they have, and Willpower is a measure of their general sanity and mental well-being. If Health or Willpower drop below half, they may develop some permanent wounds or symptoms.
- Heroes gain levels by gaining experience from completing quests, they get a bonus when they level up based on their class. Heroes freely change classes based on circumstances, but retain any bonus they've gained.
- Abilities are gained at levelup as are skills, Reginald has only one skill which allows him to make a regular attack when he flees. Sellswords get a lot of random cowardly abilities like that.
- Skills correspond to those of the Agents, but with more Heroic names.
- Current Quest shows you what the hero is up to, and the tooltip breaks it down into greater detail. Reginald here is supposed to be finishing off the orc raiders outside Aventura but has instead opted to loot a dungeon because he's...
- Greedy and Cowardly - the qualities of heroes. Qualities will help you figure out how to deal with a hero, it is rarely the best option to directly confront them - buying time or indirectly hurting their willpower is much more efficient.
- Relations tell you who the Hero likes, hates, and what nations he's specifically wanted/loved in. This is important because heroes work well with people they like an will call on them for help, and will also trade clues between friends and friendly nations.
- Items and Enhancements is our final area and shows what benefits/hindrances are affecting our hero. Reginald here has a Fine Maul that gives him +2 attack but -1 Defense, and suffered from Broken Ribs that deal 1 damage to him every time he attacks in combat.
- Not shown is the screen for Clues that are known by the hero - currently that is accessed on its own global screen but we do intend to make one for specific heroes.
There you have it, heroes in a nutshell. Keep in mind that you aren't limited just to the random spawn at the start of a scenario, you also have to deal with the powerful Champions of nations designed for the scenario, and more heroes can spawn during the game.So how do you deal with these pesky heroes? Get their health to 0 and they die a nice permanent death, get it below half and you'll probably inflict a wound to slow them down. Or you can lower their willpower - figure out what they care about and destroy it. Break up a wedding, burn someone's hometown, or just haunt their nightmares - getting willpower low enough can have various results such as the hero gaining new detrimental qualities, having them switch classes, or even if it gets to 0 having them go insane. Of course, a properly broken hero would also make an excellent Agent.
One last Hero before we end our updates. This is Sir Daunphir the Knight, and he absolutely hates The Rake because I had The Rake kill his King. This hero will endlessly pursue the Rake until one of the two is dead, and based on how powerful the Knight is it looks like the Rake unless we give him some help.
Knights are an upgrade Warrior class that can occur when an adventurer completes a mission for a nation and is awarded by being Knighted. Knights are the only hero that carry the shield of their nation, and are easily recognizable. They are defensive minded warriors and will also often become army leaders late in the game. Knights act as Champions of a nation, and are the earliest champions outside of the starting set for a scenario that you will often see - most other classes can become champions but only after completing epic quests for a nation.
Today we showed you Heroes, the most important counterpoint in the game, and also the mighty Baron Greywind, whose complexity is representative of our late game heroes. I hope you're getting a sense for how the game is played at this point, we should be releasing a few videos starting next week as we lead up towards Kickstarter and Greenlight.
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