04/10/2017

Feature Spotlight #3 – The Knowledge System


Hi, fellow gamer and MMO enthusiast! Just over a month since Universe & Travels, it’s time for us to drop a new Feature Spotlight – this time focused on one of the most unique features of Fractured: the Knowledge System!

While originally it was our plan to release an article on player-made villages, our community has been relentless in making us notice how much they wanted to know more about character progression on Fractured. So here it comes!

Before we begin, let’s clear something up. As you may know already from our homepage, progression on Fractured is neither level-based nor skill-based, and strongly rejects grinding in any form. Quite often, this has gotten our community members worried: how can there be a sense of progression and long-term achievements to look for? Well, it can! The core ideas of the Knowledge System are simple yet revolutionary:

  • The core strengths and weaknesses of your character are set when you create it by choosing its attributes, and don’t change during the course of gameplay: you’re effective and can join complex PvE and PvP scenarios from Day 1.
  • Your character rarely becomes stronger over time. Instead, it gets more knowledgeable. This happens is many ways, but one above all: the array of abilities at its disposal becomes larger and larger. This, coupled with the Resting system, allows you to design a ton of situational builds to engage in different scenarios more effectively.
  • Whenever there’s something that makes your character stronger, that’s just for fine-tuning purposes, so that there is never a huge power gap between newcomers and experienced players.

Now that we’ve made this important preamble, let’s turn this Knowledge System inside-out together!

Knowledge Points

In Fractured, Knowledge Points can be seen as your personal progression currency: you acquire them over time while playing the game, and you can spend them to obtain Talent Points and start learning new abilities.

Unlike the usual “experience points” you can find in most MMORPGs, on Fractured grinding (repeating the same action over and over) is not the way you earn Knowledge Points. On the opposite, their acquisition takes place naturally during the course of your gaming sessions – and the more varied are the things you do, the better!

Let’s have a look at the four main situations that lead to earning Knowledge Points.

  • Exploration. Unlike most MMOs you’ve likely played, a new character on Fractured is not only unaware of combat and magical arts, but also oblivious of the geography of the world it lives in. This ignorance is reflected in the world map, which presents itself as an empty canvas. If you want to become a knowledgeable explorer, you need to travel through every region of the world with some parchment and a pen at hand, taking a little time to write down what you’re seeing. Whenever you document a new location, it becomes permanently visible (in detail) on your world map, and you’re awarded with Knowledge Points according to the importance of what you’ve recorded.
  • Bestiary. The bestiary is a personal diary where you store all the information on the types of creatures you’ve interacted with and/or defeated. New entries in the bestiary only report the most basic information on a creature, such as its name and species. Multiple interactions / kills gradually reveal more detailed data on the creature, including its attributes and abilities. Every time you unlock a new piece of bestiary knowledge, you are rewarded with Knowledge Points, and your characters becomes more proficient when interacting with the creature.
  • Item Identification. Most equipment items on Fractured are crafted by players. Occasionally, however, you might be able to recover one from the corpse of a creature you’ve defeated or a hidden treasure. Each item obtained this way is Unidentified – it might be magically enchanted, but you won’t be able to grasp its powers (if any) unless you identify it first. When you do so, you not only may find yourself with a highly valuable prize in your hands, but you gain some Knowledge Points as well.
  • Relics. Relics are rare pieces of the lost knowledge of Elysium that have survived the Fracture and can be recovered from the most remote locations and dangerous circumstances. When consumed, they can trigger the discovery of a new spell or raise the strength of one you know above its maximum theoretical level – a power we’re sure the most competitive of you will crave to master. And oh, they give Knowledge Points too, of course.

OK, now you know how Knowledge Points are earned. Let’s get into the core of the Knowledge System and find out how they can be spent.

The Talent Tree

Unless you’re entirely new to the world of RPGs, you’ve likely had to deal with Talents already in one way or the other. This is what your Talent Tree page looks like in Fractured:

At a superficial look, this is not much different from a canonical MMORPG  talent system. Whereas in classic MMORPGs you gain a new Talent Point once in a while when leveling up, in Fractured you’re free to choose when to obtain one by spending a fixed amount of your Knowledge Points. The Talent Points you have – up to 50 – can then be assigned to the nodes of your Talent Tree. The latter is divided in six branches, each focused on one of the main character attributes: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Perception, Charisma.

In classic MMORPGs, moreover, I’m sure you’re used to thinking very carefully before allocating a Talent Point, knowing there is no way back – at least not without having to open your (real-life) purse. That’s not the Fractured way. Here, you can re-assign your Talent Points as many times as you want during a Resting phase. Yes, that’s it: just sit down in front of a fire change all your Talents to match the stats and abilities of your Hero, just like you do before a match of your favorite MOBA! You can also handily save pre-defined configurations.

One last remark before closing this paragraph: if you’re afraid Talents create a power wide gap between new and experienced players, you can stop worrying already! Talents are certainly an important complement to a character build, and we’re sure different setups will be widely debated in the competitive crowd. However, they’re just that: complements. The main strengths and weaknesses of your character are established when you create it!

Ability Learning

On Fractured, magical and combat abilities are discovered and learned through a unique process involving exploration, combat, gathering, crafting, and a little bit of waiting time (including offline time).

Our aim when we designed this piece of the Knowledge System was once again to avoid grinding and to make you feel like any ability you learn is a small adventure in itself – always familiar yet never repetitive, always worth following but never creating power gaps.

Have we managed to do so? Read on and let us know!

Step #1: Discover & Quest Around

When you open your Character Abilities window for the first time, almost all the spells listed in each School are in an Unknown state.

When an ability is Unknown, you character doesn’t know anything about it (surprising, eh), including its effect and what are the tasks required to unlock it – you’re only able to catch a glimpse of its icon. How to discover an ability? Just play the game! Travel, fight, gather, craft – whatever you fancy. As soon as you accidentally perform one of the tasks required to unlock an ability, it will switch to Discovered state.

Once an ability is Discovered, you get to know everything about it: what it does, what’s the cost to use it, and – mostly importantly – what are the tasks that have to be performed to be able to start studying it. Some examples of such tasks are:

  • Find, interact with, or kill specific creatures.
  • Kill some specific creatures in a unique way.
  • Find, collect or refine some amount of a specific resource.
  • Consume X units of a specific item.
  • Be hit X times by a specific spell.
  • Perform a specific combat action X times.
  • Explore one or more world locations.
  • Rest in a specific location.
  • Craft X units of a specific item.
  • Die in a specific way.

Ability learning tasks never require you to repeat the same action for hours. Instead, they’re designed encourage you to explore and travel – rewarding cleverness and bravery, not time spent grinding.

All abilities have a total of 6 tasks associated to them, but it’s enough you complete 2 to turn the ability to Ready To Study – and that’s when the second part of the learning process begins.

Step #2: Study The Ability

So you finally have your ability Ready To Study. To start the learning process, all you need are:

  • A sufficient amount of Knowledge Points.
  • A blank tome of the appropriate School of Magic or Fighting.

Tomes are regular items that can be crafted by players. Tomes of different schools feature different procedures to be created, as some are made of parchment, others of paper, and several require unique resources on top of their basic material. They can be freely traded between players.

When you have your tome and enough Knowledge Points, you can start the learning process: the points are consumed and the book is inscribed, removed from your inventory and added to one of the Learning Slots of your character – if you have at least one not in use. Once launched, a learning process cannot be interrupted and continues even when your character is offline. The inscribed tome disappears when the learning has been completed.

That’s it! Now you just have to wait for the learning process to end to be able to use the ability. The total time required depends on several factors (such as the type of ability and your character attributes), and can be made shorter by actively playing the game (e.g. by consuming special kinds of edible resources).

Below you can see how a spell already learnt to level 1 looks like – the fearsome Axii’s Sun Strike, from the School of Invocation!

There’s More Than One Level!

In the paragraphs above, we’ve covered the process that turns an Unknown ability to Discovered, Ready To Learn, and finally usable. Abilities, however, are not only meant to be learnt once, since they feature up to 3 levels of power! Completing only 2 tasks of a Discovered ability allows you to study an ability to level 1. After that, you need to have at least 4 tasks completed to study it to level 2 and 6 tasks completed to study it to level 3.

Different learning tasks of the same ability are usually balanced so that completing a couple can be usually done in your home planet, while completing all 6 almost always requires you to travel to other planets. Studying higher levels also needs more complex blank tomes crafted with exotic resources and sophisticated tools – so we expect them to be a common item in player commerce.

Similarly to what we said about talents, you don’t have to worry about ability leveling creating a too wide power gap between new players and veterans. Sure, leveling up an ability increases its power – be it a stronger effect, increased duration, reduced cooldown, and more. However, they’re always minor differences, mostly interesting on a competitive level. Level 1-2 abilities are more than enough to create effective builds for casual PvE and PvP.

The Next Episode

This article explained it all on how character progression works in Fractured – we hope you enjoyed it! However, we’re aware we’ve mentioned so many other things that might have tickled your curiosity, and we surely don’t want to leave you with too many questions hanging.

Therefore, in the next Feature Spotlight we’ll reveal:

  • The Resting phase: rebuild your Hero anew and discover how Fractured mixes the progression of a real MMO with the replayability and immediacy of a MOBA.
  • Character attributes: what they do, and why character creation is so important in Fractured.
  • The Schools of Magic & Fighting: how are the 400+ Fractured abilities classified?

See you soon and, as always, don’t forget to let us know hear your voice on our community boards and socials!

(thanks to game-icons.net for the placeholder icons used in this post)

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29/08/2017

Feature Spotlight #2 – Universe, Planets And Travels


Hi, fellow gamer and MMO enthusiast! The August hiatus is finally over – welcome to the second, much awaited Fractured Feature Spotlight!

If you’ve been with us for a while, you should remember our first developer journal – Three Races, Three Gameplays – where we have explained how we want to revolutionize the concept of “race” in the MMO genre and use it to cater to the needs of peaceful/cooperative and aggressive/competitive players alike. If you haven’t checked it out already, we highly suggest you do it now, since it is a necessary preamble to what we’re revealing today.

In the first part of this spotlight, we’re going to describe the universe of Fractured more in detail – how it came to be, what it looks like today, and what are the characteristics of its three planets Arboreus, Syndesia and Tartaros.

In the second part, we’ll unveil eclipses, recurring events that have a huge impact on the lives of Demons and Humans.

Last but not least, we’ll discuss the idea of “travel” in Fractured and drop some hints regarding the survival elements that exist in the game.

Ready? Let’s discover together!

The Elysium System

After the Fracture, the One Planet, Elysium, was split into the three worlds you should be already familiar with: Arboreus, Syndesia and Tartaros. Put into motion by the same magic that created them, they started revolving around the sun, giving birth to a proper solar system that was to be known as the Elysium System.

As one might expect, the amount of magical energy required to perform the Fracture was beyond imagination and impossible to harness faultlessly, not even by sorcerers endowed with quasi-divine powers. As Elysium was torn apart, countless fragments of its own mass were scattered around the universe – some as small as a little hill, others as large as a whole region of the planets to be. Over time, pulled by the gravity of the sun, they started aggregating in the space between the orbit of Arboreus and that of Syndesia and Tartaros – and so the Elysium Ring was formed.

Time Cycles

The choice to have a proper solar system was not random, of course, as it gives us not only a perfect environment to develop three different gaming experiences, but it also opens up a myriad of possibilities to introduce challenging game mechanics such as seasonal cycles and events related to the position of planets and the exploration of asteroids. The latter is quite of a big chapter in itself, and will have a whole feature spotlight dedicated to it.

When it comes to the time cycles of the three planets, their behavior is quite similar – 1 day (a full rotation of the planet around its axis) lasts roughly as long on Arboreus as it does on Syndesia and Tartaros, and so does 1 year (a full rotation of the planet around the sun). Below you can find a table showing the duration of different time cycles in Fractured compared to real world times.

Real Time Fractured Time
2 hours 1 day
2 days 1 month
1 week 1 season
1 month 1 year

Day/night cycles behave realistically on each world, with half of the surface of a planet being in day time and the other in night time, sunrise and sunset moving smoothly along the surface. Seasons act in a similar way, being opposite in the two hemispheres, but less noticeable at the equator, where temperatures are more or less constant.

Beastman Planet: Arboreus

Arboreus Mood Painting

Arboreus is the largest planet of the Elysium Ring, with a surface twice as wide as that of Syndesia – although the area of continents above sea level is roughly equivalent to that of the other planets. Other than being the largest, it also lies furthest from the sun, travelling the same orbit that once belonged to Elysium. Notwithstanding its distance from the star, the damp atmosphere of Arboreus allows it to be a warm and verdant world, covered with dense forests and plains of lush green grass, crossed by rivers and lakes aplenty.

Compared to Syndesia and Tartaros, Arboreus is the planet that most resembles its father Elysium, especially given it’s the only one that still retains Elysium’s primal energy, which manifests itself into ever-growing deposits of magical crystals, coveted by all the creatures of the System.

Crystals aren’t the only resource on Arboreus that stirs the greed of the people who don’t inhabit it, however. The planet is rich in wood, stone and minerals, although beastmen usually don’t take an interest in mining and blacksmithing. Indeed, the homes of beastmen are mostly made of wood, while stone is usually kept to erect public buildings.

After the Fracture, Arboreus was put under the protection of three of the Six Gods: Elysium, which is thought to be the source of Arboreus’ primal energy; Tyros, god of light and justice; Nelena, goddess of the wild and mother of all beastmen.

Demon Planet: Tartaros

Tartaros Mood Painting

Tartaros is the smallest of all the planets of the Elysium Ring. Notwithstanding its size, its walkable surface is similar in area to the one of Arboreus and Syndesia, since it is mostly covered by land. It’s a hot, arid world, plagued by a constant volcanic activity and scarce in edible resources.

Stone is common on Tartaros – sandstone, granite and obsidian in particular – and frequently used by demons to erect the buildings of their unholy cities. Metals besides iron are rare, but weapons made of the latter have already taken the life of thousands of creatures, in Tartaros and outside.

Due to the lack of water, agriculture is practically unfeasible on Tartaros, which forces demons to get most of their food by hunting the fearsome creatures that inhabit the planet. Whether demons would be interested in agriculture is doubtful anyway, considering patience is not exactly a virtue of theirs – if they have any virtue, that is.

Demons usually wear clothes made of leather crafted from the skin of their preys, since wild plants are also rare to come by – and when they can be found, they’re only suitable to be harvested for wood or hard fibers to make strings and ropes.

After the Fracture, Tartaros became the prison of the dread Babilis, left to be the only god watching over the planet and its demonic progeny.

Human Planet: Syndesia

Syndesia Mood Painting

Syndesia, the cradle of human civilization, is a medium sized planet, boasting the largest environmental variety of the whole Elysium Ring. While the lack of Elysium’s primal energy makes its vegetation not as lush as that of Arboreus, it is still a fertile and resource-rich world, providing favorable conditions for the development of the human race and its ambitions.

On Syndesia, humans are always busy harvesting wood and stone to build their homes and castles, and mining different metals to craft their mighty weapons and armors. Coal and oil are also common, and much cherished by humans as fuel for their industries and their technological devices – a kind of knowledge rejected by Beastmen and Demons alike. On top of that, cultivations and pastures are widespread, leading to a level of environmental exploitation which sadly knows no match as well.

As always in the universe of Fractured, such an abundance of resources is not equally spread throughout the planet. Some regions are overall richer, others poorer, and even in the ones most sought-after some resources are hard to come by, which stimulates inter-planetary commerce to a great deal.

After the Fracture, two of the Six Gods decided to watch over Syndesia: Iridia, goddess of fortune and mother of all humans, and Galvanos, god of knowledge and keeper of the nine paths of magic, who always showed a great appreciation for the human persistence and fascination with progress.

Eclipses

Eclipse Demon Attack

Since the Fracture, the fates of humans and demons have been inextricably tied to those of Syndesia and Tartaros. As punishment for having plunged Elysium into chaos, the two new planets have been designed to orbit each other around a common barycenter, giving birth to what in astronomy is known as a binary system. This peculiar structure leads the two planets to regularly obscure each other through long eclipses, which have a deep impact on the lives of demons and humans alike.

Not much is to be said regarding the eclipse of Tartaros – the time when the planet is shadowed by Syndesia. The latter possesses no aura, being neither good nor evil as the human race that inhabits it, and casts no influence on Tartaros during an eclipse.

Entirely different is the fate of Syndesia when the planet is obscured by Tartaros. The event, which lasts for several real-time hours, sees the human world plagued by the demonic aura of Tartaros and the desire of Babilis and its progeny to taste human blood. Thanks to the aura, demons don’t suffer the usual penalties when walking the grounds of Syndesia, retaining all the powers they have on Tartaros, and being able to haunt humans until the eclipse is over.

During the unnatural dark times, several Stargates are spawned on the two planets, allowing demons to effortlessly invade Syndesia. Such portals can be closed, but it’s an incredibly strenuous task for even the largest human armies, since the locations are infested not only by demon players, but also by AI-controlled demonic spawns.

More often than not, the only chance of humans during an eclipse is to lock themselves up in their towns and villages and try to hold off the invaders, praying for the Long Night to be over soon.

Travel And Exploration

Exploration is a staple of the Fractured experience, strongly tied to the progression of your character. In Fractured, you’ll want to travel to faraway lands to discover every inch of the world to extract all the knowledge hidden there and expand the options given to your character.

Of course, such a unique type of progression – all part of the Knowledge System – requires travelling to be more than what you’re used to in other MMOs – which typically boils down to walking or riding from point A to point B (without getting murdered on the way if the game supports Open PvP). Indeed, on Fractured survival mechanics come into play to spice things up, requiring a greater deal of preparation the longer your travel takes and the more extreme the environment is. Let’s have a look at them following the (mis)adventures of a player whom for the sake of simplicity we’ll call… You.

  • Food and drinks. You start your journey to the largest town of the realm. Just like fighting, travelling accelerates the need to feed yourself. While some regions are rich with edible resources and you can hope to find food on the way, this one is quite bare and requires adventures to plan their trip wisely. You open your bag, and realize there’s only a slice of hardtack in it – and this is not LOTR. Damn!
  • Clothing. This time, you’ve brought the perfect quantity of food and water with you and you’re sure you’ll reach your destination with ease… but you’ve forgotten you have to cross a mountain pass in the meantime. Your journey ends up with a new human popsicle on the way, reminding travelers that on Fractured equipment doesn’t matter in combat only.
  • Rest. You won’t get fooled this time. You have plenty food, water and all the clothing you need. A little too much, in fact. You’re heavy, and you’re tiring quickly. When your legs refuse to move any longer, you set up a makeshift bed, feast aplenty and close your eyes for a shirt sleep – but your lame camp offers little protection, so a pack of wolves ends up feasting on you. Too bad!

As you might have understood from the examples above, the safest route for a new player is to to move from one inhabited location to another, get some rest at local inns and explore the surroundings. Once you get better equipped and experienced in dealing with the wilderness, you’ll be able to create safe camps to take naps and dive into long and perilous travels through remote locations.

If you engage in the merchant profession, things get even more complex, of course. In Fractured, there is no magical “stash” or “bank” that makes your items easily available everywhere you go. You can earn some warehouse space to store your items in a village, but such space is not free – and even if you unlock it, what you deposit in the village stays in the village. As your character inventory on Fractured is quite limited, you’ll need wagons to move resources – which means animals to drag them, and a proper escort to see that your bounty doesn’t fall to unwanted hands. This is once more a wide topic though, which will be given further elaboration in future feature spotlights.

Teleportation

A MMO without fast travel allows for exciting open world adventures and guarantees true profits for merchants, as we discussed above. On the other hand, having to walk or ride long distances just to meet up with your friends or reach your favorite dungeon can become unbearably cumbersome in the long run, disregarding how exciting the travel is.

Is it possible to get over this ostensible dichotomy? We think it is! Here are the three main fast travel options available of Fractured.

  • The easiest fast travel option, Gateways are magical doors located in a few key locations of each planet. When you enter one, you’ll be able to instantly teleport to any other Gateway located on the same planet that you have already discovered by physically travelling to it. Here’s the catch, though: you’ll be subject to various limitations when using one, including the inability to carry resources. They’re a good option to group faster with your distant friends, but not suitable for merchants!
  • Teleportation Magic. In Fractured, you’ll have the chance to learn a few spells that will allow you to teleport yourself to other locations on the same planet, subject to limitations similar to those of Gateways, including what items you can carry and the need to discover the destination first. When casting one, you’ll be drained of your energy and severely fatigued for a while after teleporting. Moreover, while more flexible than Gateways, earning access to certain destinations through teleportation magic won’t be an easy task.
  • The prime way to travel to other planets, Stargates require a great deal of group effort to be summoned and don’t last for long. After crossing one, the time you’re allowed to stay on the new planet is limited and varies according to your race, your alignment and your destination. Demons are a notable exception to this rule, having been gifted by Babilis the ability to travel to other worlds more easily to bring terror to the other much hated races. However, the penalties they’ll be subject to are no smaller than those suffered by the other races… and sometimes, actually worse.

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19/07/2017

Feature Spotlight #1 – Three Races, Three Gameplays


Three Races Intro

Hi fellow gamer and MMO enthusiast! We’re glad to welcome you to the very first Feature Spotlight of Fractured, a series of lengthy (but hopefully not boring!) articles lifting the veil on the major game design solutions and mechanics behind Fractured. Before we begin this exciting journal, however, there’s one thing we have to tell you: it’s not been easy to choose what feature of Fractured to cover first! Could it have been the Knowledge System? Or perhaps character creation and MOBA-inspired character re-specs? Action combat and massive interactions with the environment? Player-made cities and empires?

All of the above are areas of gameplay where Fractured is trying to innovate the MMO genre, true, but we soon figured out there is one mechanic that comes before all of them. The very first choice you make when you open the game client to start your adventure. A choice that will make a tremendous difference in your whole Fractured experience, on day one as much as one year later. The choice of your race.

“Races? But that’s a standard MMO feature!” I can hear you think. Absolutely true. The concept of races has been a cornerstone of MMOs since the inception of the genre. From orcs to dragons, from elves to undeads, we know you’ve seen (and played) them all. But let us ask you a question: did the race of your character ever actually matter to you? Sure, perhaps it added some variety to combat, giving you different attributes and a handful of unique abilities. Perhaps it had you starting in a different location and following a different set of quest. Perhaps it even got you in a faction fighting against some others. Of one thing we’re sure of, though: it never made you feel like you were immersed in a different culture, a different society, and, to an extent, a different game.

In Fractured, that’s a whole different story. The choice of your race determines:

  • The planet you start in – which in turn means you’ll be surrounded by radically different environments and have access to entirely different resources.
  • What type of abilities, spells, and crafting proficiencies are easily available to you, and which ones on the other hand require a hell of an effort to be discovered.
  • How your villages and towns will look like, what buildings you’ll be able to erect and NPCs you’ll be able to hire.
  • The society your character lives in, which dictates how you can interact with other players. Can you perform hostile actions like stealing and murdering? And if so, what are the consequences – if any?
  • The gods you can pray to and how they intervene in your mortal matters.
  • How easy it is to travel to other planets, how well you are received by other races… and much more!

In our initial plan for this spotlight, we wanted to cover in detail most of the above. Such fools! We soon realized we would have ended up with a blog post as long as a novel. Therefore, we decided to break it down into several spotlights, with this first one being a high-level overview of the three races of Fractured: Beastmen, Demons and Humans.

Within this spotlight we’ve also dropped some little stories about a few characters you’ll likely meet or hear about in game. They will show up in future spotlights, too. If you’re not interested in lore and want to get straight to the juice of game mechanics, feel free to skip the parts in italics.

And now, let us begin!

Beastmen: Living in harmony

Tenoch climbed down from the colossal Watcher tree with one long, final jump. He was growing older, but his legs were still strong, his paws sharp, his grip on wood perfect. He didn’t have to go up there to keep guard – not anymore – but he still liked the feeling of being so far away from the earth, watching the endless line of trees that embraced Arboreus like a warm blanket.

 “Dad?” Elya was standing behind him, eyes half closed, barely awake. ”What’s up?”. Elya pointed her paw up and almost lost her balance. She was young, still struggling standing on two legs. “Why are these two stars so bright?”

Tenoch raised his eyes to the night sky and sighed quietly. Even today, after all these years, it felt like a piece of him – of them – had been taken away together with their land. Perhaps one day they would get it back. They would be one again.

He doubted it. He had heard some of the merchants’ stories. It didn’t seem like they were going to change their ways. Cutting, digging, mining, scarring the beauty Tyros had gifted them. Even worse, there had been frightening tales of more and more of them leaving the light. Meddling with demons and dark powers that luckily had no place on Arboreus.

“Those are no stars, Elya. They’re planets. It’s the light of the sun that makes them shine like stars. Now go back to sleep, will you?”

Tenoch laid down on the grass. The two planets were dangerously close. They would align soon, he thought. Perhaps the following day already. It would be a day of terror on Syndesia. A day of blood.

After a little more mulling over grim thoughts, he turned around and closed his eyes. It was their business after all – they had brought it upon themselves. Didn’t they?


Beastmen are the native inhabitants of the wild and lush planet Arboreus – what’s left of Elysium, once home to all the races of Fractured. While closely resembling an actual animal right after birth, the shape of the body of a beastman changes dramatically during puberty, eventually assuming the same two-legged posture of a human.

The beastman society is a tribal one, based on equality and respect for the elders. Although split into tribes and clans, each headed by a different High Druid, beastmen always see the members of their race as brothers or cousins, assuming a peaceful attitude towards them. Some of the favorite locations for a beastman clan to build its village are riverbanks and power nodes, where they can find the highest concentration of primal energy and their connection with nature is deeper.

Speaking of this, the relationship between beastmen and nature is really something that goes beyond the understanding of other races – and sometimes beyond that of beastmen themselves. It’s a peculiar one, as it doesn’t mean they’re not allowed to harvest resources from the earth. They can – and they do – but always careful not to harm the environment they live in. In exchange for this respect, they have been gifted the ability to draw power straight from the soil of Arboreus, making them even more formidable fighters when they walk through their homeland.

Connection with nature isn’t the only ace up a beastman’s sleeve though – an hypothetical sleeve, actually, given their love for light armor and clothes. In the first place, their affinity with druidic magic is unrivaled. Moreover, they can morph at will into their animal counterpart – a choice that comes with consequences, the main one usually being their enemies getting eaten soon after.

Below is a high-level overview of the four families that can be chosen when creating a beastman character, each one with its own unique strengths and weaknesses.

Chadra (Tiger-Kin)

Chadra Lineart

Also known as Tiger-Kin, the Chadra, whose body is substantially larger than an average human, are the beastmen most endowed with quick reflexes and agility. Real jacks-of-all-trades, they excel in most fighting styles thanks to the accuracy of their attacks, and can resort to magic to further increase their combat prowess.

When transformed into their primal form, the tiger, the Chadra enjoy an even higher movement speed and attack precision. Plus, they gain access to unique abilities aimed at catching up with fleeing targets and hitting their vital spots, causing severe wounds that lead victims to quickly bleed to their deaths.

Udoadra (Wolf-Kin)

Udoadra Lineart

Also known as Wolf-Kin, the Udoadra are regarded as the most social and friendly family among all beastmen. While not larger than a human, they are considerably stronger and more resilient.

Udoadra’s true excellence lies in coordinated group fighting, as they are the keepers of ancient secrets that allow them to increase the power of their pack. A group of Udoadra is truly an unstoppable force of nature! Moreover, their social skills and attachment to other living being make them unparalleled animal trainers.

When transformed into their primal form, the wolf, the Udoadra gain speed and additional pack bonuses, unlocking abilities designed to empower allies and to cooperatively damage or restrain even the most powerful opponents.

Nheedra (Bear-Kin)

Nheedra Lineart

Also known as Bear-Kin, the Nheedra are the largest and bulkiest of all beastmen, endowed with the greatest strength and endurance, but also slower and clumsier compared to the members of other families. Even more than the average beastman, Nheedra are exceptional druids, able to harness the natural energy of Arboreus and shape it into elemental manifestations.

When transformed into their primal form, the bear, the toughness and regenerative abilities of Nheedra become even more impressive. Plus, they gain several abilities designed to overwhelm their opponents with raw power, stunning them or cleaving them with their immense strength.

Erwydra (Hart-Kin)

Erwydra Lineart

Also known as Hart-Kin, Erwydra are smart, agile and perceptive creatures, but physically weaker than the members of other beastman families.

Thanks to their superior intelligence, the Erwydra are naturally inclined toward magical practices and enjoy the advantages of an excellent memory. The weakness of their bodies is compensated by the ease with which they can escape from dangerous situations, both by physical and by magical means.

When transformed into their primal form, the hart, the Erwydra gain access to abilities that allow them to block or deflect magical attacks and to charge through enemy lines. In case they need to leave the battlefield, they can rely on even higher movement speed and escape abilities.

Demons: Blood and terror

Sixty-eight losses on the eastern flank, without even going to battle. One of those retarded, ten feet tall heaps of muscles had decided he was really too hungry to wait a few hours for human meat, so he had started plundering the stocks of food of the fifth battalion. It had taken a few minutes only for the whole situation to descend into a large-scale brawl, and nearly an hour to sedate it after.

Liahria wasn’t at all shaken by the news. It was just everyday life when one tried to raise an army of demons that included Infernals. She dismissed the emissary and smiled. It had been Babilis’ will to gift them Vampires the smarts, unlike the others. One simply doesn’t question Babilis’ will.

She took out the seemingly unremarkable medallion from the chest in the corner and laid it down on the table. The other generals were coming to confer, but she still had a few minutes. She muttered some words – words only she had known, she hoped – and a crack started to make its way through the gold. She could see an eye within it. A green eye, then two small, pale lips. A voice came out of the jewel, now ablaze with fire and sparks. She responded quickly, then rushed to put it back in the chest.

Hers was going to be the most clever attack plan in the whole history of Tartaros, she was sure of that. Well, that wasn’t such a long history after all, but whatever. Liahria smiled again, more widely than before, her face turning wrinkled and unsettling to the sight. There was nothing pretty in her when she was anticipating the taste of blood.


Banished to the hostile and resource-deprived planet created for them after the Fracture, Tartaros, demons are by nature a bloodthirsty race with a naturally evil alignment. The structure of their bodies may resemble that of humans, but they’re usually taller, physically stronger, and fitted with a huge pair of horns coming in a million different shapes – although, it has to be said, their appearance may change a lot depending on their family.

The demon society arisen over the years on Tartaros is a brutal and lawless one, in which criminal actions and murders are committed aplenty on a daily basis. Besides the unconditional love for their twisted and dark god, and the lust for strength and power, demons hold no values close to their hearts – assuming they have one, that is.

Forced to grow up in a culture of hatred and violence, the only way to earn the respect of their own kind demons know is fighting – an evergreen activity they all get involved in soon after birth. As a result, demons are not only the terror of all the other races, but also of each other, with clans being almost always at war, busy slaughtering each other’s warriors and pillaging each other’s cities. Yes, cities, as the belligerent nature of demons  doesn’t stop them from building lavish settlements filled with monumental buildings and shrines erected to show off the clan’s wealth and power.

Since the Fracture, demons have developed an evergrowing contempt towards beastmen and humans alike, and so did their god. Maddened by revenge, Babilis gave its progeny the ability to travel to other planets way more easily than humans and beastmen can do, allowing them to spread death and chaos to Syndesia and Arboreus. These travels of horrors can’t be permanent, however, as the demon body gets debilitated over time, eventually forcing them to return home.

Below is a high-level overview of the three families that can be chosen when creating a demon character, each one with its own unique strengths and weaknesses.

Blood Demons (Vampires)

Blood Demon Lineart

Also known as Vampires, Blood Demons are among the most intelligent and cunning creatures in Fractured. Standing slightly taller than the average human, they’re much stronger than what they look like at a glance.

Although Blood Demons thoroughly enjoy drinking the blood of other living creatures, they don’t need to do so in order to survive. However, the taste of human blood – especially that of the pure ones – grants them extraordinary powers for a while, both physical and magical.

Adding to the above, Blood Demons can easily master any type of sorcery, and excel at mental abilities and blood magic, making them even more formidable foes.

Shadow Demons (Nightmares)

Shadow Demon Lineart

Also known as Nightmares, Shadow Demons are the undoubted masters of assassination, helped by the relatively small size of their bodies – no larger than those of humans – that make them the smallest of all demons on Tartaros.

Shadow Demons are agile and evasive creatures, aces of disguise and illusion, naturally proficient in the use of traps and poisons. Attuned to obscurity, they enjoy a wide array of benefits during nighttime or when moving through dark environments.

Hellfire Demons (Infernals)

Hellfire Demon Lineart

Also known as Infernals, Hellfire Demons have gigantic, muscular bodies that endow them with inhuman strength and make them the creatures most feared by humans, beastmen, and other demons alike.

Hellfire Demons are skilled and powerful fighters, generally oblivious of trickeries and battle tactics, whose greatest love is to charge head-first whenever the occasion for a fight arises. Thanks to their innate affinity with fire, they can easily use any fire-related ability and are able to survive in extremely warm environments.

As further bonus to their battle prowess, their racial bonuses get stronger over the course of a tough battle, setting the thick veins that run through the skin of their bodies afire.

Humans: Total free will

One blink, two blinks, then more every second. Mae could see the brief flashes of purple light coming from every street in the dark of the eclipse. The mages were calling it a day and teleporting god-knows where. The town was lost, now that was for sure.

There had been hope before, even when the light of day had started to fade at the wrong hour of the day. They were prepared. The walls surrounding Omenia were strong, and everyone had a great deal of faith in those shining tubes of iron they had put up there on the bastions. They could shoot large spheres of metal right in the middle of the sieging army, the engineers said. And then there was the main door of course, an unbreakable monster of wood and iron. Too heavy to be handled by human or animal power, it was controlled by a massive steam engine – another novelty of the twisted times they lived in, she thought. It could have all worked out, hadn’t she ordered her little rebel unit to murder the technicians and seize control of the engine. Soon after, the main door had swung open, throwing the whole garrison of Omenia into dismay.

Mae turned around to a rumbling sound getting closer to her apartments. They were coming. She could hear the screams of agony of her guards and servants. A bitter sacrifice, but one for a good cause. Bad things must be done at the call of a superior good.

The ravaging beasts that entered the bed chamber found her naked, glaring back at them with impassive green eyes. They were still hungry – always hungry – but didn’t dare to make a step further. They had been ordered not to do so, and while they didn’t always respect orders, that time surely they did. Then they moved to the side, swift and respectful.

Mae watched them pave the way for their master – and soon she made her appearance. She was so beautiful, slim, tall, with shining white eyes that seemed to eat all the light in the room. Mae had waited so long to meet her. Shaking a little – but just a little – she started walking towards her, then broke into a run, ending up straight into her arms. It was a moment of pure joy – no, more, ecstasy! – when she finally felt the teeth slowly descending into the flesh of her neck.


Human Male LineartHuman Female Lineart

Stained by the sin of the Great Betrayal and the ultimate culprits of the chain of events that led to the Fracture, humans are the inhabitant of Syndesia, a poor copy of the glory of Elysium, rich with resources but deprived of all primal energy.

Curious and inquisitive beings by nature, humans often spend their lives trying to gather more knowledge, power, or wealth. Unlike beastmen and demons, they aren’t born with an innate alignment: free will is their biggest privilege, and with it the ability to forge their own destiny.

Together with alignment, humans lack the physical advantages both demons and beastman are born with – but this absence is made even by their ability to delve into any field of knowledge, be it combat-related or magical. Moreover, humans have learnt to design and produce artifacts to enhance their cities, their homes, and ultimately their own bodies – and their technological progress doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

After the Fracture, it didn’t take long for humans to re-establish an organized feudal society on Syndesia. From reigns to regions, from large towns to small villages, the power of territorial authorities is the backbone of human society… although, of course, it’s never been boundless. Banditry is a plague against which the forces of law and order have to fight every day, and it’s a well-known fact there are entire guilds fully dedicated to unlawful activities on Syndesia – one just needs to know where to find them.

Ultimately, it seems the biggest danger for the thriving human civilization is the human heart itself.

DISCUSS