About This Game
In this original mix of strategy and RPG designed by Alexey Bokulev (author of turn-based strategy Eador. Genesis and digital board game Gremlins, Inc.), you will:
Yet your most powerful enemy is neither of those. It is the time itself – the approaching death from old age. Only one thing can save you: the elixir of youth. Several ancient manuscripts mention it in passing... There must be a way to learn the formula. There must be a way to obtain the ingredients... Before it's too late.
THE ANCIENT WARS OF MAGES
A long time ago, powerful mages ruled these lands. They moved rivers, they summoned monsters, they created new races of non-human servants for their own needs and pleasures... They also waged wars. It is one of these wars that brought the whole world to the very brink of collapse. Whole regions burned and mountains melted as thousands of souls screamed in torture. In the end, the great mages completely destroyed each other, and as they died, their final curses tore the land apart, creating anomalies that we nowadays call the Distorted Lands. Places that a few dare to visit. Places where abnormal is the norm.
The suffering of the people following the last war had been so great that once the world cooled down from the violent storms, one of the very first groups to rise from the burning ruins was the order of the Inquisition. Said to be more powerful than the Emperor himself, this order is focused on controlling each and every person who possesses any magic powers – and on hunting down those runaway mages that seek to practice the forbidden skill. To the Inquisition, magic powers are a curse, and any practice of these outside of the strictly licensed guild is a sin punishable by torture and death.
As the troops of the Inquisition were making the first arrests, a new state – the Empire – was proclaimed in the part of the world least touched by the war. Officially, the Empire stretches from the coastline and to the mountains, and, with a number of strongholds, provides protection to the population otherwise besieged by all sorts of rogues. Unofficially, the Empire's influence starts to fade even before you leave the capital's gates, and by the time you're in the wild lands, the decisions of local lords always count so much more than anything that the imperial court may try to impose.
Until recently, you were an ageing mage casting simple spells under the strict control of the Guild. As years passed by, this satisfied you less and less. You started to look for books that held secret knowledge, studying them when no one could see you... until the day of the surprise search in your rooms. Ever since, you've been on the run, escaping the Inquisition by moving to the only region which even they avoid: the Distorted Lands.
Here, on the edge of the wild lands, you cast the forbidden spell for Spire of Sorcery and, tapping into the source of power, erected your new home: a magic fortress bound to you alone. You and the spire are connected so close that when one falls, the other follows. This is the domain that you can never leave. Yet from here you can still explore the whole world – with the help of your disciples.
Build, upgrade and customise rooms of the spire: libraries and herbal gardens, classrooms and prisons, living rooms and monster kennels, laboratories and warehouses, treasury and caverns, observatory and watchtower – your priorities define the capabilities of your spire and shape your strategy of exploration and survival.
As you develop your spire, disciples start to arrive at your door. Some heard your magic Call; some just heard about you from their friends. At first, you don't know much about them except for their looks and what they choose to tell you. With limited number of living rooms in the spire, will you prefer to accept a farmer's daughter distressed by her own magic powers – or a dedicated student of arcane who yearns for new knowledge, even though his skill is on a lesser scale?
Some of these disciples come to you to escape repressions. Some seek the light of wisdom. And some come in the pursuit of greater personal power. As you accept and teach them, you will discover their true personalities and find them fitting roles in your spire. One will become a great explorer, traveling fast and surviving any hardships. Another will become a gifted gardener, and secure your supply of the rarest ingredients. Yet another will become a traitor, trying to poison you.
Select, teach and direct your disciples on the quests inside and outside the spire. Your choice of strategy may yield a few powerful young mages focused on deep research into the elixir of youth – or an army of simpletons excavating artefacts all over the land, looking for the books lost in the ancient wars.
Legends claim that back in the days of the powerful mages, there were spheres that could show you what happened all the way across the mountains – and that through them, you could even converse with others. Nowadays, one hardly knows what happens across the river, as the wild lands are overtaken by rogues and monsters. But perhaps one day you will re-discover these long-lost magic artefacts of the past?
With disciples ready to depart on the quests of your bidding, ancient ruins and abandoned mines will reveal their mysteries to those who survive the expeditions. By sending parties and setting their goals, you will map dwellings, points of interest and sources of power. Your disciples will meet rogues and vagabonds, settlers and lords, animals and monsters. Through the eyes of your students, you will discover the non-human races of the past as well as the few ancient creatures from the pre-war era who continue to prowl in the wild, accumulating greater and great powers.
Explore the open world created anew each time when you start the campaign, charting new lands and deciphering new secrets. Maybe your brightest disciples will go missing in the Distorted Lands, lured by the innocent-looking fluters; or maybe they will befriend the many-handed Librarian and unlock his treasure trove of manuscripts? The story of the campaign is yours to write.
Here in the wild lands, bandits and gangs are a fix of the local landscape. Looking for the weak, they will move to an easier prey once you step up your spire's defense. As to the local dwellers, not everyone appreciates a mage moving in, and quite a few may try to claim the contents of your cellars. Not to mention seasoned adventurers on the mission to raid a castle or two (and make it off with the artefacts).
As your spire gains notoriety, it will start to attract more visitors, including stronger private armies – as well as the troops of the Inquisition, who never forget or forgive. And as your disciples travel the world, other dangers will loom: from illnesses contracted far away on a quest and brought back to the spire by the returning disciples to dangerous spells triggered by the explorers, which can range from having a few ghosts to having to battle a full-blown death curse. Your old age is approaching, too, rendering you fragile... until one day you become too weak to defend the spire.
Survive the immediate dangers while looking for the formula and ingredients of the only thing that can offer you the truly lasting power – the elixir of youth. Whether you find it, craft it or trade it, this is the item that will decide the ultimate success or failure of your campaign!
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