Saturday, 24 May 2014

Weekly Shots - Dale!

(As seen on the MERP UK Facebook group page)

I suggested a look at the Lakelander's first encounter with a troll in this weeks shot collection. Unfortunately, the troll is not in the best of moods and will have to wait a while longer.
Instead, we have a pile of shots of Dale - the focal location of this series which features very heavily in the middle of the Umbral Abyss campaign as a base for the player and the hub for our open-world style section of the campaign.

As can be seen, the exterior look is complete (in the can months ago) and now requires all of the population to be added - not long until we start that off. We have shots from the toolset, as well as from various locations in the city.

The Umbral Abyss takes place over a year after the events of Indanthrine Prince. Whilst the personal quest of the Lakelander is complete (although they begin somewhat "displaced"), the wider threat to the kingdom has escalated - this will accelerate throughout the campaign. Mordor commands the Easterlings to march west, under the banner of a King who has conquered several major tribes, drawing tens of thousands of soldiers under his command. As this overwhelming force gathers and prepares, the battle has in fact, already started.

Skirmishers and assassins have infiltrated the kingdom, sowing chaos and misery wherever they strike. Those of weak will or greedy disposition are swayed by the promise of gold and land, destabilising the rule of the kingdom. Dale is already under attack from within; murder, lies and intrigue are rife - can the Lakelander alert the city and stop those who seek to cut off the city's head before the great tidal wave of Easterlings arrives?

Area Map. This is actually the second version of Dale. I wasn't happy with the first effort, so it was scrapped!

At the small riverdock in Dale.

Although largely rebuilt with the city's share of gold form Smaug's hoard, some ruins still remain.

In the streets.

At the centre of the city.

Many different stalls can be found on the streets.

Outside the city gates.

Outside one of the city's more impressive homes.

Outside the House of Curiosities - a collection of items from the pre-burning era.

View of the Royal quarter from a house top.

In the street.

Outside another of the city gates.

Standing by the stable.

Another view from on high.

In the Royal quarter, standing by the halls of the Kings Counsel.

View from the royal gardens facing north - the south face of the Lonely Mountain.

Approaching the Halls of King Brand of Dale

The King's Halls are neighboured by lush gardens.

In the Kings gardens, where many an intrigue may take place.

View around the gardens.

View from the gardens, facing north.

More from the garden view.

In toolset: The entire area.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

MERP UK on the NWN Podcast

We recently completed an interview on the NWN Podcast with Brian Bloom. Follow the link to have a listen.

Another new companion: Meet Machared

Another companion added and ready to rock. Machared is met during chapter 2 of The Umbral Abyss, should the Lakelander take on a particular line of side quests. I make no secret that Machared is probably a favourite of mine, mainly down to his story progression through the campaign. He is a northman of 83 years, far outliving others of his race. His longevity is seen as miraculous, but those closer to him know the truth. He is a victim of more than one agonising loss and as a result, harbours a deep, eternal hatred of Orcs. He and a band of like-minded Northman live a nomadic lifestyle in the south-east of Rhovanion, hunting down and destroying Orcs wherever they can be found - lately, it has become much easier to find the prey - something has changed, perhaps for the worse...
Included are some shots of Machared in action and interaction with other characters. Also thrown in is Jamot being... well, Jamot...

In the next batch of shots we finally reveal the Lakelander's first encounter with a Troll...

Hacking away.

First encounter.

Speaking with Machared

Extra shot. Gondorian Soldiers practicing.

Jamot gives his opinion.

Machared argues with a Gondorian Commander.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Introducing new companion Lyndsay and Journal changes

(Extended version of two posts on Facebook group page)

Introducing Lyndsay, one of the new possible companions in addition to the companions from IP; Crispin, Ivan Balros and Jamot who all make a return. Lyndsay is a Bard who can prove extremely helpful in and out of combat. When out of the party, he can often be found in the company of many a young lady. He possesses a cheery attitude, often ready to gloss over a bad situation with something he hopes may get a smile or a chuckle; but make no mistake, Lyndsay is a realist. He takes an interest in the plight of the Lakelander, becoming a keen companion, eager to share the same experiences. Being a Bard, the adventures of the Lakelander are of great interest, so he takes it upon himself to start filling in the party journal. More on that in a moment...

Lyndsay announces his plans.
After meeting Lyndsay in Chapter 1 of the Umbral Abyss, he borrows your journal! From that point onwards, all entries are authored by him. We will be providing snippets of his work as we work towards getting this campaign out by (fingers crossed) August or later. Thought this would be a welcome change from the usual style of Journal entries. It also provides a nice narrative of your adventures from a different point of view whilst still able to point the player in the right direction. 

To help with this narrative effort, all entries will stack up together as they are added. So by the time you complete a quest, every single entry you received in the quest will be readable. Obviously this can stand to be a lot of words, so each entry is formatted as so:

The current entry is shown in standard type like this.
The previous entry is shown in italics.
For those wanting a quick brief of what to do, the current entry has this in bold at the bottom.

Obviously, FirstName will be your characters name, He/She... you get the idea...

So, here is a sample entry from Chapter 2 of the campaign.
"It was during our slow but steady voyage upriver away from Yahmul Balotz that I got hold of <FirstName>'s journal whilst <he/she> was getting some well earned rest. I couldn't believe my eyes at the madness <he/she> had been through. <His/Her> home destroyed, loved ones murdered or taken. Easterling, lots of them. Bandits, Orcs, Walking Dead. Dragons! And that creepy Indanthrine Prince fellow who is supposedly still alive. I was sure that staying close to <FirstName> would prove to be an experience like no other - and how right I was to be, even if it all came at a few costs along the way. Worry not, dear readers, for my rambling has come to an end for now. Needless to say, I decided to keep hold of this journal. Lyndsay is just the man to tell everyone about the adventures of <FirstName> and <his/her> companions.

Our journey upriver came to an abrupt halt when we came across a blockade. Thankfully we were outside of Easterling territory and had disembarked somewhere in the south east of Rhovanion - a small farming community called Talath Harroch. The land was being held by Gondor after some agreement reached with Dale. One of the soldiers of Gondor greeted us as we got off the boat. He was rather ill mannered to begin with, but he soon perked up and proved to be quite helpful; that trip on the boat put my head in quite a spin.

Having spoken to the soldier, we learned that we could get some rest in the settlement farther along the roadway. There we could also trade with the merchants, which was much welcomed, as our hands were growing rather full with the spoils of our adventures. The road north of the settlement would take us towards Esgaroth, and beyond that, Dale, where pressing matters would eventually take us.
It seemed that all was not well in the land of Talath Harroch, as we would soon learn. The soldier suggested that we didn't disturb the garrison's Lord Commander Vagaig, but I had a pretty good understanding of <FirstName> by now. It was more than likely <he/she> would seek out this Lord Commander and attempt to intervene."

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Weekly Shots

(As seen on facebook group page)

In this weeks collection of shots, we have a new area to show you, along with a first look at the new Black Uruks; freakishly large and powerful Orcs who have arrived in Rhovanion to assist in weakening the kingdom before the Easterling hordes descend. The Black Uruk is well equipped and disciplined, capable of bearing two handed weapons with shields. They pack a punch and can take it too. It falls to the Lakelander and their companions to drive these monsters back and identify the figure directing them.

The Lakelander comes across a bloody scene in the Wetlands

The Lakelander battles a Black Uruk Beserker

The Lakelander battles a heavily armoured Black Uruk bearing Greatsword and Tower Shield

The Lakelander examines the area