Shadow Realm – campaign

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Home Forums Modding and Map Making Shadow Realm – campaign

This topic contains 213 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Refineus 3 years, 10 months ago.

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  • #257467

    Hiliadan
    Member

    Details on the “Campaign” section of the Wikia page about the Shadow Realm Community Expansion: http://age-of-wonders-3.wikia.com/wiki/User_blog:Hiliadan/Shadow_Realm_Community_Expansion#Campaign (will be updated regularly)

    Refineus said he would be interested to help develop a campaign for the incoming Shadow Realm Community Expansion.
    In this topic, we should discuss the story of the expansion, its goal, its content (maps, characters…), etc.

    #257469

    Hiliadan
    Member

    First draft of ideas from Refineus:

    ¤ Introduction of the shadow world, exploration, shadowelves ,etc
    ¤ The armies within shadow world is defecting and rebels. (Possible escaping)
    ¤ Shadowgate is once more open, whoever the threat will be a thing to counter. Battle can take place in the ruins of Sunbirth city.

    Ideas from me:
    I think the campaign should not happen only on the Shadow Realm. It should probably also involve Shadow Demons in Athla, maybe sent by the dark force lurking in the Shadow Realm, and discovered by Dark Elves in the depths of Athla, leading the Dark Elves to emerge and re-establish contacts with the rest of the world after many centuries of isolation. It could then feature Dark Elves and Shadow Elf emissaries on the surface.
    Characters should involve Shadow Elf protagonists listed here: http://age-of-wonders-3.wikia.com/wiki/User_blog:Hiliadan/Shadow_Realm_Community_Expansion#Heroes_.2F_leaders (coming back from AoW2 or even before that). Characters from the AoW3 campaign should probably return too or what happen to them should be narrated through news from far away reaching the ears of the protagonists of the SR campaign.

    That’s just some brainstorm. I’m eager to read what Drax will think about all this.

    #257473

    Refineus
    Member

    I might as well write something.

    To be logical, I believe the forces of Meandor and allies included are located not far from the portal inside shadow realms. I’m not sure how much developement in infrastructure there should be in the world of shadows.

    Questions I might think of.
    ¤ Do roads have a place in Shadow realm? (Nature can also be untouched, however leaders will have a difficult time to traverse the lands fast)
    ¤ Which races have a given place in the shadow realm? (Highelfs I do not consider at all because of, well dark elves and shadow elves)

    The big no no is XL maps. They are heavy and time comsuming. And in my opinion a waste of time. (Possible, yet they have no place) XL maps do look impressive, downside they provide slow gameplay.

    In order to actually have something. I made serveral solutions in map we can discuss.

    Map Athla

    View post on imgur.com

    #257476

    Hiliadan
    Member

    ¤ Which races have a given place in the shadow realm? (Highelfs I do not consider at all because of, well dark elves and shadow elves)

    The big no no is XL maps.

    As described on the Wikia, only Archons, Shadow Elves and Draconians do not sufer from Shadow Sickness (in terms of “races” and “minor races”). So in theory we should not find any other races on the SR, except a few small groups of units from any races, but they would not feel well in the SR.

    I totally agree with the XL maps and in fact, I think the first map should be Small. Better to do a Small map very well and be sure to finish it than a Large map badly and take the risk of never finishing it because it’s too much work.
    I know many single players love larger maps so maybe the 2nd map could be Large. But at the same time, with 3 layers, even a Medium map would be quite big. My personal preference would be for Medium and Small maps. But we should probably have a Large one too to please players.

    I’m not very clear how to read your image. It shows only option 1 actually, right? The others are not illustrated, right?
    So do you mean you do not have the graphic skills to draw a new map? It would be necessary to have a background map of the SR I think, so we need to find a solution for that.

    #257477

    Refineus
    Member

    There is only one picture filled with various solution. One is illustrated, teqniqally. The rest of solutions are only mentioned.

    I dont draw anything particular, a custom made map from me would be a disater. Maybe someone with good knowledge how to draw something. I can alter the current map, and make solutions from it. It’s hard to actually create a new one inclined with same triumph-style.

    The style of maps in shadow realm will be looking like this. In this screenshots, a portal can be seen. Remember this is templates how things can be shown.

    First map is in medium size and can actually grow in size or stay small. Maps needs to be interchangeable and flexible.

    Map one NW

    View post on imgur.com


    SR 1

    Map one W

    View post on imgur.com


    SR 2

    Map one Center core, also portal of shadow realm to Athla.

    View post on imgur.com


    SR 3

    Map one E of Center

    View post on imgur.com


    SR 4

    Map one N

    View post on imgur.com


    SR 5

    Mao one SE

    View post on imgur.com


    SR 6

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 9 months ago by  Refineus.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 9 months ago by  Refineus. Reason: Spelling check
    #257480

    Refineus
    Member

    Posted by Gloweye in the other thread.

    As for the campaign….I seriously have no idea what kind of story we could make there. I think a good one could involve:
    Level 1: Someone encountering the shadow realm, entering it and finding the Shadow Elves. This happens with the shadowborn playing a role, since they opened the gate.
    Level 2: We play some shadow elf leader
    Level 3: stuff happens, Shadowborn are Evil, more stuff ?

    There could be a possibilities to add something from this. “Someone” could be from the torchbearers or a shadowborn agent.

    As described on the Wikia, only Archons, Shadow Elves and Draconians do not sufer from Shadow Sickness (in terms of “races” and “minor races”). So in theory we should not find any other races on the SR, except a few small groups of units from any races, but they would not feel well in the SR.

    Adding wandering units are possibilities, cities however could be very limitied. At some point if someone enter or leave shadow realm it’s crucial to actually have a clear set of races. Can ghouled cities be a option?

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 9 months ago by  Refineus.
    #257492

    Gloweye
    Member

    IIRC, there’s undead in there. You thinking about independent ghoul cities ? that could work for the campaigns. Occasionally.

    Shouldn’t be any semblance of a majority tho. Also, Undead were regarded as overwhelmingly evil in the earlier games.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 9 months ago by  Gloweye.
    #257495

    Refineus
    Member

    I’m thinking of ghoul cities overall.

    I made an XLM document compiled of 65 city names and fortress names, so far for Shadow Elves. Given that city names were left out according to the wikia, in section still to be done. I can give Archons a go also.

    Also given that I can do some translation in to russian aswell. I do know the the cyrillic structure of russian, but only speak partly the language itself.

    #257496

    Gloweye
    Member

    Nah, mostly undead doesn’t seem like a good idea if you ask me. Also, we can’t really do that in the RMG, and I don’t want it to play completely different. Of course, if everyone else really likes it, it’s probably OK, but the Undead that marched into the Shadow Realm was an overwhelming minority.

    I think it’s a better idea to leave the land uncivilized in general – enough treasure sites, mostly dangerous ones. There’ll have to be a surface layer, otherwise stuff could get boring.

    And somebody has to be getting into the Shadow World from Athla, so that can be a multi-race army to spice things up a bit.

    #257497

    Hiliadan
    Member

    Very nice for the city and fortress’ names! Could you please give me your Dropbox account? I’ll add you to the Dropbox so that you can share it there and also get access to the content we already created.

    Speaking of that content, you will need to use the Shadow Gates already designed (see the Wikia). You may add stuff around them as you did in the screenshot but the main gate needs to be the same, to have a coherent experience.

    Regarding Undeads, Meandor is a Necromancer after all, so it’s likely that there will be a significant number of Undeads and Ghouled cities, at least in some maps where he will appear.

    #257499

    Refineus
    Member

    Indeed real shadow gate should be used. I created a template and placeholders currently.

    I have dropbox account here, should work hopefully: gladen.beetle@gmail.com

    I was thinking of giving Meandor a similiar role as Saridas, dedicated faction leader. Meandor can be an ally role to hero of the story.

    #257501

    Gloweye
    Member

    Best way to convince Meandor to Ally is to have Julia on your side. I.E., you’ll have to make the main character a Torchbearer.

    #257509

    Draxynnic
    Member

    I’m inclined to agree with Gloweye – Meandor should play a role, but probably shouldn’t be a player character this time around.

    First, let’s put together what came before with what our assumptions have been thus far:

    The ‘canonical’ ending of Eternal Lords has Werlac having just opened the Shadow Gate while being stared down by the armies of the Frostlings, the Halflings, the Commonwealth, and the Elven Court. All of the factions involved are waiting for something to come through the gate.

    Our assumption, though, is that the Shadow Elves and Archons, between them, have essentially formed a ‘ring’ around Athla. Whatever it is that Werlac is waiting for can’t come through (yet) because of those defenses.

    So here’s an idea for the starting scenario:

    Under the influence of the Torchbearers, the various non-Shadowborn factions are now standing off against the Shadowborn. Werlac waits triumphantly for the Wizard Kings to return, and… nothing happens. After a while, Werlac grows impatient waiting and leads the majority of his army into the Shadow Realm, leaving Vervlukt the Foulmouthed to hold the line. The other factions issue an ultimatum to allow their representatives into the Shadow Realm as well. Vervlukt, naturally, refuses (in a foulmouthed manner), starting the scenario with an assault on the Shadowborn defences of the Shadow Gate.

    Since the Shadow Gate is located underground, each of the allied factions is represented by the races among that faction most suited to being underground. The Commonwealth contingent is a mix of dwarfs and orcs, possibly lead by Sulthor Nightblade if we want that callback, but a dreadnought such as Argula Ironheart or Drugal the Stout might be a more characterful option for the Commonwealth (note to self – double-check that it’s at least possible for Drugal to have survived in the canonical timeline). The Frostlings might be represented by Rowlar or by Arvik. The Court contingent, commanded by the player, mostly consists of draconians (although there might be orcs and/or goblins as well) under a draconian leader – possibly Reskar, possibly Rish Kyan or Zerti, or possibly some other draconian leader we invent for the campaign. The assault (presumably) succeeds, and the alliance gains access to the Shadow Gate. At which point, a bunch of messages fire off, to the effect that since it is known that draconians fare better than other Athlan natives in the Shadow World, the player should spearhead the assault into the unknown.

    The second part of the scenario then has the player lead an army into the Shadow Realm, overcoming Werlac’s vanguard and other dangers of the Shadow Realm, but Werlac himself always seems to be just ahead of the player. As you push forward, you learn that Werlac has besieged a fortress in the Shadow Realm. Deciding that this is the best place to get some answers (and that an enemy of Werlac is a potential ally), the player hits the besieging forces from behind, lifting the siege, and meeting with the Shadow Elf character who will take center stage in the next scenario.

    As the two characters (and any others that might get involved) are exchanging pleasantries, however, word breaks through that Werlac has made it through the line elsewhere… and, in fact, it looks suspiciously like the Shadow Elf garrison there let him through without a fight.

    (Have a few different ideas of directions where the story could go from there, but I’ve run out of time for posting for the time being so that will have to wait.)

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 9 months ago by  Draxynnic.
    #257511

    Draxynnic
    Member

    Okay, so I’ve got a bit more time now, so…

    Two things strike me in terms of thinking about where the campaign could go:

    First, it would make sense for the finale to involve preventing Werlac from pulling off some kind of doomsday ritual.

    Second, Eternal Lords never made use of the beacon victory.

    So, here’s a possible direction the story could go from the above scenario:

    On being dispatched to investigate how Werlac’s forces got through, the player’s expedition encounters an archon dwelling close to the suspect location. The archons inform the player that Werlac promised that the Shadow Elves there would be granted significant holdings back on Athla if they cooperated. In response, the rebellious Shadow Elves are subjugated, but in doing so, you learn that there are new portals that have been opened back to Athla.

    Those you immediately have access to lead to the Frostling lands, where Werlac has offered the clans there that he can bring Artica back – those that accepted joined Werlac’s traitorous Shadow Elves in attacking the others. This, however, was only part of Werlac’s purpose here – an enclave of Dark Elves is found beneath the city, whom Werlac made a similar offer to bring back Arachne. (If we don’t include the Dark Elves, this could be an undead faction, substituting Nekron for Arachne.) In the aftermath, we learn the full extent of Werlac’s plan – he intends to build giant beacons to the Wizard Kings that focus the devotions of their former subjects into the Shadow Realm, creating an irresistible summons to bring those Wizard Kings to Athla.

    The Archons confirm that Werlac’s ritual would likely grab the attention of the Wizard Kings, but fortunately, they have sensed the center of Werlac’s efforts. Far to the south of the Blessed Continent, in the heart of the Tigran empire, the head of the Cult of Yaka is working towards building a set of beacons – one to Yaka in his own domain, but is also coordinating populations of High Elves, Draconians, and Goblins to construct beacons to Serena, Tempest, and Mab respectively. Meandor and Merlin estimate that between them they can hold off two Wizard-Kings, but if a third is summoned into the fray, they would be overwhelmed.

    Two possible routes to victory are discussed. While the Tigrans are the most powerful of the groups, it may be possible to overwhelm the cults of Serena, Tempest, and Mab. Destroying any two of these cults will prevent more than two of the Wizard Kings from entering the field, or at least force the Shadowborn to start from scratch, allowing time to achieve a conventional military victory. Alternatively, the Archons explain how similar beacons can be constructed to block the signal – if beacons are constructed that signify the desire of at least three races that the Wizard Kings never come back, then this will block the signal altogether, as long as the beacons are constructed nearby (or in the corresponding region of the Shadow World). Either way, the only way that an intervention force can arrive in time is through the Shadow Realm – placing the player in the position of attacking from the Shadow Realm.

    (We could even make this something of an inversion of the final Shadow Magic mission, constructing the map in such a way (possibly using impassable mountains) to suggest that there is actually a significant distance between each cult, and that using the Shadow Realm is the only practical means to travel the distances between the cults. Before you can get this advantage, though, you first need to seize the nexus from Werlac and his remaining traitorous Shadow Elves…)

    #257512

    Hiliadan
    Member

    I really like your ideas Drax! 🙂 The main storyline looks good and interesting. The idea of the Beacon Victory at the end with Beacons used for a big ritual is also very exciting.

    I am a bit disturbed by two things:
    1/ it’s probably because I don’t understand the lore very well but… why would we want to keep the Wizard Kings away? At least as a player, I’d love to get Mab & co back! 😀 So isn’t it possible to change the enemy and make it a darker force and not the Wizards? Maybe on the contrary, we may want to use the Beacons on the end scenario to call back some Wizards while Werlack is trying to summon the darker force?
    2/ related to 1/: in the lore of the Shadow Elves, it’s written: “Shortly afterwards, delegations from this initial wave returned to Athla, requesting assistance from Athla’s wizards in claiming other worlds that had been discovered in the Shadow World.” and then “While those who know the truth have not spoken on it, it is clear that something went wrong. Within fifty years, as viewed from Athla, and possibly over a thousand from the perspective of those in the Shadow World, most of the wizards that had entered the Shadow World had been lost.” so it seems it’s not the Wizards themselves that are the threat but rather an external forces which eliminated the Wizards or banned them far away. But this threat is not mentioned at all in the current story of the SR campaign? The Shadow Demons are also absent from the current story.

    I think when we introduce back the Shadow Demons, we can link them to the Dark Elves as they could explain why the Dark Elves re-appear, as I suggested here:

    I think the campaign should not happen only on the Shadow Realm. It should probably also involve Shadow Demons in Athla, maybe sent by the dark force lurking in the Shadow Realm, and discovered by Dark Elves in the depths of Athla, leading the Dark Elves to emerge and re-establish contacts with the rest of the world after many centuries of isolation. It could then feature Dark Elves and Shadow Elf emissaries on the surface.

    #257518

    Draxynnic
    Member

    1/ it’s probably because I don’t understand the lore very well but… why would we want to keep the Wizard Kings away? At least as a player, I’d love to get Mab & co back! So isn’t it possible to change the enemy and make it a darker force and not the Wizards? Maybe on the contrary, we may want to use the Beacons on the end scenario to call back some Wizards while Werlack is trying to summon the darker force?

    There’s a few layers to this, but the basic layer is: The entire plot of the Shadowborn is to bring the Wizard Kings back to Athla while also weakening Athla’s defences sufficiently that the people of Athla can’t resist them. If you take the ‘good’ route of either campaign, the characters discover that the Shadowborn aren’t just trying to pit the Court and the Commonwealth against one another, they’re also trying to call the Wizard Kings back to Athla. If you take the ‘evil’ routes, you see the end result of the Shadowborn plotting when it succeeds – the remaining nations of Athla falling to an overwhelming force, late in the life of the primary character (Evil Sundren does the better job of holding them off, but it’s not enough).

    A somewhat deeper layer is that picked those four Wizard Kings for the finale for a reason. The six wizard-kings that threatened to destroy the world in AoW2 – and which were then captured by Shadow Demons in Shadow Magic – were Serena (Wood Elves), Tempest (Draconians), Nimue (Humans), Yaka (Tigrans), Mab (Goblins), and Nekron (Undead). Those are the ones that are probably bad news regardless of what has happened in the Shadow World between games, and it’s noteworthy that it’s that group that the Shadowborn seem to have been focusing on. Therefore, presenting those as the big bads that need to be warded off makes sense. I’ve left Nimue out because her connection with humans was always tenuous and it makes sense that there’d be no humans left in Athla that worship her, and Nekron because bringing undead into a beacon victory scenario would be… complicated.

    Some of the other Wizard-Kings could well be beneficial, were they to return. Karissa (Orcs), Anon (Archons), Fangir (Dwarfs) and Marinus (Halflings) were generally loyal to Merlin and his goals, although some of those may have remained on Athla and may no longer be Wizards. Artica (Frostlings) and Arachne (Dark Elves) less so, but still helped Merlin against the traitors in the end. And then there’s some of the surviving Shadow Magic wizards, particularly the syron ones. With that group, however, we can pretty confidently say that their return would be bad news.

    2/ related to 1/: in the lore of the Shadow Elves, it’s written: “Shortly afterwards, delegations from this initial wave returned to Athla, requesting assistance from Athla’s wizards in claiming other worlds that had been discovered in the Shadow World.” and then “While those who know the truth have not spoken on it, it is clear that something went wrong. Within fifty years, as viewed from Athla, and possibly over a thousand from the perspective of those in the Shadow World, most of the wizards that had entered the Shadow World had been lost.” so it seems it’s not the Wizards themselves that are the threat but rather an external forces which eliminated the Wizards or banned them far away. But this threat is not mentioned at all in the current story of the SR campaign? The Shadow Demons are also absent from the current story.

    This was me hedging my bets, in part because the alternate histories in the original campaign didn’t happen. “Lost” can mean “lost to being corrupted by the enemy” rather than simply being misplaced (or killed, for that matter).

    There is precedent for this – multiple wizards were enslaved by the Shadow Demons in Shadow Magic, and there might be worse out there than the Shadow Demons who could do the same. Or it’s possible that what actually made Meandor and Merlin so desperate was that the wizards were coming back, more powerful and ambitious than ever. We don’t know, but as I noted above, using the wizards that were the bad guys in AoW2 seems like a safe bet. We don’t know exactly what’s going on with them, but if Yaka et al were to return, the odds are against it being a good thing for Athla.

    #257522

    lordoflinks
    Member

    If the first mission is going to be using the underground a lot, that seems like an excellent opportunity to introduce the Dark Elves in some way and I think it would be really cool if the campaign could incorporate that dwelling.

    #257525

    Refineus
    Member

    I joined the dropbox content and also uploaded city names for Shadow elves, Dark Elves, Archons in a XLM file. It consist of 130 names in total for cities, dwellings, and fortresses in the mods/shadow realm.

    I will look in to this eighter tomorrow or friday when I have more time.

    #257526

    Hiliadan
    Member

    Ok it makes sense for the 4 Wizards you picked, but then it needs to be explained clearly in the campaign. It also leaves space for the player to try to bring back the other Wizards you mention.
    But it would still be good if we could find a place for the Shadow Demons! 😛 And same for the Dark Elves, especially since the first mission is UG as Lordoflinks pointed out.

    On a technical side, is it possible for us to also do multiple archs? That would be great to have 1 arch where you try to help Werlac, and another where you oppose him.

    Waiting for Refineus’ feedback on Drax’ proposal and I’ll add the ideas on the Wiki.

    The six wizard-kings that threatened to destroy the world in AoW2 – and which were then captured by Shadow Demons in Shadow Magic –

    Why is that? Were the Shadow Demons actually trying to protect Athla? We could reproduce something similar this time maybe: Shadow Demons working against the Shadowborn, or for them. Or Shadow Demons working totally independently, and just another threat in parallel to the Shadowborns.
    That would also be great if there could be some kind of twist in the campaign, like: at the beginning, you believe the main threat are the Shadow Demons as reports from their invasion in the underground starts to appear, and you go in an extermination mission, only to realize they’re actually only a minor threat and the main issue is that Werlac is conspiring to bring back the bad Wizards. Your idea for the Shadow Elves that play a double game is interesting too and other stuff like this would be great.

    #257528

    Gloweye
    Member

    I joined the dropbox content and also uploaded city names for Shadow elves, Dark Elves, Archons in a XLM file. It consist of 130 names in total for cities, dwellings, and fortresses in the mods/shadow realm.

    I will look in to this eighter tomorrow or friday when I have more time.

    Already got Dark Elf city names. Like 30 of them, so that’s plenty.

    On a technical side, is it possible for us to also do multiple archs? That would be great to have 1 arch where you try to help Werlac, and another where you oppose him.

    Would be more effort, but it’s certainly possible.

    Why is that? Were the Shadow Demons actually trying to protect Athla?

    That’s…not a plotline you want to write upon. There’s a reason nobody talks about it in AoW3. (the story sucked bad.). I think the best explanation possible would be because they already contacted shadow demons or something, because otherwise it because “cuz im evil, duh”.

    Personally, I think it’s completely rational to fight shadow demons whereever you find them – the fears should still be nested deep into the people of Athla. However, an end big bad of the Wizards sounds feasable as well. Might as well make them a Shadowlord Specialization that immunes their units to Shadow Sickness, or bestows other such boosts. Could be campaign exclusive, even :).

    #257530

    Draxynnic
    Member

    The Shadow Demons never looked to help anything but themselves. Part of how they operate is capturing Wizards so that they can make use of their magic, either enslaving them so that the Wizard fights for them, or for those that have a strong enough will to resist attempts to mind-control them, they simply imprison and drain the magic from.

    As a quick overview of the previous games: the storyline of the basic AoW2 was that a group of wizards decided that they didn’t like the direction that the world was going, and their solution to this was to summon back Inioch’s soul to be the new leader of the Circle (in place of Merlin, who was the designated heir to the previous leader). This involved such powerful magic that it ripped the veil between Athla and realms beyond asunder. While the exact timeline and sequence of events is not entirely clear, it’s quite plausible that it was due to these events that the Shadow Demons made their way to Athla.

    Certainly, the original strike by the Shadow Demons was at the Circle of Evermore, and both Merlin and the traitor wizards he defeated were captured by the Shadow Demons. Merlin was the big prize, but he resisted doing the bidding for the Shadow Demons, so they basically used him as a magic battery until he was rescued. The traitor wizards, on the other hand, were used by the Shadow Demons as guards on Merlin’s prison. From memory, it’s unclear whether the traitor wizards were working with the Shadow Demons willingly or simply because they were mind-controlled, but as you defeat them in the scenario, Merlin points out why each one is a nasty piece of work.

    Regarding the role of the Shadow Demons in our campaign:

    Personally, I’m a bit leery of trying to present them as the major antagonists for the player when we’re only implementing them at a very basic level: only four units of their own, and no structures that can be made available to an AI leader to employ them. Because of this, it seems that the only way we’d really be able to implement them as a major threat in their own right is either by having a lot of spawning structures that generate them (although having scenarios based on clearing out the shadow demon equivalent of Haunted Graveyards may not be the most fulfilling) or by finding some arbitrary means of giving a significant Shadow Demon force to an enemy leader. Until we have a full implementation of the Shadow Demons, I think it’s better to have roaming shadow demons as one of the threats in the Shadow World, but the main antagonists should be enemy leaders and their forces. We can imply that the Shadow Demons might be involved in what is happening, but we just don’t have a good means of properly representing a Shadow Demon hive.

    (Incidentally, my computer’s suffered a significant malfunction, so depending on how well I’m able to sort it out and whether I can get one of my older computers to work in the meantime, I might have a period where it’s not practical for me to make replies, or at least not anything that wouldn’t be practical on a phone.)

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 9 months ago by  Draxynnic.
    #257534

    Hiliadan
    Member

    I hope your computer will be repaired soon! 🙂

    Personally, I’m a bit leery of trying to present them as the major antagonists for the player when we’re only implementing them at a very basic level: only four units of their own, and no structures that can be made available to an AI leader to employ them.

    Until we have a full implementation of the Shadow Demons, I think it’s better to have roaming shadow demons as one of the threats in the Shadow World, but the main antagonists should be enemy leaders and their forces.

    Yes, I agree with you and they should NOT be the main threat. What I was suggesting is that the player is led to believe they are at the beginning but he soon realizes he went the wrong way and the real threat is Werlac, and he wasted time pursuing a threat that is only minor. That matches well with our current implementation of the Shadow Demons. So it could indeed be spawners on the UG, and the rest on the Shadow Realm.
    We could also have a faction of the Shadow Elves (led by an AD) who managed to tame enough Demons to create a small army of them.

    We could easily add a building to build Shadow Demons to some AI players (in their cities) if we need to.

    #257537

    HousePet
    Member

    Without actually knowing what happened to the other Wizard Kings or exactly why Merlin Shadow Locked the whole of Athla makes this a little tricky. Merlin gives a small clue in torchbearer endings. I can’t even remember the name…
    On the plus side, if we keep the real threat vague we don’t have to worry about getting the models looking right. 😀

    I’d say that the biggest threat of a beacon to summon the old Wizard Kings back home is what might come back with them, or also see the beacon. The biggest threat is an unknown but apparently apocalyptic situation that must be avoided. In between there is room for Shadow Demon infestations, random betrayals and mad wizards.

    #257540

    Gloweye
    Member

    I think it’s a good idea to get some Mad Wizards in there anyway. We could just be a bit vague about whether they’re the true danger or there is something behind them all. Give them some Shadow Demons in their armies, but never tell them who’s actually whose boss.

    Also, there could be some Elder Eldtriches out there. Werlac did conjure them from a Shadow Gate after all.

    #257541

    Refineus
    Member

    The ‘canonical’ ending of Eternal Lords has Werlac having just opened the Shadow Gate while being stared down by the armies of the Frostlings, the Halflings, the Commonwealth, and the Elven Court. All of the factions involved are waiting for something to come through the gate.

    Our assumption, though, is that the Shadow Elves and Archons, between them, have essentially formed a ‘ring’ around Athla. Whatever it is that Werlac is waiting for can’t come through (yet) because of those defenses.

    So here’s an idea for the starting scenario:

    Under the influence of the Torchbearers, the various non-Shadowborn factions are now standing off against the Shadowborn. Werlac waits triumphantly for the Wizard Kings to return, and… nothing happens. After a while, Werlac grows impatient waiting and leads the majority of his army into the Shadow Realm, leaving Vervlukt the Foulmouthed to hold the line. The other factions issue an ultimatum to allow their representatives into the Shadow Realm as well. Vervlukt, naturally, refuses (in a foulmouthed manner), starting the scenario with an assault on the Shadowborn defences of the Shadow Gate.

    The second part of the scenario then has the player lead an army into the Shadow Realm, overcoming Werlac’s vanguard and other dangers of the Shadow Realm, but Werlac himself always seems to be just ahead of the player. As you push forward, you learn that Werlac has besieged a fortress in the Shadow Realm. Deciding that this is the best place to get some answers (and that an enemy of Werlac is a potential ally), the player hits the besieging forces from behind, lifting the siege, and meeting with the Shadow Elf character who will take center stage in the next scenario.

    As the two characters (and any others that might get involved) are exchanging pleasantries, however, word breaks through that Werlac has made it through the line elsewhere… and, in fact, it looks suspiciously like the Shadow Elf garrison there let him through without a fight.

    (Have a few different ideas of directions where the story could go from there, but I’ve run out of time for posting for the time being so that will have to wait.)

    This could be a first scenario actually. Werlac entering the shadow realm, this gives us an opportunity to actually introduce Dark Elfs in underground areas.

    It’s also possible to split this in to the second mission.

    Since the Shadow Gate is located underground, each of the allied factions is represented by the races among that faction most suited to being underground. The Commonwealth contingent is a mix of dwarfs and orcs, possibly lead by Sulthor Nightblade if we want that callback, but a dreadnought such as Argula Ironheart or Drugal the Stout might be a more characterful option for the Commonwealth (note to self – double-check that it’s at least possible for Drugal to have survived in the canonical timeline). The Frostlings might be represented by Rowlar or by Arvik. The Court contingent, commanded by the player, mostly consists of draconians (although there might be orcs and/or goblins as well) under a draconian leader – possibly Reskar, possibly Rish Kyan or Zerti, or possibly some other draconian leader we invent for the campaign. The assault (presumably) succeeds, and the alliance gains access to the Shadow Gate. At which point, a bunch of messages fire off, to the effect that since it is known that draconians fare better than other Athlan natives in the Shadow World, the player should spearhead the assault into the unknown.

    I did not actually know that the shadow portal were underground. This is important to define.

    Regarding allied factions mixing of representation.
    Sulthor, I’m not sure actually. His intentions is a bit unclear. Even if its not in commonwealth canon part of campaign mission “slaying the false god” he actually betrays you a.k.a “Commonwealth”. Dwemus the dwarf I’m not sure eighter because he is only featured in the non-canon ending as replacement for Laryssa.

    About, Drugal the Stout. What you meen out of survival I guess you spoke of the first mission of Elven court. From what I understand Elven court is supposed to be more canon than Commonwealth which then I believe he actually survived. After all if Yzzo the rat survived the council and then later were featured in Golden realms last mission and Voraditius Pontifex Maximus survived in to the third mission of Elven court. Possible. However, I do not know if Hengevolt regardless occured or not when Drugal, Gustav and Svengir happen to mess with Edward and Valery. However as you mentioned he could be featured, if he supposed to survived in the aow timeline.

    Argula Ironheart, can be a good option.

    What about the Dwarf in service of Leonus? Baradir the Bald is also a commonwealth.

    Should Valery be feautured? She leaves Edward in the mission of “Matters of duty” as I recall she it not seen again, ever.

    What’s Arviks role in terms of representing what actually, Eternal lord is finishing the storyline allying with Werlac. This is abit unclear how it’s supposed to actually progress in Shadow realm. I will problaby play Eternal lords campaing once more, to see where the events lead again. Werlacs role is a bit fuzzy with Arvik and then being shadowborn, and Arvik with frostlings may turn out to be a different depending on how we progress.

    But I like how you think, storywise.

    Then we need to see were Torchbearers stand in this assualt. I think I read somewhere that Rowlar is Torchbearer. His role in this leading Tigran or Frostlings. If he is with Arvik then how he is standing towards Edward, Laryssa, Nomlik, Reskar, Sundren, etc.

    Risk Kyan and Zerti, are a little to generic and with no real background other then being with involed with Elven court.

    First, it would make sense for the finale to involve preventing Werlac from pulling off some kind of doomsday ritual.

    Second, Eternal Lords never made use of the beacon victory.

    So, here’s a possible direction the story could go from the above scenario:

    On being dispatched to investigate how Werlac’s forces got through, the player’s expedition encounters an archon dwelling close to the suspect location. The archons inform the player that Werlac promised that the Shadow Elves there would be granted significant holdings back on Athla if they cooperated. In response, the rebellious Shadow Elves are subjugated, but in doing so, you learn that there are new portals that have been opened back to Athla.

    Those you immediately have access to lead to the Frostling lands, where Werlac has offered the clans there that he can bring Artica back – those that accepted joined Werlac’s traitorous Shadow Elves in attacking the others. This, however, was only part of Werlac’s purpose here – an enclave of Dark Elves is found beneath the city, whom Werlac made a similar offer to bring back Arachne. (If we don’t include the Dark Elves, this could be an undead faction, substituting Nekron for Arachne.) In the aftermath, we learn the full extent of Werlac’s plan – he intends to build giant beacons to the Wizard Kings that focus the devotions of their former subjects into the Shadow Realm, creating an irresistible summons to bring those Wizard Kings to Athla.

    The Archons confirm that Werlac’s ritual would likely grab the attention of the Wizard Kings, but fortunately, they have sensed the center of Werlac’s efforts. Far to the south of the Blessed Continent, in the heart of the Tigran empire, the head of the Cult of Yaka is working towards building a set of beacons – one to Yaka in his own domain, but is also coordinating populations of High Elves, Draconians, and Goblins to construct beacons to Serena, Tempest, and Mab respectively. Meandor and Merlin estimate that between them they can hold off two Wizard-Kings, but if a third is summoned into the fray, they would be overwhelmed.

    Two possible routes to victory are discussed. While the Tigrans are the most powerful of the groups, it may be possible to overwhelm the cults of Serena, Tempest, and Mab. Destroying any two of these cults will prevent more than two of the Wizard Kings from entering the field, or at least force the Shadowborn to start from scratch, allowing time to achieve a conventional military victory. Alternatively, the Archons explain how similar beacons can be constructed to block the signal – if beacons are constructed that signify the desire of at least three races that the Wizard Kings never come back, then this will block the signal altogether, as long as the beacons are constructed nearby (or in the corresponding region of the Shadow World). Either way, the only way that an intervention force can arrive in time is through the Shadow Realm – placing the player in the position of attacking from the Shadow Realm.

    (We could even make this something of an inversion of the final Shadow Magic mission, constructing the map in such a way (possibly using impassable mountains) to suggest that there is actually a significant distance between each cult, and that using the Shadow Realm is the only practical means to travel the distances between the cults. Before you can get this advantage, though, you first need to seize the nexus from Werlac and his remaining traitorous Shadow Elves…)

    In my opinion this is the way to go with a second or third scenario. However, bringing back the old wizards can be a possibility. I like however the Werlacs doomsday approach.

    1/ it’s probably because I don’t understand the lore very well but… why would we want to keep the Wizard Kings away? At least as a player, I’d love to get Mab & co back! So isn’t it possible to change the enemy and make it a darker force and not the Wizards? Maybe on the contrary, we may want to use the Beacons on the end scenario to call back some Wizards while Werlack is trying to summon the darker force?

    Recreation of wizard leaders has been tried by people on steam mods a couple of time with various result and most of the mods have in common that they dont represent their former wizards very well when made in to leaders. However this can be achieved by altering them in to humans and still have them lead there former races. On thing to be vary of is that the result out of wizard leading halfling/goblin/dwarf is small, however I have not tried this. Karyssa, Nimue and Yaka can be redone without problem and still have orcs, humans and Tigran race.

    A somewhat deeper layer is that picked those four Wizard Kings for the finale for a reason. The six wizard-kings that threatened to destroy the world in AoW2 – and which were then captured by Shadow Demons in Shadow Magic – were Serena (Wood Elves), Tempest (Draconians), Nimue (Humans), Yaka (Tigrans), Mab (Goblins), and Nekron (Undead). Those are the ones that are probably bad news regardless of what has happened in the Shadow World between games, and it’s noteworthy that it’s that group that the Shadowborn seem to have been focusing on. Therefore, presenting those as the big bads that need to be warded off makes sense. I’ve left Nimue out because her connection with humans was always tenuous and it makes sense that there’d be no humans left in Athla that worship her, and Nekron because bringing undead into a beacon victory scenario would be… complicated.

    Some of the other Wizard-Kings could well be beneficial, were they to return. Karissa (Orcs), Anon (Archons), Fangir (Dwarfs) and Marinus (Halflings) were generally loyal to Merlin and his goals, although some of those may have remained on Athla and may no longer be Wizards. Artica (Frostlings) and Arachne (Dark Elves) less so, but still helped Merlin against the traitors in the end. And then there’s some of the surviving Shadow Magic wizards, particularly the syron ones. With that group, however, we can pretty confidently say that their return would be bad news.

    If someone made for say, stasis cells which represent wizards in entrapped crystals and then Werlacs mission lies within destruction of this. Were your mission is to prevent this with the help och Shadowelves? Then maybe we do not have to seek involement at all on actual wizard in human form. In a state of theory this could be a way to discuss a goal. Inspired by the scenario “Pentacraz” in Shadowmagic, the All-devourer made a ridicoulus thing.

    “The world wept when five mighty wizards mysteriously disappeared. It was the All-devourer, coming out of nowhere fast, kidnapping the five good wizards and entrapping them in a place as remote as it is unknown. Now, it is time for them to ally and escape the shadow demon’s vile clutches.”

    This was me hedging my bets, in part because the alternate histories in the original campaign didn’t happen. “Lost” can mean “lost to being corrupted by the enemy” rather than simply being misplaced (or killed, for that matter).

    There is precedent for this – multiple wizards were enslaved by the Shadow Demons in Shadow Magic, and there might be worse out there than the Shadow Demons who could do the same. Or it’s possible that what actually made Meandor and Merlin so desperate was that the wizards were coming back, more powerful and ambitious than ever. We don’t know, but as I noted above, using the wizards that were the bad guys in AoW2 seems like a safe bet. We don’t know exactly what’s going on with them, but if Yaka et al were to return, the odds are against it being a good thing for Athla.

    Where can Merlin be involved? He has a nifty role in AOW III Elven court and Commonwealth missions where he appear from nowhere and then speaks a little, then dissappear quickly as he arrived.

    Still on my third cup of coffee reading through all this and try to eloborate with all the context.

    As I understand we want to represent the various evil elementals areas with shadow portal opening everywhere on Athla. In practical it’s an XL map sealing of territories with distant areas. However it does have to be that slow if it sort of “continent” partial areas. Evil wizards seem for me as the most eloborate thing to choose, partly flexible but does it brings our goals forward? Whichever we choose this must been from a player eyes also. How can they be brought back for example?

    Refineus wrote:
    I joined the dropbox content and also uploaded city names for Shadow elves, Dark Elves, Archons in a XLM file. It consist of 130 names in total for cities, dwellings, and fortresses in the mods/shadow realm.

    I will look in to this eighter tomorrow or friday when I have more time.
    Already got Dark Elf city names. Like 30 of them, so that’s plenty.

    Not a problem, then Shadowelves may have more names. It can be shared through the rest evenly with other or possible if you want to introduce Syrons or another factions these names can be saved for later.

    Regarding the role of the Shadow Demons in our campaign:

    Personally, I’m a bit leery of trying to present them as the major antagonists for the player when we’re only implementing them at a very basic level: only four units of their own, and no structures that can be made available to an AI leader to employ them. Because of this, it seems that the only way we’d really be able to implement them as a major threat in their own right is either by having a lot of spawning structures that generate them (although having scenarios based on clearing out the shadow demon equivalent of Haunted Graveyards may not be the most fulfilling) or by finding some arbitrary means of giving a significant Shadow Demon force to an enemy leader. Until we have a full implementation of the Shadow Demons, I think it’s better to have roaming shadow demons as one of the threats in the Shadow World, but the main antagonists should be enemy leaders and their forces. We can imply that the Shadow Demons might be involved in what is happening, but we just don’t have a good means of properly representing a Shadow Demon hive.

    (Incidentally, my computer’s suffered a significant malfunction, so depending on how well I’m able to sort it out and whether I can get one of my older computers to work in the meantime, I might have a period where it’s not practical f

    Shadow demons may however like Drax say roaming enemies. I have yet to look for more opportunities how to actually implement them in campaign. It would be cool “if” they were featured as a dwelling or even function to some extent as mysterious upgrade like “lost city” with feather serspent as recruitable unit to cities.

    Without actually knowing what happened to the other Wizard Kings or exactly why Merlin Shadow Locked the whole of Athla makes this a little tricky. Merlin gives a small clue in torchbearer endings. I can’t even remember the name…
    On the plus side, if we keep the real threat vague we don’t have to worry about getting the models looking right.

    I’d say that the biggest threat of a beacon to summon the old Wizard Kings back home is what might come back with them, or also see the beacon. The biggest threat is an unknown but apparently apocalyptic situation that must be avoided. In between there is room for Shadow Demon infestations, random betrayals and mad wizards.

    I would say “if” the wizards actually are to some extent mad, they’re probably more corrupted and more destructive. Thus far can actually incorporate a theme to corrupt factions in Athla, even full races if so. To stop the wizard from corrupting full races of there believers. Why shrines and bigger threats actually corrupt people which then possible can be the end of the world. Which then why need to stop Werlacs plan to set things in motion.

    As a final note.
    Planning ahead we might aswell conclude which heroes and leaders are involved and how we should progress. Also how the lore of the Shadow Elves have an influence on the campaign.

    #257542

    Hiliadan
    Member

    I did not actually know that the shadow portal were underground. This is important to define.

    Only for the 1st mission of the campaign, as in the last mission of EL (? I didn’t play them but that’s what I understand from what Drax said). Overall, the portals should be on the surface in RMG maps. (I think we mentioned they would NOT be UG)

    In practical it’s an XL map sealing of territories with distant areas

    As already discussed, that’s not reasonable to go for XL maps. I think the 1st map should be small, to be sure to finish it and finish it relatively fast, to see what we can do. If you exploit it well, there’s already a lot of stuff to put into it.

    Planning ahead we might aswell conclude which heroes and leaders are involved and how we should progress

    Indeed! Drax and you should make a list and I’ll input it in the Wikia.

    I inputed the currently agreed ideas for the 3 missions: http://age-of-wonders-3.wikia.com/wiki/User_blog:Hiliadan/Shadow_Realm_Community_Expansion#Scenarios. I split Drax’s ideas for the 1st scenario in two parts as we plan 3 scenarios and I saw only 2 in Drax’s ideas so far.

    #257544

    Refineus
    Member

    I’m going infuse a little addition how things can be.

    View post on imgur.com


    Shadow

    View post on imgur.com


    View post on imgur.com


    It does not have to be like this way in a final campaign.

    I only showing what can be done.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 9 months ago by  Refineus.
    #257550

    Refineus
    Member

    I played through Eternal Lords once more and made some conclusions.
    ———————————————-
    As stated before it’s fuzzy. When Arvik actually teams up with Werlac the sides are changing.

    Vervlukt the Foulmouthed actually join Arviks side in trade of the frostling Ella the runaway.

    Ella the runaway has a role and influence of story in the second mission of Eternal lords. The choice of learning the secrets out of Greyguard knowledge for Arvik or knowing the secrets out of Shadowborn. This choice does affect specialization what I’m aware of after playing through. Being a Shadowborn master or Greyguard master.

    She then becomes a hostage of Werlac and detained in a interrogation pit.

    This must also be taken in to consideration. What’s Werlac supposed to do with her?

    Frostlings in last Eternal lord mission we have.
    Sanhild, Arvik, Einar, Rowlar, Vervlukt.

    Arviks role is a little unclear after defeating Melenis. Yet we can build something out of it. I think.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 9 months ago by  Refineus.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 9 months ago by  Refineus.
    #257557

    Gloweye
    Member

    This could be a first scenario actually. Werlac entering the shadow realm, this gives us an opportunity to actually introduce Dark Elfs in underground areas.

    Eh, why ? Werlac has High Elves. He and Saridas led their followers to the Mending, while Hester led hers away.

    I did not actually know that the shadow portal were underground. This is important to define.

    Just the one, they can be on both.

    Possible. However, I do not know if Hengevolt regardless occured or not when Drugal, Gustav and Svengir happen to mess with Edward and Valery. However as you mentioned he could be featured, if he supposed to survived in the aow timeline.

    That revolt wasn’t there, so Drugal and Gustav are, in canon, still undercover for the shadowborn. That said, Sundren did handle Drugal(or the other dwarf…anyway, one of them), and there might have been the other present in Sundren’s fight to imprison Saridas and Leonus.

    Should Valery be feautured? She leaves Edward in the mission of “Matters of duty” as I recall she it not seen again, ever.

    She returns in the epilogue of the canon ending. She’s a good girl.

    What’s Arviks role in terms of representing what actually, Eternal lord is finishing the storyline allying with Werlac. This is abit unclear how it’s supposed to actually progress in Shadow realm. I will problaby play Eternal lords campaing once more, to see where the events lead again. Werlacs role is a bit fuzzy with Arvik and then being shadowborn, and Arvik with frostlings may turn out to be a different depending on how we progress.

    I always considered that an alliance out of neccesity. I don’t think they’ll stay friends for long, especially if he starts talking more to Rowlar. That said, he always felt a bit like an anti-hero to me, so he may just be the Torchbearer’s Poisonous Friend.

    Then we need to see were Torchbearers stand in this assualt. I think I read somewhere that Rowlar is Torchbearer. His role in this leading Tigran or Frostlings. If he is with Arvik then how he is standing towards Edward, Laryssa, Nomlik, Reskar, Sundren, etc.

    I think they’re all buddies. Probably have one as ally in the first mission, but you can bring in Reskar for the second. Once it’s clear you’re spending time in the shadowrealm, if I were Torchbearer high command, I’d send a draconian. They’re immune to shadow sickness.

    Also, Julia is also a torchbearer ally, and I’d also take her along if I had to organize an expedition. If you meet Meandor, she’s a guarantee for an instant alliance.

    the last mission of EL (? I didn’t play them but that’s what I understand from what Drax said). Overall, the portals should be on the surface in RMG maps. (I think we mentioned they would NOT be UG)

    They won’t be UP because i couldn’t get it in the RMG yet. There’s no lore reason for it.

    #257576

    Refineus
    Member

    First scenario

    For first scenario I actually came through with an idea. This one should be doable in order to actually have turn and twist in story. And should be a way to actually set things in motion.

    The dungeon which Werlac built his portal is actually a good start. A slightly remade dungeon from the Eternal lords endings.

    I remember somewhere we can alter terrain in maps, how about collapsing the cave in order to force us to actually proceed through the portal? Filling hexes with lava for example?

    Given that Werlac plan is to actually visit the realms, in order so. So by halting the player to proceed. Werlac have set up traps which player interact with, which then collapse the terrain in the dungeon to prevent us from stopping Werlacs plans, but it failed because we managed to run past. This will weaken our faction and we will be forced to go through with only one or two leaders of the torchbearers. Say, one from Elven court and one from Commonwealth. The path behind us will then be closed off by lava and we can only go forward in to the portal after Werlac.

    If we want various stories with a choices this could be a possibility. To force player to make a choice to choose which faction that runs after Werlac and make it through the portal.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 9 months ago by  Refineus.
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