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The Shadow World.

This week's updates are pretty boring for any readers, just some improvements in project structure and handling of animations.

But this week I started work on integrating the Shadow World.

[He knows what I'm talking about!]
The Shadow World is an idea which I hope will add an extra dimension to the game, literally, as it exists on top of the regular world and can be entered at any point.

For an instant idea of what I mean, think of the moment in Lord of the Rings when Frodo puts on the ring. Suddenly the world of daylight is gone, replaced by a world of twilight, similar, yet different.

[Gen and his shadow]

I had the idea because I've been reading Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea stories.The characters are able to cross over to the land of the dead, a place where the dead go after life. It's not Hell, but it's certainly not Heaven either. More like the afterlife depicted in some pagan mythology. There are no Gods or Devils rewarding or persecuting the dead, but that doesn't mean there aren't dangers there.

The Shadow World will be a little like that; not full of hell fire, or heavenly harps, but not quite as uniform as LeGuin's Land of the dead. If you were to adventure far in to the shadow world you might find secret empires, lost gods and terrible beasts. Maybe even ancient artifacts hidden from the day world long ago.

[Ah! The amulet of Shilgeloth, I wonder why it was cast in to the depths of the shadow realm?]
Adepts of the Shadow World will be able to enter at will, they can walk around but return to their bodies when they leave. The Shadow world mirrors the real one in structure, you can always enter it from the real world (without spawning inside a rock or something) and it is tied to the real world at various points. You can see the shadow of living and dead beings there, so it could be a good way of scouting ahead to find out what kind of danger awaits you.

As Adepts become more powerful they will also gain the ability to influence the world of the living from within the Shadow World.

[1d4 damage per utensil]
Some powers they might get:
  • Open bolted doors from the other side.
  • Throw around objects.
  • See through the eyes of the living.
  • Ride along in an animal's mind.
  • Read alignment.
  • Cause animals to become berserk or afraid.
  • Attack and stun a living being. 
  • Examine objects remotely.
  • Drain life force from living beings.
  • Snuff out small life forces such as insects.
  • Charm animals.
  • Possess animals. 
  • Influence minds.
  • Donate life force to living beings.
  • Offer protection from dark powers.
  • Call dying characters back to life.
  • Call forth the dead for questioning or tasks.
  • Animate the dead.
  • Drive off shadow attacks.
  • Sever the link to the undead.
  • Drive a human mind to madness.
  • Bring objects into and out of the Shadow World.
  • Posses a human host.
  • Drain magic from magical items, making them non-magical.
  • Travel physically to a remote place. 
  • Summon Daemons.
  • Bind supernatural creatures within an area.
  • Gain immunity from supernatural attacks. 
  • Extinguish life force.

[I'm bad Ash by the way]
You could, for example enter a locked room, open the bolt, then posses one of the guards and get him to attack his buddies. Then while they are brawling the party attacks through the now open door. Or you might discover a far off sealed room with rare artifacts not usually reachable. With enough power you could go there, pick up the loot and come back. Or you might find an old corpse, raise his spirit up and get the location of his treasure through interrogation.

[You Rang?]

However, there are dangers awaiting a careless shadow adept. Powers could be classed as light, dark or neutral. Using a lot of dark power is likely to attract those monsters which feed on such energy. Even staying in the shadow world too long might draw forth restless spirits.

As you can imagine, the Shadow World will be deeply integral to the game. It's not just something bolted on to the normal game mechanics. It requires that I start adding the functionality now, so it will give me the most flexibility. I really think it's worth doing right, to make something more than just a run of the mill roguelike.

It should also make the early game more interesting, since it gives the player another layer of gameplay to explore.


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