Designers’ Diary: Building Dungeonland
The basic idea was to make a Dungeon Crawling game. We wanted it to be as simple as possible and without a game master. Starting off we thought about the theme. We wanted it to be fantasy but not a generic one as that has already been done many times in the past. So the 12 Realms universe appeared to fit exactly what we were looking for and is filled with characters already known to the people. After the theme was decided, we started developing the rules for the game.
The game was being developed at the time as a heavy story driven campaign based game with our focus falling on character progression and interesting choices affecting how the campaign plays out. Later on, the idea of multiple modes was introduced as a solution to the time demand problem of a campaign. We realized from all the campaign games we have played that it is not easy to get the same group of people meet up multiple times in a row and sometimes one of them leaving or not being able to come would ruin the experience for all, so we wanted to find a way to have players experience the campaign in one session in as little time as possible.
That’s when the Epic Quest was born. This mode gives to the players the choice on whether they want the more in depth experience with all the story choices of a campaign or the same character progression done in one big scenario that has infinite replayability as the map, enemies, objectives and bosses are always random and different each time.
So with 2 modes we kept going forward giving birth to all the characters, minions, bosses and items, and testing out everything that we had made. It was upon that testing that the idea of a third pvp mode was born were players would be able to clash against each other testing out their characters builds and the different combos they can create. From that day forward we were constantly working on all 3 modes developing them further and further and maybe even preparing some future content for all of you players out there.
The game’s mechanisms can be split into 3 main categories: Combat, Exploration and Progression.
Combat is the heart and soul of our game, as it is what players will be doing most of the time as the hordes of the enemy minions never cease coming. The first thing we decided was that we wanted to use custom dice for our game and we also wanted to include the explode mechanism meaning the dice will be able to generate additional dice when a certain result is rolled, and what better choice for that than the critical. We believe the exploding dice to be a great mechanism allowing for extremely fun moments during a game and adding the chance for great feats and memorable rolls. As for the main action mechanism of the heroes there were many ideas including cards, action points and many other systems, in the end we ended up with a simple and tested system giving a choice between certain actions to each hero allowing them to perform 2 of them on each of their turns. We also made a glyph system for the spells as we wanted them to feel different than melee and ranged weapons and have a nice use of the custom dice. Finally, we used an initiative system to determine the turns order as we wanted it to not be something static but rather something you can play with and affect with certain abilities.
Exploration is a big part of any Dungeon Crawler and the reason we included it in this way was to increase the replayability of the game by having random generated dungeons and also give the players the feeling of actually exploring a dungeon and not knowing what awaits them at the next corner. Last but not least, the character progression is what makes the game unique to each player. Through it the players can see their characters develop in the way they want them too and adapt to their playstyle. To achieve those choices we included gear progression through weapons, armors and trinkets the players get by looting, and skill progression unlocking new abilities for their characters giving them access to multiple combos. We have given great value and focus on the possible synergy between the different characters and the skills they can choose.
The game’s setting are the 12 Realms, 12 kingdoms that include all the characters from the classic fairytales and folklore of our childhood and all the villains from those tales too. To follow the theme of the game I would like to let you a bit into the game by telling you the beginning of our story.
Once upon a time, there was peace and harmony across the 12 Realms and nothing out of the ordinary ever happened. Princes were kissing sleeping girls and all tales ended with “…and they lived happily ever after”. Nothing seemed that would ever change and everyone was happy about that. However, a dark night like no other before it came to all 12 Realms. The sky turned pitch black and relentless rain began to fall. The rain soon became a storm, with thunders roaring in the night sky and as the minutes passed a dark fog started to spread across the lands. The wizard of Oz was the first to feel it, this fog, this rain, none of it was natural. “Dark magic”, the wizard thought as he grasped his cloak and rushed to the window. He looked outside trying to figure out what was the source of this magic. A sinister will was controlling the weather and whatever the strange fog touched either weathered away in seconds or was changed into something horrific.
Looking into the horizon he saw a dark tower piercing through the clouds. The tower was like nothing he had ever seen, its walls were made by black marble and spikes decorated its sides. A dark will lived inside this tower that had appeared out of nowhere and it was it that had cursed the realms and spread that sinister fog. He quickly realized that he should run and alert the others, for this was a battle he couldn not win alone. So the wizard traveled far and wide across the realms to find help and many joined him, together they forged a party of heroes and ventured towards the dark tower to put an ending to this madness.
Within this Tower, the Dark Lords and all evil creatures from the fairytales had been summoned. They were determined to change the world of the realms and bring darkness once and for all.
Based on this concept we built dungeonland and as an extension the art too. In this core box we watch the adventure starting inside a palace, in its dungeons! And you will help these heroes find their way trough many battles and enemies!