One of the exciting things about Shards Online is that there are so many worlds to explore beyond just what Citadel Studios offers. We got a chance to ask Gabe (Phearnun) and Adam (DjOli) of the “Palanai” Shard about the plans for their world.
Supreem: Tell us a little about the vision of your world ‘Palanai’. What makes it different from the base game that comes with Shards Online?
Gabe: The focus on collaborative storytelling and the unique setting. Our team aims to create a worthy successor to many of the immersive, roleplaying-focused persistent worlds found in Neverwinter Nights. Palanai will offer a custom-built world with original lore and creative area design, made all the more entertaining and interactive through our added custom systems.
Supreem: I see your public test server already has some modifications running. Can you briefly tell us a few things you have working already?
Adam: We have implemented two of three base combat systems so far. The first one is our PvP stance toggle system. This is a brand new ability that allows players to choose between three stances: deadly, sparring, and retaliating. Deadly is the game’s default mode. Sparring does not kill your opponent, but simply knocks them prone. NPC guards will not attack if people spar near them, which is perfect for friendly tournaments and brawls. Retaliating means your character will use whatever mode his opponent uses and defaults to sparring if you both have retaliating active.
The other system currently running is the wounding system. Upon a PCs death, the wounding system may randomly assign the wounded condition to the PC. This condition applies temporary penalties to the PCs regeneration rates for a recovery period of a week or two, depending on the severity of the wound. Other planned penalties may involve skill level reductions and vulnerabilities, all to represent wounds as light as a sprained wrist or as grave as massive head trauma. If you are wounded and another wound is taken, these penalties can stack and will refresh the recovery period.
Gabe: In the future, this will also tie into our healing skill. Characters will be able to learn to tend to wounds. You can also visit NPC healers who can attempt to cure them once a day.
Adam: The system we are currently working on is our death system. Characters who die will become spirits and go to the spirit world until they are resurrected. There will be several new abilities and spells that allow the living characters and spirit characters to interact. Spirits can send haunting messages to the living that they receive when they rest, as well as manifest in the world of the living for a time. For the living there are spells that allow characters to detect spirits, reveal their identities, protect their minds from haunted dreams or even banish spirits back to their realm.
Gabe: We feel that consequences for in-game death are a necessary step towards creating a good and fair roleplaying environment, and these systems all help to achieve that sense of mortality.
Supreem: Is there anything coming soon you are particularly excited about?
Gabe: We will be focusing more on magic after this. Characters will be able to cast spells before they learn to fully control magic, risking great danger in exchange for the power. Some may choose to invoke certain more powerful spells that even the masters of the art should be wary of using. Magic in Palanai is not a force to be trifled with.
One of my personal favorite additions will be the ability to harvest blood and hair from dead or unconscious characters. A PC can combine these with player crafted ritual candles and fetish charms to make protective wards, bestow curses or cast divination spells on other characters from afar.
Supreem: Why did you choose Shards Online as the home for Palanai?
Gabe: Aside from Neverwinter Nights, there are no other games that provided us with the tools necessary to create this server. There is no alternative to Shards Online for us, and it has exceeded our expectations repeatedly. You boys and girls are doing a fantastic job, and the possibilities we have at Pre-Alpha are already incredible.
Adam: To us, Pen and Paper RPGs have always been a collaborative effort, yet too often their PC counterparts are a single sided affair. Shards Online is putting all the power into our hands, so we can build something that works for players and devs alike. The toolkit and scripts provide more flexibility than any other game of its type, empowering us to be as creative as we need to be to share our story. Not once have we encountered any issues where we couldn’t progress with a coding task, something that in other games has often led to a dead end for so many great ideas.