Maladum : Dungeons of Enveron - par Battle Systems - Q3 2022

Preview de l’illustration en wip pour la core box…

A sneak peek at the box art for our upcoming game Maladum : Dungeons of Enveron.

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Ils ont beau ne pas arrêter de dire que ce n’est pas un reskin de Core space, ça y ressemble quand même de plus en plus !
Et les ajouts présentés jusque là (les conditions) auraient pu être intégrés à un Core Space v2.

J’aurais tellement aimer une mécanique d’exploration ! :crossed_fingers: :crossed_fingers:

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Nouvel article sur le lore…

THE LORE OF MALADUM

The Lore of Maladum

Our work on Maladum: Dungeons of Enveron continues. The game demo and new dungeon terrain got a superb reception at UK Games Expo 2022, and we’re continuing to refine the rules, terrain, artwork and minis ready to launch the game.

Two Adventurers holding off the oncoming horde of Lamentors

THE WORLD OF MESA

The world of Mesa was once part of a vast galactic web. For thousands of years Mesa dominated its sector of space utilising technology from many different species. At its height Mesa’s central source of power was a network of relays encircling the local star. The relays transmitted refined plasma to mile-high Transmitter Towers which then channelled power around the world feeding the technology hungry nations.

But technology itself would be Mesa’s undoing, as a rogue nanotechnology based organism swept through Mesa destroying all advanced technology. The organism had no objective but to rend all that it touched into base elements. Afraid of contamination, the galaxy placed Mesa in quarantine, the inhabitants left to their fate. Over time Mesa was forgotten and the survivors learned to live in a new dark age without technology or limitless power. This cataclysm was known as the Fall.

THE KINGDOMS OF ENVERON

In the continent of Enveron pieces of the old world did survive and would eventually form Maladum, the basis of all magic. During the long climb from a dark age many kingdoms have come and gone, trading mineral wealth, fighting amongst themselves and being ignorant of their own past. With its mild climate and relative geological stability the inhabitants of the continent of Enveron have prospered. To these people, cut off from other continents by distance, Enveron is their whole world, each kingdom rich with its own history, folklore and traditions.

The current world map. We’re updating it as we develop the game, populating the world with new cultures and species.

As the cultures of Enveron evolved so did their forms of trade. In the smaller villages the people rely almost entirely on a barter system but metal coins and ingots are acceptable. Gold, silver and iron retain their worth but other exotic ores are even more valuable. Blue-grey Kelt can be smelted with iron to make Keltic steel, to make lighter and stronger weapons and armour. The red-orange Graam can be used as a conductor for magical items able to store energy. Gemstones are also common currency, valuable not only as baubles for the rich but for their useful refractive properties when crafting magical items.

The closest Enveron has to a universal currency is the Guilder. The influential guilds of the kingdoms have agreed the currency between them. All forms of currency can be exchanged for Guilders, which comes in two forms, minted coins and ingots of various ores, and, for larger amounts, printed bonds with different denominations – in other words paper money. The common clay don’t take too kindly to paper currency as it has no worth in itself but, so established is the Guilder that it has to be accepted, no matter how grudgingly.

The influence of the guilds is not only in trade but in learning. Young apprentices are taught a trade and in exchange they pledge allegiance to their guild in the form of fealty, usually for life. The guilds are therefore extremely influential, often more so than kings and queens.

See also: The Kingdoms of Enveron PDF for a larger map of Enveron and more on its geography and kingdoms.

THE PEOPLE OF ENVERON

The most numerous inhabitants of Enveron are the human descendants of the first settlers. They are a pragmatic people, living a tough life by our standards, but prospering. There is relative stability between the kingdoms and they are entering a renaissance era, the brutality of a dark age starting to fade but for the sudden rise in Maladum, which threatens to destroy all progress.

If you’ve got our Fantasy Wargames terrain then you’re halfway there – it’s set in the same world!

Although they are the most numerous, humanity is not necessarily the most dominant species; they must compete with others. Any cobbled street will host a number of fantastical creatures such as the Kindred, the collective name of the hybrid species descended from the aliens and humans stranded on the world after the Fall. These hybrid species were created thousands of years ago and are not the result of natural evolution. The concept of extra terrestrial beings doesn’t exist to the inhabitants of Enveron; to them the Kindred are simply other indigenous creatures. Notable Kindred include the Eld, the Dwella and the Ormen.

Tall, slim, with a nose-less face and mammalian hind legs, an Eld could only be mistaken for human in dim light. They are a fierce people, insular and untrusting of others. Extremely volatile and emotional the Eld can swing from drunken gregariousness to berserker rage. Although highly intelligent their explosive natures mean their tribes bear ancestral blood feuds against each other. Eld adventurers are often exiles or eccentrics who cannot live amongst their own people.

GALEN GEN’RUN

Galen is the lone survivor of a massacre. The infant feral Eld was raised by civilised Eld thinking they could curb the excesses of her people – they could not, instead they raised an intelligent and extremely dangerous cuckoo in the nest who was eventually exiled for violence. Unwanted by both the Eld and feral Eld she has fallen into a life of banditry and, sometimes, the life of an Adventurer. She is a rogue and a thief, as likely to stick a knife in your back than draw swords against a common enemy.

Even more dangerous than the Eld are the feral Eld, who appear identical to their cousins but for a flaw in their nature making them excessively savage. Feral Eld are an unwelcome branch of the family tree; with almost no cohesive society, they are a wild and dangerous form of Eld to be avoided.

The Dwella more closely resemble humans but are much shorter and more heavily built. The older males have impressive facial tusks and all have ‘silver-coin’ eyes giving them the ability to see in almost total darkness. Despite their fierce appearance the Dwella are mostly peaceful and live as skilled tradesmen. Fewer Dwella are born each year and they are slowly becoming extinct as a race. There is evidence that the Dwella and Eld share a common ancestor.

The Ormen were once a fearsome race of warriors who swept across Enveron in a wake of destruction. Their strength was in brute fighting, but not in organisation, and cities captured by the Ormen were soon relinquished, the Ormen bored of administration and looking for new challenges. Over time the Ormen integrated into the very civilisations they had once conquered, their fierce origins almost forgotten.

GROGMAR OF THE GREY

Grogmar grew up in a small village where his strength of arm and gregarious nature were far more important than his species. When he came of age he travelled to the far-off cities of his childhood dreams to discover city-folk weren’t so welcoming of his kind. Dissatisfied with the second rate status accorded him he travelled the whole of Enveron stopping only to work as a seasonal farmhand or occasionally as a mercenary in a local dispute.

The life of an Adventurer was a natural step for him and he is never happier than cleaving monsters in deserted tombs or drinking his hard fought proceeds away in seedy taverns. Grogmar has no thoughts for the future, taking each day as it comes and enjoying the surprises that his life affords.

Although there are still small tribes of Ormen that retain their fierce nature the majority are now relatively friendly. Many Ormen can be found living alongside the races of Men working as ordinary tradesmen or swelling the ranks of local militias.

Many Adventurers are from the Kindred races. The majority of Adventurers are, however, from the races of Men, rogues and misfits who resist the lives of serfs and farmers and crave excitement or riches.

MALADUM – MAGIC BY ANOTHER NAME

To the people of Enveron magic is a very real thing. Almost everyone would have seen an example of magic during their life or knew others who had. Rumours and tradition would bolster the reputation of magic, for good and ill, and of those who practised it. In reality magic is the re-emergence of a long dormant technology, a variant of the very organism that destroyed the civilisations of Mesa thousands of years ago. Maladum allows the user to manipulate the environment using their will. It is an advanced technology, evolved far past its original purpose, but to a medieval people it is simply magic.

Maladum started in two very different mediums; a form that existed as optical data, extremely dense information stored as light, and biological nanites. The optical data was held on diamantum, the hardest substance known, and has a near perfect ocular refraction. The data could only be accessed by those with the correct genetic ‘key’.

The nanites were microscopic nano-machines designed to give their host an advantage over their peers. The biological nanites were irreversibly fused into the DNA of its host cells and could be passed on to later generations. They were engineered to allow the direct manipulation of technology as well as heal wounds, prevent aging and even reverse death. Even at the height of Mesa’s dominion the nanites were rare and reserved for the ultra wealthy. After the Fall, however, and without technology to restrain them the nanites were soon everywhere – in the air, in the water, in living creatures, and always slowly evolving. Over time the two forms met and fused to create Maladum. Information and motility had combined into a new substance that was no longer shackled to a single form, that could easily be expressed as liquid, gas or an electromagnetic force. Maladum itself has no motive, bar its own survival, but it can be harnessed and used to influence the physical world.

The practitioners of Maladum are commonly known as Maladaar, and they are able to manipulate the environment through sheer force of will. There are different types and levels of Maladaar, some are relatively weak in Maladum and rely on magical tools, others are so powerful they are a danger to all around them.

As with most things in life magic comes with a price – indeed Maladum literally means the ‘curse-gift’. Left unchecked the Maladum can kill its host so it must be controlled and restrained, harnessed and subdued. Magic guilds were established to find and train fledgling Maladaar before they could hurt themselves or others. In many ways the means to control Maladum also stifles it, and the majority of Maladaar will never reach their full potential.

THE MALAGAUNT

Raising the dead is practiced by individuals well versed in more sinister arcane arts. A Malagaunt has complete mastery over dead organic material and is able to bring the dead back to a ghastly half life and even combine different organic materials to create new creatures.

The Malagaunts are rarely guild trained and so their control of Maladum is unfettered, making them more powerful than the usual Maladaar but at a much higher price. Without suppressive training the Maladum causes massive cell deterioration, insanity and eventually death. The Malagaunt believe that the Maladum requires a ‘sacrifice’, of themselves and others, and it is a price they are willing to pay – the Maladum eventually destroying them and all of those around them.

The Malagaunt’s undead servants are known as Revenants. Their origins are not supernatural but technological, they are poorly resurrected corpses, the Maladum able to make the dead move but not truly live. These unfortunates have no will of their own and are controlled by a Malagaunt. It is possible that the Revenants retain a spark of their original personalities, looking out from dead eyes but unable to do anything but watch the desecration of their own bodies.

There are many different types of Revenants, all pitted against any Adventurer foolhardy enough to enter a Malagaunt’s domain. Malagaunts will often hoard corpses in large crypts or depositories, covering the bodies in preserving fluids and burying them to be ‘awoken’ when needed as fighting troops. These are the Lamentors, horrific and corpselike, the method of their resurrection causing them to scream, chilling any Adventurers unlucky enough to encounter them.

The Malagaunt is able to reconstruct the long dead combining parts to form a whole creature, the Myria (see image). Missing limbs are rebuilt with any available dead matter such as vines or even the rotting coffins of the dead.

Malagaunts also like to experiment and attempt to create new ‘life’ in the form of Hellfonts. Although they look like amalgamations of dead animals the original materials are in fact human as they retain more Maladum than beasts. Upon death Maladum leaches away from a corpse so Malagaunts like a constant fresh supply. Multiple corpses are flayed and stitched together to create a grim mockery of life bearing both tentacles and limbs and a large eyeless head and tooth filled maw.

Wandering beasts such as Trolls can also be used by the Malagaunt, effectively making them mobile traps. Trolls are large and solitary and although they are peaceful when left alone they will attack on sight and must be regarded as a threat. A troll revenant is known as a Rot Troll, similar to living trolls but more vicious and harder to kill.

The Malagaunt prefers an environment conducive to experimentation, the easy accessibility of corpses and to be free from prying eyes. Therefore a Malagaunt’s domain tends towards dungeon keeps and fortresses, rather than ones of luxury and wealth. In these gloomy havens it’s not just the undead that the Adventurers need fear; hidden traps will snare the unwary and living creatures such as Cankers, Drakons and Troglodytes will attack on sight.

CANKERS

Blind and parasitic, Cankers are drawn to those with the highest level of Maladum and will feed off the unfortunate victim until they are a bloodless husk. The blood is spat out as a waste product mixed with bile forming a corrosive venom. It is unusual for dumb creatures to have a high level of Maladum but they actually need it to survive, it’s their only form of substance and they will quickly shrivel and die without a constant source.

Although small and easily killed creatures such as Cankers are a dangerous distraction in a fight for survival!

In recent years the Malagaunt have formed a Cabal, a loose affiliation of untrusting, treacherous Maladaar who work together to bring about a new age of magic. They have installed many structures across Enveron that resemble the power transmitters of old. However, rather than drawing power from the stars the transmitters draw power from Mesa itself, draining the land of life and feeding the Malagaunt raw power. The Malagaunt may well be bringing about their own destruction by encouraging the rise of Maladum, and the possibility of a new rogue organism. It is likely that they know and simply don’t care…

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Et le dernier article en date sur la magie avec tout plein de belles choses…

MAKING MAGIC MAGICAL

Maladum – Making Magic Magical

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”

Arthur C. Clarke

WHAT IS MAGIC?

Whether the people of Enveron realise it or not, Maladum (or magic as it is commonly known) is actually the re-emergence of a long dormant technology, allowing the user to manipulate biological nanites in the environment using their will. It is an advanced technology, evolved far past its original purpose, but to a medieval people it is simply magic.

For more on the lore of Maladum, see HERE.

This is a fantasy game, and magic was always going to be at the heart of it. Therefore, before designing a single character or writing a single rule, we wanted to establish how magic worked in our universe, and everything would follow from there.

In common terms Maladum is essentially technomancy – the ability to control these nanites. It was important that magic could have otherworldly effects, going beyond what a regular character could do, but that’s the easy bit and almost goes without saying. It’s just as important to have limits. As we fleshed out the lore, we decided to set a rule that (at least for the earthly beings you’ll encounter for now) magic cannot create energy, only manipulate it. This informed the spells that our characters would have access to in the game, and how they would work.

For example, a maladaar (magic user) cannot create a ball of fire, but they can direct the flames from a nearby source such as a burning brazier (another opportunity for characters to interact with our terrain!). They cannot physically create a wall blocking an enemy’s path, but they can telekinetically assemble loose debris into one. They can’t conjure an illusion in the air, but they can trick another’s mind into believing there is one!

A sneak peek at the WIP box art for Maladum: Dungeons of Enveron. Here’s Moranna, one of our adventurers, manipulating swirling energies into a powerful blast.

MAGIC PEGS

Maladum’s sister game Core Space has a focus on ranged combat, with ammunition being one of the key trackable resources in the game. That is of course far less prevalent in a fantasy setting, but thematically magic fills the same role – it’s a resource used to power a character’s abilities.

The Magic statistic found in the game represents a character’s affinity with the nanites and is tracked using pegs in their character dashboard. Natural maladaar may start with a stat of 3-5 and the potential to max out at 7, but even the most mundane character has some level of magic in their bodies whether they realise it or not! Such characters may think of it as drawing on their inner strength, or even just consider themselves lucky! As magic is such a big part of the game, it was important for us to give almost all characters at least some access to it.

Also just like expending ammo in Core Space, using magic draws attention, so the first Magic peg spent each round is added to the Dread tracker, increasing the danger of upcoming event cards and attracting enemies.

THE MAGIC DIE

Manipulating the nanites flowing through your veins requires a huge amount of willpower and focus, and in the heat of battle those can be hard to come by! The Magic Die represents how much control a character has over their powers at a particular time.

Whenever an Adventurer would spend Magic pegs, whether casting a spell, resisting a spell or using a magical item, the Magic Die must be rolled.

On a 6, the effect is unstoppable and is resolved as if an extra peg had been spent.

On a 1, the character suffers a mental overload – the effect does not resolve, any pegs spent are wasted, and the character becomes Fatigued (a status effect that forces a character to lose an action in their next turn).

In between, the effects vary from restoring spent magic pegs, to an aura restoring pegs to nearby friends, to a magical blast that knocks characters to their feet.

These effects are random, and can seem harsh, but they fittingly represent the difficulties of a novice maladaar learning a dangerous craft. As characters become more experienced they will have plenty of ways in which to mitigate these results. More on that a bit later.

SPELLS

There are three main ‘schools’ of Maladum, largely broken down by the nature of the nanites the user can manipulate. Proximate magic is used to manipulate a maladaar’s own body; Vicarious magic affects the minds and bodies of others, while Elemental magic affects inanimate objects and the surrounding environment. More information can be found in our previous article HERE.

Raiding a warlock’s study – the perfect place to learn about ancient magical powers…

Within these schools, each spell has very simple rules that are usually resolved by the character spending an action. There are over 50 spells in the game with a huge range of effects, broken down into five levels based on their power and difficulty to cast. No matter what kind of wizard you want to be, we’ll have something for you! Here are some examples:

  • Perception (Proximate spell, Level 2)
    • Effortless Action: Add X dice to your Persuade rolls until the end of the round.
  • Slow (Vicarious spell, Level 1)
    • Action: Target is Fatigued.
  • Cocoon (Elemental spell, Level 3)
    • Action: Rest, ignoring enemies in short range and LoS. Nearby characters may Rest as part of the spell – it affects up to X characters (including the caster) with a range of X squares.

Note: Rest is a new action that allows characters to regain health and magic pegs and discard status effects – the Cocoon spell creates a bubble around the character allowing them to gain these benefits even in the heat of battle!

There is no limit to the number of spells that can be cast per turn, round or game, as long as the caster has actions and pegs available to spend. Again, at higher levels characters will often be able to manipulate even these limits!

CASTING SPELLS

To cast a spell, a character simply uses the required action and spends a number of Magic pegs, often represented by a casting value of X as you’ll see above. The caster chooses how much power to use, affecting the spell’s result. Casting Cocoon on yourself is relatively easy, but protecting nearby friends will require more power.

A spell’s casting level is limited by the character’s rank. A novice character at rank 1 will usually only be able to cast spells of up to level 1, and can only spend a single peg to cast it. A rank 4 maladaar on the other hand can cast spells they have learned at up to level 4, and using up to four pegs at once. Unstoppable results on the Magic Die can enhance spells beyond a caster’s level – an unstoppable spell cast with four pegs would have the effect of casting it with five!

This won’t come up much in co-op or solo games, but if you choose to play PvP and you target other Adventurers or NPCs with magic pegs, they can attempt to resist spells cast on them. They can spend any number of pegs up to their rank, reducing the casting value of the spell for each peg before its effects are resolved.

Event cards representing spells cast by your AI adversaries can also be resisted by your characters in this way.

Moranna – from Concept Art to Miniature

LEARNING SPELLS

The spells a character can learn are based on the Class (profession) chosen for them. We currently have seven different maladaar classes with a varying number of spells available. Some classes are more generalists; some more specialised.

For example, the Magus is a powerful warrior in their own right, using their magic to enhanceand complement their combat abilities. The Prymorist specialises in Elemental magic, manipulating their environment to support the party from afar in a variety of ways. The Rook is a master of Vicarious spells and can cause serious damage, but lacks protective abilities and must be guarded by their comrades. Minor maladaar classes such as the Paladin are primarily combatants but have a limited repertoire of supportive magic.

Once a Class is chosen, characters may assign Experience earned by completing quests to learn new spells, of a level up to their current rank. They can of course also assign their experience to Skills just like non-maladaar.

Even some non-maladaar classes have access to specific spells – the Rogue can use their knowledge of Maladum to manipulate locks, and even Barbarians can draw on innate power for a flurry of powerful blows.

MAGIC ITEMS

Weapons and equipment can be imbued with nanites that can be harnessed by a skilled Adventurer, maladaar or otherwise.

Some items grant a character a magic-related ability or Skill, while others have ‘channelled’ abilities, requiring the user to tune their Maladum with the item, spending pegs when the items are used to unlock their powers.

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A selection of magical equipment. The blue star represents an ability that can be channelled by spending Magic pegs. The sword can gain additional attack dice, the boots grant an extra action, the axe can ignore armour, and the hammer can be used to attack enemies up to 5 squares away!

Some of the most powerful equipment has the full force of a spell trapped inside, ready to be released. A spell trapped in one of these items can be used as if the character knew it themselves.

MAGICAL ARMOUR

Some spells and items create a magical forcefield around a character, protecting them from harm. Activating such armour requires the user to spend any number of pegs to gain a matching armour value, then used to deflect hits just like physical armour.

When a character takes hits, they can spend further pegs to boost their armour’s value, blocking even the most powerful attacks while they have energy remaining.

However, if magical armour is beaten and a character is Stunned or takes damage, the armour is lost until the spell can be cast again. In addition, magical armour values higher than 1 require the user to spend pegs each round to maintain them, so it will take a huge amount of power to hold off an enemy for a long period.

MANIPULATING MAGIC

As we’ve shown, as characters progress they will learn more spells and be able to charge those spells with more raw power. However more subtle effects of character and party progression will also give you more control over how and when magic is used.

At a basic level, characters can use low-level, low-risk spells such as Focus and Bless to grant re-rolls. If you can avoid the temptation to use these re-rolls when attacking, you can save them for the Magic Die instead and prevent a mental overload on the more powerful spells.

Skills such as Nanite Mastery allow characters temporary access to any level 1 spell even if they haven’t learned it – sometimes remembering your basic training can get you out of a tight spot! As more experience is assigned to the Skill it also allows a character to regenerate Magic pegs every round for free.

That’s not the only magic-related Skill either – Fortified Mind allows a character to cast a spell while engaged in combat, while Power Manipulation lets you spend your Skill pegs to cast spells, or channel a huge energy burst through a magical weapon.

Unskilled characters can still make use of magical equipment too – potions can restore Magic pegs mid-turn, magic staffs can allow spells to be cast beyond what their rank would allow, and hypnotic amulets can enchant enemies. You’ll find many more mystical artefacts as you explore the dungeon.

SUMMARY

Hopefully it’s clear that the magic system in our new game is very large and detailed, but still incredibly simple to use. There is a huge amount of scope in terms of spells, items and skills, but during play you only need to worry about how best to use the ones in front of you. These choices start out small – a novice maladaar will only have access to a handful of spells, and maybe one item or skill if they’re lucky – but even then, the maladaar classes come with a reference card to keep out on the table.

As characters gain experience and new options open up, each game becomes an exciting resource management puzzle. What is the best way to use the magic available for the best possible result?

Maladum should be ready to launch in the next couple of months and then you can decide for yourself. If you have any more questions about how magic will work in the game, ask away in the comments below.

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Merci pour cette info. je pense que le projet peut être vraiment sympa.
Par contre, visuellement, ça me parait surchargé, mais bon ce sont des photos.

Battle System m’a confirmé qu’il n’y aurait pas de VF lors du KS, et que Légion Distribution proposera la version française pour la version boutique.