Subterranea announced

John Mabbott of Cloud Nine Games writes in to announce Subterranea, a turn-based, party-based wRPG.

According to Mabbott, the goal is to approximate something like the old Gold Box games of yore, but in 3D and with the addition of destructible environments and physics-based interactions. To that end, Subterranea will employ the Dungeons and Dragons version 3.5 ruleset.

An abbreviation of the rather wordy plot premise:

Many decades ago, a fishing village called Gimlet grew on the side of the swamp like a small barnacle. The villagers of Gimlet scraped out a living, catching and selling the odd looking fish they hauled in from the swamp with their homemade nets.

Recently, a threat to Gimlet’s prosperity has emerged. Two survivors of a six-strong harvesting party returned from the swamp with a fevered table of a temple entrance found sunken near the centre of the swamp. The most brave (or foolhardy) of the harvesters broke through the entrance. When their screams rang out across the swamp from within the dark interior, the survivors fled for their lives, never once looking back.

Your party has answered the call and are gathered in the entry room of Gimlet Hall. You and the other adventuring parties eye each other nervously – will you help or hinder each other? A staff strikes the marble floor, the two massive doors swing open and a guard summons you to be addressed by the cabal…

Among the game’s planned features:

  • Tactical combat with cover and elevation effects
  • Create a party of up to 6 custom characters
  • Heavy use of physics in destructible environments

About those physics and destructible environments–check out what happens roughly 30 seconds into this video:

The game’s presentation is obviously still a bit rough at this point, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a little rush of glee when that bridge collapsed and the enemies fell to their deaths. Besides, the game’s in pre-alpha–there is plenty of time to polish things up!

Subterranea is on Kickstarter, where it is about 1/5th of the way to its modest $12,500 goal. It is also on Steam Greenlight, where it awaits your upvote.

Subterranea is planned for a simultaneous Windows and Linux release in March 2015.

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  • Dave says:

    Kudos for posting about this game!

    I backed this game day one because (1) it’s a tactical turn-based party cRPG based on a good ruleset, (2) the physics stuff looks really cool, there will be multiple choice branching dialogues with lots of opportunities to use bluff, diplomacy, and intimidate skills (this may not be apparent from the KS, but I’ve asked the developer and he confirmed this is the plan), (4) it’s a create your own party RPG, which is rare these days…

    I’m sure some people will see this and be turned off by the NWNish 3D graphics, but graphics aren’t everything and besides, improving the visuals is a big part of why he’s running the Kickstarter. Really hope the project takes off so some of the stretch goals can be reached.

  • BarryB says:

    There are plenty of people out there who buy every single JRPG clone out there that has RPGmaker graphics, so I’m not too worried about the inability to sell this. I actually like the look of it, and the options are pretty damn interesting, provided they’re actually useful in the finished product. This is one worth tracking.

  • Jon says:

    Are there no legal issues with using the rules for D&D 3.5? Or does this game make enough revisions to that system to get away with it (like the Pathfinder RPG)?

  • JMab says:

    Hi guys, I’m the developer of Subterranea. Just to clarify on the licensing, I’m using the Open Game Content from the Wizards of the Coast, under the terms of their Open Game License.

    Here’s the Open Game Content:

    It’s basically D&D 3.5 edition with the WotC intellectual property stripped out, so not setting or character names, and certain trademarked monsters have been taken out (like Beholders).

    To comply with the Open Game License, I need to:

    * Not claim any affiliation or compatibility with D&D, WotC or D20

    * Not use any of their IP above in the game

    * Expose all of the rules for Subterranea that are based off the Open Game Content in human-readable files that are read in by the game at startup

    The last condition has the happy side effect of making the game highly-moddable – I did a dev blog about this a while ago showing how you can easily make Orcs a playable race:

    Paizo has also used the OGC to build Pathfinder, under the same Open Game License.

    Knights of the Chalice:

    Is a successfully released CRPG that also used the OGC…


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