The Iron Oath: Dark Turn-based Tactical RPG

Created by The Iron Oath

A dark turn-based RPG with a focus on tactics and the management of your guild within a dynamic world. (Windows, Linux & Mac)

Latest Updates from Our Project:

February Update
24 days ago – Fri, Mar 01, 2019 at 01:27:33 AM

Hello backers! This past month we've done a lot of work on various features surrounding guild management, and designing the UI that goes with each.  We're still using placeholder graphics for the UI elements so unfortunately we can't share what these screens look like quite yet, but we'll be finalizing some of them in the upcoming months. 

The functionality for managing your Guild Council is now implemented. You can hire people for these roles by visiting towns, meeting potential candidates during missions or by assigning a retired character into one of the roles if they are capable of it. The jobs of the 3 councillors have undergone some small changes from when we last talked about it during our Kickstarter campaign. Each position has some passive benefits and tasks they can perform, with success and speed depending on their skill level.

  • The Battlemaster can trains troops by teaching positive traits, or help your soldiers get rid of unwanted ones. Recruiting a Battlemaster provides increased Experience gains for your roster, a larger selection of potential recruits in hubs, and insight into which traits a potential recruit has. 
  • The Emissary is your liaison between you and the different factions within Caelum. They can help you boost your reputation with a specific House, Faction, or the citizens within a city. Recruiting an Emissary provides you with more lucrative contract rewards, and gains the attention of the noble class, allowing you to accept contracts from a ruling House. 
  • The Spymaster comes in handy for uncovering plots by your enemies, or for tearing down the relationship between any two Houses and potentially inciting open war. Recruiting a Spymaster allows you to discern when a quest giver or potential recruit is trying to deceive you, and unlocks the ability to follow up on various rumors that they hear of through their underground networks. 

We've also been working on the report that your adviser will present to you at the end of each month. This report details your current financial situation and contains a complete breakdown of your income and expenses, which can be beneficial for future planning. The report also contains suggestions from your Guild Council if there are any pressing matters they want to bring to your attention. For example, if you are short on certain types of troops, have too many injured personnel, or if they have a suggestion on which House you should gain favor with, they will mention it to you in the report. 

We've also been updating our ability tool-tips to be more informative and streamlined. Our first pass on them had extra flavor text and details that made the important information difficult to quickly discern. We'll have more details on that in next months update!

In the art department we're continuing to finish designs and animations for the various enemies, here is a recently completed animation-set for the House Commander, once again done by @rafaelborven

Animation by @rafaelborven
Animation by @rafaelborven

 Crowdfunding Shout-out 

If you're a fan of tactical card games, we encourage you to check out Mars Horizon: Blast Off, where you run your own space agency and compete to complete the first crewed mission to Mars. They have just under a week remaining on their Kickstarter campaign and are very close to their goal!

January Update
about 2 months ago – Fri, Feb 01, 2019 at 01:44:48 AM

Hey everyone! We're back with our January update and we have a number of things to share with you. Chris has recently been working on the implementation of backstories and how they shape your characters. Here's some insight into the process:

Character backstories are dynamically created by selecting a number of events that build off one another, shaping how that character came to be. These events take into account the world history and what has transpired so far in your play-through. We do this by first determining how old a character is, and then during each major milestone event in their life(their birth, childhood etc), we can look back at what was happening in the world during that time, and select events that are appropriate to build out their backstory. For example, a character born during the events of a war might have a part of their backstory detailing how their parents were killed by invaders during said war. 

In order to create a character an "Origin" is selected. An "Origin" is the broad overview of where they grew up. This determines if they were born in a small village, a large city, or out in the wild, etc. Next, we select a "Family" event. This is what kind of family were they raised by. Were they raised by farmers, did their parents own a shop, were they bandits, did they even have parents? Only certain "Family" events can be selected based on the "Origin" for the character. So if the newly created character has an origin of growing up in the wild, it won't be possible for their "Family" event to be one of a noble family who lived in the capital. After the "Family" event we select a "Childhood" event and then a "Young Adult" event. These events also build off the previously selected ones. There might be a childhood event that says their parents were murdered by bandits while working on their farm. This event would obviously only be chosen if the "Family" event dictated that their family were farmers.

The goal is to build out a dynamic backstory that makes the characters feel more realized, with a sense of belonging to the game’s world. Additionally these backstories are not just fluff, and most events will play into that character's loyalty quest. If their parents were murdered by a well known group of bandits, they may approach you once you have earned their trust, and request your assistance in bringing their parent’s killers to justice. Additionally, these events will generally play into which character class they ended up becoming, and what traits they possess.

Here is an example backstory generated for a new character:

"Braeda Wheatfield was born in the heart of Langster in the year 1181. She was raised by a couple of farmers who led a mostly quiet life and kept to themselves. One day, soldiers from House Haevir attacked her home and slaughtered her parents. Braeda managed to escape but never forgot the faces of the men who crossed her. She vowed to get revenge if it was the last thing she ever did. Alone and distraught, Braeda managed to eke by an existence by stealing food and supplies. This life in the shadows helped hone her budding talents, teaching her to move and attack without being seen."

From the above example here is how the childhood event was selected.

  •  Id : Unique Id than can be referenced later in other events that need it as a prerequisite.
  •  Category: What type of event is it. "Origin", "Family", "Childhood", "YoungAdult", "Adult"
  •  StoryPrereq: This event is only possible if one of the events listed here is a part of their backstory.
  •  OtherPrereq: These are other determining factors for if an event can be used. This one has "DuringWar" so it could be be selected if there was a war in their region during the years around their childhood.
  •  Text: This is the written description for the player with details about the event. They are written to splice together so the different event categories flow well into each other. Everything inside of brackets are keywords we parse and replace with the appropriate text needed. So [firstName] is replaced with that character's first name where appropriate.
  •  ProbabilityWeight : This can be used to determine how rare certain events are.
  •  DaysUntilRepeatable: How often can this event be used as a part of a backstory. It can also be set to -1 meaning it could be unique and only come up once.
  •  LoyaltyQuest: Does this event have a loyalty quest tied to it? This is where that is set.
  •  Traits: Does this event add a trait to this character. If during their childhood they had a frightening encounter with the undead, a “Fear of the Undead” trait can potentially be added to that character. Personality traits are also chosen this way, for example if a family friend murdered their parents we could add a trait that makes them distrusting of others. This would affect their relationship with other characters (their Affinity), and their relationship to you and the company(their Loyalty).

As you can see there are quite a few variables that go into creating a character’s backstory. With hundreds of possible events to choose from, every character created should have a unique story and personality to add variety to your playthrough. 

On the art-front, Nik has been continuing with enemy designs and we have a couple more timelapses to share with you, along with a look at the "Hoarwulf" creature variants.

 Risen Scourge:


We've also added a new member to our team to help out with the animation workload, so please welcome Rafael Ventura (@rafaelborven). Here's a look at an enemy he recently animated for us:

Thanks for reading and we'll see you next month!

Happy New Year!
3 months ago – Fri, Jan 04, 2019 at 01:09:19 AM

Happy New Year to everyone, and we hope you all enjoyed the Holidays :) We're a few days late here with our December wrap-up so we apologize for that, but here it is nevertheless!

This past month Chris has been working on various mechanics that take place during dungeon crawls. First up is our overhauled knockout state for your characters which we've dubbed as the 'Bleedout' mechanic. 

Previously as a placeholder, your characters would get knocked down and their health would go into the negative until a certain threshold was hit, upon which time they would die. Healing them back into the positive would get them back into the action. Now when your character is knocked down in combat, they enter the Bleedout state where they dip into a reserve health pool, which is represented by a series of blocks on their health bar. They receive one for every point of Constitution they have, and this pool is persistent throughout the entire dungeon, carrying over from battle to battle. This means that if a character is knocked down and their reserves are reduced to 6 blocks prior to being revived, the next time they get knocked down their reserve pool would still be at 6 bars instead of the maximum. 

On their turn, a character in the Bleedout state will lose 1 block of reserve health. Attacks committed by enemies will also deplete it further. Healing the downed character at any point will restore them and bring them back into the fight (at the health value they were healed for).

The dynamic dialogue feature has also received some love, adding in various triggers for characters to communicate, such as when they sustain an injury, experience a character's death, or land a critical hit. 

The logic for coming across and interacting with shrines is also being worked on, with various Gods that can grant your party buffs(or debuffs) depending on their nature and how you interacted with the shrine (such as what items you offered, how you answered their query or whether or not you complete a task they charge you with). We'll have more to show for this feature at a later date!

On the art side of things, we've recently hired a talented artist to oversee the final version of the Overworld map which is coming along nicely. Here's a sneak peek of its current state; we're looking forward to sharing the full version with you later on :)

Overworld map by Brullov:
Overworld map by Brullov:

I've continued to work on enemy designs, some of which will be passed off for animation as we continue to expand our team. Here's two more recent ones: a House Commander and a Coven Familiar. 

Thanks for reading and for all of your support during the past year. We wish you all a terrific 2019, and we'll be back later this month with our January update :)

November Update
4 months ago – Sat, Dec 01, 2018 at 01:08:50 AM

Hey everyone. This months update will be a little shorter than usual but things are still moving along nicely. I have recently been able to shift focus back to artwork, drawing visuals to match the enemy designs that were laid out last month. There's a lot to go through but I'm excited that we're at a point where I can ramp up and focus on asset production. In saying that, I've recorded and uploaded the design process of a couple enemies that will round out the "Outlaw" enemy group.

The first is the Outlaw Chief, the boss enemy of the Outlaw grouping who will appear frequently throughout the game:

The second is the Outlaw Bladedancer, a higher tier enemy who uses her unique weapon deal a large amount of damage if left unchecked. 

I'll record a few more timelapses to share next month as I continue to work my way through the list of enemies :)

Chris has worked on various features during the month of November: continuing to tweak the Overworld simulation; implementing character leveling, ranks and aging; and revisiting the aspects of the Line of Sight feature that were previously left unfinished (such as specific obstacles and allies providing "cover", and tweaks to enemy AI so they play by the rules!). 

Finally, a friendly reminder that you can wish-list The Iron Oath on Steam (link here), which helps bring visibility to the game. We'd very much appreciate it! See you all next time :)

October Update
5 months ago – Thu, Nov 01, 2018 at 01:56:52 AM

Another month has passed! We're still hard at work everyday on The Iron Oath and making great progress. This month we wanted to give you an update on some of the systems we recently implemented into the game, starting with the Injury System.

All of your characters are mere mortals, and as such they are susceptible to a variety of injuries that can be sustained during combat which will reduce their effectiveness or place them out of commission for a specified period. Our design philosophy behind this system is to encourage the player to make use of their full roster and experiment with different classes and combinations, as well as giving consequences to actions (or inactions) committed during a battle.

Injuries can be sustained in two different ways. The most common is when a character is “Downed” and reduced to 0 HP. An injury is automatically applied when this occurs, and its exact nature and location is defined by a series of dice rolls that:

  • Determines the zone of the Injury  
  • Determines the specific body part within the selected zone  
  • Determines the grade of severity (which can be influenced by their injury history, age, attributes, traits, and equipment)

The second way to sustain an injury(or worsen an existing one) is by taking damage that is a high percentage of a characters max HP. Placing a fragile mage in front of an enemy with a great warhammer would risk a trip to the Infirmary, especially if they land a critical hit!

As mentioned, there are four main zones on the body where injuries can occur: the Head, Torso, Arms and Lower Body. Each zone has many possible injury types, and those types apply penalties to your characters depending on the severity of them. Many(but not all) injuries will also be accompanied by Lacerations, graded as Light, Deep and Severe. A character with a laceration will take damage whenever they perform a combative action aside from Waiting. If not properly treated, and depending on the grade, a Laceration can worsen and lead to Complications in the form of Infection, Fever and Death. The former two apply attribute penalties to the character, while the latter is pretty self explanatory! Below is a chart of all possible injuries and their respective penalties.

When an injury is sustained in combat, you can apply a Bandage to Stabilize the injury and treat any Lacerations, which prevents them from worsening to a higher grade for the time being. If you’re out of Bandages, you’ll need to do your best to shelter that character until the mission is over, or risk their injury becoming worse and possibly fatal.

The recovery time varies for each possible injury. The effects could last as little as a month, but more severe injuries could sideline a character for up to a year(which sounds longer than it really is! lol). Apart from Bandages which are temporary solutions, some injuries don’t require any medical intervention and will heal on their own without issue. However, more severe injuries will require treatment, either by your guild’s Physician or at a City’s Infirmary if the injury is beyond their capabilities. Even with treatment, sustaining a severe injury can sometimes have a lasting and permanent effect(in the form of a Trait) on the character, such as the loss of an eye or an ear.

In addition to the implementation of Injuries, Chris has been working more on the world simulation code off and on for a few months now, and it’s starting to all come together nicely. This has been a HUGE undertaking and the amount of work we’ve put into it should hopefully translate into making the world of Caelum a very interesting place, with a lot of room for replayability. Houses and cities will rise and fall, Kingdoms will wage war and nobles will plot to sabotage their counterparts. Through quests, you will be able to assist Houses in their endeavors and help swing the outcome of these events one way or another. We'll continue to have more to say on these aspects of the game in the future as we get closer to release and It’s something we’re planning to show off in a devlog video at some point.

This past month Nik has been finalizing the enemy pool and the respective abilities of each type. Enemy variety(both their looks and mechanics) is of great importance to us, and we’ll have some visuals to show off over the next couple months for that. There's been plenty more smaller tasks we've tackled this month but those were the major things we wanted to highlight for this update. See you next time, and Happy Halloween :)