This afternoon we went to a special sort of preview of a game called Chaos Chronicals. The people of Coreplay have a passion, and that passion is pen and paper roleplaying games. This was evident as soon as we entered the room, for there was a large stack of old school RPG’s like the old D&D games spread out on the table. Although still popular, they are no longer represented amongst video games. Coreplay intends to change this by rebooting the classic squad based RPG genres on the PC based on the D&D ruleset.

The classic RPG’s have been getting a lot of love lately, most to thanks to the steam platform. We saw reboots like Legends of Grimrock being very successful for an indie game. But Coreplay is quite ambitious in their approach. Although they plan to follow the traditional pen and paper rulesets, they want the rest of the game to be brought to this decade. As a result the graphics will be above the ussual classic RPG reboot (note that screen captures are Alpha at this point), delivers crisp visuals that will really bring the game to life.

The core gameplay revolves around your squad of adventures. There are 5 class slots but many more to choose from. This allows you to create your own setup from the beginning. You can customize each of these 5 characters to classic classes such as mages, warrior, rogues, etc. But the customization stretches further. There will be multiples races to choose from, each with its own pros and cons. You can also be able to change the gender and appearance of each of these characters. All this is done to give the player the game feeling as a D&D campaign. It’s important to create a connection with your characters for you’ll be spending a lot of time with them in the game.

In terms of Narrative aspects the game is set up as one gigantic pen and paper roleplaying campaign. The backstory revolves around an ancient evil that takes control of an entire continent. The population flees the continent, and the evil is left alone for centuries. But after hundreds of years, a brave group of five adventurers take it upon themselves to reconquer the lost continent. Each character can have its own motivation; from rightious justice to large treasures, this will help build your character as you process through the game.

Now on to the core gameplay of the game. The gameworld is divided into two seperate entities, the overworld map (which is similar to for example Heroes of Might and Magic) and the dungeons (which will features multiple levels, just like pen and paper RPG’s). The overworld will be your connection point between the various dungeon and cities. In cities you will be able to recruit new team members if one of your team members dies (there are ways to resurrect them, more on that in a bit). From the overworld map you can travel to one of the dungeons. Each dungeon will have its own backstory, for example in the demo the developers showed us an abbandond mansion with stories filled with intrigue and betrayal.

Everything will occur in realtime until combat is initiated and the dices are rolled. Yes, the combat system will work with dice rolls, but the rolls themselves will probably be obscured to fasten up the gameplay. All the classic RPG abilities will be represented in the game, from the various schools of magic to stealth checks and assassinations. The combat system is turn-based and the combat rules should be familiar to pen and paper RPG players. The combat system is what should drive the game once it releases, for many of the D&D players are enthralled by the character building and how its put into practice through combat. Another cool thing to note is that skills such as perception will and charisma will be in the game as well, which will allow players to find hidden secrets or achieved alternative ways of progressing.

Another common theme in pen and paper RPG are riddles and puzzles, which will be prominent in Chaos Chronicles. from simple puzzles such as finding three amulets in a mansion to more complex puzzles that will span entire areas.

I wanted to elaborate on the perma-death threat in classic RPG’s. The developers have confirmed there will be two games modes: hardcore and insanely hardcore. Coreplay is going for a niche audience but wants this audience to be challenged to the point of breaking. In harcore mode, if one of your party members is lethaly wounded you can carry him to the nearest town to heal. In case he dies, there is still a chance he can be revived by taking his ashes to the nearest town. By invested gold and having a bit of luck the character can be resurrected. In what the developers called “insanely hardcore” you will not be able to resurrect squad members. But it goes further than that, the developer plan to only allow save point in towns. So no saving during dungeon, which will greatly increase the challenge to possible extreme levels.

If you’re a fan of class RPG and enjoy a challenge this is definitely one to look out for. There is no release date yet as the game is still in alpha, but it will be released on steam somewhere in Q1/2 2013.