Arcana of the Lost (WIP)

Arcana

(logo by @peaches!)
30 years ago Magic returned to the world of Imber, and with it came the rise of the Empire of the Radiant Sun and its mysterious Empress. The violent storms and chaos of reality changing may leave some of the world still in disarray, but those who live under the Radiant Sun find some modicum of peace, safe from the uncontrolled arcane energies. Under the Ruling Council’s watchful eye, Magic is studied, cataloged, and quantified in an attempt to understand what has happened to the world and just what the oft absent Empress is capable of.

As one of the few people able to wield Magic who does not answer to the Ruling Council, you’ve been on the run for the six months since gaining your powers. Compelled by a strange note and the unnatural spirit that is your mentor, you board a train for Khenlin-on-Aurora, a city on the outskirts of the Empire where Magic roils untamed. Though looking for a place to lay low, you become embroiled in a plot that threatens not only your life but perhaps the very fabric of reality…

Just remember: In the end, all things must serve the Empress.

As a long time fan of these games, I’ve intended to post a WiP for some time, so what better time than the end of the year, right? There isn’t too much here at the moment, but I hope its enough to leave you interested in what’s to come! I would love any feedback and comments you might have!
The Demo
The Tumblr (feel free to ask questions here or there!)
An index of what’s been asked on Tumblr so far

Characters

(More information can be found here! )
There are 7 romance options planned, with two others being explored. All ROs are available to everyone.

Oland Kasporen: The middle son of the most powerful family in Khenlin, Oland’s carefree attitude clashes with the grim responsibility he feels due to his family’s name. Easy going and jovial, but sometimes lapses into self-doubt. (a short featuring Oland can be found here!)

Maria Lorshane: An information broker in Khenlin, Maria seemingly knows just about everything to do with the city and its surrounding lands. Her helpful attitude and friendly demeanor make it easy for Maria to get people sharing more than they intend.

Dr. Lewis Goldwin: A doctor who moved to Khenlin from the Capital with his son to try and help the people on the frontier of the Empire. Serious and somewhat a curmudgeon when on the job; if you catch him when relaxing however, he is much more well mannered.

Sasha Revalatov: A famous explorer who loves nothing more than scouting places warped by Magic, brought to Khenlin by a recent discovery. They are the definition of unflappable, able to keep calm and in a good mood in even the worst situations.

Ivin: A priestess of the local Viyla population, Ivin serves as an ambassador of her people’s conclave to Khenlin, though a dark destiny looms over her. Polite, serious, only in the presence of those she trust implicitly does she allow herself to relax.

Alexis Wilton: The head of Khenlin’s militia, Alexis takes his duty to protect the city seriously, even if it means working with the Empire he hates. While on duty he maintains a professional, but approachable demeanor, but in private he does not hide his frustrations with the situation Khenlin is in.

Katarina Isadora: The cousin of the Empress who has Khenlin on edge with her arrival to the city. Cold and aloof, Isadora always seems annoyed and slightly bored with the world, though when it comes to the subject of Magic, her curiosity knows little bounds. (Character short can be found here)

Art


Ivin by @peaches

Isadora, also by her!

Warnings

If playing a character who starts the game with an advanced illness is going to make your day worse, you may want to avoid it!

Special Thanks

I’ve had amazing help from members of this community while I worked on the game, and it wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t give them a shout out! @peaches, @Anathema, @Shinasti, @flocktrops, @M.Zhou, and @rinari, thank you all so much for your support, I’m forever grateful!

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Quite interesting stuff! The lore seems to be well thought out and your writing is pretty good too. It reminds me a lot of Shepherds of Haven, and I mean that as a compliment. I’m looking forward for the next update.
PS: I love the art!

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Before I read the thing myself, I just have to do this.

PRAISE THE SUN EVERYONE, PRAISE THE SUN

And it’s out of my system. I’m gonna read it now

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Alright so I like what you got. From what I’ve seen, I don’t think I’ve ever read one of these where the MC is already sick and nearly on their deathbed. And I agree with the dude above me, kinda reminds me of Shepherds of Haven

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I really like it so far! Gonna keep an eye on this one for sure.

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This seems interesting so far! I like the aspect that the mc is already sick at the beginning, its a unique touch. Writing is engaging and I didn’t run across any grammatical errors or anything like that. Excited to see where this ends up :slight_smile:

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found things!

i got this after deciding to throw the newspaper


the length between first paragraph and second paragraph should be less. also a typo, permenant should be permanent.

a small typo (?)


it’s not that big of a deal, but after the long hair sentence, there should be three dots to match the other choices.

i enjoyed what i’ve read so far :grin: can’t wait to meet the rest of the characters.

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@Baam Thank you so much for saying so. I love Shepherds, and it is definitely taken as a compliment. And yes, I love the art too, Peaches is an amazing artist!

@Zoroth Have a sunlight medal for participating in jolly co-operation! :sunny: Thank you for your kind words, and I am really glad that the MC starting off in such a situation was appealing.

@CynicalCream I’m glad to hear it, and I hope to have more for you to look at soon!

@Airo As I said above, I am really glad that the MC’s starting situation is working for people. As for the lack of errors… well all thanks goes to my alpha testers! Believe me, they had their work cut out for them with the first draft…

@xelvmi Nice catches, thank you for spotting those; they should be fixed now! I am excited to get to people meeting the characters too!

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Oh, this is different - and interesting. Well put together, word and world-wise. Fascinating, as Mr Spock would put it. :vulcan_salute: :grin:

Will keep an eye on this, if my vision clears. :wink:

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@Taylor_Enean I’m glad its caught your interest! With any luck you wont have to wait too long to read more.

If anyone is interested on learning a little bit more about the characters, I made a post on tumblr that touches on them in a little bit more detail

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Very interesting demo. Definitely leaves you craving for more. One thing that quickly stands out to me is how complex this world we’ve only dipped our toe into seems to be.

I like that the text does not hold our hand - the MC is clearly a citizen in this world, one that I know barely anything about - and yet, there are no lengthy expositions. The information comes fluidly, in the natural manner someone living within the world would see. Our character thinks and speaks of things which, for them, are as natural as the sun being stuck in perpetual twilight. And it is our job as readers to pick up the pieces.

At the same time, it’s never terribly confusing too. There is an Empire, tied to the Sun. I don’t know its origin, and it seems most people don’t know it either. It seems like this confusion is common in this world, so I accept it too. Magic exists, but it hasn’t always been so? And there is an Empress powerful enough to shape the skies living somewhere in the city we found ourselves in.

What I am trying to say, in a very roundabout way, is that I absolutely want to learn more about this world. I love fantasy and Imber sounds extremely promising.

Speaking of the Empress herself, I already like the character. She hasn’t been in the story yet - who knows if she ever will - but her presence is felt since the very beginning. She seems God-like. She seems powerful, maybe too powerful. I think you’re doing a great job of building her character up.

As for MC themselves, I like that they seem to be a bit defined, yet there are still enough choices to make them ours. So far, at least.

I do wish we had more choices here, since neither option really fits with my MC. But it’s a minor thing.

Summary

Overall, great job! I’m excited to read more. :blush:

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Ah, take you time, don’t rush things – better to wait and get your favourite pizza tomorrow than a lesser one today, no? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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@Anathema I will absolutely add more options to that choice next time I sit down to write! Thank you so much the detailed feedback. When writing I was concerned that there was too much info too fast, or that it would feel too artificial as I tried to catch the player up to the MCs knowledge of the world. I hope I can continue to strike a satisfying balance on that.

@Taylor_Enean Well put, I won’t rush!

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I love the Demo! All the details in the story and the character creator were amazing. What an interesting way to start a story as well. Well done Author!

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I have to admit, starting the game as a sick character on their death bed was an instant grabber for me. I’m hooked! I’ll be sure to add this to my long list of WIPs to keep an eye on.

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Given that this is seeing a lot of reception, I added it to my list of things to read. I can tell this will be a popular one. :slight_smile:

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@LynxTheElf Thank you so much! I’m glad the character creation worked for you, and the starting situation.

@Pyrouge I was concerned about the MC starting off in such poor health would repel readers, so knowing people are liking it is a huge relief!

@trevers17 I never expected people would respond in such force so quickly, I am so grateful and overwhelmed haha! I hope you enjoy it when you get a chance to take a look.

In general news, I’ve updated the first post with the link to the character page on tumblr, and also a link to a character short I wrote back in March about Oland, one of the people the MC will meet in their travels.

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Wow, what a start. I enjoyed your writing a lot. It seems hand-crafted, with that I mean you seemingly put effort and thought in every sentence, but without making your writing stilted. There’s a good flow from sentence to sentence, and paragraph to paragraph. When reading WIPs I often find myself skimming over the text, after a few pages, this was not at all the case here. Information about the world we are located in and our personal background is neatly woven into the writing, just enough to get a feel for the world and our place in it without taking away the sense of mystery. Oh, and I definitely love that we start out as mortally ill. :two_hearts: :skull_and_crossbones:

What interests me: Do you plan to go more toward the direction of a pre-defined or blank-slate MC (personally, I hope it’s the former) ?

Also, three minor nitpicks:

  1. When chosing the option that I never really had interest in magic and the time I was looking for a cure had not changed that, the game nevertheless tells me I have always been fascinated by magic.

  2. I personally don’t care much for chosing our hair and eye colour, but there’s virtually no CoG without it anymore, I guess I’m the odd one out here.

  3. Same goes for telling the reader beforehand which characters will be able to “romance”. Granted, I didn’t have to look at your character information. But it’s the same with cheating in videogames, if it’s too easy, I just can’t resist. However, I don’t know why writers here always feel the need to put the romancable characters out of all characters on a pedestal, and also so clearly define that it is “romance” we can have, and not some other undefinable connection, but maybe that’s just me. As I said, minor nitpicks. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Looking forward to reading more soon. :nerd_face::

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@Kafkaesque that’s one of the nicest things anyone has ever said about my writing, thank you. As some of my alpha testers could tell you, I rewrote this no less than 4 times despite being told I didnt need to so I’m glad the released version feels well crafted! I was very concerned I was info dumping, so to hear its naturally woven in is a relief!

As for the game telling you the MC was still interested in magic even though you chose you weren’t… that’s a bug, and by bug I mean I wrote the wrong text under the wrong option, yikes. That has been fixed now!

I can certainly understand choosing appearance not being everyone’s cup of tea! I love it personally, but I hope it wasnt too intrusive for the people who dont!

Again, another very understandable thing! There will certainly be main plot characters who arent ROs as well, but as you say, it’s kind of the way things are done around here these days! The ROs are all characters whom are important to the plot, and I am excited for people to get to know them, but I can see why knowing who they are before hand or having a lot of attention drawn to them wouldn’t be for all readers.

EDIT: forgot to answer this part! The MC will have certain pre defined parts of their past, certain characters they’ve met before, but there will be room for choices about that as well. The MC is in their early 30s, which is too much life to leave them a total blank slate!

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I think this is because a lot of people will skip WIPs by if they can’t discern whether or not there are RO’s!

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