Monthly Archives: March 2013

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Character Biographies: The Reiht, part one

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The Emperor's own- the Reiht

The Emperor’s own – Sergius’ handpicked hit men have always been somewhat of a motley crew of oddballs, and it might have seemed to some that the late Emperor was going out on a limb when he appointed them his personal guard. However, Sergius Corvius’ eye for talent far exceeds conventional wisdom. Throughout the Scourge of Esellion, Richard and his merry band of misfits have time and again, proved themselves to be worth far more than their weight in silver – which is saying a lot considering Olav‘s love for coin.

Having said that, the Reiht have always been very dear to me on a personal level- the characters were based off one of Ian’s D&D campaigns, and each represented friends I used to play with. Richard, played by my best friend Kevin T. (not to be confused with Kevin M., co-founder of WHS), was our leader and I played his mischievous confidante, Crumston.  Quintus, his half brother was played by our good friend Leonard who was a bit of a flirt in real life. It was pretty funny watching him walk into every bar and flirt with everything that walked by with a skirt… considering Ian was our dungeon master. Just reminiscing the times when the two of them were hitting on each other still gives me the giggles, as well as a shiver that runs down my spine. Oh, the bromance.

We had all sorts of folks who joined us from time to time, Jerome who joined is as Devlin… and killed a man by jumping on him because he pumped 20 points into the jump skill and the lecherous Christian, so deadly with the bow but had noodle arms in melee combat (he once got beat up by a disarmed guard who boxed him to oblivion). It got really silly at times. Lukas, who was played by our very own Brian- a mild mannered fellow, straight as an arrow (oh it rhymed!) and oh who could forgot our resident himbo, Guy! Not me. Especially since he’s used me as a human meatshield on more than one occasion. Crumston’s great rivalry with Jesse, Cierra‘s blistering romance (by blistering I meant uncomfortable) with Quintus – oh I could go on for days! We even scribed some of our adventures down… here! Really old blog, Varian (the guy who played Guy) scribed most of it, though we took turns. It’s a little Tl;dr but there’s one particular post in there that I scribed. It’s one that I’m particularly proud of, and it involves the members of the Reiht going head to head in a sparring match back in the days they were still training under the Bardic Academy. The only time we ever did in fact; Guy takes on Cierra, Richard takes on Quintus and Crumston faces Jesse in a grudge match. So if you ever wondered how these characters came into conception, go ahead and take a look.

We’ve all gone separate ways since then, but it’d be fair to say that the Ravenmark saga might not have existed had we never played Dungeons and Dragons together, which eventually led to Ian proposing a tabletop game in the same vein as Warhammer. The Raven was actually the banner that represented us in battle, bequest upon us of course by our dungeon master Ian.  For me, this was where it all began. In Ian’s dusty attic, around a ping-pong table with a bunch of friends.

So moving on from this week, I’ll be publishing a couple more write-ups for the Reiht – as homage to what they represent. Days of youth spent adventuring and exploring the imagination, of friendships forged and of dreams coming to life. So watch this space!

P.s: I really love the new piece our artist, Xin Wen, has done up for the Reiht. It’s lovely!

The lady in the Mask

Unveiled: The mystery of the masked lady

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Hi all!

I’m here again today to talk to you about Ravenmark: Mercenaries, as well as the teaser trailer we recently released for the game. For those of  you who haven’t watched it yet, you can find the trailer here, as well as read up more about our upcoming title here. For those of you who have watched our teaser trailer, as well as having played Raven’s Rise, you would have found this masked lady rather familiar. If not, then you might want to stop reading here, because I may have a couple of spoilers littered along the way.

Dame Galea; Leader of the Gorgons, Messiah of the Twin Cities.

The masked lady’s appearance at the end of the trailer, not to mention that her sigil has been plastered all over the place in the lead up to Mercenaries – has marked her as a central figure to our upcoming title. The question is how and why?

Some of you may recall her brief appearance – she shared a significant moment with Harper (Not what you’re thinking. Get your mind out the gutter folks.) that was pivotal to the storyline. Her official alias to the general public then was Dame Galea, leader of the Gorgons and messiah of the Twin Cities.

She was unmasked shortly after and found to be the Braccian mercenary known as Adrasta Tsepha. Personally, I was surprised as I hadn’t expected Adrasta to have made a comeback in such a fashion, thinking her to be somewhat more disposable than say, Dresius.

After Kaysan had gained occupancy of the Twin Cities, it was Dame Galea and her Gorgons who stood up for the people in place of the displaced Imperial Mark, although she only managed to wrest control from the Kaysan after Harper had made his march back into the city that caused him so much grief.

Ravenmark: Mercenaries centers itself around an era where there is a growing need for hired swords, and who better to head this era than a former mercenary herself? Adrasta has so far accounted for herself well, surprising me with  her leadership since stepping out from Harper’s shadow. Combining the level headedness of a veteran and sheer ingenuity, her feats during the Scourge of Estellion seem to be only a prelude to what she will mean to the grand scheme of things in Mercenaries.

All we know for now is that she leads the Gorgons, whom the people of the Twin Cities have put their faith in. The same people who have become disillusioned by Tellion rule, despise the Kaysan for their part in the war and have no ties with the Sotrans whatsoever. So perhaps, a question to answer your questions; where does that put Dame Galea and the Twin Cities then?

We will know for certain soon enough.

Ravenmark-RM-Logo

Ravenmark: Mercenaries official annoucement

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Hey everyone!

We have officially announced Mercenaries on its own page over here! You’ll find a trailer as well as a description of some of the upcoming features! We’ve also created a forum for discussing strategies related to all things Ravenmark! Lastly, if you have a Touch Arcade account, you’ll be able to discuss Mercenaries over here!

Adrise&Phoebe

Character Biographies: Adrise and Phoebe Corvius

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Queen of the Industrial Courts, Adrise Corvius

Head of the Court of Affinity, Adrise Corvius a.k.a The Chimney Queen

The ever-reliable Chimney Queen has had to hit the ground running ever since the Scourge ended. Rebuilding the Empire’s economy from scratch was never going to be an easy task, considering how the Empire’s economic center was ravaged by the Kaysan. Her task has certainly not been made easier by Livia’s focus on the warfront. Her duties have more than doubled since then, taking over the Court of Affinity after Phoebe’s disappearance, but fortunately Sergius’ daughter is certainly made of sterner stuff.

Phoebe Corvius’ dubious role in Prince Gratian’s ploy for the crown, along with her sudden disappearance – have meant that Adrise has had to draw a line between her loyalty to the Empire and her familial ties with her daughter. Not an easy task even if Phoebe is rather questionable. After all, which mother could bear to abandon her daughter?

It’s hard not to feel for Adrise in my opinion – with her kindly appearance and her motherly demeanour, she reminds me of my own mother. She certainly wouldn’t look out of place with an apron and a fresh tray of cookies in her hand, and yet to see her put through such trials by her own daughter no less, is absolutely sigh worthy for me.

I’m not quite certain what further role she will come to play in the upcoming Ravenmark: Mercenaries, but I’m certainly rooting for her to pull through the current crisis.

The Queen of Hearts, Phoebe Corvius

 

Phoebe Corvius: former Head of the Court of Affinity.

Young, ambitious, beautiful, intelligent and most importantly – dangerous. Before I get pelted by jeers of chauvinism, I’ll have to say that all those traits would have made Phoebe a model example for young women the world over… if she had possessed any semblance of morals that is.

This ravishing beauty would have used any means necessary in her own quest for power, as was showcased in the briefest of times during Raven’s Rise. I’ll have to say though, it certainly made things interesting. She was perhaps one of the few villains that I was rooting for to survive, just so I could see her get involved in future story lines.

I wasn’t the only one; I’m sure our artist enjoyed drawing her as well and personally I think he did a good job in tastefully capturing the alluring sensuality she was meant to exude. For me, she was the one imbalance amongst the Queens, and her presence added flavour and contrast to what would have otherwise been a rather bland mix of good, good… and more good.

Currently a renegade after having disappeared without a trace after the events of the Scourge, one can only guess what the former Queen of Hearts is up to these days. Chances are good that she’s probably up to her usual schemes in her bid for power, and one wouldn’t bet against this scheming temptress making her appearance sometime in the near future.

Anifel&Jycquin

Character Biographies: Anifel and Jycquin Corvius

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The four Queens of the Court are arguably the most important people in the Empire besides the Empress herself, with each taking charge of an industry crucial to the Empire’s survival. Formerly based in the Twin Cities, its’ destruction meant that the Queens have relocated themselves to the Atium. With the Scarlet Empress focused on spearheading Estellion’s war efforts, the Queens have become even more important, taking charge of all the administrative duties left behind by the Empress. Here we take a look at Jycquin and Anifel Corvius, both of whom we saw plenty in Raven’s Rise and the impact they have had in the Ravenmark Saga.

 

Queen of the Court of Law, Jycquin Corvius

Queen of the Harsh Hammer, Jycquin Corvius

In time of peace, Jycquin’s unyielding personality proved effective in maintaining the peace and order, her strictness often serving as a deterrence to potential criminals. The Scourge of Estellion however has brought new chaos upon the lands, and it is yet to be seen how the one often referred to as the Queen of the Harsh Hammer will cope with the ongoing turmoil.

Personally, I found Jycquin’s personality to be intriguing although I do feel that I did not see enough of her to pass judgement- pardon the pun. From what I surmised, her strict demeanor hides a kind soul backed by a conviction in her morals not many can claim to have. It wasn’t until Raven’s Rise that we saw her take a frontline role, as she battled alongside her fellow Queen, Anifel – in thwarting Prince Gratian’s power play for the crown.

I do expect her to play a bigger part in Mercenaries; with Livia herself taking a harsh stand on the matters at hand, I do expect Jycquin’s personality and role to evolve – or it could mean the beginning of the end for Estellion’s longstanding Empire.

After all, justice can only be meted out if there is a true understanding of the situation… something I feel that goes hand in hand with compassion.

 

 Queen of Quills, Jycquin Corvius

Queen of Quills, Anifel Corvius

My favourite of the four Queens, Anifel’s tomboyish features and demeanor was a fresh breakaway from the long haired damsels we are too often peppered with in fantasy novels. No-nonsense, tough and a little brash, her feistiness and straightforward honesty made her instantly likable in my books.

She could be forgiven if she were to curse her luck. After all, her predecessors could often be as administrative figureheads, celebrated only in name. The might of the Imperial Mark meant that those who were folly enough to take their chances against the Empire were no more than annoyances. Since the events of the Scourge,  the Queen of Quills is now perhaps a hot seat that many would turn down even if offered on a silver platter.

To her credit, Anifel has shone in these dark times and her leadership has meant that the Imperial Mark has only grown more fearsome. While she might disagree with the harsh methods employed by Livia, one would expect her to put her own misgivings aside, trusting in her Empress’ decisions to pull them through. Although in these uncertain times… who’s to say what anyone will happen?

Throne BG

PAX East & GDC announcement!

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The Road to Roost: artwork for the Atium

Hey folks,

As some of you may have heard, Witching Hour Studios will be attending the upcoming PAX East and GDC, so to all the journalists and our fans out there, listen up! I’m sure some of you will be wondering what exactly we’ll be bringing to the table. Well for those of you itching to know what we’ve been up to, or are curious about our upcoming multiplayer title, Ravenmark: Mercenaries – fret not! This post will keep you updated on our whereabouts and give you a brief understanding of what to expect from our showing at PAX East and GDC.

What to expect

We’ll mostly be showcasing Ravenmark: Mercenaries, a multiplayer based on our first title, Scourge of Estellion. We’ll actually be bringing with us a playable demo build, and while not exactly the finished product, should be sufficient to showcase some changes we’ve made to the gameplay mechanics, as well as some new concepts we’ve come up with to enhance the multiplayer experience. We’ll have a trailer ready by then! So please do watch out for that!

Earthshield Veteran

PAX East

We’ve been allotted a booth at PAX East, which is wonderful news for everyone really- because it’ll be so much easier to locate us. It also means that poor Brian and Ian won’t have to lug around all the equipment and freebies they intend to hand out. That’s right; freebies! To tie in with the release of Ravenmark: Mercenaries, we have some promotional items we’d like to hand out to our fans and anyone else interested in hearing us rave about our latest game. I’ll attach the details of our location and dates available below, as well as our e-mail so you can contact us regarding any enquiries you may have for PAX East!

Date: 22nd to 24th March

Location: Boston Convention & Exhibition Center

Booth #128

E-mail:

enquiries(at)witching-hour.net

Note: Our booth will be opposite the PAX Merch store, so we shouldn’t be too hard to find.

The Sunset

GDC

This portion right here is more for the journalists than anyone else, but please read on if it interests you. We’ll be roving around at GDC so it’s going to be a little harder to locate us, but again, fear not! Brian will be getting a dedicated number, so just give him a call if you’re looking for us! If you can’t catch them at the convention, they’re also more than happy to sit down for a chat at their hotel lobby; you can either call Brian or fix an appointment with either of them through our e-mail, attached below. Zombie infection notwithstanding, neither bite, so don’t be afraid to get in touch with them!

Date: 26th to 30th March

Telephone Number: To Be Announced

E-mail/iMessage: press(at)witching-hour.net

Residence: Serrano Hotel,

405 Taylor Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

Thank you and we hope to see you soon!

Harper

Character Biographies: Vidius Harper

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Hey fellas it’s me again!

The Gambler, Altus Rook Vidius Harper

I’ll be talking about Vidius Harper today, and I’ll have to say that I am slightly biased when it comes to anything concerning our dear Altus Rook. Harper was actually an adaptation of a character Ian invented back in our Dungeons and Dragons days. He was somewhat of a fatherly figure to us back then, a trait that has survived the transition to the Ravenmark Saga it seems. Watching him guide Calius and Dresius really brought back memories of the times Ian used him as something of a walkthrough character for our little rag tag group of adventurers.

The Ravenmark Saga has given me an even deeper insight into Harper’s psyche and personality and I thoroughly enjoyed watching his personal story unfold. Given the name the Gambler, Harper’s renown as one of Estellion’s greatest general was severely put to the test during the Scourge.

While his gambles were successful in helping Livia claim the Obsidian Perch as well as routing the Kaysani invaders, the war cost this tragic veteran plenty on a personal level once again; having already lost his wife and son to an Ardite raid. For those of you who played through all the campaigns, you would have seen how the loss of Dresius affected him. In my opinion Calius’ death should have pushed him over the edge, as would have been the case were it not for Livia’s own despair. Forced to be strong for his Empress and for the sake of Estellion, Harper has gone on with his duties rather stoically, accepting his promotion to Altus Rook with apprehension knowing that there was no one better suited than him to keep an eye on the newly crowned Empress and to provide a voice of reason and guidance. All this while suffering his own personal pain.

All in all, the thing I love most about Harper is the human touch he has despite his standing. A living legend in his own right, his wisdom and years of experience would have made it easy for him to have been someone whom you would put on a pedestal and admire from afar. Yet, as I slogged through Scourge of Estellion’s harsh battles and skirmishes I found myself empathizing with Harper, fully coming to understand the strength of this man’s character and at the same time feeling his vulnerability. It sounds silly to say about a fictional character, but this was someone I found myself respecting a great deal. Funnily enough, I had this same exact sentiment about Harper back in my tabletop gaming days, so I suppose nothing much has changed there.

With Livia having gone down a darker path, it is needless to say that like many of you, I am looking forward to seeing how Harper’s story will develop in response as the Ravenmark Saga takes a leap into the next chapter of its’ story.

 

Livia Lore

Character Biographies: Livia Cassianus

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Hey folks!
With the arrival of Ravenmark: Mercenaries around the corner I’m sure some of you have been wondering what some of your favourite characters as well as those key to the plot have been up to. As of this week, I’ll be revisiting some of these characters and shedding some light about them with regards to their character growth.

Magister Livia Cassianus

When I was first introduced to Livia in Ravenmark: Scourge of Estellion, I didn’t exactly find her likeable. The way she walked in and acted like she was in charge, especially picking on poor Calius, was simply overbearing in my opinion.

As the story progressed however, my opinion of her changed drastically. Here was a girl with a past, guarded out of necessity if more than anything. Slowly but surely, she discovered what it meant to be honest with herself in regards to her feelings for Calius and people around her. In that respect, she endeared herself to me, although the revelation of her lineage saw a role reversal and our dear Calius Septim beome the more reticent of the two.

*Spoiler Alert for those who haven’t completed Raven’s Rise*

The Scarlet Empress, Livia Cassianus

The ending of Raven’s Rise saw a tragedy that stunted her emotional growth. Angry and vengeful, this was a different animal from when we first met her. As the newly crowned Empress of the Obsidian Perch, Livia oversees the Empire with an iron fist. Her intentions are simple – to regain the Tellion lands that have been lost and to crush the Empire’s enemies. Her stubbornly raw scars that refuse to heal, coupled with this newfound harshness have earned her the name the Scarlet Empress.

 

As painful as it was for me, the death of Calius was pivotal in pushing both her story as well as the Ravenmark Saga and while she is only one of the many changed by the war, her change is perhaps the most jarring and extreme amongst them. It is still early days yet for me to say how I feel about Estellion’s new Empress but, I’ll say that things are certainly shaping up to be interesting.