Let’s talk about death!
Why do we have death in a game? Why not just make you immortal?
Two main reasons:
1) Many games (certainly including Starmourn) have elements of roleplaying and simulation to one degree or another. Death is a pretty big part of life insofar as it happens to everyone, and it’s a helpful ‘failure point’ for you as a player. How do you know when you lost the fight? You’re dead, that’s how. Of course, we could go with the more G-rated options like having you ‘knocked out’ or even something more abstract like ‘You have lost’ without specifying what lost means in-fiction. In our case, we have no reason to go G-rated, as Starmourn is a game aimed at adults, so death it is!
2) It’s a useful fiction for the loss of something to create a cost for hitting the ‘failure point.’ Typically that cost is expressed as a loss of specific in-game resources (like xp or gold) and/or a loss of time. If you’ve played our other games, think of the death sequences.
So how is death going to work in Starmourn?
Well, all of you have an internal neural replicator (INR) that is continuously updating itself with a full model of your current brain activity.
You’ll all also have a sample of your DNA at a cloning facility, which are all run by the Atarsids, who turned to cloning to replenish their devastated species after the Third Cleax War, and are the foremost experts in cloning now. You’ll select a particular cloning facility to be your default one, and can change it whenever you wish.
When you die, you’ll be resurrected at a cloning facility, minus some xp. If you feel like that xp is worth it, and you died in a way that saw your INR survive, you could go back to where you died, retrieve your INR, and get a good portion of that xp back.
However, anyone can retrieve your INR, and if they choose to use it on themselves, they’ll get a portion of that xp for themselves, though less than you’d get back if you used it yourself. Or, they could choose to sell it back to you, or to someone else. That’s a nasty thing to do, of course, but Starmourn’s full of space villains (some of them are probably reading this now).
And that’s how death will work in Starmourn!
One question that has been getting asked a lot on the forums and the Starmourn discord recently is the extent of player customization. In this post, I’ll discuss one aspect of the customization options – your character! These are the options that will be available during character generation at or around launch time.
Note: I know the finer details of character customization aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. If you’re one of those people, you can choose to skip this process and get some presets assigned automatically during character generation. Don’t worry, though: you will still be able to tweak your character’s appearance in-game at a later time.
If you’re still reading this, you’re ravenously wanting to get to the details, so here we go:
Let’s start with your character’s first name – you’ll be able to make up your name, like any game. We’ll hold your name to a basic level of roleplay immersion, so you won’t see xXKillerXx or MarioThePlumber running around! As far as hardcoded limitations, you will not be able to use punctuation or internal capitalization when creating your name.
Your surname will come from a pool of racial family names; you’ll be presented with a subset of these and you’ll be able to select the one you like best. We’ll also be offering the ability for in-game clans to become families, allowingthem to create their own surname.
Set prefix titles will be unlocked for your character when you achieve various milestones in your character’s story. This allows titles to actually convey a sense of achievement and exclusivity, in comparison to other Iron Realms games where anyone with 50 gold and unscrupulous morals can set your title to whatever you would like!
If all of this seems a little rigid, don’t worry, ranking players will be able to add a freeform suffix to your character (that appears after your title and full name)!
As an example, player Tecton may be Destroyer of Worlds, Tecton Smith, the Underachiever — “Destroyer of Worlds” comes from completion of the newbie tutorial (haha), and “the Underachiever” comes from his boss’s sense of humor.
So, that’s your character’s name, what about your character itself?
Here’s just a few of the options you’ll be able to configure about your character’s physical appearance, which will be displayed to others when they look at you:
Your starting age will vary from race to race. Ry’nari offer an age range of 18 – 80 years, while Decheerans can choose from a range between 100 – 1000 years.
Wanna be a short Elgan? A towering Shen? We’ve got you covered. Players can select a height for their character anywhere in the race’s allowable range. For example, Elgans can be as short as 76cm tall (2’5”). Just watch out for those cracks in the ground, you might fall through! This choice will affect how you experience the game, in ways yet to be announced.
Everyone will be able to pick basic traits like eye color and hair color (if they have hair). If you’re picking one of our non-human races, you might also have access to unique racial traits, such as: horns, tusks, wings, manes, fur – and many more! Want to be a gray-eyed Jin with lavender skin and curling horns? Done. Want to be an amber-eyed W’hoorn with chestnut fur and copper wings? All possible! Each individual player race has thousands of combinations to choose from. You will be able to make your character uniquely your own, right at the start of your Starmourn experience.
Once your character is in the game, though, you might wonder if you’ll be able to obtain special customization options for your character not available during character generation. The answer is yes! Another option we’re delighted to implement in Starmourn is our unlock system, which allows new and different customization options to be added throughout the game. For a wild example, say you’re a human involved in an event on Delphi, the Amaian homeworld, and you come face-to-face with K’si. As a reward, you might unlock white hair as a customization option, allowing you to set that on your character. This gives players even more ways of visibly showing off their achievements to others!
You’ll be able to use a freeform description (a short paragraph) to detail additional features (“He is barrel-chested, with a jagged scar running down his left cheek.”), subjective qualities (“He is a gruesome sight to behold.”) or persistent traits (“His face is plastered with a grouchy frown.”).
I’ll have some more posts coming up in the near future on this topic, letting you know about some of the other customization and roleplay-facilitating options available for your character!
The Eckin – Blind, underground quadrapeds.
The Oescans – A poor, largely agrarian people.
The Atarsids – An arachnid race.
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