As promised, we are beginning our regular updates about The Awakening. We start with some
glimpses into the process of designing the world and its monsters, showing what initial difficulties
we had; what paths we have chosen, and why The Awakening will be a fun and exciting game to
play. Let us begin.
One of the unique aspects of our game, The Awakening, which makes it stand out, is Slavic
Mythology. The use of a less known mythology allows us to introduce different sets of magical
beings and creatures to role-playing, allowing the setting to stand apart from standard fantasy
tropes. It makes the feel of the game and its atmosphere interesting and worth exploring. Words
that fit its description include eerie, spiritual, mystical and melancholic. All the things you may find in
old fables and stories.
This caused us some unique problems as designers. The biggest one is that in fact, there is no Slavic
mythology as such, that is, there is no readily accessible set of recorded myths comparable to Nordic
or Celtic myths. We have few passages regarding the beliefs of old Slavs and their gods, passed down
from medieval chronicles. Apart from that we have only archaeological evidence, which does not tell
the full story but has to be interpreted. And that’s it. To make sense of what Slavic mythology really
was, you must look more deeply into an array of different sources. These old myths and beliefs
survived to some extent in old children’s stories, in the folklore of the people living off the land, in
old fables about great heroes and sometimes in the most surprising places, like in the description of
saints in the Orthodox church, where some of the aspects of the old Slavic gods become the features
of the saints.
Thus, what we have in our game The Awakening, are Slavic myths and beliefs but those that were
put together by us. Our version of them that is fused with the more typical fantasy world of Thea.
The magical and mystical beings of Slav’s myths are prepared and designed for you to use in the
memorable and fun encounters.
A second problem was that Slavic beliefs were less structured and less organised, compared to those
of Celts or Germanic tribes. As such, gods and their roles changed over time, depending on location
and tribes. Same thing was happening with views on spirits and the spiritual world. Often, the same
idea of a spirit had several different names and several differing sets of beliefs regarding it. But when
you look everywhere and especially at folklore that survived even until now, one thing was quite
spirits were viewed as a normal part of the natural world. They were neither good or evil – they just
were. Some of them were helpful to humans – some not. You could bargain or appease all of them if
you knew how. The idea of pure evil demons came only later, after contact with Christianity. So, in
our game we have lots of spirits that are the natural part of the world, and in addition, we have also
demons – those beings corrupted by the darkness, that by definition are evil. This spiritual world also
makes us a bit different.
In The Awakening you will face spirits more often that creatures of the darkness, since the spirits are
a part of everyday living. As they can be both good and bad, in order to deal with them or to interact
with them, players will have to approach each spirit individually. One spirit of the same kind can lead
to a fight and you will have to deal with it permanently, while another of same kind may be helpful
or sympathetic to the player’s cause. Each time it will be up to the player to discover how to deal
with a given spirit.
This, we hope, also shows our different approach to monsters usually found in the games, one that
will give you more opportunities to role-play and will make the game more exciting, as you will have
to think on your feet and solve each spirit’s problem individually. And if you prefer to fight against
evil, you can do that as well, as in The Awakening, all that is corrupted by the Dark turns, and it is
twisted into a demonic and purely evil version. Thus, The Awakening will offer you a game where
morality can have different shades of grey, but when you encounter the true Darkness, you will face
true evil and all doubt can be put aside.
Next time, when we update you on what we have done and show you how spirits work within the
world of The Awakening game, we will bring you description of Lady Midday, a field spirit that on the
face of it seems evil, but like all spirits, doesn’t have to be so. Look out for the next update.
Until then take care, play games, have fun, and make most of the time we have now!