viernes, 29 de junio de 2018

Six Ages: Ride like the Wind - My first adventures!

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Six Ages: Ride Like the Wind is the new videogame by David Dunham's company A Sharp and it's set in Glorantha, a fantasy land of myth and magic. The setting was created by Greg Stafford for classic pen and paper roleplaying games such as RuneQuest, but it can also be played with 13th Age Glorantha or with the more narrative HeroQuest. If you have played the previous videogame by A Sharp, titled King of Dragon Pass, Six Ages looks very similar, although there are a few changes.

Six Ages: Ride Like the Wind on my iPad mini

It is still a cool mix of interactive story, resource management, diplomacy and exploration. This time however, the clan you play with belongs to a different culture: that of the Hyalorings, horse riders descendants from the Dara Happans who fled from their city during God Time. You play the story of your clan, who has recently settled in a new land further south from their ancestral lands. You have to defend your people from other clans, but also from monsters and magical threats. You have to stablish good relationships with your neighbours, so that they may help you, and you need to build shrines and make sacrifices to your deities and spirits, so they can give you their useful blessings and magical help. You can also explore the land around you, to find magical treasures, friendly spirits or perhaps useful information and allies.

My clan is called Night Shield, I have only played 9 years of their current story, and I’m already hooked. In a frenzy after the few first hours of playing the game, I wrote down everything I remembered from it. So you can get an idea of the kind of story you weave while playing this videogame, below I'm going to summarize the saga of my clan so far.

Parastak's counsel is to tell other clans about the wolf spirit we found to the east. Yeah, maybe next year...

During the first years, we were busy expanding or fields and pastures, and building shrines to our gods. We sent emissaries to other clans with gifts, but the High Stallions still mocked us. Nevertheless, we managed to forge an alliance with the Greenrock clan. Traders from a distant clan, the Ambers, asked us to buy all our forged bronze for seven years and we agreed, but it was a bad decision, as we later found out, since our crafters were hard pressed to make all the wares we needed and then all the promised bronze artifacts on top of that.

In spite of that, our best traders managed to establish two permanent trade routes. During Fire Season, we tried to steal some cattle from the haughty High Stallions, but we were spotted, so we fought and we found out they were actually pretty scared of us! So we returned to our lands with many of their horses, goods and cattle. Yeeeha! We raided them again next year with similar results. That time they tried to parley, but they were only trying to win time to organize themselves better, so we charged riding our horses and ended up plundering their lands. Our happiness didn't last long, however, since that summer two giant river monsters attacked our foragers and killed them!

Take that, High Stallions! We'll put your cows and horses to good use...

Later, something happened that would change our beliefs forever: a strange horse priestess came to our lands and asked our permission to bless our horse herds. We agreed, of course, and she was so happy about that, that she told us about a plateau far away in the north, were a magical priestess lived. One of our priestesses got her indications and decided to travel there. When she returned from her long journey, she told us she had talked with Cerala on the plateau, and she was Hyalor’s daughter with Aldrya, goddess of the forests! We spread the news around other Hyaloring clans, but only two of them believed us. Then our shrine to our most revered god, Hyalor the first rider, got covered in shining blooming vines and everyone considered it a good omen.

Well, she said a dream had sent her to us... I wonder who actually sent the dream to her...!

Next year, we rescued a child going down the river in a clay pot and our leader Parnana adopted him and named him Monok. Later, on a Fire Season night, we decided to inspect the stars using our ancient methods. We decided to look for signs of the future. The stars told us that the spirit of Raven would visit us. They also told us that something terrible would happen that would change our way of living forever. Soon enough, a cloud of ravens visited our spirit rocks. We conducted a ritual to honour Raven. For this purpose, we had to get a captive from the High Stallions and kill him during the ritual.

We wanted to convince the other clans that we had told them the truth about Hyalor and Aldrya. So we conducted an even bigger and riskier ritual: the magical reenactment of the Tablets of Hyalor. One of our priests played the part of Hyalor and reenacted the story of how Hyalor brought back from the Sky his golden tablets so we were prepared to leave Nivorah before the ice crushed everyone. Our success in the ritual showed other clans we were honest about Cerala. Otherwise, how could Hyalor have blessed us?

On my tablet, I learnt about the golden Tablets of Hyalor. Ha-ha. I was relieved to be successful on my first reenactment.

Later on, we found out three of our children had advanced fire magic and were throwing powerful fireballs around. That looked promising, but we told them not to use the magic too much until they come of age, please. Later on, an army of trolls attacked us at night when our magic was depleted and inflicted heavy casualties on our people. On top of that, a Wheel clan (followers of Samnal the god of charioteers) also raided and plundered our lands. Wheels be damned!

Oh, no! Not now! Someone pissed the trolls so much they had to leave the Underworld and come to the surface of the world...

Next year, our leader fell terribly ill and the whole clan was worried. In order to help her, we sacrificed some goods to Erissa, goddess of healing.

Even with our leader ill, we tried to ally ourselves with the Wild Drums clan, who live to the north of us. They initially refused, but later they agreed to it. We sacrificed som cows to Dostal to obtain his hunting magic to bolster our bows and later sacrificed to Hyalor’s daughter, Osara, to receive her blessing. We used it very successfully when later on an army of trolls attacked our lands, as they had to through a heavy barrage of magical fiery arrows.

I didn't want this to happen ever again, that's why I sacrificed some cows for some decent combat magic...

Soon after that, the time came to put on a new story cloth on our story tent. Instead of buying it, we decided to do something cunning: since we knew the Ambers clan had sent a delegation to the High Stallions to give them such a cloth as a gift, we ambushed them and took the cloth for ourselves! Later on, we stole some cattle from the High Stallions, without them even noticing! I guess Raven was watching over us that day.

Next year, something very strange happened. We knew there were tribes of Rams living on the other side of the Black Eel river, but that year, they somehow crossed the river and raided us! These savages are followers of the son of Umath, the barbarian god who killed the Solar Emperor! Thanks to Elmal, we were able to drive them off. After some time, they came back in peace, but we refused them again. Still, they came a third time, this time with a delegation of their most respected priestesses. We noticed they also had goddesses of cattle, earth and healing, just like us. They wanted us to somehow show respect for one of their children. Knowing that the Rams aren’t very good with spirits, we gifted them with the first one our shamans could find. It was a horse spirit that whispered horse knowledge into the small child’s ear. This child would grow up and later be known as Redalda.

Elmal damn those Rams, they don't even have horses to ride onto...! Tsk...

Remember the three children with awesome fire magic powers I told you about? They didn't mean to hurt anyone, but later on their fireballs ended up destroying our barn. We scolded them again, but our people were now very worried and thought something had to be done about them. Reluctantly, we asked our shamans to ask the spirits to remove the fire powers from those children, as they were clearly too dangerous for everyone. The whole clan sighed with relief when our shamans succeeded. However, I still think those children would have been very powerful when they reached adulthood and developed their fire magic even further. They might have become heroes of our clan and performed mighty deeds for the glory of the Night Shield! Did I perhaps make a wrong decision? Maybe I'll never know...

But you will perhaps choose another option when you play Six Ages: Ride Like the Wind. If you do, please tell me how did that go! You can buy the Six Ages videogame from the App Store for 10$. For now it is only available for iPhone and iPad, but in 2019 it will be available for PC and Mac. And now that I've told you all this, I can finally go back to keep playing the game. Don't be surprised if I don't answer any calls or reply to any emails for some weeks! I have so much to do still, and my clan awaits my decisions! I'll publish a full review of the game when I finish playing through the game! Now if you want, you can read my interview to the game designer: David Dunham.

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