A Tour from a Player's Perspective…

People keep asking us what is so different about playing Citadel of Sorcery? We thought that a simple excerpt from the point of view of a player might help everyone to understand what the experience might be like, at least until the game is released and you can just go experience your own adventure in this new world. So here is that excerpt:

I have a few hours to kill, so I fire up my PC and log into Citadel of Sorcery, looking to continue my characters story and adventures…

I’m fairly new to the CoS world, so I arrive in Tier one of the Citadel of Sorcery. This is a vast city arranged in Tiers that spiral up around a central rock spire. On top sits the high tower of the Citadel of Sorcery where the Eyes of Darkness, the grim sorceress, rules over all Tiers of her city.

However, the Sorceress is not my concern… at least, not yet. I’m still only in Tier one, with many Tiers to ascend before reaching the tower… and the Eyes of Darkness. Yesterday I finished a quest which got me a new clue to the mystery of my past. I’m looking forward to continuing that line of discovery… but I’ll continue that later. Even as I was basking in the glory of having pulled the wool over the eyes of a group of Bandits, an old friend of mine came to me with a problem. I put my own problems on hold to help Johann, who is an NPC friend of my character. He tracked me down and told me that his son had disappeared. I know Johann from another quest where he’d helped me escape from a cell where I’d been imprisoned by an evil wizard (that’s a story for another day).

Anyway, Johann asked for my help in finding his son. This sounded pretty easy, until he told me that his son had become involved with some strange cult… a cult rumored to be messing around with Pagrimis blood… bad mojo there. I knew I’d have to be careful. One of Morphael’s spies might be involved, and that could mean trouble. So, yesterday I’d told Johann not to worry, I was on the job. Right off the bat I headed toward the rumored location of the cult. They had moved into some old Ruin from the first age. But on the way there I ran into an ambush, an ambush put there specifically to get me. It seems my old nemesis, Sir Vorglan, was interested in something to do with this Pagrimis blood as well, and he’d heard I was headed for the cult. Since we had some bad history together and his goal and mine seemed to be similar, he decided to take out his competition early on… meaning, he decided to kill me.

I managed to spot the ambush and turn the tables, but Sir Vorglan escaped. I knocked one of his men unconscious, and then, ah… questioned him. Yes, some threats were involved, but he had tried to kill me, and that’s how I learned about Vorglan’s involvement. I decided to hunt that bastard down later; time was of the essence if I was going to rescue my friend’s son before he was turned. I’d popped into the Library and done some research before starting the quest and learned some interesting facts about Pagrimis blood; that stuff has some strange properties and uses.pagrimisweb

But, yesterday I’d run out of time to adventure, and had to leave the game. That’s OK, today I picked up the quest about where I’d left off. Even though this was part of my personal quest, I decided to bring along some help, so I went to my Guild house and convinced a couple other members to join my group and help me with this quest. When I told them we were probably going to be dealing with a Pagrimis, they were all over getting on this quest with me. All they had to do to join the quest was group with me; they automatically got all the journal entries about what had happened automatically, even a recap of my encounter with Sir Vorglan. No running around having to talk to the same NPCs, no prerequisites. Joining someone’s quest in CoS is always as easy as grouping up, and then off you go adventuring. Once you join this quest becomes part of your story now too.

So, we were ready to kick some cult ass… or were we? There is a portal near the Guild Hall, but I asked if anyone needed anything else before we got started. Maybe one of my team needed a quick trip to the Merchant district for resupply, or a trip to library for research. Turns out everyone was good to go, but one of them told me that there was a guy he knew looking to group. He wasn’t part of our guild, but supposedly this guy was tough stuff, lots of Spirit magic, and hell on wheels with a bow. Good deal. We took a quick run to the Tavern District, and found him hanging out at one of the pubs for adventures seeking groups. We picked him up and also took on a girl who was good with Shadow skills and some Magic. Fine, six sounded like a good party, and left room for a couple guild members to join us later if they wanted.

We hopped into a portal and choose to teleport to a territory portal in the Reflected World’s near where we needed to go. It took a few seconds to get to the Reflected World, but now that we had arrived, there will be no other waits for areas to load… the entire world was ready for us. We found the caravan master, an NPC I knew from a past adventure. He was getting his wagons ready for departure. I’d spotted him the day before and I knew that he traveled these lands often, and could give us an update to our map to show where the cult ruin was located. He was happy to update our map region once recognized me; I think he would have charged us otherwise.

So off we went down the south Imperial road. The last Citadel Fort was soon in our dust as we headed out into the wilds. Speaking of ‘in our dust’… that new girl who joined us, the one with the Shadow abilities? She checked our back trail and wouldn’t you know it, there was someone tracking us! What to do, what to do. We discussed our options using the built in game voice system. One team member wanted to create an ambush, make up some traps and nail the bastards. However, we didn’t know for sure if these were enemies, or how powerful they were. With a Pagrimis involved, this could be nasty. So, we finally decided to create a false trail by hurrying forward, then getting off the road and doubling back to hide in some bushes to take a look at who was following us.

Good thing, it was a full troop of about twenty nasty looking Recreated; obviously a raiding party out seeking fresh body parts. I didn’t want to end up having my body become spare parts of some new Recreated ‘thing’, and there were a lot of these guys… big too. So we decided to track them and see if they were part of what was going on with the cult, or just a chance encounter.

They stopped when our tracks departed the road and seemed to mill about for a bit deciding if they were going to follow our back trail. I guess they gave up on us, because they turned right and headed away… both from our tracks and the cult. So we decided they were probably just a raiding party out for fresh body parts. Now that we knew where their tracks left the road we could track them later if we wanted to do something about them, but for now we decided to stay on target and continue toward the cult.

We continued down the road once the Recreated were out of hearing and sight. We’d been so concerned with the Recreated that we nearly missed the trap set to nail us just ahead. There was this wagon off the side of the road, with a guy trying to fix a broken wheel. He beckoned us over and I started to go, but our Shadow girl was not so trusting and she used her bow to fire a Shrieker arrow into the bushes off to the side of the wagon. My, oh my, when that thing went off three guys with bows jumped out of the bushes, scared out of their wits by the Shrieker. The battle was on, there were about ten other ambushers concealed in other places around us, but now that we’d been warned and got our weapons in hand, we took them easily. I mean, we are Fallen Heroes, we’ve got skills!

I captured the last guy, accepting his surrender when he dropped to his quivering knees and held up his empty hands. I could have finished, him, but I didn’t want to suffer the Grim damage. Besides, upon questioning our new prisoner I learned that they were cult members… out ‘recruiting’. Perfect. I also learned that new ‘recruits’ were NOT taken to the cult headquarters, not until they were ‘conditioned’, whatever that meant. No, they were taken to a tower nearby… and locked in the dungeon for their conditioning process.

So where should we go first? We could go to the tower and see if our kidnapped boy was there, or head for the main cult. It all depended on how long this conditioning process took. I mean, was my friend’s son in the tower or at the cult? Without more information it was a guess. Our prisoner didn’t know how long the process took, but after more questioning we learned that one of the higher cult members was in a local village. He might know. I’d been to this village the day before, and it wasn’t far, so we decided to go there and question this guy rather than make an uneducated guess. Only time would tell if this was the right choice, but good or bad, there was no going back. That’s the thing about these adventures, they move on and the choices you make along the way change what happens, but there’s no starting over, or repeating, your story just continues no matter where your choices take you.

Now, what to do with our prisoner? We decided to tie him up and leave him here; he might be of some more use later, assuming something didn’t eat him while we were away. No big loss there, I mean, he did try to ambush us.

I got a chat message at that point from a guild member who was looking for a good adventure. I told them we were about to mess with a cult involving some kind of Pagrimis blood connection. He said that sounded good, so I sent him a group invite, and once he accepted I popped open a personal portal and he stepped through and joined the team. No fuss, no muss.

Then we headed for the local village where the cult member was supposed to be at the moment. We put the horses into a gallop, the cult leader might not stay at the village for long, and we didn’t want to miss our chance to ‘question’ the dude. Galloping down the road is not always the best way to stay out of trouble; it’s hard to check for ambushes ahead, (or from behind). However, this time we were lucky, no ambush. It was a bit of a risk, we knew that Sir Vorglan, my nemesis, was out there, and I doubted he was done causing us havoc on this quest.

We reached the village and there was something going on. I mean, I’d been here the day before right after my encounter with Sir Vorglan, and village life had been normal. Now there was some group of people gathered at the center of the village by the well, and somebody was talking to the crowd. We discussed whether we should check out what was going on there, or head for the tavern where the cult leader was supposed to be staying. Curiosity won out and we walked over to see what was up with the crowd. Good thing, it turned out that the guy we needed to talk to was trussed up and under guard. He’d tried to convert someone at the tavern, and then gotten into a fight. Once it was discovered that he was a member of the cult, a mob had formed and wanted to hang the bastard. Seems the cult had abducted some of their kids as well. Well, normally, letting them hang a child stealing cult member would be peachy keen, but this guy had information we needed. We had a decision to make, and quickly, should we rescue this bozo from the noose, or let him hang? Hmmm, it was a tough choice, there’s nothing like a good hanging… but oh bother, we’d probably need to do something heroic.

A villager stepped up to us at that point and said, “Well, what do you think, stranger? Do you think they should hang him?”

I went ahead and talked to this friendly guy, and he wanted to know if we were for hanging or against it. I told him we were against it as we needed some information from the guy. He nodded and said that he wasn’t all that keen about murdering the man himself. I agreed, and mentioned that maybe we should do something to stop the hanging. Then he said that it seemed our options were either to attack and free him that way, or create a diversion and try to grab him in the confusion. We didn’t want to attack the villagers… that would make them hostile in the future. So we decided that a diversion was the better choice. The man suggested we start a ruckus at the tavern by telling the barkeep that maggotmen were attacking out of the woods. The villager informed us that the barkeep was a very excitable person. So, we split up, a few of us quickly headed for the tavern. The moment we told the barkeep the fake story he panicked and ran out into the street. The crowd ran over, instantly forgetting the cult member. Good thing we were ready and had a couple of our group near the cult member. As soon as he was ignored by his guards, we had a quick word with the bound man, then we slashed his bonds and off we went down a back alley.

Now that we had him out of the village we stopped to question him. He went from friendly to hostile pretty quick, I guess we should have used a different tack on questioning him, I mean, we could have pretended to be interested in the cult, instead of demanding answers. Too late though, but after a threat or two, he did tell us that ‘conditioning’ takes a week, so the son was likely still in the dungeon under the tower; excellent.

Now we had to figure out how to get into the Tower, it was heavily guarded. We took the cult leaders cloak and then bound the man and put him back at the edge of town for the villagers to find, and good riddance. Now we had his cloak though, and decided to send one of us into the Tower dressed as a cult member. This might get us some information, or maybe our spy could open a side door or something to get the rest of us inside. Off to the tower!

But… that will have to wait until tomorrow; I had to go eat dinner. So, we decided to pick up the adventure the following day, and agreed on a time to meet to continue it. Meanwhile, some of the team wanted to continue playing, so one of them became leader. They decided to go on a group adventure, and headed back to the Citadel to pick up the necessary information and equipment. I wished them good hunting, but I was already thinking about the following day, wondering what the cult tower would be like… and if there was a pagrims down in that dungeon… that could be… interesting and dangerous.

The following day I arrived at the Citadel early, I was itching to get back on the adventure. But, I had a little time to kill before we were set to meet. So I headed for the Carnival district. I mean, I suppose I could have gone out on an adventure while waiting for the quest to get started, or I could have stopped by the post office and then gone bounty hunting… or the museum to go after an ancient artifact… or I could have gotten a writ from the menagerie and gone monster trapping… but I didn’t have very long before our meeting time, so I decided on some entertainment in the Carnival district.

I had several types of entertainment to chose from while I waited, I could gamble in the casino, or catch a show at one of the theaters… or maybe stop by the fortune teller… she might know something about my future in that tower. That actually sounded good, so I paid a few crowns and got a reading. It seems that a pagrimis was in my future, but not in the tower, but I was destined to meet a dark presence from my past in that tower. I figured Sir Vorglan fit that bill, and decided this was the time I was going to nail that rat bastard. After that I stopped by the pig races and bet on a couple runs. Next I popped into Stage 15 and joined the small audience listening to another player up at the podium telling jokes, bad ones. I decided a different entertainment was I order and headed for the Bath House. I changed into a toga and went inside to catch up on some gossip. While in one of the community baths I got a chat from one of the team and told him to meet me in the Bathhouse. After chatting for a few minutes while my people arrived, we all left the bath house, changed back into our armor and headed for a portal to travel back near the territory where the tower was located. It was time to try out our plan to send one of us in as a spy dressed in the cult robe. I volunteered, nothing like a good disguise and a cult full of bloodthirsty creeps to get the blood boiling!

This adventure goes on, and changes in many ways as the players make their choices, and try their plans. It could take several days to reach the grand climax, which involves saving the son, facing the nemesis, discovering the connection the cult has with Morphael’s invasion plans, and much, much more that they didn’t expect when they started on what they thought was a simple rescue mission. What the outcome of the adventure will be is up to the player, the choices they make along the way, and how successful they are in each phase of the adventure as well as the climax. Each adventure in Citadel of Sorcery is like this, there is always more to it than you first expect, and YOUR decisions along the way matter.