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Day 5: Unlocks, Update Pack.. Update?, LVL99 Cross Promotion, and A Clandestine Study!

February 25, 2021 14 min read

Update Pack 1.1... Update?

Brooklynn here!

This convention has been kicking our butts. And due to the overwhelming success of our campaign we've been bogged down like never before. We're still committed to getting the Beta for the Update Pack and its print and play counterpart up before the end of the Campaign but it's looking like I won't have it compiled until next Friday after this convention has blown over. 

I apologize for the delay since I know there is a lot of you out there waiting for it. But rest assured, it's on the way! 

Promotional Items, Resin Kits, and KS Exclusives.

Hey, so we've seen a lot of people ask if we will be selling the cards that come with Resin Kits interdependently. The short answer is: not at this time. But, we will be providing a print and play of all promotional cards that come with Resin Kits free of charge upon delivery of the corresponding promotional items to our backers. 

Perhaps in the future we can provide a product that only contains the cards.

Also, we wanted to reiterate the following from the FAQ so I posted it again here:

About Cross Promotion rights and KS Exclusives:

Despite having them on our first campaign, we don’t believe in KS Exclusives. Anything that was previously marked a KS Exclusive will still be honored and only be offered during Kickstarters. However, this doesn't mean that we will always have a game available outside of Kickstarter. 

Middara is so huge that keeping a behemoth like this in stock isn’t realistic. This means that moving forward we will simply offer what we can when we can. By the nature of our business model the sheer scale and scope of our products means that we simply will not be able to ever promise that we can keep them in stock outside of print runs we do on Kickstarter. With all that said, if we do amazing on a campaign and have a huge amount of people who want our game that missed the Kickstarter, we will work as hard as we can to find other outlets to get our game into as many people's hands as possible while making it financially feasible for all parties involved.
 

As far as Licensing goes, we’re at the mercy of our cross promotion partners. If they don’t want us selling cross promotions outside of Kickstarter then we cannot. However, this has not happened yet. So far, every cross promotion partner has been stoked on us selling more of the miniature we worked on with them. 


Cool! With that out of the way, let us announce today's exciting unlocks!

Cave sickles are a ubiquitous part of adventuring in Elenia. They seem to be waiting underneath every rock and around every corner. Occasionally, adventurers report coming across especially large specimens. For a long time, these big, aggressive cave sickles were thought to be a whole different species. 

It is now speculated, however, that there are different types of cave sickles that serve their hives in different ways. Ordinary cave sickles are the most commonly seen, and are thought to be the scouts and workers. Deeper within their hives, larger varieties can be found. These are the warriors, tasked with protecting their hives from intrusion by humans and other threats. They are usually only encountered near a hive entrance.

Cave sickle warriors look quite different from their smaller counterparts, with a pair of grasping claws like those of a crab, and a much wider, rounder body. The warrior sickles use a special pheromone to signal scouts to rally to them. This means that an unwary adventurer may see their one-on-one battle become decidedly uneven as cave sickles swarm to defend the hive. 

However, cave sickle warriors typically seem to only be interested in protecting their homes, and do not pursue intruders too far from the hives they live to protect. Novice adventurers are advised to flee if they find themselves set upon by cave sickle warriors, as they will usually give up the chase before too long. 

Rarely, cases of massive packs of warriors roaming deep underground have been recorded. It’s thought that these packs of warriors may gather when a hive needs heavy lifters to clear out sections of earth to expand their home. Luckily, this is a rare occurrence as a massive group of cave sickle warriors would be problematic for any adventuring party. 

Much like ants, cave sickle hives sometimes clash with each other over food and resources. In these cases, cave sickle warriors have been seen clashing in furious and astonishing battle. The display usually leaves any onlookers grateful that they are not involved.

For our Day 5 unlock, we will be adding a figure to the KS2 Promo Box for the Whopper Standee, featured in Unintentional Malum: Act 1. 

To be clear, this miniature is part of the KS2 Promo Box and is being given away for free as part of every pledge level at the "Through the Portal" level or higher. 

The cardboard standee version that is already a part of the contents of Unintentional Malum: Act 1 will remain a standee. 

 The sight was familiar to Lymn. Though the goddess Oriana had given the dream-wolf a second death, Lymn didn't feel fury or frustration at seeing her again. Instead, she padded forth leisurely, knowing what she'd have to do- again.

The goddess looked up from a man's prone form, his body contorted around a miniature star. But he would not die, not here.  Oriana's visage twisted to face the wolf. "Hello, little dead dream." she said confidently, her grin inhumanly broad as her third eye peeled open. "Your death was the day of my birth, and I don’t mind repeating history-"

Lymn rushed forward as an interruption, stepping on the edges of the nightmare as Oriana assaulted her with azure magics. But Lymn arced around their cold light, moving outside of conscious space. Reemerging into awareness, the wolf was upon Oriana, sinking her teeth into her throat. Despite the power the goddess had held on the Plane of Chaos, here in the Dreamscape, she was just a figment. Her ending was an anticlimax at best, just a moment in a sleeping man's nightmare. A sharp jerk of Lymn's head, and Oriana's form broke, becoming hollow, limp, and flat. The seeming goddess was but a bloodless echo of the sleeping man's memories, the embodiment of his trauma.

The man's mind collapsed, frayed but whole. His name was familiar enough to Lymn: Zaamassal. He had helped Lymn find her reincarnation, and so she stood guard over his dreams. She knew that no matter how transient a nightmare was, its notions could become reflected in life. Of course, this was doubly true for a man such as he. But a sleeping terror could always hold the seed of waking disaster for a vulnerable mind.

But there was no time for nostalgia, and she stepped back into the fringes of the Dreamscape. There were countless troubles and worries creasing sleeping minds, and it was her duty to guide them. Though the Prime World echoed most strongly for her, there were endless dreams from myriad planes laid before her senses. A curiosity was sparked by Oriana's memory, of how dread threats could emerge in even the hinterlands of reality. Far from Indines and its neighbors, she could smell something bent and long-lost, something that broke the rules of the great games between worlds. It could be left to the people of this foreign realm, of course. The waking were resourceful, and they might end this disaster before it troubled any other plane.

Or, perhaps, she considered, they could use the fangs of a guardian who defied the rules as well...


 Check out the cards: Adventurer Card | Item Card | Discipline Card

 As a Day 5 unlock we're excited to announce our cross promotion with the mysterious Cherri & Lymn from Level 99 Games. These guys have been putting out anime inspired games for years and we're positively ecstatic to be working alongside such veterans in the industry.

With over 20 successful Kickstarters under their boots, Level 99 Games has always been an inspiration of ours. Heck, I used to sling their Battle-Con game at my local game store like candy.  

Everyone over at Level 99 Games has been so wonderful to work with. David himself was answering emails and helping us out even when things were tough for us over here at Succubus. The whole company has always helped us when we reached out and we are eternally grateful for their advice and the time they have always given us when we had difficult questions about all sorts of industry related topics! 

For these reasons we're humbled at the opportunity to be able to put one of my personal favorite characters in the world of Middara.

Trenchworx is hard at work making the Resin miniature as we speak. As soon as we have something to show we'll be posting pictures of the resin kit. (Hopefully in the next three weeks.)

The Dreamwalker Lymn kit comes with a beautiful Resin miniature (that will require assembly), an Initiative Card, a Discipline Card, and an Adventurer Card, This kit comes in all "With Swag" Pledge levels and can be added as an individual add-on for $20. 

Don't hesitate to go check out their website, facebook, Twitter, or even one of their twenty kickstarters.

www.level99games.com
www.level99games.com

It wasn’t an easy choice to make, but in the end Nyx could only bring one item with her from the armory. And it’s not like I could wear both of these anyway. The frock wouldn’t offer her as much protection, but it matched her style better, and the extra luck it would offer in a pinch would more than make up its lack of armor.

That choice made, Nyx traveled back to the Institute, digging out every book in the library on dark rituals and forbidden summoning. That well quickly ran dry, though with the king gone, she had one other source of information.

Tucked away in Arsen Castle, where Nyx never could’ve dreamed of visiting had the royal family been in attendance there, was King Balthazar’s personal study. She glanced to either side of the empty corridor, listening attentively for the sound of passing footfalls, before humming a quiet tune to empty air. 

The space in her outstretched palm grew suddenly brighter, and the esper settled into her hand like a physical weight. Buné looked like an overfed kitten, swollen so pudgy that he didn’t really want to move around. But his eyes were gigantic, and his neck swiveled all the way around to grin at Nyx expectantly. He clicked his forelegs together in the space in front of him—instead of paws, they ended in multijointed metal of various shapes and sizes—lockpicks. “Here,” she said, lowering a little fish down into his mouth with her free hand. “And here’s the door.”

The kitten slurped contentedly, then set to work. Nyx kept herself hunched against the door, covering the summoned kitten with both wings just in case a guard she hadn’t expected rounded the bend. But none did—there was barely even a skeleton crew left protecting the castle at this point. Something is terribly wrong in Elenia, but not even Shayliss is still in town to ask.

A second later the door clicked, and began to creak open with an exaggerated rumble. Nyx darted inside, shutting it quickly behind her.

The cat hopped off her palm into the air, grinning toothily at her one final time. Then it dissolved, back to the realm she’d called it from. 

“Thanks, Buné,” she muttered, though the esper hadn’t stayed behind long enough to accept her praise. So far as she could tell, he only really cared about the fish.

Nyx had stood in the royal study only once before, but she still remembered its familiar outline. A comfortable sitting room downstairs, flanked by a spiral staircase leading to shelves and shelves of books so ancient she could smell them even from down here. “Banned books, here I come.”

She searched. Nyx dug through shelf after shelf, through tomes so ancient she could barely read them. Balthazar had an impressive collection, but less impressive organizational skills. But unfortunately for Nyx, she knew no convenient esper librarians, and so the task was hers alone.

She didn’t read on the comfortable sofa downstairs, since it was in view of an exterior window, but tucked into a corner on the top floor, with two dozen books open all around her. “Perfect,” she said, tossing another ancient Faulkan text into a growing pile. “That’s six writers who think we should just kill anyone marked before they can cause trouble. Superstition sure does make people friendly.”

None of the books responded, or anyone else for that matter. At least Nyx could get in without getting caught. Finding something to help Enoch, though…

She lifted a slim leather-bound volume from the nearest disorderly pile, brushing it off with the back of one hand. “The Atrocities of Faulkism, huh?” Nyx skimmed the black book, the first written by an explicit denier of Middara’s native religion. No wonder you got banned…

It wasn’t just a pointless screed denying Faulkism’s basic tenets, or the king wouldn’t have bothered banning it. Rather, it listed various things done by rulers in distant places in the name of the faith. Objects destroyed to prevent the ire of the gods, people killed without good cause—and there, near the back, was a sketch of the Dark Mother’s mark.

While ascribing the agency of entities beyond Middara is common, its use is particularly offensive here. These young women were not created by fate, or even the action of the Dark Mother. Should such an entity even exist, like all her kind she is certainly unable to perceive events so small and insignificant as individual lives. Rather, it is clear those who bore her mark were touched by ritual, originating on Middara and from human hands. Killing these women does nothing to thwart the Dark Mother Divine, as it was never her who created them in the first place.

There was an extensive list of apparent victims, though none were terribly recent. “You want to maybe tell me how to help, instead of just saying that someone else is responsible?” But of course the book didn’t respond. There were no enchantments on it, no codes or secret compartments. The page on the Dark Mother was only one among hundreds.

Nyx kept reading through afternoon and past nightfall, until the words blurred together into a meaningless jumble and she could barely feel her legs. She hardly even noticed when she started to doze.

She opened her eyes in a vast space, with windswept black basalt rising from an endless salt flat. Nyx felt herself drifting, her body settling gently onto the ground with wings extended. I’m dreaming.

“Perceptive,” said a distant voice—though not far enough away for comfort. Nyx looked up, then staggered back, eyes wide with shock. “I’ve been waiting for you.”

There was the creature Kirien had described, like a dire wolf with purple fur accented with red. Its face was wrapped with thick bandages, obscuring its eyes completely, though that didn’t seem to stop it from seeing. In the air between its ears was an eye made of light, wide and unblinking. It faced Nyx no matter how she moved. Even if she looked away, she could feel it watching her.

“You’re Lymn,” Nyx said, relaxing as best she could. It was wrong to assume that an esper would act like an animal just because it looked like one, but even assuming this was an esper was unwise. She appeared in the Room. She found my violin. Those aren’t powers any esper should have. “You called me. Well, here I am! Now do you want me to save that kid or not?”

The creature rose up on massive clawed paws, stalking slowly around her. But she didn’t attack. “Save one child, or your kingdom. Which is more important?”

“Why not both?” Nyx asked. “I’m all about the whole greater good thing, but then you get into killing a kid who didn’t do anything, and I check right out.”

Was it her imagination, or was that sound laughter? Nyx looked up into her face stubbornly, unmoved by the spirit’s disapproval. “Rarely do mortals have such choices. You move against things greater than yourself. The Dark Mother is without beginning of days, or end of years. Her pleasures and agonies extend forever. You cannot fight destiny.”

“Maybe.” Nyx folded her arms. “But if we couldn’t win, you wouldn’t be talking to me. There’d be no point. And if she was really all-powerful, the Dark Mother wouldn’t need a cult trying to summon her. She could just show up whenever she wanted. But someone is doing this.”

Lymn stopped just inches away from her, great muzzle within reach of Nyx’s throat. But she only laughed again. “Sometimes destiny has help. The dark currents she brings warp and tear at the fabric, filling the night with screams. A witch named Silvia Ortiz. Have you found her yet?”

“No,” Nyx said, repeating the name in her head several times until she thought it would stick. The last name was familiar, but that was probably just coincidence. It was common enough with Seattle on the other side of Elenia’s portal. “I assume if I stop her, I can save Enoch.”

“Don’t assume.” The dark eye over Lymn’s head seemed to get brighter, its pupil looking straight through Nyx. She retreated again, feeling suddenly naked even with all the armor she’d dreamed herself wearing. “Act.”

She woke with a gasp, scattering her pile of books. But unlike many dreams, that one didn’t fade. The name was still fresh in her mind, and it gave her something to go on.

Nyx hadn’t heard it before, but that didn’t matter much: every citizen in Elenia passed through the Institute at some point. She just had to go through the records there.

She did her best to reshelf everything as quickly as she could, then slipped back into the castle. There were no guards waiting outside to arrest her, no sign they even cared she was leaving after curfew. Without the Arsen family here, nobody cared what happened at their castle.

It was early morning by the time Nyx found herself at the Institute’s records room, relieved she could find what she could looking for without having to break in. With the M.A.S.T. approaching, there wasn’t even an annoyed record-keeper to insist that she put everything back where she found it.

Silvia Ortiz had not ever passed through the Institute, or if she had she’d somehow expunged her student record—but the last name Ortiz did turn up a pair of files, with several of Nyx’s own signatures scrawled beside some of the grades. She took them back to her office, waving off a few students who would have to find their own solutions to their problems today.

Once the door was locked behind her, Nyx spread both files across her cramped desk, reading quickly under the watchful eyes of the little slime from his jar on her shelf. 

Toast
Toast

There were three sisters, as it turned out, not just the two. Silvia was mentioned in both of the other files, though she’d come to Middara by way of another portal and so had not been educated at the Institute.

“Wonder what happened after they graduated,” she asked, mostly to herself. From inside his jar, Toast made an annoyed squeak.

“Fine,” she groaned, ripping the top off a tube of sugar candy and dumping the whole thing in on him. He started frothing happily, cycling from green to pink in his excitement.

But while her pet was enjoying himself, Nyx’s mood just got darker as she read. In his paranoia, King Balthazar had ensured that events of significance involving Elenia’s new citizens were recorded here. What had happened to Ortiz sisters Sandra and Salma wasn’t good.

According to the file, the family’s manor had burned in a mysterious accident less than five years after their graduation. The vault had been robbed, along with every object of value in the house. Unfortunately it was far outside Elenia’s borders, in territory claimed by their unfriendly neighbor to the northwest. 

There was only the name of the lead investigator, one Christopher Amaya, and the report he’d sent back.

This thing is fishy as hell, but none of their neighbors will talk. No bodies—I think something worse was going on in that house. If I find out what happened to your students or their family, I’ll send word. 

But there were no further reports, nothing else in either one of the files except for a single playing card clipped into Sandra’s folder. Portrait drawn for Abraxis Battle Dice.

Nyx looked between their faces, even painted in exaggerated form for the collectable game. The artist had been skilled enough to capture Sandra and Salma faithfully, anyway. She smiled quietly to herself, remembering when they’d been her students fresh from Earth. No alien marks had appeared on them, and they’d taken her lessons seriously. I sure hope neither of you are caught up in this. Between them was a face she didn’t know, the one that must be Silvia. You don’t look much like an evil cultist.

It was her only lead. Nyx slipped both files away, rising from her chair. “Here, Toast,” she tapped the rest of the sugar-tube into the jar, then replaced the cap. It was time to visit the embassy.

Alex Hansen
Alex Hansen



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