It’s been quiet here as I’ve worked on the latest update to Below’s beta, and lots of the discussion has moved over to the game’s G+ community. But that update is even now being tunnelled through by keen-eyed beta testers. It’s a biggy, adding mounds of new content and a number of new systems for players to sink their teeth into.
The new content includes a third, multi-stage, quest in the Bellringer’s Tomb, as well as tons of new treasures and Legacies.
The new and revised systems include a new resource called Strength of Will that lets you use your Boldness, Subtlety and Wits attributes in new ways, a revamped treasure system, an all-new waypoint system that lets you camp anywhere and establish bases throughout the dungeon, and an achievements system to recognise your accomplishments.
I plan one more big update that will revamp the Above Deck, and after that I’ll be inviting a second wave of beta testers in (so if you’ve requested an invite, expect to hear from me then). Once that’s out of the way, the game will be going live!
I can almost smell it. Full notes on the current update (which is currently only available to members of the closed beta) follow the break.
An Update of the Old Kingdom
Undertake a new, multi-part quest in the Bellringer’s Tomb: Can you recover the Saint’s bell from its monstrous owner and return it safely to the surface? This is a challenging quest for advanced characters!
Explore a new region in the Bellringer’s Tomb: Dare the Giant’s Road and its terrible guardians.
Strength of Will: A new system to make the most of your attribute choices and increase your options in play!
- Earn Strength of Will by advancing through the dungeon, or on certain Above Deck branches with your Bonds.
- Use Strength of Will in your inventory to open its card. The higher your Boldness, Subtlety and Wits, the more options you’ll see, including Condition removal, resource gain, second chance items, and more!
- The old consumable items (A Half-Remembered Prayer, A Hidden Way, and A Moment’s Peace) have been removed and their benefits folded into Strength of Will.
An all-new treasure system:
- The Treasure deck will now unlock when you have discovered a Pick from the Treasure Deck – find them on rare results on Below cards, or create them by accumulating four Clues to a Treasure Trove.
- Treasure cards now include options to (a) pay Treasure for a permanent item or (b) earn Gear, Secrets and Treasure – the greater your Depth, the more you’ll receive!
- The number of Treasure cards and treasures has now doubled! In addition all Treasure cards have been completely rewritten to include extensive lore about Gallowmoor and its world.
- All Treasure items have had their attribute modifiers rebalanced, to make them more generous. However, they now cost more Treasure to purchase, too.
Revised camping and waypoint system:
- Camp anywhere! Make camp from the Your Map card, or by using your Gear in your inventory. The deeper you are, the more costly it is to make camp.
- Campsites have been replaced by Waypoints. Discover them in the Below deck, add them to your map, and revisit them by spending Secrets. Waypoints are spread more evenly through the dungeon, at depths 2, 5 and 8.
- Each Waypoint can be improved by spending Gear to open new ways to control your Depth or remove conditions! Each Waypoint has its own advancement options.
Achievements: Your deeds now receive the recognition they deserve! Achievements grant in-game rewards and endure across all your characters. In a future update they may unlock new skills for your characters to purchase with Experience!
Condition Revamp: Conditions have received an extensive overhaul.
- Condition attribution has been significantly reduced at Depths 4 and deeper.
- When you draw a Condition card it now plays automatically, so you have to deal with it before you can proceed!
- Strength of Will can be spent to discard Condition cards.
- Gear and Secrets can now be used from your inventory to remove Conditions at will.
- The more serious Conditions (Dread, Hurt, and Weary) now have a level. Each time you acquire them, their level will increase. When they cause you to lose Spirit, the higher their level the more you may lose!
New Legacies: More than ten new Legacy items have been added, with more generous bonuses to attributes. Some Legacies can only be acquired over the career of multiple characters. Others require special deeds to be achieved in-game.
New Core Items: A new third tier of the staff, lantern, map and cloak items can now be purchased in camp using Memories of Home. Uncover more of your family’s secrets!
- The first tier of core items are now purchased with Memories of Home, not Gear, and require an appropriate Bond.
- In the next update, the third tier of Core items will also grant benefits on new Above Cards.
Sexy new art: by our own Yasmeen Khan!
Second Chance Items: You may now find Reckless Follies, Cunning Plans and Forgotten lore, which will increase your chances of success on Boldness, Subtlety and Wits tests. Other, rare, second chance items exist for some other stats, too!
Learn the Giant-Tongue: Options now exist for your characters to learn the ancient tongue of the giants and use their powerful runes.
A Whole Mess of Other Crap: including:
- Many options on the Your Thoughts card now require you to spend Memories of Home.
- The Blacksmith’s Daughter’s crafting now uses a mix of Gear and Memories of Home
- I inventory update provides a dedicated section for resources: Gear, Secrets, Treasure, Reckless Follies, Forgotten Lore, Cunning Plans and Strength of Will.
- The Holy item quality has been revised. The higher your level of Holy, the more Sanctity you may gain when using it.