Recently I've gotten back into playing Civ4 in my spare time (which, on account of coursework, is in short supply); in particular, the total conversion modpack, Orbis: A modmod for Fall From Heaven, which takes the Civ4 game, and puts it in a dark fantasy setting, following the end of a divinely induced ice age. forums.civfanatics.com/showthr…
Why do I bring this up? I've been growing more and more interested in doing something call and After Action Report (AAR) story based on a game of Orbis I'd be playing for this purpose if I was to do it. Basically, this means that I'd take regular screen-shots of the game in especially interesting moments for the plot, and then building an actual story around it. The mod is especially good for this: Unlike in ordinary Civilization, where the different countries are mostly interchangeable, each civ in Orbis has a very unique feel to it, and allows for very specific and different play styles from each, but we'll get to that later.
Each civ falls into one of three alignments: Good, Neutral, or Evil, and they'd be in those positions for any number of reasons, but it has an impact on the game. Good civs have access to paladins, have better relations with other good civs, and will never see their land become corrupted by any especially hellish effects. Neutral civs are... Well, neutral, they can play with both sides, but are welcomed by neither, and can build druids, hellish corruption won't affect them until things get REALLY bad. Evil civs get on better with equally malevolent civs, they can build more demonic units, but they're the first to find their realms corrupted under hellish influence once the game starts hotting up (again, we'll get to that later).
There is an 'Armageddon Counter' in the game, which is affected by especially good or evil acts in-game, and shows how close the world is getting to a total apocalypse, the higher it gets, the worse things become for everyone... Except for two civs actively trying to jack it up as high as possible, since they benefit from it greatly.
The civs are as follows:
- The Bannor: A nation of crusaders and... Well, bible bashers, only magical. They started off as a peoples fleeing from the imprisonment of Hell, led by an angel to build a country. They're friendly enough to people who share in their virtues, but they're also pretty zealous, and quite good at backing up their words with steel. They are a nation of humans.
- The Elohim: Another human nation. The Elohim are a spiritual, pacifist people who seek only to defend the holy and magical shrines of the world from evil, and are very good at doing so. They have very tolerant, benevolent rulers. Should they ever come to control the cities of other factions, they have the ability to build the unique units and buildings of that civilization there. They also get their own benefits for brining special sites within their borders.
- The Kuriotates: The Children of the Golden Dragon. This civ is the closet thing to my fanfiction's Avalar as you're going to get (the other dragon-ruled civ is MUCH WORSE). Officially, they're a human civ, but the lore of the game states that the Kuriotates are a multicultural nation of humans and a melting pot of different, lesser races which couldn't establish their own factions in the game, but are still very significant, such as centaurs. On the face of it, they are ruled by a boy king, Cardith Lorda, but lets say this: He never ages, he can turn very frightful and speak in a deep, hissing tone when seriousness calls for it, and their hero unit, which everyone seems to worship in their kingdom, is a giant, towering golden dragon. The only catch? They're limited to a maximum of five 'true' cities they can build, everything else is classed as a 'settlement', which in Orbis, functions like a city in game, but can only use the first 8 tiles around it. Their cities, however, can use a three-tile radius around them, rather than the regular two of normal cities. These guys, are my favorite.
- The Ljosalfar: One of the two Elven kingdoms in the game. These guys get a massive benefit for forest tiles, and can build improvements on them which would normally require the trees to be torn down, allowing for better yields from the tiles themselves. They get impressive synergies with certain religions in the game (which I'll come to later), and start the game at peace with the wild animals of the world, which is useful, because GRIFFINS ARE OVERPOWERED AND EVERYWHERE!
- The Luchuirp: One of the two Dwarven nations in the game. These dwarves are inventors and craftsmen, and unlike their cousins The Khazad, they've always lived on the surface, and don't have quite as bad an addiction to gold. Their army is almost entirely made up of golems they've built in their workshops. They don't much enjoy war.
- The Malakim: The origins of the name Gosam. These are a spiritual people who benefit greatly from living in deserts, which they get better yields from. They favor a religious playstyle, and also slowly convert the land they live on to deserts, which they move faster on, and get more food from than other countries.
- The Mercurians: A nation of Angelic warriors. You can't start off playing as these guys, you have to summon them to the world by building the Mercurian Gate. I won't be playing as these guys.
- The Amurites: A nation of wizards. They were the ones who brought an end to the previous ice age, and now seek to further their knowledge and mastery of the magical arts above all else. They're neutral in most matters, and condemned by both good and evil souls for their views on magic: The good criticize their acceptance of unethical magics such as necromancy, while the evil complain that those very same forms of magic are too regulated. They produce some of the most powerful mages in the game, however, and with certain hero units, literally every unit they build can cast spells. Dangerous.
- The Grigori: True Neutral folk. These people have pretty much forsaken all of the gods in their world, and have left them to their games and squabbles. They can never adopt a religion in the game, but they're the only nation with access to adventurers, who are basically normal units, but are stronger, and gain experience and strength just by existing.
- The Hippus: A nation of mercenary horselords. They produce some of the finest mounted units in the game... Erm, that's it really.
- The Khazad: The OTHER dwarven nation in the game. These people are interested in only one thing: Gold. The stability of the entire faction is dependent upon how much gold the player has in their vaults, and their playstyle benefits someone who likes to build things and horde gold.
- The Lanun: Pirates! A whole nation of 'em! They're basically England here, in that they're strongest when their cities are on the coast, and when they have a large, powerful navy, as their ships have many benefits over the ships of other factions: They're stronger, and they move faster. Oh, and there's also Guybrush Threepwood, he's in on this too. You think I'm kidding, don't you? I'm not.
- The Sidar: A nation of shades. They keep to themselves, and despise the undead.
- The Mechanos: Another nation which has totally foresaken religions, however, they've even foresaken magic itself as well! These guys are my second favorite civ, as they are a steampunk nation. They are civ straight out of the Industrial Revolution, with factories, electricity, trains, railways, guns, howitzers and tanks, and even a giant mech! I adore these guys.
- The Tlacatl: Meosamerican Lizardmen! These guys are my third favorite to play. The reason I've put them in neutral is because they, depending upon which leader you chose, can be either good OR evil. They're jungle-dwellers who find their country is quickly overgrown with some of the most dense rainforst you'll ever see... And they fucking love it! Jungles are a nightmare for other civs to deal with, they produce less food and cause unhealthiness, but for the lizardmen, they produce normal levels of food, and provide the same health benefits as woodland. They also benefit from their own pyramids and religious warriros... Oh, and a giant wyvern, which is cool!
- The Dao: An Asian themed nation... There's, there's not much to say about these guys aside from they're Asian, and they benefit from elemental magic greatly. Every time I've played these guys, the other civs have ganged up to destroy me, despite the fact these guys only want to keep to themselves. Not cool, Erebus. Not cool.
- The Balseraphs: Scary clowns scary clowns scary clowns scary clowns scary clowns scary clowns scary clowns scary clowns scary clowns scary clowns scary clowns scary clowns scary clowns scary clowns scary clowns scary clowns...
- The Calabim: The Vampire Aristocracy. These guys are the inspiration for Har'Lan Mali and his approach to ruling Avalarian Ifriqya. The Calabim people are humans, human cattle to be more specific. They're a cold, starving, huddled mass which live like battery hens in the slums of the Calabim cities. The Pillar of Chains (or the 'Presper Rose' as their king refers to it) proudly hangs the results of peasant uprisings like baubles at Christmas... Or apples on an apple tree if we're talking about the Calabim. In-game, you can build vampire units, which are pretty fierce warriors on their own; however, the vampires can feed on their own people, taking a population point from the city they feed on, to heal up or gain experience. Hell, their warrior-level unit, the bloodpet, exists less as a typical warrior, and more for the purposes of giving the vampires something to feed on during marches. They're a fun civ to play as if you don't mind smelly, angry cities. The vampires certainly don't!
- The Clan of Embers: The Orcs! They are the masters of the zerg rush. They're pretty tough warriors to begin with, but their strength lies in a building known as the Warren, which is effectively a buy one get one free deal. If you build this in a city, every unit you train will produce two units instead of one, and this counts for everything except heros and siege weapons: So that's 2 workers for the price of one, or 2 settlers. It's quite a powerful tool which allows them to spead like wildfire. They also start at peace with barbarians, and can even hire mercenaries from barbarian cities and camps.
- The Doviello: Savages raised literally by wolves. These guys have a strong affinity for nature, in the same sense that a pack of wolves has a strong affinity for nature. They're very much comparable to wolves in fact. Strong, quick pack who attack, wear down and tear apart their enemies. They can upgrade themselves without any special resources. They start at peace with wild animals and barbarians, though their units can challenge any wild animals they find, and recruit them into their army if they beat them in combat.
- The Illians: Worshippers of the fallen God of Winter, who had created the previous ice age, and was slain to bring about its end. The Illians, under King Auric Ulvin who wants to become a god, seek to return the world to the ice age from which they had grown so strong and in doing so, avenge their slain god.
- The Infernals: One of the two civilizations actively trying to destroy the world. The Infernals are demons from Hell, and seek to corrupt the world. As they do so, the terrain of the world also becomes corrupted, broken and cursed, spreading first to those who worship the demons, and then eventually onwards and everywhere else. The Infernals require the Infernal Pact to be researched by a civilization following the Ashen Veil in order to come into existence. The Infernals start off at peace with the Demon faction of barbarians in the game.
- The Sheaim: The OTHER civ trying to destroy the world. These guys can't build ordinary warriors, but have very powerful mages, and can summon monsters to fight for them with use of Planar Gates. The higher the Armageddon Counter (or AC) is, the more powerful they become. Once they adopt the Ashen Veil, the Sheaim will also be at peace with the Demons.
The Svartalfar: Dark Elves, in essence. These guys employ the game of decception, sneaking about and betrayal masterfully. They can kidnap great people who are settled in enemy cities, they can posion people, and summon illusions to fight for them and confuse their enemies.
This, this is something I'd quite like to do over the Summer Holidays, so let me hear your thoughts, and who you might be interested in me playing and writing as if I did this.