SK’s Sunday afternoon work (11-23-2014)

Published on Sunday, November 23, 2014 By Frogboy In Sorcerer King Dev Journals

Another Sunday with Sorcerer King.  A lot of progress was made this week. 

So below are the good, the bad, and the ugly things I have to say about Sorcerer King this week. It’ll all be schmushed together.

New Sovereign: Ashlira


This weekend I mainly played with Ashlira, the Priest.  Scott and I have been designing her for awhile and it’s amazing (but not surprising) how many ideas that look good on paper just don’t work out when implemented.  That’s always the case, particularly with “new IP”.



The high resolution UI is something we really want to get to you guys. It’s a real game changer in terms of user experience (if you’re running at 1920x1080 or higher).  There are still some glitches we have to work through but otherwise, it’s pretty much good to go.

The Spells

The spells have, generally, gotten bumped up in power while costing less. The idea is that when a unit calls the sovereign, they’re giving up their turn which is a sacrifice unto itself.

Random Maps

Other than some UI oddities, the random maps are done.  Generally speaking, there’s no such thing as a bad start. This was something in LH that was a bit of a struggle at times.  This time around, we did the starting points somewhat differently (and there’s a lot more good land in general). 

The main complaint on random maps will be distance from the SK.  We have purposely made a high degree of variability in your distance because there are pros and cons both ways.  I prefer to start close so I can try to gate him in early on but others might find overwhelmed.  It just depends on the map and any number of conditions.

Destiny’s Favor


The priest gets a set of wishes in the form of Destiny’s Favor.  These are incredibly powerful spells that consume a favor to use. Once they’re gone, they’re gone.

Rough version of Priest Tree


This is a rough version of the tree (no artist work yet).  Divine Insight is very interesting because…


You get a bunch of interesting new dungeon master events.

So in this case, I asked for a recipe:


BTW, I do fix bugs during the weekend, I just don’t highlight bugs. But for example, recipes didn’t typically show up in the treasure list (due to a bug). This is fixed.


Smarter AutoResolve:


Tactical battles where you are definitely going to win and should be able to do it without any losses now autoresolve that way (not units are hurt).

More Sorcerer King:


There’s a lot more interaction with the Sorcerer King now.  This will continue to grow.  Basically, we’re going to be testing pacing to see how much is too much.  Right now, we’re aiming for around 15 turns per interaction for *some* reason.


Smarter tactical battles:


Thanks to bpalczewski, the tactical battles are getting better.  Still working on this though.



We are still debating whether this will be a Priest only improvement or whether everyone should get it.  It reduces the thrall count by 2 in the city (costs 1 mana to maintain).

Destiny’s Judgment

The Priest doesn’t get very large armies compared to the others but she does get the aforementioned Destiny ‘s Favor.  And in the game I’m in, I have 11 of them. Thankfully.


Destiny’s judgment fries the world but doesn’t increase doomsday to do it.  It does cost 1 Destiny’s Favor.  The other is Holy Wrath which spreads a holy aura on a bunch of tiles and any enemies who walk through it take damage.


By late game, the map starts to really look like a warzone.

Test Game



Doomsday is almost here.


If you look at the above screenshot, you can see that the minimap has been redone.  Shards are displayed as diamonds, cities are bit blocks and SK units are little dots.


It’s a lot cleaner.  Now, this is on a small map that I’ve been playing for hours and as you can see, I’ve only cleared a small percentage. My doomsday counter was a lot higher than it really should be (I should have about 50 more points) due to a quest bug I ran into.



I got greedy and waited a turn before attacking the SK to build up more mana!

Loading up saved game!

BTW, this game on a small map is 3 hours and 10 minutes of me playing.


My main champion at the end of the game.


On loading the saved game I don’t waste that 1 turn.  Forgive the ghetto looking map. Lots of units though.


I ultimately lost.  I learned the hard way, if you’re facing a guy called The Sorcerer King, you should probably craft some magical resistance gear so that his spells don’t cream ya.


After Hours

So 3 hours or so to play on a small map.  We had targeted being able to play a small map in 2 hours if you were a regular player.  So I think there’s still some pacing.  I modified the roads so that they let you move a lot faster.  I think I’ll have to do more with that.  The pacing on the getting new spells and skills is definitely too slow.  Either the costs need to be brought down or we need more “stuff” we can craft or build in our cities.

Speaking of crafting, I am looking forward to the new crafting system being in.  I definitely felt a plateauing of the available gear to craft. 

Overall pretty happy how it went. 

More next week!

Let's talk about the Priest

Published on Wednesday, November 19, 2014 By Frogboy In Sorcerer King

The next sovereign to come up is the Priest.

The priest is going to be the sovereign that does the best at keeping the Doomsday counter under control as well as decreasing the perceived threat they pose to the Sorcerer King.

Broadly speaking, the Priest is going to get a special resource called Destiny's Favor. They will start with 3 of them and come with an assortment of unique to the priest spells that are incredibly powerful but consume one of these favors. So consider the priest as being the sovereign with a bit of a connection to higher powers.

I intended to go into more detail but I'm a bit under the weather. So I will open the floor to hear some of the things you would like to see and see how we might be able to fit them in to the priest.

SK’s Sunday night work

Published on Sunday, November 16, 2014 By Frogboy In Sorcerer King Dev Journals


For Sunday I spent the day doing lots of various little things.  I’m not sure where to even start.  One thing I can say is that we still have a long way to go. Not just in terms of bugs but just balance and feel.

The mid-game has a death-lull in it.  That is, where you’re well into the game, you think you have a pretty good handle on things but there’s nothing exciting happening.

In a traditional 4X game, this is where diplomacy/world council type mechanics come into play.  That is, you’re having to make sure your primary objective isn’t derailed by other forces (people ganging up on you, someone building a nuclear weapon, someone gaining control of the United Planets/United Nations, having your technology obsoleted, etc.).

Sorcerer King doesn’t address the death lull yet.  As enjoyable as it is to research new spells, leveling up heroes, crafting items and such, it is a very linear progression.  There is nothing forcing me (or encouraging me) to put resources and effort into a secondary direction.

In Sorcerer King, this is where the Dungeon Master comes in.  However, as a player, I’d like to see more levers for the player to control how the Dungeon Master is going to affect the world (i.e. I don’t want it all quest based). 

If you’re part of the Early Access, please feel free to comment on levers you’d like to see.

Screenshots from today:


The tactical maps are getting more and more interesting as the sovereign spells come in.



Random large maps are really cool.



Painful programmer art but the end game is very different based on your previous choices.



Huge end game battle.


Check in:

+ Most city improvements are slightly cheaper
[7:32:41 PM] Brad Wardell: + Fixed bug with icelords first contact
[7:33:13 PM] Brad Wardell: + Fixed display issue with Grisly politics
[7:33:38 PM] Brad Wardell: + Added conversation quests with each minor that come at you if your'e allied with them.
[7:34:11 PM] Brad Wardell: + Various fixes to Do the dead even need respect quest and traits added
[7:34:25 PM] Brad Wardell: + hole in the ground quest ends successfully
[7:34:47 PM] Brad Wardell: + About a dozen quests updated to support giving traits, enhanced loot
[7:35:12 PM] Brad Wardell: + Fixed Procipinee's crown quest to put lairs around 4 tiles away
[7:35:38 PM] Brad Wardell: + Fixed bug where a player could use persuasive option even if they didn't have the trait
[7:35:50 PM] Brad Wardell: + Updated the shadowlands stamp
[7:36:14 PM] Brad Wardell: + Life ability added (only priest has it right now) which will tell the AI in tactical to focus on buffing
[7:36:48 PM] Brad Wardell: + Guardian now starts with Sleep, Mass SLow, Soothing Melody, Obstruct Tile, Harvest Shadow land, and awkard movement spells
[7:37:20 PM] Brad Wardell: + First attempt to have more varied encounters with monster lairs
[7:37:34 PM] Brad Wardell: + Fixed typo for persuasive
[7:38:09 PM] Brad Wardell: + New craftable items: Aspects. Give units +1 damage of a particular type.
[7:38:33 PM] Brad Wardell: + Added a bunch of new recipies including ones for bows (not testeD)
[7:39:02 PM] Brad Wardell: + Unhide a lot of spells from the hiergemanon. This will introduce spelsl that are buggy but we'll fix them. Just want to get them in.
[7:39:25 PM] Brad Wardell: + Cleric given a Cleric's staff making it a rangeed unit. Also given life ability
[7:39:50 PM] Brad Wardell: + Champion death penalty increased to 25
[7:40:13 PM] Brad Wardell: + Procpinee Crown quest monsters nerfed
[7:40:51 PM] Brad Wardell: + Raise and lower land sound effects reeadded to spell
[7:41:12 PM] Brad Wardell: + Changed colors of healing and mana potions
[7:41:34 PM] Brad Wardell: + Crafting nag quest added (will need balancing)
[7:41:52 PM] Brad Wardell: + Fixed karma dice bug (now rolls karma dice for every possible event rather than just 1)
[7:42:19 PM] Brad Wardell: + Minor races greatly enhance their military strength once they're at war with the SK (allied with the player)
[7:42:39 PM] Brad Wardell: + Minor races build up more interesting military forces
[7:43:00 PM] Brad Wardell: + Minor race interaction with allies added
[7:44:00 PM] Brad Wardell: + Sorcerer King now will cast spells into battle. However, we need the game to do a better job at indicating that the sovereign cast (some sort of...something to communicate to the player that the SK has interveneeD)
[7:45:00 PM] Brad Wardell: + First (crappy) attempt at making auto resolve mroe satisfying if you have an overwhelming advantage (i.e. less random)
[7:45:24 PM] Brad Wardell: + SK Spells given their own class (for use later when we list what spells teh SK has)
[7:46:21 PM] Brad Wardell: + Player can now begin conversations with minor factions by clicking on their capital building
[7:46:59 PM] Brad Wardell: + Tactical battle window now indicates how much mana and attention the SK is willing to dedicate to a battle with his forces
[7:47:18 PM] Brad Wardell: + random map controsl enables
[7:47:58 PM] Brad Wardell: + New stamps to support new spells
[7:48:04 PM] Brad Wardell: + Nymph egg, creature added
[7:48:28 PM] Brad Wardell: + Lots of debalancing little tile modifier spells added (will balance as we go forward, enjoy them while you can)

SK: Saturday’s additions

Published on Saturday, November 15, 2014 By Frogboy In Sorcerer King Dev Journals

Unit_Misc_Wraith_PortraitHad a busy Saturday playing and adding new stuff.

Here’s a sampling:


  1. Lots of tweaks to quests to give players more intangible traits.
  2. Lot of work on the Guardian sovereign in general
  3. Guardian gets a mass sleep spell
  4. Guardian gets a mass slow spell
  5. Guardian gets an obstruct map spell (rains rocks onto the tactical map causing those tiles to slow down enemies)
  6. Guardian gets a damage reflection spell where damage is 2X back at the enemy as long as that unit is standing in that tile (i.e. it’s tied to the tile)
  7. AI updated to be smart about tiles (darkling unit will exchange places with player unit on these tiles sometimes so be careful)
  8. Guardian gets a spell called harvest shadow land. Turns shadow land back into grasslands and creates a Nymph egg that can be picked up.
  9. More monster lair variation (still working on this)
  10. Nymph egg item created and it can be used in battle as an item too
  11. Lots of new chaos spells based on forum feedback
  12. Nymph unit (it’s a baby Morian)
  13. Minor races you ally with now crank out bigger armies to clean out SK units on the map in their part of the world
  14. Beautify Land spell increases movement in that tile
  15. Some fixes to raise and lower land spells
  16. Fixed coloring of potions (health is red, mana is blue)
  17. Sorcerer King casts spells into tactical battles IF you’re fighting his forces.
  18. Sorcerer King focus on your battle depends on your player threat (i.e. the more he’s paying attention to you, the more he intervenes)
  19. Sorcerer King has some unique spells including summoning darklings and other units and spells that turn your part of the tactical battle into a snowy slow mess
  20. AutoResolve better at providing more consistent results
  21. New quests to remind player if they’re forgetting to craft and other such events (done as quests so there can be fun)
  22. You can now right click on minor faction capitals to talk to them
  23. Various UI tool tips written
  24. Random maps now ready for general availability
  25. Lots of new tiles designs and stamps made
  26. Spells made generally cheaper to research

From playing today, I still don’t feel like I have enough “tools” to fight my battles. This is an area I plan to keep adding and adding to.  I wrote some World Spells (like a Time warp spell) but there isn’t sufficient feedback to the player that they’re doing anything.

Going to probably mess around with the magic slider option more tomorrow and add a lot of new spells, particularly summoning spells.

I also want to get a lot more recipes in.  The quests give a lot of recipes but they don’t display what recipe you got in the quest complete window so you don’t realize you’re getting recipes. Sad smile

Sorcerer King contract work

Published on Friday, November 14, 2014 By Frogboy In Sorcerer King

Hi guys,


We have a ton of quests that need to get into the game and are finding that we are just not getting them in fast enough.  We have a great editor but it isn't super user friendly either (i.e. it's not for a non-technical person).  

If any of you would be interested in helping on this, we'd pay by the hour.  If you're interested, respond below.




We probably have enough people involved now. Unless you're an experienced LH modder, we probably don't need anyone else.

For those of you who have contacted me, make sure you have Google Docs set up and Skype set up if you don't already.  Make sure you ping me. I am always on (well as much as someone with 3 children can be on when they're not at work).

Sorcerer King will support highDPI displays

Published on Friday, November 07, 2014 By Frogboy In Sorcerer King Dev Journals


4K and 5K monitors are coming. And we think they’re going to become common much faster than most people think.  That means gamers will be in a bit of a pickle. Either they’ll have to run their games at a lower resolutions (blurry, non-ideal) or face games with tiny tiny text and UIs.

Sorcerer King will be the first Stardock game to explicitly support high DPI displays.  The screenshots below come from my mere 2560x1440 display but as the last screenshot shows, the super-high DPI (for 4K monitors) doesn’t result in blurry text or graphics.


Normal (what’s in the game now being displayed on a 2560x1440 resolution, things start to look pretty small)



High-DPI UI (same resolution as before but now the UI and text is larger but remains super sharp).





Super-High-DPI (Can’t really show this on my monitor as I don’t have a 4K monitor but you can get an idea of how big this quest appears and yet how sharp things remain).



We expect this feature to hit sometime between Beta 2 and Beta 3 of Sorcerer King (

Sorcerer King Beta: 1 Month Status

Published on Tuesday, November 04, 2014 By Frogboy In Sorcerer King Dev Journals



We cannot wait for you to get Beta 2.  I always hate the first beta. They’re so painful. They’re basically a “does this work on your machine”. Very boring.  Beta 2 is where the actual game starts to matter a little.

So where do things stand with Beta 2?

Beta 2 is due out this month and it’s going to be big.  It’s where the Minor factions start to matter. A lot. It also starts to really show off what makes Sorcerer King unique as a strategy game.


Yea, I may have burned down the forest but it was for a good cause so it’s ok.


We will be trying to reinforce that Sorcerer King is a game where you start off as if you won the previous 4X game you played. You are mighty.


Again: this is a contest between very powerful beings. Your group is elite. You’re just vastly, vastly outnumbered.

Below in no particular order are some notes for beta 2:

  1. Important to remember, this isn’t a traditional 4X. The Sorcerer King has already conquered the world. He’s the guy who has strongholds as your neighbors.
  2. Part of your job is to sneak under his radar as long as you can.  He has an overwhelming power advantage over you.  You need to make sure you aren’t blatant until you’re ready to take him on.
  3. The minor factions are NOT neutrals. They are generally familiar with you.  They’re the ones you were previously competing with in Fallen Enchantress/Age of Wonders/League of Legends/Warlock/etc.  They don’t necessarily like you. It’s just that they, like you, were overwhelmed by the Sorcerer King.
  4. You do not want the remnant factions (minors) to go to war with you. Their units are horrific.
  5. You will have powerful, cheap, nuke spells that can be used on the enemy but they won’t work on ruined land (And once cast, the land in that area becomes ruined).
  6. Your job is to create the most powerful stack of doom in the history of gaming. To do that you will need to craft craft craft.
  7. Crafting ingredients aren’t random (they are in beta 1 but beta 1 sucks).
  8. You can harvest crafting ingredients from the land if you’re willing to ruin it.
  9. You might be surprised how hard it is to keep from ruining the land if it means easy wins. Winking smile

Sorcerer King–Lazy Sunday Dev Stream at 1pm EST

Published on Sunday, November 02, 2014 By Frogboy In Sorcerer King Dev Journals


Draginol-streamingFor those of you who might be interested in seeing the sausage factory of game development in action, I’ll be streaming my antics at 1pm EST at today at 1pm EST.

I’ll be playing Sorcerer King, debugging it, writing code, complaining and answering your questions, comments, criticisms.


Update: Thanks everyone for coming by! That was a blast.  I'll try to do a pre-beta 2 one soon with more lead time.

The backstory for Sorcerer King

Published on Saturday, November 01, 2014 By Frogboy In Elemental Dev Journals

5SeersYears ago the world was at war. Ceresa, The Fallen Enchantress, had unleashed an army of the undead upon the Kingdoms and Empires of Elemental.

The adventurer, Relias, managed to acquire the necessary pieces to build the Forge of the Overlord and with it, defeated Ceresa and her allies.

For a time, there was peace.

Then, one day, a powerful Sorcerer named Mirdoth found the ancient artifact, Curgen's Bane.  It was thought that the bane had been lost in the cataclysm. This was the same artifact that the ancient titans had used to try to consume the magical energy of the world before they were stopped by the great uprising.

The bane transformed Mirdoth into a being of unspeakable power.  He became the Sorcerer King.  With his power, he annihilated all those who stood in his way.  At the very last, Lord Relias, with the help of the Forge of the Overlord, managed to prevent the Sorcerer King from destroying the last city of Relias's realm, Athica but at the cost of his life.

The Sorcerer King's advance was blunted but not stopped.  With his grip on Elemental secure, he devised a new plan. He would send his minions out to sacrifice themselves by attacking the remaining shards of magic. Once shattered, the shards would unleash their power into the bane and fuel the Sorcerer King's new plan - to become a god.

With Relias and the other great channelers gone or ruined, only you, Relias's heir, stand between the Sorcerer King and the end of all life on Elemental.  While you master the Forge of the Overlord, you must send your champions out to find the necessary components to craft the powerful weapons and tools necessary to send an elite force into the heart of the Sorcerer King's realm and stop him before it's too late.

The game itself

The Sorcerer King ( will have both a campaign that enables the player to take on the Sorcerer King through through the scripted story of his rise and godhood or downfall.  It also includes a sandbox mode with both pre-made maps and random maps to fight the Sorcerer King in lots of different and new ways.

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