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Posts tagged valley of the ancients
How did we find ourselves in the Severed Sea?

The path to the Severed Seas starts with Adayu, a god that becomes so powerful that he can’t make sense of reality. When you can blink and change the nature of the universe, it becomes hard to tell what’s real and what’s not. In Realms Unraveled, Adayu collapses the five realms of the ancient gods into one, creating chaos and destroying the world of Vigil as we knew it.

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He loses his mind, and the Champions of Vigil are sent to stop him before all of reality is unmade.

They succeed, but Adayu’s madness weakened the barriers between dimensions, granting access to long-forgotten realms. In addition, Vigil is in ruins, and civilization has to be rebuilt.

It takes time, but a New Vigil rises.

One day, a powerful young sorceress named Nextris uses her magic to open a portal between realms allowing conscious beings to enter the Dreamscape. She’s the first non-Dreamer to step foot in this forbidden realm of Dreams. She is also the first to die there. Up until this point, no conscious being had ever died in this place, and the ripples of a dead soul entering the realm of dreams warps the Dreamscape forever.

Back in New Vigil, the gate Nextris created remains open and more people enter the realm, seeking to exploit its power. Eventually, the factions from New Vigil bring war to the Dreamscape. With war comes more death – tens of thousands of souls that threaten the Dreamscape itself.

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By the time Pasythea, the protector of the Dreamscape, sacrifices herself to close the portal and banish mortals from her realm, the damage is done. Though the war for the Dreamscape had ended, the infection continued to spread.

The Dreamscape festered while life in New Vigil went on, oblivious to the mounting danger.

The Severed Sea separates New Vigil from the Valley of the Ancients – a place called Aloysa.

A group of foolhardy explorers discovers Aloysa and a hidden long-sealed portal to the Dreamscape, which they promptly open up. Corrupt energies from the Dreamscape burst into the world and began manifesting dreams and nightmares all over New Vigil.

This is where the Delirium/Deliverance story begins. Side note: It also marks the beginning of Emma Ironheart’s story. We’ll learn more about her in some upcoming lore.

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In Delirium, the nightmare energy of the corrupted Dreamscape warps New Vigil, even changing the very form and faction of some of New Vigil’s most iconic heroes. The corruption and chaos can only be stopped by re-entering the Dreamscape and re-awakening the lost protector of the realm.

At the end of Deliverance, Pasythea is reborn and returns to protect the Dreamscape. She pulls what energy she can back into that realm and seals it again–hopefully, for good.

Sealing the gate, however, does not get rid of all the energy. Now, things on this side of the gate have been fundamentally changed. The world is irradiated with Dreamscape energy. The closer you get to the Dreamscape gate –in the Valley of the Ancients– the more warped things become.

Ascension: Skulls and Sails takes place in The Severed Sea after the Dream energy has infected it. Its islands have become much dangerous and wondrous. There are new resources, peoples, creatures, and magic. There is also rumor of a terrifying and ancient Kraken who was awoken by the Dream magic.

In Skulls and Sails, we’re seeing a massive wave of explorers from each faction journeying into this new place. They’re racing to grab up what treasures they can for themselves and to amass power for their own factions, lest they be outmatched by others.

That’s where Skulls and Sails starts: with the arrival of the first wave of explorers from each faction, braving the Severed Seas in search of treasure and adventure.

Will you heed the call to explore the Severed Seas?

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Ascension Online: Valley of The Ancients

This week we have awesome news for Ascension Online fans… Valley of the Ancients is live on the Ascension iOSAndroid, and through Steam.

This set marks the twelfth full Ascension expansion to be added to the app.

Working on a game for this long, always forces us to ask the question:  “How do we create something new and exciting, but that is still simple enough to learn and feels like Ascension?” In other words, how do you create something new and yet familiar?

For Valley of the Ancients, I got to work with the set lead designer Ben Lundquist. This was Ben’s first lead design of an Ascension set, so it was great to see his influence and take on this question. Ben comes from a Professional Magic: the Gathering player background and you can see that influence in his design philosophy. The key focus in Valley of the Ancients was creating a high level of interaction between the players, and to do that, he came up with one of our more ambitious new mechanics: Temples.

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In Ascension: Valley of the Ancients, acquiring and controlling Temples is one of the most important parts of the game. Temples begin uncontrolled near the center row and never go into a player’s deck. Once acquired, a Temple goes into play immediately and behaves much like a Construct, with one important exception: 

Your opponent can steal it.

To make the Temples tug-of-war feel balanced, we needed to find a clear, familiar method to ensure players had fun with this new mechanic. This paved the way for a new resource in the game: Keystones.

Keystones are…ahem…the keys to acquiring a Temple. There are many ways to gain Keystones: from Monsters to Constructs to Heroes. When you gain a Life or Death Keystone on your turn, you also gain access to the corresponding Temple. In other words, if a Temple is located in its designated space near the Center Row, you acquire it. However, if your opponent has a Temple, you steal it!

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If you control the Temple of Life and the Temple of Death, then you can use Keystones to acquire the Temple of Immortality, which is the most powerful temple and a key resource to fight over through the course of play.

In addition to a dramatic new mechanic like Temples, Valley of the Ancients also introduces more subtle mechanics like Serenity for Enlightened and Echo for Void. We loved these mechanics so much that we still include them in our more recent tabletop expansions like Ascension: Deliverance. Having keyword mechanics to define each faction helps provide more structure to the game, meaning sets like Valley of the Ancients help us refine our designs for the sets that follow after.  

We hope you love this new addition to the digital world of Ascension as much as we do and can’t wait to hear your thoughts and battle a bunch of you on the app!