Designer Notes: Day 2

We ended last time with a description of the origins of the objective-based system for Transcendent. In this post, I would like to take some time to describe the origins of my favorite component; the players.



A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, the characters that were in the game were known as rivals. Now, before you get too crazy and try to use your I-played-Pokemon-and-Gary-is-my-lifelong-opponent-and-rival logic to say that this is a terrible misuse of the term, bear with me.


Here is the definition of a rival that I am using:

The reason I chose the word rival to describe each character comes from my philosophy of competition. When I am competing in hockey, soccer, chess, Magic: The Gathering, or board games, the ultimate goal is to be declared the winner through a system of points. But when I was working on my Master's degree in Mathematics, I learned, just as runners, tennis players, and weightlifters do, that there is also a competition within. I pushed myself each day to understand as much as I could about this world of abstraction to the point that I could go days without eating or sleeping. My competition with myself was debilitating and destructive to my body and mind, yet allowed me to create and understand beautiful mathematics that only a select few on our planet care to know. I don't run unless I am running down a ball in a competitive setting, but I get the "runner's high". It's about striving to reach or obtain something that only I can possess over myself.


This post is not meant to convince you that I am right and everyone outside of my close group of playtesters is a nincompoop. I believe the term is being used in the correct way when this perspective is taken. But, what do I know?


Anywho, the rivals eventually became players, but nearly everything about them stayed the same. There have always been three alchemists, Calrin, Taera, and Zan, and three scientists, Elmira, Hester, and Nat. Each of them was designed to have a specialty action associated with the game that gave them their flavor so that board game players could attack the game from different angles. Check out the Lore blogs for more details on the backgrounds of each of these.



All names for the players were randomly generated from this site, save the last names for the alchemists. Alchemists within this game are aligned with allies and the passage of knowledge from one person to another specific person. Because of this, I had alchemists give up their last name and instead be known as *randomly generated name* "from" *famous alchemist from around the scientific revolution period*. The reason the from is in quotations is because I translated the word "from" into the language spoken by the famous alchemist they were named after. Cool, huh?


The scientists were completely random when it came to their naming convention, but the idea was to be a form of Latinization, to show that the person has become remembered through our modern day for their great accomplishment(s). I always thought it was weird that there were two Gebers in mathematics, both of which lived 400 years apart. I thought that the idea of Latinization is an interesting way to refer to a person of high importance in a common language so that all may know of their contributions. Full disclaimer, I am not saying that this is right by any stretch of the imagination, but I like the respectful intention hiding within.


In my next developer segment, I will explain in more detail the process by which we came up with the starting resource values for each player. Stay tuned for another Lore post on alchemists and scientists in the Transcendent universe. Thanks for reading this. It means a lot to me.


-- Ethan zed Kocik

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