|The Sword and the Staff|
|Developer(s):|| emperormiguel, LoveTap
|Publisher(s):|| Maxis, EA
|Game Engine:|| Spore: Galactic Adventures, Adventure editor
|Release Date:|| 29th September 2013
|Platform(s):|| PC, Mac
|Genre:||Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Story
The Sword and the staff is a series by emperormiguel in Maxis' sci-fi game; Spore, using the Galactic Adventures engine.The first episode was released on the 29th of September 2013 and has continually being released every few months.The story is set in the fictional fantasy themed universe of Helderia, where a civil war is soon to erupt as a darker force waits for the perfect opportunity to return. Much of the series narrative is taken into the perspective of two characters; Meletus and Anna. The plot of the Sword and the Staff takes place not too long from emperormiguel's future planned series "The Dark Crown", set to be released sometime in 2015.
After the first episode's release on September 29th 2014, there has been a slew of plays and commenting on emperormiguel's page, and has ever since been drawing new players and new reviews in the course of the series' continuation.
Muchh of the gameplay is simplified compared to bigger AAA tittles. Much of the combat and social interactions the game is restricted to the game mechanics of 'Spore: Galactic Adventures. Most attacks are kept to a simple one button mash, that consume energy points. There is a health bar that keeps a player alive until it completely depletes which then triggers an in-game cut scene that signifies the player's failure of a mission. While most of the games combat mechanics are associated with a sci-fi theme, that appropriately suits the Spore ascetic, emperormiguel has managed to make these complicated fut uristic attack moves look like simplified combat swings, so it better matches the theme of The Sword and the Staff. Weapons and magical abilities are pre-assigned to characters for every episode. In the early parts of the series, they're abilities, especially with magical characters like Meletus are often limited to a specific set of undermined skills and abilities, so as to not break the immersion experience for the player, as storywise, these characters are not at all invincible and must gradually gain their power as the series goes on.
Much of the main game consists of dialogue and text, it's been referred to as the strongest vocal point for many local reviewers in the Sporum. As Spore's game mechanics are often generic and well past used by many other adventure editors, emperormiguel has decided to instead focus the series towards a storybook like narrative, taking many inspirations from fictional Fantasy sources such as Game of Thrones, Robin Hood, Lord of the Rings,Dragon Age:Origins, and Berserk. This way, there is a reason for the series to stand out out from among the rest of it's more adventure talented competitors.
Each and every "Act" in an episode is limited to just eight, limiting to how much emperormiguel can work with in a single episode, sometimes making episode easily accomplished in ten to fifteen minutes. The goals in between each act is made up of dialogue, action, exploration, and self triggered events. This way, the variations of different activities in each episode will keep players on their feet the whole time. Along with dialogue, the series provides a balanced amount of wandering and exploration of the environment. Each episode will often have a different style and aesthetic and will tempt the player to explore and better enrich themselves in the world and lore of the world as along the environment there are often secrets and texts that can further expand the world of The Sword and the Staff.
Major Spoilers Ahead!!
Arc I : The Valerian Journey
The story begins in Vladimir's Academy for Mages, where the young apprentice; Meletus is standing for the final examination for the right to magehood. After failing to do so, he is humiliated and runs off to sulk alone in the nearby Academy Shore, where he meets face to face with a young warrior girl named Anna who seems to have left home. After being ambushed by an Orcanian war fleet, Meletus unleashes a strange hidden power within himself, which draws the attention of the Senior Mages in the Academy. Meletus is then assigned to be trained by Master Tegan in the Capital city of Valeria. Anna goes to join Meletus and his escort, Master Colbert as her home is supposedly also in Valeria, thus beginning the Valerian Journey.
Shortly departing the Academy, they are cornered by strange dark creatures known as Dark Ones, Colbert honorably decides to stay and keep off the trained attackers, giving Meletus and Anna time to escape. The duo manage to find their guide, an old mage by the name of Agatha who's tasked with escorting the duo to the city. Disaster strikes as their carriage and it's driver are both found destroyed by local bandits, forcing the three to walk for the rest of the journey.
They get caught in a necromancer attack in Trysting village while at the same time are forced to negotiate with a local tribe at war with Trysting known as the Hillmen. Meletus and Anna are cornered by the Hillmen, but are spared when the tribal cheiftan; Horris, senses a strange magical bond between them and suspects that destiny may be involved. Meletus takes advantage of the situation and asks Anna to return to the Commander Herald, the one in charge of the defenses of the village and inform him that he's ok. As Anna returns however, the day turns into night and she is forced to join forces with the defenses of the village to beat back the undead hordes of the Necromancer. The battle is a close one, as the undead soldiers are infinte in number, but fortunately Anna manages to slay the Necromancer, just as Meletus and his Hillmen allies burst into the field and finish off the rest of the undead. Meletus, honnored by their help; promises to free the Hillmen from their bannishment and be accepted back into Trysting society.
The next day, Meletus leads Anna and Agatha to Trysting castle, to let them know that the Necromancer has been slayed and to ask for a pardon for the Hillmen. They meet with the King of Trysting; Alonoris, who proves to be a rude and mentally unstable ruler, who denies Meletus' request unless he can gain the vote of three important figures in the Trysting court. After gaining Prince Eric's, Agatha's and Commander Herald's vote in the matter; Meletus brings them before King Alonoris to prove his point. All of a sudden, the king labels the group as traitors and assassins and attempts to have them killed, but thanks to Agatha's handy teleportation spell, they all escape in a nick of time. In the wilderness, the group is attacked by wildlings who surround and outnumber them, but are saved by Horris and his Hillmen at the last second. Prince Eric goes on to gather soldiers still loyal to him and storms Trysting castle with the Hillmen while Meletus and Anna takes a secret entrance into the castle to find and stop Alonoris from escaping. The duo follows the king to the highest tower where they find out that he really isn't King Alonoris at all but a Dark One agent who orchestrated the entire civil war in an attempt to draw the attention of Meletus and Anna to let them know that his master is aware of them. The duo defeats the agent and gets rewarded by prince-turned King Eric who not only pardons the Hillmen as Meletus requested and grants them a new Carriage to take to Valeria, thus beginning their journey through the peaks of the Helikirian Mountains.
Up in the peaks, the group is attacked by a flying Ice Drake, separating Meletus and Anna from Agatha. The duo find themselves forced into an old Alkirian Academy where they find an ancient sword that seems to have a powerful effect on Anna; unleashing a demonic spirit from her whenever she's built up enough anger or stress.
After making it out of the Academy, the two immediately start their trek through the mountains to find a way back to Agatha. They end up combating a gigantic Raider, known as the beast of the Helikirian, whom they defeat but decided to spare. Meletus is captured by the Ice Drake along the way and Anna is forced to track it down the day after. During the hunt, she is confronted by the beast of the Helikirian who turns out to be a Goblin Shaman by the name of Vegeras who has sworn loyalty to Meletus for sparing his life and decides to help her find him. The two get caught in a battle against Anna's old warrior guild of mercenaries; The Towershields and a local band of hostile Goblins known as the Kelithir. The Towershields have also been tasked to find the ice drake, and so the two decided to help the mercenaries reach Meletus. They manage to find and free Meletus but not without engaging the Ice Drake, who manages to get away. The Mercenary leader; Lunar becomes frustrated with the failure to slay the Ice Drake and just decides to lead Meletus' group to Agatha, who've they encountered earlier that day.
After a long dangerous journey; Meletus, Anna, Agatha, and now Vegeras have arrived in the capital city of Valeria where they quickly settle for the day as Agatha goes off to find Master Tegan in the Palace. Later that evening, as the group decide to stay for the night in the Rusty Blade Tavern where they are attacked by a group of Stanion thugs, Agatha is presumed to have been kidnapped in the process. The three decide to go investigate in the nearby slums, where they are again attacked by an agressive gang of Stanion criminals, under the control of a mob boss named Harren, whose on orders from the Archbishop; Kiristein. When they free Agatha and Master Tegan, who've both been captured by the thugs, from the Stanion hideout, they go to confront the Archbishop who reveals a plot of a Dark lord making a return to Helderia after a thousand years. Kiristien gets captured by a high ranking captain named Lorain, who immediately identifies Anna as the long missing Valerian princess, much to Meletus' surprise.
Arc II: The Rise of the Iron Queen
The story picks up again after a full year. Anna has returned as a princess, while Meletus has begun special training with Master Tegan. During Anna's nineteenth birthday, she is briefly told by her father; King Theodore, that she is being crowned as the next in line for the throne, despite her being the youngest, next to her brother Fergus. The next day her father wakes her to let her know of the purpose why she was kept secret to the public all her life, explaining that an oracle in the mysterious east has all the answers to her questions. She is sent by her father to one of the slums in the city where she discovers a horrible plot to overthrow her father's rule. She returns to late to her father, as he gets cut down before her by Fergus.
Fergus gains control of the palace guards and attempts to kill off his sister as well via a platoon of his finest crossbowmen. Agatha jumps in the way of the crossbow bolts intended for Anna and dies in the process. Meletus, along with Vegeras manages to escape the guards grasp in time by jumping through the palace window overlooking the Glass Sea. The trio manage to fight their way to the Valerian ports, with the aid of Captain Lorain and a band of soldiers still loyal to King Theodore. They all reach an unguarded Merchant ship and sail away to safety, drifting their course to the deserts lands of the mysterious east.
After a brief battle with a raiding group of Towershield mercenaries, the group has managed to capture Lunar; a high ranking fighter among the Towershields, who mentions that Fergus is aware that Anna's escaped and will no doubt send more men to capture or kill her wherever she hides. The following night a raging storm hits the ship, sending Anna overboard and separating her from the rest of the group. The next morning she awakens on the shores of Kashetta, where she encounters an escaped Lunar, who reluctantly decides to join her reach the desert city of Jaffaras, where they will not be endangered by the local warring bands of Orcanians. The two are spotted and captured by a Stanion patrol and sent before the Palace in Jaffaras, to their favour; the sultan is familiar with Anna's father and decides to free her and her friends, who he's also captured. The sultan then goes on to explain that the Oracle that Anna's seeking has been captured and held hostage in a nearby abandoned Alkirian Baptism Temple by a recently emerged army of Dark Ones, who've been pillaging and destroying all they come across throughout the deserts. The Sultan considers this Anna's test to see if she's truly on their side, and hands over one of his brightest scholars; Jenkins to help them with their mission to rescue the Oracle out of the temple, along with the Sultan's best general; Abdul-Bari, to keep the Dark One battalions preoccupied with a small army of his own.
They all gather outside the Alkirian temple, where a large Dark One army awaits them. True to his word, General Abdul-Bari gathers his men and engages the Dark One forces along with Captain Lorain. Anna and her rescue team made up of; Meletus, Vegeras, and Lunar, find a way around the battle and into the back entrance of the temple. Once in, both Anna and Meletus find themselves stricken with an unknown sense of nostalgia as the temple gives a strange familiarity of sorts, this is later confirmed when they find Ishar, the Oracle they've been searching for inside the temple, who explains how they were both baptized there as babies, to form a "Spirit Bond", a magical contract that binds their souls into one. The group fight their way out of the temple, unleashing Anna's demon along the process, but eventually reaching the Temple's upper level, where Jenkins rescues the group with his new Airship.
They return to the palace where more troubled news reaches them; an even larger army of Dark Ones is emerging from the Red Gates not too far from Jaffaras, led by a flying Sand drake (presumed to be Borris, Vegeras' brother) to destroy the kingdoms of the Stanions. Anna's new group of companions joins her along with the last of the Sultan's army to help seal the Red Gates with the Oracle's magic to once and for all, drive out the Dark Ones from Kashetta until Anna can return to end the Dark One threat from home. The battle ensues intensely as the Stanions verge close to defeat, until Meletus pulls off his mysterious power and eliminates the entire Dark One army aside from Borris, who gets away. With the victory ensured, the Red Gates is at last magically sealed by the Oracle's power, the Sultan receives word of the success and pledges his alliance to Anna's cause of taking back her kingdom from Fergus. Abdul-Bari and Jenkins joins up with Anna and Meletus' group along with a small army of elite Stanion warriors to sail across the glass sea, to the Helderian mainland, where the rebellion for the Valerian Crown, begins.
After months of preparation and traveling, Anna and her new Stanion allies are spying out the city of Ravendor, which they manage to hit by surprise, taking the whole city in one day. When they reach Castle Ravendor, Anna strikes a bargain with the current ruler; King Wallice, that if he gives unto her his support and his troops, that she'd agree to marry him should the rebellion be successful, he agrees, much to Meletus' dismay. The following night Ravendor is besieged by Fergus' new army, which Anna and her allies manage to repel thanks to a clever ruse by Abdul-Bari. The victory in Ravendor would become the anchor point that would start the Rebellion, as news of Anna's accomplishment reached far and wide throughout Helderia, bringing more to her cause. Seven months later, Anna's rebel fighters hits a snag as they are ambushed by Fergus' northern army, suffering major loses in the carnage and forcing them to take safe haven in the city of Harrenthaw where Anna's Uncle; King Varric is sure to keep the rebels safe for the time being. During their stay, their is attempt on Anna's life as Fergus' assassins enter the city to find her, in the meanwhile Anna is attempting to sway the hearts and minds of the tribal leaders of the North during a Council meeting, King Varric among them. She seemingly fails to do so and escapes the city with Meletus as Fergus' soldiers storm into Harrenthaw after hearing word of the rebels staying there. The following night, Anna is transported to a new camp for the Rebel army, where the three kings of North have gathered. Under the witness of all their men, King Wallice, King Eric, and King Varric; who merely pretended to stay neutral due to being under the watch of Fergus' allies; all pledge to give their allegiance to Anna, who they nickname as "The Iron Queen".
Anna now with a complete Rebel army, makes no hesitation to finally make the march towards the City of Valeria where her brother Fergus rules supreme. She makes a pact with a local Stanion militia led by Ethan, a Stanion they helped years earlier, who recognizes Meletus immediately and agrees to help them sabotage the city, so the rebels have an easier time getting in and finding Fergus. A few days later, Anna launches a full scale siege of the city, breaking down the gates and unleashing her rebels to every nook and cranny of Valeria with the primary intent of finding and killing Fergus. fourteen days in, Captain Herald, a friend and ally to Anna and her cause manages to spot Fergus leaving the city and urges Meletus to help stop him before he escapes. Meletus tears through the battle enraged streets, fighting one delay after another before finally confronting Fergus dueling with Anna who's also heard word of his escape. Meletus and Anna work together to bring down Fergus, who reveals a much darker threat lurking behind them all along and insults them for stopping his progress to once and for all end the threat that's been haunting their father ever since. Anna stabs Fergus in the heart and claims the right of rulership through conquest, finally putting her to where she should have been years ago; the Queen of Valeria. For his hard work and for sticking with Anna through all her struggles; Anna decides to reward the tittle of "Advisor" to Meletus, putting him in power beside her as they both help rule Helderia into recovery from the Rebellion.
With Fergus slain, and his supporters put out of the picture, Anna has now gained a favorable foothold on the Valerian throne as the famed Iron Queen. But as blissful as her new position is, she's slowly become ignorant of the true reason she's on the throne in the first place. She wastes her efforts on restoring social fronts of the kingdom, meanwhile sightings of Dark Ones battalions pillaging and burning through the countrysides of Heathguard have been confirmed, while Anna casually ignores the subject matter. On one stormy night, Anna receives a surprise visit from her agreed fiance; King Wallice who at first seems to be making advances on her, but is then revealed to be a Dark One in disguise. The Palace is besieged by a surprise attack and Anna is forced to take shelter in an abandoned fortress outside the city till the next morning. The attack wakes her up to the reality of her situation as she plans alongside her trusted friends to once and for all, destroy the true threat behind the Dark Ones.
Three months later, Anna has engaged the Dark One battalions in Heathguard in so far a successful campaign to drive them out, but yet remains to destroy the last battalion of Dark Ones running away from her army. Just as her men get ambushed, she sends Meletus ahead of them to check the village of Wheatfield nearby to find survivors. Meletus arrives on scene and discovers that everyone in the village has been slaughtered, as he checks the nearby chapel, he get's visited by Borris in his Goblin form, who tempts Meletus to join his master, who knows the whereabouts of Meletus' parents. Borris then hands Meletus a key leading to the lower levels of the chapel where his master is awaiting both Anna and him, Borris goes to leave the scene as Anna arrives with her men into the village. Meletus then convinces Anna to go down with him to the under levels of the chapel, where they confront a talking Brazier, who none other turns out to be the Overlord himself speaking with them. The Overlord claims to have known about the two and their prophetic purpose since before they were born, and that he's been watching and influencing them all this time using Anna's blade as his window into them. Hearing this, Anna orders for her sword to be destroyed as she contemplates what to do next in her plan to end the threat the Overlord poses on her and Helderia.
The following day, She and her generals decide to cross the glass sea and directly into the Shadowlands as the mainland border between Heathguard and the Shadowlands is simply crawling with thousands of Dark Ones and there simply not enough soldiers to pass through them. When they land in the shores of the Shadowlands, not too far from the Overlord's tower; they quickly encounter the local Dark One battalions made up of thousands of battle hardened soldiers, easily outnumbering the remainder of Anna's army. Anna's army bravely charges the much larger foe, to keep them distracted as Anna and Meletus run up to the Overlord's tower to finally slay the Lord of Darkness himself. Just as the duo enters the tower, Anna's fears and blind pride causes her to threaten Meletus to return to the rest of her army, as the prophetic task of slaying the Overlord belongs to her alone. Meletus obeys and Anna heads up the tower alone, where she encounters the Overlord in the top room of the tower. He explains that he was anticipating her arrival as he's well aware of everything she's done to have led her to him, the two battle shortly after. Anna is defeated and thrown out the Overlord's tower, but is fortunately telepathically lifted by Meletus via a magic spell, landing her safely to the ground. Her safety is short lived as the Overlord threatens that he cannot let her leave the Shadowlands, army or not. Anna stays behind to battle the Overlord alone as the remainder of her army sails away. She comes to one last confrontation with the Overlord before being shot to death by Dark One Archers.
Arc III: The Light in the Darkness
Three whole years later: Meletus has stayed in hiding within the Valerian wilderness as the Overlord wrecked through Helderia in his conquest for power. After the defeat at the Shadowlands, the Overlord quickly brought his armies to the rest of Helderia, while Meletus and his allies get separated during the defense of Valeria, which ultimately failed. Meletus now scrounges by day after day, avoiding the world as he wallows in his failure to protect Anna, until one faithful day; he bumps into a stray family crossing the countryside because of a rumor that Ravendor is still untouched by the Overlord's conquest. Meletus, though skeptical, decides to join the family on their journey for a new home.
Over the weeks, Meletus grows fond of his new companions as he travels with them to a place he doubts even exists, but continues to protect them in fear that they will meet a horrible end like Anna did. After the group gets pinned down at a broken bridge, Meletus fails to protect the family as Bandits murder each and every one of them while he was separated from them. Guilty of his failure once again; Meletus contemplates on suicide to finally be rid of himself on the world, but after thinking about all the people he knew and all that he went through, he abstains from the deed, only to be surrounded by a battalion of Dark Ones. Meletus musters up his courage and his determination and incinerates all of them with a magical blast of fire. A goblin chieftain by the name of Orga-thag is impressed at his abilities and decides to join him in his journey to Ravendor, a safe haven for his tribe. Upon arrival Meletus is confronted by a gate Captain who turns out to be Lunar, the two are overjoyed and Meletus decides to join her cause to defend Ravendor from coming trouble.
After her death, Anna finds herself in a strange dimension known as the Spirit realm, where she encounters a mystical being known as the Shepard who pits her in three trials to test her worth in living. She succeeds in all three, but then comes to realize that she doesn't have that much worth in living in the first place, but following the Shepard's protest, Anna decides to continue with the process of getting her back life, if only for the sake of finishing off what she should have done from the beginning; slaying the Overlord. The two visit the Spirit Gate, where Anna meets the Nameless One, who at first is hesitant to her request, but after a closer inspection into her motives, he decides to give her the right to accessing entrance into the Spirit World where she can be resurrected.
Meletus arrives in Ravendor and discovers that the situation is worse than he's imagined, as not only is Ravendor is the very last foothold of any living Helderian, Goblin, and Stanion in all Helderia but also that the Overlord is constantly attacking the city, with one major strike coming soon led by the Drake General himself; Borris. Meletus reunites with Abdul Bari and helps Lunar with the defenses for the big siege. In the early morning the day after; the Dark Ones strike from the sea, dropping off hundreds of soldiers from rowboats and barraging the city from the coast, the situation becomes desperate, forcing Meletus to rush in finding the reinforcements on the other side of the city. During his run, Meletus is confronted by Borris in his Drake form who tries to tempt him one more time, to which Meletus refuses. Just as the battle begins between both of them, a much older Vegeras crashes into the scene to give aid to Meletus, together they defeat Borris and bring a tactical victory for Ravendor.
Meanwhile Anna now travels into the Spirit world where she encounters "The Lost Spirit" and X'amd, two long dead Alkirian spirits who guide her through the war torn Spirit world, eventually helping her find a means to return to the land of the living by shutting down a Rift (The Overlord's power source). She returns back intp the physical realm and stumbles upon two Stanion women name Marrian and Gessel who are taking shelter; fleeing the Dark Ones in the wilderness.
Meletus, though victorious in the defense for Ravendor and slaying the Drake general; Borris, is cautious of their progress and tells his Resistance companions not to let their guard down, as the true threat still lives and until he is dead, they will not get anywhere with driving out the Dark Ones. The group comes up with a plan to separate the Overlord's main army and then ambush the Overlord himself, while his army is scattered. The next day Meletus and Lunar joins Abdul-Bari's ambush team to kill the Overlord, but the plan goes faulty as the Overlord and his forces prove to be far stronger than they expected. Meletus and the Overlord find themselves in a duel, as the Overlord attempts to sway him to join his side, claiming that the world hates people like him, Meletus straightly refuses and a deadly battle ensues. Meletus is thrown to the ground, defeated and just before he could be finished off; the Overlord mysteriously gets stricken with a strange agonizing magic (the effect of Anna shutting down the Rift in the Spirit world) that forces him to flee the battle. Meletus and his companions is battered, bruised, and cornered by the Overlord's armies, go for one final charge against the impossible odds and into the heat of the Dark One army.
Far off to the encroaching borders of Heathguard, near the small town of Baewater; Anna has fully recovered from returning back from the Spirit world and travels north to find the Valerian Highway with the two Stanion women during the nighttime to lower visibility from Dark One Scouts. The group gets ambushed at a fountain clearing but are saved at the last second by Templar Knights and their leader Sir Gregor who recognizes Anna as the Queen and has the group escorted immediately to Whitetop Fortress. There Anna attempts to persuade Sir Gregor to let her go but she is interrupted by an attacking army of Dark Ones who followed her trail in the wilderness and have begun besieging the Fortress. At the last second; Jenkins arrives on his Airship and drives away the Dark Ones with his new mounted Cannons. Anna reunites with him and gathers a meeting to discuss her plans of finding Meletus; to which Gregor agrees and offers soldiers for her as long as he goes with her. With the exception of the Stanion women who decide to stay behind; the rest of the Group heads out on Jenkin's new Airship to the Shadowlands.
Many months later; Meletus and the Resistance have not only survived the last disastrous battle after the Overlord's escape but have also thrived in fighting deeper into war-torn Helderia; eventually reaching the borders of the Shadowlands itself. Meletus has become an iconic leader figure to the resistance but as they get closer to the Overlord's tower; he feels more and more socially withdrawn; he get's distracted during training with Vladimir, he ignores War Meetings, and even goes so far as to tent outside the Army camp and go scouting by himself in the middle of the night. On one particular night, during his scouting runs; he discovers an old Barristinian Castle which accidentally leads him to the origins of his birth and the knowledge of what happened to his parents; eventually leading him to the family heirloom; a powerful Staff which he takes as a rightful possession and a reminder of who he is and where he came from. After battling with a group of Dark Ones; he returns back to Camp to discuss his discovery with Vladimir who unfortunately suffers a serious heart attack.
Anna's search for Meletus continues in the Shadowlands but proves fruitless as her companions fail to find sight of him the vast expanses of ash and rocks. Instead they happened upon a great bright indigo light stabbing into the skies and from this light was a massive rift with Spirits pouring out of it. Anna recognizes this experience from the Spirit World and warns the group of the Overlord's recovering strength; convincing them to hesitantly act upon the issue. Anna and Gregor assemble their Templar Knights and launches a raid onto the Black Citadel where the Rift is being summoned from. The group manages to save many prisoners including Queen Helgen and Captain Lorain; before slaying the Warden and destroying the Well of Souls responsible for the Rift's casting. They leave the Citadel and accidentally encounter Chieftan Org-thag and Sorra; both who have scouted ahead of the Resistance army. The two offer to lead Anna and her companions to Meletus back at their army camp; to which they immediately agree to.
Two days after Vladimir's heart attack; the Resistance have settled even closer to the Overlord's tower though at the cost of half of their forces encountering heavy Dark One defenses further inland of the Shadowlands. While most of the Resistance warriors go out to fight another Dark One legion; Meletus and Krian goes to visit Vladimir who confesses he doesn't have much time and that Meletus is not yet ready face off against the Overlord until he accomplishes one more test that he must complete alone. Meletus agrees to this and with the aid of Horris and Krian; goes to the Red Hills to enter the sacred Tomb of Mages where he receives flashbacks of his earlier years back in Vladimir's academy as an Apprentice. Over the course of the trials; he receives more and more of his repressed memories and comes to remember his first love; an apprentice named Mira who Meletus left to get eaten by a Bruiser and afterwards denied knowing or associating with her. Meletus goes meditate before the Stone of Mages but not before facing a Shadow of himself and then finally breaking down from all the guilt and hate of himself for his cowardice on the day Mira died. He wakes up to see a vision of his life so far and the things that have always been blinded to him. He wakes up and returns to Vladimir to recount his experiences. Vladimir gives Meletus one final bit of information about his Destiny and his ties to Anna's prophecy before finally passing away. Meletus then takes this information to begin a search for Anna immediately until he is suddenly interrupted by Chieftain Orga-thag returning from his scouting trip who's also brought Anna along with him.
Characters and Locations Edit
Further Information: List of The Sword and the Staff Characters and Locations
The Characters in The Sword and the Staff are either incorporated of NPCs or important to the central story line. Most of them have a central involvement with the complete story, and your interactions with them in-game illuminates more of their motives and what role they have in the world and the story following the series, in fact some will even end up joining you throughout your journey and aiding you in your battles throughout your journeys.
The series presents different locations and landmarks around Helderia, the story rarely stays in one place for too long. Each new episode shows a different environment and a history to go with it. The land of Helderia is wide and expansive, so much so; that a single episode would be a great injustice to judge the entire picture of Helderia. From the frozen cities of the northern kingdoms, to the dusty planes of the Shadowlands, all Helderia will be revealed episode by episode, the more the player advances in the story.
Lore and Mythos Edit
Further Information: List of The Sword and The Staff Mythos and Lore
The World of Helderia presents a lot of history about past events and legends that have come to pass way before Meletus and Anna stepped into the picture. Throughout the series, if the player is inquisitive enough; they'll be able to spot buildings, artifacts, objects, ruins, and npcs who have dialogue or something to examine. These mundane background fillers actually contain a vast wealth of information and history on the world of the Adventures series and can not only help the players establish the world they're saving but also help with the sense of immersion, which will ultimately improve the player's experience with the Adventure series and help them feel connected with the Adventure and narrative itself through emotional investment.
The history and lore of the world also helps with the understanding behind the fantastical elements of the Adventure Series; giving explanation to player mechanics like magic; while also giving some hints as to which way the main narrative shall go and how the story was shaped before the players began their Adventure in the first place.
emperormiguel himself has made sure to keep adding new bits of lore and history; so that players will not only be better immersed into their adventure but also help set up hints towards the final climax of the series and of a prequel series that is sure to come once The Sword and the Staff is over.
Further Information: The Sword and the Staff Behind-the-Scenes Development
The development for the first episode began as early as August the 8th when emperormiguel started drawing up plans on starting a completely new adventure series on Spore. This would not be the first time, however, when emperormiguel made an adventure series or attempted doing so. As early as 2010, emperormiguel has been making series such as "Legendary", "Stickman Stories", "Venus IV", "The Dead", "Frostmare Island", "The Legend of Kalimdor", "The Night has Eyes", and others more. However most of these adventure series never made it to full fledged series that expanded more than five episodes. It was around 2012 when emperormiguel decided to "give up" Spore to try out other games and catch up with his high school studies.
Around 2013 he returned to Spore with an idea in mind about a medieval fantasy series. The idea was blurry at first and he considered just dropping Spore permanently to better focus on his studies, but in the end he decided to go with his instincts and go forward with the idea for "The Sword and the Staff". On September the 23rd, emeprormiguel released the very first episode of the Sword and the Staff and from then on, has been creating new content at least once every month, to flesh out and expand the complicated story he had in mind for the series all along.
Artwork and Fandom Edit
Further Information: The Sword and the Staff Artworks and Fandom
The Concept of Helderia required a great deal of visual imagery to fully capture it's wonder and to get across it's ambiance and tone to the player. Some of the Artworks were from paid commissions by talented artists on Deviant art and others were from passionate fan(s) from the Sporum.
empeormiguel has left no expense to invest in the visual imagery of his beloved series and happily accepts all fan contributions of the Adventure Series. The artworks vary from early sketches to help set up the world and characters, to professional posters and background art to promote the characters and prime locations of the Adventure series.
Fans like Alexbiri help contribute to the visual imagery of the Adventure Series by adding artwork expressing their most beloved moments from the series and sometimes use their artwork as a way to critique the series on what they found unsatisfactory or perhaps humorous. emperormiguel has stated that he has a desire to more fan contributions in the future as he wishes to see how players saw his series and how they experienced it through their playthroughs.
emperormiguel claims that he keeps a watchful eye on the Sporum in hopes of finding contributions and artworks from the players who've gone through his series. He's made statements that one day he's willing to host an online Creation competition on the Sporum once the series is over. For now he enjoys what content his fanbase provides him as it motivates him to continue making more content for the series.
The series has been met with some positive reviews, an independent spore mod website called Forgotten Spore decided to promote the first episode by uploading it on Youtube, which has generally been met with positive reactions from the commentators and watchers alike. Users from the Spore themed forum designed by Maxis known as the Sporum, have also reacted with a positive outcome for the series with quotes like the ones stated below:
"a good adventure to play, and i'm surely going to play all the series" - alexbiri
"This series is probably one of the longest ones I've ever seen. Even better, its quality has remained superb throughout all 6 seasons!" - MobsterMania
"Lots of stuff happening, different tasks to perform, and barely any dull moments." - Arkanay
"This looks cool!" - DarkLord979
The series is still in complete development and will not reach it's finale until late 2014 or early 2015, when it's finally complete; emperormiguel shall be expecting a full list of reviews of the series as a whole from players and Sporum critics alike.
Future Project Edit
After the nearing completion of the 8th season and ultimately the entire series of The Sword and the Staff; emperormiguel has made some small hints to users on the Sporum that he has plans on making a possible prequel series that ties with The Sword and the Staff.
As of today, emperormiguel has declared that he will be making a prequel series named: "The Dark Crown", set fifty years before the events of The Sword and the Staff. The central focus will be on a new hero by the name of "Garret", a young Barristinian warrior who sets out to save his House and his countrymen as Helderia prepares for mass civil war, while behind the curtains; lurks the true threat..... The one that Garret must defeat to save the world from ultimate destruction.