An Indie Oldschool Role-Playing Game

The World of DarkDale

The World of DarkDale

on Jul 30, 2013 | 3 comments

Most updates up to now on this blog discussed the game mechanics or offered development insights, but we haven’t disscussed much the setting of our adventure to be. While everything is not determined yet, the larger plot and game world elements are known. Also known is the fact that lore will be present everywhere in the game, to insure an immersive experience beyond puzzle-solving, combat and survival dungeon crawler modes. So, let’s take a firs look at some background information. But before…

Parlez-vous Français?

Yes, DarkDale now has multilingual support and will be developed natively in French and English. I speak fluently both languages, thanks to the wondeful environment of Montreal, and will proudly offer an accurately translated game in French for all role-playing games fans out there in Quebec, France and elsewhere in the world.

DarkDale en Français!

DarkDale en Français!

Not only that, but the entire language elements are defined directly into the objects themselves and scalable to any number of languages:

	uiDescription = {
		en = "A common sword, forged from crude iron. A basic soldier's weapon, nonetheless capable of dealing decent damage when wielded by talented hands.",
		fr = "Une épée ordinaire, forgée dans un fer brut. Une arme de soldat basique, mais néanmoins capable d'infliger des dégâts décents lorsque maniée par des mains habiles.",

That way, official or fan-made translations can be made down the road to port the game to other languages. There are also ways to indicate gender and plural versions of the objects’ names , and the text display code will be smart and able to write correctly articles in cases such as:

  • Pseudo-code: “What do we have here?” + <indeterminate article> + <item name> +”? I can give you ” + <selling value> + “gp for ” + <object pronoun>.
  • “What do we have here? An axe of dexterity? I can give you 575 gp for it.”
  • “What do we have here? A flaming axe? I can give you 360 gp for it.”
  • “What do we have here? A poison arrow? I can give you 2gp for it.”
  • “What do we have here? 8 poison arrows? I can give you 16gp for them.”

Note however that even if the game is being developed in two languages, I will continue this dev blog in English only for now, as translating posts in both languages will take time better spent on actually making the game.

Up, up it goes, yet never grows

“DarkDale is an aptly named spot, because of the nearby mountains encircling the kingdom. Even at noon, the kingdom of DarkDale is never without a shadow to hide in.” – Ferin Cleareyes, travelling rogue

We posted back in May some first details about the kingdom of DarkDale, including a map – if you haven’t checked it out yet, you’re welcome to do so! It is a small kingdom in a valley enclosed by mountain ranges (its defining feature), in a semi-northern temperate climate.

The year is 1384 AE, the 14th century of the Age of Enlightment. This current age began when the first emperor of Ge’en unified the small rival warlord territories in one single large empire, covering much of the land on the continent south of DarkDale. Having pacified the land through his military power and cunning, he decreted the end of barbary and the beginning of an age of Knowledge and Reason, assisted by his first councellor, the legendary poet Kh’arran. He adopted the cult of the Two Moons as his official state religion and helped spread it – was it pure devotion, or yet another tool of control? Historians still today, do not dare to speculate. Under his rule, the capital, Cargata, became a economic center of riches beyond imagination, and a center of knowledge and enlightment with scholars and mages coming to study at the royal library. His generosity (magnificent public gardens, fountains of flowing wine – if legends are to be trusted…) made the people love him and ignore his rigid tyrannic military rule, backed by powerful court wizards and insiduous religious propaganda. Today, even if the empire has lost part of its past splendor, his dynasty still rules Caragata and controls  – either politicaly or economocialy – the better part of this region of the world.

DarkDale concept art, based on a stock photo.

The mountains of DarkDale, concept art

The much feared desert riders of Ge’en did not, however, reach their unifying hand beyond the mountain ridges surrounding DarkDale. The natural frontier protected the young country, yet more like a deterrent than an actual defensive element. Indeed, no great battles where fought defending the realm: the imperial forces turned away, have more pressing matters at hand. “There’s time, we’ll come back later”, said their captains, and the captains after them, and those who followed. Centuries flew by, the Kingdom blossomed, and, slowly but surely, insured its economic independence. Two important resources, Skaal, a very hard steel forged from the Skaalstone ore in the northern mountains, and Glimmerwood, a particularly strong and flexible wood with strong affinity for magic, have given birth to an important commercial network controlled by powerful guilds. If there always have been warmongering voices in Cargata, trading with the distant northern land always seemed the easier solution in the end, as opposed to a military conquest. And, after all, the Apostle was there to insure things were running smoothly, protecting the Order’s interests and reporting back to the council of the High Fathers in the imperial capital.

A book with lore on religion.

A book with lore on religion.

While the imperial religion has its fair share of devotees in DarkDale, the Order never managed to completly replace previous beliefs in the kingdom, nor is it the official state church. Even if the Apostle sits on the royal council, important events, such as coronations or the Winter Festival, are still done according to the ancient ways. Yet, knowledge and a living faith has become tradition: few are those in the realm who still remember now the details of the ancient lore, and even less remember the evils it warned against. In a time of turmoil, such knowledge will prove crucial in saving DarkDale from destruction, and it will be our stalwart party’s task to seek it out.

The Vindaàri

Although humans are now the most common race in DarkDale, they are not its original inhabitants. Long before our race came to the north, seeking the riches held in its soil, a race of tall people lived there, calling themselves the Vindaàri. Tall, with pale blueish skin, they are stern people, not very strong physically, but with a high affinity for magic. Conceptually, the Vindaàri share certain traits with high-fantasy elves, but also with Native Americans. The mountain people, as they are also called, are mostly a pacifist race, living in understanding with nature and reluctant to kill. As such, they did not offer much resistance to the outsiders, nor had they a central government or army to root out, their social structure being mostly tribal.

So no conquest happened as such. Space was plenty. Humans settled, built tall cities and towers, dug deep mines, paved roads. Their numbers rose, the Vindaàr ones dwindled. The few remaining tribes – and their Elders – now mostly live in some villages high in the mountains, rarely DarkDale‘s forests too; some dwell and work in towns or in Mountain Shadow, the capital, but none in a high political or economic position. While there isn’t an active hatred between the two races, they do not mix up often, and the Vindaàri are reluctant to open up to strangers. Vindaàr is one of the three playable races, along with Humans and Khors, a southern race that we’ll introduce later.

Portrait for the Vindaàr Ranger.

Portrait for the Vindaàr Ranger.


  1. Looks and sounds better and better. Continue ce superbe boulot, et merci pour la traduction en français, although I have no trouble lire et écrire l’anglais. However, keep up the amazing work, and gratz 🙂


    July 30, 2013

    • Thanks / Merci!

      Georges Dimitrov

      July 30, 2013

  2. Very cool. 🙂


    July 30, 2013

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