Developer Diary #3: The Orcs & Elves story
October 19, 2007
Developer Diary #3: The Orcs & Elves story
Katherine Anna Kang
CEO and Producer
The Orcs & Elves universe is filled with an array of rich and unique stories all brimming with the vibrancy of life made up of difference races, gods, monsters, critters, sentient and powerful artifacts, and of course, magic. With the treasures to be found, innocents to be saved, and evil to be vanquished, it can sometimes seem impossible to contain this universe in one game; and no one game has been capable of it. In the two years since its inception, Orcs & Elves has made its way onto 3 separate games: Orcs & Elves (mobile), Orcs & Elves (DS), and Orcs & Elves II (mobile). Each game, and each iteration of the game, opens up another window, door, and/or chapter of the living story that is brought to life by the people at id Software and Fountainhead Entertainment.
There is so much to tell that I am at a loss at where to begin... I guess a good starting point is the Creator, and that would be John Carmack.
Many years ago, back before Quake and Doom, John Carmack was a dungeon master of some repute, with weekly games that occasionally drew friends from across the country. A workaholic schedule eventually doomed the games, but a fondness for a good, old-fashioned adventure remained. After seeing the very positive reception that the mobile game DoomRPG received, Carmack set the direction for the next project: "Obviously we should do a fantasy game. Hacking orcs with flaming swords and adventuring for gold. All the classic elements." The seed for Orcs & Elves was planted and the universe began to unfold.
The Orcs & Elves universe takes place in the upper-most region of the Western lands of Areth. The name Areth has long been lost to all but a few and the lands are now mostly known as The Godless Lands. Areth was born with a beauty unmatched for many millennia. When the elves were but a young race and the dwarves were freshly carved off mountains, it was a wonderful place to behold. It was full of exuberance, life, and magic and perhaps it was the magic that made it too good to last. Greed for magic, power, and all that Areth could offer was too tempting for some... sharing was not an option. For Areth, the consequence of this flow of magic was the distortion of nature, the creation of monsters, and ultimately war. The dark ages descended upon Areth, but in the darkness, there was light. Heroes rose to fight for justice and legends were born; and here we begin the story of the Elf adventurer Eöl and Brahm, the Dwarf who would be King.
During The Great Conflict, the hatred between the Orcs and the Elves peaked. The forces of light and dark had formed an uneasy truce that the Orcs never meant to honor. When that truce was breached, the Elves suffered most as the Vaettir allied with the Orcs to take advantage of this feud. The air was thick with death and the war between the two races was even more fierce than the early days of conflict between all peoples of the land. If not for the Dwarven forces aiding the Elves, and if not for the initial friendship forged by Eöl and Brahm, the Elves may not have survived.
After the Elves won the war, Brahm was crowned, and Eöl found love and family. King Brahm would soon call himself uncle to a half-breed Elf/Human child named Elli. This peaceful time, however, lasted less than two decades. Treachery and war began anew as young Elli would soon find out on his first adventure to Mount Zharrkarag. This is where Orcs & Elves, the game, begins.
Key Characters in Orcs & Elves (DS):
- Elli: Son of the Elven adventurer Eöl and human warrior Fraiga, Elli begins his first major adventure at the age of 17. Though by Elven standards, he is just a child, for a human, he is a young man well past the age of transition. Due to the terrible loss of his mother at a young age, his father had been reluctant to let go of his only son. Grudgingly, Eöl finally lets his son go. As both father and son embark on their own independent and unique journey, the wand Ellon is entrusted to Elli as a guide, friend, and protector.
- Ellon: Forged by a wizard to aid Eöl and the Elves in their time of need, Ellon is a sentient wand whose power limits are unknown. Though extremely powerful, it can be reduced to a very weak state when taxed for a prolonged time. Eöl, the Elven adventurer whom Ellon was crafted for, passed down this powerful wand to his son Elli. Though best wielded by one of Eöl's descendants, the Wand does take to being wielded by any good elf. Ellon has a large storehouse of knowledge that will aid its wielder on any adventure.
- King Brahm: The 11th King of the Dwarven people of Mount Zharrkarag, Brahm gained notoriety for his famous adventures with the elf Eöl. As a very young dwarf, Brahm chose to abandon his royal duties as heir to the Dwarven throne to hone his skills as a warrior and as an adventurer. Those skills were well earned and well used when war came to their doorsteps. After the swarming Orcs were repelled from Mount Zharrkarag, Brahm and Eöl's strong friendship helped pave the way to better political ties between the Dwarves and Elves of Areth.
- Abraxas: Forged by the same wizard who made Ellon, Abraxas is made of the same alloy used on Thor's legendary hammer Mjööllnir. Though Abraxas was brought to life by many similar magical components that brought Ellon to life, Abraxas is less sentient and more raw arcane power. Though Abraxas can be wielded by only those with its maker's mark, an extremely powerful wizard, or god, is capable of instantly sapping its power. This weakness in Abraxas is the reason King Brahm crafted a special vault for Abraxas to be stored in when not used.
- Sarbok: Sarbok, son of Sarlok "The Great Ale Keeper", lives in shadow of his deceased father's status as Mount Zharrkarag's greatest brewmaster. Though an accomplished brewmaster in his own right, Sarbok, the perpetually drunk dwarf, sees it as his mission in life, and death, to procure the best brew known to dwarf, elf or human. Sarbok views making and drinking ale as a way of life rather than a skill to be crafted.
- Montague: Montague is an atypical dwarf in that his naiveté is equal only to his fierce devotion to his King. Montague was chosen as King Brahm's champion the day of Brahm's coronation for his loyalty, strength, and skill in battle. Naive dwarves being rare, perhaps it is this quality of feigned innocence that has endeared this dwarf to many Elven visitors.
- Ithcor: As King Brahm's chief Forge Master, Ithcor has been instrumental in crafting some of the finest weapons in the Lands. Through diligence and hard work, Ithcor helped build an armory worthy of boasting as many races have paid small fortunes to get a piece of Ithcor's quality craftsmanship in sword, shield or armor.
- Filch: Born of the Silver Fang Tribe, Filch is the youngest of the tribe's leaders. He is an exceptional and bold thief who ranks below only two other wererats. Where he lacks in stealth, he makes up for in aggression.
- Sonya: This Queen spider has taken dominion over many of the smaller spiders in the area of Mount Zharrkarag. By using her army of arachnids, she was instrumental in aiding the invading Orcs to victory in her quest to capture the Widow's Gem. Her lust for this dark gem has been the driving force of her existence for decades.
- Flopsie: This thief finds mischief and treasure wherever it can find it. Rather than follow the norm of his kind, he ventures out alone rather than in packs. He has discovered the art of eavesdropping as an important precursor to the art of stealing. He has learned many secrets and heard of many places to venture into for a chance to enrich himself.
- Felir: Despised by even his own kind, Felir is a Vaettir, or dark elf as they are more commonly known, of unusual habits. Though the Vaettir are known to be brutal, clever, and unusually cruel for a race of elves, they are also known for their impressive skills in battle and their knowledge of magic. Felir is proficient in neither battle nor magic but is a sycophant and master in the arts of treachery. Having gained status through sheer manipulation and falsehoods, though unimpressive in battle, the many mines that he has entrenched can explode in the faces of enemies and allies alike.
- Bruul: This formidable Orc leader has tried to destroy King Brahm and his Dwarven people many times over, but at each turn, the orcs have been beaten and defeated... until now.
- Kai'Laria: A mysterious force full of power and magic. Kai'Laria is an emissary of one of the most powerful Wizards in Areth.
- Gaya: A copper dragon of great renown, Gaya has lived for thousands of years. At the height of her power, Gaya soared through the skies free and unchallenged, harming none who did not challenge her while obliterating any who moved against her. Gaya's treasures are said to make even the most wealthy of royals jealous with envy. With a keen eye for gems and magical artifacts, Gaya was legendary even among her own kind as clever, dangerous, and not to be trifled with. Gaya's kin suffered great losses during the Great Conflict. At a time when Black and Red dragons allied with evil, Gold and Silver dragons allied with good, Copper dragons chose to remain neutral. When god-like wizards joined the war, several powerful evil wizards set out to punish Copper dragons for not choosing the dark side. If not for the magical dweomers and artifacts in Gaya's personal collection, even she would have fallen victim to these spells. Out of need and out of mutual respect, Gaya and King Brahm formed a sort of unspoken alliance.
In the Orcs & Elves game, you get a glimpse into the lives of each of these characters. It's one place in time where we share a chapter of their lives. For some characters, this is just the beginning of a life filled with adventure... for others, this chapter will be their last and their story will come to an end.