Developer Diary #3: The Orcs & Elves story

October 19, 2007

Developer Diary #3: The Orcs &
Elves story

Katherine Anna Kang

CEO and Producer

Fountainhead Entertainment

Orcs & Elves screenshots

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.

Orcs & Elves screenshots

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.

Orcs & Elves screenshots

– 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.

Orcs & Elves screenshots

– 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.

Orcs & Elves screenshots

– 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.