Dev Diary #1: Journey to the Silk Road

In our next game, Historica Arcanum: Empires of the Silk Road, we take you to the 13th century, to a Silk Road facing cataclysm in all directions.


Silk Road is…?


Here’s a quick recap for the uninitiated. Silk Road was, essentially, the life blood of the ENTIRE HUMAN CIVILIZATION! It was a network of trade routes and megacities that moved the riches, the peoples, the cultures, and the ideas of Asia, Africa, Eurasian steppes, Middle East and Europe.


With such an important concept, comes very interesting events, and through those, comes an amazing setting to build a Dungeons and Dragons campaign!


It is in this era, that Marco Polo traveled eastward, Mongols rose to power and began their invasion of the world, the Crusades struck the Holy Lands, and Baghdad’s condition as a center of science and thought of the world was cemented, and then burned to the ground! It is also in this era that the hashashins -assassins- of the Alamut Castle emerged from the shadows and haunted the palace halls of the crumbling Seljuk Empire.


Where is the D&D in this?


The culture, legends, and the flavor of the world inspired us to create cool and unique D&D content!


For instance, Masked Warrior, our new fighter archetype, embodies abilities of steppe raiders and dons their infamous masks. We have taken how Mongolian warlords used psychology to cripple their enemies, and built a charisma and fear based fighter!


We also have the Circle of the Eternal Sky, a new druid circle that represents the shamanic religion of the steppes, the Tengrism. We have taken the myths and the culture of the worshippers of the Eternal Sky and mixed it into the druid’s connection with nature.


One of our hallmark additions to 5E is the Profession System. The Silk Road is a region that hosted many famous explorers throughout history, such as Marco Polo, Ibn Fadlan and more. Their renown of exploring new locations, charting maps, and getting along with foreign cultures inspired us to create the Explorer profession!


The Cool Part of Historica Arcanum


Essentially, all of the above is what makes Historica Arcanum so cool to work on, and awesome to play in.


Delving deep into cultures and history, bringing out hidden, unexplored gems, and then building a narrative and gameplay around this is a great experience as a game designer and a TTRPG player.


And when we don our D&D player and game master cap; being able to take these tools, to either make your own worlds and characters more vibrant and culturally distinct, or to simply go through a rabbit hole of alternate history setting, is what makes it all so worthwhile.


Wrapping Up, and What’s to Come


So, uh, this was our first developer diary. We will make more of these, at least once a month, delving deeper into new concepts that we developed, and interesting stuff that happened to us throughout our journey of being the best Pokémon trai- no, TTRPG Studio.


-Onur “Card” Kart




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