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Solasta: An Interview With A Dungeon Master

Solasta: Crown of the Magister is an up and coming game from Tactical Adventures. During PAX Online, I found myself thrown into a tabletop game brought to life. Of course, nothing beats a good tabletop campaign, but Solasta comes in as a strong contender! It gives players the ability to create characters, then breathes life into them as they set off on their adventure.

You can get a better feel for the game in my review. Or better yet, go play the demo, available on Steam right now!

After experiencing this fantastic game, I wanted to know more. Enter our Dungeon Master: Mathieu Girard!  He’s actually the founder and creative director of Tactical Adventures – but close enough, right?

Solasta Main Characters – courtesy of solasta-game.com

What inspired you to make a game like Solasta: Crown of the Magister?

“Well I have always been a huge fan of tabletop, for 30 years now (yes, I am getting old), and I wanted to convey this passion on the video games format, which is my other passion and dayjob! In the recent years, the revival of board games and tabletop RPG has led a revival of turn based and grid-based gameplay. I thought these tabletop mechanics deserved a worthy adaptation in video games. Actually, it is more like we adapted video games to tabletop than the opposite.

At the same time, some aspects of tabletop RPG, such as verticality, are really hard to play with pen and paper, except if you are creative and use Lego blocks. But video games and 3D graphics allow you to represent this in a realistic and exciting way. Having a character fly around in a video game becomes possible while it is hard to simulate on tabletop.

This was especially true for the 5E ruleset, as Wizards of the Coast  has granted us a license to the Dungeons & Dragons SRD 5.1, a rules system which I have loved for a long time. This project was a great opportunity to bring this system to a video game with turn based and cell based combat.”

How easy or difficult was it to implement D&D rules and content?

“I guess it was at the same time easy and hard. The ruleset is made of consistent rules, but also lots of exotic exceptions. At the start of the project, I started building a toolset, to edit the data of character classes, items, spells, etc. Most elements can fit in a common editing pattern, but many also break the rules. For example, the Magic Missile spell is fairly simple, defined by a range, targeting, and a number of damages, while a spell like Knock works in a completely different way. This represents both the beauty and nightmare of Vancian magic!

In the course of the development, we would develop new editing options for an exotic feature or power or spell, and sometimes get lucky enough to reuse for an advanced subclass feature. Still this takes a lot of time, and our goal has been to stay as close as possible to the ruleset.”

Probably my favorite part about this game is the Character Creation. Can we expect to see other races and classes in addition to the ones in the demo?

“Wish that we could! Solasta will feature 5 races and 6 classes at launch with the Sorcerer coming as a free DLC post-launch, but we’re very much excited to work on additional races and classes based on community feedback once the game is out!”

Telema Camp – Courtesy of solasta-game.com

Could we potentially see this game come to other platforms such as PlayStation or Xbox?

“We are focusing on PC first, however we’re also interested in bringing the game to consoles. We can’t make any promises, but we’re definitely not closed to the idea. Who knows what the future will hold?”

This game seems like the perfect thing for campaigning during the pandemic. Will there ever be a multi-player option so we can campaign with our friends?

“Unfortunate as it is, we’ve designed Solasta: Crown of the Magister as a single player game. Considering it is our first project, we decided that we’d rather focus on making a strong single player experience rather than spreading ourselves thin with a multiplayer component.

That being said, we know a lot of people would love to see some co-op – and we’re among them! While this might not be possible for our first game, it’s definitely something we’ll strongly consider for future projects.”

The Caves – courtesy of solasta-game.com

Overall, what is your personal favorite part of Solasta: Crown of the Magister?

“Well, the vision originated from my crazy mind, so I would feel bad to love some compartments less than others! Still I think the game especially shines on the combat system, and I have spent a lot of personal time developing all these ruleset capacities. The cutscene system was a big gamble, especially for a small studio, but I think it conveys the feeling of team-based RPG that we envisioned.”

If you had to assign classes to those on your team, who would be the Bard, and why?

“Our Producer is a self-proclaimed Disco-Bard, so it isn’t hard to choose. As for the rest of the team, we’ll keep it a mystery for now – can’t reveal everyone’s secret now, can we?”

 

There you have it, folks! I want to give a huge thank you to Mathieu and the team at Tactical Adventures. There’s a lot to look forward to in Solasta, and I highly recommend giving it a try! I know I certainly can’t wait to dive into the game even further.

Will you be looking into this game? Did you play the demo? Find us on Facebook and let us know what you think!

Solasta: Crown of the Magister comes to Early Access on October 20, 2020.

Until next time, stay geeky, my friends!

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