In a world of 5th Edition games, one developer is charging back to 3.5 with a new cRPG out later this year, Realms Beyond: Ashes of the Fallen.
Realms Beyond: Ashes of the Fallen is a throwback to the days of 3rd Edition D&D, where every fighter Power Attacked until they became irrelevent, somewhere around level 12, unless you were playing with expansions that changed that. And while we don’t know what exact rules they’ll be using in this upcoming computer game that takes after Neverwinter Nights and other games with 3rd Edition’s DNA written in them, there’s a safe bet that you’ll find all the old familiar standbys waiting in the wings. Because Realms Beyond: Ashes of the Fallen is based on the 3.5E rules outlined in WotC’s OGL. Which is still active and still open today.
That’s where Ceres Games comes into play, with their retro-style–and if you’re thinking 3rd Edition isn’t retro, let me point out that the game is twenty years old, which is old enough to have opinions about Joe Rogan, but still young enough to think that anybody else might want to hear them. Which I guess is retro. I know feats like Power Attack and Combat Expertise certainly are, and they’re highlighted in some of the game art we’ve seen so far. And that’s what Ceres Games is hoping to bring across with this new game, a jaunt back into the turn-based tactics of 3.5E, where you’ll create a custom party of adventurers, take them through dungeons, and fight trolls, dragons, and all the other usual suspects.
Realms Beyond: Ashes of the Fallen was a Kickstarter success back in 2018 with an original release date of February 2020, but that time has come and gone–it’s a tight enough turnaround even without the rise of COVID. However, the game is still in development, and as we mentioned, it’s in Beta right now–at least the combat part of the game. Check it out!
The long-awaited combat beta of Realms Beyond has been finally released to Kickstarter backers whose reward tier includes combat beta access. Assemble your party and enter the Halls of Challenge to brave tough fights that will put all your skills to the test!
The purpose of the combat beta is to provide feedback and bug reports to us, so if you are among those with access to it, we ask you to report any issues to us. The easiest way to do so is in our official Discord server, where we have opened a dedicated combat beta channel. You can also use our official forums here (account registration required).
While the combat beta is not available to the public, there is no NDA on it. You can take screenshots, talk about your experience on forums and social media, or even record yourself playing it on YouTube or Twitch.
Since this is essentially a closed beta, please keep in mind that there are still bugs to be ironed out, balance is not perfect, and some features are missing. We will deal with those issues as we receive your reports. As of now, we have not yet implemented a savegame feature. If you want to speed up animations in combat, hold down <SPACE>. If you have any questions – or suggestions – feel free to contact us about them.
Happy playing, and may you survive the trials of the Halls of Challenge!
You can see some of the combat featured above. They have the Halls of Challenge mode up now for backers of the original Kickstarter campaign. No word on when, or if, there will be a beta test for players who missed that boat. But as you can see the game’s bones are there. These textures are a loving homage to the D&D video games of the past. The Aurora Engine might have made Neverwinter Nights shine, but this feels more like the Infinity Engine of Baldur’s Gates past, even though there’s a lot here that’s 3D, it has a more artistic feel to it.
As you can see, some of the features haven’t completely been implemented yet. As of right now, they haven’t put all the classic 3.5 classes in the game–you can’t even save the game yet, but with 2020 rolling on, the game is in a rather impressive spot for having only 2-ish years of work. It’s not reinventing the wheel, or anything, but if you’re familiar with games of D&D past, you know exactly what you’re getting here. Look at these spell icons–straight out of classic BioWare/Black Isle games:
When we talked about the game last year, one of the big features was character creation, and you can see how far it’s come from those days:
You can now add a place of origin which influences your character–mechanically you get certain advantages and disadvantages, and classes might be restricted. In the example here, if you’re from Cormac, you can’t play as a Druid. And here’s a look at some of the fixes they’ve patched in.
- Fixed charge attack corridors on blocked fields
- Fixed incorrect requirement for the feat ‘Improved Critical One-Handed Bludgeoning’
- Added feat for Dwarven weapon proficiencies including urgrosh and waraxe
- Reduced cone range of spells ‘Color Spray’ and ‘Burning Hands’
- Reduced area radius of spell ‘Sleep’ from 15 to 10 feet (3 to 2 hexagons)
- Fixed racial gnome +1 bonus to DC for saving throws against illusion spells
- Added proper UI for defensive casting/fighting
- Enabled correct selection interface of full attacks allowing characters to cleave
As we’ve said, it’s the full 3.5E enchilada, so if you’re hungering for that experience, this is the game for you. Here’s an overview of everything you can expect from the game:
Realms Beyond is a classically inspired fantasy role-playing game with turn-based combat and a party system that allows you to control up to six characters at any one time. Whether you yearn for an open world to explore at your own pace, tactical combat that allows you to plan your moves carefully, or want to lose yourself in the rich fabric of our world, trying to survive and make your mark, Realms Beyond offers endless choices, lands to travel, monster-infested dungeons and a host of storylines to follow. Adapting and responding to the player’s interactions with the world, you will find a depth and richness for your adventures that combines the very best of traditional gameplay with modern-day technologies. The result is a game world that comes alive, brimming with undiscovered stories, content, mysteries and challenges.
- Turn-based tactical combat on a hex grid, featuring many favorite spells, feats and abilities based on rules described in the (3.5e) Revised System Reference Document (SRD) covered by the Open Game License v1.0a (OGL) by Wizards of the Coast, Inc
- Custom-built, isometric graphic engine that combines zoomable 2D and 3D technology to bring to the screen a never-before-seen amount of detail
- A bustling open world, spanning entire continents, replete with believable NPCs, complex cultures, factions, societies and a fascinating history
- Create a party of up to six characters, with customizable appearance, ranging from 7 different races and 9 different classes
- More than one hundred spells, each with unique, stunning visual effects
- Thousands of individual items to use and interact with
- An epic storyline, massive quests, uncounted missions, hordes of monsters and a world that is steeped in lore and mystery
- Create your own adventures, campaigns or even entire worlds using the UrWelt RPG Engine framework
Realms Beyond is due out in 2020, so keep an eye out folks, and as always, happy adventuring!