When Occult Chronicles came out earlier this year, I talked about possibly doing a tutorial series for it and with the game seemingly all patched up for now, this seems like no better time to do it.
For this quick post series I’m going to attempt to walk you through some of the mechanics of the game while providing a deeper analysis of the design. And we’re going to start things off with setting up a new game.
The first thing you’ll have to do is decide the basic game settings. While the game takes place in the same randomly generated manor, you’ll have to decide what story to take. From aliens, to strange rituals and so on, the story affects the events and encounters you’ll find as well as what the final battle will be.
Story speed determines the rate that story tokens are drawn and determine when the game ends (we’ll talk more about this in the next part.) Difficulty determines how hard encounters are by affecting their stat ratings . Reaper mode is Occult Chronicles fancy name for iron man mode IE death is permanent.
The next screen is where you’ll build your character and effectively determine your strategy for the entire game. To make it easier to read, you can click on the image for a close up of the screen.
First on the left hand side below the portrait are your stats along with a pool of bonus points. You have 25 points to distribute to the six stats with the cost progressively getting more expensive to raise a stat.
The first two, health and sanity are your life points during the game. Failing encounters can cost you either or both and running out will cause you to die or go insane, ending the game.
It’s the bottom four that are the most important to playing the game. These stats represent your abilities in those four disciplines which in turn affect how easy different encounters are.
An encounter can be anything from fighting zombies to talking to a ghost and each one pulls differently from those four stats. Swords represent direct combat or using your physical strength to get around an obstacle.
Cups represent your durability and endurance and has to do with running away or surviving dangerous traps. Wands represents your mind has to do with keeping sane from the strange sights in the manor or psychic battles. Lastly pentacles represent your magical ability and how well you are at understanding the magical forces of the universe.
Depending on how you allocate your points will determine your strategy and difficulty of playing the game. This is one of the problems with Occult Chronicles, as new players will be effectively signing their fate with these choices and may not have any idea as to what they do.
For instance, every encounter in the game starts with a sanity check that determines if you lose sanity points or not. This check is based every time on the wands attribute and if you don’t choose a lot like I did with this character, you’re going to find your sanity taking a hit almost from the first encounter.
Looking at the picture, I focused on swords and pentacles meaning that I was preparing for either physical or psychic combat in the manor.
And honestly, pumping your health or sanity at the start is a false choice as you’ll get way more bang out of your buck for making any of the four stats better.
The other major choice is your background. This determines any starting equipment, expertise points (AKA experience), and talismans (more on those in the combat part) and may affect starting health and stats.
More importantly your background will give you a bone and possibly edges or feats. A bone is another name for a die and is required for using feats during combat. Each bone is based on one of your attributes and is tied to those feats. So without a bone of wands, you can’t perform any magic based feats you may find.
Feats represent abilities that can be used during combat and we’ll discuss more on them in a later part. Finally, edges are passive bonuses that can affect a variety of situations during the game. Generally speaking, they will make specific encounters easier for you in some way. edges can be upgraded by finding additional copies of one during play and always are a plus.
After that, you can pick another bone to start with, allowing you to make use of another category of feats. Note, do not select the same bone that you got from your background as it will have no effect.
All that’s left is to select a starting edge and you’re ready to start your game. It can be very overwhelming to select your feat, as you’re given a huge list of potential bonuses and may not have any idea of what to take.
For starting out, I like to take sprinter, which lowers the difficulty of any encounters related to avoiding attacks or running away.
As you can see, there are a lot of choices to make and we haven’t even officially begun the game. Part two will cover general exploration and what your actual mission is. Depending on how long that is, I may do a part three specifically for combat or just combine them for part two.
Here is my original spotlight for Occult Chronicles as well