A small Computer Role-Playing Game by Merry Prankster Games
This Manual is Copyright 2007, 2008 by Geoff Dunbar
Manual Date February 13, 2008
|Your long journey is almost at its end. After months of travel, through lands civilized and wild, after seeing many wonders, and after many harrowing escapes, finally, your destination appears in sight. The end of the Great Western Road, and the comforting Inn at the End of the World. Looking out on the end of the world, perched on a cliff above the turbulent Chaos Sea past the end of the world, the Inn is a stopping point for travelers and journeymen of types unimagined by most people in their quiet villages and familiar homes. But, unknown to you, your adventure is just beginning...|
Welcome to "To the World Tree"! In "To the World Tree" you control first a lone adventurer, and later a party of adventurers, as they journey through a mystical world of magic, battle, and mystery, in a quest for the legendary World Tree. "To the World Tree" is a single-player, party-based, computer role-playing game designed for computers running Microsoft Windows. Players should be able to complete the game in under five hours; "To the World Tree" is a short game, designed to demonstrate Merry Prankster Games technology and game-making abilities.
This manual is organized into three main sections. "Playing the Game" describes the basics of controlling your character in "To the World Tree"; which buttons and keys to press, where to look on the screen, and so forth. "Hints and Tips" is a short section describing some basic hints for getting started in playing the game without undue frustration. Last, the "Game System" section is not strictly needed to play "To the World Tree", but will be of interest to those of you who are interested in what the various numbers and statistics mean and how they affect game-play.
For more information and updates on "To the World Tree", visit the website at http://www.prankster.com/ttwt, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more on Merry Prankster Games visit http://www.prankster.com.
On starting "To the World Tree", you'll be asked whether you want to "Start a New Game" or "Load Existing Game". If this is your first time, you will want to start a new game; later on you may resume saved games by loading an existing game.
On starting a new game, "To the World Tree" will guide you through the creation of your character. The game will provide enough information to create a character to your specifications, though if you want to know exactly effect the various statistics will have you will need to read the "Game System" section of this manual.
Once you have completed the character creation process, your character will appear in the main game screen.
Here is a screenshot of the main screen:
The main game view is where you can see your characters and the area around them. The view is always centered on the currently selected character or characters. The currently selected characters are indicated with a green circle drawn around their feet; in the screenshot above all 4 characters are selected.
If you hold the CTRL key down, more information is displayed about things of interest on the screen:
In addition, hovering the mouse over something will display more information about it in the Hover Display.
Controlling your characters is done with the mouse in the main game view. To select a character in the main game view, click on the character with your mouse. (You may also select characters in the "Character Display").
Clicking on the main view causes the currently selected characters to perform a reasonable default action, as indicated by the icon displayed:
|Causes a new character to be selected.|
|Moves the character to the clicked location.|
|Interacts with the clicked thing. For a character, this means talk to it. For a door, this means try to open it.|
|Attack the hostile character.|
|Moves the character to the clicked location, which is an exit from the current area. Click the "Exit" button to actually exit the area.|
Double-clicking on a party character causes the character information to be displayed; otherwise it is the same as clicking.
Right-clicking causes the currently selected characters to perform their specified action. This is helpful for casting spells or using items which are never a default action. In addition attacking non-hostile characters or talking to party members is done through right-clicking. See "Actions" for more information.
Normally if you issue a new action, it replaces the previous action. However, if you want to cause the new action to be performed _after_ completing any outstanding actions, hold the SHIFT key down while clicking (or right-clicking) to issue the new actions.
Around the edge of the screen are a variety of displays and buttons.
In the top left corner are a selection of buttons that control the game.
First is the "Game" button. Clicking this button will give you the option of saving or quitting the current game.
Next to the "Game" button are a set of buttons to control game behavior. First is a clock which indicates whether time is currently passing, or if the game is currently paused. Clicking on the clock button will toggle whether the game is paused or not (hitting the spacebar does the same). Note that you may still control your characters while the game is paused; you will probably want to pause and unpause the game during combat to give maximum control over your characters.
Second is a button to control "Fastmove". When Fastmove is on, your characters will move at double speed. Fastmove will automatically turn off when you are attacked.
Third is a button to select the whole party.
The last button is the "Return" button that returns your party to the start of the current area. (Note that the "Return" button only functions when your party is not involved in a battle).
Immediately below the "Game" button is a Hover Display that displays information about the thing that the mouse is currently hovering over.
Along the right side of the screen, starting at the top, are a set of Character Displays for the party characters. The display is lit green if the character is currently selected. On the top is the character's name, followed by a set of lines indicating the character's current health (red) and mana (blue). Below this is an "Action" button that displays the character's current action (Talk, Attack, Cast, or Use Item), and finally an "Inventory" button.
Clicking on a display for a character selects that character. Double-clicking causes the "Character Information" to be displayed. Hovering over the Character Display reveals a small up-arrow; clicking this up-arrow can be used to change the order of the characters within the party. Clicking the "Action" button goes to the action selection screen of "Character Information", and clicking the "Inventory" button goes to the inventory screen.
In the bottom right of the screen is an Action Display.
If the whole party is selected, the Action Display shows the current action for each member of the party (in order). As described in "Actions", right-clicking on the Main Game View will cause each party member to undertake this action.
If only one character is selected, the Action Display shows the current action for the selected character at the top of the display. Right-clicking on the Main Game View causes the character to undertake the action. Below this are the Quick Actions for the character. Clicking on one of these Quick Actions will cause that action to become the current quick action.
In either case, clicking on one of the small action buttons in the Action Display goes to the Action screen, allowing that action to be changed.
In the middle bottom of the screen, the Message Display displays messages, such as conversation, generated in playing the game.
In the lower left corner of the screen, the Map Display displays a small map of the current area.
The Character Information screen displays information about a character, and allows control over the characters possessions and actions. Double click on a party character to get to the Character Information screen. The screen has 5 sub-screens:
This screen displays the character's vital statistics. In addition, when the character gains a level, you should click the "Spend Level Points" button to gain new skills and attributes.
This screen displays the character's possessions. You can drag the items to and from the Weapon, Armor, Helmet, Amulet, and Hand slots to wield or unwield them. Drag an item to a Backpack slot to put it in the character's backpack, or to the Pile slot to drop it. Or drag it to another character's slot (on the right side) to give them item to another character (the character must be close enough to receive the item). Double-click on a stack of items to split the stack up, or drag a single item onto a stack to combine the items into one stack. Lastly, you may click the small item button on an item to view information about the item.
This screen displays the character's spells (if any). View information on a spell by clicking the "Spell Info" button. See the "Actions" section for information on how to cast a spell.
This screen displays information from the party's journal.
This screen displays and controls the character's currently selected action, and quick actions. See the "Actions" section for information on how to use actions.
As you wander through the world of "To The World Tree", you will come to a point where you want to perform some action that is not the default action, whether you want to instruct your adventurer to attack an innocent bystander, or cast a spell, the choice is yours. To do so, you need to perform a custom action. You may set the action through the "Action Screen" of the "Character Information" screen; here is a picture of that screen:
At the bottom is the current Action for the character; in this case, the action is set to "Talk". Now, if you right-click in the "Main Game View" while this character is selected, the character will talk to the target.
To cast a spell, select a spell from the Spell list below (for instance, "Magic Missile"). Then, performing the action (by right-clicking) will cast the selected spell. The mechanism for using an item is similar; select from the Item list ("Lesser Healing Potion", for example).
To the right of the current Action are 5 Quick Actions. You may use this part of the screen to assign actions to each of the keyboard keys F1 through F5. While playing the game, you can change the selected character's action to one of these Quick Actions by pressing the relevant keyboard key. Note that you still need to right-click to perform the action.
As you gain familiarity with "To The World Tree", you may want to use some of these keyboard shortcuts to make playing easier:
Probably the easiest character type to play in "To The World Tree" is fighter, so if you are having trouble, or aren't sure what you're doing, you might want to try a fighter.
When you create your character, be sure to raise the statistics that you will be using a lot well above their starting values. For instance if you are planning to play a hack-n-slash fighter, you probably want to raise your Strength and Durability to at least 15.
Similarly, be sure to keep your most-used skills at their maximum possible value. Both fighters and rogues will probably want to maximize at least one weapon category and also the armor skill. Spellcasters may even want to follow this advice.
Don't worry too much if a character or even your whole party is killed off. Resting will heal your characters, even the dead ones, and if your party is killed off, you will be returned to a reasonable location, with your characters brought back from the dead. To rest, look for a sympathetic character who will offer to let you rest in his care, such as an innkeeper.
In a similar vein, you probably want to talk to neutral characters rather than attack them, as they will often offer to let you rest, offer to buy or sell equipment, or even offer to join your party.
In general, defeated monsters will re-appear as well when you rest. However, if you complete the quest associated with that monster (watch the "Message View"), often by killing the monster's chief, the monster will often be gone for good.
Pause often in combat to issue actions for your characters so they don't stand around doing nothing. Pressing the Spacebar is a good way to do this quickly.
Use the "Fastmove" and "Return" buttons to speed your travel through already-explored areas.
Once you have played a bit, learning the "Keyboard Shortcuts" will make it a lot easier to control your characters.
Watch the "Message View" for notification that one of your characters has gained a level, and when he has, go to the "Character Information" screen and press the "Spend Level Points" button. This will give your character new skill levels and even the occasional bonus attribute point.
In the first main level ("The Cellar"), be sure to explore the village first, talking to the important figures. You should be able to buy equipment to make your character more powerful, before exploring the more dangerous parts of the level.
Once you have completed "The Cellar", it is a good strategy to make your party more powerful by asking one or more characters to join the party. Trying to complete the game with just one character is very difficult.
This section describes the SENG RPG system, as used by "To The World Tree". You don't need to read this section to play the game, but if you are curious about what the various statistics mean, this is the section to read.
The SENG RPG is a game system designed for implementation in computer role playing games. This game system is similar to other level-based RPG systems, in that an actor's basic effectiveness is determined by its level, but the actual abilities of the actor depend on a set of attributes, skills, items, and spells. SENG 1.0 is chiefly designed to simulate a world of heroism and high magic, with warriors and wizards, evil knights and demons.
SENG is based around an exponential rule such that an actor A 5 levels higher than actor B is an even match for two of actor B at the same time. This basic rule allows us to balance the effectiveness of attributes, skills, items, spells, and actor levels in a simple manner.
In SENG, we often wish to determine whether a given action succeeds or not. In this case, the actor has a statistic representing his ability to take this action, and the target has a statistic representing how hard it is to perform this action on him. For example, when one actor wants to hit another, the actor has an "Attack Skill" statistic, and the target has a "Defense Skill" statistic.
To perform the check, we take the difference between the actor's statistic and the target's statistic, and do a calculation which is represented in this chart:
Similarly, we also often wish to determine the magnitude of a successful action. As with success checks, this magnitude is calculated based on the difference between the actor's relevant statistic and the target's relevant statistic. For instance, when one actor has successfully hit another, the actor has an "Attack Power" statistic, and the target has a "Defense Power" statistic.
The maximum magnitude is determined through a calculation represented by this chart:
Typically the magnitude is calculated as a random number between 0 and the Maximum Magnitude.
An actor in SENG can move 10 feet/second (or approximately 7 miles per hour).
An action in SENG, such as casting a spell or attacking another actor, typically takes 5 seconds. Immediately after performing an action, the actor is Delayed for 1 second, in which the actor cannot do anything. Following this, the actor is Recovering for 25 seconds, during which the actor is free to move but cannot perform another action.
A single person or creature in a SENG game is referred to as an actor.
The world of SENG actors is crudely divided into three broad categories, designated by an actor's Class. An actor's Class determines what skills the actor can gain, and what equipment the actor can use. Classes are broad definitions, with many types of actors fitting under the broad umbrella.
Fighter. Fighters specialize in combat, being able to raise combat skills to the highest levels, and can wear or wield the best in weapons and armor. They are poor spellcasters and have poor abilities in other miscellaneous skills. All types of actors who specialize in combat are defined as fighters, be they soldiers, knights, master bowmen, gladiators, etc.
Spellcaster. Spellcasters specialize in casting spells, being able to raise spellcasting skills to the highest levels. They are poor fighters (barring their magical abilities), can only wear or wield the lightest and simplest weapons and armor, and have poor abilities in other miscellaneous skills. The game system makes no definition over where a spellcasters magic abilities come from, whether they are arcane, divine, or otherwise granted.
Rogue. Rogues are the generalists of the SENG world. They can raise all skills to moderate levels, be they combat, magic, or otherwise, and in addition they can raise more skills than other classes. They can wear or wield most armor or weapons, but not the heaviest and most powerful. Many different types of actors fall under the Rogue class, from thieves and assassins to diplomats and bards.
The "power" of an actor is roughly defined by his Level. Level is represented as a number which increases as an actor gains more experience and power. A generic person in SENG is level 0; in general the actors that a player controls will start at level 1.
An actor's basic physical and mental abilities are defined by a set of 6 statistics called attributes. These attributes are the fundamental makeup of an actor, and are virtually fixed for an actor's lifetime, changing only slowly as the actor gains levels.
Each actor has a number assigned for each attribute, where 10 represents an "average human" value. Each increment of 5 represents a doubling in the basic ability, so an actor with a Strength attribute of 15 is twice as strong as an average person.
The attribute bonus associated with an attribute equals the attribute minus 10.
Skills represent gained abilities as actors grow in experience and power. They directly grant actors the ability to perform actions.
Each actor has a number assigned for all skills he has gained. 0 represents "unskilled", and each increment of 5 represents a doubling in the basic ability.
Skills are broken into 3 categories, Combat, Magic, and Miscellaneous. Each class gets a certain rating for each category, which applies to all skills in that category:
An actor gets a number of Skill Points to spend for each level he gains, depending on his Class.
|Class||Skill Points Per Level|
He may then spend these on skills; the number of Skill Points to gain a level in a skill depends on the actor's rating in that skill.
|Rating||Skill Point Cost|
In addition the maximum skill level an actor can attain depends on his rating.
|Actor Level||Max Poor Skill||Max Moderate Skill||Max Good Skill|
The Fighting Skill and Spellcasting Skill are automatically set to the maximum level with no allocation of Skill Points.
Items have a weight in pounds. Actors can carry a certain amount based on the actor's Strength:
An actor's possessions go into his backpack. In addition, there are a number of slots into which an actor can wield items:
Actors have three separate saving throw levels, representing their ability to dodge different types of ill effects or spells.
Escape (Agility) - The actor's ability to dodge or otherwise physically evade some sort of threat.
Fortitude (Durability) - The actor's toughness, or ability to absorb physical punishment.
Resolve (Willpower) - The actor's ability to overcome mental damage or effects.
An actor is assigned at birth one good, one moderate, and one poor saving throw, based on which attributes are highest to lowest. Ties are broken by the actor's Class.
|Class||Best Saving Throw Tiebreaker||Medium Saving Throw Tiebreaker||Worst Saving Throw Tiebreaker|
The actual saving throw level is determined by the type of saving throw (Good, Moderate, Poor), the actor's relevant attribute, and the character's Improved Saves skill level.
|Saving Throw Type||Value|
|Good||1 * Level + Attribute Bonus|
|Moderate||3/4 * Level + 1/4 * Improved Saves + Attribute Bonus|
|Poor||1/2 * Level + 1/4 * Improved Saves + Attribute Bonus|
Achievements in SENG are designated quests, which are tasks or heroic deeds that the party can accomplish. Actors can advance in levels by successfully completing quests. Each quest is given a Quest Level based on the difficulty of the quest, such as the levels of the monsters that must be defeated to complete the quest. Then, when the party completes a quest, each actor is granted a reward equal to the Quest Level, adjusted for the party size.
|Party Size||Quest Level Modification|
An actor must complete the equivalent of 8 quests of the same level as the actor, in order to advance a level. A quest of 5 levels higher is worth double, whereas a quest of 5 levels lower is worth half.
When a character gains a level, he gains a number of Skill Points to gain new skills; see the Skills section for further information. In addition, for each 5 levels the actor gains, the actor receives one point to gain one point in any attribute.
Follow these steps when creating a new, level 1 actor:
Pick a class for the actor (Fighter, Rogue, or Spellcaster).
Assign a value of 10 to each attribute.
Trade attribute points between attributes to raise or lower attributes. Opposed attributes can be traded one-for-one, whereas other attributes can be traded two-for-one. Attributes cannot be lowered below 5.
The opposed attributes are:
Strength and Agility.
Durability and Intelligence.
Willpower and Personality.
Then, 10 additional points can be allocated to attributes, but none can be raised above 20.
The actor then receive a number of Skill Points, as per his Class, and can gain Skills accordingly.
A character has 4 combat modifiers, created by averaging 3 values and applying an attribute bonus:
Attack Skill (melee). (Fighting, the Actor's skill in the wielded weapon, the weapon's Attack Skill). (Strength for melee, Agility for ranged).
Attack Power. (Fighting, the Actor's skill in the wielded weapon, the weapon's Attack Power). (Strength for melee, none for ranged).
Defense Skill. (Fighting, the Actor's skill in armor if wielded, and the average of the actor's armor and weapon Defense Skills). (Agility).
Defense Power. (Fighting, the Actor's skill in armor if wielded, and the armor's Defense Power). (Durability).
When an actor attacks another, calculate the attacker's Attack Skill (AS), and the defender's Defense Skill (DS). Perform a Success Check to see if the attack succeeds.
If the attack succeeds, calculate the attacker's Attack Power (AP), and the defender's Defense Power (DP). Perform a Magnitude Check to determine the amount of damage.
Subtract the result from the target's Condition value. Condition starts at 8.0. If the Condition drops below 0.0, the actor is dead.
Same as melee attacks. Ranged attacks have a range of 300 feet.
When the party rests, all actors have their Condition restored to 8.0. Typically this is only done in "safe" locations like inns or castles.
In addition, certain locations, such as many temples, can raise dead actors back to life to continue their adventure.
Magic skills have a few attributes beyond that which normal skills have:
Color. Magic skills have an associated color.
Associated attribute. This attribute aids in the casting of spells associated with this skill. See the definition of Effective Spell Level below.
Power adjustment. Different Magic skills have different power levels; this adjustment is taken into account when calculating the Effective Spell Level.
Save type. When a spell associated with this magic skill is cast on an enemy, this is the save type that the defender uses.
Prerequisites. This skill can only be raised to the minimum of the actor's levels in its prerequisites.
Void. (Black) (Intelligence) (-5) (Fortitude) (none) Void magic is magic based on life draining, undeath, and fear. It is the easiest type of magic to become proficient in, but is viewed as evil and criminal in most cultures.
Life. (Blue) (Willpower) (0) (none) (none) Life magic is the magic of healing and blessing.
Energy. (Red) (Intelligence) (0) (Escape) (none) Energy magic is the magic of harnessing and directing raw energy. There is little subtlety to Energy magic, and its spells are generally used for direct attacks.
Mind. (Yellow) (Personality) (0) (Resolve) (none) Mind magic is the magic of controlling perception and thought.
Elemental. (Purple) (Intelligence) (+5) (Fortitude) (Life, Energy) Elemental magic is the magic of controlling the elements that make up all reality, either summoning elemental beings into this world, or directing elemental energies at some target.
Nature. (Green) (Willpower) (+5) (Escape) (Life, Mind) Nature magic is the magic of nature, summoning creatures to aid the caster and otherwise calling the forces of nature to aid.
Shadow. (Orange) (Personality) (+5) (Resolve) (Energy, Mind) Shadow magic is the magic of using the shadow realm to further the caster's goals and aims, either summoning shadow beings into existence or otherwise using shadows and darkness to hide and befuddle.
High. (White) (Intelligence) (+10) (Resolve) (Life, Energy, Mind) The highest form of magic, called the one true magic by the archmagi that take on the study of this, the most difficult magic. High magic has many powers, not the least among them the ability to control the magic of other casters.
Each actor has an amount of Mana, which represents the amount of magical energy that the actor can harness for the purposes of casting spells. Casting a spell costs a certain amount of Mana, spent when the actor casts the spell one time. Mana is restored to the full amount when the actor rests.
The maximum amount of Mana that an actor has is based on the Magic skills that the actor has. The amount is:
(Sum of all Magic Skill Levels) / (Spellcasting Level)
For example, a level 16 Rogue with Level 12 Spellcasting, Level 12 Mind, and Level 8 Life has 2 2/3 Mana.
Each spell has an associated Magic skill and a spell level. In order to cast the spell, the caster must possess the Magic skill level at least equal to the spell level. He must also have learned the spell, and must have the necessary Mana to pay the spell cost. The spell cost is based on the difference between the caster's Spellcasting skill level and the Spell level:
|Spellcasting Skill - Spell Level||Cost|
The Effective Spell Level determines the effectiveness of the spell when cast. The Effective Spell Level is:
Average(Caster Skill Level and Spell Level) + Attribute Bonus + Skill Power Adjustment
The Caster Skill Level is the skill level of the actor in the Magic skill associated with the spell. The Spell Level is the spell's level itself. The Attribute Bonus is the actor's attribute bonus in the attribute associated with the Magic skill associated with the spell. And the Skill Power Adjustment is the Power Adjustment of the Magic skill associated with the spell.
To gain a spell, the caster must find a scroll with the spell written on it. The caster can then inscribe the spell into his spellbook (destroying the scroll in the process). This spell is then forever inscribed in the spellbook. A caster can inscribe a spell even if he doesn't have the required Magic skill to cast the spell, though he won't be able to cast that spell until he gains the requisite skill.
One exception to this is the Void Magic skill. There are no Void scrolls; Void spells are automatically gained when the Spellcaster gains the corresponding Void skill level.
High magic scrolls are typically very difficult to find, with access to them controlled by archmage practitioners of High magic.
Some items, in particular weapons and armor, have class restrictions. Generally a Fighter can wear or wield any weapons or armor, Rogues can wear or wield many weapons and armor, and Spellcasters are very limited in their weapon/armor choices.
Types of items:
Melee Weapons. These have an Attack Skill, Attack Power, and Defense Skill.
Ranged Weapons. These have an Attack Skill and an Attack Power.
Armor. These have a Defense Skill and a Defense Power.
Helmets, Amulets, and Rings. These typically give attribute or Skill bonuses.
Potions. These one-shot items give short-term bonuses, or healing.
Scrolls. These allow actors to gain spells for use with spellcasting skills.
Wands. These allow actors to cast spells that they don't have the spellcasting skill to normally cast. For instance, a "Wand of Magic Missile" allows an actor to cast Magic Missiles.
Miscellaneous. These items have no inherent use.
Diplomacy measures an actor's ability to persuade, intimidate, convince, or otherwise manipulate someone through conversation and communication. In the game, this typically means that non-player actors may react to the actor in more favorable ways, perhaps opening areas of conversation that would not be available otherwise.
An actor's Diplomacy level is equal to the maximum of his Diplomacy Skill, and any spell effects that give a Diplomacy level. A Personality attribute bonus is then applied.
An actor may encounter a trap in the SENG world. Each trap has a Detection level; if the actor has an Effective Trap Level greater than or equal to the trap, he can detect and disarm a trap. Otherwise the trap will have the actor in some manner, typically through an attack of some sort.
An actor's Effective Trap Level is equal to the maximum of his Trap Skill, and any spell effects that give a Trap level. An Intelligence attribute bonus is then applied.
An actor may also encounter a locked door, chest, or other object in SENG. A lock has a Lock Level; if the actor has an Effective Lock Level greater than or equal to the lock's level, he can pick the lock, unlocking it. Keep in mind that a key or some other personage in the world may also be able to unlock the door in the case where no actor is able to pick the lock.
An actor's Effective Lock Level is equal to the maximum of his Locks Skill, and any spell effects that give a Lock level. An Intelligence attribute bonus is then applied.
An actor has both an Effective Stealth Level, and an Effective Observation Level. If an actor's Effective Stealth Level is greater than a viewer's Effective Observation Level, the actor can hide from the viewer, if the actor so wishes. The viewer gets a bonus of 10 to the check if he is within 10 feet, a bonus of 9 within 20 feet, and so forth down to a bonus of 1 for being within 100 feet.
An actor cannot hide while performing actions such as attacking or talking. In addition, a friendly actor (such as a party member) can tell a friend about a hider, in which case the hider is automatically revealed. Once the hider has been spotted, he cannot hide again until he has gone completely out of sight of the spotter.
An actor's Effective Stealth Level is the maximum of his Stealth skill, and any spell effects. A Personality bonus is then applied.
An actor's Effective Observation Level is the maximum of his Observation Skill, and any spell effects. An Intelligence bonus is then applied.