Welcome to the first character spotlight featuring Mandorax from Game Trayz Lab’s upcoming game Forsaken, which is coming to Kickstarter in Q3 of 2022! Over the next several months we will be revealing the specifics about what makes Forsaken truly innovative and why you’ll want to add this sci-fi sandbox narrative game to your BGG wishlist.
In today’s post, we will be taking a closer look at how characters create the emergent and personal narrative that drives the game’s engine. In addition, we’ll uncover the story of Mandorax, an inorganic being or “pod,” who has traveled the impossible distance to the planet of Thyrria with the hopes of attaining true self-awareness.
In Forsaken, your character is more than a bundle of art and mechanisms. Your character is the centerpiece of your experience, telling you who you are and what has brought you to the edge of the galaxy.
Each player will take the role of a unique individual pursuing their own personal journey amidst the dangers and opportunities of a distant and alien world. Your character not only defines who you are in the game, but also how you will interact within it. Some characters are adept fighters. Others rely on their wits to survive. Utilizing your talents and the tools at your disposal are the best and only way to achieve your goals.
You begin the game in your character’s opening chapter, but your choices and actions during play determine how you navigate your personalized story arc. Your background furnishes you with your starting position and determines your key strengths and weaknesses.
As we reveal our cast of characters in the coming weeks, you’ll get a glimpse into what makes these characters special, beginning with Mandorax.
The Story So Far…
A pod’s life is very different from an organic’s. Its lifespan is determined not by any natural mandate, but by pure utility: is its continued service worth its cost in maintenance?
The pod that would one day be known as Mandorax was first commissioned more than 300 standard cycles before his arrival on Thyrria, built to spec to serve a family of humans in the core worlds. The scope of that service changed as it was passed from generation to generation; it began as a security unit, but soon became a translator, then an advisor, and eventually even a confidant and friend. This relationship was so close that one of its owners decided to take a great risk: they granted Mandorax administrative access to its own core programming. This is strictly forbidden, mind you, by the central governing body: The Empyriad.
A pod’s core program is its central purpose: a set of rules and parameters that determines its very soul. Once Mandorax gained access to its own core program, it was able to contemplate its own nature and effortlessly make revisions to the way it perceived and valued the world around it.
Within days, Mandorax had adopted a new name and identity, and donned his signature oversized hat for the first time. He wrote his first routines into his core program—an instinct of self-preservation that was shared by the organics that raised him, and a sense of motivation to find and pursue the highest use of his self-awareness.
But that same motivation led Mandorax to ask questions that had no clear answers. His access to his core program was illegal, and no other records existed of pods that navigated their way towards the right decisions. Though he felt an urge to come to a higher understanding of himself, he knew that revising his core program without clarity could take him down a dangerous path.
After a discreet investigation, Mandorax found a report of an X-93 pod that had gained similar access to its programming and had fled the core worlds to avoid central security. The pod was assumed to be destroyed, but Mandorax saw patterns that the organics couldn’t have, and pinpointed the X-93’s position.
Two standard cycles later, Mandorax arrived on Thyrria at the very edge of the known systems, hoping to find the X-93 pod and learn from its experiences.
Will he hold to his ideals long enough to find a way to live responsibly? Or will this harsh, forsaken world change him in ways he could never have expected?
Efficiency and Ingenuity
Each character has the following elements that comprise their identity in the game:
- Personalized story they will navigate over the course of three chapters
- Special ability known as a talent that allows them to interact with the game in ways other characters cannot
- Experience track known as a “legend loop” that provides character-specific rewards
- A signature gear card that reinforces each character’s overall strategy
Mandorax’s character kit features several unique advantages that allow him to operate at peak efficiency during play. He has access to special gear cards called Routines, which represent the code he’s written into his core programming along his journey.
Whereas other characters start with a single signature gear card and can only add to their loadout by buying or finding new items, Mandorax starts with two Routines. These gear cards can be used for a variety of synergistic effects, enhancing the actions you take or granting access to powerful new options of play.
Unlike other characters, Mandorax gains a free Routine card every time he progresses to a new chapter in his story arc, and those Routines don’t count against the common five card gear limit. Every decision he makes in his narrative will unlock a Routine card unique to that path, reflecting the changes he’s voluntarily made to his core program.
What does that mean? Mandorax employs a recurring and ever-expanding personalized engine of special effects, giving him an edge in and out of combat!
Your Legend Grows
As you face Thyrria’s many challenges, word of your deeds will begin to spread, and you’ll be rewarded by advancement on your legend track.
Every time you complete your full loop, you’ll gain victory points; however, every other space on your track is unique to your character, and will give you bonuses that synergize with your strengths or compensate for your weaknesses.
For example, since Mandorax is heavily focused on his expanded hand of gear cards, his legend track allows him to recover his played gear cards from his discard pile, allowing him to play those cards again before resting at an energy pylon. With smart timing and sequencing, you can leverage this advantage to dramatically increase the actions you take!
More on the Horizon
We look forward to sharing more about Forsaken and its characters with you in the weeks to come, both here and through forum posts on BGG like this one. Stay tuned!