A lot of authors have utilized the concept of the magickal grimoire or ancient text or scroll, but it was HP Lovecraft’s (HP Lovecraft Arcane Literature) who really polished the use of Arcane literature with the Necronomicon. Here we will discuss in more detail both those origins and the usage in Ummo.
The Necronomicon, like much of the characters, places, and events in the work of HP Lovecraft, not only possesses the ability to grant experience or Magickal knowledge, it also has the capacity to drive the beholder insane (altered state).
When people normally think of secret knowledge, they think of magic powers, abilities, or the sort of super science usually associated with Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four.
It is in the work of Lovecraft, that grimoires take on a heightened capability to impart history, knowledge, and an altered perception of reality of self and the surrounding universe.
I once sat down and really thought about how many words i have read, not as a student, but JUST as a video game player.
I honestly think that between the years of Final Fantasy VII and World of Warcraft, I may have read just as many actual WORDS in video game screens as i have in College textbooks.
It was this realization that made me choose video games as my form of future artistic expression, as opposed to writing fictional or non-fiction books.
New abilities and skills in Ummo are primarily gained from direct instruction from one of the hundreds of “Masters” scattered around the game world.
Once a player has a solid foundation in one of the many magical, scientific, or combat disciplines in the game (ranging from “Crane Style” to “Cyborg Optics”), they can add new abilities through the finding of one of hundreds of “Scrolls” hidden throughout the game world.
These “Scrolls” come in a variety of sizes and shapes, from actual scrolls, to books, and even computerized PDA type devices which hold schematics and techniques.
Much like the Arcane Tomes in the work of HP Lovecraft, they impart more than simply skills, but also history, knowledge, and the ability to even alter the perception of the player.
In a virtual world, altered perception is more than a metaphysical or psychological thing, it is a visual, auditory, and practical thing as well.
Some scrolls confer the ability to sense or detect various types of spirits, power levels, or even the available skills and abilities of opponents.
Higher level “Scrolls” even confer the ability to sense multidimensional portals, gates, and higher planes of reality normally not perceptible to the average player.
The majority of the scrolls are derived from classical texts and historical documents and have embedded “tests” to ensure that the player has actually taken the time to digest the material.
Should a player locate a scroll and fail the “test” associated, he may only gain partial or even none of the skills and abilities associated with the text (in accordance with his actual “score” upon reading and being tested on the “Scroll’s” content.
Some of the higher level “Scrolls” in the game world are quite lengthy and complex. Thorough game testing will be used to balance them in actual gameplay, but as Ummo is a game for adults only, don’t expect them to be dumbed down too much.
This brings me to another point. it may be a while before the game is available in the full multi-lingual form I have envisioned, so do not expect the full scroll “testing” functionality to be built in upon first launch.