Devlog: Undeath

Leaving aside the kickstarter issue, I've been working on some of the new features I wanted.

The core gameplay of Shadows Behind the Throne can be described as "Make enthralled, use to enshadow world, avoid suspicion".

This current pass therefore rejects both of these, in attempt to see how far the gameplay can be stretched into new directions. The new "god", plays completely different from usual, in that they cannot enthrall and cannot enshadow. They win by the complete extinction of all human life in the world. Rather than have particular cities, they expend power directly to take various actions on the world, similar to how rituals work, so they have no centralised powerbase, and play in a diffuse way.

Their weapon of choice is the undead. They play by causing as much warfare, carnage and death as possible, and carefully cultivating this crop of death. When they have sufficient bodies in the right places they suddenly raise them into vast armies, which rampage across the countryside, destroying all cities they encounter.

Corpses decay over time, but can be stored by growing the plant "corpseroot" across the battlefields. Corpses come in three types, civilian, military and noble. Noble dead are named NPCs who fell, either in battle or executed for their crimes (rebellion, incorrectly being accused of being in league with evil).

Currently the system roughly works. The game can be played and won using these forces. As of yet it's a bit simplistic and unbalanced, but is good start. The NPCs' responses possibly need some tweaking, though. As they notice the dead rising they attempt to find the enthralled responsible. Since there is no enthralled they are incredibly prone to false accusations spreading world-wide, so even the slightest push on your part reduces the world to a giant civil war in which everyone accuses everyone else of being the dark one. While amusing mid-game, the lightbringers might need to have some kind of limit to prevent them just slaughtering each other and actually present a threat to the player.

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Perhaps there should be a mortal incarnation of this Dark One... a necromancer or lich king of some sort that the Lightbringers could expressly find and target, instead of accusing each other of being enthralled?  You'd need to keep him or her hidden for that reason.  Actually, being a lich king/queen could be especially interesting, in that you'd need to make and hide phylacteries that the lightbringers would want to hunt down.

Or, if you want to keep the lose condition simply being a turn-counter, you could make it so that raising undead armies requires a focus of some sort that the lightbringers could find and destroy to destroy your whole army at once.  That'd be a major setback, after all, making the timer a threat.

Making some kind of core to the undead empire could be a useful addition. Currently the issue is that the undead are incredibly unbalanced, due to their nature. At first they're incredibly weak, because there aren't enough bodies, then they reach a point where they can make headway and suddenly there are unlimited dead bodies to form new armies, and you win almost instantly in an exponential zombie cascade.

Having a core would give something for the lightbringers to attack, like you said, and give a reason to slow down the undead spawning, perhaps tying the max undead to the size of your empire's construction. I'll have to play around with it to see.