It seems like all fantasy-inspired video games come packaged with a long, sprawling desert, and The Regret of Vitrerran is no different. We, of course, promise better pacing than your average desert level.
The Sehktus Desert plays home to the oldest civilization on Vitrerran; the Areen predate the other races by what many scholars believe to be two hundred or more years. While historical records are sparse and open to conjecture, the Areen have taken this belief and embraced it. To many, age represents wisdom, and the Areen feel like their strict beliefs are deeply rooted in wisdom.
Follow the Hiernot. Follow the tenants of Sollal.
The Sehktus Desert is a theocracy run by a High Priest. Rules and laws are passed based on how well they fit in with religious doctrine, magic is believed to be a God-given gift (the Areen believe their mages are the most proficient in all of Vitrerran), and even all of the buildings and structures are built with a symmetrical geometry in mind to appease Sollal.
When I first started creating the lore behind the Sehktus Desert, I was nearing the end of A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin. It is in this book that readers are introduced to the religious side of Westeros, and I felt compelled to do that here. I've taken the things I like most about Christianity and Egyptian mythology and stuck them together. The Areen are monotheistic, and their High Priest is similar to the Pope, but the actual mythology found in the Heirnot is much more mystical than that found in The Bible.
I hope I've taken the best of both worlds.
But enough talking! Here are a bunch of pictures. Keep in mind that there's still quite a bit of work to do yet in terms of customized art assets.
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The entirety of Nekhept and the surrounding Areen civilization are built near the only major river that runs through the Sehktus Desert. The Areen have dug tributaries and other paths throughout their livable areas so water is always present, despite their home being a desert.
The goal was to put Venice Italy in the Sahara.
For those worried about the amount of religion or religious commentary, please don't be. There's more to this desert and the Areen than their faith, but like how I focused on Svarog's poverty and bizarre lake over, say, their blacksmithing abilities, I chose to talk about the Areen's faith because it's more interesting than, say, their fishing practices.
I also don't want to give too much away in these posts. I have to leave some surprises for you.
For those interested in the physical construction of this level, please see our ongoing Youtube series called "Let's Build Vitrerran."