Serpent in the Staglands | Whalenought Studios

The Game

Gameplay Overview

An isometric, real time, party-based ARPG set in the icy Staglands, where a trapped god and chosen company embark on a perilous quest.

The vision for Serpent in the Staglands is a mix of the addictive build customization of ARPGs and party control and role-playing elements of games like Baldur's Gate and Darklands. As your search for answers as a mortal avatar of a god, combat and exploration is the focus, and you can individually customize the skills, spells, and aptitudes of up to five different party members of your choosing with a massive variety of build options and intellects.

The real time combat is frenetic and can often turn into an onslaught of magical assaults and frenzied attacks, so you can pause the game at any time to issue out orders or get a grip on your party's situation. Serpent in the Staglands features a classless role-playing system, where you create builds via any combination of the magic, combat and aptitude skills they choose. The game boasts over 100 different skills and synergies and a vast amount of inventory items to help min-max any build you can imagine. Our goal is to give you freedom to create any class you'd want to role-play, make them simple to use in game, and hard to master strategies for. The skill points put into these all come from the same bank, so your choices every level are paramount to who you are building.

We've created an entirely unique combat mode - you won't find any skill cooldowns, have limited use per battle skills, or a Scrabble board worth of skills and spells littered all over your screen. We designed what we found is the roots of fun tactical RPGs: micromanaging team strategy, not button mashing skills. Your characters are loaded to the brim with what skills you give them, and they trigger independently. Spells are more omnipotent and are cast and held singularly. With enemies having access to the skills you do and more, your strategies and builds make all the difference between a quick onslaught or defeat.

The game features a dice roll combat system and unique character stat modification. Each character stat has a negative and positive dice modifier - the sides of that die and number of die are completely dynamic, meaning they are all essentially an "XdX". This works awesome for a crpg, where it would be an impossibility for physical roleplaying.

Spells, combat skills, inventory items and ailments can effect these modifiers, and usually deal damage with the same system but with a damage die - putting skill points into a skill, leveling up, or having skill points in a synergized Aptitude or other skill can affect either side of their dice damage roll.

The game is currently in development for PC and Mac, and with the help of Kickstarter donations will be released Winter 2014.

Magic in the Staglands

Magic in the Staglands specifically is based in six schools, Illumination, Linking, Transforming, Flesh, Forging and Herbology, and flowed originally from the six powers of the land's capricious deities. Spellcasters in the Staglands have no limit on how many spells they can memorize and have access to at any given time, but most spells require strict concentration to cast, and often need the wizard to hold the spell with all their might to keep it effective. A wizard who wants to cast disease contagion on his enemies (a potent high level spell where a wizard creates a cancer that jumps from enemy to enemy) cannot do anything else while the spell is running its thorny course. The spell skills are grouped into four levels, or grades, and are unlocked by intelligence stats. As you level up, they can put skill points into a spell to increase its potency, and different skills affect the potency of other skills across grades.

Illumination School

  • Fearful Light
  • Healing Light
  • Banish Spirit
  • Summon Wisp
  • Turn to Stone
  • Enhanced Vision
  • Shadow Weave Cloud
  • Searing Light
  • Piercing Light
  • Planar Jump

Flesh School

  • Warty Hands
  • Speed Age
  • Cure Poison
  • Lock Jaw
  • Remove Bones
  • Disease Contagion
  • Slug Corpses
  • Body Lock
  • Remove Flesh Ailments

Herbology School

  • Foul Creep
  • Root Bandages (Single)
  • Guano
  • Hallucinagon
  • Nauseate
  • Quick Grow Seeds
  • Poison Air
  • Root Bandages (Party)
  • Steroids

Forging School

  • Heat Metal
  • Blinding Weapon
  • Metal Scales
  • Physical Shield
  • Undead Weapon
  • Decoy
  • Obliterate Shield
  • Magic Shield

Linking School

  • Detect Man
  • Protect Mind
  • Arcane Attack
  • Mind Drain
  • Source Gift
  • Source Enemy
  • Sap Perception
  • Sap Occult
  • Marking an Enemy

Transformation School

  • Morph into Feline
  • Morph into Wolf
  • Morph into Livestock
  • Polymorph into Bats
  • Morph Enemy to Friend
  • Summon Familiar
  • Morph into Life

Melee, Range and Elixir Fighting Styles

Fighters can choose between melee, ranged weapons or throwing deadly elixirs that explode at their enemy's feet. Each party member can have three combat skills selected (changeable anytime for variation during battle), which can trigger at specific times, act passively, or synergize with spells or weapons. Some trigger every attack or every (X) attacks, some on your current enemy's death, some dependent on your health, and some at the beginning of a battle. While active, combat skills require no additional work for the player but choosing an enemy or position. The combat skills, like spells, are split into four levels, or grades, and are unlocked with a combination of strength and dexterity stats. You can put points into skills to increase the power of the skill, and different skills affect the potency of other skills across grades.

Grade 1

  • Spar
  • Bash
  • Striker
  • Shieldless
  • Shield Mastery
  • Precise Aim
  • Hummingbird
  • Explosive Trap
  • Monster
  • Man
  • Fast On Feet
  • Warcry
  • Rally
  • Fortify Mind
  • Endure Polymorphed State

Grade 2

  • Silence
  • Crushing Blow
  • StaggeringS lash
  • Fury
  • Parry
  • Pin Shot
  • Split Arrow
  • Blinding Shield
  • Shield Bash
  • Vision Trap Boost
  • Tar Trap
  • Wolf Claws
  • Bless
  • Charge Into Fray

Grade 3

  • Whirl
  • Circle Swing
  • Tiger Strike
  • Torture
  • Concentration
  • Strafe
  • Giants Pull
  • Engineering
  • Stink Trap
  • Adrenaline
  • Desperation
  • Burst Of Life
  • Fight Through Pain

Grade 4

  • Mark For Fear
  • Bleed
  • Cripple Hit
  • Overpower
  • PreppedStart
  • Poison Weapon
  • Molotov Trap
  • Trap Body
  • ShieldR ecoil
  • Repel Magic
  • Reverse Ailment
  • Mangle
  • Fly You Fools

Common Aptitudes

Aptitudes are branches of knowledge and persona that affect how your characters interact with the world around them. They also buff certain combat and spell skills. The mortal avatar of the moon god Necholai is completely unique to how you choose to play as him, and you'll learn early on that he'll want to beef up his Aptitudes if he wants to relate to the people in his wanderings. Aptitudes can affect conversation, interacting with the environment, and potently increasing the power of skills and spells.

Each Aptitude will have 5 available levels you can choose to put skill points into. Harbinger, Song Weaver, Woodwise, Philosophy, Linguistics, and Herbology are all elements of social interaction and general scholarly knowledge you're able to advance for your characters. Many NPCs you'll talk to and question will have knowledge of or be affected by your knowledge of particular aptitudes. For example, a Song Weaver probably couldn't sway a rough bandit into giving him or her information with a musical tale, but a Harbinger could forcefully persuade him. These choices can lead to larger branching paths in the game.


Song Weaver





The Five Races

Five races inhabit the Staglands, and while they usually get along, there are is the occasional tension and violence that can occur along race lines. While no race is particularly gifted in any sort of skill, each has unique gifts and personality to bring to the table.

Lore and Culture in the Staglands

The Staglands is an icy country in the world of Vol, one of the younger regions inhabited. Dominated by a coastline that keeps the merchant guilds wealthy and sea trade ever flowing, the land also boasts of the illustrious Emerald Mines and a vibrant capitol with a bazaar of wondrous spices and diverse cultures worth bragging about.

The Staglands is a bridge between the Southern and Northern hemispheres of Vol, and is fairly young compared to their surrounding continents. To the North sits looming mountains, encapsulating the peninsula but for a small mountainous path. Beyond are rolling plains filled with dangerous clans of beasts and men. So dangerous is the land itself that the populated countries have constructed spires and tall fortified towers to protect themselves.

The history of the Staglands in punctured with fierce skirmishes along the border: between overreaching it's northern border to harboring an abandoned magical spire, an end to the war isn't likely to come in the near future. To the South lies the sea and a vibrant archipalego inhabited by the Varuchovs. Though trade routes and roads are carved out through the lands, drifting too far is still unconquered woods, rivers and mountains. The population haven't named all the denizens that haunt the waters at night, or found an end to the hulking monsters and packs of wolves that still hold dominion away from the towns.

The people of the Staglands worship the six ancient deities that originally roamed the lands, although it is well known that these gods and goddesses can be a capricious lot.

The Story

Trapped in the Staglands by an unknown force, the usually indolent moon lord Necholai embarks on a quest for information and answers, desperate to return to his sanctuary, and furious at the presumption of one who would try to hold a god. Far from his source of power, Necholai is forced to take a mortal form to traverse the Staglands in disguise and look for answers.

As his avatar, you must rely on your skills and the help of a trusted priest and the poor souls you can find and wrangle into your traveling party. On your journey, you and your companions stumble through traps, intrigue and mutinous offspring as you explore Emerald Mines, the port town's Guild Houses, the forest domain of the Wandering Lady, and many more dangers in the entirety of the Staglands peninsula.

Updates & Progress

Development Update: Maps, Cloaks and Quests

We've been hard at work the past few weeks and wanted to share some of the things we've been focusing on, mainly completing character sprite sheets, more creatures, the main world map, polishing the main systems and finishing the designs of landscapes, quests and characters that will fill the beta areas. We're still steady on our scheduled path and aim to have the beta out by end of summer...

Kickstarter Success!

We're so excited to announce that we raised over $30,000 during our Kickstarter campaign! Thanks to everyone who supported us!


$20 Reward

Previous reward, plus a digital copy of Erlein's Handbook, containing detailed maps, creature compendium, advice on secrets, riddles and lock knowledge, and pertinent history of the peninsula's political history. You'll be listed in the credits as a Sailor's Guild member.

$25 Reward

All previous rewards, a digital art book with wallpapers, mobile backgrounds, and making-of the Staglands concepts & design work. You'll be listed in the credits as a Curator's Guild member.

$35 Reward

All previous rewards, plus beta builds to help test skills, spells, balance and quests. The opportunity to work directly with us on skill improvement and balancing, and making sure the game is everything we, and you, want it to be. You'll be listed in the credits as a Quality Assurance Guild member.

$75 Reward

All previous rewards, plus a hardcover copy of Erlein's Handbook, containing detailed maps, creature compendium, advice on secrets, riddles and lock knowledge, and pertinent history of the peninsula's political history. Wonderfully accessible reference guide while playing, full of beautifully rendered art, sketches and journal entries from Erlein. You'll be listed in the credits as a Cartographer's Guild member.

Note: If your billing address is not the same as your shipping address, please add that in Notes to Seller.

$500 Reward

Besides our undying gratitude for your amazing contribution, you'll get all previous tier rewards, plus the opportunity to work with us to design a race of monsters that inhabit the Staglands coast. We'll discuss with you privately what that can involve, and work to turn your vision into something the Stagland's children whisper frightful tales of in the night. You'll be listed in the credits as a Dungeon Master, and have a special ancient crypt holding your Spirit.


Our Kickstarter has ended, but you can still get the rewards for a limited time below! Or check out our Kickstarter for updates and content!