Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Dev Diary #58: The Shakarn Faction

Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Dev Diary #58: The Shakarn Faction

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Zalky

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Jun 12, 2018
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Hello! Today I will be talking about the Shakarn, the new faction that is preparing to conquer your worlds in our latest expansion, Invasions.

upload_2020-4-22_11-58-56.png

Lore:

The Shakarn have waited at the edges of the Star Union for the perfect moment to strike. They prepared, researched and stole the Secret Techs the Star Union had produced and made them their own. They infiltrated their societies and researched the tactics and cultures of the human and insectoid races.

Their own society is divided into three castes. The Domok are single-minded brutes whose function is to go into the front lines and wreak havoc, while the sleek and coldhearted Zardas supports them from the back lines, with their expertise in stealth, infiltration and calculated moves. Both these castes are products from the conditions their eggs are kept in while they mature.

However, in rare occasions when these factors are balanced, a member of the Gama caste will be born. They are a combination of the Domok and Zardas and bring to the table the best of both, making them the perfect leaders for the faction.

upload_2020-4-22_11-59-34.png

Conceptualization:

The Shakarn are an expression of the dystopian Illuminati trope, lizard people included, mixed in with the brutality of Orcs found in many fantasy and sci-fy settings.

upload_2020-4-22_12-0-16.png

upload_2020-4-22_12-0-33.png

Gameplay:

Like their castes, their gameplay revolves around a healthy mix of brute force and covert techniques. They have special operations that allow them to spread disinformation on enemy cities, and doctrines that allow them to pillage more from colonies while razing them faster.

The Shakarn utilize a new source of kinetic damage: Sonic. They can project high frequency sounds that can damage living and other materials. Their other weapon group is Lasers, but with a twist. Their laser units use a mixed damaged channel called Omni, which combines Lasers and Sonic, benefiting from mods from both Tech Trees.

Another cool mechanic is their use of holographic broadcasts to control and assure their own population. Colonies with a Broadcasting Tower benefit from these sustained operations, which grant strategic and tactical effects. For example, Motivating Broadcasting, increases the production of colonies while providing a Morale bonus to units within the colony’s domain.

Units:

A lot of the Shakarn units benefit from a rapid metabolism, Epimorphic Regeneration, which allows them to rapidly regenerate a small portion of hit points when they take damage in battle. But while their bodies can repair themselves, they aren’t so good at resisting Status Effects, represented by Xeno Debilitation, which decreases their Status Effect resistance by 2.

Another really cool thing about their units is that all ground units are considered to have amphibious movement, as the Shakarn deep understanding of hard light and holograms creates platforms for these units to walk on. This allows the shakarn to reach islands and other continents faster than the other factions.

Units - Deadeye:

upload_2020-4-22_12-1-10.png

One of the ranged heavy hitters from the Shakarn Domok caste is the Deadeye. A Tier II heavy infantry unit that can use it’s Omni Perforator to penetrate enemy armor in a powerful 3 hex line attack! Their special Deadly Overwatch allows them to kill incoming units trying to break your lines with a special +15% Critical Hit chance and Accuracy.


Units – Propagator:

upload_2020-4-22_12-2-1.png

The Propagator is the Shakarn’s Tier II flying unit. It is not a very powerful offensive unit but with its special passive, Propagation, it can project any active Broadcasts to the battlefield, granting units in its stack the same tactical bonus from the Broadcast.


Units – Tactician:

upload_2020-4-22_12-2-13.png

A Tier III Zardas Shakarn, the Tactician, is a master of controlling the battlefield by using Press the Advantage to grant Action Points to other units and pulling units from danger with Fallback.

Most importantly, it can use One of Us All Along on an enemy Infantry unit to reveal that all this time, one of their number was a Sleeper Agent. The unit takes damage, and Sleeper Agent appears next to it, ready to strike with its powerful Reverbing Daggers!


Unit – Refractor:

upload_2020-4-22_12-2-23.png

The first Gama caste researchable unit is the Refractor. This artillery unit is peculiar, in that it first wants to gather stacks of Ebb from its primary attack by striking at enemies, which then buff its Sonic Flow ability. This ability is normally a single hex knockback but with each stack of Ebb, gains a radius and damage bonus. This stacks up to two times in which case the ability becomes a 2-hex radius AoE!


Units – Sonokarn:

upload_2020-4-22_12-2-32.png

Their Tier IV is the ultimate expression of Gama caste supremacy and Shakarn technology. Their Omni Beam is normally a 3 hex long line AoE, but given the chance to use its Omni Charge, it becomes a 6 hex long and 3 wide line that can obliterate any that challenge the Shakarn on their quest to conquer the Union’s planets.


This is what I wanted to show you on our new faction, the Shakarn. There’s more to discover about these strange reptiloids in-game, from units, mods and their own campaign missions. I hope this post has piqued your interest and I can’t wait to see you all play our new expansion, Invasions, on the 26th of May!
 

FerrokenFibrous

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Awesome stuff! Any chance we can get a full res version of that concept artwork of all their units? I keep getting a small version of it.
 
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The Danish King

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I, for one, welcome our new reptilian overlords.
 

DragonZee

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Ok, so me and a couple of lads were right about the unit speculations. Big ship is tier IV and pure heavy hitter (so no summons like I was speculating), tank is artillery with nice twist. Propagator has a unique mechanic - it can buff allied units in battle with Shakarn unique "broadcast" mechanic. The name of the "hovering lizard" is "Tactitian", his "sleeper agent" ability looks very cool.

I'm a bit disapointed they didn't mention Firebrand in this dairy. But nevertheless Shakarn are such a cool race!

Finally this bit:
"The Shakarn are an expression of the dystopian Illuminati trope, lizard people included, mixed in with the brutality of Orcs found in many fantasy and sci-fy settings" - so sorry guys, Orcs confirmed to be rebuffed...

PS: Guys, notice how many cool color themes the faction has and it each looks really great (red, black, white, purple etc).

EDIT: Oh, they actually have a summon and a naval unit :)
 
Last edited:

Zalky

Kirkonan the Captain
Jun 12, 2018
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Awesome stuff! Any chance we can get a full res version of that concept artwork of all their units? I keep getting a small version of it.
Heya! For some reason my images shrank, hopefully this one will be of a better resolution!

upload_2020-4-22_15-52-54.png
 

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DragonZee

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Mah men Firebrand looks slick!

@Zalky
Can you share a bit of lore on what exactly are they? Some mutated Domok on steroids or are they actually a little bit more sophisticated?

Btw tell me if Sonokarn is loosly based on "Mothership" from Homeworld series?
 

Yavor

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Well, we can't wait either! :)
Thank you for your efforts on this DLC, guys!
 

Zalky

Kirkonan the Captain
Jun 12, 2018
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Can you share a bit of lore on what exactly are they? Some mutated Domok on steroids or are they actually a little bit more sophisticated?
We know the Firebrand grows to that size due to some sort of DNA already found in the Shakarn's genome, and as to what actually triggers it... the Star Union's scholars are still debating it.
 

DragonZee

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We know the Firebrand grows to that size due to some sort of DNA already found in the Shakarn's genome, and as to what actually triggers it... the Star Union's scholars are still debating it.
Probably the so-called Draconian genome :D
 

gholin

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I gotta say, Triumph, you've really outdone yourselves on the designs and mechanics of the Shakarn. They are a perfect mix of familiarity and "otherness". Very Alien lizardmen. I really like their methods of warfare, their castes, and their visual designs. Their mix of brute force and subterfuge.

That tier 4 space ship is absolutely fantastic. Reminds me of an ultimate invading machine you see in some sci fi stories, like Martian tripods, ufo battleships from xcom, or imperial walkers. Just an ultimate annihilating machine that disintegrates everything in its beams. They are going to be so incredibly fun to lead into battle!

I just can't wait!
 

Cainist

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They look great! I'm especially excited to see their racial variants of secret tech units.
 

DragonZee

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I gotta say, Triumph, you've really outdone yourselves on the designs and mechanics of the Shakarn. They are a perfect mix of familiarity and "otherness". Very Alien lizardmen. I really like their methods of warfare, their castes, and their visual designs. Their mix of brute force and subterfuge.
You know what is cool about Triumph guys? They have such ideas that I would have and put them into the game, and probably read/watch/play some of the stuff I do (I can clearly see some inspirations here and there). Even the simpliest factions like Vanguard have cool twists.

Shakarn are just brimming with so many inspirations: X-com, Space Dragons/Naga, Illuminati-Reptilians, Body Snatchers, Cosmic warmonger race (Klingons?) that is based on propaganda and caste system etc, all in one package.

I think I would have a lot of nerdy talks if we we ever met in a bar and drinking beer with Triumph guys :D They make cool games and take a hell lot of fun from it :)

I personally can't wait for a dev dairy about our furry friends Therians :)
 
Last edited:

Ridixo

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So there where aliens other than the Kir´ko but the Star-Union failed a spot check :p
They look great, if small, bigger resolution in the images would be nice. Unless there is something you are hiding on purpose :eek:
Great work :D
 

DragonZee

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So there where aliens other than the Kir´ko but the Star-Union failed a spot check :p
Well, we don't actually know how the lore goes. Maybe SU thought they wiped them out, but they hid and patiently waited unseen :) Or they went into one of those wormholes...
 

Jaerik324

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I love what I see here. Would like to see how the secret techs work with the Shakarn, but I can wait. Maybe.
 

Promethian

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So uh. The tier 4's super cannon is cool but 10 damage standard attack? Uh, thats weaker than their tier 1. This one doesn't even have a global effect like most other tier 4s. In the state I am seeing it is very weak for a t4.
 

HousePet

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So uh. The tier 4's super cannon is cool but 10 damage standard attack? Uh, thats weaker than their tier 1. This one doesn't even have a global effect like most other tier 4s. In the state I am seeing it is very weak for a t4.
We can't see its range, aoeness or if it has any other modifiers though. It might just be a backup for when you can't use the Omni-Beam.