Everything about the hamlet of Scurries

Everything about the hamlet of Scurries

Hello again, dear readers! After a few weeks of summer holidaying, we’ve decided to go back on track and continue the tradition of bombarding you with blogposts every Tuesday and Thursday, starting with this expansive Ark Lore Tuesday about the town of Scurries.

Scurries is a small trading town that was built on the crossroads of many important routes – to the east, there is the road to Pride (once the summer palace of kings, now the capital of the Kingdom), to the west it leads to the mining town of Burrows, and to the north the road leads to Flocks (a famous wool factory made of course by the sheep themselves).

From left to right: The Dreyhouse, the waterfall, the school

There are different types of buildings in the Scurries – those by squirrels and birds are mostly on treetops, but those of other animals are mostly built on the ground from either fallen trees or built. The biggest and most luxorious house in the Scurries is of course the Dreyhouse, where the current dreymaster resides with his family.

The Dreymaster is something like the mayor and judge of Scurries, he is elected once every five years and has the administrative power over what will be done in the Scurries, such as repairing bridges or fixing water-pumps, as well as presiding over grievance cases.

This system is an anomaly in the Kingdom, and there is a historical mystery of when this system came to be, and why isn’t it more aligned with the caste system as in the rest of the Kingdom – with a noble family from the Steward caste presiding over administration. It was a point of great interest to young Coriolanus as he studied the bureauology of the Kingdom. The common explanation for this is that the Scurries, as a small very dynamic market-town with animals moving in and out continuously, never had the capacity to impose a noble or a heavy tax system. If this were done, the traveling merchants from Flocks and Burrows would just move elsewhere down the road.

However, as time went on, the marketplace expanded and is now a real bustling town with a newspaper printing press, and even one of Lav‘s public schools of the Kingdom.

Most of the animals of the Scurries such as the squirrels and birds live on treetops but there are some buildings on the ground as well, mostly for land animals situated in the Scurries.

The western-most part of the Scurries, which is closest to the Flocks-road and the northern pass which leads to the northern lands, is where the Scurries Inn is located.

This inn is also a place where royals of the north come to stay the night if they were caught by nightfall on their long trip to Pride, so it’s probably the most elegant and rich building in the Scurries.

Now the tough question. What will the entrance to the Inn say? And – in which language?

If you liked the city, tune in on Thursday to read all about how we decided to go about naming the various toponyms of the Kingdom – Scurries, Dreymaster, Flocks, Pride, et cetera.

Learning Languages with Hyeronimous the Owl

Has Tuesday come and gone already? Where’s the Ark blog tuesday, you ask?! Well, during these hot and humid summer months we do tend to get a bit lazy, but have no fear, ark lore is here! This time, we’re talking about the (second?) most important bird in the game: Hyeronimous the Owl!

Hyeronimous explaining some languages to Charles

As you might know, our game will feature a very cool mechanic involving learning animal languages!

A language’s difficulty is decided by following factors:
1. How close (in taxonomic terms) the language is to another language that the player has already mastered. I.e. Learning the Rat language becomes extremely easy when the Squirrel language has already been mastered. While learning the language of the Birds is very difficult and requires a much bigger effort.
2. Ease of exposure to the language, some animals might not speak in their native tongue when you are listening nor might they be inclined to teach you.

To learn a brand-new language, the player has to visit the owl, Hieronymus, an expert in different languages that will help to get you started for a modest fee.

In general, and regardless of the player’s previous linguistic skills, there are 3 different important parts involved in learning languages:

Vocabulary / Exposure

Hieronymus explains to you certain key words that are the basis for the entire language that you want to learn. So for example, one of the keywords of the Squirrel language words is ‘acorn’. In-game this would correspond to a distinct squeaking sound that is easily noticeable. To get yourself acquainted with these keywords, Hieronymus sends you off to listen in on conversations to hear the word ‘acorn’ used in all of its versions. A possible conversation between a customer and a shopkeeper selling some acorns, which just
sounds like squeaking to the player:

Shopkeeper: You-buy-what?
(= What do you want to buy?)

Customer: I-buy-1-“acorn”-please.
(= I want to buy one acorn)

Shopkeeper: I-give-1-“acorn”. You-give-10-“acorns”.
(= Here is one acorn. That will be 10 coins)

Customer: I-give-10-“acorns”.
(= Here are 10 coins.)

Shopkeeper: I-thank.
(= Thank you)

Customer: I-give-many-“acorns” –to-you!
(= Best of luck to you! This is a typical Squirrel goodbye)

Shopkeeper: I-give-many-“acorns” –to-you!
(= Best of luck to you! This is a typical Squirrel goodbye)

You witness this conversation and write down the relevant animal runes (which are common to all animals) in your journal. All instances of the rune corresponding to the word “acorn” will be underlined and the matching circumstance. E.g. the customer used the word “acorn” when giving the money to the shopkeeper, which might mean that money is also called “acorn” in the Squirrel language! Also, the verb ‘to buy’ is repeated twice in previous example and the player might deduce the rune’s meaning from this.

When you have found enough usages of “acorn” (and other keywords) in their natural
environments, you’re ready to go back to Hieronymus and take the syntax exam.

Syntax / Exam

After being exposed enough to the language’s keywords you can go back to Hieronymus and he explains you the syntax involved in the language. An example of possible rules:

– Verb goes at the end of the sentence.

– Subjects all go to the beginning of the sentence.

– If there are two objects they should be right before / after the verb.

– You can’t use the same rune more than two times in a row.

– Each sentence must start and end with a special rune in this language

(and so on)

After learning the correct syntax rules, you can do a mini-game in which Hieronymus tests your mastery of the syntax of the language using the animal runes. This mini-game is a random conversation you have with Hieronymus that involves a given task. (Ex.: Order some acorns from me in the market!). Hieronymus will talk to you in the Squirrel language and you’ll have to give the correct combination of runes that obeys the language’s syntax and vocabulary.

After successfully completing this mini-game, you now know the basics of the language and can talk to squirrels in their native language.

Morphology / Experience

When questioning suspects and witnesses, you aren’t able to discuss more advanced topics such as science due to the language barrier. After each conversation you get a more firm understanding of language’s intricacies and the relevant chapter in your journal grows with additional syntax rules and translations.
If, after acquiring enough experience, you wish to completely master a certain language, you can try your hand at the morphology exam, which involves a more difficult mini-game with Hieronymus and uses more advanced syntax rules.

After succeeding this exam, you can now fully understand and discuss scientific topics in the, now mastered, language.

All these steps can be significantly shortened when you already know a taxonomically close language. (I.e. Rat and Squirrel are both rodents, so their languages are quite similar) The result is that much less exposure is required to the language’s peculiarities before taking the syntax and morphology exams.

That’s the general idea of how we want you to learn languages in the game. What do you think about it? Let us know on our Discord server, or anywhere else!

Famous Buildings of Pride: The Hermitage

This most important building in the art-world of the Animal Kingdom is the hermitage of Pride. It is the gallery house where newest art exhibitions are shown, as well as the theater and opera house where the hottest hippest plays are shown to the royal and noble clique.

Today we’ll dive into its interior, as we have some sketches and we love showing off our sketches and you love checking them out!

One of the most important buildings in the art-world of the Animal Kingdom, the hermitage of Pride.
This is NOT the hermitage but we seem to have lost the hermitage exterior sketch. Will replace later.

As you can see in the picture below, the main foyer of the Hermitage consists of a hallway leading either to the gallery exhibition on the left, or upstairs to the theater balcony:

One of the most important buildings in the art-world of the Animal Kingdom, the hermitage of Pride.

Next up is the gallery of various paintings (and sometimes even statues) for the enjoyment of the Pride populace. The theater dressing room can be accessed from the small room underneath the staircase of the gallery, as well as more balcony rooms upstairs:

The dressing room is where the actors prepare for the plays, and rehearse, and then head out to the theater stage to be seen by their fans in the audience:


This building is the center of the “culture life” in Pride, and one can often see important animals there, such as the tiger duke Nicholas or even the King himself!

That’s just one of the many buildings you’ll get to visit in Pride, and explore, once the game is up-and-running. Hopefully, you enjoyed the sketches and can’t wait for the full game, just like us!

Let us know what you thought about our article which talks about the most famous buildings in Pride; right in the comments below, or via our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Exploring the wastelands of the Animal Kingdom

Exploring the wastelands of the Animal Kingdom

Even though the environments we publish on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are often beautiful, lush, and “friendly”, some of those can be considered rather unhabitable and hostile.

We are talking about the wastelands Charles will explore in Trip the Ark Fantastic. As you may have seen in the “Mysteries of the Southern Continent”, Charles looks like he is embarking on an adventure through the jungle with his friends.

Looks pretty neat, right?

Well, this part of the game will require some navigation skills, as you’re going in an uncharted territory which is literally uncharted. There won’t be any maps guiding you to go up or down, right or left. You’re on your own.

The wastelands are a dangerous place. They used to be a lush forest, but have turned into a scorching desert in the last 1000 years. Charles, being a hedgehog, can’t survive in this blazing heat, but we’ll leave this part of the game to you, the player.

There is an interesting lore background for the wastelands.

Over 3000 years ago, the lions tried to usurp the hierarchy and failed which resulted in the usurper family being banished north over the mountains – which is considered a death sentence.

The so-called snowy wastelands. If you end-up there, well, good luck with that.

The usurper’s son Antimocles the Red was the father of Alexander the First who founded the Animal Kingdom. The split (and the harsher climate) made the lion’s rule weaker and in the following millenia they eroded from a powerful force that ruled over everyone in the southern territories to just a lion tribe in the caverns ruling over themselves with Nerva as Emperor.

After a couple of generations in the southern continent they decided to leave because they saw they could not prosper in the monkey civilisation which was thriving and they went over the land bridge to the northern continent and started subjugating the primitive cultures of smaller animals (rodents, birds et cetera).

After a few generations, they had built the Animal Kingdom that spanned the entire continent, subjugating also the great cats. Some animals were still very resistant because they weren’t used to living under the centralised rule and so after many generations, one lion family had invented the Ark myth after a failed bloody rebellion by other animals.

Following the change of the ruling branch, the myth was thought to be true even by the ruling lion family, and the way it was fabricated was lost to history.

By that time, the land bridge to the southern continent had already collapsed after centuries of diminishing because of the rising sea levels. The ice melted, which led to warming in temperature.

The warming in temperature made the barren wasteland Charles will have to pass.

What do you think, with Charles being a hedgehog, how can he pass through the wastelands? Let us know right in the comments below, or on our Facebook, Twitter, Insta, and Discord!

Inspirations for Revolutionaries?

One of the factions (read that link first, it’s important to get it) in our game is very revolutionary – they seek to change the world radically and if necessary (and it always is necessary!) by force. So we’re in a conundrum as to which revolutionary sentiment to ascribe to this faction. The three famous modern revolutions in the west are of course possible starting points for inspirations:

  1. The American Revolution – the earliest of the three. Led by puritans, scholars, and various intellectuals adored by the American masses. They waged a short and precise war followed by a long restructuring. Their goal? “A republic, if you can keep it”. Probably a bit too clean for our anarchists, though.
  2. The French Revolution – very bloody, at start filled with idealists who are egalitarian in nature but in time resulting in chaos with many ill-fated experiments, very volatile and often portrayed as morally grey in subsequent mainstream history. Indeed very good for what we want.
  3. The Russian (October) Revolution – the events in Petrograd had similiarities to our own factions, as Petrograd had all three factions that our game has as well: the Tzarists (our Royalists), the Cadets (our Reformists), and the Bolsheviks (our Revolutionaries).

It is also of great importance to us to clearly define the differences between the Reformists and Revolutionaries, so as not to confuse the player. Here, the Russian Revolution holds some great and easy to understand definitions, when comparing the Cadets (who wish to perform a political revolution, similar to our Reformists), and the Bolsheviks (who wish to change industrial relations in society), as seen in Ten Days That Shook the World by Herbert Reed:

“The propertied classes wanted merely a political revolution, which would take the power from the Tsar and give it to them. They wanted Russia to be a constitutional Republic, like France or the United States; or a constitutional Monarchy, like England. On the other hand, the masses of the people wanted real industrial and agrarian democracy.”

In trying to figure out the motivations and characteristics of our revolutionaries, we’ve also spent some time researching terrorist organisations (but hopefully we didn’t get on any government watchlists). These include the famous RAF, Rote Zora, Weather Underground, and so on. The common denominators are that all of them are usually a very loosely based fringe group that quickly dissipates in both their ideology (which eventually makes a sharp turn from systemic views on certain problems towards specific conspiracy theories and personal agendas). This didn’t sit well with what we wanted to achieve with our revolutionary faction (an interesting, cohesive ideology that challenges the players worldview as much as the other factions, regarding both the role of power in society and the consequences of its concentration in the elite handful).

Not to spend too much time on this today, we’d actually like to hear your opinions, so please drop us a message here or on our Discord server where we usually dwell.

No Working Sundays in the Animal Kingdom (All Hail King Lav!)

King’s Rest

There’s a lot of talk these days in our country (Croatia) about making Sunday an obligatory holiday, pros and cons, etc… This reminded us of this little piece of lore that’s been lying in Nuclino for a while, called “King’s Rest”, as part of our calendar series, so let’s share it:

As part of his efforts in modernising the Kingdom to be in touch with the changing structure of society (from the mostly agricultural to an industrial one), King Leonard the Wise introduced a law guaranteeing a day off to every working animal, so that all animals may have the time to enjoy arts and sciences.

In today's Ark Lore Tuesday, we talk about King's Rest, a non-working day during the week, that we, earthlings know as Sunday.
No exploration and adventure today, boys. It’s Sunday!

This was a formalization of an existing norm for farmers of the market day, in which farmers went to the markets to sell things, and other animals bought the items, as was similar in many regions of our world as well (see Nundinae for example).

However, codifying this in law made sense to Leonard as the exact day in the week wasn’t unified across the Kingdom before the introduction of the King’s Rest (the northern Lynx-held regions had Midday Markets on the third day of the week, and so on) . This made organisation of commerce and general trade easier and also allowed animals to all have a common day of socialising with each other (resulting in the 1820 “cub boom” among other things).

The unified free day was also benificial in the creation of the Kingdom’s first worker’s unions, as many professions needed a day when they could all meet and organise that was outside the watchful eye of certain workplace cadres, being a thorn in the side of several industry leaders. Even so, the obligatory day off remained even after Leonard’s reign, the King’s Rest law was renamed to Lionday, and has remained in place in both the reigns of Leopold and King Lav.

In today's Ark Lore Tuesday, we talk about King's Rest, a non-working day during the week, that we, earthlings know as Sunday.
What do you mean, you need to send the postcard to your grandmother, Carl? It’s Sunday!

Lest you think we’re just making these things up out of boredom, actually – aside from botany, history and chemistry, Charles will also dabble in Kingdom law. One of the side-quests in the game will have the player dive deep into the minutiae of the Kingdom’s legal system to try and figure out a situation regarding the non-implementation of Lionsday in a certain coal mine. Here’s what happens to start off the quest (no spoilers, don’t worry):

As seen in a by-law regarding Lionsday – “during times of distress or hardship, in order to preserve the smooth operation of certain industries, the King’s Rest may be waived by local administrators for a limited time.

Yeah, we may have a disease going on, but it’s Sunday, Charles, so screw it.

This waiver may not extend beyond the period of distress, and should be duly compensated as a regular workday.” Of course, this becomes a point of contention between the workforce and the bureau, and Charles has to use his skills as a bylaw-interpreting-hedgehog to help one side out.

Sure, jump on our Discord and tell us all about what you think of work-free Sundays or whatnot.

ARK-itecture of Pride

ARK-itecture of Pride

When designing the capital, we decided to dig deep into minutiae, not only how to separate the city into quarters but also adding some architectural details that would involve the player more into the world.

This is a feeling people usually get when they enter a new city for the first time – it’s not only interesting because of the strange people and language, but even the buildings have a history and design that is strange and enticing. To emulate this, we decided to add a bit of folklore to the architecture, and here’s one part of it.

Sketch: a piece of Pride

Pride is the capital of the Animal Kingdom, and before that it was the old summer home of the lions. By myth, it was the first place the animals inhabited when the floods subsided.

Many believe that when the Ark was marooned after the flood, the animals used small ships to sail to the nearest coast and the first buildings that were built were made of those boat parts. That is the common wisdom behind a very peculiar architectural curiosity of Pride – many of the town’s buildings have rooftops that look like hulls of boats turned over backwards!

A fancy cafe in Pride where Charles will drink his favourite drink: tea with frof on top.

Of course, the entire city has been built and rebuilt over the many centuries that have passed since the flood, due to fires mostly (wood be like that) but other accidents as well. However, the poshest citizens still swear that their rooftops were made from the original barges of the Ark. Such is the claim of the Tiger duke for his summer villa:

Poshest villa in poshville

Of course not all buildings have it. Some more serious institutions prefer not catering to this story as they believe such petty folklore diminishes the Ark myth in general.

The Bank of the Kingdom (right) is a notable example of a building that doesn’t follow the Pride architectural rules, instead going for a neo-classical approach to architecture as was custom in Blackbark before the war.

If you’re interested to learn more, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter or talk to us on Discord!

Ark Fantastic stories: A Concise History of The Animal Kingdom

Part IX: Tyranny’s end by Scholar Bernard

This tale from the Animal Kingdom is considered to be “official”, although only the copy of the book series has been found. Scholar Bernard is long gone, and there is no actual proof the scholar is the author.

Although, there is an interesting tidbit about Bernard. Just before his passing, he asked “What door?”, while standing before a massive wooden door, when he died of a heart attack. There was no formal autopsy following Bernard’s passing, but apparently, he was getting blind. Intriguing, to say the least.

Author’s remark: The images seen in this blog may not be related to the characters or the places of the story.

The royalists had sacked the entire capital, taking every piece of grain from the storehouses and moving it to the citadel. In their effort to inconvenience the approaching army they had also poisoned all possible water sources. Everything to make the siege of the citadel as taxing as possible for the prince’s army.

This tale of the Animal Kingdom is about the prince who saved his starving people from the brutal tyranny, and set the foundations for today's capital.
Read the blog about the caste system in Animal Kingdom

The tyrant and the remaining loyal part of his army were safely stacked away in the citadel, with supplies that would last them at least a year. The populace of the capital was left behind and without any food remaining in storage they were left starving by the indifferent king.

When prince Lav arrived, he found his entrance into the capital uncontested by any royalists. What he did however find was a malnourished populace on the brink of starvation. One of the first commands Vincent ordered when entering the city was to evict all remaining citizens from the capital and relocate them to temporary shelters in the private royal estates.

This tale of the Animal Kingdom is about the prince who saved his starving people from the brutal tyranny, and set the foundations for today's capital.
Read everything about the tyranny in the KIngdom’s past

Most of these refugees would set up shop permanently in these estates, giving birth to the new capital we have today in the Redwood Forest. After dealing with the civilians, it was time to set up a siege. The walls of the ancient citadel were not easy to breach as it was carved out of solid rock directly in a steep cliff face. Even with the help of the birds the prince’s army was not able to crack the defenses of the bastion, even after weeks of trying.

The prince knew that he could not supply his army for much longer, nor could he allow the royal affairs in the remainder of the kingdom to go unattended. Without a system to oversee them, the nobles and magistrates of the kingdom had taken it upon themselves to bend the rules and regulations for their own benefit and comfort.

This behaviour could not be tolerated much longer as the prince was advised that soon there wouldn’t be a kingdom left to rule. It was then that he made the decision to call upon a cadre of his most trusted companions, to make one of the most difficult decisions the young prince had faced in his life and would scar him for years to come.

Another great article

Initially, the prince had liked to see the tyrant brought to justice, to make his brother see the error of his ways, but those delusions could not last, the tyrant king would have to die and the royalists that still clung to his rule broken. And this would have to happen as soon as possible…

Enjoyed this tale? Let us know what you thought on our Facebook, Twitter, Discord, or on the blog itself, just below in the comments!

Ark Fantastic stories: Legion of the bloodthirsty undead

Ark Fantastic stories: Legion of the bloodthirsty undead

Unlike in some other RPG titles, you should not believe just everything you read, and not everything is a part of the game lore. Or is it? As a reputable scholar, Charles will often be in a position to debunk such stories, or, better yet, use his scholarly reputation to prove them true!

In this Ark Lore, we bring another tale from the Animal Kingdom, written in the form of a diary by an unknown hero, who fought a legion of the Undead.

Author’s remark: The images seen in this blog may not be related to the characters or the places of the story.

“How I defeated the Scourge of Blavgoz and his legion of bloodthirsty undead” – A true story

Dear reader, How I would love to tell you of my successful infiltration into the wolf’s den! 

Infiltrating the lair of the villainous monstrosity has become quite easy after using my superior intellect.  Letting the poor townspeople deliver me in an empty casket of wine, as an offer to the wolf, was really an ingenious plan!

"How I defeated the Scourge of Blavgoz and his legion of bloodthirsty undead" - A true story
The hero is unknown, but his diary has been preserved. Legends about his adventures are still alive among the town folk who occasionally talk about the grim past of the Kingdom. But, they are just legends, after all.

But now came the more difficult part of my quest: finding and destroying the ritual foci so that these bloodthirsty undead might finally be put to rest.

Unfortunately, I found myself in quite an ordeal: They had delivered the barrel right in the midst of their living quarters and from the sounds permeating the thick oaken barrel, I could hear their vile gurgles and cries, as well as smell the thick rancid stench coming from the decomposing bodies of the undead soldiers.

The only thing that stopped them from breaching the barrel this instant was a speech from their master, the dretched scourge of Blavgoz himself! 

"How I defeated the Scourge of Blavgoz and his legion of bloodthirsty undead" - A true story
The legend says, some herbs can protect from the “blood-suckers”. Garlic is the best, apparently.

I was sure that I could take out a dozen or so of these creatures with my martial prowess alone. (My rapier was left behind in Blavgoz as the still wine-coated inside of the barrel would taint the fine steel of the blade, a risk I was not willing to take.)

There were, going from the sounds, hundreds of those creatures just waiting for their master’s speech to finish! Even my formidable abilities would be tested to their utmost limits when faced with a horde of that magnitude! 

And suddenly, in a flash of insight, I connected every puzzle piece and clearly understood what I had to do. From my satchel, I took the wooden doll I had found by the roadside. This, dear reader, was the doll that started this entire adventure, the doll of which I had traced the origin the entire way to the downtrodden village of Blavgoz.

"How I defeated the Scourge of Blavgoz and his legion of bloodthirsty undead" - A true story
An ominous-looking gate.

All the while under the impression that I had to find the poor little girl to whom it belonged.  Nothing could be more false… I actually had the ritual totem on me all the time and I didn’t even realize it! 

I took another look at the doll and clearly saw the vile miasma surrounding it, why hadn’t I seen this before? I made my decision and snapped the doll to pieces in a single, fluid motion.

Suddenly I heard bodies collapsing on the ground, at least a hundred of these bound creatures were finally free from their wretched curse. The wolf almost choked in the middle of one of his sentences and it became quiet…. Very quiet…

"How I defeated the Scourge of Blavgoz and his legion of bloodthirsty undead" - A true story
If you want to hear some scary stories from the legends of the Kingdom, camping is the best activity for that.

“Well”, I thought, “Time for some fine ass-whooping!” as I burst from my barrel in a cloud of oaken shards and metal fringes. And let out one of my world-famous battle cries. Before beating the ever-living snot out of the still bedazzled scourge of Blavgoz.

Enjoyed this tale? Let us know what you thought on our Facebook, Twitter, Discord, or on the blog itself, just below in the comments!

Mr. Moles and the Hollow Prospect

Mr. Moles and the Hollow Prospect

As with many role-playing games out there, Trip the Ark Fantastic has its fair share of tales and stories that complement the game lore.

During Charles’ adventure, the player has to do research to find the location of the Ark as well as to discover the truth behind other mysteries. Charles will stumble upon both research books and lore books. Lore books are not necessary for research purposes but are nuggets of information for the player to enjoy and get a sense of the world that Charles is living in. This is one of those stories.

This lore book was written by our programmer Piet Bronders, and he hopes you enjoy it.

Continue reading “Mr. Moles and the Hollow Prospect”