NEWS UPDATE – COVID-19 and the Future of EMBERWIND 

Dear EMBERWIND players,

COVID-19 has presented the Nomnivore Games team with a number of challenges, both internally and logistically, and we wanted to loop you in on the changes coming for our company and community.

Here are the headlines, which we’ll go into in greater detail below:

  • We are cancelling all upcoming convention appearances until further notice
  • We will also be reducing frequency of shipments from the online store to once every 1-2 weeks to lower our staff’s exposure to COVID-19
  • As a company largely funded by convention sales, we are in a bit of a tough spot and will be reprioritizing development for the rest of 2020 to focus on digital content and Storyteller tools
  • We’ve released a sneak peek at our next projects: Subclasses, Foe Creator tool, Clockwork City campaign and more
  • We’re making ongoing content updates and improvements

We are brainstorming new options to help us keep development budget rolling during convention cancellation and economic slowdown, including offering founders’ packs and putting an increased emphasis on our digital content. If you have any suggestions for content you’d like to see, we’re eager to hear from you in the fan-run Discord!

Reduced development and shipping schedule for 2020

Near the beginning of the year we held a Discord AMA outlining our development goals for 2020. Sadly, it looks like we’ll be massively scaling back our output.

For the time being, and for the safety of our convention staff, we are treating all upcoming conventions as cancelled until we can confirm that the COVID-19 situation is safe enough to have staff in these high-exposure spaces. Many of the conventions have cancelled anyway, some delaying until next year, others offering new dates in periods that we expect will still be high-risk for travel and large gatherings, and others outright cancelling without offering refunds or recourse.

We draw the majority of our development budget from our ongoing convention sales, so we’ve had to make some difficult decisions about which projects to prioritize with the resources we have at the moment. We’ll also be releasing content on a “when it’s ready” basis rather than a rolling schedule.

Kickstarter fulfillment is going forward as normal, but for online store orders, we will be reducing our post office runs to once every 1-2 weeks, so please plan for reduced shipping frequency for parcels.

Going forward, we’ll also be developing new game content with reduced staff, so we’re going to be prioritizing new tools and resources that will allow players to create their own game content, rather than focusing on new story content. We think this will give players the best mileage for the development hours we have available.

Sneak peek at our next projects: Subclasses, Clockwork City Campaign, and Foe Creator

With all the challenges of COVID-19, it’s been thrilling to make progress on some projects near and dear to our hearts.

We have been planning Subclasses since the inception of EMBERWIND, and recently have begun workshopping and playtesting our Subclass builds for the first time. Every Hero Class has three Subclasses that take a deeper dive into one of the Class’s features or flavours. We will be unveiling and releasing a new Subclass via website DLC every few weeks as they become ready. Below is the finished concept art of the shapeshifting Wildfang (a Druid Subclass) and unfinished concept art of the lightning-wielding Elysian Legionnaire (a Warrior Subclass).

We are also finishing first-round development on a dynamic Foe Creator tool that will let you create custom Foe Cards and export fully designed PDFs based on your specifications. Eventually, it will also include guidelines for creating interesting, dynamic, balanced Foes of your own design. We hope to have an alpha release available soon.

Lastly, we have begun planning plotlines and working on character, creature, and environmental concept art for Clockwork City, a sequel campaign to both The Skies of Axia and The Songweave Tapestry. It’s in the early stages, but we intend to make incremental progress as we focus on developing Subclasses and the Foe Creator. Here is the initial sketch for Piper’s updated character portrait and some rough sketches of the new automata Foe concepts.

Future projects include a Hero Creator with comparable functionality and design to the Foe Creator. The pair of creator tools should work together through an Encounter balancing formula to create content with custom difficulty settings.

We’re also working on adapting a digital database of all Hero Manual content, which will expand as we add Subclasses, as well as an Axia Wiki, which will serve as the hub of setting and lore information for Storytellers.

Ongoing game improvements

We’ve mentioned before that EMBERWIND uses a live development model, with us updating our game material on the website as we tinker and improve our game materials. It’s one of the many reasons we release our Foe Cards, Hero Cards, Support Packs, and rules modules as free content on the website, and include free digital access with every book we sell.

We’ve been using our downtime to do a massive overhaul of our existing database of Foe Cards, plus our Hero Cards and other Support Pack materials. A lot of our rules text has been revisited for clarity and easier learn-as-you-go play, we’ve implemented some balance changes, and we’ve revisited how we create generic and campaign-specific variants of our Foes to make them easier to adapt for use in a prewritten Campaign or your own homebrew.

Speaking of Campaigns (and Vignettes), the COVID-19 factory delays in printing The Songweave Tapestry have given us an opportunity to do another pass updating and overhauling the latest phrasing for the rules as presented in both The Songweave Tapestry and Wailing Song. We will be making corresponding changes to The Skies of Axia rules sections and our rules PDFs on the game resources page and the Rule Creator.

We’ve made some corresponding changes to the materials in the Hero Manual, but the vast majority of the changes are just updated phrasings to anticipate common questions and points of confusion rather than balance changes.

As we release Subclasses, we will be tinkering with some of the wording of the Classes in the Hero Manual. We will make announcements as each Class is overhauled and each Subclass is released. These changes are 99% focused on the phrasing of Actions being compatible with Subclass interactions rather than actual changes to balance or content.

Access to the latest PDFs will be updated as content changes are finalized over the coming weeks and months.

Those are all of our updates for the time being. We’ll continue to keep you informed as we find our way through a challenging period.

Thanks so much for your patience and support!

The Nomnivore Team