Tabula Rasa is the long-awaited game from Richard Garriott, aka Lord British, the creator of classic role-playing games Ultima and Ultima Online. Like Ultima Online, Tabula Rasa is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game that lets you explore worlds populated with thousands of other players. But while most MMOs focus mainly on fantasy settings, Tabula Rasa is about a distant sci-fi future where humanity tries to survive on alien worlds. One of these worlds will be Foreas, a wooded planet full of danger and adventure. The Tabula Rasa development team has prepared a guide to Foreas, so you can be prepared when the game launches later this year.
The Tabula Rasa Guide to Foreas
By Tabula Rasa Development Team, NCsoft
One of the first worlds visited by humans, Foreas is a lush, green habitable world dominated by sprawling forests of tall trees and massive canopies. In many places, the land is rugged, even mountainous, with the planet's flora insisting on growing nearly everywhere except the highest elevations. Various forms of moss and plants cover even sheer cliffs. If there was ever a notion of a rich, bountiful forest world, Foreas is it.
Water is also abundant; the rugged terrain forms areas around high prominences where humidity naturally coalesces into large, billowing clouds that typically fill the skies. Rivers, high waterfalls, and numerous lakes crisscross the land. Closer to the equator, some of these lands are more swamplike and humid. When the sky is clear, one can see three dead moons that surround Foreas and the bright orange sun. Perhaps the looming Bane Shard-ship is also visible, which is the orbital staging area and strategic base for the Bane's invasion.
The Foreans are the singular sentient species on Foreas, though technically speaking, they are not native to the planet. Millennia ago, the Eloh came across a race that had practically destroyed its own world environmentally through misuse of natural resources and recklessness with technological advances. The Eloh used their extensive Logos powers to move the remaining population to the planet Foreas. With a newfound respect for this beautiful planet and their second chance at existence as a race, the Eloh became what humans refer to as the Foreans. While the Foreans are not strangers to humans (the Corman group had crash-landed a stolen Bane ship on Foreas decades earlier and formed a nonviolent co-op) and had helped form the Allied Free Sentients (AFS), the Foreans remain highly suspicious of the new wave of humans.
Foreas has two major landmasses of interest. The first is Concordia, which is highly representative of Foreas as a whole (huge forests, thick canopies, rocky escarpments, swift rivers, and waterfalls). The second is Valverde, which is dominated by higher humidity and closer proximity to the equator (filled with swamps, marshes, wetlands, and vibrant pools of water). Cartographers spread each landmass into a number of geographical regions, six of which are readily accessible. None of these areas are untouched by war; there are places that have been corrupted and poisoned by the Bane. Vicinities around the front lines and forward bases are also scorched or scarred from constant battle.
AFS members will first arrive on Foreas in Concordia Wilderness, located in the northwestern area of the continent currently under AFS control. Subsequently, Concordia Wilderness represents Foreas in its most untouched, natural state. It's a heavily forested area that contains a Forean village, Alia Das, a human military base camp, and vital clues regarding Eloh artifacts. On the other side of the landmass, far to the southeast, is Concordia Palisades, where the Bane have cut a huge swath through the forest for their localized base of operations. Concordia Divide splits the landmass down the middle, through which the River Concord flows.
The second landmass of interest is Valverde. Because swamps, wetlands, and junglelike forests dominate much of the continent, operations with high-tech equipment in this environment are nearly impossible to sustain. However, the Bane have an interest in the area; thus, so must the AFS. Both have bases in the Valverde Plateau, which is elevated above much of the surrounding area and doesn't suffer from the same issues as the lowlands. East of the plateau is the Valverde Marshes, which are dotted with Forean settlements and outposts, keeping a careful eye on the Bane supply depot located nearby. To the south lies the Valverde Pools, an area of steplike cliffs and cascading pools that lead down to more swampland that is crawling with Bane activity, as well as Eloh relics.
Below is a list of some of the creatures that you will encounter on Forea:
Foreans: Transplanted thousands of years before by the Eloh, the Foreans strive to live in harmony with the planet. Not quite pacifists, the Foreans understand the impact of the misuse of technology and try to shun it as much as possible. Oft times, the Foreans try to discourage reliance on technology and scientific exploration, as well as commonly view the humans as a reckless race. The consummate environmentalists, the Foreans also won't shirk from defending the land against the ravaging Bane and will fight them to the death to do so. The Foreans can make use of Logos powers in combat.
Foreans are humanoid in stature and shape. However, they are typically taller, thinner, and have four digits on their hands (with only three digits on their feet). Their skin is a general olive green color or similar shade, and they consistently mark themselves in tattoos that represent different stages in their lives. Socially, Foreans live in small communities, settled in ingeniously constructed villages that make the most of the natural environment. Foreans use natural fibers in armor construction, but they do not wear protection for their hands or feet. They often utilize archaic-yet-deadly weaponry to accompany a selection of energy and projectile weapons.
Boargar: Somewhat similar to Earth boars, these stout, four-legged creatures burrow under the roots of trees for shelter and feed off various forms of foliage or small insects. They are practically blind and use radar with their Aura Viscus. This is an organ located between their horns that senses surroundings and food. In fact, boargar radar can be extremely powerful: It is detectable by human ears and capable of stunning large prey (even humanoids) before charging.
Filchers: One of Foreas' most common scavengers is a species of bird called the filcher. Filchers are generally attracted to bright, shiny objects and highly value collecting "trophies" from the battlefield. Filchers aren't aggressive enough to attack anything that can fight back, but they may be caught grasping all sorts of randomly useful goods.
Miasma: Mysterious to even the Foreans, miasma are one of the original species of Foreas. They take on the appearance of shadowy, ethereal creatures, composed of gasses and various microorganisms found near decaying material. They can be found deep in the forests or down in Foreas' caverns, but in swarms, they will aggressively attack any intruders that get too close.
Treebacks: Another indigenous creature of Foreas, treebacks are the largest species native to the planet. They can grow to be several meters tall and a dozen meters long, moving about on four legs with a severely hunched back. Found dwelling in marshy, wooded areas, treebacks may slumber for years at a time (during which other creatures or plants may nest on top of the treeback). Given their size, treebacks are slow, ponderous creatures but shouldn't be taken lightly because anyone who ventures too close risks getting trampled by these large beasts.
Tree Lurkers: The perennial boogeyman of Foreas, the tree lurkers are aggressive carnivores that inhabit the branches of trees, watch for prey to pass below, and then pounce on them. They even physically resemble trees in some ways, and Forean elders typically use tree lurkers in their stories of abductions to frighten their young. Unfortunately, tree lurkers are very real and a frequent hazard to unsuspecting travelers in Foreas' forests.
Warnet: Winged insects that resemble large wasps, warnet homes resemble honeycombed crystals known as hermetium, which generate a highly sought-after source of energy. Long-term exposure to this energy has made the warnets unusually powerful for their size, and their mandibles are quite strong. Worse, they can deliver a nasty energy shock to their victims when they bite, and when the queen dies, the swarm will commit mass explosive suicide (which is generally unpleasant to be around).