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2020-10-25 Halloween event banner

The Lost City announcement banner featuring art of Sanda

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Valkemarian Tales: The Lost City

Explore the desert and uncover its secrets in this new game.

Valkemarian Tales: The Lost City is the third installment of Valkemarian Tales stories, and the first to appear in a Halloween event. Like the previous installments, Jolly Follies and Festive Expeditions, it is a top-down roleplaying game. The player controls a character called Sanda, who awakes in the desert with no memory of where they are or why they are there.

Unlike the previous two Valkemarian Tales, the entire storyline of The Lost City was playable during the first day, and the game did not involve gathering items to decorate a dwelling place. Instead, Sanda solves puzzles to progress through different areas and complete a quest.

Story[]

The desert[]

Sanda, a mysterious hooded figure with a glowing blue eye, awakens in a crater in the middle of the Great Desert. They have no memory of how they got there, but do find a note written on their hand. The note reads: "Great Desert Museum curator offices, east quarter." Sanda decides to seek out the museum.

Sanda can wander in any direction in the desert. After traversing two map sections, Sanda finds an oasis with pools of water. A third map section brings them back to the section with the crater, making Sanda wonder if they are traveling in circles. After traversing nine map sections, Sanda finally reaches the outer wall of the city.

The city[]

Approaching the city gate, Sanda is stopped by two guards. The guards recognize Sanda, and tell them they "have a lot of nerve" for coming back to the city. The guards immediately place Sanda under arrest. The player can choose to surrender peacefully, or attempt to flee. Fleeing activates a mini-game, in which the player must steer Sanda around bystanders in the crowded streets to stay ahead of the guards. If the player collides with too many pedestrians, they will be captured.

The guards arrest Sanda and put them in a jail cell. Sanda examines the lock of their cell, and easily escapes. As there are guards posted by the door, Sanda is forced to flee into the sewers.

Sanda investigates the sewers, looking for a way back to the surface. They find an exit, but it is blocked by an Undead Dragon. Sanda can either ask the dragon nicely to move, or they can choose to throw an old boot at it. However Sanda approaches the dragon, it will explain that it was just practicing its singing, and will move out of the way. Sanda ascends the stairs to the city streets above.

Finally away from the guards and the sewers, Sanda is free to explore the city. They mingle among the people and dragons around the city center, and eventually find their way to the east quarter and the Great Desert Museum. Sanda sees the tall white and gold building, and speaks to the curator outside. The curator immediately recognizes Sanda, and tells them how worried their expedition team has been, as Sanda has been missing for several days. He also tells Sanda that if they hurry, they can catch up to the expedition at the ancient temples to the north, but to be careful as the temples are haunted. Sanda seems unenthusiastic about going to an ancient haunted temple, but heads north to try to learn more about their missing memories.

The temples[]

Exiting the city to the north, Sanda finds themself at the base of a mountain. To the east, they meet a Yellow-Crowned Dragon who is deciding which camel it should eat. To the west, they travel up the mountainside among wild goats, a Magi Dragon, and a horde of Pseudo-wyvern Drakes. Sanda eventually reaches the mouth of a cave, and delves inside. Within the cave, Sanda meets several wild dragons, including a grumpy Green Dragon, some Magelight Pygmys, a Gilded Bloodscale Dragon, and a Gold Dragon. Deeper in the cave, Sanda is met by a stranger in an orange and black hood. The stranger, who identifies himself as Avery, recognizes Sanda, and calls them over to join the rest of the team. Around a campfire is the white-robed Stella, pun-loving Runa, and a friendly green Pargulus Pygmy named Biscuits. The team explains that they've cleared the doors to four of the temples, but have not made much progress further into the structure. Sanda investigates the four temples, finding each to be devoted to a different powerful dragon.

In the Desipis temple, Sanda is joined by Avery. The two feel a deep foreboding, and a mysterious voice from within the temple warns them away. Despite this, they set to work exploring the temple. On the walls they discover a faded message that reads "Only the strong-willed shall be granted entry beyond the gate." The temple is made up of successive rooms, each with a series of doors to choose from. Walking through the wrong door will magically transport Sanda back to the temple's entryway. Using the pattern of the floor tiles in the temple's entryway, Sanda can decipher the correct path to the heart of the temple. In the temple's sanctum, Sanda and Avery discover an enchanted rune before a Desipis statue. Avery collects the rune, and the two return to the main gate.

In the Arcana puzzle, Sanda is joined by Runa, who is excited to find a working cauldron bubbling inside the temple's entryway. Arcana-head reliefs on either side of the northern door display a faded inscription: "Only the clever shall be granted entry beyond the gate." In the next room, Sanda traverses a maze to collect ingredients for a potion, and reads parchment fragments containing clues to a recipe. Runa, though even more delighted at the recipe fragments, warns of the dangers of adding ingredients in the wrong order. After deciphering the parchment clues and using the ingredients correctly, the room fills with mischievous laughter and the structure rumbles as its rooms shift. Sanda and Runa find the door to the maze now leads to another sanctum with another enchanted rune inside. Runa collects the rune, and return to the gate.

In the Caligene puzzle, Sanda is joined by Biscuit. Biscuit rushes through the door to the temple, but quickly returns and warns Sanda that the "friends" beyond are not friendly. The walls note that "Only the stealthy shall be granted entry beyond the gate." Within this temple, Sanda finds themself in a dimly-lit maze. Sanda must advance to the next door without being spotted by the dog-like creatures patrolling certain junctions. Stepping into their range of vision teleports Sanda back to the beginning. Beyond the maze, the temple's sanctum is full of more "friends." Despite Sanda's concerns, the creatures in the sanctum are still and allow Biscuit to leave with the temple's rune.

In the Shadow Walker puzzle, Sanda finds a peaceful room with a large altar in its center. Around the room are four pedestals, each with a differently colored mana orb. On the wall, a faded inscription reads "Only the wise shall be granted entry beyond the gate." Sanda is joined by Stella, who warns them to use gloves when handling the mana. To solve the puzzle, Sanda places orbs in indentations on the central altar, and tiny crystals in the altar reveal whether each orb is in the pattern and, if so, whether it is in the correct spot. When the orbs are placed in the correct order, the room fills with mist and a door to the north leads into the temple's sanctum. Stella collects the final enchanted rune and returns to the gate.

With the preliminary puzzles solved, the party can unlock the magical seal on the gate. Sanda manipulates the runes until all sixteen tiles match. With the runes in place, the gate slides upward and the party can progress on to the Lost City.

The Lost City[]

Characters[]

Sanda
Sanda portrait
Sanda is a powerful mage from the Great Desert. They experimented with powerful teleportation magic, but the spell went awry, causing an explosion in the city. Sanda vanished in the explosion, only to awake in a crater in the desert days later with no memory and follow a clue written on their hand to the Great Desert Museum, where they learn that they are supposed to catch up with an archaeological expedition to the haunted ruins in the northern mountains. Though too cagey to admit to their loss of memory, Sanda is resourceful, long-suffering, and dedicated, committing to the journey despite the area's haunted reputation.
Avery
Avery portrait
Avery, returning from the previous two Valkemarian Tales, is an explorer who is part of the archaeological expedition to the ruins. Despite traveling all over Valkemere, he does not recognize the architectural styles or dragon species represented in the Lost City. Brisk and sensible, he leads the party.
Runa
Runa portrait
Runa is an explorer who is part of the archaeological expedition to the ruins. Bubbly and good-humored, she deploys puns at every opportunity, and is particularly excited about finding runes and potion ingredients to use in her work.
Stella
Stella portrait
Stella is an explorer who is part of the archaeological expedition to the ruins. A quiet, taciturn person who seldom smiles, Stella focuses on the tasks at hand and does not appreciate interruptions, but behaves professionally even when they find Biscuit's energetic friendliness annoying. Although they sense disturbing energies in the Lost City, they believe the party will succeed in their tasks.
Biscuits
Biscuits portrait
Biscuits is a Pargulus Pygmy and an explorer who is part of the archaeological expedition to the ruins. Upbeat and excitable, he befriends everyone he meets and is excited to explore the Lost City, deducing that it was built by dragons before its human occupation and puzzled that the "friends" who used to live there have not returned to clean the place up.

Puzzle guide[]

Desipis puzzle[]

Only the strong-willed shall be granted entry beyond the gate.
In this puzzle, the player will be presented with five sets of four doors. To complete the puzzle, the player must pass through the correct door out of each set. Passing through an incorrect door will cause the player to be sent back to the beginning of the puzzle.

The correct path is randomized with each play-through of the game. The floor tiles can assist in solving which doors to go through. The tiles show the order of doors when read from left to right, with the first tile corresponding to the door in the floor-tile room.

Halloween 2020 reading the floor tiles

Each tile represents one of the four doors

Halloween 2020 door key

As a test of willpower, players can also experiment with different paths to discover the correct one.

Alternately, after a certain number of failures, the player can speak to Avery in the floor tile room, and be given an option to work together to solve it. This will automatically transport the player to the rune chamber.

Arcana puzzle[]

Only the clever shall be granted entry beyond the gate.
This puzzle involves brewing a potion by adding ingredients to the cauldron in the correct order. The order can be determined using a riddle found on scraps of parchment. The player must collect the ingredients from a small maze, and piece together the riddle.

First round

Ingredients

  • Jester's Cap
  • Magi's Scale
  • Moon Blossom
  • Sacred Water
  • Wormwood

Clues

  • To begin and end, a color warm
  • The green between its parents
  • Fourth comes the trickster's cap
  • The dragon's essence is the final piece

Solution

  1. Moon Blossom (Yellow flower is a "warm" color)
  2. Wormwood (Green wormwood between yellow flower and blue water)
  3. Sacred Water (Blue is a "parent" to green)
  4. Jester's Cap (comes fourth)
  5. Magi's Scale (dragon's essence last)

Second round

Ingredients

  • Azure Scale
  • Cinna Root
  • Jester Venom
  • Puffball
  • Sacred Leaf
  • Sun Blossom

Clues

  • First, the deadliest; last, the loveliest
  • And the sun comes directly after its parents
  • The dragon rests in the middle of the day
  • The world tree's pieces are never odd

Solution

  1. Jester Venom (First, the deadliest)
  2. Sacred Leaf (Must be even)
  3. Azure Scale (Dragon rests in the middle)
  4. Cinna Root (Must be even, red is a "parent" to orange)
  5. Puffball (Yellow is a "parent" to orange)
  6. Sun Blossom (Last, the loveliest)

Caligene puzzle[]

Only the stealthy shall be granted entry beyond the gate.
This puzzle is a maze. The player must attempt to traverse the maze despite a limited field of view. The maze is also patrolled by guards. If the player falls into the field of view of a guard, they will be transported back to the beginning of the maze.

Shadow Walker puzzle[]

Only the wise shall be granted entry beyond the gate.
This puzzle requires the player to place four mana orbs on a dias in the correct order. The player may collect mana orbs from four altars around the room. After placing four orbs, small symbols will appear on the dias to help the player solve the puzzle. An orange dot means the player has the correct color in the correct space. A white square means the player has the correct color, but in the wrong space. If no symbol appears, that orb is not needed. Note that the some colors may be used multiple times in a pattern.

Rune puzzle[]

This puzzle requires the player to get all the runes on the gate to match. Clicking on a rune will "flip" all the runes in the same row and column as the rune clicked.

Solution

Click each square the following number of times:

3 1 3
3 2
2 3
3 1 3

The Lich King[]

The "Lich King" is a boss battle triggered by completing both rounds of puzzle temples. The player has two options when facing the Lich King: "Attack" and "Defend". To defeat the Lich King, the player should attack as often as possible, only defending when the Lich King prepares a powerful spell. This is indicated by a dialogue box, and a shimmering appearance around the Lich King's head.

Trivia[]

  • The Lost City is the first of the Tales to feature a new player character, "Sanda." Like the previous Tales' player character, "Snowa," Sanda's default name evokes the environment where the game takes place.
  • Upon leaving the Desert City, Sanda pretends to notice "that creepy shopkeeper Joe" as a distraction to escape the guards. This may be a reference to Joe the Shopkeeper, whose General Store can be visited in both previous Tales.
  • Avery is the only character who returns in all three Tales; he also appeared in Holidays Event 2017 and made a cameo in Snow Warning.
  • In Jolly Follies, Simon the Green Dragon asked Snowa for some ham. In The Lost City, Boulder the much grumpier Green Dragon could be given a large piece of ham by Sanda, who had been carrying it with them the entire time.
  • Day 11 of Jolly Follies features several themes which recur in The Lost City: a search for ancient Valkemarian history inside a hidden temple built to honor a specific breed of dragon, featuring dragon statues and a puzzle in which mana crystals are placed in indentations.
  • An artifact in the Great Desert Museum is on loan from a private collection in Nulhora, the main location of the previous two Tales.

Badge[]

Completing or participating in the story awards players a badge.

Badge
Halloween 2020 badge

Completion

Halloween 2020 badge participation

Participation

Credits[]

Visual art

Map design

  • Dohaerys
  • Odeen
  • Pixxelation
  • TJ09
  • ZioCorvid

Writing

  • Adrak
  • birdzgoboom
  • Infinis
  • JOTB
  • Marrionetta
  • Pixxelation
  • Odeen
  • rosastrasza
  • TCA
  • TJ09

Music

  • PieMaster

Coordination

  • JOTB
  • Pixxelation
  • TJ09

Based on an original story by

  • JOTB
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