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Peering Into the Afterlife - VoZ Developer Blog

Visions of Zosimos is a Free-To-Play Online Strategy Board and Collectible Card Game! Join us as we discuss design decisions, tactics and art!

Author: VisionsofZosimos

Dark, Realm of Ambition

Posted by VisionsofZosimos Tuesday October 30 2012 at 5:57PM
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October 29th, 1537

Another dreadful party at the Chetwood estate. Barely edible food, wine watered down to criminal levels, and entertainment so dull our hosts fell asleep! Why we indulge this “noble” family in rags I’ll never understand, but father always says that being of true nobility means we must tolerate our lessers for the sake of stability.

I find myself growing bored with my lessons. Sums and histories – arithmetic to run a world I currently hold no stake in, and names and dates of men long dead. They say those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it, but why must I repeat it every hour of every day to please a headmaster more interested in my father’s coffers than my advancement of knowledge?

I asked again about beginning work on the sciences – astronomy, natural philosophy…and alchemy. My lord-father grew incensed at this. He shouted and yelled, threw parchment across the desk. He repeated, once again, what he’d told me so many times before. That these weren’t “proper pursuits for a man of breeding.” But my dreams…they stir a passion so deep and primal in me that I find myself contemplating disobeying my father’s will and studying in secret.

They are terrible, fell images from beyond the colour of sleep, piped into my thoughts as though transplanted there by some dark and nameless god. I question everything I was raised to believe was true, and am drawn to the brutal, nightmarish imagery.

Angels, faceless and grim – their wings are hacked off by members of the faithful, and they are cast down from the heavens to settle into a dying and decaying swamp. Hordes of demonic creatures spring forth from the Pit, hurling themselves en masse against the gates of Paradise.

The strong rule over the weak, and those that fail to fall into line either die, or kill and become masters themselves. A red-skinned, horned brute sits atop a dais of bone and rock, basking in the glory of fear. Fear of him. Fear of his power. Fear of what it would mean to fall under his scrutiny. The lesser devils and demons defer to him – their eyes are gleaming, and all hunger for his power, but find themselves unable to meet his gaze.

He stands, and comes towards me. Towering over me, and whispers to me the secrets of attaining power like this for myself. He tells me the achievement of true power is strength for strength’s sake. He tells me that mortals can achieve this power through alchemy and experimentation – no price is too high, no sacrifice is too far in the pursuit of knowledge. He tells me that he is Sraosha, and that his lieutenants plot against him and work towards his downfall – should they achieve it, they will earn his respect as his betters. Should they fail, he will crush them without a second thought, for nothing is as contemptible in this realm of the damned as failed ambition.

Every night I awake, and every night I contemplate on the words of Sraosha. I shall keep this journal as a living document of the work I intend to do – the east wing of the manor has several abandoned rooms. I shall tell father that I intend to turn it into a private study. Let him think that I intend to review Estate Management and the Classics. If the Earldom is to be mine, I shall have it on my terms – with a being such as Sraosha guiding me, how can I fail?

Giles Daubney II
Heir-Apparent to the Earldom of Bridgewater

If you are interested in learning more about Visions of Zosimos, want to stay up to date with our latest development news, gain chances to win Beta keys, free card packs and more, please join us on our Official Facebook page and Official YouTube Channel!

Light, Realm of Order

Posted by VisionsofZosimos Tuesday October 16 2012 at 1:01AM
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Laudare, benedicere, praedicare. To praise, to bless, to preach. This is our motto, by which we measure our worth in the eyes of God.

Contemplare et Contemplata Aliis Tradere. To study and to hand on the fruits of study. This is our creed, by which we measure our worth in the eyes of each other.

Saint Dominic de Guzman, our patron and founder, valued intellect and reason as well as faith and devotion. Our order has always been on the forefront of scientific and intellectual toleration. However, when questions are asked regarding the very basis of faith, toleration gives way to fear, and those questions are shunned and ignored. The man who asks, however, is not.

The Cardinal instructed me to forgo the dreams I’d been having, and “reaffirm my faith.” He suggested an Illumination on the basis of belief. But to discount such visions…how can I, in good conscience, ignore what may be a redefining aspect of how we understand our relationship with God?

In my visions, the armies of Darkness rail against the forces of Light – angelic beings, ordered in rank and file, defend the Gates of Paradise, utilizing bolts from heaven and the earth beneath their feet to drive back the horde. I see the demonic host stealing the Fire of Creation from the domain of God, twisting and perverting it for their own uses.




I see loyal followers praised for carrying out orders. I see obedience rewarded and questions punished. Initiative knows no place among these beings.

And I see the hard edge of the Light’s embrace – the dismissal of any and all philosophy other than their own. Worlds set ablaze in holy fire, their occupants unwilling to fall into rank with their “betters.”

Perhaps these are merely dreams. Perhaps the Cardinal is right, and I would be better served completing an Illumination.

And perhaps knowledge can be its own reward. Contemplare et Contemplata Aliis Tradere. The fruits of study await – be they healthy or rotten, only time will tell.

In nomine Patris et fillii et Spiritus Sanci.

Padre Gasparo Barbarigo
15 Ottobre, 1417


If you are interested in learning more about Visions of Zosimos, want to stay up to date with our latest development news, gain chances to win Beta keys, free card packs and more, please join us on our Official Facebook page and Official YouTube Channel!

Lore Delving: The Process

Posted by VisionsofZosimos Monday October 1 2012 at 1:49PM
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“In off the moors, down through the mist bands,
God-cursed Grendel came greedily loping.
The bane of the race of men roamed forth,
hunting for prey in the high hall.”

Demon-spawn. God-cursed. Descendant of Cain. Whatever the truth may be, the lust for blood and flesh defines this monster’s existence, to the anguish of the Danes. Ascending from the darkness of his waterlogged lair, Grendel assaulted Heorot – the mead hall of Hrothgar – tearing men asunder, gnawing their flesh and drinking their life-blood. Their only crime against him being the making of joy and merriment, he terrorized Hrothgar and his Danes until the intervention of brave Beowulf, who tore his arm from its socket. Only then did Grendel – great and terrible – succumb to his wounds.

He awoke here, and now terrorizes the Forest of Decay. A realm without merriment. A forest who has never known the sounds of joy.

A veritable paradise for a being who lives only to cause pain.


- Grendel is a fierce opponent, not to be crossed lightly.


In Visions of Zosimos, many aspects of the game draw upon real world history and mythology, with a bit of our own spin added in. The Alchemists and the Ego essences one uses to construct a homunculus all pull from these sources, as do many of our boss monsters, such as Grendel. Even broader elements come from actual history; Visions of Zosimos is the name of an actual book detailing alchemical lore.

With this being the case, we take great care to ensure that our sources are accurate, and strive to remain as faithful to the source material as we can while still bringing it into the mythos of our own universe. To that end, we employ research methods, normally looking at the earliest known translations of foreign texts. In addition, when using multiple sources we try to remain true to them by seeking out the commonalities between these myriad sources and using this information as the core of the game element we are creating.

But how does this all come together? When designing a boss monster, the first step is to answer a simple question – is this Boss going to be historical, or completely original? Grendel is certainly the former, being drawn from the epic poem Beowulf.

The next step is the research. This helps determine how much of our own creativity gets added to the base source. The only known manuscript of Beowulf was written in roughly 1000 AD, and (despite the best efforts of historians and librarians of the time) has suffered through the ages, the most notable being the Cotton Library fire at Ashburnham House in 1731. This means that, though there may have been a detailed physical description of Grendel at one time, the only surviving original copy of Beowulf contains very little. In later sources, Grendel’s qualities vary considerably, but the one commonality was simple: an ogreish being who devours men.


- Grendel has come a long way since this early concept.


Originally, we designed Grendel as something radically different from previous representations. He was a thin, amphibious creature as seen above. However, while this was an interesting direction to take, it was not true enough to the original source, so he has since been altered to the form you saw earlier in this post. We did, however, keep some of the original reptilian feel, but stayed closer to the original vision of Grendel’s savage brutality.

Even here, though, the process was not complete. In deciding to use Grendel as a Boss Monster in the Forest of Decay board, it helped push us to make that board more influenced by Norse mythology and history, and several other Bosses have been included to enhance this feel. The mere act of including these Bosses together has helped us define the feel for one of our most major areas.

Finding and creating the lore for this game is a delicate balancing act. Applying our own spin and perspective is one of the most rewarding parts of pulling it all together, but our desire to keep close to the source means we must take care in deciding what we change, and how much. However, we are confident that the end result of this painstaking process is a great game backed up by fascinating lore.

If you are interested in learning more about Visions of Zosimos, want to stay up to date with our latest development news, gain chances to win Beta keys, free card packs and more, please join us on our Official Facebook page

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