A Look at Rise of the Godslayer, Part Two
You can read Looking at Rise of the Godslayer, Part One, here.
As all playable races roam across the eastern frontier, following the Path of the Godslayer, your character will discover a myriad of new mid- and high-level content. The condition of the nearby roads can give you an indication of the level of strife in a region. If a road is in good condition, you travel through a more peaceful area. If the road is damaged, you can expect danger around every corner. Keep an eye open for shrines in your journeys. Khitai is a land of 999 gods. You can pray or meditate at each shrine; the right emote could get your player a temporary blessing. The wrong emote can curse you during your exploration. Travel across the landscape of Khitai is not as simple as it may appear. Natural and unnatural menaces roam the landscape across Khitai, like the barbaric Mountain Men, the swift and deadly Crow People, and the giant Kapa.
Each beast or monster that you encounter has an AI that you must learn the strategy of how to appropriately handle. The Firebirds of Chosain will run from you on most occasions. If you find the bird with its head in the ground, you may be able to draw more to you by attacking it. The Kapa is the turtle-like quadraped that is prominently displayed on one of the promotional photos fighting a full size party for many Rise of the Godslayer articles. The larger the beast, the more likely that it is even more dangerous. Consider a beast's size before you commit to an engagement with many of the new denizens of Khitai. You have a 25% chance of some beasts, like the Kapa, being in an ambush-state waiting for travelers to come nearby. The Wisp may seem weak at first and will flee your party; once safe, it will summon the souls of the dead that it has killed to defeat your group. Water buffalos are typically benign animals in any Asian setting; attack a Water buffalo calf and a bull or the entire herd may turn on you in its defense. A simple rule to follow would be to never attack a calf. The Crow Men, or Children of Jill, may be a threat in some areas or a Quest NPC in others; they serve as messengers for the Scarlet Circle of sorcerors. Wolves in Khitai are called Nightrunners. If you attack the Alpha Male of the pack, he will howl and his entire pack will come in to defend him. Learning the special abilities of each beast will be an adventure in itself.
Khitai is also a land in civil war, with Hyrkanians encroaching from the west (your first available faction), and other factions vying for control of regions and the country as a whole. The Tamerind Tiger Riders are a faction of Vendyhan Mercenaries drawn into the battles of Chosain Province. The Scarlet Circle are a band of sorcerers working for the emperor of Khitai; they are not very well liked. There are a total of ten open and two hidden or stealth factions to be discovered throughout the expansion. Even the once-idyllic Chosain Province has be ravaged by war, strife, and looting. Will you help the peaceful monks and their healing arts even though they hate Conan for bringing their nation to ruin? Will you assist the rightful heir of Khitai regain his throne, despite the fact that he supports a demonic cult, the Yellow Priests of Yun, that celebrates in the inhuman sacrifice of innocent women and children? There is no clear black and white in Khitai, only a variety of shades of gray. You must make moral choices in who you assist and why. If you change your mind on your path, you must regain honor from the factions that you wronged by slaying the opposing faction's enemies and performing betrayal quests. Every faction has available faction weapons. Every faction has their own unique faction armor in four tiers. To complete the full set of armor for each faction, you must advance to the highest levels of each faction gaining access to additional pieces as you are promoted from various faction vendors. Likewise, the faction that you become an ally with determines which places that you can visit and what story content will become available to you, and could have serious consequences.
Players seek transport to Khitai from the major cities of Tarantia, Connarch's Village, and Khemi. All players begin their journey in Khitai on the western side of the Great Wall. This zone of rolling steppes that climb up to the foothills of the Mountains of Night is called the Gateway to Khitai. The Great Wall meanders through the Mountains of Night providing a barrier of protection from the barbarians of the west and a point of reference as you navigate the countryside. You discover that portions of the wall have been breached by the Hyrkanian hordes. After you pass through the Great Wall, you will trek eastward across the far-stretching Northern Grasslands. Places of interest include the Kang Pagoda, the Village of Chow, and the frontier city of Pin Pin. The River of Yellow Curses runs along the northern border of this region.
When you cross the river, you march forward into the black desert of Kara Korum. Kara Korum stretches from the western mountains to the east limits of Khitai on the Eastern Ocean. As you travel across the burning black sands, the unnatural silence carries with it a sense of dread, and unknown beasts of horrible proportions try to press their way to the civilized plains of the south.