The Abbey

The Hildegarde Backstory

The Heroines of Hildegarde began as an all-female Dungeons & Dragons group led by our website founders. The campaign hinges on the bond between the characters, who grew up together as orphans in Hildegarde Abbey. While the story has evolved since the beginning, below is the initial plotline where the story began…

The Heroines of Hildegarde

The Moon Sea Region
The Moon Sea Region

Hildegarde Abbey is located along the north coast of the Sea of Fallen Stars near the edge of The Vast. It is situated on temperate farmland well away from any major cities or towns. The small villages of Bishop’s Nest and Rosehelm are within a day’s ride of the Abbey. The Abbey is a convent (nunnery) run by the Abbess, an older, formidable halfling that keeps the orphans in check. The convent is a cloistered self-supporting community and everything essential for life – water, a mill, gardens and a workshop is found within the monastery walls. The nuns rarely go beyond the Abbey’s structure.

The Abbey
The Abbey

The convent consists of buildings grouped around an inner court or cloister. The buildings include a chapel, refectory (dining hall), kitchen, buttery, dormitory, library, school, infirmary, guesthouse, barn, bakery, laundry, workshop, and storeroom. Beyond the buildings lay vegetable gardens, orchards, grain fields, a mill and a stream that provides fresh water. A high wall and ditch surround the convent for protection.

The nuns primarily worship Selûne, Goddess of the Moon and pay homage to the deities Helm and Mystra. They are a part of the Order of Silverstars, which consists of priestesses dedicated to protecting the vulnerable. High-ranking priestesses are often gifted with a Moonblade, which has special properties that harm those who are evil.

The Symbol of Selune
The Symbol of Selune

It is widely known along the Sea of Fallen Stars that the nuns of Hildegarde Abbey are devoted to protecting the weak and vulnerable. As such, many female orphans are dropped off at the cloister to be raised by the church. These orphans come from all races and walks of life – their parents may have been killed in battle, they may have had too many children already or did not desire a female child and it is rumored that some nobility has even sent their children in secret for protection.

Life at the cloister is a simple one, filled with prayer, manual labor, spiritual reading and training. Days begin with the ringing of bells, some time between midnight and two a.m., signaling the first prayers of the day. After a short nap, prayers were again held at sunrise, and then at three-hour intervals throughout the day. Communal prayers averaged about three hours per day, while private prayer and contemplation could take another two hours. Meals were served once a day in winter, twice in summer, with meat forbidden except in case of illness. At least three hours per day were spent in manual labor, with remaining hours not spent in prayer devoted to study, knowledge, education and training.

Priestesses in the Order of Silverstars are trained to protect the vulnerable. Many of the nuns are trained in various fighting styles, healing and forms of magic in addition to prayer and wit. The nuns train their charges in their ways with the intent that the orphans will become priestesses themselves one day. Most of the orphans choose to become nuns when they reach adulthood, though some have ventured out on their own.

Five orphans in particular formed a special bond in childhood – a human female, a half-elf, a moon elf, a half-orc and a gnome. This motley crew grew as close as blood sisters. They spent their days working, praying, training and slaying imaginary dragons as the “Heroines of Hildegarde.” As the adventure opens, two of the heroines have gone missing in the night. They have left only a note saying that they have struck out on their own –  determined to see the world and join the infamous Order of the Gauntlet in the city of Phlan, to the North, along the Moonsea. After discussion with the Abbess the remaining three heroines decide to leave the walls of the Abbey, for the first time since their arrival, and head to Phlan to find their “sisters” and bring them home.

Project Octopath Traveler

Let’s Play: Project Octopath Traveler for Nintendo Switch

Project Octopath Traveler Title Screen
Project Octopath Traveler title screen

For fans of the classic turn-based RPG’s of the 80’s and 90’s, Square Enix is about to take you back to the glory days of gaming with a Nintendo Switch exclusive titled “Project Octopath Traveler,” which will not be the final title. The game is currently in a beta test format available exclusively in the Nintendo e-shop for free. (Square Enix will be gathering information from players via questionnaire emailed to you from Nintendo) So you should jump on this opportunity to not only play a beta test but to also contribute to the final product.

Now, on to the game itself. Fans of Final Fantasy 2 and 3 on the SNES will immediately feel at home and comfortable with the gameplay style. (Yes purists, they are known officially as Final Fantasy IV and VI now, but to some, it’s still 2 and 3.) Basically, the battles consist of: you take a turn, then the enemies take a turn, and so on and so forth until someone is dead, preferably the enemy.

Primrose kicking some bird's ass!
Primrose kicking some bird’s ass!

But where this game differs from others is the combat system uses a combo system or boost system as the game calls it, which allows you to hit your foes with up to a 4 hit combo when you have powered up your boost meter. The Boost meter goes up to 5, but 4 hits are the max number of hits you can make. The other difference is the enemies are guarding themselves and each have a specific number of attacks to break their guard, as well as a specific weapon or spell that will help you to break their guard, and then you can take full damage once their guard is broken, but they do guard again, so be wary of that. It can be a bit tricky at first, but once you get the hang of it, it really goes rather smoothly.

An example of the enemies defense Break.
An example of the enemies defense Break.

Otherwise, it has the basic elements of other turn-based classics. Fighting enemies and leveling up, and collecting items and leveling up, and exploring the map and leveling up,  and getting killed by higher level enemies and realizing you have to level up even more, and then trying to get revenge on those enemies and they still kill you, and then you restrain yourself from breaking the console or the controllers, so you just continue to level until you can triumph over the stupid enemies.

The two main protagonists in this demo are Olberic, a warrior who once was a knight who lost everything in battle and started anew in a new town with new peeps. He is your standard male character who protects the villagers and also trains them to fight by challenging them to duels. Yes, each character will have abilities that only that character has, and for some reason, this dude likes to duel with random villagers, so there’s that. I won’t spoil the story, so I’ll just say he does warrior stuff and kills some people. The other and more interesting protagonist is a young female dancer named Primrose who plies her trade in the “pleasure district” of her town.

Primrose needs to slap him silly!
Primrose needs to slap him silly!

Each person has a different starting town, but you will be able to travel to these towns and the characters and story will become interlaced. There will also be 8 protagonists in the final version, but I am straying from Primrose a bit here, so back to her. Primrose’s backstory consists of her witnessing her father being murdered at a young age. She remembers these men’s identities because of a mark on each of them, so she decides to become a “dancer” in a town that has lots of travelers pass through in the hopes of one day finding a clue to these men’s whereabouts.

Her unique ability is the power to “allure” people to help her in her quest, whether that be taking them back to the club where she works or assisting her in battle, but only for a few turns per battle. So basically, she is a kickass female character who will do anything to help her achieve her destiny. I don’t wanna spoil too much more than that for anyone who would want to enjoy this demo themselves.

Excuse me, what did you say to her??!
Excuse me, what did you say to her??!

Lastly, the art style is very interesting. It has a 16-bit hand-drawn appearance to it, which really makes it stand out from others in the genre as of late, which has been more of a hyper-realistic aesthetic, so it is refreshing to see a change of scenery in the genre. It’s described as a mix of CG, pixel art, and “HD-2D” visuals, so it is very original.

The music is exactly what you would expect from Square Enix, very orchestra heavy and really appropriate to the visuals of the game. The right notes are always struck at the right times based on the mood of the scene taking place. The producers of the Bravely series really took great care and detail to make this an RPG that many fans of the genre will really appreciate and hopefully will enjoy.

I look forward to the finished product when it releases sometime in 2018, under its official name, whatever that may be, so certainly keep an eye out for it. Anyone who owns a Switch and is interested, the game is a free download in the Nintendo e-shop, and remember to answer the questionnaire Nintendo sends out so you can contribute to what may be one of the best RPG’s in some time. In the meantime, check out the two-minute trailer from Nintendo below: