Everyone has eagerly been awaiting the arrival of Halas! Where has it been since the Rending? What’s bringing it back? We’re getting a brief sneak peek at the whys and wherefores with designer Nathan “Kaitheel” McCall and artist Stacey Norman.
From Nathan “Kaitheel” McCall – Game Designer
Hardly a region of Norrath has been left unscathed since the Age of War and the Age of Cataclysms. The innumerable battles, the Rending, and the Shattering all took their toll, reshaping the land and the societies within them. The great Barbarian city of Halas was no exception! During the Age of War, Halas fell at the end of the long and bitter siege to the Rallosian horde. Many of the surviving northmen sought safety within the great walls of Qeynos, where they planned their revenge and the retaking of their city. Several years later, when the Rallosian army was defeated by a mysterious and deadly poison known as the Green Mist, they were certain that their prayers to Mithaniel and Erollisi Marr had been answered! The northmen returned to their ancestral home of Halas blessing their gods, but their happy homecoming was to be short lived as the Age of Cataclysms had begun! The great cataclysm that shattered the lands of Antonica spared none in its coming. Entire civilizations were nearly destroyed; cultures almost completely wiped from the face of Norrath in the wake of this horrible disaster. The barbarians of the frozen north were spared no more and no less than their neighbors, allies, and enemies alike. Halas, the city of the northmen was no more, having been rent asunder by the fiery balls of lunar rock that rained down upon the world. All that survived the initial strike of the cataclysm have since been consumed by the unleashed hunger of the north.
But recent events have begun to unfold that will ensure the return of the great city of Halas! Norrath learned that Erollisi Marr, The Goddess of Love, had died, sacrificing herself in order to save her brother, Mithaniel Marr, The God of Valor. Having encountered one too many defeats by the forces of hate and fear the Priests of Love, together with The Sisterhood of Erollisi and many adventurers across the continents, prayed to Mithaniel for a sign that hate is not more powerful than love. Their faith had been shaken and they were in desperate need of ethereal reassurance. Upon being confronted by adventurers and shown the error of his ways within the Shard of Love, Mithaniel returned to the Plane of Valor and found that the statue of Erollisi, which had been crafted by Varig Ro and presented to him as a gift shortly before her sacrifice, was a delight to him. Her effigy had not thrown him back under the dark clouds of mourning or self pity. Instead, it reminded him of what she stood for and what there was to continue to fight for. When he heard the cries and the prayers of the lovelorn upon Norrath, he knew what he was to do!
Mithaniel was aware that the city of Halas, the home city of the Barbarians, had been utterly destroyed during the Cataclysm and the Rending, and he felt it important to reestablish it. They were his and Erollisi's children, after all! And at the center of this New Halas he would plant his sister's statue to serve as a reminder and spiritual inspiration to all. When he set his eyes upon Norrath in search of a suitable place to establish this new city of light he found a landmass made of ice and velium floating within the Frostfang Sea, inhabited by blue-hued dwarves. He watched them as they struggled valiantly against an army of orcs living upon the surrounding islands of ice. He appreciated their dauntless stands and their warrior skills. The isle's environment was a perfect fit in which to establish the new city!
He approached the dwarves, who had masterfully carved out a few houses and buildings for themselves over the years. They were beside themselves with shock at his appearance! They knew who he was, and had no fear of him, but they feared what his appearance meant and what news he may bring. They had long worshipped Brell, their creator, and god of the Underfoot. Mithaniel reassured them that he had no ill news to deliver, but instead was offering to reconnect them with the Shattered Lands of Norrath, which would thus bring a great many able bodied individuals into their ranks. He went on to explain that if they agreed, then he would bless their iceberg home and place within it a statue of his dear sister, in no time it would become a city -New Halas. All he asked in return was that they would welcome any who sought refuge within their walls. They held a council and soon agreed. Neither they nor their creator, Brell, held a conflict with Mithaniel. In fact, if the ancient tales were to be believed, they had once even worked together to defeat some rather nasty creatures that had been released upon Norrath.
And so, Mithaniel fulfilled his promises, blessing the iceberg and planting the holy statue of Erollisi, crafted by Verig Ro, within the center of it. And the dwarves crafted more buildings in preparation for the influx of Norrathians who would soon inhabit their city of New Halas! The only thing left was reconnecting the isolated iceberg to the Shattered Lands. For this Mithaniel turned to his father, Tarew Marr, the Fathom Lord! It is unclear if Tarew himself blew the fated vessel off course, or if an item obtained from Tarew enabled Mithaniel to carry out the deed, but either way, a Farseas Trader vessel was blown from its intended course and within sight of the waiting shore of New Halas.
Mithaniel’s promise is sure to be fulfilled; their city will soon be bustling with a vast array of inhabitants, be they northman or pilgrim, looking to make New Halas their permanent residence and willing to take arms against the orc invaders.
From Stacey Norman – Zone Artist:
Working on Halas for the last few months has been a great experience for me.
The city of Halas is nestled in the center of an enormous iceberg. Icebergs are usually pretty stark in nature so I was really limited in the different types of materials that could be used. Types of vegetation are also very limited on an iceberg and I couldn’t rely on trees and plants to beautify the vast areas. So….. I spent a lot of time researching iceberg formations and decided to rely mainly on unique shapes to make the zone interesting.
The actual city of Halas was first home to the Coldains but since the barbarians and frogloks have moved into the city we had to spend time laying out all the architecture in order to please design and for happy gameplay but also keeping in mind what looks good aesthetically. Our intern, Andres, did a great job modeling and texturing the actual buildings for the city. He also built the player housing for Halas.
I think the players will be impressed with the many different ups and downs that I was able to incorporate into the new Halas.