A tiny booth tucked away among the smaller-scale vendors at New York Comic-Con advertised one of the convention’s biggest and most original ideas: the Dynasty of the Magi iPad app.
Derrick Garvin, writing under the pen name Garvan Wolfe, is the creator of the universe of a new free-to-play online role playing game combined with a series of e-books for the iPad. The game, called Words of Power coincides with the first book of the series called Rites of Passage, and is scheduled to release in late October on the App Store under the title Dynasty of the Magi, which will bundle both the book series and the online game together.
Wolfe takes two very distinct forms of interactions of entertainment and blends them to form his own unique fantasy experience with novels and an online role-playing game.
The 11-book series will be influenced by events that take place in the game. Gamers who play Words of Power will have a role in determining what happens in the following books of the series.
The company behind Garvin’s creativity, PoetCode, has created an iPad app engine called LIMMO (Literary Immersive Multiplayer Mobile Online game), which allows the games and books of Dynasty of the Magi to integrate with each other and progress through the series, according to the description on the official Dynasty of the Magi Facebook page.
Wolfe was influenced by many of the great fantasy novels and series, like the Lord of the Rings trilogy. These books inspired him to venture into fantasy role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons.
“The games sometimes didn’t have the depth of the novel, but the games had all the visuals and the ways to play, so I tried to get both,” Wolfe said.
Wolfe created a fictional ancient Egyptian world over the span of 10 years, which he used in previous books and online games he created. The world is based on magic that serves as the basis for the book series and the game. Dynasty of the Magi is one of the first attempts at combining the game and book aspects into a cohesive entity in one universe.
“I said, ‘Wow, now what am I going to do with it? I’m going to write a book,’” Wolfe said. “And I wrote the book about it, but it started out as a game that became a book.”
“As soon as the iPad came out I said, ‘Why don’t we try and bring this together?’ I like that interaction between the players, and I liked the interaction of a writer. I just want to connect the players as I am doing this and have them help decide the story,” Wolfe said.
The game begins when a protagonist who players can customize in the game, is awakened and realizes his magical powers. There are many customizable options in the game such as the various skills the player can use, the appearance and sex of the player, as well as items and various power-ups that players can purchase.
The Dynasty of the Magi universe consists of two parts: the Outerworld and the Underworld. The Outerworld is inhabited by people who are familiar with the magic of the universe and the Underworld is a magical system that has taken over that part of the world and put people under a trance in which they cannot perform magic. The Underworld is inhabited by Sleeping Souls, who are unaware of their magical abilities in the game.
There are two gangs in the game that resemble some notorious gangs today. The Crypts and Bluds transform from regular gangsters to zombies and vampires after the protagonist wakes up.
These events occur in the first novel of the series, called Rites of Passage, and people who play the game Words of Power can participate and fight in quests associated with the book, which will influence the course and plots of the next novel in the series.
“So just imagine your favorite book,” Wolfe said. “Imagine being able to be a part of that, being in the war, fighting in the war, on one side or the other and knowing that you actually affect the plot of the book.”
Dynasty of the Magi is entirely free to download, but has options of in-app purchases, where players can use money to buy more in-game currency and power-ups for characters. The app is designed with a central menu where players and readers can interact with either the books or games under one roof.
“As a writer, I like to interact and come up with as many ways to interact with as many people as possible to keep pushing the game forward,” Wolfe said. “We want to expand to the PC and the phone and prove that this concept and integration works and build one of these massive online games.”
Wolfe and the rest of the team behind Dynasty of the Magi have enjoyed an excellent response to the concept and great support from New York Comic-Con.
“It’s been awesome,” Wolfe said. “They totally embraced us. Everybody loves the idea of this game, more so than I had even thought. I’m really happy. The game is based in East Orange, New Jersey and in New York City. The Comic-Con staff highlighted us on their website. We really have been getting a great reception here.”
Following the response from the public at New York Comic-Con, Dynasty of the Magi is on its way to become one of the most unique concepts in both the book and online gaming realms. Hopefully this response will send people into the fantastic enthralling modern-day Egyptian fantasy universe Wolfe has created.
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