The land of Hyperborea has long been plagued by conflict. It was not until the White Owl, guardian of the world (and the Winged Exemplar mentioned in the subtitle), created the Metronome Mysterium that Hyperborea was able to achieve a lasting peace. However, the great clock is beginning to wind down, and with its location recorded on nine hidden tablets, the world may soon plunge into chaos once more. It's up to you and your band of adventurers to find the tablets, learn the secret location of the Metronome Mysterium, and preserve the peace and tranquility Hyperborea has enjoyed.
Grimoire is a dungeon-crawler RPG created by Cleveland Mark Blakemore, a former employee of Sir-Tech, under Golden Era Games. It is intentionally evocative of the "blobber" format used by Sir-Tech's most famous series, the creator citing those games as well as the likes of Might and Magic and Eye of the Beholder as inspiration. In the game, you play with up to eight adventurers of varying species and profession, and set out on a quest to various far-off locales in search of the tablets that will help you Save the World, fighting enemies, solving puzzles, and speaking to various important people along the way. You can choose from five different beginnings, and can recruit a number of NPCs into your group as you progress. Combat is turn-based, and the game's style is highly reminiscent of old-school role-playing games, with 2D sprite graphics and MIDI music.
The game has garnered some infamy online for its comically long development cycle, having been first announced in 1997, with an October interview claiming it would be released later that same year. Schedule Slip ensued to a tremendous degree, and Blakemore missed stated release dates so frequently that many considered the game vaporware. However, on August 4, 2017, twenty years after the game's announcement, Grimoire was finally released on Steam-albeit in a somewhat flawed state. Blakemore has promised further updates to fix the bugs as well as provide a manual to explain how certain stats and abilities work. Some players have asserted they won't hold their breath.
Tropes regarding Grimoire are:
- Fantasy Character Classes: Grimoire has eleven base classes, and an additional four prestige classes.
- Faux First-Person 3D: In keeping with the games that inspired it.
- Gradual Regeneration: Your party regenerates health, mana, and vitality over time, based on their race and Metabolism score.
- Last Chance Hit Point: The "Destiny" attribute determines how likely a character is to survive an otherwise lethal hit. If it works, the character will live, but their Destiny score will permanently decrease by one, lowering the chance of it happening again.
- Massive Race Selection: There are fourteen playable races in the game; human, drow, barrower, wolfin, feyfolk, saurian, naga, drake, rhattu, leonar, aeorb, durendil, vamphyr, and giant.
- Men Are Strong, Women Are Pretty: Played straight; women start with 20% less Strength at first level, but have 20% more Fellowship, which makes it easier to deal with Non Player Characters.
- Nintendo Hard: Similar to the old Wizardry games, it doesn't pull punches.