The History (or Herstory) of the "Lost Kingdom".

When you enter the "Easter Egg Area", you might find a shelf containing some books.

These books are entitled "The Lost Kingdom", and have a story of their own.

To enlighten the origins of the "Lost Kingdom" story, I must go several years back into time.

The origin of the Larian-Forum dates back to October 1999 . I still have three copies of topics which were in the very first few days still in a grey-white colour scheme. The first of these three topics has the date 19.10.1999 (German notation), which would be October, 19th 1999 in English notation.

How actually did the Larian Forum arise ?

Um, for that I must go even deeper back into time. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/winkwink.gif" alt="" />

In Germany, there was once a roleplaying game system created. It was called "Das Schwarze Auge" (DSA in short). That was back in the first half of the 1980s. In the 1990s, a company called "Attic" released a C-RPG (Computer-Roleplaying game) using this system. Two successors followed. Until this day, these were the only C-RPGs ever released for this genuine German system.The first part had the name "Schicksalsklinge", the second "Sternenschweif", and the third "Schatten ber Riva". The third part was released late in the 1990s. All three became known as the "Nordland-Trilogie". The NLT.

A game called "Armalion", which was designated for the table-top version of DSA, also failed, because the developing company - Ikarion - went bancrupt. The remains of the game called "Armatiol" became what is now known as the game "Sacred", tghus being heavyly reworked (and leaving almost no trail of the original game).

I don't know how it came that SirTech - known for the famous "Wizardry" saga - translated and partly adapted these games. They became known as the "Realms of Arcania" series, and rumor says (I haven't been able to confirm it yet) that these games had also slightly changed DSA rules, meaning that they were not original and "pure" DSA rules.
The names of these three games were : "Blade of Destiny", "Startrail", and "Shadows over Riva" , all perfect translations of their original german counterparts. There was one change, though : The three English-language games were called "The Realms of Arcania series", whereas the German-language collection was called the "Nordland-Trilogie", meaning "Northland-Trilogy". English-language games were slightly adapted to a more international audience which did not know about the DSA system.

Only a few months ago, the DSA system was released in English language, too, so now everybody is able to take a look at it.

Attic had a Forum, in which mainly German members communicated. The Forum consisted of several parts, one for each game, and some additoal ones, too. Due to fan suggests, two parts were created which have now a deeply hitorical sense, because they never lead into a game : DSA4 and DSAO. DSA4 was dedicated to discussions about a fourth part of these C-RPG games known as the "Nordland-Trilogie", and DSAO simply meant "DSA-Online", with even less possibility to ever lead into a game. (Looking through my archive, I just see that Ralf was seemingly the first poting (and therefore "opening") the DSA4 Forum, at "03-09-98 19:08 GT 1 (DE)" .) The last in that "series" was the part "andere DSA-Computerspiele", meaning "other DSA-Computer games".

Back in 1998 or even a year earlier, I met several people there I still know. My archive , however , contains almost only topics from 1999-2001 , the last years of the Forum.

We discussed the DSA games, and many, many other things. At "15-07-99 22:03 GT 1 (DE)" Ralf began his "LOTR News" series, for example.

I don't know and / or don't remember when it began, but a company called "Larian Studios" once made a partnership with Attic. This was created for developing a game, which would use DSA rules. It was called LMK.

The game itself - as I learned much later - had originally been names "Unless, the Treachery". Somehow Larian Studios came in contact with Attic, and in conjunction with the company responsible at that time (and still now) for DSA, Fantasy Productions (FanPro in short), they changed name and game into "LMK".

"LMK" had two meanings : A German one and an English one. The German was "Legenden der Magier-Kriege", and the English was "The Lady, the Mage and the Knight". Both titles had a totally different meaning.

Because LMK did not quite fit into the DSA Universe, it was shifted into the time of the infamous "Magierkriege" (Mage-Wars). At that time, a huge war between mages went on, creating very strange creatures, spells and turning the continent of DSA into turmoil. The creatures originally created for "Unless, the Treachery" were so different, that there was a higher chance they would rather fit into the time of the "Mage-Wars". So came the two names : "Legends of the Mage Wars", and the three protagonists of the game, the "Lady, the Mage and the Knight".

At one point, Attic and Larian got problems. I don't actually *what* happened, but it resulted into a split between both partners, this leaving LMK unfinished for ever. (At least it seems so.)

Attic got *heavy* financial problems, and for Larian the split was the last chance to survive, it seems to me (after all I know). I think Attic bave the license for DSA back to FanPro, which would explain that someone of FanPro once says, that if LMK would ever see the light, it would have no license to become a DSA game. Attic was believed to go bancrupt, but some parts of it might still survive, because I've recently seen its name on some packiages of the NLT re-released by Shoebox, the publisher who originally published Gothic I in Germany.

The turmoil meanwhile these problems was noticable in the Forum, too : For a long time, Marian was the last of the company who visited the Forums, as a quasi-moderator.

Then the Forum crashed.

Once, twice.

We were left helpless within the crashing Forum (meaning the Software didn't work properly anymore), not knowing what to do to prevent further corrupting of files (topics). To me, it seemed at that time that the Forum ran out of disk space, which resulted in the software overwriting topics as it created new once. At least that's my theory now and then.

The very last days were filled with hectic, helplessness, and turmoil. We lost many Forummembers at that time. One of the last attempts to save the community - the members who got to know each other in the course of time - lead into Greyface creating his own Forum, where we could "flee" to. I am eternally thankful to him for this, because partly with this he actually saved the Community.

There we resided for a short time.

Larian Studios had somehow managed to create their own Forum, and someone posted that at Greyface's Forum.

We were glad we could go there, and decided to stay there. It was like moving into exile while leaving an sinking Atlantis behind.

So we are the elder ones.

The oldest topic of that time I have in my own archive has the date and time "19-10-99 12:47 CET" , meaning the 19th October 1999 (19.10.1999 in German notation). It was opened by Lysandra. And it had the white-gray colour scheme only few might know of. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/winkwink.gif" alt="" /> But I remember even older topics there (but only "older" in terms of days or 1-2 weeks max. ).

This Forum served for us until the middle of 2003.

Eventually we got accustomed to the new forum, seeing its coliurs swith to a dark brown and black colour scheme.

At that time, Larian began producing its own C-RPG game, which was called "Project C".

After some time and some discussions about "how it would be to do roleplaying in the Forum itself", the famous topic with the simple name "Rollenspiel" was created. It was created by Namara on "25-01-2000 12:45", meaning the 25th of January, 2000 (25.10.2000 in German notation).

"Rollenspiel" means "roleplaying", and that was our first real roleplaying topic we ever created in this Forum.

Many years later, it was in the last years of developing what had once been "Project C" and had been renamed from "Divinity - The Sword of Lies" by the publisher into "Divine Divinity", the idea arose to include the "Rollenspiel" topic into the game, parted into several books (we knew there would be books in general). At one day Bronthion (whom I knew from the Attic Forums), who was at that time working at Larian's for "Divinity", contacted my via e-mail and asked me to translate the "Rollenspiel" topic. The e-mail I still have has the timestamp of the 10th July, 2001 (10.7.2002, German notation) and was written or sent at 0.18 at night.

I'll quote here from this e-mail :

Es wird in Divinity auch Bcher geben. Sogar eine riesige Menge... Patrick
und Dante, die Storywriter, haben bereits eine ganze Reihe Bcher mit der
Historie von Divinity gefllt.

Ich m&#8221;chte jetzt zus&#8222;tzlich auch noch ein paar Bcher einfgen, die eher der
Unterhaltung dienen. Warum sollten die Bewohner der Welt von Divinity nicht
auch gerne Abenteuer-Geschichten auf ihren Nachttischchen liegen haben...

Nun kam mir der Gedanke, das Rollenspiel aus dem deutschen Larian Forum
einzubinden. Ein Fantasy-Abenteuer innerhalb einer Fantasy-Welt
(Edgar Allan Poe hat mal geschrieben: "A dream within a dream"). Ich liebe
diesen Gedanken. Ich habe mir gedacht, ich teile das ganze Abenteuer auf xx
Bcher auf und verteile sie ber die gesamte Spielwelt. Der Spieler kann sie
sammeln und komplett lesen, wenn er das wnscht.

Nun zu meinem Problem: Ich habe leider nicht die Zeit, die Geschichte ins englische
zu bersetzen. Und da Du die Geschichte ja mittlerweile quasi geerbt hast, dachte ich
da an Dich. Was sagst Du?

Ich dachte an einen Titel wie etwa "Tales of Heroes and Forgotten Kingdoms, by Alrik
Fassbauer". Im letzten Band kommt dann ein Verweis auf das Forum und alle Namen der
Leute, die mitgeschrieben haben.

Translation :

There will be books in Divinity. A lot of them. Patrick and Dante, the story-writers, have already filled a lot of books with the history of Divinity.

I want to add some more books which will rather be there designated for fun. Why shouldn't the inhabitants of the world of Divinity have some adventure stories on their bedside lockers ...

Now I had the thought to bring the Rollenspiel from the German Forum in. A fantasy adventure within a a fantasy world (Edgar Allan Poe once hat written "A dream within a dream"). I love this thought. I had imagined splitting the whole adventure into xx books and distributing them over the whole game world. The player can collect and read them, if he whishes to do so.

Now to my problem : Unfortunately I don't have the time translting the story into English. And since you more or less "inherited" the story, I had thought of you. What do you say ?

I imagined a title like "Tales of Heroes and Forgotten Kingdoms", by Alrik Fassbauer". In the last book there will be a link o the Forum and the names of all who had helped writing it.

I accepted, but soon realized that I had some time constraints.

I was still in my training as a programmer (actually an "IT-Fachinformatiker, Fachrichtung Anwendungsentwicklung"), and soon had work to do for the training, too. So I had two things to do under time pressure.

Additionally, I experienced that the "Rollenspiel" was not finished yet; meanwhile translating I also wrote the last parts of it.

That's mainly why my translation of the "Rollenspiel" remained partly cut and somewhat rough. I didn't have much experience in translating from German into English either.

I also renamed my own text into "Rescuing the Princess" which had also been the intention of the adventurers in the Rollenspiel" topic.

I sent in my translation in parts, and haven't touched it since then.

Later, Bronthion informed me that the translation couldn't be used in the game, because of cost contraints.

I'll quote from the e-mail from 29th October, 2001 (29.10.2001 , German notation) :

Ach ja, ich habe auch schlechte Nachrichten. Das "Rollenspiel" ist leider
aus dem Spiel geflogen. Die Kosten fr die Lokalisierung w&#8222;ren zu groá gewesen.
Ich habe gek&#8222;mpft wie ein L&#8221;we und immerhin einen Kompromiss erreicht. Das
Rollenspiel wird in einem versteckten Easteregg zu finden sein. Dort allerdings
immer nur in deutscher Sprache. Also ist es immer noch im Spiel enthalten. Leider
hast Du Dir die viele Mhe mit der &#353;bersetzung umsonst gemacht. Das tut mir wirklich
Leid :-( Auch Lar hat sein groáes Bedauern zum Ausdruck gebracht...

Vielleicht freut es dich aber zu h&#8221;ren, dass ich dafr Deinen Text "Windstimmen"
im Spiel untergebracht habe. Und das sogar zweimal. Einmal komplett, als Buchtext,
und dann auszugsweise, von einem Knstler auf dem Marktplatz von Rivertown
vorgetragen. Der zitiert dan auch Deinen Namen "Alrik Fassbauer". Ich musste unsere
beiden Texter aus London ganz sch&#8221;n bremsen, weil sie damit begonnen hatten, auch
Deinen Text zu "korrigieren".

Translation :
Well, I have bad news for you. The "Rollenspiel" went out of the game. The costs for localization would have been too much. I have fought like a lion and manged a compromise : The Rollenspiel will be able to be found in a hidden Easteregg. There only in German language. So it still is in the game. Unfortunately all your work with the translation was useless in the end. I'm sorry about that.

Perhaps you are pleased to hear that I placed your text "Windstimmen" in the game. Even two times. One time complete as a book, and the second time as an excerpt, recited by an artist on the market place. This one also mentiones your name "Alrik Fassbauer". I had to retard our two texters from London, because they had already begun to "correct" your text, too.

As an addition, I'll quote fromman e-mail I sent a few weeks ago :

The original RPG Topic - which later became the "Lost Kingdom" epic - *also*
used originally elements from this RPG System : Character names, classes,
peoples, even Gods.

In the text which appears in the game, however, the editor - Bronthion - had to
erase there references, because he feared it wouldn't be allowed because it had
no license for using these elements.
I tried this, too.

A seldom noticed reference to DSA is how the Elves speak in their native tongue
in Divinity : It's like how the Elves speak in DSA ! ;-) (Kind of Easter Egg,
too ;-) )

As a summary : There exist three versions of the "Lost Kingdom" epic (role-
playing text) :

- The original german-language topic with all references included
- My translation, with all references taken away
- Bronthion's german-language version, also with all references taken away, and
with the pages shuffled a bit, it seems to me. ;-)

From the original, there are two versions : The original pages I saved onto my
harddisk, and the pure text taken out of these pages into one RTF document.

The translation itself was very hard for me, a) because it was totally new to
me to translate such a text (with *lots* of rarely-used words like "chain-mail"
! ) and b) due to time constraints. I had to do it in a definitive amount of
time, meanwhile colliding with another important project I had to do during my
training as a programmer.

Well, that's the story how the "Lost Kingdom" text (or Saga) came into the game now called "Divine Divinity".

Somewhere in / on the Fan-Page of Anthea there is a sort of compiled version of
the original, german topic. Also I sent Kiya the saves of the original topic as well as my translation. If she agrees to post a link to these pages, you'll have direct access to it from here. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/winkwink.gif" alt="" />

That was the story of the origin of the "Lost Kingdom" books.

Alrik Fassbauer.

When you find a big kettle of crazy, it's best not to stir it.
--Dilbert cartoon

"Interplay.some zombiefied unlife thing going on there" - skavenhorde at RPGWatch