The Inspirations Behind Coddlesworth’s Clockwork Circus

In 1991, Strategic Simulations published Neverwinter Nights, the first multiplayer online RPG. Not a true MMORPG (like Warcraft), it was a pivotal release in advancing MMORPGs as a medium and featured a gameplay style that can still seen in many third-person persepctive RPGs today..

In 2002, Bioware (Mass Effect, Dragon Age) and Obsidian Entertainment (Fallout: New Vegas, The Outer Worlds) teamed up to release their version of Neverwinter Nights. This time, however, their major contribution was the release of an internal toolset that allowed the end user to craft their own locations, populate them, and run their own adventures. Communities formed around various server concepts, not the least of which included ‘A Land Far Away’ with the stated goal of recreating the entirety of the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting across a host of servers, with seamless transitioning between various locations.

What really made this amazing, however, was the DM Interface. You could log on as a player, or the server host could grant certain players DM access. Suddenly, we had persistent servers hosting 50 or more players during peak hours and a cadre of DMs running ongoing and interweaving stories. It was absolutely brilliant.

Of course, time goes by and the most recent release of Neverwinter is a fully realized MMORPG and a great game, but it doesn’t, and can’t recreate that feeling of an ongoing, personal story that responds completely to your actions. By 2013, eleven years after release, only the most ardent supporters were still playing Neverwinter Nights and trying to get an application that old working properly, along with mods that were specific to each server, made it far too much work.

But those eleven years were absolutely fantastic for a deep immersion roleplayer, and nothing since has made such an impact. After over a decade of legendary storytelling, we moved on.

Of course, some things were left unfinished and imagining how those stories would have play out became a common insomnia inducing activity. As time had its way with memories, stories began to meld together, characters crossed into other adventures, and new stories began to emerge.

Eventually, an entire story revealed itself, lacking only a setting.

It was a love of steampunk and Shadowrun that brought together many of themes that make up the world of Kealaphus, the aesthetic of the former merging with the idea of returning magic from the former created the basic idea and from there the cosmology of the world grew, from the disposition of deities to the realization of other planes of existence. Bringing it all together in a world where everything makes sense has been absolutely rewarding and we know that this story is one you’ll enjoy.


-Danny Oliver, Creator