The game begins in the medieval free City of Orden.
At the heart of the city is a huge industrial Machine built by an ancient, unknown, technologically advanced, long-lost Civilization that provides clean water to the entire city and its surrounding farmlands. With no natural Rivers in the region the City of Orden built up over centuries wholly reliant on the Machine for this essential natural resource.
At the time the game takes place the City has recently signed a Peace Agreement allowing it self-governance and codifying trade agreements across the continent. This is perhaps the most prosperous and peaceful time the City has ever known until, without warning, tragedy befalls them...
The free and independent City of Orden - the ancient machine lies in the very center of the city and the Hub can also be seen in the bottom right
Inexplicably, the water the Machine pumps out becomes corrupted, poisoning both man and crop alike. The workings of this ancient machine are far beyond the knowledge of any engineer or scholar of the modern age and so the City suffers…
In the aftermath of this calamity many leave the city but many more haven't the means to travel while others fear the reception they would receive as refugees in surrounding states and free cities they were until recently at war with. There are also a stubborn few who simply refuse to leave the only home they've ever known and are prepared to wait it out. With a populace suffering and facing the potential absolute destruction of this great city the priority becomes fixing the Machine at any cost.
City workers dig tunnels to try to reach its innermost workings - as they dig deeper than ever before they make an extraordinary discovery. The greatest archaeological finding in all recorded history!
Below Orden lies another City, now an ancient and crumbling ruin it is still clear that whoever built it possessed technology utterly unknown to the modern age - this Ancient City is contained within a giant dome below the earth which the Machine sits at the very top poking out the surface.
While this incredible find galvanizes the effort to fix the Machine, initial forays into the Ruined City prove catastrophic. The Ruined City is still inhabited, but not by anyone that can be reasoned or communicated with - its people are now mindless husks, horribly mutated, unnaturally powerful and savagely violent, they attack anyone venturing into the City, all but wiping out the initial exploratory parties.
Still believing the only hope for the city is to unlock the mysteries of the Machine a call goes out to warriors and adventurers to brave the depths and fight their way through the ancient horrors. This is where the game begins - the player character has answered the call and must face the monstrosities below.
The above exposition will be delivered in a single opening cinematic with a narrated voice-over - this will be the only cinematic cut-scene in the game.
Much of the lore that is available to discover here relates to the past civilization that built the Ancient City, its accomplishments, its fables and its telling (or re-purposing) of its history. Clues can be found in the form of item descriptions, boss dialogue and talking to NPCs who have made interesting discoveries of their own. This will be a far from straightforward uncovering of the past however, there will be conflicting accounts of events written by opposing sides in a conflict and there will be significant omissions in information available – an unmistakably “true” picture of this ancient time will never be possible to create, instead players can speculate, embellish and debate on this lost age.