Game Concept

Chaos (ZX Spectrum) ~ Chaos is a fantasy strategy game written by Julian Gollop, who later became famous for X-Com. In it you are a wizard who battles it out against up to seven other wizards that can be both player and/or computer controlled. The last one alive wins. The game is turn based and each turn is divided in two parts. In the first you select and cast spells and movement is done in the second.
~ There are several different spells available. Some of them let you summon creatures to attack the opponent while others will improve your abilities or are offensive (like lightning) or defensive (summon castles). Summoning spells would include Centaurs and Horses, which can be mounted by the wizard and enable you to move across the playing board quickly. Spells can also be either Lawful, Neutral or Chaotic, so the chances of success increase if the wizard has the same alignment.
Concept art: A wizard ~ art source

Thesis: {¡CHAOS!} is a 3rd-person wizard dueling action game for up to eight players, in which every magic-laden battle necessarily plays out differently due to the randomized spells, maps and c h a o t i c elements occurring on the plane of Limbo, your chosen arena for such combat. Take control of your own spellslinging wizard, ascertain the possibilities of the world around you while fighting seven other master mages with your spellbook in hand, random spells on display, and try to emerge victorious as the last man standing.

Setting: ~ the variable arenas, elemental and mystical and chaotically dangerous, within the plane of Limbo – serving as the fields for magickal combat for small groups of erstwhile wizards | Infinitely high mountain peaks, Sprawling ice lakes, Abstract castles, Floating cloud arenas, Forcecagematches, etc., etc. ~ Each map is a planar arena of multiform elemental makeup – shifting and storming over time as conditions continuously change over the course of the battle…

Plains, Islands, Swamps, Mountains, Forests ~ art by John Avon
Plane of Limbo concept art ~ art source
Astral Plane concept art ~ art source

Characters & Story: Powerful wizards from across the realm gather to do battle in demiplane pockets of Limbo, dueling within the astral plane for magickal supremacy… As part of their own ancient traditions as learned spellcasters, mages, wizards, warlocks, and witches, they submit themselves to the utter chaos of dueling in Limbo – with their spellbooks shuffled and randomized, their capabilities less reliable and more volatile, their environment and opponents unknown until the exact moment of the bout’s beginning… In the ¡CHAOS!, wizards are made or unmade!

Every young wizard must submit to this ritualized combat, known simply as the “¡CHAOS!” before they can begin their career as a worldly wizard in earnest. The battles, while violent and technically “to the death”, do not require the lives of the wizards – as, with the help of the wizard academies of which they are a part, they project their Astral spirits into the plane to do battle in this way. Every young wizard must complete a definite number of bouts within CHAOS before they can graduate… You are one of these wizards. And the bombastically violent ingenuity of your very own CHAOS journey will now begin!


3rd person high action spellslinging combat ~ Primarily inspired by the mage-battling battle royale game, Spellbreak, the combat in {¡CHAOS!} is kin to such Player-versus-Player 3rd-person free-flowing jumping, dodging, running, ranged spellcasting and wizardly dueling effects. The general gameplay involves arena free-for-all duels between up to 8 wizards – all controlled by players, whose aesthetic appearance is fully customizable. These battles take place in randomized elemental maps, ranging from small, medium, to large, full of … chaotic environmental effects. The PVP bouts are planned to take less than 20 minutes to complete, with the victor being the last man standing among the 8 combatants. The gameplay is meant to be more confined to a ready arena of instantaneous contact and combat, more action-heavy, in a hardcore twitchy PVP sense – unlike the larger maps, and exploration / looting aspects of modern battle royale games, such as Spellbreak.

Concept: a duel between wizards
Concept art: the CHAOS of a free-for-all master wizard battle

At the start of a battle, each wizard spawns at equidistant points along the map – within sight of one another – facing the central arena of the environment, usually an open space surrounded by environmental factors such as mountains, hills, rivers, open air, etc. Each wizard battler has the same life points, and the same armor {or lack thereof} concerning the damage from spell effects. {All character customization is aesthetic in nature.} Spells effects, on the other hand, are not constant and will fluctuate randomly based on unseen RNG-produced ‘rolls’ {not unlike in D&D} – so for example, a fireball impact might do 50 life points or 30, depending on the internal rolling – or a force wall might withstand up to 60 points of potential damage before breaking, or 20, depending on those same RNG factors. This additional chaos with spell effects, not unlike the damage ‘rolls’ in battle royale games and their gunshot math, makes for more capricious PVP outcomes and duels – making things more chaotic {potentially frustrating, but also very satisfying}.

At the beginning of each CHAOS battle, a participating wizard’s spellbook is filled with 8 random spells, of varying power levels and cooldowns, which can be used during the battle. Depending on the custom settings – for Standard settings, this is the case – these are the ONLY spells available to each respective wizard during the bout. Each wizard, using their spellbook, will sling spells at one another – casting fireballs, summoning extradimensional beasts, countering enemy spells, and dodging the various environmental factors – until there is a last caster standing, who will emerge victorious.

EPIC MAGIC BATTLE ROYALE – Spellbreak Gameplay First Win

Randomized spellbook of cards ~ At the start of each CHAOS battle, each wizard’s spellbook – consisting of 8 castable spells of varying power, cooldown and violent or manipulative or other effectiveness – is completely randomized. This is the native effect of the plane of Limbo upon magic – no wizard can prepare themselves for the unpredictable effects of the realm – and what gives the CHAOS ritual its namesake. The spells, while random, are known {or should be! / will be, over time}, to the participating wizard. Thusly, the trick for the CHAOS battler is to quickly organize a winning strategy for their random 8-spell book and immediately start executing upon it as the battle begins… This is the primary challenge – and thrill – of {CHAOS} ~ suing for victory against seven other wizards in a free-for-all with your own caster using a set of random spells whose combination you did not plan for – but can work out as you go. There are around 100 spells in the game, with a variety of expansive effects – so that players will rarely if ever get the exact same set of spells in their book for any two games.

8-spell book example:

  • Fireball ~ big booming area-of-effect damage {Spell class: ATTACK / Cooldown: LONG}
  • Force Wall ~ a shimmering wall of defensive energy {DEFENSE / LONG}
  • Phantasm ~ illusory effect that can cause fear, panic and psychic pain in other wizards {CONTROL / MEDIUM}
  • Armour ~ temporary magic armor for a wizard’s weak and meaty frame {DEFENSE / LONG}
  • Spellblade ~ an energy sword apparates into the hand of the caster, along with the art of using it {ATTACK / SHORT}
  • Conjure Beast ~ summon a bestial spirit to aid you in your fight {ATTACK / MEDIUM}
  • Counter ~ counter or dispel another’s spell during its cast or right after it {CONTROL / LONG}
Spellbreak “fireball” concept
Concept art: a fire-mage
Concept art Elder Scrolls Legends: Magical defensive wall
Concept art: Illusion magic, a wizard generates shadow clones of themselves ~ Jace Beleren
Concept art: a wizard casting a Shield spell
Concept: Conjuration magic, a wizard summons a fiend
Concept art: Spell blade user with summoned spirit wolf companion
Concept art: a control wizard manipulates time on the battlefield
COUNTERSPELL! ~ the most powerful spell of all{?}

Classes of spell:

  • ATTACK: offensive, typically *damaging* spells that are used to reduce the life points of opposing wizards ~ typically volatile and can potentially damage the caster as well
  • DEFENSE: protective spells that defense against attack spells, redirecting or absorbing the force of spells in order to defense the caster ~ typically slower to cast, cumbersome to aim or use, and can fail or even backfire
  • CONTROL: manipulative auras and effect that work to stymie, misdirect or incapacitate spells or wizards upon the battlefield ~ they are wide-ranging spells that can cause a variety of effects, not always effective and not always benign toward the caster

100 spell ideas along the lines of 5th edition D&D spells or Pathfinder’s spell list ~ {favoring more evocative and environment-influencing spells that can be effectively captured within a 3D video game, obviously}

Concept art: A Lunar Witch ~ art source
Concept art: A control wizard ~ art source
Concept art: Wizard teamwork in a free-for-all? A viable strategy, for a spell… ~ art source

High class presentation ~ At the start of each battle, the randomization of the different attributes of the bout – primarily the 1) the map and 2) the spells within your book – are presented to the players via an aesthetically-minded showcase. For the map – an in-engine slow pan over the map’s various zones, effects, and inner chaos / the player’s spellbook {only their own and not the other wizards} is presented via animation of a deck of cards being shuffled and dealt out to the player’s screen. Once the spells are shown – about 3 seconds of time to read and recognize each – the battle begins with a countdown from 60. Each player is positioned on the battlefield, given time to see the arena and their place in it, as well as coordinate their 8 spells onto the favored spots on their individual hotbar as needed. From there, the battle begins – with the wizards determining their strategy on the fly.

Concept art: Spell card shuffle & deal animation

Fast-paced, back-and-forth – sometimes UNFAIR – combat ~ With the 8 random spells in hand, within the hands of 8 different player wizards – the combat can certainly become… chaotic, with many spell effects and PVP spell targets and AOE abilities being wielded in real-time. The flow of gameplay is meant to be fast and interactive, and sometimes even punishing, with spells being slung across the map, affecting multiple wizards at once, with slow-reacting wizards quickly dispatched or weakened to the point of an early exit from the bout. Depending on the array of spells each player wields, each battle will be faster or slower, with some wizards more apt to deal damage {Fire, ice and lightning blasts} and others set to control the battlefield {Charm effects, incapacitating spells}, others more able to dodge environmental effects or just be evasive, annoying {Haste, Fly, Teleportation, Slow, etc.}

Cooldown lengths ~ LOW = 5 seconds, MEDIUM = 10-15 seconds, LONG = 30+ seconds

Based on the randomization effects being a central tenet within {CHAOS} gameplay, the bouts are meant to be variable to the point of sometimes being unfair. Not every RNG-based collection of spells is created equal – some draws may have no damaging spells, or no way for the wizard to amply defend themselves. The random book of spells, of varying style and effectiveness, will require inventiveness from the players. For those with a lack of firepower, they will likely rely on the other wizards to do their dirty work for them, as well as the dangerous environments of Limbo…

The chaos of the environment ~ A key component of gameplay will be the environmental effects of the plane of Limbo. Necessarily chaotic and dangerous, the arenas of Limbo will require mindfulness by the wizards trying to operate their craft within them – to the point of some environments’ conditions – storms, sinkholes, volcanoes – sometimes being more dangerous than the other wizards. Wizards may take damage from these elemental effects – or just die instantly from them, such as falling off the floating maps… Some maps also may have random extradimensional portals opening, with chaos beasts and other Far Realm monstrosities emerging from the abyss to harry the players or try to devour them…

Concept art: A being emerging from the Far Realm

The environmental effects ranging from annoying to potentially lethal within {¡CHAOS!} has a two-fold purpose: 1) to speed up the matches, helping to shave off life points unto the less mindful or situationally aware players, and 2) allow for constant, ever-present victory conditions for every wizard – even those with 8 defensive & control spells, unable to deal damage to dispatch their rival wizards themselves. The environmental effects lend credence to alternative strategies – in which wizards try to put the menacing neutral summoned beasts between them and their opponents, or try to lead a chasing wizard into the eye of storm, or time it to where they take the brunt of a geothermal blast from a volatile pit upon a field full of them… The possibilities – much like with the randomization of the player’s spellbooks – are endless.

Types of environments the wizards can fight within upon the multiform plane of Limbo ~

  • Mountain ~ rocky scapes, with varied elevations | Hazards: volcano blasts, rock storms, avalanches | Summons: Wyrms, Dragons
  • Jungle ~ trees and brush, differing visibility under or over the canopy, temples | Hazards: | Summons: big cats, big apes
  • Desert ~ dunes and dunes of sand | Hazards: Sandstorms | Summons: Sand worms!
  • Swamp ~ sunken, waterlogged forestry | Hazards: Sinkholes | Summons: the undead
  • Tundra ~ unforgiving frigid landscape | Hazards: Ice lakes | Summons: Wild yeti
  • The Abyss ~ platforms of metal, bone and carbon, affixed above the infinite darkness of The Abyss… | Hazards: The Abyss | Summons: Demons
  • Pure Limbo ~ RANDOM effects from all zones of the plane, all elements and all summons ~ typically bouts on ruined castles and temple spaces suspended in the ethereal energized airs of Limbo… Being within the aura of Pure Limbo causes random spell effects sometimes – you and the other wizards may experience additional positive or negative effects from the casting of their spells.
Concept art: “The Shattered Fortress” ~ art source
Concept art: Fiding in Limbo ~ art source
Concept art: A bridge over The Great Abyss
Concept art: The chaos of LIMBO
Wild Magic surge table – “Wild Fire” ~ from D&D 5E // Example effects from dueling within an arena of Pure Limbo

Customize your ¡CHAOS! ~ As an online PVP arena battler, every server is subject to custom settings concerning all relevant aspects of play: number of players, number of viable spells in the spellbook – whether or not ALL are designated as random or if a player can secure X number of spells as ‘signature’ spells always in the book, the % randomness of environmental effects and summons on the maps, the damage and cooldown ratios of the various spells, whether or not players can randomly roll the *same* spells in their spellbooks or if all spells must be unique to a bout, etc.

Additionally, each player’s character models can be fully customized, including face, gender, clothing or armor, markings and trinkets, sigil designs, etc. All purely aesthetic in nature.

Concept art: A wizard with both frost and fire spells readied ~ art source

Competitive Online Leaderboards – Meant to be a competitive and action-packed playing – and viewing – experience, {¡CHAOS!} features robust online leaderboards, with records for specific spellbook combinations, map Win-Loss records, ‘play of the game’ style replays of specific moments ~ such the final winning spell damage, a neutral environmental factor or monstrous creature intervening to wipe out the last player, etc. ~ as well as full match replays of bouts to be watched to ascertain opposing strategies, and potentially online tournaments between professional wizards.

Concept art: the final two wizards face off ~ on casting a high level energy spell attack upon the other, currently a true-polymorphed dragon ~ art source

Inspirations ~



CHAOS ~ Chaos is a fantasy strategy game written by Julian Gollop, who later became famous for X-Com. In it you are a wizard who battles it out against up to seven other wizards that can be both player and/or computer controlled. The last one alive wins. The game is turn based and each turn is divided in two parts. In the first you select and cast spells and movement is done in the second.
Up to 8 wizards can compete
The “Bear” spell attributes
CHAOS gameplay ~ “gooey blobs and fires spreading all over the screen. to mount a winged creature in this crisis can be very advantageous against other opponents.”

Endgame: {¡CHAOS!} promises to be just that! — a tensely competitive and fun arena battler between 8 wizards ~ and requisitely master strategists ~ who unlike a Chess Grandmaster, must continuously develop ideal tactics with new piece combinations for every single bout. Cast your chaotic, adventitious spellbook unto the voids of this arcane tradition, within and around your wizardly opposition, vying for victory within the impossibly random realms of Limbo, such as your wizardly forefathers demand! For your training and for their {our} amusement…

Concept art: some final wizard fuckery! ~ art source