Although the VHEL design document describes an array of events, situations, and story specific jargon, the core objectives and goals are very straightforward and to the point. The game is centered around 2 different forms of play, each prompting their own individual modes, although the diversity does not change core gameplay components. The variety here is interesting enough without having one or more scenarios overstay their own welcome.
Nor Prime has a very unique calendar system that is based upon 4 seasons of its orbital year. Some weather conditions aren't as specific as the seasons themselves, but the general outline of the calendar is used heavily to determine the age of people and what to expect in the coming seasons. Every season contains 80 days. In all, there are 320 (earth) days in a single planetary year. Time is kept in the form of events, not numbers (view example below).
As shown, dates and time are simplified. Many contracts within the game require Khana to finish up before a particular day and event -- e.g. Rain 12 being the due date for a contract and the daytime being the cancellation period therefore afterwards. This requires the player to be responsible in the act of time management. 8 days form a traditional week in Nor Prime based upon the various faces of the moon, Eroda.
- Daytime - The middle of the day. This is the most ideal time to traverse the wastelands.
- Nighttime - The part of the day between afternoon and dusk, as daylight begins to fade. It’s appropriate to sleep during this part of the day or afterwards. At night, the wasteland is lit by luminescent flora.
Weather is a huge factor in Nor Prime. Every meteorological condition can influence the field and can even determine when and how Ragnic will spawn. There are several weather conditions that can dynamically effect the field conditions. The temperature is also in direct relation to weather conditions.
- Fine - Moderately nice weather. No environmental effect.
- Rain - Rainfall with light fog. Many areas are likely to become wet and damp. Dirt turns into mud. Ragnic encounters are more likely. (Only active in Ivara)
- Storm - Harsh stormy conditions with heavier fogging. There’s a chance that regions will flood severely, creating more waterlogged environmental conditions. There’s also a higher chance of running into more matured Ragnic as opposed to the weaker and more undeveloped ones. (Only active in Ivara)
- Snowfall - The air is extremely cold with severe fogging. Environmental conditions are basically the same as the rain weather condition. (Only active in Darmus)
- Blizzard - Harsh stormy conditions with heavier fogging. There’s a chance that regions will flood severely, creating more waterlogged environmental conditions. There’s also a higher chance of running into more matured Ragnic as opposed to the weaker and more undeveloped ones. (Only active in Darmus)
Nor Prime’s closes moon, Eroda, can be seen at any time of the day despite significant clouding of the skies. The moon directly indicates the type of weather conditions that will follow at any given time. It’s important to remember the motions of the moon and when and how it will change, to better predict Ragnic encounters and environmental changes.
Noncompetitive moments with an emphasis on preparation, story, and world oriented education. Intermissions are much slower in comparison to the high and low moments associated to the core gameplay. Here, most game play revolves around trading goods, mingling with the locals, creating new traps, and gearing up Khana for her next big contract.
- Holidays - Straightforward occasions in which a specific religion, culture, or spiritual event takes place for an entire day. Participation will often times give Khana new insights about Nor Prime’s cultural diversity. These links can be vital to new information about other characters, plot events, and areas in the world.
Requires Khana to go from one end of Nor Prime to another end, as told by Mace, Iberian, or her donors, to a respected client or delivery area, somewhere in Ivara. Contracts all have time constraints, forcing Khana to deliver her package(s) successfully without Ragnic killing her. The more successful she is, the better the rewards given to Khana for a job well done. The challenge lies in actually completing contracts prior to deadlines, surviving Ragnic encounters, predicting the weather, understanding environments, and micromanaging time itself.
Seasons play a significant role in as far as weather conditions are concerned. Each season enforces a particular condition and which also changes Ragnic territory locations. There are 4 seasons in all.
- Dry Season - Dry season is the hottest time of the year but the average temperature itself is no higher than 75*. Once the heavy snowfall ends after the cold season, the ice melts under the more present sun. Ragnic hate this season with a passion and many of them die off right before the rain season.
- Rain Season - Like the season suggest, rain is extremely abundant during this time of year. Anywhere from light rain to heavy rain, the rain season lives up to its reputation. Interestingly, the sun is out during most of this time despite the clouds blocking it. Often times, the rain coming down has a common temperature of about 70*. Ragnic are known to grow in numbers during this season since it is key to their survival.
- Storm Season - Also known as the heavy rain season in Ivara, the storm season contains a numerous amount of thunder storms and flooding in regions. Rainfall in Ivara is a lot heavier, but in places like Darmus and Marlu, its mainly light snowfall and heavy fog. The temperature is usually under 60* this time of year.
- Cold Season - The cold season is considered the most unpredictable season above all others. In Ivara, it snows, but it comes in short supply usually. In Marlu, there’s blizzards, and in Darmus, there are hail storms. Its not as brutal a season like storm season, but the conditions do force people to adapt. Luckily, this season is the only time Ragnic aren’t so active, so this often slows down the Ragnic population.