Frostborn Wrath: Story and Speculation

As a so-called “lost chapter”, Gemcraft: Frostborn Wrath is a side-story in the Gemcraft setting, with a different protagonist: a wizard who has been frozen in ice for years, possibly centuries, and who is awakened at the story’s start by a mysterious thaw. This nameless wizard has a different perspective than our familiar nameless wizard. He remembers the Forgotten. He remembers the time before, when the wizards were engaging in increasingly daring and dangerous rites to bind demons to their will. And he warned them. He warned them all, and they didn’t listen. He explores the aftermath not just as the ruins of a bygone age, but as the desolation of his own world.

None of this has any real effect on the gameplay. You’re still doing the same things, working your way through a branching series of battlefields, setting up gem-powered defenses to slaughter waves of incoming monsters before they can destroy your “Orb of Presence”. But the expository text keeps reminding us of his perspective. When he starts encountering Apparitions, and we’re told that they’re the ghosts of wizards slain by the Forgotten, there’s an unstated “These were my brothers. That could have been me up there, drifting aimlessly over the world, awaiting release.”

But of course he was awaiting release, just in a more literal sense. And that makes me wonder about him. The Gemcraft series loves ironic endings where all your efforts throughout the game turn out to be either wasted or actively harmful.

Apparitions aren’t the only ghosts. I’ve talked about the Shadows before, although I haven’t encountered any in this game. There are also also Spectres, explained here as wizards who remember enough to know that gems are important, and who thus try to steal them from your towers. And new to this game are Wraiths, described and depicted as ghosts that are somehow made of flesh. They circle the battlefield like vultures, increasing the damage resistance of all monsters until you shoot them down.

Maybe the ironic twist is that the player character actually didn’t survive the apocalypse. That he’s undead and doesn’t know it. A ghost from the ice. Frostborn wraith.

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