Elder Scrolls modders are crowdfunding their own RPG about bears and spirit animals

A group of Elder Scrolls modders have banded together to make Witanlore: Dreamtime, an action RPG about humanoid bears called Ursines and their spirit totem animals. The Druid Gameworks team—who were previously responsible for popular Oblivion mods such as Kvatch Rebuilt and Reclaiming Sancre Tor—put their game on Steam Early Access in January but have hit some financial trouble that could derail the project. So they've turned to Indiegogo, searching for around $135,000.

The focus of Dreamtime is very much on role-playing, with non-linear dialogue, lots of side quests, choices to make that the team promises will have meaningful consequences and even a dedicated 'RP menu' where you can smoke, fish, make camp or give gifts to NPCs. The final game will have a fully open world, but the Early Access version is so far limited to one region that contains the first five chapters of the main story. You play a young Ursine who is quickly "swept up in the chaos of an ancient battle for power, the outcome of which hinges on your decisions and a weapon that could lead us all to salvation or ruin".

The totem mechanic sound interesting: as well as customising your own Ursine you get to choose a spirit totem animal from a list of 13, including a bison, a fox and an otter. The animal will accompany you on your journey, and you summon it to give you a hand during fights (of which there will be many) or to help you solve puzzles. You can level it up to grant certain buffs.

Dreamtime looks suitably ambitious for a team that love the Elder Scrolls series, with companions to recruit, a stealth system, multiple combat options (including archery) and race-specific items. Steam reviews are mostly positive, although there are a fair few bugs (which is to be expected in an Early Access game, I guess).

Alongside the base game, which should be complete in the next eight months if the team get enough funding, Druid Gameworks plans to release four DLC episodes with their own quests and items.

The game costs £4.99/$6.99 on Steam, and the finished version will cost $19.99. You can get it for less if you back it on Indiegogo: $5 will get you a copy, and if you go above that there's lots of goodies up for grabs.