Spiderweb Software has announced Avernum: Escape From the Pit (http://www.avernum.com/avernum/index.html), the first chapter in an indie fantasy role-playing saga for the Mac. It’s due for release in the fourth quarter of 2011; pricing hasn’t been announced.

Here’s how the game is described: “Avernum: Escape From the Pit is the tale of desperate exiles and their battle for survival and a land to call their own. You have been banished to the underworld, never to see the light of day again.

“The surface is ruled by the cruel Emperor Hawthorne, master of the Empire. All of the known lands are subject to his brutal command. Everyone who speaks out, who misbehaves, who doesn’t fit in is cast into the dark, volcanic pits of Avernum, far below the surface. There, you are expected to die, a victim of starvation, horrible monsters, or simple despair.

“But not all of the Avernites have surrendered. With magic and steel, they are forging a new nation deep underground. You can join them and fight for safety. Or freedom. Or even, if you dare, revenge on the surface-dwellers who tried to destroy you.

“Avernum: Escape From the Pit is an epic fantasy role-playing adventure in a unique and deadly world. Fight to complete up to three game-winning quests. Explore a massive nation of tunnels and caverns, seeking out eighty towns and dungeons. Master over 50 spells and battle disciplines and hunt for hundreds of magical artifacts. Avernum: Escape From the Pit is a total, ground-up rewrite of the last century’s Indie hit Avernum.”