"Dark". "Gritty". "Visceral". Such words are used in abundance these days, particularly when it comes to summarising the premise of a wondrous new fantasy world an RPG is set to boast. If you're not being mugged by bandits, you're embroiled within a political intrigue as numerous parties vie for the throne. If you're not fleeing the smoldering ruins of your hometown, you've cured your amnesia and learnt of your destined fate as The Chosen One.
But this is about Faria I: Starfall. So, let's turn this on its head!
"Happy." "Adventurous". "Pleasant". Such words are used in abundance these days, particularly when it comes to summarising the premise of this wondrous new fantasy world my RPG is set to boast. And so on and so forth...
During a blissful summer reverie many years back, a delightful thought I did conjure! "If I were to construct my very own fantasy town, what would I call it?" After much contemplation, the words "far away" became Faria. I threw a "port" before it and came up with the enchanting municipality of "Port Faria".
I pondered in euphoric merriment at what lovely, adventurous people might gather there. I wondered what the weather would be like. I even speculated what manner of cobblestones would pave its roads that were wedged between the city's magnificent promenades.
These dainty little pictures and ideas I had thought up wouldn't last long, however, as the crushing realization that such a charming world might never see the light of day began to loom. Or so I thought...
"If no one else will bring to a life a fantasy world brimming with opportunity, excitement, adventure and happiness, then I will do it myself!"
Now, that was years ago. Since then, my life has gone under a slight metamorphosis! After much changed, I found myself in a situation where I was able to revisit my curious daydream a few years prior and between the hustle and bustle of my current lifestyle, the releasing of the mediocre "Faria: Ghosts of the Stream", I have managed to chip away at the block of marble that has come to be known as "Starfall".
Everything began with that little town I envisioned, called "Port Faria". Though it has grown to become a city of remarkable commerce and it has established itself as a hub where many adventurers forge new friendships and fellowships, it only made sense to designate the rest of the kingdom "Faria" in tribute.
But what is Faria? What sets it apart? Do people just smile all the time?
To describe it succinctly, it's like taking an old jRPG and dialing the saturation levels all the way up, leaving the ugly bits and their "god-slaying, bandit-massacring, amnesiac hero" stuff at the door. Faria, at its core is "happy" but it's not without its evils.
Sown to Reap
To make Faria feel like a tangible place, it needed depth. Almost every waking moment in the past couple of years has been spent deliberating every aspect of the kingdom. Be it the geography of certain areas, the lore pertaining to the varying races and their quirks; anything you can think of, I did and continue to do!
But to make the world feel enticing, I don't just take common tropes and flip them on their head. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Every charming (and positive) trope you can think of, from your favourite high fantasy books, adventurous animes and engrossing games, you'll find much of here.
Before you shake your head and think reading this far was a waste of time, I implore you not to meander off just yet! You see, with tropes and everybody's recognition of them, it builds instant familiarity and comfort.
There are cute slimes, feral orcs, silly cat girls, voluptous demons, magic academies, boorish Dwarves I call "Nok", Humans I dub "Solarian" and gracious Elven-types I call "Aerith". It's cozy! And it's this "coziness" that helps to elucidate the sweet feelings I wish to propagate upon the players and more easily allow them to jump in and get immediately acquainted with the world I have established.
This being said, it is also used to magnify and heighten the more "freakish" elements I have hidden within the game. And from a narrative point-of-view, it's about taking these characters who are familiar with the average threats associated with such colourful worlds (corrupting miasma, anyone?) and then throwing them into situations that are as baffling and strange to them as it is for the players.
Ever since I can remember, I have been absorbed with the infinite vastness and almost terrifying emptiness of space. Yes, that black void above. Indeed, the mystic expanse of the cosmos played a big part in the creation of Faria and its deeply engrained within its DNA.
The sci-fi undertones are rather prominent and work better than you might expect. Just don't think you'll be running around firing laser guns and swinging lightsabers at any given time. First and foremost, it IS a high fantasy setting, but to draw on some extra-terrestrial elements helps to elevate the original concept and bring the narrative to greater heights as the story unfolds.
And so, that's it! I hope this serves as a brief introduction behind the thesis I have woven into the fabric of Faria. There's a lot more to come, that will cover varying aspects of the development process.
So, as cliche as this sounds; if you have genuinely read this far I thank you dearly! The road ahead is long and paved with many trials and for those who are at least remotely interested in the concept of Faria, I will try to exceed any expectations you may have reserved for Starfall.