Fernweh Saga (Initial Demo: 1 June 2021)

Hello! I hope you’re doing well and staying safe. :slightly_smiling_face:

I am working on the interactive fiction Fernweh Saga (technically it is Fernweh Saga: Book 1) that will be the first entry in a series of books. Currently, the word count excluding code for the project is 155k words there is no set end word count since I plan to write/fill the outline as I go without restriction. I am finishing up Chapter 5 at the moment.

The initial demo is 81k words excluding code and is from the Introduction to Chapter 3. You will be able to start learning about the town of Fernweh, meet the ROs, and start realizing that something is amiss in the town.

Fernweh Saga is a character driven, romance focused, interactive fiction with slow-build horror elements that unravel as you move deeper into the plot.

Synopsis

~Some homecomings feel more like rude awakenings, but this one will become a waking nightmare…~

You return to the small town of Fernweh after the death of your grandfather, which is ironic because you were explicitly sent away from the town by him following the tragic death of your parents in a house fire. It’s been several years since you left. Returning isn’t something that you had considered, but the vague letter you received about tying up loose ends was on fancy stationary and looked official enough.

What was supposed to be a quick trip to collect personal belongings and sign some legal documents soon spirals into a grim mystery when you learn of the odd circumstances surrounding your grandfather’s death and start experiencing vivid nightmares.

Familiar faces are all around; you know some of them as former childhood friends, rivals, or neighbors, but they may become current allies as you all try to unravel what exactly is going on in this small, seemingly idyllic, forested town.

A feeling of unease grows with each sleepless night spent within Fernweh’s borders, but you can’t leave yet…

It won’t let you.

Features
  • Play as a man, woman, or non-binary person with the ability to customize your sexuality, fashion style, physical features, room theme, etc.
  • Allow your personality, habits, decisions, and relationships to influence how you face-off against what lurks within Fernweh like in a horror film/book.
  • Experience different types of romantic burns and tropes (rivals to lovers, friends to lovers, unrequited love (or is it…?), no strings attached, and more) alongside different types of horror (dread, cosmic, supernatural, survival, and more) as you progress through the series.
  • Develop ‘something’ (the choice is yours) with the 4 romance options; there are 5 romance routes that are fully integrated into the plot.
  • Create friendships and relationships with the main cast of characters that are tracked by different point systems.
  • Understand your past, your parents’ death, and what really happened to not only your family, but to you .
  • Add to (or take away from) an inventory system that will impact/unlock certain choices later in the game. Clues, weapons, odd items, etc.
  • Discover that there are more than just small town politics at play; factions will remember how you treat them and may help or hurt you in the future books. (Book 1 is about hints/discovery, while we learn more in Book 2.)
  • Fight, resist, flee, struggle, or adapt to face whatever is invading your nightmares and the town; there is more to it than a boring ole’ monster… Much more .
Romance Options

[The ROs are open to all players and their genders are set by your preference.]

[More information can be found about each RO on their accompanying aesthetic and on my Tumblr]

>Becca/Beckett Warrick (RO Aesthetic)

-Current friend of the MC

:heart: Personality: Someone who naturally tends to fret or worry over things because they mean well and overthink; B is your friend who didn’t want you to make the trip out to Fernweh alone. A realistic, borderline pessimistic viewpoint tends to be taken, but they will always try to reassure and assist their friends no matter their own assessment of the problem. They don’t know what to expect from the town, but are loyal, hesitant, sometimes goofy, and will remain close by your side for as long as you will let them…

:heart: Appearance: Expressive hazel eyes. Wavy light brown hair (Beckett’s hair is cut short with natural wave, while Becca’s is medium length). Olive skin with a golden undertone. Somewhat athletic build. Tends to have an earnest expression that may allude to some caution, but a tentative half-smile often curves their lips. An unassuming posture; sometimes fiddles with their hair or hands as an outlet for nerves.

>Sofia/Silas Dorran (RO Aesthetic)

-Former neighbors with the MC

:spades: Personality: ‘Wait and see’ characterizes their approach to most things, since assessing and learning more is what is preferred before making effort and getting invested; however, once they decide to be invested, actions that defy logic and reason will be considered to protect the ones they care for. Their keen intellect is often made that much sharper by their dry sarcasm. No stranger to hard work, S helps out their mother at the B&B and is the type to assist without being asked. Your sudden return to Fernweh is unexpected and new in a way that S isn’t quite sure how to approach…

:spades: Appearance: Dark brown eyes. Long ebony hair that has been braided with care; a few lengths have been dyed a deep cerulean blue. Dark brown skin. Lanky, willowy build. Tends to school their features with cool neutrality, though there is often a natural curiosity and inquisitiveness to how they look at things. Relaxed, unbothered posture.

>Ruby/Reese Verner (RO Aesthetic)

-Former playground rivals with the MC

:diamonds: Personality: ‘I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it’ is applicable. Playful, arrogant, calculating, but also charming, perceptive, and sometimes well-meaning, R can leave people off-balance and uncertain of where they truly stand with the Verner heir. Their mischievous smirk can just as quickly turn into a frosted over, sharp smile once they are crossed. They have an irreverence for the tradition that they were strictly brought up within. Your return to Fernweh is viewed as a potential diversion from the stuffy business meetings, glitzy parties, and small town politics that they must deal with, though R’s interest may go beyond that…

:diamonds: Appearance: Pale blue eyes. Sleek platinum blond hair that is styled with some sort of product (Reese’s hair is crew cut and styled back, while Ruby’s is long length). Fair borderline pale skin. A runner’s build toned without extra muscle. Tends to have a proud set to their lips, not quite a smirk or a smug smile, but amused at what is happening around them that they are above. Perfect, elegant posture.

> Jane/James Corvin (RO Aesthetic)

-Former childhood friends with the MC

:clubs: Personality: ‘All work and no play’ could characterize J alongside a strong sense of what is right and wrong. They take their job seriously because they do care about the town and the people within it and don’t want to mess up as the Detective. That care—that conscientious—that protectiveness extends to you, so your return to Fernweh is something that was marked on their calendar, though they wish it was under better circumstances…Intense and unwavering with a carefully guarded softness, they stand by their choices and those they care about, though sometimes that is at the cost of what they want.

:clubs: Appearance: Intense green eyes more often than not accented by faint dark circles from sleeplessness. Medium length, raven hair often restrained by a hair tie (James’s hair is jaw length, while Jane’s is closer to shoulder length). Faintly tanned skin, more so sun kissed. Well-built and muscular, broad shoulders. Tends to have a severe or serious expression that can unintentionally intimidate. Tense posture with arms often crossed.

Warnings

~Romance and building relationships are the focus, but there are elements of horror, so please be aware of that.
~The story either contains or may contain at some point:
-Violence, death, references to a house fire, mild cursing, mentions of alcohol usage and sleep aids/drugs, and other mature or dark themes.

DEMO Link: The Demo

-As of 1 June 2021: 81k words excluding code, Introduction to Chapter 3.
[Hints about the twists are throughout the initial demo, but are furthered in Chapters 4 and 5; you may be able to figure some out prior to then. If not, consider this a heads up that there is more to come.]
-Next Update 15 July 2021, possibly earlier: approx. 36k words, Chapter 4.
-My random word teasers give you hints about the upcoming chapter, though my tumblr will also include more hints, possibly aesthetics, and relevant posts as we get closer to the date.

Random Word Teaser for Chapter 4

Cabin exploration, the ( partial ) truth, carving, ‘let’s split up’ said no one ever, cake, searching x 2, and into the woods you go.

Tumblr Link: lacunafiction tumblr blog

-I have both formal and informal updates, inspo posts, aesthetics, and an open ask box on Tumblr.

FAQ Link: FAQ

-A link to the Tumblr FAQ that I will update as needed with general questions from there or from here.

I would be happy to answer any questions you may have and welcome feedback both on my Tumblr (lacunafiction) and on the COG forum page. Typos or errors/comments/questions can also be submitted to: lacunafiction@gmail.com.

Thank you for trying my work-in-progress game. Best wishes to you! :smiley:

292 Likes

So much content already? And all the romance tropes, I’ll definitely be checking this out!

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Hi! :slightly_smiling_face: Thank you for your kind words. I’ve always enjoyed playing romance games, so it is fun to do my own spin on some of my favorite tropes. I hope you enjoy it.

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This was a really great read and so much for a first demo! You did such a good job at setting up the mystery and slowly building sense of unease, I’m really looking forward to seeing what you do going forward!

The only critique I really have at the moment is that some sections are a little long on mobile view and end up feeling sort of wall-of-text-ish. You might want to break that up a little more if it’s possible to do so without disrupting the flow.

I also thought the character interactions were well done and that their individual voices really stood out. And I am in love with the way that the role on the stat screen is changing at certain points. Definitely going to be watching this :eyes:

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This is such a great work! there were little to no mistakes or errors with the code and the characters actually feel alive, which is NOT an easy feat at all (at least for me)! I can’t wait to see more!

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Loving it. Keep up the good work.

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Oh, interesting one. Slightly creepy and intriguing. I love “slow-burn horror” so I’m all in favor of that. Not to mention I also love horror + romance stories. Always the perfect mix!
Not to mention, the game does that thing I adore, where the stats screen updates along the story, to reflect weird things happening in nightmares and so on!

I like all of the characters so far, though clearly, my chosen RO is J. I’m a bit sad there’s no romance options at all with them so far, but eh, I guess they’ll be there in the next chapter, so that’s fine! I mean, there were two choices that added to the romance points - the candle one and the nightmare one, but no conversation choices, that’s what I mean!

That being said, I noticed a few things that may be errors or simply things that bothered me a bit:

"Acquaintances" screen:

I would make it so the characters would appear as the player meets them, on the “Acquaintances” screen, to avoid spoilers for people who want to go into the story blindly but who also check everything the stat screen has to offer from the get go. It’s a minor issue though - or more like a personal preference - and it IS justified by the fact MC knows them all from start anyway.

In J's office:

When seeing J’s office, the condition for one of the dialogues to trigger is “*if ((friendly <= 36) or (cooperative >= 70))”
Shouldn’t it be “friendly >= 36” in this case, since that bit of flavor text is all about cooperationa and asking for help? :thinking:

In chapter 2, during a dream sequence:

There’s that part: “You blink and two have become at least six and then a dozen, if not more. The change causes you to sink a little more into the couch cushions”
What about sinking into the couch cushions? My MC was near a sink (pun not intended :rofl:), planning to remove a piece of paper from it, so I don’t really know where the couch comes from. I mean, there was that couch at the beginning of the dream, but I don’t recall MC being on it at that moment? Unless I’ve missed something, in which case disregard, and I’m sorry!
It’s also mentionned on the next page btw: “You are off the couch and away from the large bay window in a matter of seconds, but each and every one counted against you like strikes.”

Inventory:

There are no commas, line breaks or anything between the items to separate them: “Car keys Cellphone Grandfather’s keys Walkie talkie”

That’ll be all I think!
It’s a very cool stat, and I’ll be waiting for more! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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All of the ROs are great and interesting! It’s difficult to choose one ; _ ;
Great work so far! Looking forward for the next update :))

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Dang, there are so much words count and details already for a new wip!
I love the aesthetics section, it help me to ge the “vibe” of each character.
Gotta play it right now.

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That second nightmare has made me anxious but that’s a good thing, I think. I will be watching your career with great interest :eyes:

Also love triangle route best route as always

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It’s not a love triangle its a poly they’ve confirmed.

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WAIT WHAT? That’s even better, I am living.

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May I ask the ages of the MC and the RO’s?

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Frenweh, which roughly translates to “far sickness” the opposite of “homesickness”. Just in case you weren’t sure how much the MC just WANTS TO LEAVE! Anyways, clever use of the word, can’t wait to read!

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You know that candle scene makes a lot more sense with the context of poly :joy:

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It is a very interesting story so far. Keep up the good writing, it looks like a very good concept.

Couldn’t help it feeling a little like Nancy Drew, can’t wait to unravel the mystery.

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Does the “4 ROs, 5 routes” mean that we can romance the 4 ROs individually and/or 2 of them in poly? Just to confirm if the poly one is the only option for those characters or we can romance everyone individually :ok_hand:

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The only poly is for R and J was confirmed.

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So far so good I absolutely love the story and the characters! Very excited for this one

And also very excited for a Ruby and Jane romance route

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