Fernweh Saga (Update: 8 July 2021) [Demo: 119k words]

@Isi_Talks Aw, thank you! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

@Sheaon13 I think writers can notice or pick up on different things by nature of having experience writing, so I see your point there. I will look back over the scene to see if there is a way to improve the readability of it when I have some free time. Thank you!

@SparklyNicole @Isabella_Taylor Oh, that is a neat theory and it seems a few other readers may also agree with it. :smiley: I won’t say one way or the other, though a lot of your grandfather’s fireproofing was a result of the tragedy that befell your childhood home and parents so…Hmmm? I like how you picked up on how quickly the MC was made to leave the town. We shall have to wait and see, but I’m glad y’all are thinking about it!

Yes, please feel free to suggest music on the forum too. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: I check both, but have quite a few asks in my inbox that I’m working through, so having some comments/questions/suggestions on here would be great as well. It may be easier to sort/address them. No worries about being an annoyance; I love that you’re thinking about the characters and appreciate the music suggestions since my own music taste isn’t that varied. :musical_note:

You’re welcome and thank you for taking time to play the demo! I’m so happy that you replayed the cabin scene so many times.

@Lea_Boucher Awesome! I’m glad you found the chapter so immersive.

I like how you described the JR route–‘learning’ and ‘discovery’ does characterize it with the MC helping to act as a bit of a catalyst, though the three of them are on even footing. I don’t want it to ever feel like the MC is third wheeling or that R and J are simply both interested in the MC and have no interest in each other, since that seems hallow and potentially a little fanservice-y, imo. The poly route is a very much mutual (though it takes time for feelings to be acknowledged, etc.), so thank you for saying it feels more like a unit or team than the MC being an intrusion or the focal point. B is rather sweet and precious; I’m glad you’re enjoying them. I tend to see a lot of R-mancers and J-mancers on Tumblr; I’m happy all the ROs have interested readers. :slightly_smiling_face:

Thank you! I want the choices to feel and read as true narrative choices instead of flavor text or a brief paragraph change, which requires more writing; however, my hope is that this style is more rewarding for readers.

The journal was a change for me, since I don’t usually write in first person and tried to think about how someone would write in a diary/log. Adding the choice element was fun. There are many clues in the cabin; that may or may not be one of them. I can’t say too much about the dog, but there is a chance we may be seeing her before the first book is over with…Your MC taking an interest may help with that.:wink:

Lol, I’m sorry! I wanted a suspenseful ending after all the cabin exploration. Hopefully Milton isn’t going to turn up like a candy cane, but who knows…(Okay, I know). You and your MC may discover some things in the woods.

Thank you! I plan to post the weekly update after I do this reply post. I started on Chapter 6 this morning (my timezone), but will try to balance the writing with social media and irl stuff. I’m touched that you can see the effort that goes into the chapter! Best wishes. :green_heart:

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Weekly Update: 9 July 2021

I hope you’re doing well and staying safe.:green_heart:

The following for Fernweh Saga and the blog has increased over the last week, so ‘hello’ to all of you and thanks for your support! :blush:

> Here is a more specific update regarding what I have been doing:

- I’ve been answering/queuing asks on Tumblr alongside replying to comments/theories on this thread. I appreciate your patience and interest.

- I updated the game yesterday! :sparkles: The update post is just a few posts above this one, if you want to check it for a sneak peek at what is in store within the chapter. The demo link is in the first post.

- Thank you for your comments and kind words relating to Chapter 4. I will be answering those over time because I am trying to give people a chance to play/re-play the demo before I get into spoiler territory, though the blur feature on the forum is super helpful with that aspect.

- I also posted a skin tone palette for the ROs: here , if you are curious or would like it as a reference.

-I have B ’s playlist mostly finished and wanted to post it tonight, but I am not certain if I can get their aesthetic all done. There is a possibility for tonight. If not, expect it in the next few days. Their playlist is: here.

-I started writing on Chapter 6 this morning! :smiley: You will get to meet A (J’s sibling) in this chapter. I’m excited to get to that section due to all the variations (e.g. past relationship with them, who you’re romancing, how you respond to them now, etc.) and because A has a really unique personality, imo. I can’t wait for you to meet them.

An emphatic thank you for all your support and kindness. :green_heart: Best wishes!

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> Long Form Descriptions of Characters

Please find the easier to read and navigate Google Doc: here or if you want to look at it on Tumblr here is the post that is not quite as organized…

Hi All,

I hope you’re doing well! :green_heart: As promised and requested, here are the long form physical descriptions for the characters. I mentioned their faces, body types, some unique traits to them, and did a little bit of fashion.

Shorter descriptions can be found in-game on the stats page and on the character aesthetics; reading this isn’t needed to have an idea of them.

I posted this on Tumblr and wondered if people on the Forum may also find it useful to get a better idea of how I envision the characters. I was going to post the sections for each RO here, but didn’t want to add 20+ links to this thread, so I am giving links to the doc and the post for you to look at if you like.

This document is meant to provide inspiration/baselines and not dictate your imagination.

I was also wondering how to better increase engagement on here? I think the last forum discussion I really participated in related to Fox of Sunholt and that was us talking about which character caught our interest. It has been a while, so the forum may have changed since that time with what is discussed or what should be spoken about. I would be open to any advice!

On Tumblr, people tend to ask me for reacts, facts, etc. about the characters/environment.

I have a few user-experience based questions that may be better answered by those on the Forum, since I get the impression y’all are more used to coding and stats compared to those on Tumblr, though I could be wrong.

With the Chapter 4 update, I took @Paradox1’s really great advice with how friendship points are earned so as to not have them consistently linked to personality responses. Who you sit with on the car ride to the cabin gives a bump to friendship, since it is a choice you make about who you want to be near. Who you pick to assist you with taking out the pictures in the cabin, which I believe I made clear in the text with ‘offering a friendly, helping hand’, also gives an increase, etc. Those are just two examples that I feel improved the game. There will be more friendship scenes as we progress through the series and more opportunities to deepen those bonds.

Thank you! :slightly_smiling_face:

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Hello!

I think a similar avenue can be pursued here as well. A deeper discussion regarding the nature of the characters and how they appeal to us individually will increase our perception of them and people can give their viewpoints on which one of them better appeals to them and why.
Also, who is the preferred RO for everyone and why?
And, maybe, theories behind the mystery that surrounds Fernweh and what’s out take on it?

I have to mention, I really loved the cabin exploration scene in the new update. Especially, the immersion and pacing. It was perfect. I must also mention the atmosphere and the gravity of the scene was much to my liking; a fine thread between comfortable and eerie uncertainty.

That will surely improve personalization wrt the RO’s and as you said, the bonding and understanding between the MC and the RO’s. Also, I feel it will enhance how I visualise the RO’s as individuals rather than NPC’s placed in the game to serve a function.

The character info looks detailed haha I can’t imagine the amount of work and time that went into that. Much appreciated. It may not seem much, but these little things, bonding with the RO’s, our perception of them based on our personalized interactions help strengthen the ‘material’ of the story, much like applying seasoning to a dish to enhance its appeal. Immersion and pacing are important but these minute details matter too in the long run. I’m sure you will be fairly rewarded with huge success for the story by integrating all these changes.

Keep up the good work🍻

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Just finished the demo, and I’m definitely looking forward to more :slight_smile:

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@Paradox1 Hi! Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. :green_heart: I appreciate your thoughts on the matter and will likely try pursuing some of those suggestions.

I really like the seasoning of a dish analogy you mentioned that can help tie together, if not uplift, the rest of the meal’s components.

I am so happy you enjoyed the pacing of the cabin scene! ‘Eerie uncertainty’ is a great descriptor. Adding bits like how the fire place was shuttered, how those boots will never be worn again, and how the living room did not experience much life were intentional on my part to add some creepiness, but not outright horror. Balancing the heaviness with the character interactions was my hope, so thank you for mentioning that! :blush:

Lol, yeah, the descriptions took hours, but I really wanted to stress that the characters are viewed a certain way in my head. Finding bits of their features across real life people took some time; however, I’m glad that it can serve as a useful reference.

Thanks again! Wishing you the best. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

@BlackJimmy88 Hello! Oh, that’s awesome to hear. We will be getting some action next chapter. Thank you for playing the demo too. :smiley:

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I played the first demo because I was bored and it was summer, and then I became completely enthralled by the story, and played through it several times.

I also loved the new update, especially getting to choose who interacted with us at almost every discovery in the cabin. I always hate it in games when it feels like the only thing binding the characters together is the MC, and the options to interact with the characters in pairs really gave us a feel for how the characters interact with each other, so we’ll done.

I also lived how reading our grandfather’s journal have us lots of places to customize our MC. Usually with games in a series it takes me the whole first book to really get a feel for my MC, but that journal scene was giving me plenty of ways to start to get a feel for them earlier.

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You mentioned somewhere about friendship points being implemented during the recent update.

Is there a good way to go about getting those? Like, should we spread out who’s scenes we aim for, or should we zero in on certain characters to maximise friendship? And do they effect romances at all?

Am I overthinking this?

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Weekly Update: 16 July 2021

I hope you’re doing well and staying safe.:green_heart:

The following for Fernweh Saga and the blog has increased over the last week, so ‘hello’ to all of you and thanks for your support! :blush:

> Here is a more specific update regarding what I have been doing:

- I’ve been answering/queuing asks on Tumblr and the occasional question on here. I appreciate your patience and interest.

- It has been about a week since the Chapter 4 update; I’ve been getting asks/messages from people who have recently found the game so I’m glad to hear that. Hopefully more people learn about it.

- I created a post that mentioned the long form descriptions of the characters. You can scroll up some or find it linked in the very first post on the thread under the Romance Options tab.

- I have S ’s playlist all done and will link the Tumblr post to it that has links to the Youtube/Spotify playlists: here.

- I still need to finish reading back through 5, but it’s such a long chapter that I am taking breaks from edits with writing and vice versa. :smiley:

- Total word count excluding code is now over 200k . I’m still working on Chapter 6 and focusing on the variations in the A interactions currently before moving to fill the rest of my outline. I know there has been some anticipation about meeting them, so I went back and added some coding/variations to make it more fun…Some things may be unexpected and others might not. Hmm. :eyes:

An emphatic thank you for all your support and kindness. :green_heart: Best wishes!

Mini Question for you all that may be fun.

I assume that you picked your favorite RO to venture into the woods with since it is meant to be a romantic choice. However, who do you think would be the best companion for survival in the woods considering this game has some horror to it?

I’m not sure who I would go with? They all have different strengths and weaknesses and possible experiences with outdoor activities …Hmm. :face_with_monocle:

(I’ll be replying to y’all in another post in just a moment. I try to keep the weekly updates separate from replies. :smiley: )

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Exactly. That’s spot on and I can really feel the scene through the atmosphere, like I’m in person at the scene.

As for best companion to rely upon when venturing into the woods, I’m torn between J and S.
On one hand, J is the no-nonsense to the point kind of person who can protect us and being a police officer means they know the lay of the land pretty well and can take swift decisions in tough situations. Also they know how to handle situations and to prevent escalations if there are any.
And then there’s S, booksmart, observe and assess then take action kind of person. She’s got a calm head on her which is immensely useful in a situation when things are going to get awry. Also their knowladge can help out in navigating, scouting, searching, and even in tackling obstacles that we may come across.

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@Cat-Toes Love how you first tried the demo to alleviate boredom and then stayed for the story! I’m like that too, so thank you for sticking around and I’m glad you’re here. :slightly_smiling_face:

I relate to you! I don’t really like when characters feel like props (?) for the MC to interact with and then they go back to existing in the background when not needed. It makes them feel 2D, so I’m trying to avoid that and appreciate your feedback. Having the MC take on more of an observer role to the interactions within a given room (e.g like J and R in the kitchen or S and J in the living room) was a way for me to show the personalities of the other characters and dynamics a bit more.

It’s good to hear that you enjoyed the customization opportunities in the journal. It was a change writing in that format compared to the rest of the story and I didn’t want to info dump, so adding those more familiar choices and making it more sentimental was my hope. I didn’t want readers to feel jarred while reading it; adding choice seemed like a great way to combat that. Also, it was fun to write the cake options, lol. :cake: There will be more opportunities to establish your MC’s backstory, personality, hobbies, and so forth. I want your choices to create a character you are sincerely attached to, since the furthers the investment in the overall plot and also the stakes of the horror.

Thank you for your comment! :green_heart:

@BlackJimmy88 I don’t think you are overthinking at all; those are all great questions. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: I would not worry about the system itself too much, since I plan to give many opportunities over the course of the book (and the series), so you can take time getting acquainted with the characters at your own pace.

The friendship point system actually starts as early as the Introduction. Currently, there are point opportunities occurring in every chapter aside from Chapter 5 because that is a RO focused chapter.

Is there a good way to go about getting friendship points?

I tried to build the system so it is balanced and based on multiple chances to gain points. (There will be some tweaking as I write more of the game). Being open to bonding with the characters will help with the friendship; however, even if you elect to be more cool initially, there will be chances to make up those points.

Friendship points are based on how you interact with the characters and your choices that relate to them (e.g. how you speak to J when reuniting in the office, who helps you take out the pictures in the cabin, etc.)

There will also be opportunities for you to pick to spend time with them that will add to the counter alongside the action and dialogue instances. I will try to make these clear in the text. I think that you may be asking about if the cabin scenes impact friendship, so who you pick to glance at in the kitchen, living room, etc. does not impact friendship. I don’t think whom you glance at should impact friendship, but who helps you out or who you sit with in the car would.

Do friendship points impact the romances at all?

Friendship points will not directly impact the character you are in romance with, so much as add another dimension to the romance with how I have it planned currently.

There are separate romance scenes and choices that will not call on the amount of friendship points you have earned, but on the amount of romance points.

Your friendship level with a certain character may make them more inclined to acknowledge or comment on who you are pursuing romantically. They may grow to become your bestie or confidant, perhaps, even trying to express some concern or give advice depending on how receptive your MC is to that.

An example may make this make more sense. In Chapter 3, when you approach R standing by the tree at the memorium, there are 3 variations for how they interact with you: 1st. A romantic variation based on if you expressed interest in Chapter 2, 2nd. A more friendlier interaction if you were more receptive to them in Chapter 2, and then 3rd. A more neutral interaction that isn’t a ‘fail’ or ‘bad’ outcome, but just more neutral.

These kind of interactions call on different point systems–1st calls on the romance and 2nd and 3rd calls on friendship.

The point systems may sound very numeric, but I base everything off of your choices. I keep a tally of all the friendship/romance opportunities in a journal to ensure everything is well-balanced and logical.

Best wishes!

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While I agree with your assessment of both J and S, and I would probably say that J would be the best companion for survival in the woods, I think you might be underestimating R. R strikes me as one of those perceptive types who always notices than they say, and in a survival situation perception is crucial. That being said both J and S are pretty perceptive as well. As much as I love B, I have a feeling they’ll be too panicky to be of much use, but maybe they’ll surprise me.

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I see. Thank you very much for the explanation. :slight_smile:

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I’ve read this yesterday before bed and I guess that was a mistake :sweat_smile:. But it was hard to put down and I enjoyed it so much. I like how diverse the MCs personalities that we can choose.

Just a suggestion, would you add sign to romantic options to differentiate it from friendly option? I asked this because during the cabin scene I picked different people instead of my chosen RO because I thought it would be weird if that person is the only one who kept finding something.

On question on who is the best companion for survival; somehow I think S is probably the best. They are booksmart and streetsmart and have a calm presence and high awareness of things around them.

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I agree. R can never be underestimated. They’re daring, perceptive and has the resources to navigate the forest being the child of the Mayor. Their never back down attitude and snark can also come in handy to provide moral support.

As for B, I feel most would underestimate them, consider them to panic and make mistakes but I feel like they’re the black horse of the group, they have something up their sleeves, their own trump card which when put into the open, can be a gamechanger.

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@lynossa I’m glad you found the story hard to put down! :smiley: I do agree that reading some of the nightmares before bed may be a little unsettling.

I could consider doing that, but I worry it may break immersion in the story to have a <3 or a :heart: by choices. I will keep your suggestion in mind though. The cabin exploration doesn’t add any romantic points since it is meant to be a way for you to learn more about the characters and their dynamics with each other. Gaining romantic points typically occurs when picking to spend time one-on-one (or two-on-one with JR) or with more emotional things, so selecting who brightens the living room or who finds the book in the bedroom will not be romantic, since I try to make the romantic choices linked with romance/feelings/bonding.

The only opportunities to gain romance points in Chapter 4 are: 1. when you pick who reassures you after learning the news of your grandfather and 2. who you pick to go into the woods with at the very end of chapter. I agree with you that it would be odd if you kept picking the same person in the cabin to discover things, unless you maybe really prefer one character over all the others. Feel free to select who you like during those scenes to learn more about all of them. The only choice in the cabin that has a minor increase to friendship is the removing the pictures from the desk one.

@lynossa , @Paradox1 , @Cat-Toes Oh, those are all interesting thoughts! I would have guessed people may have chosen J due to their detective background and how they seem level headed or perhaps S with how intelligent they are.

R does have a perceptiveness to them that you all are observant to pick up on. In the cabin, they have a view opportunities to notice things before others do. I intentionally made it so these occurrences happen more naturally/frequently compared to the other characters. Detecting a shift in mood is something they may be good at too.

B may be more jumpy than the others, but they are also very loyal, so it may also depend on what you or your MC values in other characters. B may not have as many apparent skills, but they will try their best for you.

It’s a tough pick. :thinking: I enjoy reading your thoughts!

In Chapter 5, you will learn who is more reckless versus cautious between the ROs; there are two who are cautious and two who are reckless. You may be able to guess who falls into each category from hints in the story so far. :wink:

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My thoughts-
J is the epitome of caution. S’s level-headedness makes her more of a cautious perosn.
R screams reckless lol. B is reckless as well due to her jumpy nature.

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I would agree with this assesment, especially about J and R. It’s recklessness was apparent as early as that car scene in chapter 2. B doesn’t seem like the reckless type to me, but then again randomly traveling to a town they’ve never heard of just so MC doesn’t have to go alone doesn’t seem like the most well thought out idea. Sweet and loyal, but also impulsive. I would guess if they were more reckless it would be a side effect of their loyalty rather than just bad decision-making.

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I think R would probably be the worst. They have strengths but that is not it :joy:

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@Paradox1 @Cat-Toes Oh, interesting! I won’t say one way or the other; however, how S and B handle the crosswalk (or crossing the empty street) after the memorium may give a hint as to their styles of decision making.

^This made me smile! :smiley: B’s care for the MC may impact their judgement at times.

In Chapter 5, how your MC is (cautious or reckless) will come into play and will earn remarks from the ROs at a certain point in the chapter.

For example: I think we can all agree J is cautious, so when a reckless!MC takes a less planned and steady approached to a certain thing, J becomes concerned and may try to offer advice. It was fun to write those scenes! This will eventually come into play more as we progress in the story when you have more staple horror or survival moments. :hocho:

@Isabella_Taylor Lol, R is a little more used to the ‘finer’ or ‘ritzy’ things in life, but they also have a strong self preservation instinct, which one would win out is debatable, especially with all the bugs, holes, mud, whatever else that is in the woods. :evergreen_tree:

I added a tiny Chapter 5 teaser for you all to see how R may feel about the woods.

The MC has the chance to ask them how they feel about the outdoors alongside a few other conversation topics.

Reese

“So, you’re not the outdoorsy type?”

Alternating between looking down and up has occurred since Reese has been trying to watch his step, unused to the uneven and textured forest floor, though now he meets your gaze. “What gave it away?” His sarcasm is light-hearted and accompanied by a brief grin. “I prefer looking at the woods from afar, preferably while seated in air conditioning with a drink in hand.”

Ruby

“So, you’re not the outdoorsy type?”

Alternating between looking down and up has occurred since Ruby has been trying to watch her step, unused to the uneven and textured forest floor, though now she meets your gaze. “What gave it away?” Her sarcasm is light-hearted and accompanied by a brief grin. “I prefer looking at the woods from afar, preferably while seated in air conditioning with a drink in hand.”

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