One of my main goals in creating Far Away Land is to provide a book that is not only a game but fun to look at and read as well. Hence the massive amount of artwork to be included in the book. Right now there are close to 100 individual full color pieces, about 25 of which are full page pieces featuring battles and action. I have a ton of sketches that have already been scanned and a bunch more sketches yet to be scanned. If I am watching TV or listening to a book or doing anything that requires listening only, I am usually drawing and working on something for the game.
I had wrestled with the idea of hiring artists to do work but I really wanted a unique, playful, quirky, kind of funky feel for the game and its visual elements. I also wanted artwork that is representative of the type of game play that Far Away Land encompasses. On top of that, I love cartoons and comic books, especially the escapist value of the images in these two art forms. All of this is added to the my growing dislike for artwork in a lot of newer games that blends together. What I mean by this (and this isn't a knock against any artist out there) is that so much of the work being produced these days is brilliant and beautiful, but none of it stands out in my mind as being vastly different or unique. I can look through an entire book and love nearly every piece in its painstaking detail, but I have found that they eventually they all run together for me and when I have closed the book I am left feeling like I have seen it all before. I'm not saying that the artwork in Far Away Land is some new and unique form that will stay in the viewer's mind as soon as they see it. But, I think the artwork definitely meets the goals of what I'm looking for in the aesthetics of the game as well as setting the game apart from other fantasy games, at least in appearance. I am hoping the rules and style of play and the creativity of the game allow it to be its own creature in other aspects.
The rpg market is flooded and I am not looking to change the face of role playing. What I am looking to do is create a work that is both imaginative, pretty, and utilitarian from a perspective of playing. I also want to meet a list creative and functional goals while allowing the game to do its own thing in the world.
Thought an update to the Far Away Land (FAL) was in order, so here goes…
The Gods of Far Away Land (GFAL) is a mini-game to be included with the overall FALRPG. In GFAL the player stake on roles of gods who are intent on creating a world, its landscape, inhabitants and eventually influencing those creations through actions and inactions. The game is largely narrative based with a very simple mechanic for conflict resolution. It starts off with the players creating a map by rolling dice and drawing terrain features. Over time, as more players roll, those terrain features are shaped and evolve, mountains may become islands, forests may be burned away, plains may become deserts, etc.. Later on the gods create races and influence these races to build armies and heroes and religions in order to gain power.
GFAL has no clear winners and losers. It's designed to be competitive but at the same time the players creating a history and a map and a setting for their own world.
GFAL has its own expansion which is called The Historian of Far Away Land (HFAL). In HFAL, players take on the roles of historians who are putting together historical documents of what has taken place in the past - forces and events that have shaped the world. It is similar in its narrative structure to GFAL but with some added mechanics and story telling events. The purpose of HFAL is to allow players to interact with one another as they go about detailing the world they have created in GFAL.
Basically, in GFAL, the players (gods) are creating large scale events such as wars and disasters and famous battles. In HFAL, the players (historians) are taking those things that were created in GFAL and exploring them, building stories and histories from those large events on a smaller and more intimate level.
Each of these games (GFAL and HFAL) are independent of the overall Far Away Land RPG but can be used right along with it to create settings, campaigns, historical events, and flesh out the world in which the characters of Far Away Land exist.
Both of these mini-games will be part of the Far Away Land RPG (basically just their own chapters). They can be played as stand alone games or players can start from the beginning, building a world, detailing that world, then creating characters and interacting in that world at a micro level.
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