21 Apr Wolves on the Westwind Artbook – Thorwal
Major parts of the companion volume for the visual novel Forgotten Fables: Wolves on the Westwind were written by the author trio Nina Wendelken, Andreas Landkammer, and Rafael Knop. Rafael describes here how the volume came into being.
I admit, I’m quite easily inspired by some topics. When The Dark Eye’s chief editor, Niko Hoch, wrote a short email saying he was looking for authors for another, small Thorwal project and briefly outlined it, I was immediately interested. The composition of the writers also fit: Andreas and I had already worked well together on Thorwal’s regional game companion, and I knew Nina from the Thorwal project rounds. So, the premise was really good.
A few days later, Niko outlined the background for Forgotten Fables: Wolves on the Westwind, and gave us a key so we could extensively try the game’s beta. To be honest, translating the content of a visual novel into text format for a game aid is not as easy as you might think. I followed the game attentively for the first hour, but then had to resort to just skimming the texts for things relevant to the art book, jumping back and forth to combine the information gathered from different places. I got a good impression of the game this way though, and often threw caution to the wind, which Alrik didn’t always survive.
To focus on the companion volume totally: There were several things to consider. On the one hand, the volume had to appeal to those who might not be familiar with The Dark Eye, giving a simple introduction to the region and the world. On the other hand, one of the game’s key settings only got three lines in the regional game companion, and received a lot more in the volume that predated that in the last edition. At last, this was also something interesting for long-time players of The Dark Eye.
Did any of you have an idea what this is about?
Well, fittingly, I wrote the part of the regional game companion that this place belongs to. At the time, it pained me to have to keep it so short. It was all the nicer now to be able to devote myself to this mysterious place in more detail, and to be able to include a lot of information from the visual novel.
Of course, we weren’t just recording information. Part of the writing assignment was to present game masters with hooks and scenes, so their heroes could experience their own adventures in these settings. We included a treasure table for what you can find in this mysterious place, because people from past times wanted to hide their treasures from begrudging competitors.
The art book contains many locations and descriptions of important characters from the visual novel, so you can use it to embark on your own journey through Thorwal. The inspiring pictures of the area made me feel “at home” right away. Typical Thorwalian elements like the big halls, of course a ship and the landscape of the North are described in picture and text in such a way that I wanted to unpack the mead horn and face Hranngar’s brood then and there. Or other dangers, that lurk in this abandoned village, for example:
For us, the journey in Forgotten Fables: Wolves on the Westwind was a return to scenes and impressions from the Godwhale’s Shores, and we brought those things from the visual novel back to the gaming table. We hope that you’ll have as much fun with it as we did, and that the magnificent pictures and the texts of the volume will let you experience some wonderful hours in Thorwal.
Good luck – and may Swafnir always be kind to you! Rafael Knop