Written by Raddu, and first published on 2023-12-12
In the Dark Sun Facebook group there was a conversation in the comments of a post about using an orange as a fruit versus using a faro fruit. In world-building there should be a balance between utilizing unique in-game lore, like the faro fruit, and integrating real-world analogues, such as an orange.
In the Dark Sun Facebook group there was a conversation in the comments of a post about using an orange as a fruit versus using a faro fruit. In world-building there should be a balance between utilizing unique in-game lore, like the faro fruit, and integrating real-world analogues, such as an orange. Both approaches have their merits and uses, enriching the narrative and gameplay experience in different ways.
The faro fruit, a distinct flora of Athas, exemplifies the value of incorporating unique lore elements. Such details carve out the identity of the in-game universe, setting Athas apart from the real world and other fantasy settings. By populating the game with setting-specific lore, the narrative designers effectively build a world that is both alien and intriguing, enhancing the depth of the players’ exploration and discovery.
These unique elements also provide insight into the culture and economy of Athas. In a world where survival is a constant struggle, faro needles are valuable trade goods and the fruit is a symbol of luxury. This not only enriches the story, but also offers opportunities to connect with the game world and enhances the overall experience.
On the other hand, employing a real-world analogue - such as an orange - offers a different set of advantages. It provides players with a familiar touchstone, making the game more accessible, especially for newcomers. This familiarity can be a relief in a setting that is already rich with unique rules and lore, allowing players to concentrate on other aspects of the game without feeling overwhelmed.
In Dark Sun, and any setting really, the decision to use unique lore or real-world analogues should be informed by the desired impact on the player experience. Unique lore elements like the faro fruit are ideal for emphasizing the alien nature of Athas, fostering a sense of wonder and curiosity. This approach is particularly effective in scenarios that thrive on the players knowing the lore to solve problems.
Conversely, real-world analogues might be more appropriate in contexts where the gameplay is complex, and the narrative aims to ground the player in some familiar elements. This strategy can be beneficial in games focusing on specific themes in an unfamiliar setting. There’s nothing worse (or better?) than dropping a throw away piece of lore and having the whole table get sidetracked for hours.
The interplay between unique Athasian lore and real-world elements is an important aspect of narrative design in the Dark Sun setting. The choice between them should enhance player engagement, facilitate immersion, and integrate seamlessly into the gameplay and narrative structure. Whether it’s a rare fruit like the faro or a common orange, each element plays a role in shaping the unique experience of adventuring in the world of Athas.