Runemaster - Dev Diary 27 - World: Alfheim

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SolSara

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Time really flies by - have we really written 26 dev diaries? We have a lot more planned for our upcoming Tactical RPG Runemaster, and this week we'll talk about the most beautiful of worlds - Alfheim.

The Races of Alfheim
Alfheim is also known as Ljosalfheim. The first part, "ljosalf", means "Lightelf" and the second part, "heim", means home. So essentially the name means "home of the Lightelfs" and so this is the world they call home. Though the Lightelfs were the first to claim Alfheim as their home, the Trolls wander through the world in search of their lost goddess Fjorgyn and have a few permanent settlements here and there.

The Lightelfs do not like metal and use bone for many of their weapons. They fight mostly with daggers, spears, bow and arrow and occasionally swords. They are usually dressed lightly with leather armor, feathers, twigs, or moss which gives the Lightelfs a natural camouflage. Alfheim is a very fertile and warm world, so the Lightelfs can spend less of their time foraging and hunting and more on leisurely activities such as music and dancing.

Hidden among the trees in Alfheim are the dwellings of the Lightelfs, formed by shaping the trees into whatever form they wishes. The Aeropon is a robust plant whose aerial roots are used by the Lightelfs to weave bridges, floors and walls. The bridges between the treetops offer great mobility to the inhabitants, enabling them to scamper across the forest at great heights. Fire is forbidden in the homes of the Lightelfs and all food is prepared on the ground beneath the treehouses.

There are Trolls in Alfheim, and we have talked about their lifestyle in earlier dev diaries: dev diary 18: Midgard and dev diary 22: Trolls. Let's quote from the dev diary about Midgard: "The Trolls move freely from place to place, between Midgard and Alfheim, bringing only the most necessary things with them. They are a traditionally nomadic race and build no permanent shelter. Though they have cattle and other herd animals, they do not farm or grow crops.[..]"

The Creation of the Worlds
After Ymir was killed and his body used to create the different worlds, Odin and his brothers Vile and Ve started fighting. Their harsh words and yelling frightened the cow Auðumbla so much that milk flowed from her. Some of these droplets fed Yggdrasil, the World Tree, and it grew one branch so high, so broad and beautiful that it immediately became a new world. The Lightelfs climbed Yggdrasil until they found Alfheim, and settled there. There is not much known about the origin of the Lightelfs, some say they are related to the Aesir, others to the Vanir. The Lightelfs themselves will not reveal the secret of where they come from, or how they came to life. A dark secret lies heavy on the brow of most Lightelfs, something to do with the fertility of Alfheim...

Alfheim is the most fertile of the worlds because it is sacred to the fertility god, Frey. He was given Alfheim as a tooth-gift, when he had gotten his first tooth. Thus the Lightelfs revere Frey, and according to them that is why Alfheim is the richest of the worlds.

The Climate and Creatures of Alfheim
The world is warm, lush and is described as located in heaven, “fairer than the sun to look at".

There is an abundance of animals and plants in Alfheim, most of which are benign but a few are deadly and dangerous. The earth gives richly and freely, and no one goes hungry there. The fertile world is home to many potent plants, some of which are used by the Lightelfs to make medicine and powerful potions that might awaken hidden strengths. The robust trees in Alfheim makes for excellent abodes for the Lightelfs, and fast-growing vines are used for making bridges between trees, floors, walls and in some cases even furniture. The land may be a warm and lush place which gives a sense of refuge contrary to the other harsh worlds that are connected by the world tree Yggdrasil, but contains some hidden dangers.

The days in Alfheim are long, and little work is needed to provide for everyone. The Lightelfs have plenty of time to spend on their pleasures, which includes wood carving, vegetable carving, composing, singing, telling stories and writing or reading books.

Screenshots

runemaster_dd27_alfheim_01.jpg
A birch forest in Alfheim.

runemaster_dd27_alfheim_04.jpg
A Lightelf camp in a birch forest

Alfheim is so beautiful! Surely you must have some questions about this fertile land? Comment on this thread and we will do our best to answer the questions you have. See you next time!
 

Hericage

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Which brings up a question: how much can the scenery change during a game? Can e.g. a modder create a quest which burns down a bunch of the trees (I'm thinking something like the events leading up to the Scouring of the Shire in LOTR)? Or reducing an existing city to ruins?

Or is the terrain more or less fixed for that game once it's generated?

The terrain is very static I'm afraid. You can change some visual aspects for the actual houses and stuff though, such as spawning new particle effects and sounds or change any animation that might be running.

It is possible to do a "fade to black -> generate new world that is burning -> fade back", although this might not be an optimal solution.
 

SolSara

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Shouldn't there be Alfar in Midgård too? You know, dancing on the meadows during foggy nights.

There's more than one race of Alfar, the one you speak of is uncommon in Runemaster. Would be nice to have them though...

Yes, it is beautiful, and it looks like somewhere I would hang around most of the time in the game, focusing on doing quests there.

View attachment 117073
Will we see something like this in Alfheim?

View attachment 117074
And will we meet those two?

sorry.. I had to..

First one, no as we have a different graphic style. Second one no, and I have no idea who they are. Enlighten me?

Which brings up a question: how much can the scenery change during a game? Can e.g. a modder create a quest which burns down a bunch of the trees (I'm thinking something like the events leading up to the Scouring of the Shire in LOTR)? Or reducing an existing city to ruins?

Or is the terrain more or less fixed for that game once it's generated?

What Hericage wrote :)

Screw you elves!

Awesome diary.

Thank you :p

Don't hate elves, it's not healthy for you!

I agree. But you don't need to love them, just not hate them. Hate gets into your arteries.

That's exactly the sort of talk that leads to kidnapping of babies and children by elves. Always put a horseshoe over your doorway to stop them, as they can't stand good iron.

True, but I think that is a later superstition from when Christianity came to Scandinavia.

“Elves are wonderful. They provoke wonder.
Elves are marvellous. They cause marvels.
Elves are fantastic. They create fantasies.
Elves are glamorous. They project glamour.
Elves are enchanting. They weave enchantment.
Elves are terrific. They beget terror.
The thing about words is that meanings can twist just like a snake, and if you want to find snakes look for them behind words that have changed their meaning.
No one ever said elves are nice.
Elves are bad.”

Love that quote, the book from where it come from and its writer (Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett).

I notice the Light Elves write and read books. How common is literacy amongst the other races?

Most races have a written language but the Dwarfs and the Lightelfs have the most advanced ones. The literacy is quite high but a Human would have a hard time understanding a book written by a Lightelf. The Dwarfs know most languages and would have no problem deciphering any other race's written language.

That was actually surprisingly interesting and original. I was dead set on playing Darkelfs first, but now I'm not so sure.

Do all Lighelfs have freckles, btw?
And how are they actually related with the Darkelfs (there must be something to the name, right?)? Or is that a part of the Lighelfs' "secret origin"? ;)

Most have freckles, yes. Darkelfs and Lightelfs are opposites to each other, but very similar in other ways such as temper and emotions.
 

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Then how do you explain the dramatic decrease in reported elf-related kidnappings since the introduction of steel architecture and construction?

Sadly, I can't. But we always joke about my youngest sister being a changeling so it might still be happening...
 

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Will the elven smith Volund appear in the game?

I would love that, and I will forward that suggestion to our Game Writers so they can come up with an interesting idea for a quest or encounter involving him.
 
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