Chronicles of Calelira: Entry One
Strong Alcohol, and the Rebirth of a Furry Fantasy Hellhole
(February 6, 2019)
Imagine finding yourself in a land of exploration and uncertain fates. A land where each tomb, each festival, each catacomb is either a bar of gold waiting to be found or a firecracker waiting to blow. A land of lore and mythology, of stony automatons powered by the souls of the condemned, of wolves and aardwolves, of musical magic and spellcraft and potions and contacting different layers of existence.
Welcome to a world I've been working on since 2015. Welcome to Calelira.
I've been wanting to have something to show off to the world for the past four (yes, February 6, 2015) years of work, and I figure the best way to go about this rebooted Calelira would be a development blog of sorts. I'll explain the circumstances leading up to the reboot and what I plan to do here in this entry.
In the grand lineage, Calelira owes its initial existence to Homestuck and MS Paint Adventures, a series of interactive fiction comics I've yet to read and have no real desire to. Its relevance to my point is its format.
In Homestuck, readers are presented with a panel (or multiple), and ultimately, a choice as to where the story goes next. Simple format, and a satisfying one. Of course, I'm aware that format originated with earlier text adventures and interactive fiction, but those didn't inspire Calelira.
In fact, it wasn't even directly Homestuck that inspired Calelira.
A friend of mine, Savannah, once (we're talking mid-2014, basically prehistory) created something of a Homestuck ripoff based in a fantasy world populated mostly by medieval cartoon animals. Our mutual friend Brianna was the player, pushing commands at Savannah and getting the resulting panels back and continuing. This was called Feather Quest.
Later in 2014, Brianna became a pretty hardcore fan of Skyrim, the fifth game in the Elder Scrolls series. (I also have no real interest in it.) Skyrim has much closer ties to the genesis of Calelira. Many of the items and mechanics were pretty closely based on Skyrim's until I redesigned them.
This takes us to February 2015. Brianna and I were looking to start roleplaying (yes, with no knowledge of writing or characters on my part, how adorable), and we'd settled, somewhat accidentally, on using Feather Quest's format as the basis for it. (I later learned she was expecting a prose RP with paragraphs, but I was too insecure to actually write.) I would take control of an aardwolf lad named Rocco (named so because we had the name lying around, and species picked because we liked aardwolves), and he'd start in an unnamed coastal village with bad roads.
Your name is ROCCO. You are a young and enterprising aardwolf, living in a small, unnamed coastal village. Of course, it doesn't hold many opportunities for you. One day, a caravan rolls into town. There are several desert cats, all wearing exotic clothing and with strange accents, and offering rare goods and wares for sale. What will you do? > inquire about said goods There are several weaved baskets, fine textiles, gourmet cheeses, and last but not least, strong alcohol. > Purchase strong alcohol
So begat Elinar. ("Elinar" is casually used to refer to the world and the central empire of the world, but the two are different. Rocco is an Elinarian; he lives in the world of Calelira.)
Elinar started taking up huge chunks of my time in the coming years, as I slowly built up the courage to write more of it myself. It started with more characters. Then, I became the questmaster and told my own stories. (Savannah even did a quest at one point, featuring a bear paladin taking a wrong turn into a village of virulently rabid murder zombies that could only be cleansed by fire.) Then, I was overhauling world mechanics.
There's a lot to consider when you're building a world, and I hit most of the snags one could hit on the way. At one point or another, it lost steam. I got overwhelmed. It stopped being fun; in fact, thanks to my crumbling friendship with Brianna, it actually became pretty miserable.
I sat on mountains (literally!) of lore, with no goddamn idea where to take it. Thanks to the whims of the two weirdos behind it, it started out as this idealistic exploration world populated by furries and ended up angsty, flat, and embarrassing. There's more to it than that, but we're leaving it at that.
I didn't touch it for a solid six months while I stopped talking to Brianna. More than once, I debated getting rid of it.
And what do you do when you wanna get rid of something? You get rid of it.
And start the fuck over.
Calelira 1.0 was sad and overwhelming and never fully developed its distinct flavor. It was like fried chicken, but mostly soggy batter instead of chicken.
Calelira 2.0? That's what I'll be talking about in this space. We started from the ground up, once again, just like Rocco did four years ago: sailing off to the ancient city of Whalecrest, carved into the cliffs of Mariteaux, out to adventure. It's all ready to be overhauled and made hype again. Hopefully, I'll have more to write as I write more of it.
Your humble narrator,