Last updated on 8-11-2016

Terra Fabula

2012 – 2015

Terra Fabula was an online game in which the players themselves filled in the story and world through writing. The base of that world was ‘an alternate version of the Dutch Golden Age, in which legends are reality and mythical creatures lurk in hidden places’. Each player invented one or more characters and, together with other players, wrote about the meetings and adventures of their characters. Writing an adventure was rewarded with points, which could be used to create new characters and locations, which in turn offered new opportunities for adventures. Because of the open nature of the adventures, new players could jump in at any moment.

The game was my graduation project for Design for Virtual Theatre and Games in 2012. I had been interested for some time in the so called play-by-post role playing games on various internet forums, and the way in which participants write a story together. However, I hadn’t seen many games in which not just the characters, but also the world and storyline could be filled in by the players. I knew by experience that it wouldn’t work to let players start from scratch without any rules or handholds, so I wanted to invent a game system. My final presentation consisted not only of that system, but also of the results of more than two months of continuous playtesting.

An impression of my graduation exposition, with explanations of the game rules and a timeline and map of the adventures and places created by the players.

Because of the playtesters’ enthusiasm, I continued the game after my graduation with some improvements to both rules and usability. Terra Fabula has run successfully for years, albeit at a slower pace than during my graduation period. It is currently not being played any more, but the stories it has sprouted will remain with both me and the players for a long time to come.

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