A couple years ago, we (i.e. Justin) started demo-ing and sharing Royal Strawberries. Since that time, two more games have been developed using that same universe, each giving more insight into the world, adding more characters and more intrigue into the world. Consider this post your primer into that world, however you enter into it.
Excerpt from the Feorhyrnan Imperial Codex:
Since the beginning of the four kingdoms, the Imperial Gardens stood at the meeting of the Forest, River, Mountain and Desert Kingdoms. Each year, when the Royal Strawberries would ripen and be ready for harvest, blood would be spilled among the garden's hedges as the four kingdoms waged vicious war against one another. Five years ago, the four kingdoms saw reason; even the magical power granted by the Royal Strawberries was not worth the loss of life that came at harvest time each year.
And so, the four kingdoms of Feorhyrna banded into a single Empire whose rule would be determined each harvest season in a contest of champions. Whichever kingdom can collect the most Royal Strawberries shall choose the new Emperor or Empress from among their champions, who shall rule for one year until the next harvest season, and until that time, none shall enter the Imperial Gardens but its sworn custodians.
Archetypes and Emperors
In the land of Feorhyrna (Gaelic for "four corners"), there are four kingdoms which border the Imperial Gardens: the Forest Kingdom, River Kingdom, Mountain Kingdom and Desert Kingdom. Each year at harvest time, these kingdoms send competitors into the gardens to see who can collect the most Royal Strawberries - magically imbued strawberries that bestow special powers on anyone who holds them. The kingdom that harvests the most will choose the Emperor or Empress for the coming year.
The games set in Feorhyrna (Royal Strawberries, Imperial Harvest and 8 Kingdoms) revolve around eight major archetypes. Characters each fall under one of these archetypes, with their own special abilities and play styles:
- Warrior - vicious attackers
- Defender - staunch defenders
- Aethereal - pass over or through hedges
- Rogue - agile sneaks
- Utility - drop items to various effects
- Creature - interacts with Neutral Monsters
- Mage - ranged, line-of-sight abilities
- Royalty - special victory point conditions
Each kingdom has a champion, a character of one archetype who already boasts the enhanced abilities granted by the Royal Strawberries. This power usually comes from an artifact that bears a ruby made from the juice of a Royal Strawberry. The four kingdom's champions are:
- Forest Kingdom: Fairy Champion (Aethereal archetype)
- River Kingdom: Knight Champion (Defender archetype)
- Mountain Kingdom: Ogre Champion (Warrior archetype)
- Desert Kingdom: Thief Champion (Rogue archetype)
Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to eat a Royal Strawberry to be granted its power. These berries are so magically potent, in fact, that you only need hold one or more to be granted immense power. Typically, a Royal Strawberry will take a person's strengths and make them even more powerful -- strong characters becomes stronger, fast characters becomes faster, et cetera.
NOTE: Eating a Royal Strawberry is not recommended, as they are very bitter and imbued with so much magic that they would probably kill you upon ingestion.
There are ways to retain the power of a Royal Strawberry beyond the time when it would rot and lose its magic. An emperor or the leader of a kingdom may have a Royal Strawberry's juice squeezed out and reconstituted into a ruby, which can be used to craft a magical artifact which perpetually grants the benefits of a Royal Strawberry. This is how each kingdom's champion can begin a harvest season with enhanced powers.
Beyond the Four Kingdoms
As the name of 8 Kingdoms suggests, the four kingdoms of the Empire are not the only factions in Feorhyrna. Beyond and between those kingdoms are four more kingdoms: the Tundra Kingdom, the Badlands Kingdom, the Savannah Kingdom and the Swamp Kingdom. While not a part of the Empire and not eligible to enter the annual harvest competition officially, these four kingdoms still play a large role in Feorhyrnan politics.
The raiders of the Tundra Kingdom and despotic armies of the Badlands seek to overturn the newly minted peace of the Empire and take the Royal Strawberries for themselves. The Savannah and Swamp Kingdoms are not overtly aggressive, but their intentions remain as mysterious as their ways.
So ends the first chapter of Feorhyrnan lore. Next time, we'll dive into the back story of Imperial Harvest, and how Broomstick Monkey's first release will fit into the world of Royal Strawberries.