Today’s post is a bit of a sneak preview for something I’ve been collaborating on. In Wanderhome the many places you visit can be anything you wish and the prompts provided are fairly wide open but I think people sometimes get stuck in a literal mode. This upcoming release aims to help mix that up and offers some new locales as fun examples of just how far you can go with a Nature.
This is the most common way to combine Natures, some might even say the default for Wanderhome. If you have three Natures (for instance, a Farm, a Bridge, and a Glen) then these are three distinct areas that are neighboring each other and you can cleanly move the story from one to another. When you’re in the Farm then you encounter that Nature’s aesthetic elements and the actions that the Farm can always do, but when you walk to the nearby Bridge or Glen then all of those things change.
Sometimes you want to collect Natures together as described above but they don’t really fit. You could have a Farm next to a Swamp, for instance, but you might not want a boggy, muddy area in this part of your Wanderhome journey. Perhaps instead it’s something similar like a wetlands area or a brackish estuary, even something with similar themes like a sandpit that is easy to sink into or a thick and sludgy sewer or a foggy area with a lingering spell of despair over it. The aesthetic elements might be adjusted to accommodate this Reimagining but the other parts of the Nature can stay the same.
On page 23 of Wanderhome we’re told that “these natures determine the look and feeling of a place, and you are welcome to interpret these natures as literally or as metaphorically as you’d like.” This is an aspect of the game, though, that sometimes gets overlooked so you can mix up your story by using Natures as metaphors more. When you do, the important part of the Nature is the “This place can always” list, and those come into the story whenever the Metaphorical Nature’s theme comes up. The aesthetic elements and folklore of the Nature can all be ignored, repurposed, or exchanged for another Nature’s.
It might require a little more work but sometimes the answer to getting the Nature you want in your story is to make a Hybrid Nature that combines two or more Natures into one. You might have a Field with a Carnival or a Road through a Desert, places that are simultaneously fitting in two different literal Natures. Like Metaphorical Natures, you can choose the “This place can always” options to create a hybrid list that includes some, none, or all of the options from each Nature. Likewise, the aesthetic elements and folklore can be combined together into a single pool of options, though you only pick a few as normal.