The Havencall Story: Magic, Philosophy, and Aura's Journey
(posted 7/12/2014 on IndieDB)
In this post we will take a closer look at the Havencall story, and reveal a little background as well some questions that inspired the story. We won't give any blatant spoilers, however reading this post may make events in the game more transparent, so if you want to play with absolutely no preconceptions, you may not want to read on.
Aura is tired of being trapped in her tiny home world, but more than that, she also wants to know why her world is closed off the way it is. Who established the space-time barrier and for what purpose? There are some mysterious things around her that spark her curiosity and set her on a course to find out much more about her universe than anyone has known for centuries. Aura keeps her most important notes and observations in her hand-made journal (a new feature since our last update!), as she is on a mission to puzzleout the truth.
One of the first things you can find out in the game (by looking at a prayer book) is that the barriers were created by this world's "god," a being named Isoran who had power over space and time. But why would he divide up humanity into many small communities that they could not leave? According to the prayer book, Isoran was a "savior" who freed humans from the "time of Chaos," an age of war, disease, colonization, and all-around suffering. His solution to the problems was to section off tiny city-states from each other, much like sending feuding children to separate time-out corners.
But now, the isolation has become stifling, especially for Aura, who has never fit in, with her mismatched eyes, uncertain parentage, and strange amulet. After a certain experience (which we won't spoil), Aura gains a power very similar to Isoran's: the ability to manipulate space and time! Using this magic, she is finally able to pass through the barrier and begin her search for the world in her dreams. But the journey ends up being more complicated and eye-opening than Aura expected.
It turns out that (minor spoilers here) Isoran was not the only "god" to attempt to "fix" the problems of the time of Chaos. Two other gods established worlds of their own, not worlds divided into many smaller realms like the space-time world, but big worlds, with completely different approaches to fixing society's vices. During her journey, Aura travels through these other worlds, encountering people, beliefs, and practices wildly different from anything she has ever experienced. She learns a new power in each world that will help her move forward, and faces a "boss" in each, a manifestation of the structure of each world. At times shocking, at times mystifying, and sometimes delightful, these worlds slowly reveal their secrets over the course of the game, and Aura learns more and more about her universe.
So maybe you are wondering: how is any of this philosophical? Havencall's story is primarily about Aura's search for the place she belongs, and is not blatantly, in-your-face philosophical. However, the universe as a whole and each world was conceived through musings on philosophical questions: "Are humans intrinsically good or evil?" Isoran, the creator of the many-world space-time realm, believed that people could only be good as long as they did not have the opportunity to do bad deeds. The other two "gods" had very different answers to this question. "If a moral system is accepted by a whole society, does that make it ok?" This question inspired the second world, which was created through life-death power and is the most shocking of the worlds. "Is human behavior more reasonable when we are focused on survival?" was the question that led to the third world, a world of thermal (heat/cold) power, and the most unforgiving and epic realm.
By the time Aura has adventured through all three worlds, she has learned three types of magic, knows more than she ever imagined, and has made the biggest differences the universe has seen in thousands of years. But will she be able to discover the identity of the dream-figure who calls to her? And ultimately, can she find her haven, the place where she is meant to be?
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