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[ Saudade ] Solo Playthrough

I promissed I’d turn my actual play thread of my game Saudade on twitter into a post here, so here I am!

Before I do that, though, a few things:

Saudade is part of the #IndOfTheYear bundle. It’s a narrative map-making game that can about finding things changed from a past long lost. The bundle has 3 tiers ($10, $25 and $50) with 25 games and you can buy on Itch.io!
I used @JulianKJarboe‘s Virtual Card Oracle as my deck of cards and Paint Tool SAI as my  drawing program for the map and notes. You can use an actual deck of cards if you have that available and whatever you prefer to draw the map and take notes.
Last thing: I used this as a worldbuilding exercise for a short story I intend to write next year. I had the idea for the main character and nothing else, so I took this as a chance to develop this little story seed. I highly recomend this approach to the game if you’re a storyteller yourself.
I can see the Twin Peaks I grew up exploring and the forest city that used to be the capital.
My character is from a species of cosmic imortal fairies. The setup is 3 cards and the map marked with my landing spot (L), a geographical marker I can see (Twin Peaks Mountain) and a thing from my past that is still standing (Forest City).
The first thing I mark down is the landing spot. From there, I think about my imortal fairy society and where they’d live. I decided it would be a people that valued nature greatly and, so, their capital is a literal forest.
“Forest City” is not a very imaginative name, put that was all I could think at the time. My naming skills improve as the game goes on, I promise.
Twin Peaks was born out of the geographical marker prompt. The first thing I thought about was a mountain, or mountain range, but I wanted it to be distinct in some way. Now, looking at it, they seem like pincers bursting from the ground, don’t they?
My 3 starting cards
My starting map

Act I

I find a new family living in the home – I was the last of my lineage to leave the planet – and an old picture book in its attic, moldy. I used to read that as a child. Exploring the Crystal Woods brings me the first wand I ever used. As part of the celebration of adulthood, I had placed it in the river and expected never to see it again.
I interpret the cards: Ace of Spades and Ace of Diamonds mean my childhood home is still standing and I found something there. 7 of Clubs indicates something long lost has made it’s way back to me.
A new family made my old home their home. I also found an old picture book I had as a child in the attic. In the Crystal Woods I found my first wand, long lost to time. I mark the new features in the map: my old home, by the river, the Crystal Woods near the Twin Peaks. There’s still plenty of empty space, but it’ll get filled as we play.
I imagine the Crystal Woods as a magical place, filled with evergreen trees and crystalline growths that exude magic in the air that affects the wildlife. I picture glowing butterflies and flowers, horny bunnies, winged cats and fiery snakes living there. Probably the most magical place in this part of the world.
Updated map

Act II

In my travels, I’ve learned how to harness the magical energy of crystals. With that knowledge, I help build a power plant that will benefit the comunity. It would take me 4 months. The humans in Lilyduan saw the construction and asked to be included in the area of effect of the power plant, adding another 6 months to the construction time. The Crystal Power Plant provides power for both the human and fairy communities nearby, with a range of 5 sparks (aprox. 500 km)
Now I have to Build or Improve Something, give a Boon or a Drawback to a task and Impact the comunities by drawing cards. I get the 4 of Diamond, that I use to Build Something, the 6 of Spades, that I use to give a Drawback and the 5 of Diamonds, that gets to be the Impact.
I put the power plant near the Forest City, as that was the intended impact area. I imagine it as a massive crystal, created from shards magically fused together by our main character over the course of the ten months it took her to build this. They float and exude magical energy over a radius long enough to power the magitech used by the fairies.
When I got to the drawback, I wanted it to still be a good thing. A good thing that would delay the task. So I put humans in this world. They were already there (remember I’m worldbuilding for a short story?), but were not mentioned yet, so I used their relationship to the fairies as a way to progress the worldbuilding while being true to the drawback in the rules.
And the Impact made me think about scale. I didn’t want this map to be too small, I have two mountains already! But I was restricted by the 5 in the card as my number for measurement. Miles or Kilometers were too small for what I wanted, so I created a measurement unit for this world, Sparks!
I did not put a ruler on the map but I imagine 5 sparks is just enough to encompass Lilyduan (told you my naming skills improved!).
My final cards
Map now with human town!


I help with the celebrations for the departure of the new generation, in the Crystal Grove and, eventually, settle in Sunnywood to help the humans adapt to magic-based technologies.

In this act, I have to decide if I help with the new generation of space travelers and if I stay in the planet.

Again, what guided me was the short story idea I have. This character is a main character in the story, so she decides to stay, as that story will take place far in the future (imortal fairies yay!). As that story will involve human characters (two! A princess and a necromancer!), I made my fairy settle close to the human town. Keeping with the nature themes of fairy culture, I created Sunnywood for her to settle in.

That was the second decision, but what about the first? That was made purely with the desire to add more things to the map. If the character didn’t help with the new generations, I would have no opportunity to develop this aspect of the culture. So the Crystal Grove is born! I imagine the created this almost sacred place for goodbyes.

Maybe it started with the first fairy to go off world placing a crystal in the place they departed from and it grew as every fairy added their own crystal. Maybe the crystals were naturally growing there and it was a convenient place for a send-off. Whatever ends up being true when I finally write the story, I had fun playing around with these ideas.

Map in it's final form!

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