Bonus: Personas

This page was built from a game design document used during production to communicate the ideas between project partners. It describes how each character personality was modeled in line with the overall story line.

Strong spoiler warning

This page explains and reveals the whole plot idea. Read it not before you played the game as this knowledge breaks the dramaturgy of the story.

Foreword: Inspiration

In 2012 palliative nurse Bronnie Ware who accompanied many people to death, published lessons she learned from her experiences with the patients in her book "The top five regrets of the dying". The fantasy adventure game "A Room Beyond" takes some inspiration coming from those apparently essential subjects of human existence.

There are five essential things that dying people said they should have done differently in their lives according to Bronnie:

  1. "I wish I didn't work so hard."
  2. "I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me."
  3. "I wish that I had let myself be happier."
  4. "I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings."
  5. "I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends."

These five ideas are the basis of the game's main character concepts.

In general

  • The player meets various characters who reflect regrets.
  • Each of the characters can die during the game, depending on how the player deals with the character. When a character dies, his soul appears as a bright glowing butterfly which can be collected by the player. The butterflies will guide the player later in the game.
  • All characters are afraid of the Fog Wanderer.
  • All characters (except the Wanderer) deny that they know the Player, which is not true.

The Player

  • Symbolizes: "I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends."
  • Age: ~ 30
  • Key Topics: Search for identity
  • Language Color: casual, calm

Story

The player awakes in a cave where he is locked in a cage with ritual symbols all around. He lost memory and his main challenge is to find out what happened.

Episode 1: He discovers the situation, explores the environment. Learns from Harry and Barbara about the rumors of The Fog Wanderer, a strange murderer who hunts people.

Episode 2: He tries to help Barbara, who is a widow now, to find other people. He learns that the Fog Wanderer has magical powers and is able to invoke demonic creatures who fight the people. A business card found gives him the idea that he is a ghostbuster who was called to help the villagers to banish the Wanderer.

Episode 3: The player will summon Cthulhu, but he is aware of this being a fictional character of H.P. Lovecraft. In conclusion he finds that reality and fantasy are obviously mixed.

Episode 4: The player discovers that there are two worlds. He tries to find a way into the other world which seems to be the domain of the Wanderer.

Episode 5: He understands the relations between both worlds and is challenged to find out which is real and which is an illusion.

Relations to other characters:

  • When talking with other persons the search for the own fate becomes a search for helping the people who fear the Fog Wanderer.
  • The player is pro-active and brave. He tries to solve the riddle by simply confronting the Fog Wanderer, but he is repeatedly delayed by the people who fear the Wanderer. Furthermore the Wanderer is actually never seen until Episode 4, which makes solving the case difficult.

The Fog Wanderer

  • Appears in: Episode 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
  • Age: ~ 64
  • Key Topics: Hunting, Spiritualism, Magic

Story:

The people in the game's world are living in fear of a murder who is called the Fog Wanderer. For a long time it is unclear who this person is or why he is murdering. The player only hears stories told by people afraid of being murdered.

The Wanderer is able to invoke demonic creatures, "the Wanderer's evocations". From subcontext of the villager's stories can be understood, that the Wanderer is somehow restricted and limited. He cannot attack precisely. Instead he is straying through the fog in search of finding the people to kill.

The Wanderer wears a wolf mask, symbolizing "search", like a track dog.

Relations to other characters:

  • Harry is killed first by the Wanderer, which cannot be seen directly.
  • Barbara is killed by the Wanderer if she is not emancipated during Episode 2.
  • Valerian is extremely afraid of the Wanderer, but he is not killed by him.
  • Gara may be killed by the Wanderer in Episode 4, which is the first murder directly shown.

Relation to player:

  • There is no direct connection within the first three episodes. The player tries to find and talk to the Wanderer, but he fails.
  • In Episode 4 the player meets the Wanderer who then starts to hunt the player.
  • In Episode 5 a showdown between the Wanderer and the player appears which also reveals the relation between both.
  • In Episode 5 the Player may kill The Wanderer.

Harry

  • Appears in: Episode 1
  • Symbolizes: "I wish I didn't work so hard."
  • Age: ~ 52
  • Key Topics: Material Wealth, Workaholic
  • Language Color: obsessed
  • Style of Address: respectful, but not too formal. close to pally.
  • Name Origin: germanic, "ruler of the homeland"

Story:

Harry is a gold washer who is obsessed of finding a big treasure one day, making him rich. His obsession for work makes him blind for everything else. He literally has a bad eye sight.

Relations to other characters:

  • He is the husband of Barbara and tries to build a better life for both of them by trying to reach material wealth.
  • At the end of Episode 1 he and Barbara argue about him working so much. He goes into the couple's house alone, after leaving the dispute.

Relation to player:

  • The player is asked (by Barbara) to motivate Harry to go home to protect his wife. Because of Harry's obsession this is only possible with giving him the idea of work success. The player will give a golden beetle to Harry who thinks it is a gold nugget, because of his bad eyesight.

  • The player discovers that Harry died at the beginning of Episode 1. His body is found inside a golden cocoon which was woven by ghost spiders of the Wanderer.

Barbara

  • Appears in: Episode 1, 2, (5)
  • Symbolizes: "I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me."
  • Age: ~ 49
  • Key Topics: Emancipation, Self-Esteem, Courage
  • Language Color: scared
  • Style of Address: respectful, more formal than Harry.
  • Name Origin: Latin, "mysterious stranger"

Story:

Barbara is Harry's wife, caring for their home. In Episode 1 she is very submissive, because she was focused on being dependent from her husband her whole life. She has a very low self-esteem and is very afraid of the Wanderer. Her dogma is to not being able to help herself. At the end of E1 she gets into an argument with her husband as she feels he is not caring enough for her, but he is focusing on work too much.

In Episode 2 she finds her husband killed by demonic spiders, invoked by the Wanderer. Feeling even more helpless being a widow now, the player guides her into a village nearby where she hopes to meet Brother Valerian. During Episode 2 she can learn to fight and help the player to banish many of the evocations. If she does, she will gain self-esteem and leave with the dream of living her own life now.

Relations to other characters:

  • She is the wife of Harry and very dependent from him.
  • At the end of Episode 1 she and Harry argue about him working so much. She feels sorry after the dispute and wants to apologize, but Harry is already killed by the Wanderer.
  • She is also submissively dependent on Brother Valerian and his religious speech. However, if she emancipates during Episode 2, she frees herself from this dependency.

Relation to player:

  • The player learns about the Wanderer first by talking to Barbara.
  • In Episode 2 there is a close relation between Barbara and the Player as she follows him all the time. Furthermore she fights and helps the player, if she is taught to do so.
  • If she is not emancipated during Episode 2, she will fall back into a submissive behavior. Valerian will tell her to pray for her sins. While doing so, she is killed by the Wanderer.

Brother Valerian

  • Appears in: Episode 2, 3, (5)
  • Symbolizes: "I wish that I had let myself be happier."
  • Age: ~ 79
  • Key Topics: Dogmas, self-punishment, holding back
  • Language Color: jaundiced, embittered
  • Style of Address: formally, distanced
  • Name Origin: latin-american, "Foreign Power"

Story:

Valerian is the last monk in a monastery where he hides in the sewers whipping himself in hope of god helping against the Wanderer. He is convinced that the Wanderer is a divine punishment for a sinful lifestyle of the villagers. His personality is broken and fearful, not allowing himself to experience any joy.

In Episode 2 Barbara and the player are in search for Valerian. They meet him finally in the monastery. He is afraid and very faithful, but not totally resigned.

In Episode 3 Valerian gives up fighting and is no longer willing to do anything else then fleeing the Wanderer.

Relations to other characters:

  • Barbara is a willing victim for his preaches. He indirectly supports her self-contempt which he understands as a faithful lifestyle. If she is not emancipated during Episode 2, he will scold her and tell that Barbara's lifestyle is still not selfless enough, which is a reason for the Wanderer to be here. He will then send her to pray for her sins at a holy rock, where she will be killed by the Wanderer while doing so.
  • Valerian unconsciously feels very attracted to Gara. He is just strangely fascinated first. Later he even wants to spend his life with the sea creature.

Relation to player:

  • In Episode 2 Valerian saves the player, by warning him when the Wanderer appears in the monastery.
  • In Episode 3 he gives an important hint about the Wanderer: "But it did not help. First the Wanderer seemed to have no orientation, but after time his attacks became more targeted." This tells us that there are rules that apply to the Wanderer, making his work harder.
  • Also he points out that Cthulhu is not an evocation of the Wanderer, which is a hint about the different layers of fantasy and reality.
  • When Valerian meets Gara, he is drawn into the spell of the seductive merman/mermaid's song. He tries to resist, but he can't. While trying to climb towards Gara, he falls down a cliff and dies.

Gara

  • Appears in: Episode 3, 4
  • Symbolizes: "I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings."
  • Age: ~ 20
  • Key Topics: Independence, Freedom, Harmony
  • Language Color: placid
  • Style of Address: pally, coequal
  • Name Origin: japanese, "Who fights for his own"

Story:

Gara is a water nymph, half human, half fish. Its gender is not expressed explicitly, sometimes it appears like a mermaid, sometimes like a merman. To keep this undecided, characters, i.e. Valerian, talk about a fascinating creature, instead of relating to a specific person.

The personality of Gara is neutral and nature-related. He/she does not judge or join the discussions about the Wanderer. Personal freedom and being in harmony with nature are Gara's main ideas.

At the beginning of Episode 3 Gara is turned into stone by the Wanderer. It is not clearly expressed if this is by accident or on purpose. When the player summons Cthulhu later, he raises from the depth of the sea and frees Gara from the stone shell.

Relations to other characters:

  • Valerian is unconsciously fascinated by Gara. Depending on player interaction he feels mesmerized by the nymph's magical aura so that he falls into death.
  • Cthulhu frees Gara as they are both children of the sea.

Relation to player:

  • After being freed by the player (who summoned Cthulhu who broke Gara's stone shell), Gara guides the player to the exit of the island.
  • Gara answers questions in a philosophical ambiguous style. But the answers contain hints that the assumed roles of good and bad, murder and victim, etc. may change when changing the point of view.
  • In Episode 4 Gara may get killed by the Wanderer which is the first visual appearance of the Wanderer.

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