We keep mentioning our wonderful districts, so now we’re going to start introducing them. Astranar has eight districts, each with their own individual flare, and they can be quite competitive with each other. In Astranar, the districts are named after gemstones. This week, we’ll be discussing Ruby, where Earth magic reigns supreme.
Known for their rolling hills and gorges, Ruby is the heart of Astranar–not quite literally, but it is in the center of the country and shares a border with just about everyone else. Creating it, Ginny was inspired by her childhood home of Upstate New York. The further north the player gets, closer to the Whistleback Mountains, the more the district resembles the Catskills (though Ginny will make the argument that they are still hills, just really steep ones. I’m from Oklahoma, I don’t have a horse in this race). Whereas the further south the player goes, the hills are still there, just less dramatic and more reminiscent of the Finger Lakes region. Those gorges are home to picturesque waterfalls that feed the rivers and lakes, watering the tall trees that cover the hills…at least, those that haven’t been “civilized” yet.
It is a favorite place for farmers and ranchers because of the plentiful graze, even if sometimes the sheep wonder off and have to be chased down. Dairy cows also make an appearance, and some vineyards. With all the plentiful supplies, it’s no wonder that craftspeople enjoy the district as well. The local nobility leaves… some… okay, a lot… to be desired, but we can deal with that right…? Well, hopefully. It’s just one count, how bad can it be? The other local lords are more farmers and landlords than real nobility, so they have the farm sense they were born with….right?! Maybe the fact the fashion has a noted punk/rebel edge isn’t a coincidence after all…
Alright, I’ll get to what most players actually care about. Possibly because of all the ranches, maybe just because they are quirky, but either way, Ruby is the solace for Western riders in Astranar. Barrel racing, pole bending, shalom, and pony games, there is a wide variety to try, though some will be limited to the main character (MC) owning a pony in addition to the default magical horse. (Don’t at me, there’s a quest to earn you the necessary credits, or at least the majority of them if you are picky on color.)
Ruby is home to Chincoteague ponies in all varieties of coats that they come in. Also not to worry if the MC went to another district first so the default horse is geared more towards another style of riding either, because the Chincoteague isn’t alone in Ruby. American Quarter Horses (which can turn into American Paints with a few extra credits to add markings) and Tennessee Walking horses are also available for purchase, although because they are considered “extra” horses, purchasing of the initial game license doesn’t earn the player credits towards them.
Earth magic resonates with Do on the solfege scale. It is the base, the anchor that holds you safely down. Those who resonate with Earth are down-to-earth personalities that value security and order, and they are very intense about getting it. They are very efficient, and a good person to have in your corner. On the small scale, Earth magic can speed up plant growth and making tilling the fields neatly easier. On the large scale, it can raise or lower the earth itself or effect magnetism. Of course, if the MC doesn’t stay in control of it, they could also cause a mudslide, which is not only dangerous, but is going to have a number of people mad at them for property damage.
If you following Ginny’s twitter blog, you’ll know that all of the districts, including Ruby, have their own little specialties and symbols. I won’t bore you with all of them, and I want you to get to enjoy finding them out on your own! (The name is one giant clue to one of them, fyi.) I will mention that the Ruby mentors depend on which side the player chooses. If they go with the Light, the MC will look to Vesper Leilament (profile pending), and if they go with the Shadow, the MC has options: Vanessa Ribbonmelody (profile pending) and Vivian Streetbeats (profile pending).