Fawnlings History

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Fandom: Fawnlings
Dates: Feb 12, 2012 - Present
See also: Original Species

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Fawnlings was both the name of an original species and its art roleplay game (ARPG) on DeviantART.

This page is a timeline of the group's history and also seeks to log the coming and going of its staff through time. While almost all information of Fawnlings history could be scrounged for and discovered by reading through numerous (and often lengthy) journal entries on the group's page, with the group's closure in 2021, these journals are no longer accessible.

Timeline Summary

Fawnlings lasted from early 2012 to mid 2021, when it was closed by it's original admin, Ehetere. For a full timeline of events up until 2019, the "Fawnlings Timeline" should be viewed.[1]

2012: The beginning. Fawnlings has a slow start and is mostly run by just Ehetere and her "second in command," though there is no easily found record saying who this second in command was.

2013: Fawnlings has a little bit of traction and three new staff members are hired on. Oakfern and Silverthorne have a tough time getting enough players. The group is a little inactive around the middle of the year but picks up again near the end. Ehetere labels herself as an "absent admin," but is likely still active in a smaller way.

2014: 2014 is when Fawnlings sees its first player base boom. The game is so popular and the community has become so large that many new staff members must be hired on, leading to 21 newly hired admins. Near the end of the year much change happens and the application process is smoothed. There are many mass roleplays held by staff, mostly in Glenmore and Windborne. Ehetere uploads her finally Fawnling character, which stops being updated. By the end of 2014, she is most likely fully absent from the rest of the staff.

2015: The staff remain busy and only 9 new admins are hired this year. Mostly a year of quality of life updates, such as finishing up herd journals as well as many lore, genetic, and mechanic journals. Fewer mass RPs, more raffles and holiday events. 2 new genes added.

2016: Many more quality of life updates, and 3 new genes are added. 5 Staff members are hired. This year things are becoming more precise as the staff make minute changes to rules. Consistent raffles and holiday events, tokens are a new mechanic to supplement bacon. There are no mass RPs, but there are many curses and blessings. The group now has about 1000 members but the player base boom has slowed.

2017: Many rules continue to be changed to make the game more fun and easier to play. While the group has grown past 1000 members, its updates make it appear the group has slowed down. However, while the number of updates dropped the consistency of updates and contests remain. 14 new staff are hired and 2 new genes are added.

2018: There is a resurgence in mass RPs this year. The slot system is finally discarded and players are instead allowed to get 3 new designs per month (or 36 per year). 7 staff members are hired on and 3 new genes are added.

2019: The staff become rather swamped this year during breeding seasons and apologize for applications having been backed up, then hire on 6 new staff and 2 repeat hires. Not many mass RPs nor any new genes. However, some rules regarding genes are tweaked to make the game even more fun and a journal on how to use genotypes in breeding is made. This year is a clear indicator that even eight years later Fawnlings remains a popular ARPG community.

2020: This year was not archived.

2021: Fawnling staff contact the absent founder, Ehetere, early in 2021, about acquiring the rights to the species and group. This caused Ehetere to return briefly and offer an ultimatum: either the staff divorced her original content from the species, or the group would be shutdown. The staff decided to seceded from her altogether and left to make a new species called the Elaphaea. Rae then shut the group down.

History

The End of Fawnlings

On April 24, 2021, an announcement was posted to the group via journal entry by the long-time mod and player RusticForrest titled "Dear Fawnlings Members, (!!MUST!! READ)".[2] At first it entailed detailed explanation on how RusticForrest had contacted the original owner, Ehetere (called Rae by members), who had left the group seven years ago, about buying the group and species from her. However, Ehetere had explained that she was now utilizing content she had given to Fawnlings in 2012-2014 in a novel she intended to publish, and that she was uncomfortable with selling the group to anyone because of that. She was also uncomfortable with the large group continuing to use the original Western Isles lore as well. As a result, the staff tried to accommodate her by cooperating. The journal (edited a day later to remove mentions of the novel and shorten the intro considerably; the original intro has been lost) detailed three options that Rae and the staff had come up with. One was an event that would make all Fawnlings forget their past lives, including herd names and gods, but the Fawnlings would live on otherwise. The second was to start from scratch to allow a full removal of all Rae's lore, meaning all characters would need to be re-created. The last option was to do a time skip, killing off all current characters along with the past lore.

Rae herself would leave a comment on this journal after several members expressed dissatisfaction with her decision. She stated in one response that she believed the members were "clamouring for her head," and in a different comment chain stated at least one member named Howl-n-Hart was belittling her work. Staff then requested that members hold off from asking Rae questions.[2] One of Rae's full, unedited comment is included below, which offers her perspective on the situation as it was happening.

For those clamouring for my head: I did not set this into motion. I was approached by staff asking to buy me out of the group. For those who think I’m just ‘crawling out of the woodwork’ now, I can assure you, I am not.

If this was just a matter of design for fawnlings, I wouldn’t care as much, however the world of the western isles (specifically a lot of its cultural, magical and religious systems) were created solely by me, for (originally) a private roleplay scenario, where I asked friends to play specific characters with me. It gained some popularity from there, and so the western isles was opened as a group for others to participate in. When I left for personal reasons, I considered closing the group then, however I didn’t want to disrupt the world at that time. That group continued to grow with no input or intervention from me - in directions that I no longer had control over, in ways I wasn’t always comfortable with given my world and name was still attached to it. I assumed, like many online roleplaying communities, interest in the setting would dwindle over time and players would move on and take their characters elsewhere, and there would come a time where I would close the group naturally. This obviously hasn’t happened, resulting in the current situation. The world, stories and characters I originally created are still dear to me, and I no longer have a say in their direction. There is no sum of money to compensate for that, I can’t simply sign them over.

We are here because the staff still wanted control and say over the group and its direction - which is a fair request given their work over the years - and I was not comfortable signing that over, for money or otherwise, in its current state. Closing the group abruptly - as a roleplay forum of old might have been - is something I want to avoid. However, this will essentially require a new setting to separate my world and my work from the staff’s ongoing worldbuilding. They need to be free to create something new, and they can’t do so while I am still associated with it. It will be messy, and I’m sorry for the stories it will interrupt, but I’m hoping the outcome will allow staff and players to have more freedom to explore the world and stories they want to.
Comment by Ehetere[2]

Just two days after the voting began, RusticForrest posted a journal entry on their personal DeviantART stating that the staff realized the only option was to fully divorce from Rae.[3] They could not accommodate her as the Fawnlings group stood, due to how drastically she wanted them to change the canon of the nine year old game. Negative comments on the !!MUST!! READ journal made towards the options and towards Rae herself may have aided this sudden decision. Thus, Fawnlings and its Discord were abandoned by all staff members to begin working on a new group and deer-based species. Members began moving to the new game's Discord en masse as soon as it was announced the same day. The staff did not discuss this with Rae and did it suddenly without her knowledge, which may have been seen negatively by those supportive of Rae, though the announcement journal itself didn't contain any insulting language towards Fawnlings or Rae directly.

Rae, living within a different time zone, would not be made aware of this change until hours after it occurred. After becoming aware that the staff abandoned her with the group she had left seven years ago, Rae immediately announced that she would be fully shutting down the group[4] and the Discord within four days time, on April 30, 2021. She stripped the front page of its code and galleries,[5] leaving only the comment section, the navigation links, and the journal.[6] Rae made it clear players would be allowed to keep their character designs and breed them, but no officially approved new designs would be made, and she expected the Western Isles lore to be changed if players kept their characters.

A few members continued to criticize Rae's interactions with the group and staff. Two members, SfwGenuflect and ChaosT, had a conversation about the closing of the group and Rae directly on the "Closing group" announcement journal. The player SfwGenuflect stated that Rae had deleted a previous comment by her, and ChaosT noted the same. They continued to comment on the journal about the comment deletions as well as criticize Rae herself.[7] The next day Rae deleted all of the replies in the conversation which criticized her response, including one non-critical response that linked to the ex-staff's new game. She then replied to the original comment blaming the closure on having no staff. SfwGenuflect responded again to her, disagreeing with the statement.[8]

[Ehetere]
Not much choice: no staff to run the group. Any lingering items can be taken up with former staff.
[SfwGenuflect]
I do believe there was a comment on this journal that suggested giving the group to someone else. Not having any staff isn't much of a problem if you allow one of the 1,600+ people who enjoyed the group to take over; there's got to be ONE person here who would that that for you. You weren't really here the last 7 years so I'm not sure why vetting new staff matters now :0 Just give it to someone, problem solved.

A few more varied comments from the !!MUST!! READ journal discussing the closure are below, with some being positive, some neutral, and others negative. Many comments were quite long, and are edited for brevity, but can be viewed in full on the capture of the journal. Some ex-players of Fawnlings look back on the discussions within the journal as being hostile and rude towards Rae.

Well... let no one say this isn't gonna be wild, one way or another! I can't say I don't have some feels about the whys of it, but the end of it is that, one way or another, TWI as we know it is going away. Can't change it. I can live with that - heck, it's actually kind of exciting! My vote is for cataclysm because there's a plot hook at every angle and it's already been said that if a character dies during the event you can just reuse the design - everyone gets the ability to start from scratch if they want, or retain the characters as they are. There's so much potential for angst, hurt/comfort, and the ridiculous levels of drama from that gods used to exist but now you can't remember them so maybe they weren't that important and what happened to my entire worldview?? It's a plotting goldmine and I am so incredibly there for it. >w>


My biggest concern is stat points. If I have to start my characters from scratch... I won't like it, but I'll do it. However, as stat points tend to build slowly (particularly if you're not using tokens to boost them) and a lot of work can go into them, I would advise letting them carry over.

As a personal example, a rough count puts my writing for Ruadh at just over 13,500 words, plus many, many hours drawing full, detailed art pieces to go with each lit post. This is not something I've purchased via bacon or token, therefore it cannot currently be refunded.
TrinitySilph
[Nixxily]
I would like to see rebirth the most. It’ll be a lot of work to start with, but it will lead to most chars being able to make the transition. I have a lot of older chars who won’t make it trough Cataclysm. Rebirth offers them a good chance to be reworked and I can still RP out their past them. Cataclysm mostly looks good at first glance, not at second for me. If that made sense?
[Warped-Casual]
I don't agree. With someone that has 90+ characters it's going to be a little difficult to retcon and rewrite that many if you feel me. Having them continue on as is feel better, even though it's still changes things and disrupts things it also let's families stays together
As an author, can I also just say that having an over 1k fanbase actively participating with your work is more likely to be a massive draw to a publisher than it is likely to be something a lawyer would tell you to cancel? Nevermind how little it has to do with the original work, it would be way better for HER to keep it a fan site and use it to promote her work online as well as to publishers. If she would rather not though, that's I suppose her prerogative.
JackalsGrin

Though Rae had only given a few days notice before the closure date, she ended up leaving the group open for nearly a month before she finally closed it, on circa May 25th, 2021. During the final weeks in which it stayed open she continued to respond to comments on the journal that had announced the closure, and she banned at least one person from the group.[9]

DeviantART Response

A few members made journal entries on DeviantART discussing the group's closure.

I was only 13 when I found this group. It was Christmas morning, 2017, and I was going through a brand new computer, browsing through Google images, when I came across the most extraordinary thing. I came across a breed information sheet for Fawnlings. Upon clicking the link taking me to DeviantArt for the first time, I discovered this community. I was truly enamoured, and honestly, that feeling has never left me.


After two and a half years in the group, I became a Fawnling admin, and I got the opportunity to grow close with some of the most amazing people I have ever met. I got to see the group in a whole new light, and I will never be able to possibly find the words to even begin to articulate how wonderful it was. To any outsiders looking in, this group is so much more than anything you could possibly imagine. It is full of the kindest people you will ever encounter. It is full of love, passion, heart, and soul. And it is so wonderfully weird!

[snipped]

To the founder of the group, the group, the lore, the culture, the art, the stories, all of it - in your forest fire of passion, you ignited a spark of creativity and imagination within me, that spark turning into a fire, pushing me forwards in everything I do, and I can say with certainty, there is no way I am the only one who was affected this way. Keep inspiring people!


Writing this all out is one of the hardest, most emotional things I have ever done, as never in a million years did I think I would be saying goodbye to the group. But within the pain and the sorrow that comes from writing this, there is this new light inside me, a small, but shining beacon of hope and excitement and I hope to share it with you.
anonymousllamaz, Apr 27, 2021[10]
I’m sure everyone has seen it by now, but @ Fawnlings is gone. It’s sad, but you can’t do anything about garage juice soaking up in there now.


So! What does this mean? I still love all my characters and will be bringing several over to Realm-of-Elaphaea <3 May will be ‘restarted’, while others will be brand new!
silverenvy09, Apr 28, 2021 [11]
If you like me, follow a bunch of Fawnling roleplayers you will have seen a few journals like this already x'D I do want to put myself in support of the mods that have upheld the Fawnling/TWI roleplay group for so many years and carried it on their backs while the owner of the group was MIA. To all the old mods that I had the pleasure of working with back in the day, to the mods that had to pick up the pieces and continue with Fawnlings and keep it fun for members, I extend a big hug and a lorge smootch <3 You all deserve so much gratitude.


I am also happy to announce that I will be joining the new version of the group to some extent! In support of my best friend (you know who you are <3) I will no longer be associating myself with Fawnlings and my old characters will be moved to Realm-of-Elaphaea or reborn as Boucle Unicorns <3 Please do join me and the other peeps on this new journey! And let us build a more positive community going forward!


Check out RusticForrest's post for discord links and whatnot <3 I expect to see some exciting information coming soon <3
donpurrleone, Apr 27, 2021[12]

Twitter Response

The closure of Fawnlings and criticism of Ehetere spread far enough to find discussion opened up not just on DeviantART, but on Twitter as well. A player going by @Aliiwa, who described themself as being one of Rae's oldest friends,[13] made a comment chain on their Twitter talking about the members' reaction towards Rae. They tried to explain the situation in a way that emphasized Rae's view of the situation.[14]

I feel like there is a difference between abandoning a project and having to withdraw from it because adulthood gets in the way, though still working on a second draft of the project on your own privately.

Let’s say you built a world for a story. You created its landscape, political borders, religion, social structures, etc. Then you ask a couple friends to write some main characters with you and it becomes an rp.

Eventually you let other people start popping characters into this universe for fun, they’re either contributing to the main plot or playing their own stories! It’s like a semi-sandbox! The rp takes off but soon you dont have time to rp anymore because adulthood happens

So you publicly withdraw but let everyone keep playing in your original world because they’re enjoying it so much! You leave the leaders of the rp with a set of directions for where the overarching plot of this story is heading so they can carry on without you.

You leave but you’re still working on a private version of the story with your own characters when you have time among adult life; school, work, social life, responsibilities.

People praise your creation for being amazing and unique for years, its popularity just keeps growing well beyond what you ever expected and nearly a decade later while you’re still working on your story, the people carrying on the rp you left ask for the RIGHTS to your world

And when you say “sorry no, im actually still using it. You can do a version of it without my lore though if you want?”

Over a thousand people come after you saying you’re in the wrong because they have more right to your intellectual property than you do.

This explanation got a little more on the nose than i meant for it to. But essentially imagine saying “i made these ocs and the world they inhabit” and an angry mob screaming at you that they dont belong to you anymore because they like them
Aliiwa, Apr 26, 2021[14]

A few days later an ex-staff member named @thatspool, who had been active during Rae's term in the group, and who had also been the one to create the original art base for Fawnlings, left their own interpretation by replying to Aliiwa.[15]

That's not... what happened though. I was high staff when Owner left - without a WORD. No "things are hectic rn I need a break" or anything, she just DISAPPEARED. We kept going because we were given nothing to go off of.

So much of the lore and systems after that were created by the remaining fawnlings team - Owner had no hand in them. The story took off, extensions were made, etc. Owner made no effort to be in contact during ANY of it.

And now, GENERATIONS of characters later, Owner is back and saying "you have to rework everything erase all of your character's histories and also I'm deleting the group bye"

As someone who has been out of the community for a long time, I genuinely don't understand how anyone could expect the people to feel anything other than slighted, jipped, and betrayed. Histories of characters generations old are now just... lost.

And it's not as though Owner came in apologetically/kindly - it was essentially "get lost change everything bye" so? I don't? Understand how Owner is the good guy here //weeps
thatspool, response to Aliiwa, Apr 28, 2021[15]

Other Twitter responses from several months into the group's closure are below.

Just realized it's been about over 4 months since Fawnlings was closed... I was re-reading my old character's profiles like dang, remembering what a mf shame all that stuff getting thrown in the trash was 😭 Ciel was barely 1 in game year old
NsfwGenuflect, Oct 11, 2021[16]
yeeeep, i was apart of it too the current staff just basically dipped the whole group into the ocean. lots of the members were badmouthing the creator and anyone who defended them. so sad.
hherbalwolff, reply to hidden Tweet, Feb 3, 2022[17]
Nice! Are you still into it? I know the group moved to be called something else now but its still fawnlings lol
FoevarW, referencing Realm-of-Elaphaea taking Fawnlings place, Jan 17, 2022[18]

References

  1. ^ Fawnlings Timeline, DeviantART. Mar 26, 2022 (Archived 3/26/2022)
  2. ^ a b c Dear Fawnling Members, (!!MUST!! READ), DeviantART. Apr 25, 2021 (Accessed 4/27/2021)
  3. ^ Leaving Fawnlings, DeviantART Apr 26, 2021 (Accessed)
  4. ^ Closing group, DeviantART. Apr 26, 2021 (Accessed 4/27/2021)
  5. ^ Fawnlings Front Page, before Rae, Jul 20, 2020 (Accessed 4/27/2021)
  6. ^ Fawnlings Front Page, Apr 26, 2021 (Accessed 4/27/2021)
  7. ^ Closing group, before deleted comments, DeviantART Apr 28, 2021. (Accessed 4/28/2021)
  8. ^ Closing group, after deleted comments, DeviantART. Apr 28, 2021 (Accessed 4/28/2021)
  9. ^ Dang, I thought the Fawnlings group was finally gone, DeviantART. May 7, 20201 (Accessed 5/25/2021)
  10. ^ Goodbye to Fawnlings, DeviantART. Apr 27, 2021 (Accessed 3/27/2022)
  11. ^ Goodbye, hello shiny, DeviantART. Apr 28, 2021 (Accessed 3/27/2022)
  12. ^ Bye Fawnlings, hello Elaphaea!, DeviantART. Apr 27, 2021 (Accessed 3/27/2022)
  13. ^ Reply to Aliiwa's Thread], Twitter. Apr 26, 2021. (Accessed 4/29/2021)
  14. ^ a b I feel like there is a difference between abandoning a project, main Twitter thread. Apr 26, 2021. (Accessed 4/29/2021) (Archived 2/14/2022)
  15. ^ a b That's not... what happened though. I was high staff when Owner left, thatspool response on Twitter. Apr 28, 2021 (Accessed 4/29/2021)
  16. ^ Just realized it's been about over 4 months, Oct 11, 2021 (Accessed 2/14/2022)
  17. ^ yeeeep, i was apart of it too, Twitter. Feb 3, 2022 (Accessed 2/14/2022)
  18. ^ but its still fawnlings lol, Twitter. Jan 17, 2022 (Accessed 2/14/2022)