Short talk: It is amazing how our Halloween has evolved and developed over the years. Many thanks to @GM Phoenix for co-developing this with me throughout the years. You can also read about the history of Melodia in the library of Melodia Academy.
Melodia is the one of (if not the) greatest creation we have ever created in TalonRO. Let me start telling this journey from the mid 2010's.
After the Krispen saga, which was before my time, we started the Bio-lab (we don't have an official name for this) saga with Flamel. Then we had Trentini and Celia, etc. that continued the storyline for a few years causing trouble in Verus. By 2017, we sort of ran out of ideas for Halloween so I went back to the drawing board (aka my random idea generator) to see if we can have something different for Halloween 2017.
It just so happened that I came across two similar NPC sprites that led to the beginning of the Melodia saga:
I used a random name generator and came up with two names that almost rhyme with each other. Azz-veer and Brai-yar. At that point, I referred them as NPC A and NPC B; totally intended.
The next thing I knew, my RQG (random quest generator) produced a long quest about the search for an ancient artifact. I figured that a monkey would be a witch doctor's pet so I decided to name the artifact as the Monkey's Paw. There wasn't much creativity at work during this point except turning whatever my RQG produced into reality. My mind was upon turning Halloween into a friendly competition.
Closing in on Halloween 2017, we were honored to have @GM Howl renaming Team Azviar and Team Bryjar into two schools of magic - Azviar would lead the Spirit Channelers and Bryjar would lead the Necromancers. And thus began, a new Halloween saga.
Then came 2018.
I remembered having a long discussion session with Phoenix on how we could progress from 2017 into 2018. We had decided to end the Bio-lab saga and we had started a new saga - all that remained was to continue and expand on it.
One of the things that worked for us in 2017 was the team-based competition throughout the entire Halloween event. We got ambitious. We decided to expand that into four teams because more teams meant more fun. Also because we love Harry Potter series.
The question was - how do we turn two headmasters into four team leaders? Again, I went back to my RQG. Amazingly, it gave us a solution and an idea to what Melodia is today. The very first thing was, we needed a proper Halloween town map; Verus will not see the light in a long run, nor do we want to use Niflheim as an event map. Phoenix worked on the map while I worked on the names.
It wasn't easy to come up with a name for a town and all of its people. I ultimately chose Melodia as the town name, inspired by one of the earliest anime that I watched during my younger otaku days. I also personally like the name. Probably would name my daughter that in the future too.
Town name, Melodia - done deal. Next, team leaders' name. I shamelessly went back to the same inspiration and decided that their names would be Remy, Faa, Sola and Sydo - which sounds like the major notes in the octave scale. If you catch the punny idea here, you would probably understand why Algo (Azviar renamed) that leads Spirit Channelers uses life magic named Rhythm (Loga) while Muse (Bryjar renamed) that leads Necromancers uses death magic with a sickle.
@GM Mikzie suggested that the houses be named after the family names of Lighthalzen monsters since they have some sort of lineage to it. And there we have Windsor, Guile, Sorin and Emure. They are ghostly beings and should play an influence in the post-Biolab saga as well.
How did Monny the Grand Monemus come about? We thought about having a house-sorting option, which also takes your preference into consideration. Instead of putting a hat on your head, we thought it would be a good idea to let it be something to sit on - a rock or something. Please don't sit on Monny.
So how did Azviar/Bryjar turn into Algo/Muse? A possible transition Phoenix and I thought about was how two powerful wizards of their time, established a school that teaches its students about magic. So Halloween 2018 revealed that Algo and Muse were nothing but lingering spirits in the living realm that took on the disguise of two wanderer twins, overseeing their descendants and also keeping their most powerful enemy - the Night King in watch.
Why the Night King? Well, every story needs a villain and Night King was the villain for 2018. Remember that Monkey's Paw that Azviar and Bryjar wanted to search for? It was used to seal the Night King at the end of Halloween 2018. The end.
2019 is our most ambitious year so far. We took a step up - Phoenix and @GM Zelda designed the town of Melodia - truly our first staff-designed custom map. I helped with idea inputs as well, so you're welcome.
I won't talk about how the story unfolds in 2019. That's a story for another time.
The journey of designing and brainstorming for new content isn't always a smooth ride. There is always mental blocks and burnouts. I daresay we have always tried to find new things to add and improve the quality of the things we already have. You will notice a lot more improvement for 2020, I'm sure.