A Land Far Away (ALFA) began as an ambitious project to recreate the entire Forgotten Realms campaign settings in Neverwinter Nights 1 (NWN1). Over several years beginning in 2001, servers representing geographic locations within the setting were put in place and maintained by Head Dungeon Masters (HDMs) for each server. These servers were linked by portals so that one could travel between servers and play with a diverse set of players and Dungeon Masters in a persistent world.
Among its players ALFA gained a reputation for high-quality role-playing and difficult, strict gameplay, including permanent death for characters that died, in many cases.
With the release of a sequel game, Neverwinter Nights 2, in 2008 ALFA moved fully into the new game and ceased supporting the NWN1 platform.
Then in 2017, two of the most popular NWN1 servers—Waterdeep and Daggerford—were revived by former DMs. Several former players found their way back and began to play, with a player base primarily consisting of former NWN1 players who gradually returned.
Finally, in 2022 ALFA: Sea of Swords was released, bringing back to life the vision of multiple ALFA servers linked together by portal so that characters can travel between them and traverse vast portions of the Forgotten Realms setting. Sea of Swords comprises three linked servers; Daggerford, Baldur’s Gate, and the Moonshae Isles, and is an entirely separate project to the Waterdeep server.
While the community still prides itself on high-quality role-play, and permanent death and difficult gameplay are still in place, there are a few notable differences from the previous iteration.
- Leveling time has decreased, particularly at very low levels. This has led to a game that focuses on levels 5 – 10.
- Rules are more relaxed due to a smaller and more mature player base. The game is still challenging, but the spirit of the game is valued more than the letter of the rules.
- Static dungeons are common, and running static quests is encouraged.
- Scripted crafting and skill systems have been put in place, such as Brewing, Trap Making, Scribing Scrolls, Swimming, Armor and Weapon Crafting, and even Construct Crafting.