Home sweet home at last! This week, Quinlan’s arboreal journey comes to an end, and we finally get a glimpse at the city of Terria – home of the Tamian race and half of the effective ruling power of the kingdoms of Sunsgrove.

Designing a cool city that exists mostly in the trees is much harder than you’d think. After Return of the Jedi, most tree-top villages had the same kind of motif. The Ewok Village is iconic – even Donkey Kong Country’s Tree Top Town aped the look almost entirely. Once you have a village in the trees, there are always hints of the Ewok Village. David Petersen got around it by having his mouse city of Sprucetuck actually inside a tree instead of outside it – a clever solution, but for us, and our internally-established beliefs on how the Tamian operate, that wouldn’t work, unfortunately.

An old concept for Terrian housing

The Tamian, you see, have a special relationship with the forest, and the trees in particular. Their forest, the Western Deep, is deemed holy ground – to kill one of the giant trees that make up the center of the city would be like killing a fellow Tamian. They are irreplaceable, and therefore the homes are not carved deeply into the trees. Instead, these ancient abodes are carved only partially into the trees, with structural supports and additions that poke out of the tree to offer a little bit more space for the occupants.

Another older concept piece

Most Tamian live very active lifestyles, and the idea of lounging about at home hardly enters into their mind. The Tamian home is more a necessity than anything – a place to sleep, a place to take cover when it rains or snows, and a place to store the occasional valuable (though the Tamian are very loose about concepts such as ‘ownership’). To this end, there aren’t too many structures that one might call a “home”. This area of Terria that Quinlan lives in is reserved for the elite of the city, with homes passed down from generation to generation. Most Tamian don’t even live in such abodes – instead opting for communal hammocks that lie further outside this nice area of the Deep, spread through the treetops like a massive spider web.

I think at the end of the day, Rachel and I are happy with the design of Terria’s treetop homes. They look unique enough from the iconic Ewok Village or Donkey Kong Country’s Tree Top Town that you wouldn’t confuse the two side-by-side, and it also gives us a great deal of background material to work with regarding the city’s construction, who lives where, what the different Tamian classes are, etc. We may not visit it all in the comic proper, but supplemental writings will no doubt be produced someday to assist the budding Western Deep loremasters :)

Click for full-size

Remember, if you have any fanart you’d like to share with us and have posted along with the new pages of Beyond the Western Deep, feel free to send us an e-mail at thewesterndeep@gmail.com!