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Stardew Valley is not a game that many would put in the same category as, say, open-world RPGs or MMOs in terms of depth. The game, in fact, prides itself on its simplicity, its ability to cater to all types of players, and also prides itself on its open-ended nature where there is no right or wrong way to play.
RPGs may have a lot more scope for world design, world-building, expanded lore, and doing all of this on a massive scale, thanks to a AAA budget. However, one may be surprised at the sheer amount of lore and hidden secrets that are interwoven into the world of Stardew Valley.
This quaint little indie farming sim is actually more fleshed out than those on the outside looking in might believe, and if you are willing to look deep enough and analyze everything that is going on, you’ll be able to read between the lines and find out that there is a much bigger world out there beyond Pelican Town, and we aren’t just talking about Ginger Island here.
The game hints at huge cities just out of reach to the player, an ongoing war happening across the world, a civil war between two magical entities within the town, and don’t even get me started on the fan theories, which to their credit, make a whole lot of sense.
So with this all in mind, we wanted to let you peek behind the curtain and help you understand the world of Stardew Valley and beyond. We hope that this gives you some expert insight into this universe and helps you realize that the idyllic area you play this game within is merely a small patch in a huge overworld kept behind closed doors. Without further delay, here is our Stardew Valley Lore Guide.
Bottom Line Up Front – A Quick Disclaimer
Okay, so before we get into this one, a quick word. The term ‘Lore’ is a bit generous for this game. What we have here is a trail of clues and lines of dialogue that we can follow, piece together, and use to provide a more holistic view of this game’s universe.
This is not a rich tapestry with an abundance of stories and fine details that you will find in the AAA RPG guides out there. However, these facts and secrets will show you that there is much more to Stardew Valley than just farming and making friends. Okay, off we go!
The World Beyond Stardew Valley
Let’s begin by showcasing the various locations and regions within Stardew Valley that are hinted at but the player never gets to go to. Check them out below:
We begin with the Ferngill Republic. Think of this as a continent within the overworld of Stardew Valley. This is the continent where Stardew Valley is located, on the southern coast of this region. This is an area that we can speculate is the ‘common man’s nation’; as its counterpart, the Gotoro Empire is viewed as a much more lavish and luxurious place.
The Ferngill Republic, at the time when the player begins their farming journey, is at war with the Gotoro Empire. The player learns this through their interactions with Kent, the Stardew Valley resident married to Jodi, who returns home on the first day of your second year.
We also learn that Spirit’s Eve is a festivity only celebrated within the Ferngill Republic, but aside from that, we know little else about this expansive area.
The Gotoro Empire is another continent within the Stardew Valley universe and the other participant in the full-scale war with the Ferngill Republic. The two areas are separated by the Gem Sea. If you sail south of the pier in Stardew Valley, you would eventually wash up on the shores of the Gotoro Empire.
We also know very little about this region other than the fact that Kent was a Gotoro prisoner of war and that the Travelling Cart that visits on Fridays and Sundays often sells goods that have been smuggled out of this region. We assume that due to the war, all traditional trade routes have been closed.
Zuzu City is one of the rare examples of an area such as those listed where the player technically does get to visit. Zuzu City is the largest and closest city near Stardew Valley, and from that, we could assume that it is the capital of the Ferngill Republic, but we have no concrete evidence there.
The player will be able to visit on two occasions through Shane and Sebastian’s heart events, respectively. When you reach 8-hearts with Sebastian, he will take you on a ride on his motorcycle and bring you to one of his favorite spots, a vantage spot that overlooks Zuzu City.
However, the only time you actually set foot in Zuzu City proper is when you get 10-hearts with Shane. He will then take you to a gridball match to watch the Zuzu City Tunnellers.
Then back in Stardew valley, there is a visit from Kel, Leah‘s Ex, if you happen to urge her to put on an art show during her heart event. Alex will often make reference to the Zuzu City Tunnellers, there is a classic movie called ‘The Zuzu City Express,’ which players can enjoy in the movie theater, and if you collect all the Rarecrows within the game, the player will get a congratulatory message from the Zuzu City Rarecrow Society.
The Fern Islands
Next, we have the Fern Islands, which is an archipelago that is under the rule of the Ferngill Republic. The largest island of this cluster is the area where players can visit as of the 1.5 updates, Ginger Island.
Based on our adventures in Ginger Island, we can assume that these groups of Islands wouldn’t be too dissimilar. This is where Willy is originally from, and it is also where Gus sources a crop known as Ringfruit, which he uses as a secret ingredient for his famous Candy Canes.
Next, we have Prairie Island, an area that is thought to be the setting for the video game Journey of the Prairie King. Curse that game, one day, I will get that Vector’s Challenge achievement. In reality, this area isn’t one filled with gunslinging cowboys and an abundance of zombies.
However, it is an area that is reportedly full of natural wonders and varying biomes, or at least it is if the movie ‘Natural Wonders: Exploring Our Vibrant World’ is to be believed. However, the infestation of raccoons on the island may be the inspiration for the zombie hordes that attack the player in-game, who knows.
Then lastly, we have the area we know the least about, Grampleton. This is an area that hosts the Grampleton Carnival, and there are a few references to the lack of lumber in the area, as well as a reference to Grampleton in the movie ‘It Howls in the Rain.’
However, outside of that, Grampleton is a bit of a mystery. However, if you want to see how the SDV community pictured Grampleton, you might want to check out the Stardew Valley Expanded mod, as this is a huge area that gets added to the vanilla map.
The Elemental Wars
Next, let’s touch on the one bit of history we have access to regarding Stardew Valley. This area, in case you didn’t notice, is filled with magical and whimsical entities, like Dwarves, Wizards, Talking Bears, you name it.
Well, before humans settled in Stardew Valley, this area was largely populated by Shadow People and Dwarves. If you need a point of reference, the Dwarf in the Mines is a Dwarven character, and Krobus, found in the Sewers, is one of the Shadow People.
These entities once lived in harmony until the Dwarven community, who many believe to have hailed from the Fern Islands due to the Dwarven relics and weaponry the player can acquire there, tried to oust the Shadow People from their home. This led to a war between these two communities, and this would see their numbers dwindle as they fought to claim Stardew Valley as their own.
Reportedly, a lot of bad blood still remains between these two groups. That much can be seen if you witness The Dwarf’s heart event. However, this war ended, and each group agreed to live in harmony out of sight so the humans could live in peace.
Races Within The Stardew Valley Universe
Now let’s dive into the various races that you will encounter throughout your time in Stardew Valley:
Won’t spend too much time on this one. These are the townspeople and other human merchants and NPCs that the player meets on their journey.
As mentioned above, Dwarfs are those that we suspect come from The Fern Islands, as you can find a lot of Dwarven Relics and Weapons in the Volcano Dungeon out on Ginger Island. We only ever encounter one dwarf within the game, and that is the one that serves as a merchant in the mines.
Since Krobus is a much more fleshed-out character, the Shadow People are much more familiar to the player, but the dwarfs are responsible for a lot of the technology that you encounter throughout the game.
The Shadow People are characters that, in terms of appearance, look like a distorted, dark silhouette. They are reserved people that tend to try and stay indoors or underground at all times, as the sunlight does not agree with them.
The vast majority of the Shadow people that the player encounters within the game will be hostile, as the player will need to fend off enemies like Shadow Shamans and Shadow Brutes in the mines. However, Krobus serves as a friendly reminder that not all Shadow People are evil, and he acts as the platonic option for those that would rather have a roommate than settle down with a spouse within this game.
Next, we have Junimos, magical creatures who serve as the protectors of the forest. In terms of appearance, they look like cute little sentient apples, but they are much more than just a cute little set of sprites. They have magical powers that help them restore things to their former glory, hence why the player is enlisted by the Junimos to restore the Community Center.
However, they only reveal themselves to those who have an inkling of magic within them. The player is granted this magical understanding by The Wizard early in the game, but in general, those within Stardew Valley are unaware Junimos even exist.
They are also present as a farmhand through the use of Junimo huts, and players can also play Junimo Cart, an arcade game found in the Stardrop Saloon.
Goblins also exist within this magical world too. They serve as henchmen for the Witch, who happens to be Wizard Razmonious’ ex-wife.
You even get to interact with one as part of the Goblin Problem quest, which can only be completed when the player has restored the Community Center. You’ll need to distract the Goblin Guard to get to the Witch’s Hut, so we would urge you to stock up on Void Mayonaise.
Mermaids/Fairies/Elves/Tundra Dwellers/Sea Monsters
Then lastly, we have the outliers. The creatures that we know exist but don’t know a tonne about. We have Mermaids that show up at the Night Market and put on a show. We have Fairies and Elves, which are pretty self-explanatory. However, the latter is extinct, and only artifacts hint at their existence.
We have Tundra Dwellers, who are this world’s equivalent of Eskimos who live beyond the Frozen Sea. Then lastly, we have Sea Monsters, which rarely show up, as the random event where this pops out of the water is super rare. However, if you witness Krobus’ 14-Heart event, you’ll get to see him be taken for a wild ride by the sea monster that lives below the Stardew Valley Pier.
Religion In Stardew Valley
Next, we have Religion within Stardew Valley, and there is only one to speak of. From what we can garner, Dwarven people, Shadow People, and humans alike pray to Yoba, the deity of this world. There is no church to speak of in Stardew Valley, but there is a Shrine to Yoba located in Pierre‘s General Shop.
You will also find one in Pam’s house when you upgrade it through the community projects, as she is the most evangelical of all the townsfolk, and you can also purchase one for yourself from Krobus. He sells the ‘Sign of the Vessel, which isn’t too far removed from the Cross present in Christianity. However, the horizontal line is upcurled at each end.
In terms of planned content, it is rumored that there was a larger role for Yoba planned within this game, but this content was supposedly cut. We aren’t sure what content was planned, but we do know that the Altar of Yoba present in Pierre’s General Shop was planned to be a means of charging your Return Scepter, but this process was simplified later in development.
The Fan Theories – Implied Secrets
Then lastly, we have to breathe some life into the fan theories, and the implied secrets present within this game. Now, fair warning, this is when the article becomes more of a speculation piece than one steeped in facts and research. So with that little bit of admin taken care of, let’s dive in:
The Wizard’s Daughter
So first up, we have the theory that Caroline and Pierre just might not be Abigail’s parents after all. Well, to be more specific, Caroline absolutely is, of that, we have no doubt. However, there are a lot of signs that point toward Caroline having had an affair with the Wizard. There are several lines of dialogue to support this theory.
Things like discussions with Pierre where he asks about Caroline’s ‘Secret Walks’ out to the Wizard’s Tower, the fact that Abigail too spends a lot of time out there and in the cemetery late at night, and the fact that Abigail has tried to dye her hair, but she has a natural Purple hair color, which is strange, to say the least.
Linus Was a Joja Big Wig
Next, we have a theory that Linus, the man who lives off the land and embraces the wilderness, was, in fact, a major player at Joja Co. It is believed that Linus, when faced with the fact that he was responsible for the atrocities that Joja Co had done across the province, he decided to leave his post and go from one extreme to another.
He would become one with nature, pitch a tent to serve as his permanent residence, and become a mountain man as a form of penance. He even goes out of his way to push these views so that none of the other townspeople make this same mistake.
This is all speculation, obviously, but it isn’t without merit, as the player will often get offered to do quests for Linus, and he will pay a premium as a reward. Our question is, where does he get the cash from? The man forages for berries to survive and bathes in the run-off at the Bathhouse. The answer? Well, maybe he has some of his Joja fortune left over.
Sebastian Is Shane’s Son
This one is rather similar to the theory involving Abigail but with less proof to point toward. So, Robin had Sebastian with her former partner and then married Demetrius, and they then had Maru. It’s clear that Demetrius plays favorites and holds a disdain for Sebastian, and that might be because his father is the drunk living in town.
Think about it, do you ever see Robin interact with Shane? Plus, they both have the same dark purple hair.
However, if you want an alternative, there could be a possibility that Morris is Robin’s ex, hence why Shane can hold down a full-time job at Joja Mart with the series of mental issues that he has to navigate. As much as I love Shane, I don’t see him as a super hard worker. So take your pick!
The Skull Cavern Curse
Then lastly, we have the Skull Cavern curse, a lesser-known secret within the Stardew Lore. It is rumored that the Wizard is responsible for the endless cavern of honors that is the Skull Cavern. Supposedly he used his magical powers as a means of trapping the nightmarish creatures in the Skull Cavern and cursed them with an Iridium spell, which ensured that these monsters would be the source of tonnes of Iridium.
Now for those unaware, Iridium is an atomic agent, and those that can handle being in close proximity to it will need to be able to endure scalding heat at all times.
This is why a lot of these creatures have mutated and become super dangerous versions of standard enemies, probably through years of forced evolution to deal with the agony of this curse. On the bright side, though, it means a steady source of Iridium for you!
Question: How Can I Find Lore In Stardew Valley?
Answer: To uncover all these secrets, you will need to talk to all of the NPCs, explore the in-game world, uncover all of the Lost Books that fill the Museum Library, and aside from that; you will simply have to read between the lines and do a lot of the working out for yourself. A lot of the lore here is very subtle, and if you aren’t going through the game with a fine-tooth comb, you might just miss it.
Question: Is Ginger Island a Part of the Fern Islands?
Answer: Yes, Ginger Island is the largest island in the Archipelago on the Gem Sea. The player can only visit Ginger Island, which is a very vast and interesting end-game area, but we can assume that the Fern Islands, while inaccessible, are just as lush and vibrant.
Question: Where Can I Play Stardew Valley?
Answer: This game is a universally loved title, and as such, this game is available on just about every platform around. You can play this game on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, PSP Vita, Android, and IOS.
Stardew Valley Lore Guide: What Lies Beyond the Horizon?
As you can see from the information above, there are a lot of holes and dead ends that you will run into when diving deep into the lore of Stardew Valley. After all, it is a simple farming simulator made to provide joy and relaxing gameplay, so stacks of deep lore would have maybe convoluted the experience.
However, you can’t deny that what we do have here is rather interesting and likely have you pondering what lies beyond the horizon. Perhaps we will get more insight when Eric Barone releases The Haunted Chocolatier, which happens to take place in the game world of Stardew Valley.
Until then, we can merely speculate, but that’s half the fun, isn’t it? We hope you enjoyed this guide and as always, thank you for reading SdewHQ.