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Found 7 results

  1. Like humans, fairies have their own racial and factional issues, and like humans it can be important to keep these divisions in mind when interacting with them. First thing to note is that the word 'fairy' can refer both to the whole class of being to which we belong and to our particular racial group. In general many beings may possibly identify as a type of fairy, such as gnomes, brownies, leprechauns, even pixies (much to many fairies' annoyance). I am going to use fairy here to refer to my particular racial group. Alternatively I could use the word 'fae', but that's usually reserved for a particular class in my racial group. Speaking of pixies, one big thing to avoid is to make sure to never refer to a fairy as a pixie. Fairies and pixies are two related but different racial groups, and they don't always get along. A good analogy can be found in humans as the difference between the English and the Irish. This is probably the number one most important rule. It's often the most surefire way to really get yourself in some very hot water, even with fairies that are otherwise very friendly with pixies. Therefor it's important to be able to tell the difference, but this can be tricky because even if they don't always get along, there is enough interbreeding and some cultural crossover to make it hard to tell. In general, pixies tend to be smaller, look more childish, often don't have wings, and often have pointed ears, while fairies tend to be bigger, look more adult, usually have wings, and often have rounded ears. But you can't always tell the difference just by looking. Especially since a good number of both are shapeshifters. Culturally, we both can probably trace our roots mainly to elves and aos sí. Fairies tend to be closer to elves and pixies tend to be closer to aos sí. While fairies make homes in trees and such, pixies are more at home under or near the ground. Pixies often practice a slightly different kind of magic which usually is more earthy while fairy magic is more airy, though humans without magic sense might not be able to tell. Maybe these races intermingled to form the predecessors of fairies and pixies, and maybe not. Since we are practically immortal and don't have children in the normal way, it's not like we can really trace our genealogy. Plus any fairy still old to remember isn't likely going to tell anyone. As for being called something else, not many people are going to mistake a fairy for a gnome, brownie, or leprechaun. Most likely reaction you will get if you call a fairy one of them is to be thought of as an uninformed idiot. Of course being thought of as an uninformed idiot often means some fairies will feel they can toy with you however they want, but every smart fairy also knows that seemingly uninformed idiots are people you have to keep a very very close eye on. Also, a fairy who is called an elf, aos sí, angel, or demon will probably think it's amusing and try and trick you into thinking they are one, maybe even shapeshifting to match. Beyond that, fairies are divided into different factions. First of all there is the division between solitary fairies and trooping fairies. Solitary fairies (like me) tend to be very anarchistic and live in small groups or on our own. We are totally awesome and have fun all day, and are so much better then the stuck up trooping fairies. Okay maybe I am a biiiit bias. Trooping fairies on the other hand really dig their games of politics and prestige and form grand stuffy governmental courts that build and live together in cities, hold government, and make war on one another as part of their silly games. Of course being immortal, they never really are at risk of dying like humans do (morals that join often become fairies themselves if they die), and any of them can just decide to leave and become a solitary fairy if they get board of it. There are some advantages to joining the courts though, namely they often provide a bit more training and education, they often have a much more developed economy and so have a variety of interesting goods and services for sale, plus many just find the game thrilling. Both courts are ruled by a king and/or queen, though who the rulers are frequently change as well as the exact political system depending on the whims of the rulers or their supporters. Trooping fairies are the ones, particularly the high ranking ones, that usually are referred to as 'fae' rather then 'fairy'. This is a consequence of the fact that their courts are the main reason the word 'fairy' often refers to a whole bunch of different races, because technically the courts can include almost any kind of being, occasionally they will even invite humans to join in their games. Those that join are thought of as 'honorary fairies' and sooner or later various races that commonly join the courts began thinking of themselves as such regardless of if they personally joined. The two most prominent and successful of these courts are the Seelie and Unseelie. In general, the Seelie court play the 'good guys' and are all about being pretty and keeping up appearances. Their political game is usually about face, looking good in public, upholding honor, those sorts of things. It's not that they aren't all scheming and looking for ways to get one up on each other, they just want to make sure they don't get caught. It strikes me as a very human game to play, and I don't for the life of me understand the appeal, but to each their own! The Unseelie on the other hand mostly play the 'bad guy' and are all about showing off power and skill. Might makes right and the ones that have the most useful skills thrive. Those that don't have the raw power to succeed better have skills that make themselves invaluable or they won't get very far in this game. They don't put most stock in appearances or pretty speeches, but they still need some kind of politics and leadership or else they focus so much on fighting each other to oppose the Seelie. As for myself, I just don't have that kind of competitive spirit. I rather laze around and enjoy myself. Other courts come and go as well, but they never really get the attention or success of the Seelie and Unseelie and often end up collapsing form lack of interest or joining one or the other. The vast majority of fairies though are solitary fairies like me who just don't care about the game. Though we are anarchistic, that doesn't mean that we never interact with each other or don't have our disputes, but for the most part we can kind of take care of ourselves (magic can provide for a lot), don't really need to worry about dying anyway (if we are that bored of living we can close to, but that rarely happens), and have plenty of space (due to fairyland being a extra dimensional self-expanding bubble of sorts). When disputes get big enough they can't be solved through the parties involved settling their differences on their own, they are often settled though informal civil justice systems. One example is the tattle system. Solitary fairies tend to live in small communities or singularly populated areas called 'steadings'. Because lot of them will know each other quite well (when they don't ignore each other completely), there will often be particularly well connected fairies called 'tattles'. A tattle will seek support from the people who live in nearby steadings to become part of their 'throng'. Fairies can chose what tattle they support at any time. During a dispute the tattle(s) chosen by the parties involved will attempt to provide an impartial trial, usually by selecting judges (or often acting as one themselves) and a jury from their throng(s). Throngs also are tasked with enforcing the decisions made by their tattle and can act like police when needed. In general if there are bigger decisions to be made, all the tattles involved in the area will get together and decide the best course of action. This type of decision is usually done by consensus, or at least 75%-80% majority. In a rare emergency they may collectively decide to just go with the majority in the sake of getting things done, but that isn't really that common. Tattles also tend to organize group projects and events, such as public works projects or holiday celebrations and other festivals. These are done on a strictly volunteer basis of course, with any needed materials and/or funding (if you can call it that, most solitary fairies use stored magic power for money) being pulled strictly from donations. If that doesn't work, there is always the option of going to a trooping fairy court, but a lot of us despise the idea, and the courts don't like to get involved in solitary fairy matters aside from the occasional attempt at recruitment. For the record, the Seelie usually settles disputes with law and legal fanangling the way most humans do, with lawyer speak and pandering nonsense so that it ends up being more about what argument sounds better then anything else. And the Unseelie? Well they just let each party find a champion that supports them, make sure they have a fair fight, and let them go at it. Simple and efficient sure, but most of the really strong champions are picky about who they choose so you better appeal to their sensibilities (yeah right), convince them you are useful, or find a way to pay them. And there! I hope I could educate you once again, and show how much better us solitary fairies are then those silly trooping fairies!
  2. Because I randomly started writing it, here is something about fairy holidays I wrote up: Fairies very rarely work or have that much real religious reverence (many fairies are religious in some sense, but tend to treat it more like informal fanclub then organized institutions, in fact many fairies would count human fandoms as a type of religion), but none the less often enjoy having the excuse to party or indulge more then normal. There are eight major holidays and many more minor ones. The eight major ones include the two solstices, the two equinoxes, and four seasonal transitions. It also should be noted that lots of fairies don't always agree on what to celebrate on these days or what they should be called, but most of them generally feel there should be some kind of special event on these days. There are some genuinely accepted versions of the eight holidays. The first and most important is the winter solstice, which starts the 12-ish day festival known as Yuletide. This festival also marks the end of the year and the start of a new one. Often it is celebrated in ways that are similar but distinct from the human celebration of Christmas which is it's Christianized counterpart. In particular decorating trees, giving gifts, singing, burning a yule log, and eating feasts of ham are all traditional Yuletide traditions. The day of the solstice is often called Yule and can be a time where friends gather to share a meal and give gifts. The night before often starts the celebration with The Festival of Stars where fairies will often stay up and stargaze with friends. Near the end, on what is our new year's eve, there is what we call The Festival of Lights where we use magic and fireworks to put on a show. It's also the time of year when the Wild Hunt takes place, a tradition started by Odin in the form of the Yule Father who is kind of our version of Santa Claus. During the hunt we traditionally hunt and kill a wild boar for our feasts, though the hunters don't always hunt boars or kill their prey. After the hunt comes the Yuletide feasts which can continue into next morning. There are often lots of fun activities that change from year to year, but those are the big ones. Our next major holiday is Cleansing Day which is the traditional first day of spring midway between the winter solstice and spring equinox. It is similar in ways to Imbolc. It is celebrated manly by doing some spring cleaning, bathing in special springs, and lighting candles in the evening. It is often a day for coming together to overcome old grudges and has also acquired some traditions similar to Valentine's Day as a day for lovers to get together and spiritually cleanse themselves with each other's love. Though since fairies are not exclusively monogamist or always have a clearly defined separation between 'friend' and 'lover' this is can be a bit chaotic. After that, on the spring equinox we celebrate Laying Day. It is often celebrated with traditions that vaguely resemble some of the more non-Christian elements of Easter, namely the symbology of rabbits and a tradition of hiding eggs. Though rather then a rabbit hiding chicken eggs, fairies lay and hide their own eggs. Since they are immortal fairies cannot have children, but their eggs still serve an important function. When a fairy is 'killed' their spirit returns to an egg which hatches into a new body. Though there are large public stashes of eggs, many fairies like to keep their own secret stashes close by so they don't have to travel as far. Laying Day is a great way to get fairies to remember to check on their stashes and to gather egg collections for the public ones. Plus it's lots of fun! In order to lay lots of eggs we have to... well I am sure you know why rabbits are such a great symbol. Next is May Day, celebrated on what is traditionally the first day of summer between the spring equinox and the summer solstice, which is one of the few holidays that humans and fairies both celebrate in a lot of the same ways. A lot of the dancing around the maypoll, the Morris Dance, the choosing of a May Queen. A May Queen of the celebration is often traditionally a human who has been chosen to become a fairy. Because fairies cannot have children normally we often adopt humans we like and turn them into fairies. The gender of the human doesn't matter, most May Queens end up as female fairies anyway. The Morris Dance is a very important tradition to welcome the summer. Next we have Midsummer on the summer solstice. On this day we often light bonfires and just kinda have a fun festival. It's kinda much more of a loose thing, with lots of different food, games, music, and dancing that mixes lots of different traditions and styles. It's not that different from a lot of the summer festivals humans throw to be honest. One interesting thing is that while fairies tend to hate crowds and on other holidays we all tend to celebrate in smaller groups (even the Wind Hunt tends to be done with smallish hunting groups outside of one or two big ones), this day is the most likely that lots and lots of fairies will try and meet up in massive fairs with big crowds. Next is Lammas, the traditional first day of fall and midway between the summer solstice and the fall Equinox. Often called or associated with Lughnasadh. It is celebrated most often with feasts primarily of bread and honey served with berries and fruits. It marks the start of the 'harvest season'. Fairies are not agricultural in the traditional sense in that they create and grow most of their food with magic, or by hunting and gathering in their magically rich world. Even so we still do venerate the cycles of nature and the harvest. Next is Harvestfest which is celebrated on the fall equinox. We often celebrate with a big feast of some kind. American-style turkey dinners have actually become a popular choice since fairies started paying attention to human culture. It is also partly related to various Thanksgiving traditions though it descending from older harvest festivals, but in general fairies do not show public displays of gratitude unless they need to. Private shows of thankfulness to the earth or others isn't uncommon on this day though. It's the one day out of the year that some fairies show their gratitude. Last of the eight but not least is Samhain which is celebrated on the traditional first day of winter midway between the fall equinox and the winter solstice. Known to by it's Christian name as Halloween, this is the day where the gap between worlds is smallest, and fairies often come to the human world to play pranks or trick-or-treat in for candy. Often both. It's a time when many creatures from lots of different worlds can meet up and play in the human world. We can all go out in public and the silly humans don't suspect a thing! It's also the time to preform what is know as the Dark Morris to welcome the winter. It is preformed like the Morris Dance on May Day only in secret and in silence, without spectators or music. There are other minor holidays that are often observed. One is Trickster's Day. It is often equated to what humans call April Fools, and it also honors the great tricksters of lore (such as Loki, Eris, The Coyote, Kitsune, Tanuki, even Bugs Bunny). Another is Witch's Night which is often celebrated on the eve before May Day. It is a night in remembrance and appreciation for human magic users who used to be so friendly with fairies and other supernatural beings, and a night of showing off magical skill. Trying to list them all might be impossible. Fairies tend to celebrate anything they feel is worth celebrating anyway, and can just make up holidays on the spot sometimes too. They love holidays like International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Having some sort of special day is always fun, but a lot of them can become popular and then fade and vanish pretty quickly. So there you go! I hope that educated you about fairy culture!
  3. For my first Blog Entry, I have some information regarding the world that my game, Cryptic, takes place in, hope you all enjoy~! The Surge In order to explain how the world of Aultirre works, I must first talk about the Surge. The Surge is exactly that, a great outpouring of energy that governs every natural aspect of the world. Unlike the magical energy that us humans refer to as mana, the Surge is a proactive force of change, flooding across the land and exacting drastic alterations to the environment. It could be said that it's the crux of evolution, the centerpiece that guides every aspect of daily life in the world. To some of the humanoid races that make their home on the world, the Surge is to be worshipped as a God, while to other races, it is feared as the vengeful Soul of Nature. Regardless of WHAT it is, the Surge is indiscriminate and brings balance through chaos, breaking down life and rebuilding it in a new form. In appearance, the Surge appears as a massive ball of sanguine electricity, it's flashes of energy arcing across the sky and striking upon the surface of the planet. The locations struck by the bolts are dissolved and sometimes reform into new landmass. The same cannot be said for the living who are unlucky enough to be hit by the Surge. They are simply erased from existence, and even worse, their entire legacy is wiped. Those lives taken are forgotten, and never to be remembered by those left behind. The World of Aultirre It is widely believed that in the distant past, Aultirre was heavily populated and abundant with incredible and innovative technology. That world was thought to have been brought to a destructive close by the Surge, the world's vengeance against the pollution and deforestation that plagued its surface. What survivors remained were physically changed and evolved to suit the new and harsher environment. The land itself was torn apart and rebuilt, entire continents demolished and recreated, forests flattened and regrown, oceans evaporated and refilled. No matter the change, it was drastic and sudden. Aultirre still changes constantly to this day, as the Surge moves over the landscape, leaving scars of new growth in its wake. There are some areas, referred to as Lost Zones, that the Surge refuses to touch, and they are often viewed as vile, untouchable places where no living being is meant to pass. Denizens of Aultirre who have visited these locations have not returned, and it is said that their souls are forever trapped inside, suffering under the command of an unknown force. The landscape itself is very diverse, ranging from incredible heights found in the mountains and plateaus, to the deepest of lowlands and deserts. While the Surge is a terrifying and chaotic force, it has left behind a great many wonders and landmarks that only such an awe inspiring power could create. Some of these locations stay untouched for centuries, while others are gone within several hours, but their beauty and mystique are something to behold, regardless of their permanence. The People, Creatures, and Monsters On Aultirre, a "Human" refers to any sapient race that can communicate through speech and walk upon two legs, but that's where the similarities with our own human race end. The Humans of Aultirre are include a diverse collection of many races and cultures each with their own appearances and beliefs. Some of these races are reclusive and independent, while others have integrated and combine their capabilities to survive the harsh climates of the surface world. There is one thing, however, that is uniform among all the Humans on the planet, and that's the ability to tap into the immense power of the Surge and use it to manipulate the environment around them. Every individual's ability is unique to them, and no two abilities are ever the same. Some abilities are complex or powerful, while others are simple or insubstantial, but they can all be trained and perfected to suit the user. The greater of the powers carry an equivalent cost, however, as they often come packaged with some sort of debilitation or disability, an equilibrium enforced unconditionally by the Surge. Because of the harsh and often violently changing environment, most of the Human races have been forced to a nomadic lifestyle, travelling the surface and avoiding the Surge as it etches across the surface of the world. Some tribes are small and fast, carrying their homes upon their backs and living off of the land, while others have formed great wandering cities that walk across the land transporting their citizens. Even close encounters with the Surge can prove devastating, since the landscape itself can change at a moment's notice. What was once a hill one moment could turn into a gaping chasm the next, forcing the nomads to carefully alter their routes while on the move. Just as the Humans have been altered by the presence of the Surge, so has the fauna on Aultirre. While the majority of the animals that are forced to survive the harsh climates of the world are no larger than those of Earth, there are some species that have been transformed to a varying degree by the Surge, and range from the size of dinosaurs to colossal, towering far above the forests and mountains. Regardless of size, somehow the ecosystem for these creatures has remained self-sustained thanks to the ever-shifting environment. The greatest threats outside of the environment are the Warped Ones, humans and animals whose souls have been twisted and deformed by the Surge, but not entirely consumed. They have lost any and all sense of purpose and morality, for one reason or another, they seek only to hunt and destroy, without joy or remorse. They are believed to be the only beings capable of surviving the Lost Zones, though there is little recorded proof of that available. If anyone has any questions about the world, I'll be more than happy to explain it, so long as it doesn't involve spoilers <3
  4. I, like so many other people, have had a strange fascination with Judeo-Christian mythological figures such as "Angels" and "Demons" in fiction. I mean on the one hand It's incredibly irritating to see them in fiction because "Angels vs. Demons" stories have almost become "babby's first fantasy story" at this point, and often don't try to really do anything that hasn't been done a billions times before. It's like the new trend in fantasy everyone is jumping on after everyone got sick of ripping of Tolkien's dwarves and elves and orcs and such. Like "Hey everyone, let's stop ripping off one fantasy author, and instead rip off religion!" "Great idea guyz! That is totally more original!" At least they tend to make demons more sympathetic, which is interesting. And yet, I found myself doing it too. One day after playing Disgaea years ago and being fascinated by it's worlds and characters I was really struck with the desire to try and do something with the "Angels vs Demons" setup, but wanted to make it my own. One of the first ideas I came up with is that there needs to be a third power in the dynamic that is just as powerful and above lowly humans as angels and demons while being either opposed to or neutral to both sides. Of course, you all already know what third power I came up with right? Fairies of course! But that's not particularly important. The important thing is that idea got this ball rolling in my mind and like a katamari it started picking up stuff and getting larger and larger and suddenly, whoops! I got this whole fantasy setting sitting in my head I didn't really ask for, have much of a use for, or even am really sure I care for all that much to be honest, that is begging to be expressed. This shit happens in my head if I am not paying attention. Remember the wizard fic thing I posed on this blog? It was dumb but that also gave me all sorts of weird ideas I am too lazy to do most anything with. As for the angels/demons/faeries setting? Well, my RPG Maker VX Ace test game I used to play with scripts kinda started as a half joke and slowly evolved to be connected with that setting, but I kinda stopped making maps and things and just focused on scripts after a while. That's the furthest I have taken the idea beyond random ideas and details. It's still growing all the time though. Just today I was thinking about it and came up with something I thought was interesting. See in in this settings a massive (mostly propaganda based, because both sides are mostly stuck in their respective realms) conflict is being waged between the Angels (actually closer to Archons and/or Devas really) and Demons (really more like Asuras) over 'recruiting' human souls after their body dies. Angels want to convince humans to be disciplined, orderly, and "pure" (because their realm is very psychically sensitive, so disruptive thoughts can really spiral out of control) and Demons naturally want to convince humans to be more true to their desires (partly to spite the Angels, but also because their realm is kind of a chaotic mess anyway, and people with strong desires are more powerful there and they have more need of powerful people). Also Fairies don't really play the same game, and because the fairy world and the human world tend to be more connected instead go for spiriting away old people, the homeless, unwanted children, and basically anyone else they feel like they feel they can get away with snatching to fairyland, often for no other reason then they because they feel like it. Or at least that's the rumor. So background out of the way here is the idea I had today. Angels of course preach about the Seven Deadly Sins... Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, and Pride. You all know them I am sure. Demons take a different view of course. and have the Seven Sacred Desires: Passion, Appetite, Acquisition, Conservation, Ferocity, Competitiveness, and Ambition. Passion is the desire for activity and feeling, sexual and romantic activity and felling yes, but any desire to do or feel count. Appetite is the desire for the subsistence needed to live and live well, the desire for the fulfillment of the bodies basic needs. Acquisition is the desire to obtain and safeguard resources that can be used later on other things, money included. Conservation is the desire to do the minimum about possible to obtain one's other desire, and the wisdom to know when somethings just aren't worth it. Ferocity is the desire to throw yourself into something fully and not back down, and the wisdom to know when you need to risk it all. Competitiveness is the desire to compete with one's peers, using ones standing compared to others to push one's self further. Ambition is the desire to to great things for the sake of one's own desires, and to control one's own destiny first and for most. Maybe these demons should believe all these desires must be balanced for one to be healthy and probably many believe it is wrong to try and interfere with the desires of others simply for the sake of your own. Or maybe they should not... it might be too much of a fairy-like perspective to be fit for demons, though fairies I think really shouldn't have any well defined belief structure at all, except for "do what you want and play". It was an interesting Idea anyway I thought!
  5. This is in General Discussion not Theory and Development because I'm not looking for someone to tell me how much worldbuilding I should do. I'm just curious how far you all go with it. I'm sure it quite naturally varies depending on the size and focus of your project, and that's fine. There's no right or wrong answers here. What I often do, and why: What do you do? How do you address worldbuilding in your projects (and/or stories, if you're a writer, which I know some of you are).
  6. Hey guys, I'm trying to come up with a pseudo-language for a long-running project I've been thinking of, more or less spoken (or written?) the the background of the world, but not really for the direct narrative. Something for world building, eh? The language is supposed to be a hyper-evolved English about 500 years or more in the future, as being interpreted by those hearing it some 1500 years in the future so iIdeally, the language would be based in English, or Latin. Structurally, I'd like a semi-logical cipher that would allow the player to translate this imaginary language into English if they could somehow figure it out, the players that devote more time to understanding the world and the 'puzzles', get more out of the lore. I've worked off direct letter replacements before, and either haven't found the correct combinations I like. I usually end up with a cipher such as: Would become something like: Hello, how are you doing today? I'm swell. Callo, cov ara vov doen todav? E'n cvell. Which, I dunno, isn't bad, but I'd be interested in hearing thoughts on, or different strategies towards this kind of thing.
  7. Yuugami

    A Journal on World-building

    I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to use this blog for, so I'll just be posting this instead. <: A Discussion on World-building What is World-building? In just about every published work of fiction, the setting is considered to be one of the most integral standards to be judged: the world that surrounds the protagonist serves as more than a mere stage for events to be played out upon. At times, the setting provides help for the hero where other characters or entities are unable to do so, making the world the most trustworthy ally. The same can be said for the opposite, where the world is the one true opponent that no character can seemingly overcome; luck is against you, time is against you, fate is against you. However, regardless of whether or not the genre of the work is realistic, historical, fantastic, world-building remains a necessary activity, a prerequisite for any content creator – this extends outside of novels, for it applies to video games and film just as much. So, the first question you really have to ponder on is: what does building a world really mean? At its most vanilla definition, building a world means creating a setting to place your imagination in, because it’s very difficult to appeal the human mind when offered a blank slate – it’s your job to describe what you want them to see; interpretation should never be used to describe an environment. In a realistic or historical setting, it’s mainly about getting the facts correct: the rules of the world as established by scientists such as Newton is one thing, because there’s no factual evidence of human beings able to leap fifty yards into the air with almost no effort, and using Archduke Ferdinand as a character in your World War 2 setting is also another no-no, unless you, as the architect, have a really plausible reason as to why he would still be alive decades after his supposed death. However, most of the projects done in this forum are of the fantasy nature – we, as gamers, grew up enjoying a Japanese or Western RPG at some point of our lives, and the most popular genres for these beloved franchises are fantasy and science-fiction: even the more realistic or historical settings have a fantastical twist in them, and the English language has bestowed the names urban fantasy and alternate history to describe these unique approaches. Fantasy worlds are just that: fantasy. That means that there is no hard limit on constructing a completely new world for your video game, but world-building is not so simple an activity that you can ignore or put away the thinking. In this discussion, we’ll be going over my personal insight into what I can consider to be the true fun of writing, whether it be for a novel or a video game. Before we begin, I’d like to place heavy emphasis on the idea that even the most original concept is eclectic. Anthropology as a science states that the human definition of “original†is what culture has imparted on an individual as the child became an adult. It’s an unconscious standard that is being used to judge the originality of an idea, and the truth is that we live in a time with so much information and published works: you’re better off catering to your personal influences and making them your own rather than striving for originality. This is an idea that can be applied to world-building as well. A small exercise that you can consider is making a short list of five different species that you think are unique to your mind. Chances are, you can look up the characteristics of these species and around half of them have already been used in an older, more obscure video game, novel, or Dungeons & Dragons campaign. Thinking up a race that is special to your world is nigh impossible, and honestly a terrible avenue to focus your imagination through. The universal solution is how you take an influence and make it your own, a point that I’ll be making frequently throughout the discussions. As such, discard all thoughts of what makes your idea stand out. Those are detrimental in building a solid world, and once you have fleshed out the basic structure of the setting of your imagination, you probably developed a unique world without thinking too much about making it stand out – people are much more creative than we like to give credit to. The Skeleton of World-Building This is probably a very strange perspective on world-building, but I consider it to be a very organic step in building up on your idea: it’s something that will take time, and it’s something that should be done with your one hundred percent, because the beauty in a fantasy world is in its longevity – for a single writer, re-using a well-founded world is the more familiar and comfortable action in writing, and this setting is your most powerful tool in creative writing. When dealing with the basics of world-building, many people may find the steps listed below to be obvious thoughts, and that is perfectly fine – my point is that you should always start there; not the creation story, or the mythology, or the environment. That said, the basic form of world-building can be filled out through the following prompts, in order of importance: 1. Daily life of the commoner. 2. What’s the difference between the lives of the commoner and the royal? 3. What are the expectations for people of higher standing? 4. How complex are political matters between all the intelligent races? 5. What’s the difference between religion and magic? 6. Just how far back did the previous catastrophe occur? Now, you may find that none of these prompts addresses the actual environment. That is because location is ultimately supposed to take a backseat anyways: culture comes first, because culture holds a strong influence in the final appearance of nature. There have been rare exceptions of video games using animals as the “dominant raceâ€, per the setting, but in most cases, we settle with the familiar human: we all have personal insights into people, and we understand our limitations. Creativity with other races when compared to other humans can only take us so far, and while characters like Drizzt Do’Urden are exceptions, they are not the norm. When thinking on the first prompt, you don’t have to look any farther than yourself. In today’s world, you’d have to consider taking away all the luxuries in your life and looking at the bare necessities you need to survive in modern society. That means that none of the rules for surviving the wilderness (food, water, shelter) apply here – things such as healthcare, insurance, income, and the like must be considered. Now, some of the aforementioned necessities are not actual institutions that should even be considered in most fantasy settings: who ever saw an insurance company in the likes of Dragon Age? However, even the basics of life insurance were present during the medieval times – the concept of property and willing away possessions upon death has been present for a long time, and depending on how “current†your ideal setting is, you’d have to work your way up in deciding how people got around making sure their business has been settled before moving on with their lives. The second and third point refers to the higher standings of society – the finer points of culture can be addressed here, because there is no doubt that despite living in opposite sides of the street, there exists an invisible wall that makes the separation between villagers and royalty very clear. The simplest difference lies in the fact that commoners often pay taxes, and royalty often set taxes. Because these two groups of people live in separate steps of the social ladder, it’s also important in establishing the set of expectations unique to the common mass and the set of expectations unique to the royal family. In a fantasy setting, humans are almost never alone when it comes to speaking races – animals may communicate through growls, but language is unique to humans because of our capacity to use symbols and give them meaning, whether they be verbal or non-verbal. Orcs, elves, dwarves – these are fictitious races that can communicate with man, and note the important thing: they’re not talking animals, they’re humanoid in appearance, and just like humans, every race have their own culture that you must consider. This is the point where you start twisting established ideas and making them your own: perhaps your version of the orcs are not war-loving brutes, but the great engineers of magical technology, or maybe your elves actually dislike the woods and nature, and by nature love to see the world burn. When creating a simple culture for each of these races to follow, give them the same treatment you did with your human culture: start from the most populous step of the social ladder and work your way up. The lines between religion and magic tend to blend in these fantasy setting, but these are two very volatile ideas – they can make or break the world you wish to create. There is no need to establish a pantheon of greater entities; that should really only come after you decide to mix religion and magic or keep them separate. A good way to consider your own answer to this question is asking yourself what religion and magic means to you, as an individual. People can see religion as a way to access magic, through means of blessing by your deity of spells or whatever; others may see religion as a way to achieve a better life, and magic as more of a school for thought, a way of seeing the world for its arcane properties. Religion and magic are often mixed because of how often the line between “miracles†and “sorcery†seem to blur. The sixth prompt assumes that you had a basic idea of your game concept before you started to build a world: in a lot of RPG settings, ancient events or entities have a way with influencing the upcoming disaster in your story, and you need to ask yourself how long ago was the last big event that changed the world. Perhaps an immortal tyrant was imprisoned, or perhaps a war is currently ongoing, with the tides of victory looking to change because of the discovery of some artifact or weapon. This sixth prompt is important for the next step, the establishment of a timeline, which will be touched upon in the next discussion. In Closing To give some food for thought in regards to creating a timeline, I’d like to use one of my favorite 3DS titles, Shin Megami Tensei IV, as an example. I am incredibly biased as a fan of the franchise, but I found it impossible to ignore a glaring hole in the timeline it had seemingly established. Note that the following will have major spoilers, so be warned: The game states the establishment of the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado was around two centuries prior to the current events of the game. However, Mikado is located above the Firmament, a dome of bedrock that completely covers the entire city of Tokyo – the timeline starts breaking apart here, because the Firmament was created by the demon Masakado to protect Tokyo from incoming missile strikes meant to wipe the city off the face of the earth…an event that happened a quarter century ago. Mikado is later described as the product of the archangels in their attempt to create a kingdom that wholely dedicated to God, but even a demon (who was not sworn to serve God and therefore not loyal to Him) stated that he had been waiting in the dungeons of Mikado for two hundred years, and given how unlikely it is for the angels to sway his memories otherwise, the writers of the game left a very obvious break in the timeline of the game, without really offering any explanation as to why that is the case. Although the example I just used was a very minor point in the timeline, these are the things that become impossible to ignore, but the human mind has a way of trying to point out the flaws of things that are seemingly too good to be true. Careful world-building helps bring your game closer to its perfect status, especially if you’re looking to make this a masterpiece project of yours. Perhaps the setting is only so important compared to the visuals or the gameplay, but in a product that is derived from a story, every little bit counts, and world-building becomes a very important step to take in creating a fantasy RPG.
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