Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Feeling Conflicted

For the past several weeks I've been struggling to get a real story down on paper. A problem I'm having is that I've spent so much time world building that it's hard to focus on characters and their POV. One world is a huge sandbox and another is rife with characters and clashes. But which character(s) and conflicts should I focus on?  

So cruising the interwebs for ideas, suggestions, advice, etc. I came across these. 

Excellent series of articles for injecting conflict into the pulsing veins of your flat-lining story Part 1 - Show Don't Tell. Because after reading The Silmarillion I lean way too heavily towards dry, historical exposition Part 2 - Adverbs. They can be your friends as much as adjectives.
Fantasy Part 3 - Kill Your Darlings. Oh c'mon, that alone makes you want to read on! Part 4 - Stories Need Conflict. This is the one I sought out because I was struggling to struggle.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

World Building School: 22 Great Map Resources and Tutorials

What a great share from the World Building School!

22 Great Map Resources and Tutorials

I've tinkered with Photoshop a bit to generate maps, but I may just give up and spend the $11 (or so) on the generator.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Think of the Little Things...and 15,000 hits!

Sporkchop wrote this great blog entry and it got me thinking of all the little things that really give a world flavor.

What is considered "worth it" when it comes to trading, purchasing, adventuring? Think of the Silk Road and spice trade that united East and West. Or even the tin mined from British shores that allowed the Ancient Greeks to craft their bronze weaponry. With such real world references in mind, what can you include in your conworld that give it more real flavor?

A while ago I referenced slavery as being a not-so-palatable inclusion in worldbuilding. I'm not advocating the notion of slavery in the least. I find it absolutely abhorrent. But that does not blind me to the fact that it has been common practice in nearly every human society throughout the ages.

So just what makes your world economy run? Is it the trade of precious metals, jewels, spices, etc? Are people trafficked for whatever foul purpose? You must remember that very arbitrary things are assigned value. Think of paper currency - it's all over the world in "civilized" society. But the notes themselves mean nothing. And how quickly do we realize that in the aftermath of natural disasters and government shutdowns?

P.S. Mini woot to myself for passing 15,000 views sometime very recently! 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Dragon Scales

The wife and I were watching a History Channel program about gods and monsters and various myths. It's more or less understood that (sadly) there is no evidence that dragons ever existed, but the notion of them likely comes from ancient peoples seeing partial dinosaur skeletons and making up the rest.

It got me to thinking 'wings and tails have some of the smallest; therefore, hardest to find preserved bones'. So how do we know for certain that dragons weren't some breed of flying dinosaur? We know that there were all shapes and sizes of dinosaurs, we know some pteradons had wingspans of up to 65 feet, and we know that many of the great lizards had bird-like anatomy.We like to think we know lots of stuff...until new evidence is found to change or utterly refute what we held so dear.

All this made me wonder just how big a dragon could get and still get off the ground. So I did me some Googling and Wiki-ing about dinosaurs and wingspans and what have you. This is what I came up with:

In one of many worlds that I have built I had an idea that jungle tribes of gnomes/halflings used to worship and ride dragons. However, as mounts the dragons could only get so large before the tiny riders could no longer control them. Below are the notes I dug out on the matter.

Category Age in years Size
Wyrmling 0-5 Tiny
Very Young 6-15 Small
Youngling 16-25 Medium
Juvenile 26-50 Medium
Young Adult 51-100 Large
Adult 100-200 Large
Mature Adult 200-400 Huge
Old 400-600 Huge
Very Old 600-800 Huge
Ancient 800-1000 Huge
Wyrm  1000-1200 Gargantuan
Great Wyrm 1200-1500 Gargantuan
Colossal Wyrm 1500+ Colossal

Since Halflings never break 4 feet tall they are perpetually considered Small. This means that they cannot ride anything bigger than a Large dragon, also meaning that dragons only bear riders until age 200. After this it is both difficult to accept “agedness” since a normal dragon life is only about one quarter over and to go into retirement from the Halfling family that a dragon has served with for 3-4 generations. Flying with a rider is considered only a station for youthful dragons.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Stone Lake

Via Facebook I found this article

What a fantastically creepy idea for a fantasy hexcrawl! There is a simply a gray hex (or several hexes) known as Stone Lake and marked with a skull. Players don't know much about the location, only ghost stories and wild tales from locals who warn that this place should be avoided at all costs. You could easily toss in the surrounding habitat as home to Medusas, basilisks, cockatrices. What is the plural of cockatrice?

Is this place cursed by dark magic? Or is it completely natural?