Obdormio.com Unwasted Hours

7 May, 2012

Welcome to My World

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Obdormio @ 00:00

I’ve spoken a bit about world building, and my D&D world specifically, before. I am not currently running a game, and am unlikely to find the time and energy to do so any time soon, but the world for it is still swirling about in my head, wanting to get out, so I’ve decided to indulge this desire by posting a bit about it here. Killing two birds with one stone, this will also help me codify some of my more nebulous thoughts.

Like I said in that previous post, my D&D world is based heavily on the default D&D world found in the 4e source books, but that isn’t really a world in and of itself. The books contain broad strokes and some few specifics, but leaves huge blank spots for each DM to fill in. It is intended more as a framework for sparking creativity, and that’s how I’ve ended up using it – taking the bits of the framework that I liked, discarded the bits I didn’t, and filled in the blanks with stuff both of my own devising and stuff filched from other sources.

One of my favourite ways to give an imaginary world the illusion of depth is to refer to and quote from imaginary texts internal to it, a text that an inhabitant of the world would have access to. As a result of this, my descriptions will probably take on a similar flavour, of something produced within the world itself – that’s just the mindset I like to get in while writing things like these.

Right, I think that’s enough preramble. I’m just going to dive into a little explanation of the geography and background of Arkhosia, the dragon empire.

When speaking of Arkhosia, it seems impossible not to begin with the Iorostákhi river, because that is both the beginning and the heart of the realm. Along the banks of the red river lie the seven cities that birthed the realm, and it remains the main vein of travel and trade on the Arkhosian plains.

Mythology tells of the dragon god Io, who did battle with a primordial monster called the King of Terror. The monster killed the god, carved him in half with a single stroke. The two halves then sprang to life as the gods Bahamut and Tiamat, who together killed the King of Terror, but Io was dead and his blood spilled on the ground. Pious Arkhosians will tell you that the battle happened above the Blood Mountains, and that the god’s blood pouring down upon them formed the river that still runs there to this day, and hence bears the name Iorostákhi – Io’s blood.

A more prosaic person would say that the Blood Mountains in fact get their name from the red clay which is so abundant in them, and whose presence in the watershed is also the cause for the river’s distinctive colour – which in any case is not nearly so red as the poets would have you believe. The myth of the river which is still in some way the literal blood of the creator of dragons is too strongly ingrained, however, for that interpretation to have much popularity outside certain academic circles. Untold generations of Arkhosians have seen the river as a sacred and tangible presence of the gods in the world, and the conception of Arkhosia as the holy land is buried deep in society. Though Io is dead, he still plays a significant role in Arkhosian religion, and the bathing festival held every three years in the city of Zeïár is a good example of this. When the dragonborn race appeared, it was generally assumed that the power of the river was in some way responsible for their creation, though the details surrounding their genesis are unknown.

Regardless of whether the mythical battle really occurred above Arkhosia, it is certainly true that the area had a much higher population of dragons than the rest of the known world, though that is no longer the case. When the seven cities formed, the dragons were the ones who ruled them. Though Arkhosia is often called the empire of the dragonborn, it was always ruled by dragons even after the dragonborn became the most populous of the races in it. The dragonborn clans themselves were always organised around a single dragon leader.

The Arkhosian plains cover a large area, but they are centred on the river. Even as the empire grew to encompass a full quarter of the world, the river never lost its place as the heartland, the life blood of the realm, and the seven cities always maintained their position of power. As for the circumstances of their founding and forging into a single civilization, that will have to wait for another time.

A map of the Iorostakhi region

I'm not great at making maps, but it's not like I can afford to pay people.


3 May, 2012

Writing on a Schedule

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Obdormio @ 00:00

All right, time for some rambling. The time is rapidly approaching midnight, and if I am to stick to my schedule I need something to go up, and I have no good ideas popping up.

The thing is, I do have a few ideas. I have a list of draft posts which consist mainly of a title and maybe a few words describing the core of the idea, but these are ideas I think are pretty good, and they require a certain amount of time and effort to do right. Lately, I have not found much of that time. My writing, as a result suffers, as I try to squeeze out something passable despite lack of inspiration and time to polish.

Now, forcing yourself to write regardless of quality has some merit. That’s part of the reason why I made this schedule in the first place. It’s also the core idea behind NaNoWriMo; quantity can in some cases be better than quality. If you don’t write some crap first, you won’t get to the good part later. I read a book on writing once that said the first million words you write are practice, and don’t count. Even if you publish books and win awards, put them away, and keep practising. I don’t recall who wrote that book, but presumably he’d written a fair bit himself, and the message seems sound. You have to write through the crap and the duds to get good enough to write the real things.

I’ve tried my hand at NaNoWriMo a couple of times. Once, I even made the target, 50 000 words written in November. The other time I petered out after 14 000, as I found myself without time – there’s that word again – to devote to the project. November just isn’t a very good month for that sort of undertaking, I think.

In neither project did I have a clear idea of what I wanted to write. I had some characters in mind, and a couple of settings that I still think are pretty neat, but no clue whatsoever on plot. Both of the texts ended up being mostly a series of events without much conflict attached – a very long introduction, essentially. The first go, the one where I actually finished, was a story about a young ghost. The idea was that ghosts and goblins and all manner of mythological creatures were actually related beings made of some dark energy, and they had set up a society of their own on the other side of reflections – not mirrors, mind you, reflections. The story was basically this young ghost, having been born in the real world, travelling there and settling in … and that’s that, the end. 50 000 words of exposition. Like I said, no good ideas for plot materialised. I might go back to it at some point, though, I think there’s something good to extract from it.

The other attempt was much less developed, but also a concept I’m more excited about and which I absolutely intend to return to. It was a fantasy about a group belonging to a monastic religion focused on fire worship establishing a small foothold in a Victorianesque industrial city on the far side of the world. Picture a Buddhist missionary monastery opening in 1850s London. Except they can control fire. Anyway, I didn’t really get far enough for much plot in that one either, but I’m real invested in the world building there.

Right, that’s stream of conciousness for you. Started with whining about blogging, ended up talking about writing fiction. The point of it all was the idea of forcing production, as I’ve done for this very post here. Actually, I think it ended up not being half bad. Made me want to star up the fiction writing again, too, though I doubt I’ll find the time before the holiday. Still, not bad, twenty minutes before the deadline.

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