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Ta'veren at 3,000 and Bastard at 1,500 It snuck up on me, but I'm no longer a Dothraki queen.
Instead, I am (apparently) at the center of the Wheel's attempt to work toward the desired Pattern.
Whatever the heck that all means.

It's also 1 year and 3 days since I joined the F-F Forum!
The reasons I love this place just go on and on.
Though, really, I could find every one of the reasons I love this place in the Member list.  ;)

But basically, I get to be back in high school with my buds.
Leaving out the acne, lack of all fashion taste, and virginity.

3,000 posts
1 year
15 completed stories!
1 evil alter-ego (for those of you playing catch-up: http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/profile/?u=40266)
f! loads of books added to the TBR

And it's @m3mnoch's birthday. Go figure.

November 25, 2015, 05:53:00 PM
Re: Ta'veren at 3,000
oh and I've become a Bastard!

Can't resist ;D

Congratulations to you too!!

You're wondering how you survived 41.5 years without us, right? ;)

November 25, 2015, 06:48:09 PM
Re: Fantasy Memes and silly stuff about books from the internet
November 26, 2015, 10:26:26 PM
Music to Listen to while writing https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIIzc3b8U0_vtVScDEyFGew

This man does some amazing Piano, Cello, and Flute music mixes, all original on his channel.  Perfect for peaceful scenes, descriptions, or wonder.


Music for everything.


This man does incredible Celtic and fantasy music, perfect for getting into the 'Zone' as Overlord himself stated in his latest article on here.


Lord Of The Rings Complete Soundtrack.  'Nuff said.


Skyrim's soundtrack, simply incredible music of a large variety.


Chillstep, ambient, and a perfect background noise.


Nature sounds are excellent too.  Mixing them works fantastic, especially wind, waves, rain and streams.  You can mix others in if you wish, there's endless variety.

I've covered barely a millimeter of a vast world of music, and not even touched bands, or music with vocals, but I hope this helps you and brings you to the perfect music.  :)


November 27, 2015, 04:56:39 AM
Re: Fantasy-Faction NaNoWriMo Group......... NaNo final day  ;D

November 30, 2015, 07:53:25 PM
Re: Calling All Maps! I started my map years ago using Microsoft Paint and have been continuously adding onto it so I'm still using MS Paint and it's awful. Still, I think I make it work, even if my map resembles earth a little more than I'd like. 

December 07, 2015, 12:12:49 AM
Re: Fantasy Story Series Concept: The Old World I've always felt like my worldbuilding was not quite ready yet and is still missing some really important pieces. And today I somewhere saw the advice that good worldbuilding supports the themes and issues of the narrative. Looking at what setting elements I have and what themes I want to emphasize, and seeing where they overlap nicely and where there are still major gaps actually helped me quite nicely. And it turns out, I think I already have it all much more complete than I thought. Many of the things I thought I'd need to work out actually can be left blank for my purposes. And might even be better if left blank.

Timlessness: Many of the big fantasy settings I know seem terribly hectic. Which I believe results from the desire to keep delivering sequels, even if the original story was about a major restructuring of the whole world. I think fantasy literature is not that particularly bad, but videogame and roleplaying game settings are really by far the worst offenders. And in the 19th and 20th century you had global scale changes happening extremely rapidly every two or three decades. But imagine people in 4,000 BCE: They would have a very different image of history. There was 4,000 years of minimal progress behind them and another 4,000 years of minimal progress in front of them. They wouldn't expect the world to be unrecognizable within 100 years. That's one thing I want to capture.
  • No timeline: Very conveniently for me, I don't think I need any timeline of historic events. What matters are the local events of the last 20 to 30 years. Everything else are tales of dead heroes that could have taken place at any time or any place. I know there was a plague some decades ago that still gets people scared when villages are found empty or strangers look a bit sickly, and that a volcanic erruption poisoned a large area that is still abandoned and includes the mostly intact ruins of an empty city, but those don't need dates. It just happened at some point not too long ago, that's all that matters.
  • Unknown Ancients: A considerable time in the past, beings from the Spiritworld had build many castles and fortresses throughout the whole region and sometimes they kept primitive humans and elves as slaves. All I really have for these Ancients is their style of architecture by which any ruins can be identified. And I think it might actually be best to really just keep it at that. I don't want another fantasy post-apocalypse where people constantly wonder about the great achivements of the past that have been lost and how the current age is a diminished age. Who were the ancients and what did they do? Doesn't really matter. It's so very long gone that there's no real evidence to tell. (I mostly need the ruins for exploring and the current people are no big builders.)
  • Everything is build on ruins: Settlements come and settlements go. And when people are looking for a new home, they often pick places that have been home to other settlements in the past. Old stone buildings are repaird or expanded as it is convenient instead of building completely new big constructions from scratch. I think it shows that nothing lasts forever, but the same things are always happening again. All the current settlements will eventually be abandoned and some century laters someone else will move in. This also makes it plausible to discover strange underground complexes that have been left untouched for ages.

Supernatural: I've always been thinking that almost all fantasy is way too rational and ordered. Magic is treated as a science and used as technology. I want a world of supernatural things that is dangerous, frightening, and incomprehensible.
  • Enigmatic Spirits: The way I think of spirits they are part of nature, but completely different from people. Even different from animals. To go with one of my favorite quotes: "You touch my mind, fumbling in ignorance, incapable of understanding. There is a realm of existence so far beyond your own you cannot even imagine it." Most spirits are completely unlike any other creatures and while there are some like giants and naga that look similar to people, their motives are strange and their moods impossible to read.
  • Strange Cults: The cultures and religion in fiction that always fascinate me the most are the really weird fringe groups who everyone else considers mad cultists. In a world with no church or central authorities, each community has their own rituals and forms of worship of the local spirits. Paying a lot of attention to how normal people interact with the supernatural and seeing the regional differences should probably help in establishing that the Spiritworld and its beings are very odd in nature.
  • Weird Witches: Not 100% sure yet how to implement it exactly, but I think anyone who can use magic should be unusual. By using the powers of the Spiritworld, a person also becomes partly supernatural. They are not ordinary sages who study the movements of stars and the properties of various plants and minerals. Their minds are moving into the Spiritworld and that always changes them. They are part mortal, part spirit. They are not well adjusted or integrated people. They are dealing with strange powers beyond the comprehension of other people. Something I want to try is to have them all develop an increased perception that gives them some awareness of the Spiritworld around them, so that they listen to sounds nobody can hear and watch things nobody else can see. They are able to tell the difference, but over time they just don't care anymore about pretending to not see and hear them to look more normal. Could possibly get silly, but I think if I actively look out for that, it could work quite well.

Savagery: I want to do Sword & Sorcery after all. The world should feel like an environment that naturally produces daring adventurers and violent action scenes. Conan in the Shire just wouldn't feel right.
  • Warrior Peasants: I am very much inspired by Germanic and Celtic iron age culture, and as far as I am aware these didn't really have a dedicated warrior class. In the ancient world it was common that soldiers were exclusively full citizens with peasants and slaves not being considered reliable and used in supporting roles at the most. And later on it became common to have a warrior aristocracy, both in Europe and Asia. But in iron age cultures there is less social stratification and every strong man is both a farmer and a warrior. Everyone has a spear and a shield at home. Army and militia is the same thing. There aren't really any ranks and there's certainly no wage.
  • Mighty Beasts: Of course. I love monsters, I want monsters, and this is a very good reason why there need to be monsters.
  • Trophies: This is something I had not really considered before, but I think should help to reinforce the idea that violence has some frequency but is also very personal. Weapons, helms, horns, or pieces of loot all indicate that there's a specific story behind them and that battle is not between faceless masses. Just mentioning them being in the background should already have an effect.

Isolation: Related to the timelessness I mentioned above, I also have a great interest in worlds that are just vast and in which populated spots are really quite rare and far between.
  • Sea Travel: I deliberately decided very early on that all population is located on the coast or along the major rivers. With a boat you can move heavy load with very little effort and while the path of the river may not be the shortest route, it's generally flat and without obstacles. There just aren't any roads for overland travel because the distances are so huge and the number of travelers so small. If you want to get somehwere, takes boat.
  • No Inns: Since travelers are rare and few, there is no money to be made in running a place that rents rooms to strangers. Major trade centers have them, but generally travelers either have to set up their tents at the edge of town or ask one of locals with the biggest houses for hospitality. Which generally is granted unless there are very good reasons, but that also comes along with a whole long line of special customs and rules. Which are common in premodern societies and especially prehistoric ones, which also helps to establish the culture of the various societies.
  • Halls, castles, and palaces: Even if it might quite well be much more fiction than based on reality, for storytelling reasons I think it will be very useful to identify settlements almost entirely by the home of the most powerful local person. Like the hall of King Hrothgar or the House of Eldrond. That's also the place where traveling people would come first to ask for hospitality. While I said before that I go mostly with quite unstratified socities, that does not mean anarcho-syndicalist communes where everyone takes turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the week. The one guy with the biggest house and the most servants is in charge. There is no state and no government. Even a king with a small city state is really just a local chief with a particularly elaborate fortress.

Pragmatism: Here the pulp and noir influences come through, and my fatigue with shining selfless heroes. People think goal oriented, not ideologically. Life is tough enough as it is and being picky about methods and allies is a luxury that people can rarely afford.
  • Deals with the Devil: As I've talked about before, my approach is to not have any designated heroes and villains. Neither from a narative perspective nor in the eyes of the characters. When goals align, people work together regardless of pride. And just because they cooperate on something does not mean they suddenly like a person, that person has changed his ways, or his past misdeeds are forgotten. But pride is something few people can afford and often is costly. (I think that's also something that can make a good plot element. Ideology over reason gets people killed.) Alliances are made according to shared interests, not according to who likes each other.
  • Slavery: I've never really seen any fantasy works that did slavery well. But I think any story set in prehistoric societies should at least somehow adress it. It's always unfair, but there's also much much more to it than people getting randomly kidnapped and worked to death in a mine. Having characters that lean towards the good side not questioning slavery in general and participating in it should help to highlight the differences of this kind of society and that characters are selective about how they show altruism to other people.
  • Ransoms and Tribute: A considerable source of income is offering to end a conflict by making your enemy pay for it. Defeated enemies are taken prisoner and instead of being made slaves or executed, they are being released for ransom. And instead of completely destroying all the warriors of the enemy and taking over the ruins of his villages, you offer to let them live in turn for tribute. Everyone's forces are limited and the same men also produce the food. So regardless of what really started a war, everyone has an interest of seeing it over quickly before the cost becomes too high that a victory would no longer be worth it.

Ambiguity: As mentioned above, I really like it when it's not obvious who is good and who is bad and what needs to be done, and making things matters of perspective.
  • Lies! All lies! A totally original and unique idea in fiction. People telling things to the protagonist that are wrong! When did you ever see that before? I think mostly it's a narrative thing, but it probably could be used effectively in worldbuilding as well. When there is exposition of any kind, the character who's telling it is telling it to the best of his knowledge or his goals. Sometimes descriptions contradict each other, and characters don't automatically assume that anything they heard about other places and people is necessarily true. This also reinforces the idea that the world is not very well connected and it's very difficult to get accurate information about other parts of the world.
  • Vengeance: As with slavery, vengence is something that few people today really understand. It's never pretty, but within the social context it is very rational. With no central authority, every group has to make sure that they are regarded as too dangerous to mess with, or they will be robbed, enslaved, or killed. Having everyone being used to avenging offenses against their own group and not questioning the practice should help highlightng the different culture and add darker elements to otherwise good people.

December 10, 2015, 07:21:22 PM
Re: Nonhuman peoples The biggest problem I have with different species is that every person tends to be generalized. Even when huge efforts are made to differentiate this.

Example: In Mass Effect, all Krogans (male at least) are warriors, mercenaries and brutes. All Salarians are super intelligent, be it as a scientist or a con artist. Every Vorcha acts and thinks the same way. The Trurian are highly militarized. The Rachni are a hive. The Geth all think/act the same. One side wanting to join the Reapers is not enough.

I think the Quarians and Asari were the most freshed out. I thought it was possible to see the individuals behind the species culture/situation/etc. But the Asari the most. They had criminals, philosophers, scientists, military, mercenaries, civilians, political leaders.
Never saw a Quarian criminal, for example. Or even a mercenary, considering their huge ability with electronics. I think they were too focused, too chained to their Fleet. If they are compared to Israel, there are jews who don't feel the same.

Elves are probably even harder, as like you said, they come with a huge baggage of preconceived things. They walked too much on the "wise, isolated, peaceful tree-loving folk", then somewhere some switched to the other extreme "dark, racist, perfectionist, beauty-obsessed".

December 11, 2015, 07:37:36 PM
Re: Fantasy Memes and silly stuff about books from the internet
December 15, 2015, 02:51:59 PM
Re: Magical crystals, metals, plants, and so on My approach is the direct opposite of this "magitech" concept. I am working with magic that is a lot more chi based and I feel that that excludes any form of crafting magical devices. Though in a world where magic is a science and can be used in machines, having lots of special materials actually makes a great deal of sense. I think mental disconnect I have is mostly about worlds that treat magic like shamanism and witchcraft but also have fire swords or magical stun grenades. That situations feel just a lot like game mechanics and not like a natural result of the setting.

What I've been toying around with for a while and currently trying to work into stories is the idea of not having magical devices, but instead naturally occuring things like large crystals of unmatched clarity, bones and horns of powerful monsters or sorcerers, or wood from unique magical trees. They would be useless for a normal person and could not do anything against another normal person, but they might affect magical beings simply by their presence. But mages could use them to better focus or amplify their own magical powers. But only for very specific uses that are directly related to the creature or plant they come from. Say for example, if Saruman had such a great power of manipulating people because he had the finger of Sauron on a lace around his neck. Or better, just Frodo's vial of moonlight, if it where simply a chunk of crystal. It doesn't really do anything, but it's presence is unbearable to monsters of the dark when he concentrates his own power on it.
I might even steal from Star Wars (like I am doing anyway) and perhaps make some rare crystals that can be used to show a memory to other mages who hold it and spend some time to read it with their mind.
It's still almost all of the nice storytelling utility of powerful magic artifacts, but I think feels much more natural in a world where magic is not a science and magic devices can not be manufactured.

December 20, 2015, 09:18:01 PM