So last year around this time, well, while I was on vacation I did an outline for a novel I was going to write for the NaNoWriMo. It never got properly started, and I figured if I were feeling really ballsy I could work on the same novel this year. Being a huge DnD nerd, the only kind of novel that keeps my interest to write is the classic high fantasy. Swords and sorcery type stuff, yanno. It’s an interesting setting that I’ve always wanted to implement in one of my DnD worlds, but the interest in tabletop gaming died off years ago as people flocked fondly to the MMO genre :shakes fist!:. I figure since I’m thinking about starting this up I could toss out the premise for my readership and see if it’s reasonably interesting.
The setting is two generations deep into a post-war middle ages. Soldiers have put down their weapons, and adventurers have hung up their cloaks, the immediate nearby human nations have begun to settle into a state of peace and prosperity through trade and societal advances through technology, magic, and religion. Humans are the standard in this story, and are varied as per the usual fantasy fare. Criminals and nobles, honest hard workers, soldiers, farmers, merchants and bartenders. Slavery has never been a question as those convicted work hard labor instead of sitting idly in a cell or being executed outright (although the more heinous crimes are). There are perhaps two dozen large cities strewn across the world sporting all manners of business from gladiator arenas to whorehouses, glass workers and wizard colleges, butchers and bakers and apothecists. All manners of technology just short of the gunpowder age are available with a handful of exceptions.
The mainland is populated almost entirely by Humans and to a much lesser degree a race of half-giants called the Goli. They’re a strong, hardy, and laborious people that avoid war at nearly any cost and have served to facilitate peace by working hard jobs at much higher efficiency than humans. The Goli are less than your average intelligence as a whole with the exceptions being just above the human average. They are not necessarily friendly, but do not go out of their way to cause conflict either. The Goli live among human society as their own subset of the middle class and are treated with respect, though partially out of fear. They are paid three to five times as much a human laborer which allows them to support their families significantly better than the lower class laborers although they do the same type of work. A few Goli have taken up work as gladiators in larger cities and enjoy honing their bodies to fight with grace unbecoming of a race their size. The typical male Goli stands at 8 feet tall and weighs just over 500 pounds.
Other races in the world include a variety of dwarves and elves who are generally considered evil warmongers with very few exceptions to the rule. The dwarves keep to themselves in the mountains and under the earth, rarely coming to the surface, and almost never actively seeking out human civilization. They are a politically charged race which often leads them to fighting bloody civil wars on a semi regular basis. This is a good thing, since if the dwarves ever came to the surface with their minds set on war, they technological advances, tactical comprehension, and vast experience would quickly annihilate any enemy they faced. Their society is without a leader, and every attempt at bringing them together to move them forward as a whole quickly erupts into more political posturing, bickering, and ultimately battles resulting in more death, confusion, and cyclical repetition.
The elves of the world are seafaring and amphibious, dwelling on islands in the middle of the sea and occasionally putting up temporary hunting settlements on the mainland. They also fight a war amongst themselves, but more along the lines of racial tensions stretching back thousands of years. The few distinctions between the darker skinned elves and the lighter skinned elves consist of their preference to daylight, food, and affinity for magic. The darker preferring night, mammals, and being less attuned to magical workings. Lighter skinned elves preferring daylight, fish, and being very frequently attuned to magic.There are few settlements of these elves on the mainland, but they almost never venture further in unless they are following a river. The elves are excellent sailors and most of their battles are fought at sea on ships using hardened prows as battering rams, and ballistae for longer range encounters. Most elven ships have an opening below decks where one can swim into them directly, which are often key points to finishing each other off.
Other races wander the world as well, although in much lesser numbers and without any considerable backstory. A race of humanoid Gypsies who revel in song and sexual deviancy are regularly shooed out of human towns. Mischievous small people resembling leprechauns who call themselves the Littles are highly attuned to magic, and use it for trickery and deception in a playful manner. Minotaurs and Bearmen can be found if one ventures far enough into the wilderness, both are solitary creatures and seek out a mate only once in their lifetime. They are violent, but not necessarily to the point of attacking without provocation. The Dragons of the world are at rest deep in their lairs, although a handful still walk freely through society, able to shapeshift at will.
As a setting, it makes for a fun world to play in and it’s a fair twist from the modified Forgotten Realms games that I run. Of course, a good fantasy requires a handful of things. Conflict of epic proportions, some sort of romance or deep seated emotion coming to fruition, the main character overcoming his flaws or completing himself, finding them caught up between forces larger than themselves, and ultimately being able to manipulate those forces to their own desires. Or at least having a fair shot at trying. Novels that I’ve written in the past (unpublished and not even on the internets, as they were mediocre at best) usually had one or two of these elements mixed in with a whole bunch of awkward combat. Issues with tabletop gaming being that most of what you know is putting the pointy thing in the squishy thing and collecting the loot. Or perhaps that’s just how my players generally reacted. Writing for the sake of story and hoping your readership follows along enthusiastically means having people identify with multiple facets of a story. Each character needs to be different enough to stand out, and that includes the conflict as well.
Why am I writing about style? I have no idea. At any rate, the setting is solid as far as I care. Everything else, all the little details, are things that follow you around in the heat of the moment. Onwards! Away from the setting, and forward to the premise of it all!
The protagonist of the story, orphaned at a young age and raised on the streets, ventures out into the world with two of his close friends one being a young Goli gladiator, and the other an apprentice apothecist. They run into some bandits who are holding a gypsy woman captive, after freeing her they find an heirloom of the protagonists family. This leads him on a hunt for his real father across the country side. Meanwhile, a new cult of humans is starting to spread across the land bent on disrupting the peace. These paths cross in more ways than one as the small party ultimately finds the main characters father in a compromising situation. However, a man who abandons his family can only be trusted so much, and shortly after being “saved” he disappears again with an ominous warning. The world as they know it will soon plummet into darkness and chaos. Knee deep in the conspiracy that has the human civilization unknowingly teetering on the edge, the group sets off to garner support and face down the leaders of this group of destruction mi
Every good fantasy book I’ve read has gone from small and simple, slowly escalating into epic proportions and being resolved in such an incomplete manner to leave all kinds of options open at the end. I’m not a fan of clean endings, reality doesn’t work that way. Bringing reality as much as possible into a fantasy setting is always my goal, nevermind the magic, dragons, dwaves, etc. So, that’s a pretty damn short premise that’s fairly broad in concept, but I don’t want to spoil the whole thing (nor do I really have the details wrapped up quite yet, some of it just grows on it’s own). Human interactions between the main characters are also a focal point of mine, this doesn’t necessarily have to be dialogue either as actions and reactions speak just as loudly as words, well, narratively anyways. Finally, developing emotional ties is important for drawing in an audience, whether it’s some sort of romance with a dirty gypsy whore based entirely on lust and delusions, or tracking down your real daddy in hopes (and disappointment) that he’ll be everything you expect. Ooh, spoilerish.
I’m going to write this thing anyway, even if it does take me well into December. My question is whether or not I should do installments on the blog. It’s not Warhammer fan fiction by any means. I’m running out of time to debate this, seeing as I’m already a day behind!