Scribbles In The Dark

I’m going to preface this post with a simple disclaimer:

Warning! Role Playing Geekery Ahead.

This is going to be a gaming post. Full of geeky references about polyhedral dice and the effect of certain types of magic on mythical creatures and lands. Stuff that the mundanes among you probably won’t care about or even want to read. If this constitutes you (and I’m sure there are one or two you lurking amongst my regular readers), then you might as well just ignore this post. If however, you’re interested in that sort of thing, feel free to read further. I can’t promise you’ll like it, but then this blog never has been about pleasing anyone else but myself now has it.

As I mentioned about a week ago, I started writing about my gaming world again. I’m actually going to lay the full blame of this on Jon this time around. He’s the one who has spurred me on and started the creative juices flowing again whether he intended to or not. He did it the simplest way possible. He started his own world and is documenting his world-building via his blog and his enthusiasm has encouraged me to work on mine. It also helps that he’s asked my permission to use a couple of my more memorable characters in his campaign and while I was giving him the outlines and a rough idea of their histories and personalities the gears inside my head started to crank up into overdrive and off I went. I think I’m just going to call it a beneficial, creatively fertile environment and leave it at that.

While our worlds are wholly different and we’re using different rules systems, it’s the idea that counts for me. I’m finding it a fun process. I honestly don’t know how much he’s getting out of the arrangement but until he tells me to piss off I’m going to ride the wave until it beaches which at the moment doesn’t seem to be anytime soon *knock on wood*.

This is the fourth day in a row that I’m up very, very late scribbling in a book like a madman and coalescing random ideas for the back story and fictional world history as I go. It’s brilliant. I go to bed dreaming ideas and wake up with even more. I have almost the whole of my world’s history sketched out in rough point form from the creation of the universe to “modern day” and each point is pregnant with untold stories and details that I’m slowly expanding on as I copy it from page to computer.

I now know that the asteroid that caused the great mutagenic plague was not eradicated as first thought, but instead is sent on a great elliptical orbit and will return one day to herald new dark times.I know that auroras are not things of wonder and beauty as in our world, but are looked on with fear and dread for they are thought to be the fingers of the dark god reaching out to touch the world.

I know where Anselan is from (Yes THAT Ancelyn!) and how he fits into the world stage. He hasn’t changed much, and no you still don’t want to meet him in a dark alley (or a brightly lit street either for that matter).

I know who the ultimate Big Bad is and who it’s minions are and what nefarious dark goals are plotted as dead gods lay dreaming.

I have the pantheon pretty firmly entrenched with a pretty little family tree drawn up (they’re almost as interbred as the Greek gods were) and some unwritten and untested ideas about ancestor worship, cults, alternate pantheons and the like.

I know the sun is more blue-white than ours and slightly larger and there are two moons. Heck I have the whole solar system mapped out and it can be linked to the pantheon family tree.

Hell, I even have the origins of the sentient species (all of them) down, although they all need a little bit of polishing at the edges.

What’s left you might ask? Still a fair bit as far as I’m concerned.

I still need to write up a complete bestiary. Catalog the flora and fauna that populate the landscape, give them some semblance of an ecology, reason for existing and most importantly some gaming stats. The latter shouldn’t be too hard as most of the critters I’ll be using have stats already so I can just transplant them but even copying and pasting will take a little time.

I have the pantheon and the gods defined to some degree and I’ve got some sketches about religious observances but I need to flesh those both  out more.

Related to that, I also need to look at the spell lists and see if there are any that won’t exist. Off the top of my head I know that Resurrection won’t, but I need to see if there are any others that just don’t fit with the world view (The Cheese College and Nuclear College will probably go as well but for different reasons).

I need to define the cultures and countries of the world (roughly about twelve) and try and give them each a unique flavour and independent history outside of the broad scope. This is actually harder than it looks. I know what the cultures all are because they all have earth-born parallels and I could easy describe them as such but I don’t want to just keep saying “The culture is Egyptian.” or “They look like vikings” or “They dress like native american indians”. I want to be able to define the race and culture without resorting to those examples if I can help it. For some reason I find it somewhat daunting. Moreso for the countries than the races, but still it’s tough.

I also need to finally use Campaign Cartographer, the mapping program I have, and completely flesh out the world map. I have a hand drawn map that has served me well for ten or so years now but I really want something that I can modify in a heartbeat and zoom in from a continental scale map to a roadmap of an individual hamlet (yes CC is that powerful.)

Of course I’ve now spent two hours typing this post and distracting myself by fiddling with my website instead of actually working on all this that I’m talking about. So on that note I’m going to stick my nose back on the grindstone and churn out some fun and useless facts about a world that most of you will never see. Then when the sun comes up I can dream up more ideas.


3 thoughts on “Scribbles In The Dark

  1. Heh, glad I’m helping. And yeah, you’re helping me too.

    Unfortunately, much of my world is still in the roughest stages, and since it has yet to be gamed in, it will likely stay fairly rough for a while. And here I thought I was doing well with my 8 or ten pages of notes plus ideas not yet on paper.

    I haven’t touched religion yet, I’ve barely thought about the different cultures, I doubt I’ll even think about limiting spell use, I haven’t gone back to the creation of my world (though I may have an idea about it, and I know how it ends), and I haven’t defined the various races beyond saying which ones won’t be available.

    Still, a creative surrounding is very helpful, so keep it up and I will too.

  2. Also, where did you get CC? Is it user friendly? Would it be easier than my MSPaint mapmaking?

    If not easier, how much effort would it take to come up with a nicer looking map?

  3. You can find CC @ It’s not freeware though and does cost. As for user friendliness. It’s fairly straightforward at least for me, but I grew up using CAD programs so I’m not sure what your learning curve will be. I’m not an expert at it by any means and I’m still learning new tricks and shortcuts but it doesn’t take much to get it to do what you want to do. It’s a little daunting at times though when you don’t know where to start but it is rewarding once you do.

    As for whether it’s worthwhile, That’ choice is yours to make. It’ll really depend on a) how detailed you want to make it and b) how much effort you want to put into it. I know some really nice sites that have used Paint to make decent maps ( for one – at least last time I looked he’d used paint to make them. He may have changed in the past few years.)

    Hope that helps.

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