Lazy Luddite Log

11.11.09

Enter The Lands


I am excited and it is an unusual kind of excitement. Normally one gets excited by anticipating things to come. In this case I am excited by something now past. I have finally finished my fantasy setting The Lands.

Well possibly “comprehensive” is a better word than “complete”. I could always focus in on particular aspects of my world and expand on them (indeed this may happen if I run adventures in it). However what I have written provides both a framework and a sufficiently complex texturing to satisfy me that I can now share it with others.

I am somewhat sensitive to giving the impression that I am one of those who spend way too much time putting elaborate things onto the Internet. In my defence I want to stress that this concept has been under development for a very long time and much of what is on the site began as word-processed documents. The site itself has existed since 2006 even if the content has expanded and changed since then. Nonetheless it is true that I have put a lot of hours into it lately. Living in the Bush Capital between jobs has given me the chance to finally finish something that seemed like it would never be done.

The Lands began in the late 80s as the setting for a short story – The Death Of Erilore – which I never completed. This childish story and likewise its setting was totally derivative of Lord Of The Rings. It even involved a quest to get rid of a treasure. The greatest attraction for me of Middle Earth was its complexity – the notion of a fictional story having a faux non-fictional swath of supporting notes was a tantalizing one for me. Naturally I drew a map for my story which has been redrawn a number of times till it became the one presented here and here. And – yes – like Middle Earth it has an ocean in the west and a north-south running mountain range dividing it in half.

By the 90s The Lands had been converted into the setting for Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) role-play games (RPGs). The Lands changed accordingly from a misty-grey habitation of legends into the more lurid ‘Technicolor’ setting one expects of modern pulp fantasy. The diversity of inhabitants grew markedly to better fit the expectations of D&D players. Mind you it has always annoyed me just how very crowded D&D worlds seem to be. The word ‘Kobold’ is just German for 'Goblin' (and vice versa) and yet in D&D they have described two rather different monsters to fit those two words. I have reversed the process somewhat and made them just one race with more than one name. Likewise I have given geographic and historic context to all my races so that any one place-and-time is only as crowded as it should be.

My background as a humanities student has impacted on The Lands significantly. There is a lot more exposition on the politics and culture of its inhabitants than would be expected of a fantasy RPG settings. It is this aspect of writing that I have enjoyed the most and which characterizes most chapters.

Much of my text describes The Lands themselves and is original – or rather it is derivative of many things rather than just one thing as it initially was. However towards the end of the site I have adapted D&D game rules. Most are small to moderate changes to the older editions I am familiar with. However in the case of Magic the changes are larger. The long lists of very specific spells has been replaced by fewer but more versatile spells – in a sense I have shifted from a digital to an analogue take on spell-casting more like that in the Ars Magica RPG.

All sorts of things have had an impact on the content of The Lands and include history from the ancient Mediterranean to medieval Europe, politics of the modern era, legends and fables, modern fantasy and science fiction. Even some very basic biology creeps in and is why I feel obliged to provide explanations for why some vertebrates have more than four limbs (something nobody need do in a fantasy setting). Overall I have attempted to produce a fictional setting that is different but still recognizably one we could imagine living in.

All-in-all I have had a lot of fun devising and revising this stuff but am also relieved that it is done. Any comments and observations are welcome and I hope a few others enjoy reading about The Lands as I have enjoyed writing about them.

Cross-posted here.

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6 Comments:

  • I should thank all those who have played games in The Lands in the past because every game impacts on the nature of its setting. Also thanks to Petra for scanning some images for the site including the all-important maps.

    By Blogger Daniel, At 11 November, 2009  

  • I'm taking the priests across the river.

    Lord J

    By Blogger google, At 11 November, 2009  

  • That FOME meeting freeform had nothing to do with this setting at all. But yes do have fun with all the religious sorts in one small place.

    By Blogger Daniel, At 11 November, 2009  

  • I got more comments on The Lands at Facebook with the following status: My fantasy world craves your attention.

    In response Polly & Olav both "liked" it and I got these comments...

    Jess McMillan: Awesome pictures!

    Corey Watts: I'm more into SF than fantasy as a rule, but I know a creative mind when I see one. Nicely done.

    Desiree' : Phew! That is super expansive! I think I recall seeing the hand drawn people somewhere else before? Great job!

    Emily: I'm impressed. This has been percolating for a while, hasn't it?

    And my response to all these was:

    hanks Jess - I decided that images make a website more interesting and some - like the maps - are vital for illustrating the information. I should still do a few more for the chapters on 'callings' and 'races'. Or maybe I can get friends into fancy dress and photograph them as warriors or mages or halflings or whatever.

    Corey - the funny thing is I prefer writing short fiction in an SF framework but for role-playing am very much stuck in a fantasy mindset. For an SF story see here: http://lazyludditelog.blogspot.com/2006/11/voyage-of-volunteers.html

    Yes Desiree' - those illustrations of goddesses have existed for ages. I really should get around to drawing the gods sometime too but somehow they are just less interesting to me. Will respond to your message soon.

    Hey Emily - It has indeed. And you played in that setting a long time ago. I discuss how long it has been 'percolating' here: http://lazyludditelog.blogspot.com/2009/11/enter-lands.html

    Mmmm... percolate... I need to go get caffeinated...

    By Blogger Daniel, At 15 November, 2009  

  • Also Melinda "liked" it and I got a message from Steve saying:

    "I am truly staggered by the amount of work you have put into this, it is truly epic."

    "I applaud the effort."

    ***preen***

    By Blogger Daniel, At 23 November, 2009  

  • Also Damien Moore made the following comment on LiveJournal, to which I replied...

    From: aeduna
    Date: November 12th, 2009 09:42 am (local)
    Select: Delete Spam Screen Freeze Track This
    (Link)
    I'm impressed you stuck with it - i've started several of these sort of projects, and they all exist as bits and pieces scattered through the house
    (Reply) (Thread)

    From: originaluddite
    Date: November 12th, 2009 09:58 pm (local)
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    Thanks. I think a difference may be that you are a much more active role-player than I (ran only one single-session game last year). And as part of that you presumably play in many different systems and settings so having your efforts go in many directions. Me - I've only worked on this one setting. I seem stuck on fantasy as the genre for role-playing even if I enjoy writing the odd short story in an SF or general fiction genre.
    (Reply) (Parent) (Thread)

    By Blogger Daniel, At 09 May, 2017  

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