All posts by The Worldsmith

I am a young writer, creator, thinker and devoted fan of the fantasy genre. Over the years I have spent my time initially reading fantasy books but looked to further explore this genre by delving into pen and paper role playing games (RPG) in which I have spent many years yelling and screaming with my friends. As time passed my interests expanded into computer game RPG’s and MMO’s, films and even the odd fantasy theatre show in an attempt to satiate my interest in fantasy works. As my enthusiasm for RPG’s expanded I looked to develop a world in conjunction with some friends in which we based our adventures, wrote computer game mods for and wrote novels and short stories about. It is that setting that I have constructed The Worldsmith concept around and wish to share it with other likeminded fantasy fans.

Designs from the Mind – product development part 1

So you’ve thought about it for ages, you have this great idea to turn the game world that you have been lovingly creating with your pen and paper group for the past several years and into a product for people to buy, but how do you go about designing an actually package for people?

Sound familiar? This was the early and initial thoughts for me as well, for twelve years we’d been playing in a game world that we had created and during that time we’d always said to each other just that, “wouldn’t it be wicked to write all this stuff down and create products for people.” For me the opportunity came along and I have not only done just that I have started to make some success as well, so I thought I’d share my approach to design for getting what’s in my mind out to the fantasy fans and maybe encourage a few others of us in the community to do the same in this two part blog post.

Now my approach certainly won’t be for everyone but I found it a good and practical approach. It starts with initial concepts being driven by my own opinion, thus I wrote down the main areas that as a playing group my friends and I found the most fun, what was most detailed and also brainstormed where I can go with each option. This gave me a list of world areas that I could start in and possible product lines. The next step was to do some market research, this included looking at current product lines of existing companies, both major and indie, running stats on what people were searching for in search engines, reading forums and community sites and defining my target audience. This gave me an idea of what people are talking about and what they need but don’t have and this breeds an opportunity.

Next is tying in what I have with what people are looking for and match that with my skill sets, for example one of the things that I identified was that heaps of people were looking for free online browser based RPG games, which would be wicked as I have a love of pc games and have a detailed world in which I could use. The issue there was that I had no scripting ability, bummer! But other opportunities abound.

So once I had done my market research and decided what I can produce that people are wanting and that will have longevity, as remember people out there are looking for solutions to their problems, so as nice as it is to create something that you want to just because you like it, it doesn’t mean that its commercially viable I matched it all together and started furiously writing, planning and creating my first product. But midway through I thought “how’s it going to look?”

To find out you’ll have to wait for part 2 …

Writing Influences

I’ve written several articles in the past regarding finding inspiration to start writing, but I thought that for today’s post I’d write about how you can keep writing and what drives development of your ideas by looking at what influences have driven the development of the lands in which I am setting my work.

Although there is a long list of purely fantasy influences, I find it interesting to look at what influences are outside of the genre.  So setting the fantasy ones aside some of my key influences which have helped to drive my imagination for The Bloodsoaked Lands are,

Film

  • Braveheart, 1995:  This and Gladiator were two major contributors, but for this film what I loved most of all was the impoverishment and treatment of the Scottish villages and how each of the villages were shown to interact with incidents involving one village having a rippling effect upon the surrounding areas.
  • Gladiator, 1999:  What gripped me here most of all was the opening battle scene; with its woodland setting this is very much how I envisioned the wars between the Doth-Erians and the Gracians to be like.
  • Excalibur, 1981:  This is one of my all-time favourite films; here what I like is the interaction of magic with warfare, it is how I see the House of the Icain aiding the Doth-Erians within this region, it’s not so brutal, it’s more utility based in nature. Although if it was the House of Montar the scene would be very different as the Montar hold a more combat orientated focus.
  • Seven Samurai, 1954:  With this old school classic by Akira Kurosawa I draw upon the plight of individual villages.  As The Barrowlands is strewn with small villages they are often brought into conflicts in much the same way as depicted in this movie I have tried to develop a setting which allows for adventures and player opportunities similar to the ones presented to the samurai in this film.

Computer Game

  • Rome Total War, 2002:  Again a major influence which has both mirrored and enhanced that of Gladiator, yet for this game it is not only the game-play and setting that has got my mind active but also the music as lyrics such as “you’re only as strong as your heart allows” typifies the mindset for both the Doth-Erian’s and the Gracians.  While “we rise with noble intentions and risk all that is pure” is the quintessential Doth-Erian purist attitude.

Adapting these into the traditional high magic fantasy setting is what has been the driving influences in the regions that I am currently working with, however as more and more of my world is detailed for you I will detail a range of different influences which have helped to generate ideas and enthusiasm.

As mentioned above I’m keen to hear what influences you guys as well so leave a post below.

The Worldsmith’s Introduction

Greetings to you all, as this is my first post on Stargazer’s World as a guest blogger I thought a nice place to start is a traditional look at myself and my current projects as this is a good opportunity to talk to you guys a little about what I’ve made and also about what I’ve got in the works.  In this way it not only gives you guys an idea of where I’m coming from but it also allows you to let me know what you think and more importantly what you’d like to see.

As a new indie author I have written a range of short stories which have now culminated in the release of my first purchasable product, The Bloodsoaked Lands. The Blood Soaked Lands a booklet designed to provide Game Master’s (GM’s) with a new and exciting game world to place their adventures in.  The booklet details two provinces which are located within the southern part of a much larger Empire known as Doth-Eria which in turn resides upon the continent known as Synathia.  This is one of the areas that I’ve been developing in conjunction with some friends for over 12 years now, it’s where we have set all our own adventures and long running campaigns and enjoyed every minute of it.

Doth-Eria is a predominantly human Empire that is both militaristic and expansionistic in nature, knowing little but war and conflict.  It dominates a section of south west Synathia.

Within the booklet GM’s will be able to find a brief overview of the Doth-Erian setting and more detailed descriptions of two southern provinces, The Barrowlands and Morash.  Included are major towns, organisations of note, as well as plenty of adventure hooks and plot opportunities for you to set your adventures and campaigns within.

I’ve made the book not specific to any game system so GM’s will be able to use it to implant into their current campaigns with ease or be able to start afresh with adventures and campaigns set on Synathia.

I recognise that overcoming obstacles such as people being unfamiliar with what the names of organisations, lands, gods and the like are, so to help you guys get a feel for the land and its inhabitants I’ve set up a glossary of terms for people to quick reference.
So where to next?

What I have planned is to produce a series of products that are linked together and build upon one another to gradually flesh out more and more of the world.  To help this aim my next product that I have recently started production of looks at two of Doth-Eria’s neighbours who feature prominently in The Bloodsoaked Lands.

I am keen to do so for a couple of main reasons, firstly, as mentioned above, it helps to round out the geo-policitcal scene, broadening your understanding of why the area is the way it is and what has forced current attitudes and actions that are presented in The Bloodsoaked Lands.  Secondly is that the two nations covered in the next product are quite different in terms of style, culture and attitudes so this gives players and GM’s greater depth of areas to draw adventures from and experiences to enjoy.  Thirdly is the greater plan of releasing the world in manageable segments for you guys, building one book upon the previous ones.

Yet there are other aspects to what I want to provide for you guys one of the area’s that I am most excited about are movie adventure introductions.  At present I am providing these as bonus material for those who purchase my work but am wanting to build up enough to be able to provide generic ones, accessible for everyone and then have specific ones for adventures and dungeons available as bonus material.  These movies are short introductions that are designed to be played at the start of a new adventure or at key points within it and help to set the scene by providing visual imagery to the players and GM alike.

I’m keen to field any questions you guys have so let me know what your thoughts are.