Wednesday, November 30, 2011

World Building for Writers and Gamers

Each story has some type of world building, whether it be just creating a social system in a neighborhood, or creating an entire solar system plucked from your mind, as well as anything in between.  Each writer, or D&D DM needs to create the world in which the characters or players interact and grow.  It all starts with that.

In the novels I'm writing, I started with a few websites that I had found some valuable information, I have since, found other sites to tickle the imagination and exploration of worlds. I would like to share those with you.

Basilicus  I found this site intersesting for its star system and religion section

Building Guides

Some of these are still being worked on. More will be added and updated soon.

This next site is one of my favorites as I used it before I started writing my first book.
30 Days of World Building This site has things from cataclysms to character development.

For the D&D lover in me, and the fun it brings:
Cruinne's D&D Reading Room This one is great for games and writing
Things worlds have:
  1. Economy
  2. Government
    1. Crime & the Legal System
    2. Foreign Relations
    3. Politics
    4. War
  3. The Land
    1. Physical & Historical Features
    2. Climate & Geography
      1. Natural Resources
    3. Population
    4. Rural Factors
    5. Urban Factors
  4. Society & Culture
    1. Arts, Entertainment, & Recreation
      1. Architecture
    2. Calendar
    3. Daily Life
    4. Diet
      1. Dining Customs
    5. Education
    6. Ethics & Values
    7. Fashion & Dress
    8. History
    9. Language
      1. Gestures
    10. Manners
    11. Meeting & Greeting
    12. Religion & Philosophy
    13. Social Organization
    14. Specific Countries
    15. Visits
  5. Magic & Science
    1. Magic & Magicians
      1. Magic & Technology
      2. Rules of Magic
      3. Wizards
    2. Medicine
    3. Science & Technology
    4. Transportation & Communication
No one could forget everyones favorite go-to
They have almost anything you would need in each part of fantasy writing. 

And to add a few helpers I have E. F. Jace's Blog with info on Government and other writing help
as well as a side site Wold Building

I hope some if not all of this helps.  I know it worked for me and when I turn my world into a campaign for D&D I know I'll be using the sites much more. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Huntress and Her Prey

She waited, looking out over the pond between bushes.  She knew it would come again, the dragon always stopped here to take a sip before going off to where ever it was that dragons fly to.  She kept herself still as the whoosh of leathery wings stirred the otherwise calm air.

It was there, a small blue dragon with barely any spikes as of yet.  A male from what she could tell, the three horn crowned on his head showed her so. The small beach was wide enough for him to sit on as he lowered his head for the drink.

The huntress poised herself for the pounce, waiting for the right moment.  The dragon's musk filled her nostrils, turning her stomach.  She held in her growl as she crept closer.  He moved a bit, perhaps sensing her presence, or just getting a better tongue full of water, either way, time was up. She leaped from her hiding place, aiming true for his shoulders where the spikes had not yet grown in.

"What is this?" He roared as he reared back from the pond, unable to move around on the small beach.  He spread his wings and crouched to lift off the ground, but the huntress was one step ahead of him.  With his wings spread he was a better target.  She detracted her claws and let them rip through the thin membrane as she slid down the left side.  Quickly she rushed into the brush, hiding herself from his stomping feet.

He screamed as the blood from his wing rained down around her.  Carefully he folded it back in and turned around, looking for his attacker.   She hid, letting her striped body conceal her.  He opened his maw and aimed at where she had rushed into the foliage.

Dashing to her right, she was able to dodge the cone of cold being blasted where she had once stood.  The trees and bushes now frozen solid with ice. She winced at their pain, before moving farther right around the clearing.  The wing's blood dripping made a crinsom circle around him as he tisted back and forth searching for her.

"Where are you?" He screamed.  "I will find you!"  The huntress rolled her eyes at the comment she heard every time, and every time they did find her and they regretted it.

She eyed his soft spot, the loose scale on his neck.  She crawled low to the ground, creeping up behind him as he searched the frozen timbers for what he thought he would find.  His tail whipped back and forth, she had to leap away before the spikes on it impaled her.  The movement caught his eye and he twisted around, his neck still protected.

"What is this?" He asked eyeing her cautiously.  "A forbidden experiment of tiger and human?" He stated commenting on her hybrid from.

She did not answer but leaped up to his right wing to dig in her claws.  He roared and snapped his powerful jaws at her.  Just missing her ear as it flattened against her head.  She used her claws to grip him and climb up his body.  It was harder to climb the scales as they were polished and smooth.  With effort she reached up to his head. There she let herself slide down, letting gravity take her to the front of his neck.  The momentum allowed her to rip away the loose scale with her right hand claws, and with a quick lash out with her left she dug into the flesh, releasing his lifeblood into the pool.

Dropping down she went to escape but his talons trapped her, he pushed her onto her back and his clawed foot kept her trapped as if she were in a barred cage.  The blood flowed freely from his neck and with each movement, she could see his life leaking away.

His body dropped to the ground as he kept her captured.  He struggled to keep his strength but death was taking him.  He rolled over on his side, entering into the pond he visited so often.  There would be his grave.

The huntress rose to her feet, soaked in her prey's blood and looked over at the corpse she had defeated.  She smiled.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Elementals and Those That Slay Them

The earth elemental rose up from the platform, towering over the companions.  Mavra had dashed to the opening as an opponent hovered in the archway.  Serral had broken off from his blood-blade to assit the dark elf, only to find Ladarious rushing past to break Mavra's stride with a tackle to the floor.  Now the blood-blade, Nimue` stood alone against the earth itself.  She swung her enchanted long sword and rapier with a dance of blades, chipping off chunks of the element.  She did not know whether her efforts would come to fruition but she needed to try.

The foe in the door way dissapeared before Serral could attack it with the swarm of bats he had conjured.  He took a step to assist his fellow adventurers, but Mavra had all well in hand as he pushed up on the lion humanoid and with little effort Ladarious flew across the room.

With the shadow-like creature gone, the companions focused on the shambling rocks before them.  Nimue` took another dance of hits at the creature and Ladarious whacked it with his great fists.  It seemed to be working but the shadow-like creature had other plans for the group.  Popping up behind the blood-blade, it smashed the final elemental stone and out whirled a gust of air that formed a shape of a tornado.  Thwacking Nimue` in the head with a piece of stone that she had broken off of the Earth elemental.  The shadow-like creature shimmered away once again.

With a final blow, Ladarious' fist broke apart the earth to crumble at his feat.  However, now that the air elemental was released, the mound of rocks formed projectiles to the companions.  The wind began to surge and turn faster and faster.  Nimue` having bested the Water elemental not long before knew that her enchanted blades could affect it.  She took a swing with her long sword and connected with something, not solid, but more firm then the air around it.  Her rapier, however was to slow for the mini tornado and swung with the currents harmlessly.

Mavra worked the magic of the necromancer, summoning to him an undead kobold to help in the fight. Its small figure shooting an arrow out of it's cross bow. The air is an agile thing, however and it did not hit.

With a surge, the air picked up all of the companions.  Bats for Serral flew into each other.  Rocks and the kobold flew in the air.  With a sickening splat the kobold was no longer recognizable as it remained on the vaulted ceiling.  The companions were lifted as well, and were thrown across the room.  Serral and Mavra were able to land from the assault with little pain.  The lion-man and blood-blade were not so lucky as they sustain injuries, but they continued on, getting up to rejoin the fight.

It was then that the vampire lord, Serral Ven`tross called upon his goddess to aid them.  With arcane words, he summoned her revenge.  A ghostly figure shined like the moon in front of Serral.  The goddess' shimmering form let out a keening sound before it attacked the air elemental, and as the wind dispersed, so too did the vision.

Nimue` gave a nod at her blood-shield.  Again, even as they were parted, they had worked together to slay another foe.

Another great night of D&D with my friends.  That was a harrowing experience, and now we need to figure out how to leave the castle we have just defeated, when there is an army of orcs goblins and trolls waiting at the gate.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Old Oak and the Young Apple Tree

A short story inspired by old times at the YMCA camp and the loss of all those trees.

The wind whistled with the scent of her blossoms.  The old oak always admired the colors and scents of the lovely apple tree growing up the hill off the dirt road. He stood and observed from a distance, for more human generations than he cared to count.  Watching as the people and animals passed his way.  There was a scar of a heart with initials carved on his trunk. The scar came with the memories of childhood sweet hearts who spent their youth climbing his bows. Now the couple was wizened with age and came to him every few years to celebrate their times as children together.

The younger generations spent their time under the apple tree.  She would shower them with petals in the mid spring mornings or shelter them in the hot summer sun.  The old oak was still taller than her and held more limbs to climb and linger under, but she was in an ideal place for the young ones to look upon the land.

He watched and admired her as her dress of petals began to fall. The fullness of the summer leaves would spread wide in the summers light.  He watched as her visitors came to use her as cover for their picnics and moments of love.  He watched as her limbs became heavy with the growing of her apples and more came to see her, to pick of her fruit and thank her for the bounty. As late summer turned to Autumn, he watched as her leaves turned into yellow and gold. They would cascade in a shower of golden leaves around her, covering the hill in her beauty.  Then winter's grasp took over, and they would sleep the cold away, waiting to awaken to the spring.

Years passed as the old oak watched her.  He began to feel pain within his roots and trunk, but he could not move like the visitors of his limbs.  He could not walk away like the couples that came to the apple tree.  He spent several years feeling the pain within him, as it climbed slowly into his limbs.  He called for help, but no one could hear the screams of a tree.  His leaves began to brown, earlier and earlier each year.  Limbs would fall for no reason but that the wind blew slightly too hard.  He could no longer hold himself together.

Then the day came when the grandchildren of the couple that carved their initials in his trunk, arrived.  They were full grown now, and carrying the tools of man, the tools of destruction.  There was no escape from what he knew would be his end.  At that moment, he heard the cry of a young apple tree.  It wasn't the scream of pain that he had been making for several years now.  It was the cry of heart break.  He called out to her, his tired voice echoing hers in a crescendo of sound too high for any human to hear.  The animals around called out their voices joined in the mourning music of the trees as the machine of the men roared to life.
The oak tree's scream of heart break became the cry of pain once more as all else ceased to exist, but the pain that only man could bring.  Near the end, he could hear the apple tree calling out to him.  Her sweet song was echoed by the scent of her fruit.  She called to him and seemed to reach for him as the breeze passed through her limbs.  He called back to her once then fell to the ground, and then there was nothing.

Thanks for reading, part of FSSF  by Greenwoman