Wednesday, November 13, 2013


I've always delighted in exploring causes and effects, on both small and grand scales. It's a skill I developed in my late teens, when I started building a setting in which to run an AD&D game and found myself becoming obsessed with first its geography ("What if I put mountains here? How would that change the flow of these rivers?") and then by geopolitical factors ("What would be a good site for the capital? Here on the river where it would be a good trade route? Or in this valley where it would be easier to defend from invaders?") and then down the rabbit hole of socioeconomics ("How do the people who live here make their livings? What sort of society does that lead to -- mostly small villages, or cities?")

(If only I'd had the internet available to me at the time, I would have been a walking example of the benefits of self-directed study, but that's a blog post for another day.)

My love for these kinds of questions led me to a minor in cultural anthropology, in fact, but I kept coming back and applying my growing knowledge and understanding to this same fictional setting -- Gaena -- causing it to evolve over the years. And not only did it evolve, but it flat-out grew, as well, as the number of stories and cultures I wanted to include in it grew.

While it's true that many of the cultures in Gaena take Earth cultures as their starting points (Shaoda, the setting for Foxfur, is a loose interpretation of feudal China, for example) I felt it was important to take Gaena's unique history into account, and to contemplate the ways each culture would shift and change as events occurred.

I'd graduated from the effects of geography to variables without real-world examples to draw from. What if the gods occasionally -- but provably -- meddled directly in mundane matters? What if magic was real -- and then, what if it suddenly became unequivocally evil?

This is the world my characters inhabit now: a world where the ability to control magic is given to maybe one in ten thousand -- and of those, only a few are able to resist its corrupting influence without assistance. Mages, as a result, are hated and feared, obeyed or avoided -- but never befriended.

And now, another question bubbles up out of the depths of my brain, on a smaller scale, this time: What sort of person would fall in love with one?

Foxfur is one of the answers to that question.

Check it out today at Torquere Press:

No comments:

Post a Comment