Epoch Dev Blog – #8: 08/02/2021 – Colour

Hello! Long time no speak.

I’ve been thinking recently about colour, and how the colour of aspects of the world we inhabit can be coded into our brains. Try these words out:

Arcane.

Nova.

Nature.

Necro.

Aqua.

It might just be those that have unhealthy obsessions with fantasy (yes, including me), but all of those words have very specific colours attached to them. There are old traditions of the genre, as well as the etymology of each word and the ancient heritage that they evoke, that literally colour and characterise their meaning and form.

So the question becomes: do we, in 2021 and onward, buck those traditions or observe them? Aligning our cosmologies, our magics and energies and powers that might be wielded or worshiped in whatever world we create, with the traditions surrounding them may help with reader/player recognition. But then, is that their purpose? To be recognisable? Or would we rather have them be thought provoking, challenging what we naturally expect of certain kinds of elements or ideas; blue fire, red water, golden undead or black nature magic?

Or are those kinds of considerations just massively pretentious? Do players really care what colour their fire is, so long as it acts like fire?

I don’t know, yet, nor do I expect to figure it out in any meaningful way, but considering those kinds of things when developing Epoch and how the different forces at play manifest themselves has been a really interesting time.

Here’s a little snippet of ongoing work, as always; a slice of action, from an older work edited and going up later today.

She watched the air in front of her thicken slightly as a translucent barrier reached up from the completed ward. It just passed in front of her face as a bolt of searing white energy cracked into it, pulling the air from her lungs in one sharp breath. Yes, she was expecting a threat, but that power was – familiar.

The whistle it made was almost silent, but she distinguished its sharp trill as another bolt landed; she realised she had no breath and gasped to fill her lungs as she struggled to find a target. The strain on the shield was palpable after both hits; the third made her grunt quietly as she searched her horizon with every sense she had. As the fourth bolt quietly screeched towards her, her fingers flexed, and her wrist shifted slightly. With those small changes, the barrier warped as the energy made contact, bowing slightly before flinging it back out at much the same velocity. This clipped the edge of – something – and she made her move; there was no time to second guess what it was.

She knew what it could be.

Pushing off from her resting position, she launched herself forward and upward, breaking the first ward and erasing the runes from the floor. As Arcana surged through the stone embedded in the staff’s end, she brought it crashing down and a ripple of energy cracked into the neck of – something. As it did, the flat air shimmered, then the form and body of a Krannid Spindler appeared.

Well, shit. What it could be, it was.

Its body crumpled momentarily, shocked at having its stealth disrupted, revealing its long, thin exoskeleton propped up on six spear-like legs and fractured from the point of impact across its back. Far too quickly, though, it reared back around to face her, hissing and spitting as it raked its claws into the dirt. She had wasted no time upon landing; standing to her full height and slamming down her staff, she raised her left hand and a runic symbol of red lettering scrawled itself across the open air. 

“Arcin, novish al’an!”

The words melted the runes into a ball of mercurial tar, metallic red and seething. It built in size, the air around it bending as power flowed out into a haze around her and her eyes clouded over with a red glow.

As the Spindler thundered towards her, the sphere solidified into a sharp spike of shining, rippling, crystallised energy. It flew in silence, crossing the space left between them in a fraction of a second and splitting the skeletal shell with ease. Once inside, it shattered through the rest of the body that stretched behind, tearing the Spindler apart as its residual momentum carried it forward.

It came to a stop, just in front of her feet, and she released another breath she hadn’t realised she’d been holding, letting relief flood through her.

Thank you for reading, stay safe, and see you in the next one.

Thom.

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