Epoch Dev Blog – #12: 20/07/2021 – Angles of Approach

Hi! It’s quite warm right now, isn’t it?

With University now actually ‘officially’ completed (woop), I’ve been working through ideas for Epoch a fair bit more recently. The main of those has been from which direction I should be approaching the composition of the world; which periods of time act as foundations and which are the buildings atop them?

Initially, based on everything I’ve written so far, I was working under the assumption that it would be the Age of Ash that I am predominantly focusing on. It is, after all, the time period that hosts the gameplay design and active characters that would be the focus of any game made in the IP – like the time period of Middle Earth that hosts The Lord of The Rings, rather than the historical records surrounding it held in other texts. This would be the building, so to speak, and the other lore and stories would act as foundational texts to foreground and explore the lead up to that point in the world.

However.

The more I work with this new concept, holding the three Ages in contention with one another and making them discrete periods of the world’s life in the lore, the more I think they should be developed chronologically. I’m under no obligation right now to focus on anything in particular, and there are no games in the works that require more time to be put into any specific area – so, if I am intent on using the earlier ages to inform and develop the later ones, I’m thinking that’s where I should start.

The first tricky part of that decision is knowing where exactly within those earlier periods to start. One idea I’ve had is to work on a novella/novel-length piece in each Age that takes place during the transition into the next (the first of these provisionally titled ‘Sparks of War’, from Conquest into War). I’m going to try and plot out the narrative that would be included in such a book, but it leaves a dirth of surrounding content that I’ve otherwise done quite a good job of building up in the Age of Ash; things like character profiles and organisational detailing. These things would obviously develop as the novella developed, but I would be working ‘backwards’ compared to the normal style of writing I am used to.

Which brings me to the second difficulty – maintaining sensical continuity. One of the reasons I am primarily a world-builder in my writing is my desire for continuity and contiguousness across any world in question, but with Epoch that means deciding which organisations survive through the Ages, and if so then in what form they do so. It means cities being re-branded based upon occupation, territorial borders redrawn for each kingdom’s rule, cultures and societies developing over time. It’s incredibly exciting, but quite the challenge to get right – not just getting it to be logically consistent, but emotionally satisfying to a reader if they were to read through the entire collection of works after completion.

So off to work I go again for another month, trying to lull myself into a writing frenzy so I can get some actual content written rather than just throwing ideas around. Included below is an opening for a small short story (which could also be a scene in Sparks of War), if for no other reason than I enjoyed the interaction between the two characters.

‘Dispense with your pleasantries, Kalis. I have not the time.’ Her voice was cold, but not from apathy or callousness; from pragmatism. They both had a job to do, and Kalis would do well to remember that.

Her office was well positioned to catch the evening’s glow as the sun set over Bastion, her desk looking out of floor-to-ceiling windows at the top of The Panoptis. That great spire loomed over the city like an overseer with his whip, Kalis thought, but the Pact Heirs saw it fit to remind their subjects of the proper order of things. She stood facing out towards that stunning view, hands firmly clasped behind her and posture as noble as ever. A proud silhouette, a shadow against the golden sky.

‘Naught but the weekly report, then, ma’am? Not a word to be wasted – your time being so very precious.’ She turned her head slightly to face him as a smirk twitched across her face, quickly chased away by the proper composure of an Heir.

‘Our weekly meetings are strictly bound to government affairs, Kalis. I charge highly for my private time,’ she turned back to face the window, ‘and I pay your wages. You cannot afford me.’

Stay safe, and thanks for reading.

Thom.

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