View Full Version : A world I'm working on

2009-03-31, 11:10 AM
First off, this is not for an RPG. I have considered making an RPG (Specifically a Savage Worlds setting, because it fits) with this and posting it here, but I decided not to do so. I have a story I'm working on in this world, but I also want some opinions on that. So without further ado her it is, the world of Obscura.


Great gothic spires rise from the barren earth, frozen and dark. Inside them a thousand souls live their lives in their dank, wet corridors, toiling away in infernal workhouses and factories powered by the mysterious powers of the temperaments, air, earth, fire, and water, each spirit bonded to a vast network of gears and cogs. Golems carry large objects to and fro, the words inscribed in the slips of paper in the mouth animating the clay and stone. The vast roiling sea of humanity trapped in these slums roil and seethe with change and rebellion, cowed only by the fear of the dark that lies on the other side of the towers. On the edge of the towers, which lie in a titanic circle, huge windows face the artificial sun that floats above the city casting its warm light on the million souls within.

Closer to the sun a great rolling layers of fog cascade through the lower towers, now simply a few stories high, so as to minimize shadow. Here the majority of the cities population live, a bustling hub of commerce, and hive of villainous activity. Four different species change and morph within these streets, from prosperous human tradesmen, to the seline explorers of the darkness seeking to reanimate their broken god, the always moving peregrines bound through an ancient pact with the eight spirits, and from below he great fires of the earth sent the ignateris to the above.

Revolution spreads among the lower classes, who toil in the poorhouses and workshops of the city. The merchants fight the landed nobles for dominance, while the middle class seeks to legitimize itself. The Gendarme and constabulary are morose and understaffed, trying to defeat crime both mundane and arcane. The Bureaucracy of the city is ever growing, becoming more and more entrenched and unchanging. And above it all in the massive sun palace which pierces the fog and clouds to support the sun above the city, lives the Marchioness, the Lady of Gears. She has ruled the city for two hundred years immortal and silent, of clockwork and flesh all mixed together manipulating the city and its inhabitants.

Far way across the darkness the six other suns hover above the land, the blood cities priests are on the warpath enslaving and sacrificing entire towns to feed their dyeing sun. The three largest remnants of the moon hover above the villages and towns of the selines, powered by the souls of their ancestors as they seek to keep their dyeing god alive until all of him can be found an reunited. The Ignateris holds have been blinking off the map one by one, denying their food to the cities and famine lingers not far behind. Something has been killing off the peregrines lesser spirits, and the eight spirits are getting worried.

Deep deep in the frozen darkness where only brave prospectors dare to tread in their search for the luxstones, the Star Children rise and whisper for they are hungry. And above the planet the empty sky groans as the Star God, slowly pulls the sky apart to let himself back in.

warty goblin
2009-03-31, 08:06 PM
A few points.
1) Your prose. Is it supposed to be as purple as the sun setting over the wine-dark sea in a fiery cloud of roiling smoke as the Last Fleet burns to the waterline? Because it is, and I find it to distract from what you are actually writing. Consider not starting every sentence with a noun and using some tense besides the present participle, (running, gathering etc). It gets distracting, and more than a little boring.

2) This reads more like the intro to some sort of story than a design document for a world. Bullet points are your friend for this sort of job, as is a lot of forethought, editing, revision, and drafting out how you want your story to go. For instance, your first paragraph in a more reference friendly format:

- People build stuff in towers surrounded by a cold, dead plain. Sense of hopelessness(?)

- These are powered by earth, air, fire, and water. Golums provide heavy lifting.

- The workers are ready to revolt, but are kept in check by fear of whatever is outside of the towers.

- The towers are arranged in a circle around an artificial sun.

See? If you later need to go look something up quickly (and you will), this sort of style allows you to find things much more rapidly. Also, you really, really want to have some sort of outline and world worked up before you start to write. You may think you have this stuff in your head, but you really almost certainly don't, and consistancy will be damn near impossible without having this kind of thing written down. After writing it down, I suggest not allowing yourself to alter it in any major way until you have a first draft.

3) Also, please don't do earth, air, fire and water. Saying they are done to death is like saying beating a fossilized horse is unlikely to induce it to pull a cart any faster. Unlike some things that are done to death however, like say stories of struggle/redemption/failure, I don't see much point in reusing the four elements, since, .let's face it, they're window dressing.

4) It also feels like there's too much going on. You've got revolting workers, disappearing spirits, returning gods, and probably something I missed. Multifaceted is good to a point, but you need some sort of theme or focus to the story, and I get the sense given what you have it's probably not character. Having one or at most two major things going on at a time will make your story more focused (good), and preserve your sanity (also good). It's tempting to try to do something really intricate and complicated, but these take a lot of skill and practice, which is to say probably not something to try right away.

5) Speaking of character, they are really quite good. I've tried to do pieces with minimal characters and lots of action, and they turn out boring. Dialog is good, personality is your friend, and so on. Put it this way, if I don't care about your characters, I probably don't care about anything you are doing. At all.

2009-03-31, 10:40 PM
Thasnk you for the comments. It was originally much drier in method, but I thought that people wouldn't be interested, so I went the opposite way and achieved the same result:smallsigh: Its odd because I don't think thats how I write fiction(in general my friend's criticisms of my stories tend to focus on too much dialog and a lack of pace, which are entirely different problems). Lists tend to be feel strange to me too much like my own notes, which I don't particularly imagine you'd want to read.

In response to your substance (not the style) criticisms, thank you again. The stories I tend to write in this world are about the Magical Cases Division of Luxrevis (the city) which was recently founded and deals with (obviously) crimes involving magic. Do you think if I refocus on that this might work better? Alos, elementals are not meant to be very important, there simply a very simple-minded group of spirits that people use to power things.