By Albert | 27 May 2018
So, we have a blog to write for the website, and a blog shall be written!
What will the blog be about?
Obviously, about us, Crooked Tower, and what we are making, will be making and, further down the line, when we are wiser and older (or, in my case, just older), about what we did and what we should have done instead.
Who’s us? It’s me, Albert, and him, Antoine, observing me writing like some sorcerer’s familiar. I can actually feel the disapproval thick in the air, like some spell’s lingering fallout. We are the founders of Crooked Tower, the creators of all that is to come, and the cogs that make the machine work.
Were we talking about a blog, by the way?
I better get cracking, before I get lost in a maze of my own making.
We have a blog. And we have a first entry in the blog: this one. What should it be about?
Since we have the revamped version of Possession, a Daemonic Card Game coming soon-ish on Kickstarter, it’s hard to talk about anything else but it. So, let’s talk about its setting, shall we?
The setting came before the game, I came up with it for a game of epic scope that will see the light in the future. Obviously one of the first thing me and Antoine agreed upon when setting up the company was to create our own signature world as a common background for some (many?) of our games.
But, how do you create a world? To be fair, I still don’t know. Much of the Flatlands is still Terra Incognita, the geographical minutiae as up in the air as the stars.
We started with the story, and we allowed the world to be shaped by its History. As an inspiration, we took the Old Testament, and there are plenty of tidbits here and there that might remind you of Sunday Schools long gone. No fantasy world is complete without a superior power, gods, if you will, and we created three. Each one of them wakes up at a different time, and each one does something to shape our world. The First Awoken wakes up to utter loneliness and emptiness, so decides to create a race of companions, but before he does that, he needs to make them a home. Being his first attempt at making a planet, we thought it funny if he made a flat world, and so the Flatlands came to be. Being flat, to avoid the seas spilling over into the voids, the Flatlands are mostly landmass. There are inner seas, huge lakes, swamps, marshes, rivers, but, unlike on Earth, it’s the land that surrounds the water and not the other way around.
Then, obviously, the First Awoken made forests, mountains, plains and everything that is needed to sustain a civilisation. He also made animals and beasts. Some of them are familiar to us Earthlings, others are subtle variations, others still are just fantasy beasts. Obviously first attempts are rarely perfect, and the First Awoken wasn’t exactly enchanted with his creation.
So he created a smaller world, properly planet-shaped this time, to rotate around the Flatlands. Only the best features of the Flatlands made it there: sweet-rolling hills, yes; volcanoes, no; idyllic lakes, yes; stinky swamps, no; fluffy bunnies and regal eagles, yes; fire breathing dragons and poisonous snakes, no. His big mistake was to create a new race of companions, not being thoroughly thrilled with the first batch. He creates angels, and let them live in his new world, while he leaves the First Created to sweat and toil on the Flatlands.
The repercussions are a war between angels and First Created based on the Tower of Babel episode in the Bible. The ruckus wakes up the second of the gods, and, confused, she flees in the caverns that are the lower strata of the Flatlands. So here we go, our world now has a regular underworld, and that means that there must be plenty of connections between the two parts that make up the whole. We decided that caves wouldn’t cut it: volcanoes are a cool way to connect the surface and the underworld. Our mountain ranges now have plenty of volcanoes. From Volcanoes to calderas, volcanic lakes, petrified forests, lava-wastelands, the leap is a short one. Then, in the darkness, the second god wants to create her own people, but, in the complete blackness, the experiment is not successful: daemons are born, and with them the eternal war between the people from above and the ones from below.
The semi-constant state of war that we envisioned made the next step easy: under attack most of the time, the people from above develop a defensive architecture. Cities have walls and castles. Towers and more castles dot the countryside, like the Orders fastness in Outremer or in the Baltic regions, and villages will grow only near them. Travelling is dangerous, people need safe places to sleep at night: the inns are fortified, so are the isolated monasteries and wayside churches and chapels, much like northern Romania fortified monasteries or St Michael in Piedmont, perched on top of a spur of rock and walled.
The war wakes the last of the three gods. Terrified, he flees. He creates Earth, far far away (what a twist!), and only later decides to come back, carrying back on countless Arks across the space a bit of Mankind. When they land, finally we have men and women like you and I living in the Flatlands. The Arks, huge, are now part of the landscape, some remote and forgotten, others at the heart of new cities, others still at the epicentre of huge craters when their landing was less than smooth.
And this, roughly, is how our world has taken an initial form!
Next time we will talk about the city of Ninebridges proper, and the countryside that surrounds it.