I’d like to make things that help friends communicate with each other who they truly are. There are plenty of barriers to authentic communication. Trying to break down those barriers so you can earn trust is hard work. I believe those barriers can be circumvented when we “play” and that’s what I want to use to help people express themselves to their friends.
Hey, I can finally say I’ve run a successful Kickstarter! Station Keepers is a go and I’m furiously working on it. The first phase of getting a functional structure is in place and now I’m working on infusing it with some more meaning. Not that I’m trying to shoehorn meaning into it, but each design speaks in it’s own voice. Station Keepers has a specific voice and I’m trying to find it. Maybe I have my metaphor, but I’ll have to see if I can make it work.
These are questions useful for world building and planning campaigns based on different sized communities.
Food – Plant
Where does the community get their grains, beans, nuts, vegetables and fruit?
Locally grown – Circle all that apply
All, Staples, Supplemental, Luxuries
Imported – Circle all that apply
All, Staples, Supplemental, Luxuries
Does the community grow produce for other communities? Yes, No
Where do they export to?
Food – Animal
Does the community eat animal products? Yes, No
Circle the activities the community takes part in for food and sport. Fish, Hunt, Trap
Are domestic animals farm raised?
Locally Raised – Circle all that applies
All, Staples, Supplemental, Luxuries
Imported – Circle all that applies
All, Staples, Supplemental, Luxuries
Are there large herds? Yes, No
Do families keep a few animals for food? Yes, No
Does the community export animals? Yes, No
Do they host hunters from other communities? Yes, No
Do they host fishermen from other communities? Yes, No
Is there a market or restaurants? Yes, No
Are these services for the local population or to accommodate travelers? Local, Travelers
Does the community have breweries wineries or distilleries? Breweries, Wineries, Distilleries
Are these commercial businesses or operated by individuals?
Fuel – Electrical
Does this community have access to electrical power? Yes, No
If so, how widespread is it’s distribution? Central source, Distributed source, Distribution network
Why do people receive electrical power? They pay money, It is considered a right, By title position or rank
Generating electricity requires powerplants and possibly electrical transmission equipment.
Is water, wind, steam engine, or some relic the source of electrical power? Water, Wind, Solar, Steam, Other
Where does the community get the fuel for electricity?
Fuel – Chemical
What fuels are used?
Wood, Coal, Gas, Oil, Animal dung Other
How do people cook their food?
Do people control their home’s temperature, how?
Do they use fuel from local sources? Yes, No
Do they import fuel? Yes, No
How abundant is the supply?
What machinery, equipment and jobs are needed to provide fuel?
Does the community harvest trees for building materials?
Do they grow crops or raise animals for making thread?
Do they have clay in their soil for making bricks or tiles?
Do they mine for metal
Are raw materials imported? From where?
Does the community refine raw materials?
Circle how they refine materials
Lumber mill, Weavers for textiles, Smelting refinery, Cement kilns, Brickworks, Chemical plant, Oil refinery
If the community does not have these facilities themselves, where can materials be obtained from?
How often can the materials be acquired?
Does the community produce it’s own tools?
How do they make tools? Circle all that apply.
Carpenter, Blacksmith, Foundry, Machinist
Do they import tools? From where?
How hard is it to obtain tools?
Communities will need a source of clothing. Does the community make their own?
If so, for small towns they may have tailors or for large cities, garment factories. However in very small communities a family member may make clothing for each household.
Where does the community get their textiles? Where do they get the tools for making clothing come from? At it’s simplest this could be sowing needles.
If the community does not make their own clothing, where does it come from?
The vast majority of communities make use of some kind of shelter. The more the society produces as product, the more elaborate their homes are.
Who makes the shelters the community uses? Does a family make their own? Are their skilled individuals that build shelters? Is there an industry for making shelters?
Where do the refined materials and tools for shelters come from?
How do people move themselves and goods around?
If they use animals, which animals are used and for what purposes?
Are the animals used as mounts or do they pull carts or wagons?
Who makes the gear for harnessing animals?
Who makes the carts if they are used?
Does the community use powered transportation?
Where do the vehicles come from? Who maintains them?
Does the community use water travel? Are there special hazards in doing so?
Who makes the boats or ships?
Are there different tiers of prestige linked to methods of transport?
How is law and order maintained?
How does the community ward off attacks from the outside?
Is there a central figure that handles security or are there many people that get involved in security decisions?
In small close knit communities, law and order may be kept socially, where each individual upholds the group’s ethics.
Larger towns, especially those with travelers going through it may need someone empowered to enforce law like a sheriff or chief. In the case of external attack, the enforcer is likely to select able individuals to aid them in defense.
Cities require a network of enforcers such as a military or police force. In many cases, the role of maintaining law and external defense are different specialized roles but not always.
Does the community make aggressive attacks on others?
If so, are the attacks carried out by untrained civilians or a trained, dedicated military?
Why would the community make aggressive actions against others? What could make them change their stance?
Small communities may raid neighbors for resources especially if they are not self sufficient. Often a leader selects and possibly trains individuals to go on raids.
Tribal or territorial conflicts may cause medium sized communities to attack one another. These are usually calculated attacks intended to push back a rival. These conflicts are often carried out by militia that arm themselves.
City states may go to war over trade conflicts philosophical differences or territorial disputes. City states are likely to have militias or their own standing army depending on how centrally controlled they are.
Who does the entertaining in the community?
Are there a few talented people that play music or act?
Is entertainment something that everyone has a part in?
Do travelers have a part in sharing stories from afar?
What kinds of entertainment is common, what kinds are taboo?
Even in small communities information is an important resource. What is the role of gossip in the community?
How much are people involved in news of their community?
Is keeping up on the lives of people encouraged or is it frowned on?
Is there an industry built around information or is it just a hobby?
Is there one or more dedicated spy networks?
Is there a way of recording and spreading news?
How do people find out about events that happen around them?
“I’m not going anywhere.” I said. “None of that matters if everyone in my family dies in the plague. The one I could have stopped!”
“Mechal, listen, this plague might kill them or the next or the one after that. The only real solution is to end the plagues. You are the only person that can do that.” Ashlyn said.
“How? How am I supposed to go through this door. Don’t you think they had Tows when the village was founded?” I said.
This actually took Ashlyn back a bit she seemed rattled by it.
“I see. You really haven’t thought this through. You just hope it will work.” I taunted.
“You think you’ve got things figured out? Turn off your pet and I’ll tell you what you really are.” Ashlyn said. Continue reading “World Door Chapter 6 – Answers”
I’ve been working on a novel that I’ve been calling Glyph. Originally I thought I’d have to tell two separate stories about the world. I resolved the issues I had with telling it in one. With that in mind, I’ve been thinking about the title.
It would be more appropriate to call the story World Door.
I’ll be changing the titles to match this.
We packed slowly in the morning and started on the trail. We hadn’t gotten far when we spotted the sisters heading towards us. They actually looked worried.
“Ho, sisters.” Thain called.
“Ho.” Janna called back.
They approached us quickly. Something had to be wrong for them to show themselves to us. I thought to run ahead, but my blistered feet would not allow it.
As they got closer Janna stopped and raised her hand in front of her. Ashlyn started to circle.
“Behind you!” Janna said.
I we turned but saw nothing coming up the trail. We all looked back for clarification.
“The tigerwolf!” She yelled.
I tried to laugh but nothing came out. “That’s Melsa!” I called back.
I walked back to where I had left the hunters. As I went I wondered what the sisters would want with this world door and why they needed me. Did they want me to transfer Melsa to this creature they were afraid of? Were they there when my brother died? My Father never mentioned them being there. Were they watching from the shadows?
Melsa flew from tree to tree as I trudged through the woods. I couldn’t figure out how Ashlyn was able to walk without stepping on a twig or kicking a root. I made so much noise as I walked, the hunting party knew I was coming long before I arrived. Not only that she moved faster than I could.
“Ho, Mr. Hill!” Hane called.
I waved and continued my approach. Lien met me as I got closer, he had used my delay to set traps.
“Mechal,” He began “This is bad business, the sisters. I don’t even know what you talked about, but I know they’re baiting you. And this business with the bird is at the heart of it.”
Janna and Ashlyn
We packed up and got moving. Melsa would fly from tree to tree as we traveled. Lien set up snares as we went.
The sisters had gotten impatient waiting for us and doubled back. By midday they approached us from behind, Thain was the first to spot them approaching.
“Ho there!” He called.
We came to a halt and allowed them to approach. They moved silently through the trees like they were part of the woods.
“Where is Jash?” Janna demanded.
“Jash is dead.” I answered.
Janna stopped in her tracks. Ashlyn turned and started to circle around us.
“How?” Janna asked.
“My father killed him.” I said.
“Tow killed him? Why?” She asked.
I sat in the middle of the great hall, watching the glimmers in the fog. Great beasts appeared all around me, some valued for the food they would provide, some had to be caught alive so they could be trained as beasts of burden, others like the Alk were valued for the metal in their bones and their antlers.
I wondered for a moment, what would we find on our journey? There were many animals that I’d heard of, but never seen.
“Show me a Cephrog!” I called out.
The glimmers faded and then a creature seemed to emerge from a body of water. It’s many arms like coils folded over each other to pull it’s great bulbus body out onto land. At the last moment two of it’s arms shot out with amazing speed towards me. I leapt back in fear but found the glimmer had faded when I looked back. In a few moments the random glimmers returned.
I was reluctant after that to call out another animal. In time though my curiosity got the better of me and I tried again.
“Show me a Gleff!” I called.
The glimmers faded again and at first a tiny object appeared in the fog circling again and again, growing larger each time. Then the great bird came into view as it circled down and finally landed in one of the branches of the tree as if it were in the hall with me. Its talons were the length of my forearms and it stood as tall as two men. The glimmer faded before I could get a good look at its features.
“There is an error.” The Glyph stated.
I froze in place and glanced around. The warnings had become rare in the last few years, it’s just my luck that I’d be right in front of the Glyph as it announced the error.
In my grandfather’s time, the town would have immediately assumed that I had caused the error. I would have been killed at the foot of the Glyph to atone for it. Thankfully we knew that didn’t always work. Even after killing the person suspected to be the source of the error, there would be a plague. Now I would have to go through a trial but I’d be spared the sword, for a time.
“There is an error.” The Glyph repeated.
A crowd began to form. Jash Malcrom walked up quickly, “Stay where you are boy, running will just make them hunt you.”