Monday, January 01, 1990

Other Ideas

By now it should be obvious that there is a lot of space left in the world of Alyria. Lots of areas are left blank or detailed only briefly. There is good reason for this. You need room to create. The setting in this game is only a framework for your story, and you need room to move.

For example, does the Citadel have colonies? The canon setting does not say. One gaming group might want to set one of their stories in a community that is culturally Citadel but without the color elements of the Citadel (e.g. the constant rain, the heavy steampunk elements). So, for this group, the Citadel has colonies. Another group might want to focus on the xenophobia and decadence of the Citadel (similar to Jack Vance's novella, The Last Castle.) For this group, it makes no sense for the Citadel to have colonies.

In addition, as you go about tweaking and adjusting the setting, you should remember that style and symbolism are more important than internal consistency. The canon setting of Alyria was designed primarily for aesthetic impact, not logical extrapolation of a particular situation. So don’t worry about trying to explain all the science of your new addition. Instead, concentrate on the symbolic or narrative possibilities of your new creation. For example, I drew on Biblical symbolism when creating the Weeping Moon. “The sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.” (Joel 2:31) The presence of the blood-red moon in the world is supposed to add a sense of impending apocalyptic doom to the setting. Therefore, I created the harbinger of the Outsiders before I knew anything about the Outsiders or their deadly blood rain. An Alyria setting element isn't required to make sense on a rational level, but it is supposed to make sense on an emotional level.


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