15 Jun 2012
I spent a year and a half writing Building Character. That’s not the longest I’ve spent on a writing project, nor is it the most words I’ve produced under a single banner. But for that year and a half, these columns were always on my mind, always driving me to do research or seek out inspiration.
This is the last month Building Character will be produced, at least in a weekly format. I thought that this might be a good opportunity to look back at some of the characters introduced in these columns, in a “where are they now” sort of way. I hope these tidbits spark a few story ideas for you, and I hope that you’ve found one or two things to enjoy while you’ve been reading Building Character. Thanks for sticking with me.
4 Jun 2012
I keep saying I’ll write a column about how people in the Ingressa shape its reality. Since we’re in our last month of columns and the least three are already planned out, this is my last chance. There’s a lot to say, so let’s just get to it.
31 May 2012
(For earlier installments of this story, see here.)
TDA ordered the evacuation of its research station on Piranesi more than two hundred days ago, citing as its reason a “localized psychic instability.” The majority of the station’s personnel were transferred to new positions in the corporation, far from the planet, and legally obligated not to discuss what transpired there. The rest were declared dead, with generous compensation paid to their families. All records of the events surrounding the evacuation have been sealed.
TDA is not, however, in the business of surrendering its assets without a struggle, especially ones that have the potential for exploration and discovery that Piranesi did. In the months following the evacuation, its recruiters began to scour the Ingressa for individuals with very specific talents. It brought them to Mureure on Novagallia, the nearest stronghold of the corporation’s influence, to prepare them to recover the world lost to the danger of dreams.
8 Dec 2011
What makes a setting better suited for a roleplaying game than for fiction? There’s an overlap between the two (as gaming novels and adaptations of worlds from stories to games have both demonstrated in the past) but are there some settings that work better for one kind of engagement than the other? Just as I’ve written some columns with stories in mind, I’ve written others as sketches for roleplaying scenarios or campaigns; it can be difficult, however, to explain clearly why I think of them that way.
27 Oct 2011
Interviewer: Are you ready?
Bouland: Where am I?
Interviewer: You’re with us, monsieur Bouland. You’re in our medical center. Can you remember what happened on Piranesi? Can you tell us?
Bouland: You have to get everyone out of there. It’s not safe. They’ll get through if we stay, do you understand? We were wrong. We were wrong about what kind of place it was. We were wrong about everything.
20 Oct 2011
The murder of Vachir Dash, one of the shamanic explorers brought to Piranesi to study its unique dreamscape, has brought further examination of the world to a halt. The crime would be difficult enough to solve at the best of times: a man stabbed to death behind the locked door of his own quarters, in a research station with a population of thirty-seven people at the time of the murder and minimal security personnel to carry out the investigation. Making matters worse is the fact that many of the researchers in the station possess talents that go beyond the ordinary, requiring investigators to consider an entirely different range of possibilities for how the murder was carried out.
19 May 2011
Not all attempts at colonization are successful, even on worlds that first appear welcoming. Diseases and environmental toxins can take months to make their presence known; cycles of change in the climate might go unnoticed for generations, until colonists discover that a long, dry summer doesn’t appear to be coming to an end. In the case of Floralis, the danger that cost the lives of nearly its entire initial population and caused it to be declared a forbidden territory for further settlement only manifested by accident.
12 May 2011
(This is the first column of updates on the status of the settings that have appeared in Worlds in Motion. Every few months, I will write more. If there are particular planets or situations that you would like to hear more about, put in a request on the forums and I’ll be sure to incorporate it in the next set of dispatches.)
31 Mar 2011
The TDA-commissioned expedition team sent to Piranesi to determine its viability as a colony found little to recommend it. Its primary feature was a seemingly endless expanse of rocky terrain, interrupted only by the occasional pool of stagnant water and patch of plantlife. Ironically, however, it was the tedium that set in during their sixty-day exploration of a place devoid of anything of apparent economic value that led to the discovery of Piranesi’s unique quality.