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Ever since I first started laying out the continent of Atair, I’ve been struggling with the concept of scale. Just how big do I make it? How big is too big? How much space is needed to have an unlimited number of adventures? How long should it take to get from Point A to Point B?
This is a fantasy world, so a decent unit of measure is how long it takes to travel in a day, twenty-four to thirty miles. With that in mind comes the question of how far do you want someone to travel between cities? How long should it take to get from one end of the world to the other?
And that is where the scale of the world comes from.
How far would a merchant caravan travel? Does it take a year to go from one end to the other and back? And if so, how much travel would such distances encourage? It could be a negative to waste an entire year of a characters life in just travel, especially if they have a family back at home.
It can also be a negative if things are too close together. That can mean there would be no land for surprises to crop up, as everyone has explored everything near by.
There needs to be a middle ground. Not too far that it’s detrimental to characters traveling, but far enough so that around every tree or hill is a new adventure. Sure the farmer’s place wants to be less than a day away from town, but the next town could be a week’s travel.
We live about five minutes from a New Hampshire State Park, 675 acres of wilderness. Every time we walk there I start to wonder just how much area has been untouched by people and what is happening in the areas that the trails don’t go to. It gives me a perspective on scale. That’s a lot of area, a lot of woods.
There’s a lot that can happen in those 675 acres and it’s not that far from civilization. If there’s that much area in what amounts to an area that is only a couple miles square, what is it like when you have an area that is 100s of miles long?
That’s a lot of adventure waiting to happen.
My first book in the Taleweaver’s Song series, The Skeleton Stone, is at the editors. Well its there, still plenty to do and one of those things is to create the maps. I originally sketched out the various areas of Atair, the continent where most of the action will take place, and am now in the process of cleaning it up and making it presentable for the books. For a sneak peek at the start of the maps, you can visit the Barking Fire Publishing website.
I’ve mentioned this a couple times already, so I suppose I should explain just what it is. Once The Skeleton Stone is published, a separate page will be created on the site but for now this is what Taleweaver’s Song is:
I’m a big Dungeons and Dragons fan, always have been. I never got a chance to play much, but the mechanics and idea behind it always fascinated me. I had a lot of the manuals and a couple campaign settings. It was always the Forgotten Realms that interested me the most. I devoured that stuff. From the books to the modules and especially the characters.
Forgotten Realms has always been one of my biggest inspirations. I always wanted to create something on that scale. I wanted to create a new world like that. And finally, I am.
Taleweaver’s Song is two things: a series of books and a pen and paper roleplaying game campaign setting. The setting will be developed on the Barking Fire Publishing website. Each new book will contain codex pieces that will be added to the setting to expand it and make it unique to the world of Merelein. This is an experiment of sorts. The books will stand on their own, you won’t need to have interest in the campaign setting to enjoy the books, and vice versa.
Where will all this go? Good question. I have ideas of where I want it to end up, but that’s all up to the readers and gamers. It won’t be a failed experiment by any means, because the books are happening no matter what. The campaign setting is just a side project that could go somewhere else or not end up being anything at all.
So that is what Taleweaver’s Song is. It’s a series of books taking place on the world of Merelein and it’s an RPG campaign setting.
It’s always interesting to me how stories evolve and take on a life of their own. I always intended “The Thief’s Two Jobs” to be a short story, 17k words or so. Had an idea where I was going to submit it but then as I got more and more into it, I started to realize that what I had envisioned as a short story was really only the first half of the overall story and that first half could end up being longer then the seventeen thousand words. That amount just wouldn’t do it justice.
So what started out as a short story is now becoming something much more. And like the other novels in the Taleweaver’s Song, it introduces another aspect of the world of Merelein. Now it’s a race to see which will be done first: Two Jobs or The Orc Plains.