In last Sunday’s newsletter to my subscribers, I noted that I wasn’t planning on writing a new story for Nanowrimo this year since I’m neck deep (106k words) in the rewrite of The Weaver’s Boy. Instead, I hinted that I’d create a new setting instead — one that I can use for playing D&D, and maybe write some stories too.
I’ve decided to push ahead with that plan for the rest of November — nothing formal, I won’t be trying to crank out the equivalent of 50k words, nor will I even do this every day. The goal is to have fun, and fill occasional moments when I feel like doing something creative, but don’t have the time or inclination to work on my novel.
As a side note, I’ve decided that I’ll author the world in World Anvil. I’ve been hassled on social media to revisit the app, and figured this was as good an opportunity as any. However, I’ll also duplicate what I do in World Anvil in bog-standard markdown. This will allow me to compare and contrast objectively, and I’ll report back on my thoughts later this year.
So, with that said...
For ages, I’ve wanted to write in a world more Classical, or even Bronze Age, in flavour. The world where I set my Weaver books is an analogue of 11th Century Mediaeval Europe, and I borrow heavily from original sources to construct the look and feel of my grim dark world (think stone keeps, a monotheistic religion, illiterate peasants, and bad personal hygiene).
As a once aspiring archaeologist, I’ve always loved the classics, and in my undergrad years I took a subject on Ancient Cypriot archaeology under Professor David Frankel. An interest in the Bronze Age Aegean has stuck with me ever since — and why not, this was the world of Homer’s Troy, Crete, Egypt’s New Kingdom and the more besides. Alashiya is the ancient name for Cyprus, and as a hat tip to a simpler time in my life, I’ve decided it’s a good name for my world.
Starting with the ancient Med, and particularly the eastern half thereof, I want to build a world with ancient civilisations new emerging upstarts, with power concentrated in the hands of city states and empires. I love the idea of using an archipelago, where land is sometimes scarce, while there is an abundance of seas for exploring maritime trade, piracy and warfare.
For inspiration, I thought at first of the Greek Islands, but then it occurred to me that something like Indonesia is more what I had in mind. So, with Australia’s northern neighbour as my starting point, it’s time to open my graphics editor of choice and create my canvas.
So far, so good. I think it’s a decent place to start a story/game world. I’ll let that sit for a bit while I think about adding geographical features such as mountains and rivers. Most of the details though I’ll likely build on the fly, spiralling out from where I’d like to start a campaign, one shot or even just a short story. Once I’ve added the geography, I’ll add the map to World Anvil and get cracking on the setting.