Designer Notes 1: Studying Chaos
While lots of settings try to encompass a broad range of things, this can, if not done well, make their setting bland on some level. Let me tell you what I mean. If you’ve got a medieval society and are dealing with knights and whatnot, you’re telling a particular, historical type of story. Add in dragons, you’ve turned it into a fantasy. Add in female knights and magic, you’ve just transformed your historical society into something in a sense generic. Sure, differences may exist, but they may just be cosmetic. However, if you take your time to get the details right and cascade the rationale and logic of everything and let it smash itself up a bit and then study the ensuing chaos and make sense of that…well, then you’ve got something quite a bit more interesting. It’s a bit like taking reality and blurring it, isn’t it?
I know this may sound a bit didactic, but what goes on in the creative process has always intrigued me as long as the creator does not attempt to do it during the work in question. I don’t need to see Kill Bill and have Quentin come on and tell me how cool and nifty and inspired he was by Bruce Lee in this scene. That jazz just interrupts the flow. If Q has done his homework, it shows and if I don’t get it, then he can put it in an interview or on the annotated track. I’ll enjoy it much better than way. If we walk away with one thing today remember that, doing the homework always shows and is much better than just faking it. Remember how your teacher could tell if you were faking it? Gamers are not stupid and can tell too. If you design something, do your homework. I’ll return to this particular bit of wisdom at a later date. I’m diverging from the point. The point? I’ve done my homework on Iron Dynasty to the extent necessary for what I’m trying to accomplish. The scope of this project is sharp and focused and is briefly described as follows:
Iron Dynasty is about picking a heroic archetype that defines your role in the story: a Ronin, a Makoto, and so on, and what you can do to return the country to a state of grace. In other words, I’m slanting this towards characters that will be mythmakers and the storyline is reminiscent of House of Flying Daggers meets Star Wars: A New Hope directed by Kirosawa. The design philosophy, to that end, is to keep things as light and fluid as possible.
If that doesn’t work, maybe the ninja and bamboo abominations will distract you. :)