(For those who came in late: having completed the initial sketch of a new fantasy world, I’m now reflecting on how it went.)
The Hawk-folk of Valiroth
I’m not yet sure whether or not I like having these guys in the world.
On the one hand, “People with Wings!” is a pretty cool schtick, and I think their role as defenders of the border suits them. Plus I’ve always really liked the “Winged Folk” in GURPS Fantasy Folk. (Which is such a great book, by the way! it’s always been one of my favorites. Highly recommended! Go and get it! Amazing stuff!)
On the other hand, they’re a high fantasy element stuck right in the heart of civilization, and generally I wouldn’t do that.
Why not? Well, I tend to make worlds in which the “civilized” parts have a fairly realistic “low fantasy” flavor, and the wild, dangerous, marginal, or mysterious regions way off on the edges of the map tend more towards “high fantasy.” This makes it easy to have plots that feature normal people stumbling into amazing and dangerous fantastic things.
But when those Hawkfolk turned up in Valiroth, I suddenly had a very high-fantasy element – a race of winged people! – right in the heart of civilization. I’m still not sure I’m happy with that. It wanders just a little too much towards gonzo for my taste – I’d prefer to have a world in which the average “civilized” townsperson is not so accustomed to wonders.
So – to put this post together with the previous one – it seems that I like some of the Villains a lot (i.e. the Wolfkin of Volbad and the Unshapen Cultists of Sinistrhal) but I don’t necessarily like the default Heroes very much.
What to do about it?
The temptation in cases like this is to dwell on the things you really like, and kind of avoid the stuff you’re not sure about. Instead, I’m going to take the opposite approach. In the next post, I’ll be working out how to transform those Hawkfolk into something I’d love to play with, without losing their essential character!