WHERE WE START
A Primer: Part I
All right, just a few notes up front:
This post, and the next one: WHERE WE’RE GOING, are essentially the same thing we gave to other creators (specifically, Al, Ram, and Tini during this first release period) when we asked them to build out the systems that you’re going to be seeing over the next few weeks. A few things to keep in mind:
I am going to be using words like ‘good’ and ‘evil’ in here, along with things like ‘science’ and ‘magic’ as placeholders -- these will not be the terms used in the actual stories. It’s okay at this point to think of them like that, as that’s roughly what they are placeholders for, but this is an alien culture we’re talking about, and when you’re ‘in-story’ good/evil and science/magic tend to short-circuit readers in a trope-y kind of way. We don’t want to do that.
Thematically, the grand story that we’re telling here is about the coming rebirth of creativity (again, it’s okay to refer to this as ‘magic’ right now) in a universe that has become overly-structured, systematic, cynical, and cold (‘science’). Perhaps much like our own.
The mythology of this universe is cyclical. There are grand cycles of ‘science’ and ‘magic’. Both can be -- and are -- ‘good’ and ‘evil’.
HOW IT WORKS
Our story take place in last century of the ‘science’ cycle of an alien solar system. Cycles are hundreds (sometimes thousands) of years long and work like this: As an ascendent cycle approaches its apex, it reaches maximum acceptance as an ideology/belief system and is therefore susceptible to excess and corruption -- and so, it becomes the most ‘evil’ version of that system. Contrary to that, when cycle reaches its lowest point, it is at its most rare -- and idolized -- form and is the most ‘good’ version of that system. There are both ‘good’ and ‘evil’ actors for both systems at all times, but the proportions of each tend to reflect the overall current corruption of each system.
This corruption leads to the reason/purpose for why a system must be overthrown (as well as the emergence of its opposing system) and therefore why all of this is cyclical and will never stop being cyclical.
So the question is why -- beyond telling a story about the rebirth of creation -- are we setting our stories in the death throes of a science cycle and not at the actual point of change or the birth of it?
We want it far enough away from the previous cycle that the last ‘magic’ cycle reads to the characters (and therefore the readers) as ‘lore’ or ‘mythology,’ and not yet real.
We want this mythology -- the actual rebirth -- to read as a personal journey that is experienced and therefore needs to take place at a looming inflection point.
We want -- if this is successful, people like it, and we reach narrative escape velocity -- to have the ability to portray the changeover as a societal shift: The actual collapse of an old age and the beginning of a new one. Which will give us a really big place to go.
Here’s how those storytelling conventions graph out:
This solar system has a sun much like our own (roughly the same age and color), but instead of only having a single planet inside its goldilocks zone, this system has three habitable worlds which also have three habitable moons (which is what all our mythology/iconography is built around).
We’re going to give you a map of the system and in depth descriptions of the worlds tomorrow in the second part of our Primer, but here’s the big thing you need to take from it conceptually.
This basically revolves around two concepts. The Three Worlds, Three Moons making up the six elements of the universe (three major, three minor), and the cyclical duality that all life is trapped in.
These two concepts will go on to make up the majority of all numerological, religious and political divisions in society and will be reflected whenever we’re creating anything that’s organized, systematic, or institutional.
(So, everything should have either a cyclical/dual nature, or some base 3 organizational structure [like 3 plutocrats rule over 9 senators, who then rule over 27 regional governors...that kind of thing]).
That looks like this:
Or, when reduced down to a more formalized (and maybe elegant) major/minor structure, it looks like this:
Which, if you’ve been paying attention, might look familiar to you.
The world descriptions and very cool solar map coming in Part II, and after that our first look at some Del Mundo designs and our first system document.