Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Considering that sometimes it is far more useful to describe a setting by referencing that which has inspired it, I've decided to create a list of intellectual properties that have influenced and guided my own feelings while creating my world. While certainly not complete, perhaps reading this list may further help people understand where I am coming from in designing the world of Aarn.

Slayers - This anime's carefree and lackadaisical style even in the face of impending world destruction is what made me decide I wanted to create a story along the same lines, and has helped set the tone of my entire world. My anthromorph race was also drawn from the beastmen tribes of this series.

The Last Unicorn - The first fantasy story I was ever exposed to, the influence of its romantic notions, merging both fairy tales with more serious storytelling, and inserting modern anachronisms can be seen everywhere in my works, both Aarn related and non. If Slayers is my major inspiration, The Last Unicorn is the original seed that helped me know I liked Slayers when I saw it.

Greek Classical Myths - Not to be underestimated, much of my inspiration for the setting also comes from works such as Ovid's Metamorphosis, and the vast majority of fantasy creatures from my setting have been lifted almost directly from ancient Greece, in many cases taking popular contemporary monsters and bringing them back closer to their original Grecian roots.

Celtic and Germanic folklore - In olden times, fey were not friendly and cuddly nature spirits, but were instead supernatural races of unknown power with alien views of the world. Inspired by these tales, I have brought the concept of fey back to its more primal, frightening state. Celtic style music has also helped shape the tone of many nights of brainstorming.

Sacrifice - A computer PC game that should have been more popular than it was, Sacrifice's quirky style, double crosses, myopic gods, and insanely new and bizarre takes on classic creatures has helped teach me how to think outside the box when it comes to creating a fantasy environment.

Errant Story - This online comic's story has given me insight into the way the modern ideas of gods can exist in a fantasy setting, and has helped shape much of my setting's religious satire.

Dragon Ball Z - As much as I hate to admit it, many of my ideas of the afterlife being run by demons who are not quite evil, but simply bureaucratic, can be traced directly back to this series. I would like to say that I was instead inspired towards this path by Pratchett or Douglas Adams, but I've yet to read the books of either of their series. I know, this is a crime against nature, and I plan to atone for it soon.

Neverwinter Nights -
This game, and to a lesser extent, the pen and paper Dungeons and Dragons game it is based on are directly responsible for me getting the idea to adopt the world of Aarn into a role playing setting. Without these games and the friends I have made playing them, Aarn would never be on the path it is today, and may never have been developed at all.

Record of Lodoss War - While not so much an inspiration in content, this classic story based on a roleplaying group's adventures has helped excite my imagination towards the benefits and potential of role play as not only a method of participatory fiction, but also as a spectator sport.

The Lord of the Rings - Virtually no one can escape how prevalent this work is in the contemporary fantasy culture. The simple existence of the work forces me to be influenced by it, simply because everything else is, whether it admits it or not. I find myself in the very interesting position of developing a world that is both as far from Tolkien as I can possibly make it, without also alienating his fans. It is for this reason and this reason alone that my world is devoid of elves, dwarves, or any hobbit-like creatures.

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