Writing Divinity

Spoilers for Divinity (computer game franchise). Whilst the denizens of the Internet are collectively baying for Baldur's Gate 3 to be released at long last, I have been replaying Larian's other darling, Divinity: Original Sin II (D:OSII), with a friend. I did not play the original, but have been reassured that, much like penny-farthings and…

Writing The Wheel of Time

Spoilers for The Wheel of Time (books series and upcoming television series) and Dune (pan-media franchise). N.B. In this article, I will be using various potentially contentious words, including sexism and sexist, in a general, even colloquial, sense, rather than the highly technical and narrow senses used in certain academic disciplines. That should probably give…

Writing Worlds of Darkness

Spoilers for all World of Darkness-related materials, primarily Old World of Darkness and Vampire: the Masquerade. 'It's not fan service, it's a gothic-punk indictment of the evils of fan service'.(Vampire: the Masquerade - Bloodlines, promotional material) In 1991, White Wolf released the first edition of Vampire: the Masquerade (V:tM), a self-described gothic-punk roleplaying game of…

Writing Good Places

Spoilers, AND I CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH HOW SPOILED THIS WILL BE SO GO WATCH IT IF YOU HAVEN'T ALREADY, for seasons 1 - 3 of The Good Place (television series). It's the most fun two adults can have on a sofa!(Ted Danson (left) as Michael and Kristen Bell (the other left) as Eleanor Shellstrop -…

Writing Nice and Accurate Prophecies

Spoilers for Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (book and television series). Pictured: The same man twice.(Good Omens, television series, promotional material) By their own admission, neither Gaiman nor Pratchett expected Good Omens to be as popular as it subsequently became. There is a nice and accurate reason why: it…

How to Invent a Religion: Part 4

A Day in the Life Theology describes what, in theory, believers of a religion ought to believe, for a given value of ought. In practice, however, members of all religions live lives at variance with what they claim to profess, from the evident truth that few people live up to their religious ideals and others…

How to Invent a Religion: Part 2

Eschatological Escapades Eschatology is the theology of endings, the counterpart to ætiology. Eschatologies are as varied as ætiologies, and just as important for shaping religious practice. Norse mythology's final battle at Ragnarök, the Buddhist prophecy of Maitreya revealing to a once-more-benighted world the concept of dharma, the theme of a time of judgement shared by…

How to Invent a Religion: Part 1

Edifying Ætiologies An ætiology is a beginning of something expressed in historical or mythological terms, and therefore a highly appropriate concept with which to begin this short series. Last week I spotted a tweet which drove home to me the inherent problems with discussing religion in fiction. In the West, our experience of life is…

Writing Fantasy-hammer

Spoilers (maybe?) for the Warhammer Fantasy Battle franchise. The biggest fantasy here is that a sword will be of any use against a three-foot tall creature from the back of a fifteen-foot tall mount. Nottingham is famous for three things: Robin Hood, knife crime, and the headquarters of a cynical corporation preying upon the pliable…

Writing Realms

'Now where did I leave my realms?' Forgotten Realms is a long-running fantasy setting originally conceived by Ed Greenwood for the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game, and is possibly the most well-known setting for the game: although other settings, such as Greyhawk and Dragonlance, predate Forgotten Realms, the books of authors such as R.…