(Posted 11:32 PM PST 2012/11/19)
My high school friend Eric left the following comment on my Facebook link to last night’s post:
For your elder race, consider giving them an entire story arc of their own. If you can answer “why they were there?” and “why they are no longer around?” in a story format, then you not only have a convenient backbone from which you can populate your worlds with mcguffins, but you also have a much more useful background myth. Even better, have parts of the myth be wrong; your elder race will be remembered, but not always accurately.
While I doubt I’ll have much more than a few paragraphs answering these questions, this is part of my plan in developing the Ancients (or whatever I choose to call them).
- Here’s what I know about them so far, in my head…
- They are phenomenally powerful, so much so that they have moved planets into a particular arrangement;
- They were not gods, nor have they become gods, as there is no proof the gods even exist (which is part of the issue between the knightly orders);
- They have left the mortal realms, but left behind examples of their wyrd-technologies scattered about the StarSea.
What I don’t know is what kinds of creatures they are, why they came to the StarSea, why they manipulated the StarSea, or why they left.
Part of me wants to make them very non-humanoid, maybe even non-mammalian, and potentially invertebrates. On the other hand, making them humanoids allows me to give them a better connection “biologically” to the existing races. However, the more obscure the species, the more alien I can make the artifacts, which allows me to obfuscate their use, making players work harder for their truly powerful toys. However, making them humanoid could set up certain monster types, like undead. Maybe there’s a reason vampires look like bats…
Maybe these beings came to the StarSea because of some natural phenomenon in the area. Maybe they didn’t have their later levels of power when they arrived. Or maybe they did. Amongst humans, we go unexplored places for one of two real reasons: To see what we’ve never seen before, and to find new resources. Maybe they were drawn by the magical energies of the area. Maybe they were drawn by some other resource in the area. Or maybe they came to experiment with some new technology of their own development.
Was the arrangement of the worlds in the StarSea the experiment, or did they make the arrangement to do something else? I had an idea the elf-like race were connected to the Ancients: How so? Are they the results of the creation, or are they an evolved form of a vermin? (Okay, I’ll admit that I’m stealing that idea from Elfquest, in which the trolls and preservers were animals aboard the proto-elves’ space ship who had been aboard so long that they’d evolved into humanoid form.) Is this species the result of what they were doing, a side effect (and potentially very unwanted), or is the species a result of the Ancients’ existence (like humanity evolving from the feces of the roach-ancients in Phillip Jose Farmer’s Venus on the Half Shell)? If moving the worlds was part of the experiment, what were they trying to accomplish by it?
Was the experiment or activity in the StarSea a success, or a horrible failure? Were they wiped out by said failure? Or was the experiment a smashing success, and with said success, did they leave the laboratory standing as is, leaving in a rush? Or is the experiment still going, and the Ancients have withdrawn to a safe distance to observe the results?
I have lots of ideas here, and now I need to winnow them down and create the race, their history, and their present, as well as what the current inhabitants of the StarSea know and believe…