Finding my voice while working on the foundation #DnD #Roleplaying #Fiction

An essay on the Tortugan expansion, from ‘Kingdom Building, an analysis in several voices’

It is well known that the world was shattered thousands of years ago, scattering mankind into small groups in many lands. And the mighty Elven and Dwarven kingdoms were broken and shattered. Leaving the Elves a debased race, scattered in many small tribal units, a shadow of their former might. And the Dwarves hid in their few remaining cave complexes. But Mankind gradually came back, building Empires and Kingdoms in what came to be called the Old World.

Fighting wars that lasted hundreds of years, with Kingdoms and Empires rising and falling. Until that time when the eyes of the people began to look across the oceans. Eventually some groups began to sail across the dangerous oceans, at first establishing settlements in the names of their home lands. But gradually these settlements broke apart, forming their own nations. The most successful example of this is the Kingdom of Tortuga. And much of the reason for that success comes from the abundance of resources in the new land, and a careful policy set out for expansion.

The early Kings of Tortuga knew that in an unsettled land there would be many opportunities for those brave enough to set forth as adventurers. But having bands of occasionally lawless adventurers wandering about, digging up ruins from the Age of Miracles, acquiring artifacts and developing their own followers was a recipe for trouble and anarchy. Therefore they developed the Adventurer license and Company contracts. These contracts made such adventurers a source of revenue, and held them accountable to the laws of the land.

Even more importantly for the expansion of the Kingdom the Contracts also required that the Adventuring Companies turn over maps of their travels to the Mage Guild and Council of Seers. These maps allowed the Kingdom to be aware of major threats, and plan for them. So there were no surprises when the Orc Horde of Brawkog came out of the West, the Kingdom knew there was a tribe out there, and had an army waiting for the invasion.

These maps and explorations were also used as way to plan future settlements. When an Adventuring company came back with reports of a good location for a settlement then contracts were written for settlement companies. These companies would travel to the area, establish the first settlement. And then more people would follow, gradually expanding the control of the Kingdom. Each Settlement Company was placed under the leadership of a future Count, who then became the authority in the new region. And any Adventuring Companies in that region would now report to the new Count. This prevented any renegade companies from trying to carve out lands for themselves. And allowed the Counts in the new areas to have a better idea what threats lay in the new lands.

Compared to the traditional method of allowing settlers to move to the frontier, and then annex what was settled, this was a far more organized process. And in some cases the Adventuring Companies became running concerns, with a base in one of the older cities and hired adventurers in many different regions. In this way the Kingdom of Tortuga became one of the most successful new nations in the new lands across the ocean from the Old World.

I think I have really found a writing voice and style with these little snippets about the world I am building for the boys game. I am terrible at writing conversations. And not great at descriptive narrative. But I have spent a good chunk of my life studying and reading history. I love reading historical fiction. And I fell in love with the idea of world building when I was young. Drawing maps, mapping out wars, etc. And this is a way of bringing all of that together.

So with these little fictional history snippets I can lay the foundation for a world. By writing as a historian, narrating how things in the world got to where they are, I can bring things to life. Everything from why they are won’t have access to heavy armor, to why they are going out together, to reasons for them continuing to explore, are all there in these snippets.

Not that the boys are really reading them, Jimmy occasionally does. It is as much for me to help keep track of who is who, what rules they have. In order to maintain a solid narrative for the game.

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