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Triba

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Yo yo all. Now, I tend to think of myself as an artisan writer - it's what I'm best at and I enjoy it immensely. So recently I got into game design and realised that I'd have to compose some history/story for the game. It's a small demo for an MMO portfolio booster. Below are two respective histories for the two warring factions. I know they sound a tad vanilla (well at least to me) because I've been trying real hard to tone down the language for a general audience. I want to know if you think they are engaging, well written, erudite, understandable etc. They aren't too long either so I've attempted a sense of thrift when packing in need to know plot points. It's just a quick draft and I've gone to history for political intrigue and deception. You might recognize some of the events that run tandem. History of the Anglian Empire: The Anglian Empire has been in power since the year 250, when it first secured Anglia and the surrounding areas from competing tribes. Since that time, the Empire has struggled bitterly to colonise much of the known world in the quest for trade and riches found beyond the horizon. Such a mission was heralded by the formation of the Legion, the first professional Anglian army. The Legion quickly gained notoriety and infamy in its violent inflexibility, as it subjugated and oppressed conquered peoples in quick succession. The brilliant organisation and strategy of the Legion was only matched by the Anglian nobility and merchant class, who were able to profit immensely from the new trade sources, exploiting cheap slave labour and provincial resources. However, since the death of Harold the First in 1560, the Anglian Empire has rapidly begun shoring up its foreign relations and colonial rule. With the conclusion of the 1st Continental War, Anglia dominated the Sphere, ruling every corner of the known world with an iron rule and an eye for the lucrative. Now, in the wake of the defeat of Pharus at the Straights of Albion and the rise of the Northern Kingdom, the people of Anglia must now turn their heads to the horizon for the first time, as the threat of war approaches. Ruled by the cunning Patrician, William Gladstone, the Anglian Empire has remilitarised as it fights to keep the power and land that it has possessed for so long. History of the Northern Kingdom: The 1st Continental War left the Rothman Empire in ashes. Forced to repay the victorious Anglian Empire for its war expenses, the northerners suffered terrible economic blight, as thousands of its population starved or froze to death in the long winters. Small political and military skirmishes between the working class and the upper class furthered the divide between rich and poor as the nation crumbled back into historical oblivion. To halt the descent into anarchy, the Anglian Empire installed a king; Harold the First, to oversee the reparation payments and to silence revolution in the newly renamed Northern Kingdom. Acting as a puppet king, Harold’s increasing decadence disgusted the austerity of the noble northerners. Such disgust did not go long without remedy. On a morning in the spring of 1560, Harold was found murdered, the violence of the crime shocking in its brutality. Anglia, in uproar, dispatched General Pharus with the 4th legion to investigate the aftermath of the assassination. However, before the army could reach Puritania, the kingdom’s capital, it was attacked in what would be the most devastating, unexpected defeat in military history. The suddenness and complete destruction of Pharus’ Column in the Straights of Albion struck a hammer blow to the security and prestige of the Anglian Empire, the sound reverberating around the Sphere, awakening new possibilities within the subjugated cultures of the Empire. The Cataclysm of 1562 saw mass revolution throughout the empire as Anglia was eradicated from its foreign provinces in one overpowering blow. Now, the Northern Kingdom, ruled by the Prime Minister, the enigmatic Benjamin Disraeli, is set on expansion as it reclaims its lost territories, striking out with deadly force against all who resist. Additionally, for some of my normal writing this is a small short story I threw out last year. http://www.storiesville.com/content/view/1845/65/

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I know they sound a tad vanilla (well at least to me) because I've been trying real hard to tone down the language for a general audience.

By doing so, you have written the same generic history that fantasy writers have been reinventing forever. Nothing stands out as original, or engaging, or even mildly interesting.

I'd suggest you stop trying to target a "general audience" and instead target writing a good story. If it's good, it will find an audience. By generalizing it you might be ensuring that nobody will be turned off by it, but you're also ensuring that nobody will care much for it either. You can't please everyone.

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If you summarized the history of Middle-Earth (arguably the most well developed fictional universe) in such a way, it would sound incredibly bland: defeat Dark Lord once in the First Age, defeat a new one in the Second Age, and defeat a new one yet again in the Third Age, end. Would such a raw historical overview inspire you to read the "Lord of the Rings", or any other masterwork of fiction? Doubt it.

Or take an even better example, real world history, which is more rich in delicate twists and plots and detail than any fictional history can ever hope to become - and it will still be boring when presented in such a way. School history lessons are a testament to that.

The text doesn't particularly inspire me either. BUT. It's a historical background, not a fiction novel. It's facts and events. While it is certainly not something to present to players or readers directly, it should be judged for what it is.

And while we're at that, I'd say it overlaps with real-world history a tad too much for my taste, and the connections are too obvious. Perhaps it's the names. Even the years relate to European dark / middle ages. I do "get the point" that it's meant to be a form of alternative fictional history, I just think it goes a bit too far.

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bland. that's the only description I can come up with for it. The writing is quite competent and clear, though the history itself is very generic and quite awful actually. I for one am tired of seeing merciless powerful kingdom vs. underdog rag-tag group of people who pose a serious threat to the merciless powerful kingdom.

The name of the kingdom being 'Anglia' is also very unoriginal, as there have been countless abuses of things closely related to medieval britain, ranging from Bretonia to Anglica. Besides, I believe the name Gladstone was quite significant in The Amulet of Samarkand and the following books of that trilogy, and I'm absolutely certain I've seen Albion elsewhere on at least one or two occasions. Unless this has been intentional, you may be creating links to other media, and potentially history, completely unintentionally

Can we just please get over the whole two kingdoms at war thing? You're also somewhat insinuating that one is a cruel task-master, yet 'eloquently and subtly' avoiding the whole good vs. evil thing. After reading this, it is quite apparent to me at least that you want to portray Anglia in a negative manner, while the Northern Kingdom is the noble and courageous kid who is finally standing up to the playground bully, ultimately portraying that despite its intimidating appearance, it is in fact rather fragile, and comparable to a child with a tantrum.

What would altogether be a much more interesting approach would be to look at it from the crumbling empires point of view, as you force the player to go to extremities in order to maintain all they have come to care for, be it personal, social, or even national. The movie The Fountain accomplished this quite well in some parts of the movie, in which a Spanish knight undergoes a grim journey in the "New World" (so 1500s), that often forces him to commit cruel deeds, in order to save both Spain from the inquisition, and his love, the Queen.

and on a final note, early 1500s to late 1800s are in many ways more interesting than the medieval era, both due to politics, societal change, and technological development.

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its also nice to have sympathetic elements in the empire to the smaller nations that want to protect sovereignty but also believe their empire is bringing good.

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