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AceK7

Elder Scrolls type lore

18 posts in this topic

I wanna write something sort of like how the developers at bethesda did. I keep finding myself fascinated with how much they have wrote just for the lore and am wondering what can i do to start something like this? what would i have to do ? how far would i have to go? any help or ideas would be helpful!
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Start small and build up. If you go back to TES: 1 days, there wasn't nearly the volume of lore that there is now. Same with other franchises such as Warcraft, etc... As games are released, more characters and stories are added to the volume of lore. If you try to plunge in an build something as large as the existing TES lore-base all at once, you're going to burn out long before it's finished.

Look at Tolkein, for example. He built a huge lorebase for Lord of the Rings, but he built it over the course of his lifetime.
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Well i know it wont happen over five minutes i just am wondering where i should begin because thats kinda hard to figure out? Should i start with a timeline? or what?
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I wouldn't start with a timeline. I would start with a world. Whenever I am crafting a new world for a game or story, I start with drawing a map. I begin with pure geography to start: mountains, swamps, plains, etc... After that, I'll start filling in the world with who lives where, why do they live there, etc.... Who is fighting with who, and why are they fighting? Things such as back history sort of naturally fall into place, and as I get a better handle on a specific race I can start to figure out what gods they worship (if any), who their heroes were and who their chief enemies are. And of course, there is always the purely fanciful things that just occur to me out of the blue: a particular fabled monster, for instance. I might have an idea for a fabled monster, and try to find some place in the world where it might belong. Of course, such a thing will then affect the people who dwell nearby, thus factoring that monster into local mythologies and lore.

It's an organic process of growth, just like any complex thing, built up from smaller inter-connected pieces.
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[quote name='AceK7' timestamp='1326297059' post='4901663']
Well i know it wont happen over five minutes i just am wondering where i should begin because thats kinda hard to figure out? Should i start with a timeline? or what?[/quote]
A timeline is definitely one good starting point. It allows you to map out the major sources of conflict that drive the development of your world: waves of immigration with their ensuing wars/assimilation, natural disasters, shifts in power balances, etc.
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Also what about coming up with words? like names or country names or even days of the week or month? how would you go about with that and not make it sound really stupid?
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[quote name='AceK7' timestamp='1326297976' post='4901669']
Also what about coming up with words? like names or country names or even days of the week or month? how would you go about with that and not make it sound really stupid?
[/quote]
You can use a name generator or just make them up yourself. One thing that bethesda does often for city names it to take two words and push them together, i.e. Elder Root, Highrock, Hammerfell, Black Marsh, etc. For city names, think about the suffixes that they usually have(burgh, sted, hold, helm, mouth, and ford to name a few). As for naming months, I'd probably just wing it but you can try and pick apart what TES did for their month names.

How I usually start forging a world is I picture in my head what kind of world it will be, and then take a pencil and draw a first draft of a map. I'll work off of that for a while and then probably redraw the map with more/different/less cities, more interesting features, more natural transitions, etc. I generally figure out what I'm doing for races fairly early on as well.

After I have some basic nations with their conflicts, cities, setting, and gods, I'll usually start mapping out their more intricate lore(origin, heros, factions, etc).

I'd say you can pretty much do this however you want. If it helps you, make a timeline. I personally love geography and history, so for me making a map works pretty well.
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[quote name='FLeBlanc' timestamp='1326303373' post='4901695']
Just grab a pencil or a wacom tablet and get started. The sooner you start getting stuff on paper, instead of just asking questions, the sooner you'll start learning the real things (things that can not be taught) about writing and world building.

[/quote]

Definitely this. Just sit down and start writing (or drawing), whatever comes to mind. You can cut out anything you don't like later; for now, just focus on the creation.
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Back in 2009, I wrote a very flimsy start to my series. I wanted to enter it into a contest as a short story, but my imagination wouldn't let me. whatever was going on inside my mind was too big for a short story. It was a small start. Now, the world I have is thriving with diverse characters and backgrounds, and compelling stories. I recently went back to it after a four month hiatus. I have so much information on this place, it's amazing. There were tons of revisions though. I even found myself pulling dead stories and characters from my writing past that worked perfectly after some tweaking to play as history. Everything is implemented and for the most part smooth.

Now that I mentioned it, it's about dragons. It's about a boy and an evil dragon threatening to kill everyone on the earth. Cliche? I'm sure it sounds like it but it's not. It's so much more and it happened over time.While I do have all fo the main characters' names and some location names, that aspect is still incomplete. This is a series of books or at least that is the aim. It could most definately work as a video game, but I always picture my worlds on the scale of elder scrolls (I never played one of those games for more than an hour)and beyond, allowing control of multiple characters as necessary. Also, the history alone opens up whole new worlds in that, because certain events did not take place, things are different.

I didn't start working on my map until I had enough locations down on paper and I knew the timing between certain events. It allowed me to determine the number of miles and such. My map is still bare, but it takes a spark to get the candle burning, right?

One of my biggest advantages was having so many old stories to implement as history like I said before. I picture (if the series was made into a game) the history would be narrarated and documents would be found throughout the game describing it. I hit on a lot of philosophical ideas too which play into the current chain of events and other levels of the story. I recently envisioned my rather epic ending too. I mean the details of the ending. I see a story with lots of promise either as series or a videogame. Developers, hit me up!! ;)

I said in another post that I don't dabble too much with magic and potions and such. That is very true for this series, but as a game I feel players would expect that. If I do have mystical elements in my stories, their reasoning for being there is throughly explained.
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You should start by a world concept - a short text that describes the whole thing and its features: atmosphere; peoples & cultures; magic; main cities, fauna & flora; monsters, etc. and then depict what is the present situation (political; economical; warfares; famous characters; beliefs...). From that list you should build a grasp of narratives lines: why this guy is so famous? Is my dominant civilisation ruled by military, magic or divine power? where are located the main trading flows? why? who protects them: guilds? mercenaries? legions? What is the magical concept? who practices magic: everyone, a few "talented" folks, powerful monsters?.. how common people feels magic? why?... and whatever :)

Eventually you should have a global vision of your world's background, and then be able to write events that leads to the present situation. Feel free to inspire yourself from real events: it will add some realistics features to the whole. History is full of useful anecdotes that could fit with your concept.

(sorry for my english, this is my first post ;)
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A useful tip for names: explores ancient languages (You should visit this site: http://starling.rinet.ru/descrip.php?lan=en#bases ) and find the one that fits with your concept (old gaelic for celtic settings, for example) and start to play with words: you quickly find amazing names or words ^^

one example: "Fearans" describes people wearing heavy armors in a fantasy setting of my own. I took two words from old gaelic: "fear" and "Arn" which means "metal" and "man" :)
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it's like when you create a campaign on D&D. No more no less. If you love table roleplaygames, you should know what to do, the procedure is similar.
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Not an expert, but my suggestion is to start with something evocative, something that really excites you, then move outwards. Start with the kind of moments you really want the game to be about, then see what arouses your curiosity. e.g. Who are they? Why are they doing what they're doing? How did they get here? Where from? When there's a bit of flesh there you can get all clinical about making it consistent and logical and full of history.

I'll give you an example. I once had a mental picture that was simple but had a lot of promise and mystery for me: A ship floating through space. It has seven crew. They're all dead. But strangely the mental picture was full of hope. From there I grasped onto the idea that death doesn't have to be sad or to be avoided, it can't. How you got there and what you achieved is what matters. Then my toy universe started to expand; a ship full of people who are destined to die in a few months. They can't change that, but what choices will they make with what remains of their lives? Their every action slightly changing the means of their death, but not the day, hour or minute of it. Soon the characters of my ship formed. The interaction of fate and chance. The originator of the prophecy, an AI which has lived secretly in the communications network and used that mass of data to make connections and predictions that no other being can. An underclass of worker AIs who have a terrible plan to escape the legal tyranny of humanity. And the role our little ship can have in ending that plan and being a symbol for future generations of self-sacrifice and forgiveness.
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Make something very, very, VERY simple. [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/biggrin.png[/img]
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[quote name='AceK7' timestamp='1326296666' post='4901658']
I wanna write something sort of like how the developers at bethesda did. I keep finding myself fascinated with how much they have wrote just for the lore and am wondering what can i do to start something like this? what would i have to do ? how far would i have to go? any help or ideas would be helpful!
[/quote]

Well TES has been around a while. So they have had considerable time to create their lore. The best way i suggest is the read the old myths. The best ones to start out with are the Indian myths. Start with the [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rigveda"]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rigveda[/url] -(same place i derived my name from). They are amazing, and very diverse. Then ancient Mesopotamia myths.

EDIT::
An example comes to mind. In the continent of Akavir, there is the [url="http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Lore:Tsaesci"]http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Lore:Tsaesci[/url], they seem to have been inspired by the Naga.
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I'd start with key events that you really want to include and then build the world up around them. If you start with a general view you may find that it doesn't support the key events you want.
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my advice is start small, like ok, imagine the world, who created, how? why? when? who? then add the races/people/cultures etc.. brainstorm, take a notebook with u and start adding more and more backstory, like how did this race become this, how did that culture start, who founded that city?, who's the ruler? what's his name, it's okay to come up with random ideas, then add add add!!, what century are they in, are they like in the 300th year of the first generation or something like that,
create historical events, like the coronation of the king, the eruption of that volcano, keep adding, DONT STOP!, brainstorm, write EVERY idea that pops into your head,,
then organize after collecting and adding data, like this works or that doesnt work, maybe if i edit the date or the name..
thats how i recommend to do it,,.
sometimes i keep creating lore for games and stories i want to make, right now i have a folder in my PC thats full of deep and rich lore and story lines waiting to be made..
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