I get to run a game at the end of this month, for the first time in several months, and it's been a big motivating factor to throw some setting information together. I wrote some of the basic concepts and themes I'm going for in my last post (My Own Private Dungeon World). I'm very clearly inspired by King Arthur, Merlin, and Camelot, and so I've decided to run with it and keep moving along with my favorite go-to version of King Arthur - the 1981 movie Excalibur.
I must have watched this movie a dozen times in high school. I love the thick, heavy plate armor everyone wears, the yelling (everyone yells in this movie!), Mordred being a clearly creepy product of incest, and so forth. The movie feels like two separate films with the entire rise and fall of Arthur, from birth to death.
At the same time, I'm an unabashed Tolkien nerd, and the Silmarillion is one of my all-time favorite books. Excalibur could very easily be an early 80's rendition of one of the Silmarillion's chapters (but with MORE YELLING). So, I've taken two concepts for the creation of the world - one from each of these things I love - and combine them as opposing forces.
WorldSong and World Dragon
On one hand, just like in Tolkien, the world was created in song. It was music that brought about creation, and as an extension, music and song have a very potent power when used by those wishing to add to the creation of the gods. This music is simply, and fittingly, titled "WorldSong" and is the foundation of everything. It's the force for good and creation.
On the other, evil-er, hand, you have the force of destruction and chaos - entropy. Taken right out of Excalibur's version of King Arthur's legend, you get the omnipresent and oppressive force of the dragon. Many cults, wild things, and yes, bastard sons of kings lost in battle, worship the "World Dragon"
Queen Bethany Silver, heir of the deceased king, is a Sooth Singer of the highest order. Through observation of the WorldSong, her own sub-creations give her the power she needs to rally those formerly loyal to her father around her in her claim to the throne of the greatest city in the world, Tor Hoxia. Her grip on the city is questionable at best as her half-brother, Baron William of the East Warrens, has gathered those about him to support his claim for the throne. Whispers are spread throughout the kingdom of William's obsession with the World Dragon, though none would dare speak of it in his company.
I'll come up with more later, but I've at least got this much figured out. There's one more major force to fit into the greater scheme of things - the Fae Courts of the wild. I get the feeling that they don't go in for any of this WorldSong or World Dragon foolishness. They're outside of the conflict, probably because they're not from the world of WorldSong,but we shall see! There are of course other things in the world as well, things that are truly foreign to both man and elf and care for them as much as they care for birds in the sky or beast in the field. More on that to come too!