Focusing the project.
The Claret Sea is big, about the size of the Mediterranean. That’s way too big to detail in a small booklet even if the entire thing was dedicated to setting info. To help bring things into a reasonable scope I will be focusing this book on a single area of a single city. My adventure will take place almost entirely on a small island that recently emerged from the Claret Sea, in the bay of the “City of a Thousand Flowers”.
It is particularly important to me when designing this adventure module to have everything tightly contained. It’s so easy to get lost in the weeds with setting details and for me personally, I am worried about creating a sprawling map and getting overwhelmed. The small town or outpost is a pretty standard local for these sorts of games but they tend to bring to mind a sort of rural peasantry that I don’t want my setting to have.
My compromise is to use the city docks as the adventuring hub, with all the action taking place on an island.
“Traveler’s Humility” is an island that was formed a few days ago when Dingir-Utu, champion of the “City of a Thousand Flowers” defeated the Dingir(demi-god) of the renowned caravan company “Travels by Great Measure.” Using the magic pumped into him by the city’s religious caste, Utu raised an island from the sea floor to create a tidal wave, that pummeled his rival into a red smear on the rocks. The resulting island lifted up a pre-cataclysm chunk of the old city, and not just any chunk, one of the ancient palace complexes.
It is now sitting exposed for the first time in hundreds of years and the race is on to claim the riches inside.
I guess it is worth thinking about what I want out of this setting and how this module can support that. It’s important to me that this setting has something worth saying at the core of it. My legitimate worry is figuring out how to strike the right balance. I want to write about my feelings of erasure. How my experience as a queer woman, with an invisible disability, living in the exploitative culture of the United States, has made me feel. How I think a lot of people feel right now.
It’s hard for me even to articulate what I want this setting to say, never mind figuring out how to say it in a way that doesn’t become a crass caricature of people’s lived experiences. I fundamentally don’t want to write something that pounds the table screaming “look how bad this is.” I want to talk about how this life chips away at our soulful selves and so often leaves hollow people.
At the end of the day though this is still a game. It has to be gameable and enjoyable. I am pretty sure I am not going to fit these themes into this first module. The scope is too big and the adventure too small. That said I do want to start seeding these ideas into the module through iconography and what world-building I can fit in.