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Need Feedback on the sourcebook for my WIP Novel's setting

Posted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:19 am
by jys
Hello, fellow fantasy fans!

Here's the sourcebook for my WIP fantasy novel's universe. Any feedback would be appreciated as I want to know if it is "fantastic" enough or if there are glaring inconsistencies. This is my first time to build something of this scale though.

The sourcebook is written with an omnipresent POV and each subject/section is confined to as few pages as possible. My aim is for this to be a general reference for me as I write my stories.

You can find the pdf here:

The lore in a nutshell:

A cosmic deity, running away from an all-devouring alien race, created a pocket universe called the Realms Unbound. In one of the Realms is the essence of her dead lover. The cosmic deity breaks of her power into eleven sentient fragments of herself and charges them with the protection of the Realms and the dead god (her lover).

The story's main setting is the Realm of Athnall - the world that comes to life around the Dead God's essence.

Oh, and I just grabbed photos from Pinterest. I found that it helped inspire me a lot during worldbuilding. I don't claim any of the images as my own (except for the MAP of the world I made on and only use the photos to give visuals to my world.

TLDR: Made a sourcebook for my WIP novel, would love feedback.


Re: Need Feedback on the sourcebook for my WIP Novel's setting

Posted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 7:54 pm
by danjvelker
So, I finally got around to this... after like two weeks of promising I would. Oops. I'm here, now! I won't waste time addressing things I doubt you're interested in, like style and formatting and syntax, and instead I'll tear into the meat of the project. Meat!

I do want to take a minute to say that the presentation is working really nicely for me. It's clean, easy to read, and looks terrific. Reminds me a little bit of the hours I've spent leafing through Pathfinder and D&D rulebooks. Good memories, those. Anyways.

So your basic cosmogony is that Aeo didn't necessarily create the universe, but it brought all the tools into the workshop. Aph and Oem split up the elements and some other metaphysical traits, which I think is neat. You didn't just divide it between "the elements" and "the metaphysics", which I think would be a temptation of mine. Is Aeo a being or a force? (Basically: is it God or Magic?) I'm having trouble figuring that out based on the ways you refer to it later.

Now you've got your folk. Fenjian and Rixur, space-elves and the borg. That's all I've got. I like that there are avatars of Malaxath, and I like the names for them. Your names so far sound very internally consistent, which is something else that I would have struggled with if this was my project.

I skimmed through a lot of the history, but am I correct in reading that the planet Athnall is the body of a deity? One that's still alive and getting ready to wake up, no less? I immediately wonder what happens to all the people living on that planet when, uh, naptime is over.

(Skimmed through the deities. Seem pretty uncontroversial from what I saw, pretty Greco-Roman in some places where I lingered. Wynt was one place where I lingered, and I found her a pretty compelling goddess. I also liked the art you chose. Same deal for Rakoo.)

One quick thing I noticed about your deities: with Okina and Zum (among others) being closer in origin to the Western (Greek) gods, and Tavat and Jakara (again, among others) seeming to be more inspired by the Eastern (Indian/"Oriental") gods, I think you'll find that you have an interesting cultural mish-mash on your hands. I'm interested to see what, if any, effects that has on the sorts of narratives you can tell with them. You married the two largest competing philosophies of religion in the world, and I think you just might be able to pull it off!

The realmways remind me a LOT of the Waygates used in Wheel of Time. That's a good thing, because the Ways were awesome. Might be a good resource to look through if you ever find yourself having difficulty writing sections involving those.

Ah, here's where things get really interesting: Realmstriders. They're your inter-dimensional rangers, no? Braving new frontiers and gathering resources for a thankless population, while braving unimaginable dangers with a quip and a grin. Yup - I love me some rangers. It's no wonder I've rolled up a ranger in just about every D&D campaign I've ever played. Their divided roles are neat, but I wonder if you're boxing in your storytelling opportunities by restricting them. Just a thought.

(The art for Uin'Drema on pg.29 is flipping awesome. Ditto for Itnil Prime on p.32)

Hey, it's Surysia! I've visited those lands, once upon a time. Was that the action-adventure story I read with the realmstriders who faced off against a god at the end?

Make sure I take a vacation to Gitangrial someday. Sounds like my kind of place.

All right, I'm going to stop here at page 43 and save the rest for another post. This one is getting a bit... long. Whaddya expect from me?

Basic impressions so far: the basic cosmology makes sense; deities are a bit lackluster but they work; the Realms Unbound and their Primes are the most compelling parts of your Arcanum Infinitum so far. I would read stories of people just hopping from one to the other, finding adventures as they come across them.

We'll look at the rest in Part 2!

Re: Need Feedback on the sourcebook for my WIP Novel's setting

Posted: Wed Aug 21, 2019 9:11 am
by jys
Hey there, Dan! Glad you found the presentation palatable. I had D&D books in mind when I made this and it's nice to have it compared to those.

Aeo is a force. It grants "magic" as the story-world sees it, but Aeo is more than that. As for the question regarding "God" or any specific Creator, there is no answer to that. That question (who/what created Aeo and the Infinitum) is what drives the Rixur.

With the Rixur naming, the first decision I made was that it should contain the letter "X". Why? To me, it gives this alien-like feel in sci-fi that I want to have in the lore.

The planet Athnall IS the body of a deity (Nallien, in particular). My planned series is all about: what happens when naptime is over? Or, rather, "woah, we didn't know our planet was a god. So what do we do when our planet wakes up, dusts itself off, and flies into space?"

Pantheons of deities is one of the things that I really love in fantasy fiction. My first taste was with the gods of Krynn (Dragonlance) and my obsession with divine beings involved in the lives of mortals has never wavered. With my world/s, I seek to build on this with deities that have "human" personalities and characteristics.

Regarding the "divided roles" of the Realmstriders, I'll take that into heavy consideration. I'll see how I execute it when I get to writing about them. Good thing that my protagonist is a Strider! (Oh, and, while I DO like Rangers - I prefer Fighter/Mages when I D&D)

Yes, you visited Surysia in one of my short stories! :)

What about the Primes is more compelling than the gods they serve? Really curious about this.

The first novel (the one I've kept talking about in my messages) involves a lot of Realm hopping. When I'm done with the draft, you'll be the first to get a copy, Dan!