bluebeard

Atmos

Originally published at PeterCHayward.com/blog. You can comment here or there.

Good morning! I’m well and truly back into my routine now, and it feels great. To celebrate, I’m going to write another All-That-Is piece! If you’re archive-skimming and you hate these, you might want to skip it: if you’re archive-skimming specifically for world-building pieces, then this is your lucky day!

Today I’m going to talk about the city of Atmos, which I briefly mentioned yesterday.

I believe it was Neil Gaiman who said that “the world needs to serve the story.” It’s completely true, but I was more than a little disappointed when I heard it – I’d been creating All-That-Is for so many years with the intention of eventually writing a heap of stories and books within the universe (I still do plan to do that) and so the idea of having to change my carefully-constructed world in order to serve the story just seemed wrong to me.

After a while, I came to terms with the truth: I’m not making this world to serve some future story. I’m making this world because I want to make this world. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that – this is my “fun” project, the one I work on for sheer enjoyment. If it’s more fun for me to write a novel for the purpose of world-building than the other way around, so be it! I am allowed to do whatever the heck I like in my spare time.

That sounds like a dumb realisation, but it was an important one.

So now that I can see what I’m doing (and this hobby really does give me a lot of pleasure) it’s allowed me to really do whatever’s fun: any random idea that strikes me is mine to explore at my leisure, and today I want to explore the city of Atmos.

Yesterday’s post was the first time I’d ever considered the Storm Orcs as culturally “more developed” than the rest of the Orcish tribes. So much so that they can barely be called a tribe, in fact. A number of other ideas have tumbled out of the Storm Orcs of Atmos:

  • As the most political of the Orcs, they’re likely the driving force behind tHe United triBes Of kronktoN (UTOK) – they’re the only ones who care at all about the outside world, and they managed to convince the rest of the tribes to unite (except, of course, the three Outcast Tribes) – it worked out well for everyone, but if it wasn’t for the Storm Orcs, kRonkton would just be a “wild area”, with no politics or centralised base.
  • They live in a town of constant storm: though they don’t know how how to store it (either for keeping it long-term or trading it to other places) they’ve got a constant supply of lightning. As such, they’ve had some Gnomes (the tinkerers of ATI) come in and set things up so that Atmos is the only city in the world with working electricity. (as well as the cool novelty element of this, it provides the city with a large gnomish population. Anything that intermingles different countries is more interesting to me – I’m not trying to create 10 distinct and unrelated provinces, I’m making one big connected world.)
  • Below is an image of everything that the Wiki has on krOnkton at this stage. As you can see, most of the wiki is pretty sparse (there’s a reason wikis are normally group efforts – it takes a long time to bulk it out) – also, it mentions “Ugh” as the capital and Atmos as the largest city. Originally “Ugh” was a joke name (Orcs are stupid, ha ha ha) – now that they’re much more developed, I’m not crazy about it, but I do like the idea of Atmos being the seat of power for Kronkton, but not the capital. It means that the Storm Orcs have to travel away from their home comforts when they want to influence things outside of their own city; it also gives the Orcish capital a more “Orcish” feel, whereas Atmos is shaping up to be completely different to the rest of the Orc’s homeland.

  • To the right of kronkTon you can see five yellow/browny bands – that’s the Big Desert; it separates kRonkton and the Ogre’s homeland, “Land of Ogres”. They’re the only two races who share a continent (“Trolland”) and in Big Desert are a number of Orc/Troll brigands, including a number of “Sand Orcs” (since they live outside of kronktOn, they’re not even considered Orcish enough to be included among the Outcast Tribes.)
  • An idea that I thought I’d come up with yesterday is on there as well – everything in white is where the UTOK live. Everything in dark grey is the Outcast Tribes, so it looks like they do hug the coast. It’s amusing to me when I come up with the same idea twice, years apart. I don’t have the maps on this computer, else I’d point out where the capital is, but the thin strip down the bottom right is the only way to enter the country without going through Outcast territory – and remember, the Outcasts don’t honor any treaties like “Hey don’t just kill other races on sight.”

That’s all the Atmos thoughts that are popping into my brain at the moment. This worked as a good incentive yesterday, so I’ll do it again: I’ve got 5 redrafts on my “to-do” list, as well as 6 covers to make. If I can do all that today, I’ll let myself do another world-building post tonight. (most likely on the Gnomes, because I want to talk about steam and mill power, as well as hopefully give them a little more personality.)

A few more Orcish thoughts before I go:

  • The very top of the country map above is where the Wind Orcs live. I don’t remember if I’d decided this definitively or not, but the cliffs should definitely be facing north – this makes them much less the “overseers of krOnkton” that they’d somehow become in my mind, and much more disconnected from the rest of the world. I can’t decide if I prefer this or not (it almost makes them more Desert Orcs than United) but in terms of wind currents it makes too much sense to ignore. It also gives at least part of the country a nice slope, which I like.
  • As part of that “integrating other races” thing that I was talking about, I think at least a few Angels should live with the Wind Orcs. Angels, you see, can fly, and the juxtaposition between them and Wind Orcs is interesting to me. Perhaps that’s where outcast Angels go or something like that.
  • A few Storm Orcs will have to live in the nation’s capital, but only the richest: those who can afford to pay others to recreate the electricity of their home city. They’re seeking political power because they’ve reached the limit of power that money alone can get them.

That’s all for now! As I said yesterday, if there’s any aspect of the world that you want more information about, let me know – I enjoy writing about topics that I wouldn’t normally write about, because the only way for me to write about something is to make it interesting.