Thursday, January 27, 2011

De orcs, dey be a’comin!

A while back I talked a little about my current orc project, an RPG centered around the idea that the characters are all orcs living within their native culture. Well, the project has slowed, but not stopped all together. I am currently chipping away at the background and setting, and refining the rules wherever I see room for improvement. And I have also requested some artwork from a very talented friend. He sent me some initial sketches, and they look sweet! He has a good sense of my orcs, and with a little nudge here and there, the finished drawings will no doubt be amazing. Makes me wish I was writing this game for money. I’d love to be able to pay him. But, I think he’s drawing for the same reason I’m writing. For the sheer joy of creation.

Related to the game are a couple of fiction projects. One is a new short story that kind of popped into my head as a way of illustrating one of the more interesting (IMHO) aspects of my orc society: Mating rituals. I’m not talking about the act of sexual intercourse, but rather the ritualistic views orcs have about selecting and claiming a mate. And yes, it does involve a fight scene. These are orcs, after all.

The other project is one that I had been working on for a long time, but lost interest in when I realized I didn’t have a goal in mind for the story. The tale is of a human boy raised by orcs, and learning to live as one of them. In that story, the orcs are more civilized than they appear to be in the game. However, in my mind, this story takes place several hundred years after the game, during which time the orcs were unified by a powerful warlord who forged a civilized nation that still holds on to its savage roots through tradition and ceremony. I may dust that one off, do some revisions and additions, and try to complete it. The original intention was for it to be an epic novel, maybe leading into a trilogy. But now I see it more as a novella. Perhaps as part of a book-length collection of orc stories. I do have a few more ideas that could fill the pages nicely.

An interesting side note (well, interesting to me); I am finally reading Treasure Island (it was a free download at Amazon, and my iPhone makes a decent eReader). While reading this book, I keep comparing it to Treasure Planet, which is one of my favorite pre-Pixar Disney movies. I may, at some point, do a comparison of the two works, but that’s for another time. Suffice it to say that the whole thing inspired an idea for another RPG. I’m calling it Steam Jammer for now, as I initially saw it as a Steampunk adaptation of TSR’s old Spell Jammer game. I had toyed with the idea of making it an OGL game, but decided instead to plug in the system I used for the Orcs RPG, which is a modification of Alderac’s d10 system, used in the L5R game. I have some ideas about the setting, and will probably flesh it out at my leisure.

And that’s how I write these days. I find that I enjoy writing much more now that I am not so obsessed with getting to the point that I am writing for pay. I enjoy my writing more, and don’t feel obligated to work on anything in particular when I sit down at the keyboard, freeing me up to do whatever strikes my fancy. I have a good day job. No need to rush myself into getting rid of that for the uncertain life of a novelist. Instead, I open Word at work, open whatever project I’m inspired to work on, and leave it open. I Alt+Tab over to it throughout the day, re-reading it, writing a little bit, and just letting it all percolate. It’s a very comfortable way to pass the time, and take a break from work. And a hell of a lot healthier than smoking. Especially in this cold weather.


Greg Christopher said...

Zog tog.

Yooooo duk.

Charles Gramlich said...

Sex and violence. Sounds like a winner!