Impressionistic Fantasy

The following scans from my notebook are evidence of my recent efforts to turn my creative process on its head and, rather than starting with concerns like “how will I approach this aspect of the D&D mechanics” or “how will I explore that notion about the fantasy genre”, starting with “here’s a thing that inspires me, WHY IS IT SO DAMN COOL?”

If you can derive the sense of this from my handwriting you deserve some sort of medal.






What I’ve ended up here is the beginnings of something which may bear a superficial resemblance to an existing roleplaying product. I would take back the ‘but it works’, though. Again, it’s too easy; I’ve spotted a pigeonhole and now my instinct is to put things in it. That’s what this process is intended to prevent; the “ooh it’s just like such-and-such” realisation and the making-concrete of details around that non-revelation instead of by considered thought and accumulation of ideas.

The next stage of development is going to involve putting this crap down on a map and working out enough details to start having adventures. At the moment, beside ‘humans’ who I like to have around as a base-line, I have a living civilisation and a dead civilisation and some part-baked ideas about cosmology. Without closing too much down, I want to express those as usable sketches, places where a story could start to be told, or a game to be played. I’m not sure how I’d go about representing that material in bloggable form as I don’t want to go writing Yet Another Fantasy Encyclopaedia. I have the beginnings of a couple of posts about source materials which might serve as more detailed exempla of the process. We’ll see. It’s a brave new world.

ETA: for me, anyway. As ever I’ve been reminded that Kent was advocating this sort of thing years ago and I really should have listened.

Author: Jon

Sententious, mercurial, and British as a bilious lord. Recovering Goth, lifelong spod. Former teacher and amateur machine politician, now freelance writer and early-career researcher.

One thought on “Impressionistic Fantasy”

  1. Nope, can’t read your handwriting sorry :P

    What you’re saying though, based on the post and what you said last week… I think you’re definitely on to something.

    The way I understand it you’re suggesting, say, thinking about a vampire. And then analysing that the thing you find fascinating about them is that they are simultaneously hideous pariahs and irresistably sexy, and then you’re imagining something else that has those qualities. Sounds like a recipe for actual good original fantasy to me.

You may now commence belching

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