Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Why a Believable Timeline with Magic

One of the outremer playtesters noted that it seemed strange and perhaps almost futile that I would go to all this trouble constructing a plausible timeline for Outremer, then have magic, with no trace of its effects in the timeline. An excellent point. My reply was that the central conceit of the Blood Games Line - which Outremer and OHMAS are part of - is that magic has always been here, an accepted part of life until the Age of Reason suppressed it and our collective memories of it. The magic is there in our records of the time, but we have rationalized our way into believing it is natural causes.

For example, in the First Crusade, at the siege of Antioch, the Crusader army was trapped in Antioch with no food, and a huge Turkish army all around. In our records, a soldier dreamed that the spear of Longinus, the one that wounded Christ on the cross, was buried in the city. He searched around, found a place that matched the dream, and dug, finding an ancient rusted spearhead. With this sign, the crusaders felt they were unbeatable, and they were - crushing the Turks, and opening up the conquest of Outremer. It's all there in the record. Yet when we look back on it, we see a crass attempt to manipulate superstition by foisting off some corroded junk as something historically and spiritually vital, not the will of God made manifest. The magic was always there, we just can no longer see it. In Blood Games, skepticism dilutes and destroys magic, and skeptics are sinkholes of nullity. There are just too few of them in Outremer to matter.

So it's important to make a believable timeline, with magic working as it has always worked, behind the scenes, underpinning everything.


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