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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Building a Fantasy World
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reileen From: reileen Date: July 10th, 2010 05:14 am (UTC) (Link)

second part

I'd look for a twist, since incubi are among the more popular demons to write. Maybe he enjoys feeding by surfing cyberspace for pr0n, where he can scoop energy without risking more than the occasional crash; or maybe he can turn off desire as well as rousing it.

Hmm, I'd considered the possibility that incubi/succubi require lustful energy, but I hypothesized that Luke himself wouldn't require it because he doesn't have as much daemonic heritage as Kira does. I like the idea of him being able to turn desire off, though.

Then there's good old hybrid virility: most of the time you'll get dilutions, but some fraction of a percent will be stronger than the original. You might save that for a truly terrifying villain.

Another interesting possibility! The crux of this particular story that I'm talking about seems to be primarily character-based at the moment (in a nutshell: Kira and Luke are BFFs. Kira is looking for the person who killed her mother many years ago. Luke is that person. Neither of them know this at the start of the story.), but I've been wanting to incorporate some sort of external plot that would tie into the character-based storyline between Kira and Luke.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 10th, 2010 06:23 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: second part

>> Hmm, I'd considered the possibility that incubi/succubi require lustful energy, but I hypothesized that Luke himself wouldn't require it because he doesn't have as much daemonic heritage as Kira does. I like the idea of him being able to turn desire off, though. <<

Yes, you need to consider how the daemons sustain themselves and their powers. Do they get all their energy from food? It'll run up their metabolism. Do they get it from the environment? They'll be at an advantage in compatible places and screwed in incompatible ones. Do they get it from humans? That can be fun, or fatal, depending on the amount. The more power a person has and can use, the higher the demand on their body system; that energy has to come from somewhere. TANSTAFL. But it does mean that people on the lower end of the power scale can get an edge for very little cost. Look at With a Single Spell or Another Fine Myth to see what a smart hero can do with a very minimal bit of magic.

>>The crux of this particular story that I'm talking about seems to be primarily character-based at the moment (in a nutshell: Kira and Luke are BFFs.<<

Okay, then the most important stuff to define in detail is what affects them personally, or other people who will interact with their storyline.

>>Kira is looking for the person who killed her mother many years ago. Luke is that person. Neither of them know this at the start of the story.),<<

0_o Yee, that's going to take some explaining, if Luke is to remain a sympathetic character.

>>but I've been wanting to incorporate some sort of external plot that would tie into the character-based storyline between Kira and Luke.<<

A good bet would be a sideswipe from a major external plotline involving the daemon races. With a primary relationship story, you don't want that big plot punching through the middle of it. But you can have somebody else's pursuit of that plotline brush uncomfortably alongside theirs, complicating their efforts to resolve their own problems by dragging in outside shit they do not want to have to deal with. This is particularly handy since one is a hybrid and the other not even that -- the people most concerned with this would be the purebred humans and those daemons with very strong powers.

So I'd say look back to the reason for the daemons being here, and what ever happened to the originals. If they were driven out, the drivers may be bothering them here (or people are just worried about that happening). If they left on their own, maybe a new wave has arrived. (You could seriously tackle the immigrant issue there: unwanted interlopers bedraggled from their own challenges, but with pure powers rarely seen here.) Some of the originals might not be permanently dead or lost, but could return. Any of that is beside the point for the protagonists, but the rumbles would shake up their lives as much as you wish.
reileen From: reileen Date: July 10th, 2010 04:22 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: second part

Thank you very much for the genetics links in your other comment, as well as the term "leccubi". I'd never heard it before - where's it from?

A good bet would be a sideswipe from a major external plotline involving the daemon races. [ . . . ]

This is essentially what I have at the moment. The external plot comes heavily from Luke's side of the story, where he's running away from his overbearing, ambitious, overbearing father, who runs/owns a huge pharmaceutical company and is using the funds from it to finance his own projects involving trying to revive the dying daemonic powers of his leccubic line (a project disguised as having some sort of medical purpose). Remember I mentioned that Luke can kill using his powers, if he's got some magickal/techy help? Yeah, his dad forcibly drafted him for that, initially for reasons that didn't seem clear to me (why wouldn't his dad just do it himself?), but in talking about genetics, it seems possible that dear ol' dad might not be able to do what Luke can do, as a result of a fluke of genetics. (Which then brings up the question of why Luke would be told to kill Kira's mother, and how he wouldn't know that it was her mother when he meets Kira years later...)

So I'd say look back to the reason for the daemons being here, and what ever happened to the originals.

Current thinking is that practically all of the originals were either killed or sealed away back to a dimension known as jinxspace, thanks to the efforts of sorcerers who aren't themselves necessarily of daemonic heritage, but can control the miasma for spells of varying purposes. Their strength depends on a number of factors: their daemonic lineage (if they have any - though I think that at this point in Seeran history, practically everyone has some sort of daemonic heritage, though they might not know it, or it wouldn't mean much to them), their training, any help they might have, whether they're in a place that has a particularly high miasmic concentration. I'm not set on this scenario, however.

(I know "miasma" technically refers to poisonous gases, but it's the term I came up with while I was working with this story for NaNoWriMo a few years ago, and I haven't come up with anything better. It refers to the ambient power that runs through Seera Kai. It can be harnessed either for magickal purpses, as just mentioned, or as a power source for technology.)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 10th, 2010 05:58 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: second part

>>Thank you very much for the genetics links in your other comment, as well as the term "leccubi". I'd never heard it before - where's it from?<<

The only hits I'm getting are from Holly Lisle's Sympathy for the Devil and some kind of game. I'm sure I've seen it elsewhere as well, though. Maybe check classical resources?

>>The external plot comes heavily from Luke's side of the story, where he's running away from his overbearing, ambitious, overbearing father, who runs/owns a huge pharmaceutical company and is using the funds from it to finance his own projects involving trying to revive the dying daemonic powers of his leccubic line (a project disguised as having some sort of medical purpose). <<

That makes sense.

>>but in talking about genetics, it seems possible that dear ol' dad might not be able to do what Luke can do, as a result of a fluke of genetics.<<

It's possible that he started out trying to do it himself, and discovered that he didn't have enough oomph, which would really piss him off.

How far back to Daddy Dearest's aspirations go? He could have chosen a mate based on the genetic probability of throwing a colt with the powers he wanted. And he wouldn't have cared if he had to try several times to get what he was after.

>>(Which then brings up the question of why Luke would be told to kill Kira's mother, and how he wouldn't know that it was her mother when he meets Kira years later...)<<

Why: 1) If targeted directly at Kira's mother, she would have to be an obstacle for Luke's father. She might have been an investigator bent on stopping him, or a competitor trying to beat him to the goal, etc. 2) If not targeted directly, then Kira's mother would be just one of many targets, some of whom probably lived and others not. First there's just the general concept of being able to do that, which is a rush for the power-mad like Luke's father. Second there's the power boost to be had from stealing energy from someone else: the more stolen, the bigger and longer the boost, hence one temptation to kill. Another is that, every so occasionally, if you drain someone to death then one of their powers might stick to you permanently or kick something of your own from latent to active. But there are also serious drawbacks, which is why most people don't do this -- things like absorbing part of their personality or their genetic weaknesses.

How: Drugged senseless and/or wrapped in layers of illusion would do the trick, and be contextually plausible.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 10th, 2010 05:58 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: second part


>>Current thinking is that practically all of the originals were either killed or sealed away back to a dimension known as jinxspace, thanks to the efforts of sorcerers who aren't themselves necessarily of daemonic heritage, but can control the miasma for spells of varying purposes.<<

Okay, cool. Why? This is a significant issue, because the modern society seems not to make too big a deal out of the daemonic heritage since it's so widely spread. But if there was a major war or something, people would tend to hate daemonic traits, not accept and/or exploit them. Once again: what serves the story? What connects with the themes?

>>(if they have any - though I think that at this point in Seeran history, practically everyone has some sort of daemonic heritage, though they might not know it, or it wouldn't mean much to them),<<

You'll need to check the math on this, and it's not simple math. There's a point at which everyone living shares the same ancestry, and that can be figured out. First, consider that there are always some holdouts in a human population, no matter what the math says. The easiest way to reach the effect you're describing without starting an argument over the math is to figure the threshold of full dispersion (where everyone living would have some daemonic heritage) and then back up a handful of generations from there, giving you the desired level of "most." Anyhow, this would be a good discussion to have with a friend who is a mathematician; it'll give you a handle on how long the daemons have been in that world mixing with the humans.

>>(I know "miasma" technically refers to poisonous gases, but it's the term I came up with while I was working with this story for NaNoWriMo a few years ago, and I haven't come up with anything better. It refers to the ambient power that runs through Seera Kai. It can be harnessed either for magickal purpses, as just mentioned, or as a power source for technology.)<<

It's acceptable to set an exotic term for mystical energy; I happen to like that one. Crank back the etymology: it's originally from a term meaning "stain" or "pollution" and went through a phase meaning "swamp gas." So it might refer to an earlier time when people thought it was bad, a kind of contamination, before they understood its uses (which is true of oil, actually); pulling on the original "pollution" interpretation. Another possibility is that one very high ambient energy zone could be a marsh or swamp, which is a source of teeming life; pulling on the intermediate "swamp gas" interpretation.
reileen From: reileen Date: July 10th, 2010 04:48 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: second part

Also, duuude, I totally forgot to tell you about the saeraphs! (It's been a while since I've actively worked with this world; I pulled out my current notes out of curiosity and discovered this random stuff I wrote down.)

The saeraphs are much less numerous than the daemonic races, and the saeraphs aren't really...a race, per se, although there are different types. I only have three at the moment: oracles can divulge secrets and divine the future, paladins heal sicknesses and wounds, and archives can remember everything. The catch is that saeraphs typically are heavily handicapped for everyday life, or their powers come at a heavy cost (frex, paladins can't heal without someone else getting sick or even dying; the oracle that Kira visits early on in the current draft of the story can't speak to her without the help of technology, and of course his oracles to her are couched heavily in obscure symbolism and metaphors that Kira doesn't know about). I'm a little leery on this, however, mainly because now I'm concerned about potential ableist implications in how this could be handled.

Initially I was thinking that the saeraphs were the result of divine meddling in Seera Kai, to counteract the daemonic races, but it backfired somehow and now all saeraphs are screwed over, thus producing a world where it's preferable to be daemonic than saeraphic. But returning to your ideas about genetics, it's also entirely probable that what people think are traits from a whole different race are, in fact, the recessive traits from certain daemonic lineages.

Semi-relatedly, I'd also decided on the term chimera (chimaera?) to describe people who possess multiple daemonic heritages, though it'd probably have different levels depending on which one would be more dominant and which powers (if any) can be used.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 10th, 2010 07:19 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: second part

>>The saeraphs are much less numerous than the daemonic races, and the saeraphs aren't really...a race, per se, although there are different types.<<

Okay, this looks interesting. Saeraph works as an umbrella term on par with daemon.

>> I only have three at the moment: oracles can divulge secrets and divine the future, paladins heal sicknesses and wounds, and archives can remember everything. <<

Hrm. You might try hunting around for other terms there; those are more general than the daemonic names, and paladin is especially gaming-flavored. The concept functions are cool, though.

>> The catch is that saeraphs typically are heavily handicapped for everyday life, or their powers come at a heavy cost <<

That could be useful.

>>(frex, paladins can't heal without someone else getting sick or even dying; <<

Why? The most logical reason would be "equal and opposite reaction" -- that is, the paladin is pulling life energy from nearby people to fuel the healing. But that's not how divine magic actually works; you channel it from beyond. Now if the connection is bad -- say, divine energy is incompatible with the local ambient, coming from powerful beings of a different dimension -- then it can be hard to control and may damage the handler. The cost of healing is thus more likely to hit the paladin himself than random bystanders. Though I suppose if the divine energy were spilled it might do more harm than good, if you really want to hit the bystanders.

>>I'm a little leery on this, however, mainly because now I'm concerned about potential ableist implications in how this could be handled.<<

I think that depends on how you approach it. Is the society itself ableist, or does it make accommodations for people with different body needs? Even if the society is ableist, you can subtly show why that's stupid and have characters think about that conflict or go against it. You've got an opportunity here to show that power can have a really unpleasant cost, and that genetics is a cosmic crapshoot. Think carefully about what this could add to your story, or distract from it, before deciding how to play it.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 10th, 2010 07:19 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: second part


>>Initially I was thinking that the saeraphs were the result of divine meddling in Seera Kai, to counteract the daemonic races, but it backfired somehow and now all saeraphs are screwed over, thus producing a world where it's preferable to be daemonic than saeraphic.<<

I rather like this idea.

>>But returning to your ideas about genetics, it's also entirely probable that what people think are traits from a whole different race are, in fact, the recessive traits from certain daemonic lineages.<<

You could do this, but it would undercut the distinctiveness of the saeraphs.

Sidestep and combine the two: Saeraphs are descendents of a different branch of unrelated extradimensional beings. Neither the genetics nor the energy from that branch are as compatible with humans as the daemonic versions are, and forcing the meld is destructive. So the saeraphs can have very different powers, but the cost to them is much higher and they tend not to be very functional or healthy. Do they still feel driven to save the world? Or do they resent their ancestors for trapping them in such a miserable situation? Much tension! Much drama! Furthermore, consider that we were mulling over why the original daemons came here in the first place. If they were trying to get away from the original saeraphs, they might have gone looking for a dimension that felt homey to them ... and proved to be severely awkward for their opponents. Think of it as the daemons having the aetheric high ground: the saeraphs can still get on the field here, but they're always fighting uphill.

>>Semi-relatedly, I'd also decided on the term chimera (chimaera?) to describe people who possess multiple daemonic heritages, though it'd probably have different levels depending on which one would be more dominant and which powers (if any) can be used.<<

That works. I'd say go with "chimaera" to match "daemon" and "saeraph." That boosts the consistency.

A classic chimera combines various animals. In some sources, there are three equal heads all pointing forward: a hybrid whose heritage races manifest equally. In others, the lion head is on front, half a goat extends from the middle of the back, and the snake is the tail: a hybrid with one dominant heritage and two or more others with lesser and perhaps awkward effects.

reileen From: reileen Date: July 12th, 2010 03:56 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: second part

You've given me a lot to think about; I think this is definitely enough to go on for a while. Thanks so much for indulging me!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 12th, 2010 04:01 am (UTC) (Link)

*bow, flourish*

Happy to be of service! If you work through this stuff and move on with writing in this universe, I would like to hear how it plays out.
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