Short: Military Cloning Initiative (Part 8)

The following is an excerpt from classified document:

NMSC-1-7f-7d “MTALRES-188-34-11-C LOG”

RE: About the Executive meeting

Hello Althea,

I just got word back from MILRES and they are asking us to see if Durnist can put together a proposal for them to examine before they give a yay or nay on the idea.

I gave them my recommend that I think it steps outside of MTALRES guidelines but since those are not all set in stone, I can’t make an executive call myself. TCOCO might even have to make the call ultimately.

I think that hybridization is a good pet theory and I saw the Sinter paper from the conference that Durnist is referencing. If it werent for that paper I don’t even think MILRES would have entertained the idea at all.

I was informed that INTEL got some INCIDAT (Indicental Data Recovery) which would allow a trial. It came through _________ a while back but _________ is the only department that I think had any real reason to look at it.

Durnist was always interested so I guess it is not surprising to hear this proposal coming out after the INCIDAT (Sorry to use INTEL terms, I will try to be more specific with them for the team)


Dr. Marth Fendi
MTALRES-188-34-11-C Ethics Head:

The War: A Conflict Focused World Build

The prior entry in the world building series focused on a Character centered world build, involving the character Phlyn and his creation. We walked through the process of using a character as the nexus from which we began to build our world.

Today, we are going to try the second world building technique outlined in the introductory world building article; Conflict Centered World Building.

As I mentioned in the introduction, a Conflict centered world build focuses not on a specific character, but on a desired conflict.

Because of this, Conflict centered building is a good choice for those who have a desired plot in mind, but perhaps do not have any strong character designs chosen as of yet.

While I feel this world building approach works great for any medium, I feel that writers for a game world or other interactive medium in particular, can benefit greatly from employing this approach, since they often let a player decide some important aspect about the protagonists.

If you can’t remember the breakdown on the different types of builds or why I think they work best for a particular type of situation, go ahead and visit the introductory article here.

Let’s get to work.

The War

To make a conflict centered build work, the conflict generally needs to be pretty large in scale. A small scale conflict like an interpersonal argument is one I would consider small enough that it does not quite shape the world in the way a large one would, but that is not a hard rule.

For example, what if two world creating gods got in an argument?

Regardless, I think a setting that can be applicable to many stories and mediums would be a war conflict. A war is something which satisfies some of our desires for making a good world build; It is large in scale. It affects a large population in the world. It is a fertile ground for conflict.

It is important to note that through creativity and thinking, one can expand the results of a simple interpersonal argument or what seems to be a minor dispute. Indeed the catalyst for many history changing events on earth have been arguments or bouts of interpersonal jealousy. However, when starting, start big.

When going forward with world building, a conflict centered build should start with the largest, most broadly impactful conflict.

When going forward with world building, a conflict centered build should start with the largest, most broadly impactful conflict. This means that a war, some kind of political turmoil, perhaps some sort of cultural conflict, are better places to start building, even if you have a simpler motivation in mind for having started the conflict.

With that said, I think a war is a simple concept to start with, and it involves lots of options for things we like to see heroes do, things like, be heroic, or lose and have to grow. It also gives a chance to clearly define some antagonists.

While not every story should rely on open warfare to world build, it is one of the larger conflicts that can shape the world in which we, or in this case, characters of our creation may live.

Since I have established a war as my conflict for the article, I would like to give a bit of context to the war I envision for this one. Our last article was more of a steampunk style world.

For the sake of variety and reaching varied creative talent and plot goals though, I am going to say that the conflict we explore today will be a mid 1900s style conflict with a technology level of the involved factions similar to Earth in the early-mid 1940s.

The Motivation

Now that we have established our conflict type, we can really start to build.

First and foremost with a conflict centered build is deciding who the players in that conflict are. Then, once that is done, one needs to assign motivations to the involved factions.

Both of these steps are critical to a conflict centered world build as they produce the kinds of questions and answers we need to make this conflict feel like it is rooted in the world in which it is taking place. Remember the introduction article; questions are key to making a world build work.

For factions, I think they will be national coalitions because that makes for a good “world war” style conflict.

For names, I will call one the Northern Alliance, and the other will be called the Trans Tyratic Pact, perhaps named after an oceanic region around or in which the nations that make up the pact are located.

As an aside:

Remember as with any world building, improvising and making up some things on the spot are required. You can always refine your build later.

In this case, if you did not like the initial names, nothing is stopping you from making up new ones afterward.

Now that we have decided on the two major factions involved, we can assign some motivations to both. Since I feel like these national coalitions will have multiple member states, we could dive into the individual members and their motivations, but lets hold that thought for now and stay at a high level.

Let’s use some improvisation and creativity here. Think about some reason for which nations or coalitions go to war, think about what they would want to gain, what they have to lose. When I did that, I came up with this:

The Northern Alliance is moving to claim an island chain on the edge of the Tyratic Sea because there is a valuable new fuel source, more powerful than existing combustive fuels like coal or gas.

It was discovered only on the island chain and exists nowhere else. It provides abundant energy, is portable and is reasonably safe to transport. In short, it is a miracle fuel. I will call the fuel Miraculum, aptly named after its properties.

The Trans Tyratic Pact was formed quickly after the discovery of the resource, a coalition aiming to protect it from being taken by other powers. Conflict ignited when the Northern Alliance Navy mounted its first offensive against the Pact’s fleet in the Tyratic sea. In order to claim the largest known deposit.

Expanding the conflict

We have our major factions in the conflict and the reasons they began fighting. Now we have some fertile ground from which we can launch the next phase of our build.

Like our Character centered build, we now have to start asking some questions and implying world details with what we already have chosen. Firstly, let’s decide on what the major tools of this conflict are, since it is a war.

We already went through technology very lightly by deciding a sort of “equivalent era” to earth history so lets understand what that means. I won’t go into detail here, but suffice it to say that world war two added a number of things to armed conflict.

Tank combat doctrines, the proliferation of semi automatic and automatic infantry weapons, aircraft utilization in more serious roles, (truly useful) submarines & (effective) torpedoes, aircraft carriers and fast warships and of course, even nuclear arms, are all things that came out of world war two on earth. That is not everything of course, but it helps us understand the players a bit better.

Unlike earth in world war two however, we have a special fuel source that works better than gasoline. As a result, I am going to enhance our build by saying that vehicles powered by the special fuel have better range and speed, essentially needing less logistical support.

It also allows some more ridiculous designs to take hold since fuel isn’t such a problem anymore. Therefore, large tanks, warships which are a little unrealistic in size or even submarines which can stay underwater for quite a lot longer than submarines of the same era on earth, are all in play. Depending on how fantastical or exotic one wants to be, massive airships might be possible, or perhaps even mechanical combat suits.

Of course, these special tools are all contingent on the all important resource.

‘Plot Hunting’

Now that we have fleshed out the style and setting of our conflict, When we are doing a world build, we want to home in on potential places to start a storyline of some kind.

Let’s explore the process of doing so here in context of a conflict centered build and see how, by hunting for plot opportunities, we can enhance our build, even if we do not take a story in that particular place or time.

The best stories really center around people, there is no getting around that. As a result, we are going to want to find ways to zoom in from the macro level, to the individual, amidst our conflict.

In a war, there are so many dramatic things that may happen. Some are particular battles or politics. Some are back home, with the family of someone who is currently away fighting. Maybe an attack by one side or the other brings collateral damage onto a local population.

As you can see, by thinking about what the conflict causes to occur in the world, we start tracing a path toward how it affects the people who live in it. This is the true core of a conflict centered build; How does this conflict affect the people in this world and how do they react?

How does this conflict affect the people in this world and how do they react?

Remember though, at this stage, we don’t want to dive right into selecting characters and a plot, we want to explore and expand first. The point of conflict centered building is not to dive down immediately to a hero or a villain, but instead, shape a conflict in which those roles naturally appear. I call this process ‘Plot Hunting’

As we saw earlier, we have a number of hunting opportunities. One of course is the outset of the war, how it started. That initial battle is a key point where some stories begin, so lets expand on that a bit and see where it takes us.

The Spark

Let’s use one of our plot hunts, expound on it to get questions and answers. The war started when the Northern Alliance attacked with its navy. What did they attack? How did it go? Time for more improvising.

The island chain which holds the Miraculum is unaffiliated with either faction, or was, at least at first. The attack from the Northern Alliance was focused on the Tyratic Fleet that had taken up harbor on the capitol of this independent island nation.

Unfortunately, due to the way the Tyratic Army had deployed itself around the port, the Alliance warships opened fire on the surrounding area, destroying part of the town. This left some of the locals dead and some wounded or homeless.

It also galvanized some of the locals in support of the Tyratic cause. Ultimately though, the Tyratic Fleet there was penned in and while the Northern Alliance could not take the harbor and immediate area, they were able to reduce the enemy forces enough to land their own armies on the island.

With support from land based artillery and airfields, Alliance forces were able to push beyond the Tyratic held harbor and began driving up the islands anyway.

A particularly deft Alliance commander laid a trap for the remaining Tyratic Fleet in the harbor, luring them to try and escape, but, with the help of his army assets and naval might, destroyed them as they fled.

This little story snippet tells us something about the world. Firstly, that there are some non aligned civilians in this world, in fact, that the entire conflict might be fought in a country neither side has any actual claim to. Remember, this was not an intended outcome, it just arose naturally from the improvisation.

Secondly, it conjures in my eyes the sorts of mentalities that both sides might have. While one might say the Tyratic are the good guys, they occupied this city first.

Some might blame them for the Alliance attack at all, since if they had not been there, the bombing or bombardments may never have occurred.

Asking the hard questions

Now that we have more to work with, we expand again, with questions.

One of my first questions is how were the lives of the people in the city attacked by the Alliance, occupied by the Tyratic forces, affected by the fighting?

Food and shelter are in much shorter supply, as is medical care. Given that the Tyratic forces left and it would take time for Alliance forces to capture the city, there was likely a period of lawlessness and conflict within the local population as well.

A second question follows: What was life like before then? How did it change?

To me this helps immensely in fleshing out the world. I wanted to answer this question because this city feels like a flash point for the entire conflict. Here is what I decided in answering the question:

The people here likely had a relatively strong economy before, given their proximity to the special newly discovered fuel. I would imagine it was a time of growth and prosperity for them.

Things like cars and larger homes were probably getting more common. For some reason, a tropical Hawaiian style island comes to mind for that setting as well, and makes me feel like the island chain in which the conflict takes place is probably a pretty big archipelago.

Now lets take a step back and examine what we have.

As you can see, we have yet to select a protagonist but by plot hunting, we can discern some details about the world anyway. This is almost the polar opposite of how our Character Centered approach worked.

When asking and answering questions in your conflict centered build, or Plot Hunting, it is important to remember why you are doing it. The goal is to give you insight into how a particular “sub story” affects the people in conflict, which in turn shapes the conflict, and thus, the world itself.

Setting a timeline

With a conflict centered build it is important to understand a timeline of events. More so than starting based on a character, the conflict centered build really relies on events shaping each other. One of the important timelining steps should be the decision of “How far along is the conflict when we swoop into it?”

Unlike a character centered build, a conflict centered build is one in which I feel that the characters and story, once chosen, should have an effect on the eventual outcome of the conflict.

It is possible to set a story in the aftermath of a war for example, but I think that falls more into the line of “world centric” building rather than conflict centered building. When you want to go with a conflict centered build, your conflict should also be the focal point of a story too.

In a conflict centered world build, your plot should allow for you to shape the outcome of the conflict around which it centers.

If the conflict is a historic event or something of that nature, I would say you are actually doing a “world centric” build instead. I will talk more about world centric builds in the next article of the series, but for now, understand that in a conflict centered world build, your plot should allow for you to shape the outcome of the conflict around which it centers.

Because I want a potential plot in this world to shape the final outcome, I am going to say that “I swoop in” and start the story when the conflict is at its peak, eventually allowing my characters to finalize the eventual outcome, or “seal the deal” as it were.

Filling out the detail

Much like character centered builds, we want to keep asking questions, but keep asking them about events and ‘plot hunts’ that you do.

Focus your questions and answers on how each series of events shapes the world and its people. You want your questions to ensure that you have a strong grasp of the conflict’s place in the world. You want your questions to highlight the effects of the conflict on people, places and culture.

Only once you start feeling reasonably confident in that knowledge, can you start exploring the events you have thought about and searching for characters and plot.

In a conflict centered build, the characters you pick up from world events are natural parts of the story already.

In a conflict centered build, the characters you pick up from world events are natural parts of the story already. They make sense from the get go because they have already been “involved” in something, or at least, will be involved in it. This makes selecting characters less prone to being at odds with the world they are living in. (Something I discussed in more depth in the article about Character Centered Builds)

Of course, once you select a character, you still need to follow through and make that character interesting. A conflict centered build does not grant your character some automatic pass on actual development, but it certainly helps to provide a foundation.

By using conflict centered building, you can create a world that naturally encourages exploration and importantly, allows the protagonist to shape the world and the conflict.

This makes conflict centered builds a wonderful choice for interactive mediums where a prototype character might be waiting for a player or reader to insert themselves. It also works great with a traditional author driven narrative and caste as well.

Conflict Centered builds are a great way to provide a believable, relate-able setting, with an in built plot and ready to act character casts, as a result, they should be on every world builder’s radar when considering a new creation.

Stay Tuned

I mentioned character building at the end of this article. Since world building techniques like Conflict Centered World Building and World Centric building (upcoming soon!) do not have pre-made characters on which to work, it is important to understand how to choose, flesh out and enhance character ideas within these frameworks in particular.

If you are curious about character building and development, Have no fear, I will soon be doing a Character Development Series as well.

For the next article in the world building series however, we will explore “World Centric” building and I will show you how I feel it works, and how the techniques we have already learned in both this, and the character based building article are important to understand if one wants to set out on such a grandiose adventure.

Short: Military Cloning Initiative (Part 7)

The following is an excerpt from classified document:

NMSC-1-7f-7d “MTALRES-188-34-11-C LOG”

RE: New Classification Approved

Hi Stael,

I’m really excited about the success Team 2 has had!

I have put a classification request and we are going to call it _________ officially. Around the shop we will probably just call it _________ though since the official designation is sort of long. Anything we file about it will probably be going under that banner for now.

I read your proposal and I honestly have to say I think we need to have a meeting in person about it, possibly an executive committee meeting. We will definitely need Dr. Fendi’s input on it to do anything.

I am surprised that INTEL even told us about the acquisition to be frank. It’s not my area of expertise though. I am nervous about hybridization at face value no matter our motivations, especially since Junia has been getting really good simulation results from the new optimized pallette.

Regardless, we will have the meeting at 1400 ST so that we can all be there.


Cpt. Althea Chalser
MTALRES-188-34-11-C Head

Short: Military Cloning Initiative (Part 6)

The following is an excerpt from classified document:

NMSC-1-7f-7d “MTALRES-188-34-11-C LOG”

RE: New network spew

Hey Althea,

The new network thinks the old idealized profile is 5% less optimized than the one it just came up with but I am not sure I agree with all of the predictions. I had to hand optimize _________ the first time with Dr. Moran and we already saw the previous network do the same thing as the new one.

Just to be sure I did some of the differentials by hand (again). I  still think the base pair at _________ is better suited with an _________ than the _________ that the network seems to love spitting out on this.

I know _________ is more common in the wild but I also think that the population prevalence of _________individuals skewed the study. (Reasoning is in this paper from two years back @ SRC-17G-2245)

As far as we talked about at last week’s meeting, I am still nervous about the idea. There is no guarantee any of that would work, and that’s ignoring the ethics of it. I trust the intention there from Durnist. but I think that might step out of the MTALRES Code of Conduct just slightly.

What Durnist is talking about essentially amounts to the proposal that the Civil Council rejected already the last time that topic came up back in the governing meetings. I trust that he is acting in good faith proposing it, but even so, I think we need to take a serious look at where we let our creativity go in this.

Ironically, it sounds like some half baked scheme from Sinter’s earlier work and MILRES already made sure she was not on this team. It would be kind of silly to import the worst ideas from someone who is not on our staff in my opinion.

Regardless, I think Team 2 has something they want to show you here in the lab. If you can get down here soon that would be great.


Dr. Junia Lent
MTALRES-188-34-11-C Cochair

The Champion: A character focused world build

In the last world building article I covered my three main types of world builds, Character Centered, Conflict Centered and World Centric. Each was similar in some ways but differed in what its nexus or seed was. Much as a plant grows from a seed in the wild, a world build also has a seed.

Today’s seed is a character or a cast of characters. To illustrate how to do a Character Centered build, I will quickly present a cast. This cast may not be fully realized, but the more understanding of this cast we have the better. It is important to note though, that being too rigid with a cast when building around them can have unintended negative consequences. If you are not familiar with “its what my guy would do” syndrome, simply put, it is when someone has a character who they refuse to compromise on at all. They refuse to change the character’s behavior or actions in any way even if the situation changes and makes the prior idea they may have had about what the character might to, seem out of place. You cannot do a character focused build while suffering from “its what my guy would do” syndrome.

If you have not read the first article in this series, I highly recommend checking it out here. Not only is it a good read, but it covers a lot of things we will reference later in the series.

Our Champion

So, on with the character focused building.

I want to create a new world. I have a character I have prepared ahead of the publishing of this article that I will reference here.

Remember, a character focused build needs a reasonably well understood concept. I had to make a character for this article to work. If you do not have a character idea yet, you can keep reading along with us anyway as the prototypes will guide you through the process this time.

My character for this world build is one I may re-use for later articles, as is the world. In-fact I may do a more in depth fleshing out of this character for use in other article series for example. For now I will give my description of our new hero.

Meet Phlyn and Poff

Everyone seems to like an underdog, and I am no exception, so I proudly present to you Phlyn.

Phlyn is an elf with a leg deformity that makes it so he has to walk with a crutch or cane. He makes up for his disability by being very smart. His bad genes did not stop with a bum leg, he has severe far-sightedness and has to wear some heavy glasses to compensate. He uses his intellect to tinker and make machines, but people around him dont really understand his genius and sometimes they think he is nuts. He is sometimes shy but has a good heart when he exposes it. Phlyn is an analytical person who enjoys spending time reading and tinkering more than with other people. He wears cloth shirts and slacks, usually with a vest on in the sort of 1800s businessman style.

Phlyn’s best friend is a small robotic companion he created years ago when he put a strange stone that he found at a street market into one of his mechanical contraptions. For some reason, that stone caused what was planned to be a mechanized replacement for carrier pigeons into an object with which Phlyn was able to communicate somehow. No one else can hear the thing, and it does not speak words but rather in impressions and emotions. Phlyn named the machine “Poff” after the sound it makes when it starts up. Poff seems to be more mischievous than Phlyn but appears loyal to him. Sometimes Phlyn wonders if Poff is really alive or cursed.

The simple character design above is one that I came up with reasonably fast. Someday we will take a look at some character design techniques and how I do that too.

The outset

Now that you have met Phlyn and Poff I want to introduce you to the process of really starting a character centered build.Remember, this build style builds the world by focusing directly on a cast.

You have read a bit about both of my main cast so far, but to you, there may be some vital information left out of the description. Think of things that the description left unanswered by re-reading it. For me the first question that came up was the following

What sort of genre is this taking place in?

My answer to that comes as a result of my character design. I imagined Phlyn wearing a vest of some kind, with thick Steampunk style glasses. Poff was more of a golden orb hanging from a counter rotating set of helicopter blades and a giant “eye” style lens on one end with a grabber claw on the bottom. Phlyn is not unkempt but has shabby hair because he does not find hair a very interesting topic.

I am essentially just starting out with the visual image I have of Phlyn and his companion.

Because of this my first question is already answered. I know because of character design that the world I am creating is going to be exploring this sort of steam tech and has magic in it. Poff was brought to life by a magic stone after all.

Thanks to my character design, I know that one of my worlds foundations is this sort of steam punk, magitek world. Using my character, I described my world.

This is the style of thinking that Character Centered builds thrive on; using aspects of your character design to provide answers to your questions wherever possible.

Getting a basic setting

For my next couple of design choices, I will use clues all of which are sourced from the character. At first you want all of your questions to have answers directly from the design of your cast, this makes sure they fit and ensures you do not get too off topic while starting.

Because of design, I know Phlyn is:

  • Living with a deformity that limits his mobility
  • Tries to learn a lot and will need access to some specialized kinds of workers in order to tinker. (After all, Phlyn is not a farmer, he is not a smith or a miner.)
  • He is no outdoorsman and he is not a survivalist, he has a bum leg after all.

Therefore I am going to say that Phlyn lives in a city, a reasonably large one where we could expect to find trade, import and export of goods, but perhaps most important for someone like Phlyn, specialization. Since Phlyn cannot do all of the things to live on his own, he relies on others, and there are plenty of others in a large city. It also gives him a place where he has a chance to showcase or sell his wares or talents for tinkering without having to go too far from home to do it.

Because of Phlyn’s design, we know that at least part of our world is built around the idea of having a reasonably large city. Because I am going with a Magitek / steampunk design on my characters, I think I want to couple it with a Victorian Europe style of architecture and scenery in the city. My mental image of the character and resulting environs makes this fit well I think.

Since I know Phlyn to be a bit obsessive, I am going to say he spends a lot of his time tinkering, even free time. He probably works only to get money enough to live, or maybe lives off of his inventions but does not hold down a normal job, that’s just is not his style. As a result of his young age and his obsessive personality, he is not someone I envision having a large residence. He probably rents a room from a larger building in the city, filled with books and tinkering supplies.

Notice how as we build around Phlyn we are following him as a character. We design a world into which he is fitting. By doing character focused builds, we steadily expand that circle and there comes a point when we have built this sort of small foundation. To summarize thus far about our world:

Our world so far is the one in which Phlyn and Poff live. There is a large Victorian era city there and steam punk / magitek is a part of daily life in this world, it’s what Phlyn does at least. The city is going to generate trade and the surrounding countryside probably interacts with a city like that, supplying it with food and crops. There are probably miners and smiths in the city, Phlyn needs their help after all sometimes to make the metal parts of his machines.

Questioning Reality

We have this basic premise, but here is where we begin a process that is more or less similar through all types of builds. The difference though is of course that we are asking questions about our cast, about how they interact, work, live and breath in this world. Questions lead to answers which, can imply details of our world or set up more questions that we need to answer.

When I was considering Phlyn as a character, I sort-of had to think:

Is he the only person who messes with machines like this in the world?

My answer is:

No, he is not the only one

By asking the question, we now know that the world has at least a few people who tinker. Whenever we have this sort of group, we can imagine there are some more and less talented people involved in the job or hobby. Some probably do it for money, some may do it for the love of messing around. Some might do it at the point of a sword. All we know for now, is that there are a number of them. Lets keep the questions flowing, following and focusing on Phlyn some more.

How did Phlyn learn to do this?

Notice how some questions you ask yourself about your build may have instant answers while some require thought. For me this was an instant answer. Some of these are as much answers about the character itself, as they are about the world. This is important to remember. Here is the answer that came to mind for Phlyn’s case

Phlyn learned to tinker because he could not go out and get into mischief when he was a kid thanks to his bum leg. While he was in school with some of the other kids, he read books instead of playing at times. He liked the pictures in the books he read but eventually started learning about what they were. The school had only a few of these books so he became very well acquainted with them.

This answers some key questions for us, one, we now know more about Phlyn, but also, we can gather some details from this answer.

Firstly, we know that there is schooling in the world, our answer implies it. We also know Phlyn went to school with some of the other people that would inhabit this world. We also know that when Phlyn was a kid, there were some books about these subjects already written, but that there were only a few available in the school. We can utilize this detail.

Next, lets capitalize on school. We can say that Phlyn’s city has a few schools to which most of the normal people go when they are children.

Now lets exploit the detail about few books. I am going to decide that there were few books for learning from on the subject because its a relatively new science in the world. This sort of tinkering is “taking the world by storm” right now, and was really new when Phlyn was younger, that’s why the books he read from were so few and far between.

Now, if we updated our summary of the world it has expanded. Lets improvise a bit as we describe the world once more. I am going to add a “Tinker’s Guild” to the build because I sort-of like the idea personally. Maybe it would look more like this:

Our world so far is the one in which Phlyn and Poff live. There is a large Victorian era city there and steam punk / magitek is a part of daily life in this world, it’s what Phlyn does at least. The city is going to generate trade and the surrounding countryside probably interacts with a city like that, supplying it with food and crops. There are probably miners and smiths in the city, Phlyn needs their help after all sometimes to make the metal parts of his machines.

The city has a number of tinkerers in it and therefore, a variety of inventions. Some of them do it for fame and fortune, some for money and some for fun. As a result Phlyn’s city has a huge variety of the type of machines and inventions being used. There is enough interest in this kind of technology that someone like Phlyn can learn about it, but it is still not something everyone studies.

Because of how new the science is and how people are all trying to learn about it, there is at least one organization of “tinkers” that helps act as a sort of social circle for those who engage in the practice. Due to the disparity in talent of the tinkerers, some of the best are well off, employed by he city guard or rich people in the city to design security or guard systems.

There are some schools in the city for average people like Phlyn to get some basic learning done as children, but most of them don’t come out as “smart” as he did

Recursive question and Answer

Now that we have seen this process again, we recurse and do it over and over, our circle of questions grows as our circle of answers describes more.Every time we ask a question, we touch on a new answer. When we create that answer, we provide hooks for many new questions. This is how I view all world building at its core, a process of an expanding “circle of questions”

For example, based on the updated description, I caught myself asking the following among other questions:

  • What is the city’s name?

  • What is the tinker’s organization called?

  • Does Phlyn know any of the other inventors?

  • Is this city a hub of knowledge for this science?

  • What sort of government exists here?

  • What sort of inventions have other people or Phlyn come up with and why?

Remember, these are all questions that affect our main cast. These questions affect Phlyn’s character and daily life. While it might be tempting to think about dragons or something else, unless it ties to our cast, we should avoid asking about it. Focus on things that affect the characters and you will find that, if you are practiced enough you can ask that dragon question after all, and have it still tied to your cast. It does take practice and patience however.

I am not going to go through answering each of the abovequestions in this article, but suffice it to say that you can see the details are starting to expand, growing beyond just Phlyn himself, but always centered on what affects his life and his actions. While the circle of questions around Phlyn has expanded, they are all centered on the way it impacts him.

Don’t forget, I did not even start asking all about Poff yet, there are whole sections of a world that could be built due to Poff existing at all, but we won’t go through them all here. The important part is to be creative.

Round holes and round pegs

We already discussed how sometimes, building our world, also builds our character.

As I started thinking even more about Phlyn and his world, there were times when I had to decide if I wanted to have the world be a certain way, or whether I needed to adjust him to fit the world or plot I began to craft.

As the world took shape around my cast, I always had to re-evaluate where they stood within it. At times I felt the need to expand Phlyn’s character, perhaps to make room for a potential storytelling opportunity.

Perhaps to move a plot forward in a way that made sense, I had to give Phlyn a character flaw, like making him more selfish than I anticipated at first. I could use this as a growth opportunity if I wanted him to not be so selfish but can still use this failing at first, it satisfied both my needs. This is one reason it is important to approach your characters with an open mind, especially when using them to build a world.

It is always possible that your world will shape your character in unforeseen ways. This is natural and you should understand and embrace it. When your world and character conflict, try to find a way to be true to your character vision, while also bringing your character into the world.

As your world gets more fleshed out, it gets easier to see where these conflicts are and the ideas for resolving them pop up more readily. The important thing to remember though is that if your character feels out of place in the world, it will be noticed by those who experience your story.

You can suffer from it or exploit it, but most of the time, especially when inexperienced in storytelling, your better bet is to soften those conflicts enough that they do not destroy the suspension of disbelief.

Overall, Character centered building comes back to your cast. Always involve them in each step of the process, ask if they relate to a question you have about the world. By doing so you will start on your way to strong, Character Centered world builds in no time, with your favorite original characters.

Moving Forward

In the first world building basics article, we talked about the three methods

We have managed to take a slice at Character Centered world building today, but there are more techniques for world building that we can explore.

The next article in the world building basics series will cover the practice of Conflict Centered world building. In it, we will create a conflict and then, use that conflict as a base to branch out. When we do so, we will be able to see how the types of builds we have thus far explore, differ in their approach but have similiar goals. Stay tuned for the next article, and dont forget to check out the Codex for more applied world building goodness!

Short: Military Cloning Initiative (Part 5)

The following is an excerpt from classified document:

NMSC-1-7f-7d “MTALRES-188-34-11-C LOG”

RE: Welcome to MTALRES-188-34-11-C Team
To: MTALRES-188-34-11-C.Staff

Hi Staff,

Welcome to _________

I’m honored to be the project head for this initiative and I hope to get to know each of you more as we work together on this. We are following MILRES guidelines on this and specifically, the MTALRES Code of Ethics. You can check those on STAFFNET if you need access to those resources.

Remember that comms and deliveries for SC-DELTA facilities are scheduled and batched. No exceptions will be made to that policy for any reason except emergency security concerns for the station. I know that sounds like ominous boiler plate but CoC was pretty clear on the fact that it be re-iterated in this message. SC-DELTA compliance can be accessed on STAFFNET but Junia put together a less complicated plain words version for those of you without legal degrees too.

We have a mixed staff of Career and Civil, but since this is a MILRES facility we are going to be operating under Section IV of MILRES conduct rules. That means our research aspect is under a civilian structure. I will be the project head though and the co-chair of the research committee will be Dr. Junia Lent, representing the Civil side.

For your information I have included a simple list of executive roles here.

Our First briefing is 0300 ST in two days to give everyone some time to adjust to the schedule here.

Thank you for your cooperation and hard work. I look forward to our work on behalf of our nation, and of course, the people we are serving here together.


Cpt. Althea Chalser
MTALRES-188-34-11-C Head

Short: Military Cloning Initiative (Part 4)

The following is an excerpt from classified document:

NMSC-1-6b-7a “Military Cloning Initiative”

RE: MTAL Cloning Initiative

Hi All,

MTALRES-188-34-11-C is a go. I got the approval this morning from MILRES, personally signed by TCOCO _________.

Take a look at the outline on the shared net and start taking a look at MTALRES eligible personnel you might want for this. Security Clearance for the project is SC-DELTA so it will require some of the candidates to be up-screened.  MILRES will fast track any up-screen checks for us.

Also note that Dr. Sinter, while integral to the work thus far, was NO-OP’d by MILRES so we will not be engaging with their team on this in any way. We have a copy of all the lab records, research logs etc though so I doubt you will have trouble recreating the verification steps of their research.

I want you all to pay particular attention to section II of the outline as it contains the 16A-BL4 alternative proposal that was derived by MILRES shortly after SRC-16A-2243 was published.  We will be using that theory as baseline and starting with the nano first to prove viability. Captain Durnist will be taking charge on that portion (I think that is in the outline as well).

Officially, we are on the go, but lets make sure we keep things by the book anyway. Remember that transportation to and from _________ is restricted to once monthly as per SC-DELTA Compliance. As a result, please get your shopping lists together in advance.


Captain A. Chalser