Tag Archives: Warcraft

When Is It Too Late To Add Something New?

Hi everyone!

First I want to apologize for the lack of a blog post last week.  It was a busy weekend, plus my ADHD was extremely bad :(  I sat down to at least write a “Sorry no blog post this week” and just…nothing would come out, I couldn’t focus at all.

Adding New Genre Elements

Anywho, on to today’s blog topic!  When is it too late to add something new to a series?  A new element, a new story line…I guess that’s rather vague, so perhaps I’ll jump right into why I’m asking this question.

My previous blog entry talked about developing the story for book 4 of the Sword of Dragons series (which, by the way, is already shaping up to be more complex than book 3, story-wise!)  Part of the development has involved trying to give more time and attention to the supporting characters.

This led to an element I’ve known for years I wanted to introduce: airships, and an airship captain as a character.  But I didn’t know who to make that character, what that character would be like.  So I started thinking about that.

Image Source – http://wowwiki.wikia.com/wiki/Gnome

Initially I started going down the path of a gnome.  In some fantasy stories, especially Warcraft, that is typical: gnomes are steampunk engineers in the Warcraft universe.  I also wanted this new captain to flirt heavily with one of the female supporting characters already introduced (I’m intentionally not saying whom at this time, spoilers ;) )

But then I thought, no, because of Warcraft, gnome engineers and airship captains has kind of become a staple of fantasy, and I wanted to do something different.

I still don’t know exactly what species, but I’ve also tried to increasingly show women in strong positions, so I decided I’m going to make the airship captain a woman…but then, I still wanted to do the story line involving the flirtation with the supporting character I mentioned.

Image Source – http://legendofthecryptids.wikia.com/wiki/Airship_Captain_Sally

And that’s where I come to the meat of this post.  To avoid spoilers, I won’t say if a relationship ever sparks up between these two characters, but I have not yet explicitly shown or featured homosexuality in my series.

Why?  I could go into a detailed explanation, but it basically boils down to the fact that when I first started developing Sword of Dragons over 15 years ago, it was still a very taboo topic and I didn’t give it much thought.

First and foremost, I know that this would alienate some existing readers who are extremely anti-homosexual.  But it would also attract readers from the LGBTQ+ community.  I don’t want to get into the topic of “is it right or wrong” at this time, that is not the focus of this blog post.

But this does mean that I’ll be introducing a completely new element into the 4th novel of the series.  Actually, 2 elements, one that has been intended for some time, and one not.

This does not mean that the Sword of Dragons series will become a steampunk novel series or a homosexual erotica series.  It will remain, at its core, a fantasy adventure series.  But just like all fantasy adventure or sci-fi, it is a genre that can include elements of many other genres without it being out of place.

Image Source – https://digitalart.io/digital-art/fantasy-art-horror-warriors-wallpaper

Fantasy stories can also be romances (and often are.)  They can be horror.  They can even be buddy-cop type stories (that could be an interesting story to write someday!)  Or murder mysteries.  They can be about individuals or about entire worlds, they can cover small personal struggles, massive interplanetary wars, and everything in between.

If you’ll pardon the pun, that is the magic of fantasy.  It can be just about anything!  It can take the writer and the reader anywhere their imaginations can fathom.

The hard part is making something new and fresh while also keeping it consistent.  So what do you think, dear readers?  Is book 4 too late to introduce these new elements, whether planned or not?

In case you’re thinking back and wondering, both of these elements were previously hinted at in the series.  The steampunk is a combination of magic and technology, IE science and magic together.  That has been hinted at in that I’ve made the physics of the universe, outside of magic, work like reality.  Planets orbiting stars, etc.  And the LGBTQ+?  Well, I’m still wondering how many people have picked up on it, but let’s just say you might take a closer look at the final episodes of The Orc War Campaigns :)

Update on Rise of the Forgotten

I’m about halfway through chapter 27 on editing!  I’ve been focusing more on the edits than the map-making lately, mostly because that has aligned with my schedule and opportunity.  But since I’m almost finished with edits, that means it’ll soon be time to finish the map and get a proof copy of the novel ordered!  I’m hoping by December I’ll have the first proof copy in hand.

I can’t wait to be able to release it for you all to read!  :D

Thanks for reading,
-Jon Wasik

Is it Necromancy or Not?

Hi everyone!

Thanks to a lot of fantasy-based fiction, including books, video games, movies, and TV shows, most everyone has at least some idea of what necromancy is.  The act of raising the deceased, or reanimating them.

Burning-Skies-Digital-FinalRecently, a friend who finished reading Burning Skies came to me disappointed with how necromancy was used in the new novel.  The reason?  Without giving the plot away, she was unhappy by the apparent hypocrisy of how characters regard necromancy and how they regard what the Staff of Aliz does.

Though she remained unconvinced after I explained the difference, it prompted a great conversation between us, and I wanted to cover the topic here, hopefully generating discussion from you, my awesome readers :D

What is Necromancy?

Image Source - vsbattles.wikia.com
Image Source – vsbattles.wikia.com

According to the Oxford Dictionary, necromancy is: “The supposed practice of communicating with the dead, especially in order to predict the future.”

This holds true with my research into necromancy as it is known in the occult.  The legend goes that if necromancy is used on a deceased person, the undead may reveal the future.  Really and truly, that is what people in the ancient world (and perhaps many still do in occult circles) believed.

necro-gameofthronesFantasy has taken a different spin on it.  There are many, many forms of necromancy throughout the varying fantasy universes.  I have not seen many that use it based on the original intent.  Most ‘pop-culture’ fantasy merely makes necromancy a form of raising the dead and making them do their bidding.  World of Warcraft, Buffy/Angel, and even Game of Thrones (though I don’t know if they call it necromancy in the show, and I have not yet read any of the books.)

This is, without doubt, the most common thread I see in fantasy.  There are cases where the resurrected person retains their personality, to at least some extent, but there are others that show it as nothing more than reanimating a body.  No soul, no intelligence, no personality, just a mindless automaton.

Necromancy in Burning Skies

So how does it work in the Sword of Dragons universe?  Don’t worry, there are no spoilers in this post, beyond the existence of necromancers.

A brief history of necromancy that is not covered in Burning Skies: when the Necromancers of Vestuul first came to be, it was when they had discovered a new magic: they could reanimate the dead.

Though no personality or soul returned to the risen, the magic used to raise them connected them to the Universe, indeed the magic was of the very essence of the Universe.  These deceased could be coerced into revealing events to come, predicting the future with startling accuracy.

Image Source - thespectacularspider-girl.tumblr.com
Image Source – thespectacularspider-girl.tumblr.com

But the necromancers lost their way.  Over the centuries, the magic was perverted, and the most powerful necromancers were able to raise and control armies of undead.  With every fallen enemy, the ranks of the undead grew, until nothing could stop the necromancers, and they conquered their world.

How Does The Staff of Aliz Work?

Introduced in The Sword of Dragons, and eventually finding it’s way into the hands of the first Wizard King, the Staff of Aliz controls the very life forces of the Universe.  With a disciplined mind, the wielder can literally dispel the very life within any living thing.  Or give it back…  It can even heal the gravest of wounds.

Image Source - wowwiki.wikia.com
Image Source – wowwiki.wikia.com

But it has limitations.  As the Wizard King explained in The Sword of Dragons, if a person has been dead for too long, the staff will not work.  And in Burning Skies, the staff cannot return the undead back to life.

When a deceased person is brought back to life by the Staff of Aliz, it is truly bringing that person back to life.  Their soul, their intelligence, everything they were returns, and their bodies are healed.

What’s The Difference?

The difference is in the definition: someone brought back to life with the Staff of Aliz is exactly what it sounds like: they are brought back to life.  Necromancy, on the other hand, only reanimates the body.  No soul, no intelligence, nothing of the former person remains except for their body.  Furthermore, their body will continue to decompose.

Think of the difference between someone who has been resuscitated and a zombie (think biological zombies, an infection.  Walking Dead for example.)  While the resuscitated person may have been dead for a very short time, they are still themselves (assuming no brain damage from lack of oxygen.)  Zombies are not themselves.  They have no intelligence.  The only part of their brain that works are base instincts and basic motor skills.

Image Source - wallbase.fr
Image Source – wallbase.fr

Now apply that to magic (if this were a sci fi instead of fantasy, it would be advanced science that simply looks like magic to the less developed.)  The difference between the Staff of Aliz and necromancy is like the difference between a Paladin in World of Warcraft reviving a character and a Death Knight or a necromancer raising a corpse.  Is the Paladin using necromancy?

What Do You Think?

I’ve made my case, now I want to hear from all of you!  What do you think?  Do you think the Staff of Aliz is necromancy?  Or do you think they are completely different schools of magic?  Is it hypocritical for characters to condemn necromancy but be okay with the Staff of Aliz?

Thanks for reading!  :)
-Jon Wasik