The Odd Lands Project is the collective name I gave to the setting I created and the stories I write that takes place within it.
Originally I created the setting with the intent of using it for pen and paper role-playing games, but so far – four years later – that still hasn’t happened. I’ve written a number of short stories and the first draft of a novel taking place in the world though. It’s been great fun.
So what is this setting all about? The “short” explanation is that it’s a contemporary fantasy setting, but what does that even mean?
Most fantasy settings and stories show a world in some kind of medieval stage. Most people are farmers and live in little villages. There are lords and kings, and they live in big fancy castles. Knights wear armor and soldiers fight with swords or clubs. That’s a bit of a simplification, but I’m sure you know what I mean. You’ve read the books, or seen the movies. You get the idea.
Does it have to be like that?
Of course it doesn’t, but it very often is. It’s kind of what you associate with fantasy, right? But what if it wasn’t like that? What if the fantasy world was at the same technological, social, and political level as the real world of today? What would that look like?
That’s the question I’m trying to answer by creating this setting. I’m taking a bunch of the most common concepts of the fantasy genre – elves, magic, dragons, gods, monster, etc – and I’m putting it into a world similar to our own real world. It’s a different world though. I’m not well enough read up on the history of the real world to try and figure out how it would be affected by the existence of non-human races or magic. As such, I’ve created my own world instead, so I can make up my own history and my own political situations and conflicts.
To help with the project I set up a wiki where I’ve put up most of what I’ve written about. You’ll find the wiki here. It’s been a while since any new articles about the world was added, but the information in the articles that are there are accurate. Over the last two years I’ve been working on my novel and the world building has had to take a step back.
Still, I intend to keep going with it – especially as my next novel is going to need certain aspects of the world fleshed out in more detail. Among other things I want to get a better grip on the overall political situation of the world. I want to figure out who the major players are, what they want, and how they relate to each other. Knowing this should help me put my stories into a context. Big events can play out in the background over the course of several otherwise unrelated stories. I believe this may add an additional level of depth to my work. We’ll see how it turns out.
But what does the world look like? What’s in there, and what isn’t?
There is a summary page available on the wiki, but I’ll try and give a brief overview here too.
So, to start with, imagine a world that’s like the real world on earth today, except it’s on a different planet with a different geography – and without cars (I’ll get to that later). Now, imagine that there aren’t just humans in the world. Add in elves. Add in dwarves. Add in short chubby people with hairy legs and feet (anfylk). Those are the species you can encounter as you walk down the street in most major cities. Humans are the most dominant race and elves the least populous.
There is also magic. Magic comes from the aether, which is present everywhere. In order to wield magic, the aether needs to be woven, but before it can be woven it needs to be channeled from raw aether into a weaveable stream.
Weaving the ather is an ability available only to a few people – roughly one in fifty among humans. The same goes for channeling – only one in fifty is able to do that. As a consequence of this, most magic is done by a weaver and a channeler working as a pair. It’s possible for humans to be able to both weave and channel, making them able to work magic on their own.
There are also strange creatures, monsters, spirits, vampires, werewolves, gods, and shamanism. Oh, and dragons, of course there are dragons. It’s all a bit too much to fit in here though, so a summary will have to do for now.
If you’re curious and want to know more, don’t hesitate to leave a comment and ask.