One aspect of world-building that I’ve mentioned before is the creation of in-world mythology, or creating the world as mythology. It brings another level of realism when you observe characters and their thoughts on how they came to be, their relationship to their culture, their culture’s place in the world you’re building. Not that this mythology will always make it overtly into the story, but I do believe that having this set in mind when writing helps you, the creator, flesh out the world.
When conceptualizing the different “racial” groups in the world of Genos, the elves and the humans, I actually did not want to use the word “elf.” I was thinking of just calling them the Guardians. To distinguish them from humans, due to the limits of RPG Maker sprite generation, they were always going to have the classic elf ears, but I did want to bring something new to the mythos of the elf.
In many ways, the current mythology of elves, fairies, sprites, etc provide a touch stone for the elves in The Lotus War. They are humanoid beings of long life spans with an affinity toward nature. In many ways, reinventing something as ingrained in our culture as elves is like reinventing the wheel: you may be able to make improvements, maybe make it out of a new material… but it’s still a wheel and an elf is still an elf. (Thanks a lot, Tolkein!)
But here are some of our own personal touches, tell me what you think:
-As you might’ve seen from yesterday’s post, while humans were formed from the ground, elves were produced by plants. Sentience was spurred by the Lotus, a crystal that dropped from the heavens.
In our mythology, that accounts for the longevity of elves in comparison to humans. Humans were formed from non-life – they have a greater tendency to return to that state. The elves, as beings produced from life have lengthy, almost indefinite natural life spans.
-Elves are not magical. With an inert link to the plant life, they can seem magical to humans – who are technologically apt.
-We strove to make humans and elves somewhat equal – like two different races as opposed to entirely different beings.
For example, while many elves have a wisdom that comes from age and experience, humans have advanced technological skill. While under favorable conditions they are capable of extreme longevity, they are more vulnerable to withering away due to a number of environmental factors, like extreme heat and dehydration. And due to having no immediate limit to life, they live not for an end, but by the moment (let’s see how well we pull that off).
Anyways, those are just the cliff notes. Through just these subtle features, we hope to bring our own flavor to a well-established character type. What do you think? Is there really a way to “reinvent the elf”?