Let's WRITE a proper blog entry today. I'm writing this at work; there's only about a 20% chance I end up POSTING it today, with only a 30% chance I even end up posting it at all. (If I don't post it the day of, odds are fairly high I don't post it at all.)
But I've gotta try.
You know why?
...Because today, I worldbuilt an ENTIRE WORLD. One with 11.5 races in it, an entire history of a continent, cultures for each of them, myth and lore for some, biology, magical rules, even the UNIVERSE BEYOND THE WORLD THE STORY TAKES PLACE ON.
Multiple characters (I've thought up about a dozen or two) and basically the plot from start to finish. I even have a name and a half for the protagonist! (The protagonist renames himself Dmitrius; I've got an idea for the type of original name for him, but it's not set in stone. I wanted something 'kinda mundane, but not incredibly mundane, a name you'd expect to see from a fantasy character that's not too out there and still realistic', the likes of, say, 'Tristan' which is the working name I have for him even though I tend to overuse the name Tristan in my stories or names similar to it.)
All of this originated from the most innocuous of all things; during work, I got a song stuck in my head. Didn't even hear the song played; I just thought of it randomly and then it kinda just resonated in me for a while.
"Nobody knows what it's like,
To be the bad man,
To be the sad man".
Which got me thinking about Villain Protagonists. They're a dime a dozen, even the specific breed of Villain Protagonist I thought of; not someone with a fundamental physical need to be villainous (think like "needs to feast on human flesh" types of literally-can't-not-be-a-villain), not someone forced into villainy by circumstances (think like "needs cash from villainous acts to get by"), but rather, someone who CHOSE to be a villain, even knowing that being a villain would suck.
Someone who doesn't do evil because it feels good and quite the opposite knows it feels bad. Someone who doesn't do evil because of some petty reasoning but who has an actual ambition beyond a stereotypical villainous goal like conquering, greed, revenge, etc.
Someone who goes into villainy knowing it wouldn't be easy, knowing it wouldn't be fun, knowing it wouldn't be guaranteed to work out and failure would be very realistically an outcome...and yet in spite of knowing these things, willingly and deliberately embarked into villainy ANYWAY.
I've always loved those sorts of stories, and while I know the concept's far from unique, I wanted to take my shot at my own spin on the concept, and it all kinda snowballed from there. Some things I decided right away; while options like a webcomic might work, I kinda wanted to use the narration method of literature, of writing, for it, in part because I developed a unique narration style for the story--one I've used similar before but never quite this one.
More specifically, a mixture of present tense and flashback past tense; a mixture of the Villain Protagonist's first person perspective, and biased/detailed/subjective third person perspective (as opposed to unbiased/distanced/objective third person; the difference between the two is that biased/detailed/subjective gives insight into characters' minds in spite of it not literally being inside of their heads; even though you're not reading things from their perspective, you still have a bias where things come across as if they were being shown from that character's viewpoint).
I had a good concept for the kind of content I wanted in the story. It would show his feelings (how much he hates what he's doing, pretty much, chronicling how he's miserable and in spite of being really dang good at the whole villainy thing as a natural who has the act down pat, he hates every single minute of it and despises every act he's doing, but keeps doing it because of his objective, his goal), while also showing what he's doing:
Fighting, then killing, former friends...and after all of those are dead, fighting, then killing, genuinely good people who he knows are genuinely good people. Not "jerks with hearts of gold", not people who look nice but who have secret bad sides, not people who have any real character faults...except for one; unfortunately, due to their altruism, they stand in opposition to his end goals.
They are literally just genuinely, seriously, legitimately nice folks, unambiguously so, and he slaughters them when they get in his way, because they are in his way and he needs to remove them in order to accomplish his plan.
Flashbacks would help detail his rise to villainy, his goals, his motives, and even his plan, chunk by chunk, section by section. We'd only very very slowly learn bits and pieces of what motivates him, what drives him to villainy (save for the tagline, which we'd get immediately, foreshadowing/hinting at the full extent of his plan), with us only getting the very final part at the very end of the story and letting it all fall into place.
The least-spoilery version that I can share with you (I don't want to give the actual full version in this blog because no joke, I might actually write this story because it's just that good to me and spoilering it in this blog months/years before I write it would kinda ruin the big plot twist/reveal): he aims to break the setting's Medieval Stasis (oh I need to talk about that, patience, I will below in a sec); I can give some more details below on that but not too much.
To facilitate this idea, I brainstormed a setting; my answer--a High Fantasy setting:
Medieval-level technology (by and large at least; mostly swords, bows, and the like augmented by magic, runes, and magitech), augmented by magic (specifically, two different types--casting magic whose most proficient users of the 'civilized races' is the elves, and rune magic, whose most proficient users of the 'civilized races' is the dwarves, with humans and gnomes being a middle ground using both in the form of magitech).
There would be multiple clichéd races (the aforementioned loose affiliation of "allied"/good/'civilized' races; Elves, Dwarves, Gnomes, and Humans), and the setting would be on a single content they all share space on.
Said continent is more or less a Pangaea-shaped continent. Think 'combined land mass and variety in geographical features of North America and South America'...but with it being the comparative size to the whole world of Australia.
I need better words for that. Imagine that the landmass of this continent is 16.428 million miles². However, imagine that instead of the total size of the world being 196.9 million miles², the total landmass of this setting would be 1089.115555555553 million miles².
Or thereabouts. (My math might be horribly off here if I didn't do the process correctly. Basically, Australia's landmass is 2.97 million miles squared, and the landmass of the earth is 196.9 million miles squared; Australia's landmass is 1.50837988826816% the total landmass of the earth; divide the combined landmass of North and South America by that number, 0.0150837988826816, and you should get the comparative mass of the planet this setting takes place on. That, or I completely and horrifically failed at math forever.)
Basically what I'm saying is, their planet is huge, but all of life as the civilized races know it exists on one continent; they've never ventured into the ocean beyond to explore the rest of their world even though they have calculated the total size of their world and know that their continent is only a mere fraction of it. (And yes, canonically they do in fact have full other continents in existence which have just never been explored and are total unknowns to the sentient/sapient life on the continent.)
But really, one of the first things I developed--and the thing which makes the whole setting fall into place--is the story's slogan. If it were a webcomic, it'd be the webcomic slogan; if this story got a TVTropes page, it'd be the page quote, etc. It's the driving message, opening the book and yet echoing throughout, constantly referred back to. Not exactly the most original of slogans, but apt all the same:
"Sometimes, the world needs a villain."
And that slogan needed justification.
Why would the setting need a villain?
There had to be both 1: A solid reason why the medieval stasis developed in the first place (short answer, people became placated after having won a war), and yet also 2: a reason why it was a Very Bad Thing to have happened in the first place, which our Villain Protagonist, Dmitrius, felt the need to become a villain to fix, to break the status quo.
And that I can go into without it being a spoiler because this is just background lore, setting details which prop up the narrative and are important to the fundamental plot but which don't give any of the crucial details away. Stuff that helps people explore the world but which you don't necessarily need in the book itself (even though it will all be in the book itself).
What I came up with?
Basically, the "good guy" races, AKA, "magical humanoids"--the aforementioned Humans, Dwarves, Elves, and Gnomes--long ago triumphed over their traditionally-cliched-"evil"-counterparts. (In this case, an alliance of Orcs/Goblins/Hobgoblins/Kobolds/Ogres, who are "magically impaired humanoids" incapable of using EITHER runic OR casting magic, and who instead relied on technological advancement.)
In this setting, the traditionally-cliched-'evil'-races were not in fact evil, and no, they were not portrayed as evil, either. Everyone knows that they weren't. They regret that conflict arose, war broke out, differences couldn't be settled, and ultimately the only peace to be had was the seeming extinction of the five magically impaired humanoid races.
And no--the Medieval Stasis of the setting is not because those races were the only ones developing technology, as you might expect the cliched answer to why there is a Medieval Stasis to be...although their absence is part of the reason why the Medieval Stasis developed in the first place.
Monsters are all-but extinct (only one race of monsters is known to exist and they are an endangered species whose sightings are incredibly rare and are meticulously hunted down and exterminated promptly) and no threats exist.
People aren't unified into one "allied nation"; people aren't unified into four kingdoms one for each race; for the most part, while small kingdoms that rule a few cities exist, by and large, individual cities govern themselves and are otherwise unaffiliated. There's no alliances to be had, because there's no wars, no pacts, to be made. They've never had a need to form them, to form a grand unified nation, because they never have a need to fight with each other; there's an eternal peace.
Resources are bountiful; space is plentiful. Religious beliefs do differ, but these differences are a matter of academic debate rather than driving jihads/crusades. Basically, while the people have some sense of not being completely defenseless (because they still know that there are threats which, however unlikely, could menace them), they just have no need to fight each other, no need to really break the peace.
That's not to say there's no fighting at all, no squabbles, no violence whatsoever. Crimes happen, people fight even with weapons, clash with each other in skirmishes, but these things never escalate too far because they can be settled without the need for it.
With the level of magical/technological knowledge the races have, each race has basically doubled their natural lifespan. Humans to 150, Gnomes to 200, Dwarves to 500, Elves to 1200. And with the level of healing magic/runes/magitech available, pretty much nobody dies of anything other than old age. (Which, mind you, is one of the reasons why fighting's not very common. There's not really a drive for revenge because nobody dies to be avenged in the first place; there's not really a point in fighting to the death when it's basically impossible to kill each other.)
For all intents and purposes, it looks like a utopia, but the Medieval Stasis is, in large part, because it is so 'perfect'. Nobody has a need to advance things further than they were when they won the war. Nobody has a need to invent anything new, because their every need and want can be met now.
While there are passionate individuals who love adventure and exploration, there's no actual need for them to do those things aside from thrill-seeking; while there are those who like the challenges of furthering theories of magic, the abilities of casting magic and rune magic and hybridizations of the two have been explored to the point of being science, and past a certain point that science can't really advance much further because every breakthrough that they could plausibly have made, has already been made, and they have no paradigm shift to force a change in their perspectives.
And our villain protagonist's goal is to break that altogether, for reasons that you start the story not knowing. All we get to know is exactly what I said; the story slogan. That he genuinely believes the one and only way to succeed at his goal, to break the stasis, is for there to be a villain...and since nobody he knew of was exactly volunteering to fill the role, he took it upon himself to play the part and enact his agenda.
He started his crusade by slowly gathering the forces of the hidden world.
His first ally: a Minotaur. Minotaurs are the aforementioned last monster race in existence. In this setting, monsters are just as intelligent as the magical (and for that matter, non-magical) humanoids. They are brilliant, smart, cunning, deadly monsters who can be bipedal or quadrupedal...but this comes at a tradeoff.
Minotaurs, as all other monster races were, are magically-inept, just like the non-magical humanoids. That means that all magical spells to facilitate communication with them won't work. Magic works on them. So you can communicate to them. But you can't receive any feedback from them. No telepathy/mindreading, no empaths reading their emotions, nothing.
They have no real hands to speak of (they have hooves), so they are incapable of using any form of technology, really, even basic tech like a sword or ax. Combined with their inability to use any form of magic, that means they are limited to their innate natural physiology (which is, admittedly, more than enough on its own; they are basically monstrous bulls capable of bulldozing through rows of people and of maneuvering on either all fours or on two legs and instantly switching between the two).
They have a language of their own...but the problem is. They are utterly, physically, completely and entirely, unable to speak the magical-humanoid language (for simplicity's sake let's call it English). With training, they can understand it. They can be taught to understand what's being said when someone is speaking English, but they have a fundamental physical inability to talk back in it. And due to said magical ineptitude, no spells can translate their language into English.
Vice-versa is also the case. With training, someone can understand what they are saying when they speak their own language. But no humanoid can actually speak their language. This meant that there was an obvious, basically-unsolvable communication barrier between the species, and when they met, conflict naturally arose.
The magical humanoids knew that monsters were smart and had human intelligence, but they had no way of knowing that they weren't just "smart, dangerous beasts", so in this sense yes magical humanoids did in fact categorize a not-really-evil race as 'evil', but in this case it was backed up by basically their first meetings eons ago. Both could recognize the intelligence of the other, but not understand anything else about them, and past a certain point both sides just fell into the roll of "automatically try to wipe out the other".
Dmitrius managed to use the Freetalk spell (after using a 'hold person' spell to ensure the minotaur didn't run away--Dmitrius started the engagement when he deduced that 'hold person' only works on sentient, sapient lifeforms and thus confirmed that, yes, Minotaurs are in fact intelligent enough to be communicated with) to bridge the gap.
What's the Freetalk spell? Literally "Talking Is A Free Action" given an actual justification in the setting. It's the spell that even non-mage adventurers back when adventurers were a commonality learned because it allowed for conversations spanning hours to take place in the matter of only seconds. People couldn't move while using the spell beyond making communication-essential gestures (like pointing to something, for instance), but it allows for conversations to happen.
Dmitrius basically taught the Minotaur how to understand English (he deemed the minotaur smart enough to pick it up and that it'd be faster for the minotaur to learn English first than for him to learn the minotaur's language first), and once the Minotaur understood his English, the minotaur was able to walk Dmitrius through, very slowly, how to understand the minotaur's language, allowing for them to speak to each other in their own language and still hold conversation.
He began gathering the surviving minotaurs, pointing out that if they didn't do something they'd be on their way to extinction within 100 years and even if they outlived that expectation, expansion of the humanoid magic users would ensure their extinction within the next 300 years; he knew that if they wanted to survive as a species, they needed to change something and he began convincing them.
With them contacted/located, he asked them about the non-magical humanoid races, on the theory that they were not in fact actually extinct and were simply far, far more well-hidden and scattered. He was right.
The thing about Orcs, Goblins, Hobgoblins, Kobolds, and Ogres is that the five used to be a unified kingdom. They had one ruler, and were a coherent nation. One single grand supernation from this super-alliance of technological innovators.
But disputes between them and the four magical humanoid races elevated, tensions rose, and war broke out. The four magical humanoid races, in spite of previously not having been unified (and after having won the war, no longer being unified), did in fact unify to stand a chance against the mighty kingdom and though the war waged for hundreds of years...they did eventually emerge victorious.
This victory wasn't because their magic was superior.
It wasn't because of internal strife.
It wasn't because of them being smarter/better or anything like that.
It was a simple matter of two factors when combined together, basically boiling down to atrophy.
The non-magical humanoid races had a few advantages over the magical humanoid races. They learn much, much, much faster than the magical humanoid races; they breed in the span of a couple of months rather than almost a year; when breeding they breed dozens of offspring rather than just one or two; they're hermaphrodites so they aren't limited in reproductive partners.
But there's a tradeoff; they live for a much, much, much shorter span of time. Their average life expectancy is an average across the five races (some shorter, some longer) of 20 years; with their technology, they can extend it further to 30-40, but they are still much much much shorter lived than their magical humanoid counterparts.
There's also the simple matter of experience and logistics. With their vast numerical superiority, you'd think they'd be overwhelming...but the problem is, those increased numbers require an increase in resources to maintain...and in the aftermath of combat, that's more bodies who need medical treatment.
To put it simply: in the aftermath of any given battle, every single magical humanoid involved that lived through the battle would not only live, but also be able to get back into top fighting form, living to fight another day.
In the aftermath of any given battle, not every single non-magical humanoid involved that lived through the battle...would end up living. It was simply impossible to rescue them all from death, and even if they were saved, it wasn't guaranteed that they wouldn't be crippled.
In the span of 80 years, you'd have a single magical humanoid general square off against 8 non-magical humanoid generals. That disconnect in leadership, in experience, in continuity, was disastrous. They had built an empire, but in the atrophying state of warfare, the transitions between leaders wasn't smooth, whereas on the side of the magical humanoids, they had all the time in the world to smoothly transition from one leader to another.
Another way of thinking about it: the non-magical humanoids were very very quick to learn as individuals, but as a species were quite slow to learn; the magical humanoids are very slow learning as individuals, but as a species could learn far more efficiently the ever-changing nature of total warfare.
Dmitrius offered them a return to their homelands, a return to the state where they used to be, pointing out that with him at the helm and with the help of all his gathered forces, they would be able to overcome this shortcoming, especially when given that their opponents, placated by such a long-standing peace, would have since forgotten in their stagnation the way of war, whereas them in their harsh living conditions have continued to advance and now have technology far beyond what they had the last time the races clashed.
There is one more race that Dmitrius gathers to his cause: the Dragons. Dragons used to dominate the land even before the days of the non-magical humanoid empire. In fact, it was a combined alliance of all humanoids, magical and non-magical alike, that brought the dragons (helped by internal strife with the dragons, as the dragons were all greedy and selfish to a fault) to extinction.
Or rather, so it was believed. The truth: dragons are immortal, not dieing of old age at all. Every female dragon died, so they are incapable of hatching dragonlings, of laying eggs and birthing a new generation of dragons; the current dragons alive are the last there are, but they still exist. They're just all male and can't procreate.
Dmitrius offers, in return for their services, the help of the non-humanoid breeding pits to create female clones of every single dragon alive. Obviously, the male dragons can't mate with their own clone (it'd basically be like matiing with your sister; incest and all of that, not exactly great for the long-term survival of a species), but basically...there is enough genetic diversity across the dragon species because essentially none of the surviving male dragons are closely related to one another that any given male dragon can mate with basically any other male dragon's female clone.
A male dragon mating with a different male dragon's female clone wouldn't produce any problems because the other male dragon's female clone would have sufficiently different genes from the male mating with her that their offspring would be viable.
Granted, dragons take a hundred years to reach mating age (one of the reasons why they got to extinction range in the first place), but given they are literally immortal, a hundred years of serving Dmitrius's agenda is well worth the revitalization of their race to them. Which is a big deal, because dragons are...well. DRAGONS.
Like, three times the size of a humanoid. Breath fire. Scaled, hard to puncture skin. Winged fliers. Lots of sharp teeth and sharp claws. Most skilled magic users of all in both runic AND casting magic. DRAGONS.
And Dmitrius makes them his allies.
Dmitrius has one more ally up his sleeve as well, but one of his own creation.
Long ago, necromancy was thought to have gone extinct because the magical humanoid races thought necromancy was an abomination which kept the souls of the living from moving on to the afterlife. Dmitrius doesn't know if that's true or not (there's no proven afterlife, there's no disproven afterlife, there's no proof that souls suffer when made undead, etc.), but he honestly doesn't care; the utility of having an undead army is simply too much of one for him to ignore.
There's a minor limitation; necromancy only works on the four magical humanoid races' corpses. He can't revive, say, a dead dragon; a dead orc; a dead minotaur. But he can revive en masse a massive army of Undead servants, and does precisely that.
That's basically how he ends up beginning his ascent to villainhood.
There's probably more I'm forgetting to share, but that's all I can think of at the moment.
It's a really good idea, I think.
Like I said, I thought of basically everything.
Only thing I really lack is the story's name and the world/continent's name. (I'm thinking that in spite of the world not being just the continent, that they would name the continent and world one and the same. Because in spite of knowing that their world is more than just their continent now, at the time it gained its name, the two were considered one and the same. Whole, evolving knowledge, and all that.)