In writing my Savage setting, I am doing my best to create a book that will be fun to read, and fun to play.
Also, my ambition is to make everything the reader will find on the page, playable, straight away.
To achieve this goal I’m designing a lot of exposition passages as false documents.
In this way, I’ll convey as much information as possible in a distinctive, in-setting, fun (hopefully) voice, and the Keeper will be able to print and use some of the pages of the book as handouts.
So, I’m imagining a number of authors and books from which passages of my handbook will be “excerpted”.
There will be a fine set of quotes from the 1930s Bradshaw Handbooks, describing in genial tones places and landmarks of the Empire.
And there will be rambling, emphatic, purple-prosed extracts from the books penned – and privately printed – by captain Marmaduke J. Thobias-Simms, esquire.
Thobias-Simms is a cheerfully insane traveler/explorer/adventurer whose entire life – between the late 19th and the early 20th century – is spent getting in trouble, meeting strange people and irritating them, and expressing unrequested, often misguided opinions on the lot.1
Among his most noted works, I’d like to mention here
- “Dining with Cannibals, Gaming with Savages, and other unlikely leisures” (1899)
- “Hunting Mammoths in the Transbajkal for fun and profit” (1902)
- “Snowblind in Nepal – or, my Hunt for the Great White Ape of the Himalayas” (1904)
- “By slow boat up the Ganges or, the Land of One Thousand Gods” (1906)
- “Across Kashmir by Airship, a memoir and primer” (1911)
- “Lost Cities of Siam and other Mysteries of the East” (1912)
- “My Life on the Road – being the memories of a man of the world and his experiences among the many peoples and cultures that make that selfsame world worth visiting” (six volumes, 1915)
Marmaduke’s voice will be the one I’ll use to present color detail, gossip, wrong impressions and exoticism.
Marmaduke is an “Orientalist” in the worst possible term, one whose perception of the GreyWorld and its peoples is perpetually tinted by enthusiasm, clichés and a good-natured but insufferable sense of superiority.
His passages will also work, hopefully, as comedy relief, and will help me defuse the worst elements of a “neo-Victorian” setting dealing with a multicultural society.
And it will be fun – writing pompous fake-Victorian ramblings is always fun.
And yes – I’ll post a character sheet of the gentleman, sooner or later.