1. Adam Bolander

    Adam Bolander Senior Member

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    Jekyll and Hyde Fantasy World Building!

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Adam Bolander, Aug 5, 2020.

    I've spent the last couple of days developing a new fantasy world. Here are the notes I've taken so far. What do you guys think? Any suggestions?

    It has been 700 years since the sun went out, plunging the world into neverending night. The whole planet has frozen over. Humanity has survived by building giant mechanical cities that act as furnaces. The city the story takes place in is called Vuur. The setting is very Victorian-ish. Not steampunk, though. More like…alchemy-punk?

    Maybe the world is a post-apocalyptic earth, maybe it’s a brand new world I’ve made up. I haven’t decided yet.

    The new world was built almost entirely through alchemy. It’s a mixture of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Frankenstein, and Dr. Moreau. They have developed the science of alchemy so far that they are able to turn literally everything into a chemical liquid—not just physical properties, but emotions and abstract concepts like wisdom, kindness, etc.

    One of the most popular uses of alchemy is creating an alter ego, Jekyll/Hyde style. Alchemy allows people to brew a potion that transforms them not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally, into whoever they desire to be. These alter egos are called Hydes (for obvious reasons). A large majority of the population have Hydes, but the rules of polite society dictate that asking about someone’s Hyde is an invasion of privacy, meaning eliminating the risk of their actions being connected to their true selves. The one exception to this is that they have to register their Hyde with the government, which keeps them from committing crimes. These potions are always temporary. While some can be made to last longer than others, once they wear off, the person reverts to their original form.

    People are not limited to turning into other people. It is possible to develop a potion that turns the user into a monster, but that is strictly outlawed. However, certain people are allowed to give themselves special abilities. Most notably, the…I don’t have a name for them yet. I was thinking “Hyde Knights” at first, but that sounds kind of stupid. Anyway, they’re the special force dedicated to hunting down people who use their Hydes to commit crimes or turn themselves into monsters. Their abilities are usually limited to things like superior strength, speed, reflexes, etc., but in special circumstances they can be given the ability to conjure fire, use telekinesis, and heal wounds instantly.

    I haven’t thought of a name for the people who turn into monsters yet.

    People are also able to create other living things. While it’s possible to use the corpses of real people, it’s considered more respectful (and is often more efficient) to just build a body yourself. They are then brought to life with alchemy, their veins filled with a special chemical called “ichor” instead of blood. Most of them have to be given a mechanical heart and regular ichor transfusions, but other than that are able to operate on their own. They’re called gols (short for golems) and are generally used as servants. It is possible to control how intelligent they are or will become, and most are designed to only be smart enough to follow basic commands. Some are made more intelligent so as to perform more complex tasks, usually dangerous ones that their creators don’t want to do themselves. If a gol reaches a certain level of intelligence, whether by design or by accident, their owners are required to relinquish ownership of them and they are made citizens, albeit usually not ones that are able to live independently.

    The lowest class in this world are the mutants, mutts for short. They are people who have some sort (or several sorts) of animal DNA mixed in with their human genes. They are the result of an experiment back when the sun had just recently gone out. When the planet’s animals began to die off, scientists began to breed animal people for the purpose of using them for meat. They were intelligent enough to survive in the new world, but similar enough to their respective animals that humans could eat them without adverse side effects. Once the secret to creating life alchemically was discovered, the eating of mutts was swiftly outlawed. However, they are still considered little more than vermin in the eyes of the public, and tend to live very poor lives. They do the work that even gols aren’t made to do, usually living and working deep within the furnace cities to keep the fires burning, given only the bare minimum to survive.

    Lastly, the religion. Like everything else in this world, their gods are made with alchemy. These manmade gods are essentially living, sentient vats of chemicals. Which chemicals depends on what they want their god to represent, usually giving them one predominant trait like mercy, wisdom, or justice. Each major furnace city has its own god, and that god is oftentimes connected directly to the city’s inner workings, making them simultaneously the brain, the heart, and the blood of the city itself. Some of them are given a gol to inhabit to interact with their subjects, while others prefer to remain separated from them, communicating only when absolutely necessary. Until a god is made, the city is ruled over by a council of elected officials, all of whom immediately relinquish their authority the moment their god is given life.

    And that's all I've got so far! What do you think?
     
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  2. IHaveNoName

    IHaveNoName Senior Member Community Volunteer

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    That's pretty damn cool. I'd call the Hyde knights "Hyde Hunters", although if you're going with a different world, that name would have no meaning. (Personally, I think using Earth could work - have you read Carrie Patel's trilogy?) On a side note, there's a post I made here awhile back for Mouthwash about an alchemy system - it might give you some ideas. I used to have a copy myself, but I lost it when my hard drive crashed.
     
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  3. Stormsong07

    Stormsong07 Contributor Contributor

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    This sounds...fascinatingly different. I love it. Would read!
     
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  4. Adam Bolander

    Adam Bolander Senior Member

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    I have another book where Hunters are a big thing. I feel like putting Hunters in here too would be redundant.
     
  5. IHaveNoName

    IHaveNoName Senior Member Community Volunteer

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    Ohh. Good call.

    I don't know if you've read Neal Asher's books - he writes sci-fi - but in his universe, humans have expanded across the galaxy due to the development of matter transportation tech. Everything from cities on up (planets, systems, and the entire human empire) is run by AIs. The similarities here struck me - artificial, human-created beings in charge of flesh-and-blood humans. Seems to me that "gods being pools of chemicals" could be a good source of conflict, too - a faction within the populace resents the fact that they're being run by things that have never been human.

    One other thing: Since the "gods" are made of chemicals, would it be possible to contaminate their vats by adding other substances and change their personalities?
     
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  6. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    The world-building is intriguing indeed. Have you got any particular kind of story formulating around it yet? I'm not asking for particulars ...as you will want to keep them to yourself ...but just in general?

    Just wondering. How intelligent are the 'mutts?' They seem like they might be fuel for a story. Either that they eventually get treated better, or that they eventually evolve enough 'humanistic' qualities to move into another tier of status. They can interbreed with higher status individuals, right? That's how they actually got started, right?

    The god-vats present another interesting possibility. As @IHaveNoName suggested, because they are chemicals (and not 'all powerful' as most gods are) they could be altered, couldn't they? Somebody must know about them and what their purpose is.

    I think you've got LOTS of stuff here to make a fascinating story, with subplots even. Good job.
     
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