A few weeks ago we talked about the creation of the Republic of Three Towers, the anti-magic militaristic nation featured in Vengeance in Flames’ first single-campaign. Now we head to the other extreme of this concept to Hawk’s Fall, a city-state that depends on the commerce of magically-enhanced foodstuff.
We were looking for a representative of magic in Hendrika, a nation that would cater to players who like wizards and magic creatures on their side. At first glance it might not look like it made any sense in Hendrika. Didn’t magic destroy the world? Why would anyone want to side with magic?
The idea came from an early concept art, of a medieval style city built inside a cave. Back then there was no defined story for the game. It was just a concept art aimed at giving the team a look and feel of the game. For me it was inspiration.
When the Great Rift happened, ripping Hendrika out of the Known World, the Sorcerer-kings were to blame. They were not evil. Far from that! They wanted to save their kingdom from an outside threat. For some reason they failed miserably. (Or maybe not, but that’s the subject for another post!). How would these men and women, considered the most powerful and wise of the Known World, deal with the fact that they had destroyed five hundred years of legacy?
Well, legend say not many Sorcerer-kings survived the Great Rift, but at least a few did. And here comes the premise for our pro-magic city.
After the Great Rift, Vogel Carel, the Sorcerer-king known as the Soaring Hawk, returned home, worried of what his act may have caused his land. Vogel came from a poor home on a small village that survived thanks only to merchant caravans who stopped there from time to time on their way from the Soren Pendar mountains to more civilized lands. He left home when discovered by a passing wizard who realized his innate magical power. To the people of that village Vogel Carel was a hero, a reminder that anyone could be someone.
When Vogel returned home, he found only the remains of a massive landslide. The sorcerer-king tried using his magic to blast tons of rock and mud away in hope of finding survivors. He never did. Refugees from other settlements who saw what happened returned later, finding no sign of Vogel Carel. Instead they found the results of Vogel's actions, which had dug out the mountain side. These refugees hid in the cave while the worst of storms hit Hendrika in the first weeks after the Great Rift, only to discover the soil inside the cave was extremely fertile. It had to be thanks to Vogel Carel’s ultimate sacrifice.
There. We had a very good reason for people to not only trust, but embrace magic. They saw one of the sorcerer-kings as a saint who, in grief for his part in destroying the kingdom, gave refugees a chance.
How magical could this city be? We had a pretty good idea that we didn’t want any of Hendrika’s nations to be too magical in nature, as magic was supposed to be dangerous. How could we fix that?
- First, let’s get magic under control. Hawk’s Fall does endorse and train magic, but not as full-blown mages. That would be insane! Mages are trained in special universities where they learn how to control their powers in a way that is useful for the community. You would have healers, builders and even farmers who could use their spells to grow stronger crops;
- We couldn’t have it too pro-ändras or it would put it too much at odds with the Republic. We wanted conflict, but we also wanted the possibility of working side by side (remember Scourge of Clouds?). So Hawk’s Fall was very friendly to native ändras, but didn’t like foreign ones. The reason? Let’s see: if you were an ändras, what would you do if you heard of a city - the only city in the world - where your kind was treated with respect and given equal opportunities? We added a shantytown right outside Hawk’s Fall where many poor ändras often ended up criminals for the lack of opportunities;
- How did they government work? What about an twisted element of magic? I had a sort of twisted idea that mixed the Roman senate and greek oracles. Ok, in fact it was a mix of scenes from Gladiator and 300, but you get the picture. So we created the Council of Elders: Hawk’s Fall elder would select anyone from the city to rule for a number of years. It was not strictly compulsory, but it was considered terribly bad omen to go against the elders’ decision, especially since people saw their choice as divination.