I am very tired. I’ve been on Alayna’s schedule this week, and she’s worked six twelve hour shifts, and on Tuesday we spent the day car shopping. Honestly, she’s still got a lot of energy even though she’s on her six shift. I, on the other hand, am just about dead. I really don’t know how she does it. I have managed to get grading done, a paper finished, two and a half books read, plus all the reading for my next Ph.D. seminar and some research for the other paper that I’m writing next week. So, it’s been a very productive week, just a rather exhausting one. I read Stanley Hauerwas’ A Community of Character and N.T. Wright’s After You Believe, and I’m about half-way through Reinhold Niebuhr’s An Interpretation of Christian Ethics, which is kind of a sequel to his Moral Man and Immoral Society that I read in the fall. I enjoyed Wright, I’m not sure what I think about Hauerwas – he has some good points, but I think he tends to take them too far – and I generally think that Niebuhr is just confused. I don’t think he actually knew whether he wanted to be a conservative Christians, a liberal Christian, or a Marxist (though, admittedly in his day the last two often went together). In many ways he seems to be trying to combine the work of Augustine and Walter Rauschenbusch. They don’t mesh well. Anyway, I have an exercise for you. This is a setting exercise, and most of you have probably done these before, but just in case: I’m going to give you a set of criteria. Your job is to design a setting based on those criteria.
1) Your setting must be in a fantasy world. More over, your setting must be a singular location (i.e. ancient ruins, castle of a tyrannical lord, massive shrine to worshippers of a god of chaos and destruction, etc) that might be a place where the major characters in a story would travel to achieve some kind of quest.
2) Your setting must include character profiles (loose profiles) for some leader (i.e. an evil baron, an ancient undead sorcerer, a high priest, etc) and at least two powerful lieutenants.
3) Your setting must be remote enough that evil may run amok, but not so remote that no-one can get there (i.e. it might be the capital of a despotic kingdom, a forgotten ruin in the mountains near a new mining colony, a hidden temple underneath a major metropolis – let’s face it, do you know what goes on in underneath New York city? That’s pretty remote, even though its geographically very close).
4) Your setting must involve at least three different races (i.e. your undead sorcerer may be recruiting, or perhaps your depostic lord recruits intelligent and semi-intelligent monsters into his army, etc).
5) Your setting must include some form of otherworldly beings (i.e. alien gods, demonic visitors, military allies from alternate planes of existence, etc).