Today I’d like to talk a bit about this side content I’ve been working on. It’s gotten to well over 50 000 words all by itself, and I’m probably going to need at least another month to finish it up, so I feel like you’re all at least a little entitled to a bit of an explanation.
First of all, what it is: the side content for Lords of Infinity consists of a handful of small plots with tangential, but potentially important ramifications for the main story. Think of them like sidequests in an RPG, or a breather episode in a TV show. These side-plots are available to the player based on their choices. The Aetoria side-content, for example, is determined by the club they join when they move to the capital. Each of these side-stories explores an aspect of life as a member of the Tierran aristocracy which the main story doesn’t really have space for. They can bring additional benefits to the player later on – as well as potential complications.
I already suspect that a few of you already have a question: why bother? Why should I put time and effort into this stuff if it’s not moving the main plot along? Well, there’s a number of reasons for that:
First of all, it fleshes out the world, both by showing how the changing conditions of the world are affecting places and people the player wouldn’t otherwise see, and by allowing the player to experience some of more of the social world that surrounds the main character, both in spheres which are intended for the aristocratic classes, and those which aren’t. Each of the side-plots introduces the player to new characters, new places, and new social phenomena which make up the parts of a living, breathing, setting.
Secondly, it offers additional choices and consequences, which allow the player to affect the story in new and interesting ways. Likewise, some of the decisions which the player makes in the side content might prove to have helpful (or harmful) consequences in the main story. As a result, the world feels more connected and reactive, more real. The player gets more of a feeling that this is a world their main character actually inhabits, where even how they spend their spare time is a matter of consequence.
Thirdly, it offers more impact to certain choices which I consider a bit lacking in reactivity. While there’s already a lot of different content based around each of the five clubs in Aetoria, this new side content not only adds more, but also helps reinforce the fact that the club you join isn’t just a throw-away choice, but something which can outright determine the people you know and the things you can do.
Last of all, some of it is just fun to write, and lets players get up to all kinds of shenanigans which their characters could only get away with through the impunity that comes with high birth in a deeply unequal society.
Hopefully, when Lords of Infinity comes out in a few months, you’ll all consider it as worth the effort as I have.
In the meantime, this month’s A Creator’s Guide to Writing and Worldbuilding, A Soldier’s Guide to the Infinite Sea, and An Adventurer’s Guide to the Fledgling Realms, are now all up.