Kickstarter Update #2: Creating the World

Once again, I’m re-posting this update here, which was originally posted on my Kickstarter. If what you see piques your interest, I hope you’ll consider looking at the Kickstarter and becoming a backer.

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First, I’d like to once again thank my new backers. Your support is greatly appreciated! I also noticed that a few of the newest backers aren’t people I previously knew, and instead must have stumbled across this project on Kickstarter. I’m happy to know that even people that don’t know me personally have taken an interest in this project. That tells me that there is an audience out there that goes beyond my friends and colleagues.

Though of course, if you’d like to get to know me, feel free to follow me on Twitter @cantrelljason.

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I mentioned in the last update that the concepts for the “Arcana Revived” series started on a collaborative writing and roleplaying site. I’ve also seen many other sites and some urban fantasy stories that follow a similar theme to the one I started on. The concept was a post-apocalyptic world, where magic, dragons, vampires, and so on had returned. I’ve studied a number of such settings, and there seem to be some general themes to them:

1. A setting where supernatural things have always existed, but are kept hidden from the public (Buffy, Heroes, Harry Potter, and many vampire stories work this way, where normal people or “muggles” have no idea about the supernatural things that exist just out of sight).

2. A setting where supernatural things have always existed, and USED to be hidden, but are now out in plain sight (True Blood, X-Men (at least in the movies, where mutants have existed for years but only recently went public)).

3. A setting where supernatural things have existed in hiding or were sealed away, until an apocalypse or other event set them free (The Mummy (where they unseal the Mummy’s tomb and set him free), and quite a few video games).

4. A setting where we see supernatural things being created for the first time ever (Peter Parker bitten by a radioactive spider to become Spiderman, and similar techniques used in most superhero movies).

I thought about all of these possibilities, and realized most of them have been done again and again. I wanted to do something different (while understanding that nothing is 100% different, but you can still put a new spin on things). I didn’t like the idea of a world where magic has always existed in secret, because that inevitably leads to the existence of a secret society that has kept this knowledge secret for centuries. Whether it be the vampire coven keeping their existence hidden from the world, the wizards keeping things hidden from muggles, or superheroes hiding their secret identities, there are always large groups of people who know all about the magic/mutations/supernatural powers and just somehow keep them hidden from the world. This strikes me as unrealistic; it would take a massive conspiracy on many levels to keep such a thing hidden, and that trope falls apart if you analyze it too closely.

Instead, I went with a different concept. There is no secret society of wizards, no sealed evil in a can waiting to be released, and no single superhero with a unique power created in a way that can’t be duplicated.

In my world, magic is based on belief. Centuries ago, magic existed because people believed in it. Their belief was the fuel that generated magical energy and made magic possible. As science advanced and these beliefs were disregarded as superstition, magic began to fade from the world. People who believed in magic were considered fools (just as, in real life, many people who believe in ghosts or alien contact are treated as gullible, uneducated people who believe things other people would call nonsense). Since belief causes magic to exist, believing that it DOESN’T exist actually suppresses it. If you have a power, and you believe it will work, but there are a dozen people watching you who believe it won’t work, their anti-belief overpowers your belief, and your magic fails.

Thus, magic ceased to exist in this world because the majority of people in the world didn’t truly believe it was possible.

At least, until an event happens that changes all of that.

I’ll share some more behind-the-scenes info in the next update. Until then, thank you for your support, and please tell your friends about this project!

(You can also view this update on Kickstarter.)

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