Thursday, November 19, 2015


After being rather proud of myself that I'd decided to make one of the main ethnic groups essentially be Scandinavian Rus and Russian Cossacks (both related, of course, in real life) with a mixture of Viking and Russian names, I've rather belatedly decided that I'm being a bit odd in my aversion to using any familiar elements.

As a guy who's largely descended from the Borderlanders who came to America—themselves largely the descendants of the syncretism between Anglo-Saxon and Viking and Scottish elements of northern England, why would I go out of my way to avoid anything at all like the English?  I mean, I know why—when I first developed this setting, I was deliberately avoiding what I thought were "fantasy cliches" and since fantasy as a recognizable genre is largely written by native English speakers, English Medievalism has always been a big component of it.  The Warhammer setting, for example, tried to be a little different by courting a Holy Roman Empire vibe.  I courted a Mediterranean vibe.  But given that my setting is big, and has room for a lot of stuff, my reluctance to have anything that was in any way English started to feel poorly thought out, and in fact stubborn for the sake of stubbornness.

I also started to feel that if I was trying to specifically trying to draw a line between my setting and the American West, in the same way that regular fantasy is drawn to Medieval Europe, then having nobody that was at all anything like Americans in any way also seemed—strange.  Not that I want actual Americans (just like I don't want actual Spaniards; part of the reason I focus on slightly more obscure languages to crib my names from, like Ligurian, Occitan and Catalan.)

But it's time that I change the name of Kozaky, because I don't want them to be Cossacks anymore.  I want them to be more like the Danelaw; a mix of Viking and Anglo-Saxon names, and a culture that is like that... combined with cowboys.  I'm going to call them the Scramasaxes, and propose that they wield frankas and saxes (as did the actual Germanic warriors—these weapons would be more familiar today as tomahawks and machetes) as "ethnic weapons."

Anyway, maybe it's not as dramatic a change as all that; replacing the Slavic names with Anglo-Saxon names.  But I actually intend to do a bit more with it; explore some other themes.  Not to the extent of allegory, of course, but I've got some interesting ideas to explore that I'd really like to hit on here.

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