World of Chaldea

Welcome to our world of Chaldea website, where we can share golden nuggets of development goodness with you, our fans. Here, Chaldea’s writers and craftsfolk can lift the veil to allow precious peeks into the development process and the cool brewing of Chaldea. We invite you to explore our ever-growing world, come early and often, and more than anything, enjoy the ride!

Posts Tagged / Peter Adkison

Production Blog Art Blog

Marn Elves

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Back in the early ’90s, it was pleasure to be working at Wizards of the Coast while Magic: The Gathering was being developed. One of the unexpected delights of that project was the art. We knew we were exploring new frontiers of game design with Richard Garfield’s marvelous invention, but it also turned out that under the insightful art direction of Jesper Myrfors, we ended up publishing fantasy art that was dramatically different from the traditional fantasy art the world had seen from the masters. Perhaps because we couldn’t afford artists like Larry Elmore and the Hildebrandt brothers, we went to artists no one had heard of, young art students just up the street at Seattle’s Cornish College of Arts.

The art that came in was bold, edgy, and irreverent. Some of it was questionable. And, yes, some of it was traditional, too. We loved it. Perhaps most representative of this difference from fantasy tradition was Anson Maddocks’s interpretation of Llanowar Elves. With a pink Mohawk, an eye patch with a chin strap, a shaved part of his head sporting a tattoo, and an angry sneer, this was not a Tolkien elf. These days, that’s hardly enough to cause discussion, but in 1993 this was radical.

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The Garnon Forest

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Peter_Adkison_(200x200)I’ve always been enraptured by the notion of an “enchanted forest.” From the earliest moments of creating Chaldea, this was one of the first topics I put my heart into. In particular, what does it mean for a forest to be enchanted? And what would cause it to be that way?

I didn’t want it to be strictly evil or monstrous. Nor did I want it to be entirely peaceful and idyllic. I wanted it to be magical, a place where, yes, there would be magical creatures: noble fey, not-so-noble fey, giant talking spiders, dragons, and critters like lizard men and bugbears. It would have a horrific swamp in there somewhere, which of course meant a river. But I also wanted there to be something about the forest that would attract practitioners of the arcane arts: druids, magicians, high elves, and even priests.

And this forest would be unique within Chaldea. There would be other forests, but one forest would be special; the Garnon Forest was beginning to take form.

I honestly don’t understand the creative process. But somehow I had this idea to link the forest to Yggdrasil, the World Tree from Norse mythology. Like all ideas, this seemed obvious after the fact. If Yggdrasil connects the world of Chaldea to the other worlds, where does that connection happen? I mean, is there a physical place in Chaldea where Yggdrasil actually “connects”? Obviously there wouldn’t have to be—the connection could be more metaphysical, less literal. But it also could be! So, what if The Garnon Forest were the location in Chaldea where the World Tree connects? Read More

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What’s with All the Funky Accents?

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Peter_Adkison_(200x200)After screening War Room at Historicon 2015, I found a note left for me in my booth that asked several questions about the film. As I still don’t know who left the note, I figured I’d answer one of the questions in a blog. (I’d been meaning to write about this anyway.)

The particular question read, “Why does the toymaker have a German accent, the tax collector a British one, and it’s all set in a Roman/Latin army?”

I’m so glad you asked.

First of all, it’s important to know that all human kingdoms of Chaldea are inspired by some historical reference point—a particular culture in a particular time. War Room takes place in Hesse, which is inspired by the real-world Teutonic knights of the 13th century AD. Because the film takes place there, the most common accent in the film is Germanic. Now we don’t really know what Hessens of the 12th century actually sounded like, so we picked a German accent. And since I didn’t want Chaldea to sound like a WWII movie, we chose a pretty mild accent for the Hessens. Another reason to be wary of German accents is the way it serves as the harsh “mad scientist” accent often found in comedy. I want accents that complement the scene, accents that subtly create a mood, not accents that dominate, distract, or, God forbid, insult. Read More

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So… What’s the Product?

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The most common question we get is “What is this Chaldea thing? Is it a film? Is it a game?”

The short answer is this: it’s a Web series that mixes film, comics, and fiction together.

Each part of the story we call an “issue.” If it were all film, we’d call the parts “episodes.” If it were all fiction, we’d call them “chapters.” If it were entirely comics you would expect us to call them “issues.” And as we’re blending all three, we just picked one.

So, first and foremost, Chaldea is a story told in these three different media formats. It’s also fantasy, which means there’s a world that goes with it. We call that world Chaldea, or on occasion, World of Chaldea. And here we strive to provide way more than a typical fantasy story. Whereas some novels might include a map that’s probably incomplete and maybe a few pieces of black-and-white art, we have much bigger plans. We plan to support the Chaldea story online in several ways as follows.

Please note that some of these features are still in development, and the requirements will likely evolve!

Chaldea Maps. I hate it when I’m reading a fantasy novel, a place gets mentioned, and I can’t find that place on the map. Our goal is that every place that gets mentioned in our story is a place you can search for by simply clicking on the name when it shows up, and we’ll show you exactly where it is in Chaldea. Read More

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Testing 1..2..3..

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Peter_Adkison_(400x400)About a year ago, I told Steve Conard, my primary partner in all things Chaldea, “We need to make a short film that blends live action and comic art. And I want to make it now, and I want to show it to the public by Gen Con 2015.”

“Why?” Steve asked. “We’re not going to be ready to go into full production for a couple more years. Are you sure it’s wise to get something out so early? Fans won’t like to wait.”

“I have to know if we’re on the right track,” I replied. “If we’re not, I’d like to know sooner rather than later.”

War Room is more than just a pilot episode; it’s a proof of concept. And in this case, a proof of concept that is particularly appropriate because we’ve never done this before. I won’t be so bold as to say no one has ever done this, but we haven’t found anything exactly like it. Also, this project requires us to be competent not just at filmmaking but at making comics as well.

I love trying new things. Someone once told me, “Peter, your problem is you have no aversion to risk.” I don’t think that’s a problem—I think it’s an advantage. I had no trouble jumping into this Chaldea project with both feet and didn’t hesitate for an instant to drop some serious cash into making this film.

But tackling Chaldea will be like a long and epic voyage across a mighty sea. I agree I have a low aversion to risk, but it’s just plain stupid to launch a new ship into the ocean without sailing it up and down the coast a few times first.

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Origins & Roots

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Chaldea began as a roleplaying game world back around 1981. I started playing Dungeons & Dragons® in 1978, and it wasn’t long before I graduated from playing to GM’ing. I never was a fan of the published adventure modules—instead, I went straight to building my own worlds and creating my own adventures.

During the 35 years since I began working on Chaldea, I’ve always been inspired by real-world history, especially military history. Chaldea’s story begins with the death of Kordaava, the emperor of the known world, a story inspired by the real-world tale of Alexander the Great: a warrior-king who conquered all in his path, built an empire, but then died without a clear line of succession. In our world, Kordaava is that warrior-king, adapted to fantasy by making him a demigod of Set. And our story opens with Kordaava’s assassination.

Another significant influence for me was real-world mythologies. Like most men, I imagine, the legends of the Norse gods gets my testosterone flowing. But I’ve always been interested in the Middle Eastern pantheons as well, especially the Sumerians and the Babylonians. In my D&D games, I would sometimes throw in some lesser-known Canaanite or Hittite deities just for good measure. In Chaldea, I lean heavily on these real-world mythologies. In the cosmos of Chaldea, instead of all these pantheons coming from the same world—Earth—each pantheon is instead a group of deities from a different world. The Egyptian gods are from a world inspired by ancient Egypt, the Greek gods come from a world inspired by ancient Greece, and so on. Read More

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