Sunday, July 13, 2008

Revelations Of Zob

Ok, a brief summary of what Zob is... Zob is the evil twin brother of the main character Hob Bob and main villian of my in progress illustrated fantasy book, currently without a name but which I simply refer to as Hob Bob. The story will branch out in a lot of different ways but the basic plot is a traditional good vs evil save the world from destruction sort of thing. The following is just a bit of brain storming conceptual text to help me define who Zob is prior to his attempt to rule the world with monsters and magic.

Zob lives in the scattered ruins of an old stinking swamp. The architecture is from long before, a society of lost inhabitants who had a passion for dark magic, as can be seen in the disturbing and grotesque carvings in the black stones and remaining monstrous sculptures largely hidden beneath the swamp muck. Some of the half sunken ruins are used to keep a large zoo of strange animals collected by Zob. Others are a zoo of a different kind, prisons keeping uncontrollable summons and ancient monsters dug out of the marsh lands too dangerous to keep among the average beast. There is a tall column that extends hundreds of feet up at a slightly crooked angle, at the top is a nest of wretched vulture like bats with spider like limbs. They hang their half eaten meals in intricate webs that they stretch across the ancient architecture. A large tower at the center of the swamp contains a long spiral staircase leading up to the giant skull of a monster. Its eye sockets function as large windows and its mouth is like a balcony from which Zob can see his wicked swamplands. At the bottom of the spiral staircase is a large stone structure where Zob keeps his unusual collection of specimens in jars, necromantic literature and related paraphanelia. A unique species of glowing insects that resemble tiny skulls with horns and bat wings, the result of a failed experiment, light up the swamps. They gather in large numbers around Zob's giant monster skull laboratory, making it appear to glow through out the swamplands. A giant black centipede can sometimes be seen coiled around Zob's tower where it is fed still breathing gogits out the window of the laboratory.

A large hideous beast partly resembling a crab has a ferry like boat strapped to its shell which taxies Zob around the various structures in the swamp and to an old wooden pier that connects to a maze like path towards dry land. Another secret path that leads to his lair can be reached from a small island in the swamp where the rare visitors come by boat. There is a large rusty gate entrance on the small island where an unseen gurgling voice asks a question. If correct, the visitor is allowed through the entrance and onto a quick rising bridge of rocks across the swamp. If answered wrong the visitor discovers the origins of the gurgling voice that begins laughing a horrible nightmarish laugh as the small island rises up, revealing it to be the backside of a large spider monster that eats the visitor.

Surrounding the swamp are dozens of incredibly old trees in the shape of hands with fingers positioned to represent different powerful symbols. This creates a dark sphere of evil energies that turn the stinking swamp gas into grotesque illusions to ward off unwanted visitors and is useful for experiments carried out in the monster skull lab. Zob sets traps high in the stormy sky with hot air balloons made from the flesh of rigabecks, a species of flying octopus like animals. The balloons are attached to rusty cages with rotten meat inside. The traps are used to catch giant gogamecks that Zob likes to keep as pets. Each one appears completely unique from the other apart from their distinctive wings and tails.

The swamp is filled with Zob's deformed experiments. Small camps have been built around the surrounding marshlands, places where some of Zob's experiments have taken refuge against the more aggressive things inside the swamps. These groups of bandits go out and steal the raw materials needed for experiments, food and other resources for Zob in exchange for small measures of safety in the marshlands. Some of the bandits use gecko like creatures to travel out of the marshes that allow them to sneak up walls, under carriages and other hard to reach places.

Zob was given a black witches egg in exchange for exterminating unwanted pests in the city of witches. After spending countless hours trying to hatch the egg and feeling cheated, Zob tossed the egg from his laboratory window. But unknown to Zob, his giant centipede pet began sleeping on the egg, providing the needed environment for it to hatch. The egg hatched releasing a giant abomination that was too violent to keep alive. Zob's horde of bandits united to defeat the monster, with the help of Zob's collection of ancient weapons. Its giant remains festered and fed the swamp beasts, the skeleton of the giant adding to the unsettling architectural landscape in the swamplands of Zob.

11 comments:

Human Mollusk said...

Fantastic ideas, Aeron! If you ever are on the lookout for someone to ink your designs, let me know.
Also, your world would be awesome
as an environment in a computergame, where you could wander around and explore.

Luke Pski said...

I was just going to say: This would be the best video game ever..

Aeron said...

Thanks guys, and yes this would be one killer videogame. I've had this weird idea about the future of story telling involving a sort of videogame world medium. I imagine in 20 or less years photoshop and 3D gaming design programs like Maya "a powerful, integrated 3D modeling, animation, effects, and rendering solution based on an open architecture" will have advanced to a point where you can simply draw something on a wacom tablet, drop it into a 3D gaming world and set artificial intelligence parameters then turn it loose in some fantasy world made up entirely of your own artwork.

The idea of having an awesome idea in your head and being able to visualize it in real time in a virtual space in front of you and watch it play out fully animated... I can only imagine the amazing and fantastic narratives that will grow from technology like that.

I feel like someone dreaming about photoshop in the 1960's, ha.

Aeron said...

Also, I know implementing artificial intelligence is the most difficult thing for game developers to do. I don't know how realistic it could ever be, but some sort of stream lined interface that lets you check off a wide range of emotional boundaries, personality types, weird habits, objectives, all relative to what is in the space of the fantasy world you've already built up could at least make it seem real enough.

Luke Pski said...

Technology like that would be incredible..We could each have our own corners and access one anothers worlds through secret doorways...

Sean Goblin said...

I love the black witch's egg concept, i can't remember where i was reading about witches eggs... but...

Aeron said...

I think the first place I heard of the idea of a witch egg was in the lyrics of a song sung by the queen in Forbidden Zone. It probably goes back to the middle ages where people probably thought a woman born from an egg was a witch? It's an awesome and insane idea. I guess some sort of demon would shit the egg out, heh.

Paleo said...

I don't particularly care for videogames, but i could see how it could work.
The thing with a story as fun and insanely/organically detailed as this its that it could work in any medium,it will be PERFECT as comics, but also it would very obviously be a killer animation movie or series,also puppets, shadow plays,and as a prog rock concept album, also give it a couple of centuries and mutants will gather around the fire to hear it.

Aeron said...

My goal is to just pack in as much detail as possible so the fantasy world feels as fully realized as can be done across a one thousand page something illustrated book. It's getting tricky trying to work out how to make all these random characters and places into the main plot. The Hob vs Zob plotline will become more of a bookend story that happens at the start, middle and end. The real meat of the book will be Hob's head and body exploring in their own way the fantasy world while Zob goes about destroying it. Zob will probably come across as some kind of horrible id let loose on the world.

Anyway, I've got these really funny situations worked out, for example, Hob's body and a fellow traveler happen across a large bush from which a bunch of small dog like creatures with human heads leap out and attack them. Hob's friend kicks one causing it to yelp which brings out the giant mother of the human headed dog things chasing off Hob and friend. The scene ends with the weird mother creature licking the fallen baby dog thing while the rest are hiding in the bush and all you see are their frightened eyes. It might come across as cruel but it plays out pretty damn funny in my head.

Human Mollusk said...

Have you ever read any of the Donjon series by Sfar and Trondheim (and Larcenet and Blutch). Despite its cartooniness I think you would quite enjoy it.

Aeron said...

I've been meaning to look into some Trondheim stuff for awhile, just haven't gotten around to it. There was a preview of something of his on the tcj board involving I think dungeons and monsters that looked really interesting.