Other sites about my books and games

Welcome to my Blog!
Most of my posts will be to do with the books I write, or the games I design. Feel free to stop by my personal web page, or the game company's web sites.

Philip Blood This is a link to my personal web site.

Citadel of Sorcery This is a link to our MMORPG website.

MMO Magic, Inc. This is a link to the game company where I work.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

There is another!

Writing books is my passion, but there is another!  I'm also a game designer by trade, and in recent years I have been the Lead Designer on an upcoming MMO game called Citadel of Sorcery.  When I originally designed CoS I wanted to bring three things together, a massive multi-player computer game, table top gaming and novel quality stories.  This was quite a challenge and while I was working on other games I spent many years figuring out how to try and accomplish this goal.  Citadel of Sorcery was the end result of that labor.

From novels, I wanted to bring the feel of an epic story that involved the entire world in an ongoing struggle.  I wanted players to feel like they were the lead characters in that series of books, and let them change their personal story as they played.  For this I decided that we needed a full planet that moved forward in real time with everything constantly evolving.

From table top games I wanted to tap the feeling of a world that was not a linear cookie cutter story, but could adapt to the player's actions.  I wanted those players to feel that this was their story, different in many ways from any other players that went through the game.  It needed to be personal.

From computer games I wanted to let the computer handle all of the housekeeping, battle calculations, long passages of description replaced with visuals, and I needed it to network millions of players in a world so large that no one could ever see it all.  I wanted another world, a full world, and only a computer could give me that (since space travel to another planet seems a bit far off from now).

Citadel of Sorcery combines all of these things as best as possible to achieve these goals.  In some ways this is not a game.  In fact, I'm a bit worried that it will be perceived as one just because it is on a computer.  It is so much more.  This is not your kid's Playstation or Xbox game, it is not even designed for kids... at all, though they may certainly enjoy it.  This is an adventure on a new planet designed for everyone, young and old.  It is a new place to go where you can get away from the toils of every day life on earth, and experience a new and different world where  you may play yourself, or role play a completely different person.

You can enter a world that is like a multi-novel series of books, but you control the life or the main character in this story.  It is epic, there are plot twists, villains, heroes, dark plots, history to uncover, the future to experience, exploration of old cultures and new, politics, wars, wonderful magic.  Pretty much a full world that unfolds to new things day after day.  We believe this is the future of computer experiences, not just games; this is a living world for you to discover.

Citadel of Sorcery is still under development, but you are welcome to come join into the discussion and follow the progress of this ground breaking experience.  Since I wrote the original design and story, many other talented people have joined the project and put their stamp on this new world.   Visit www.citadelofsorcery.com if you would like to learn more information about this epic project.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Nothing they do MATTERS!

As the title states: 'Nothing they do matters', well, that's the problem I considered when I finished reading one of my favorite fantasy book series, the Belgariad.  The problem, as I saw it, with a prophecy that has to come true, is that no matter what the characters choose to do in the story, does it really matter?  The prophesy says the way it will be, and so it is.  So when I started thinking about prophecies and how they are handled in fantasy, I got the idea for part of the story concept for the NexLord series.

If I was to put a prophecy in a book, how could I have a prophecy that would come true, and still give the characters choice that mattered?  So I tested the theory of self fulfilling prophecy in a table top game.  I wrote a prophecy, gave it to the players, then didn't force it to come true, and yet the players made every bit of it come true.  My conclusion was that when you think you know the future you make the future fit into your belief.

And that took me down the path of belief, and how a person uses a similar process in their belief system.  More than that, I considered how the power of a lot of people believing in the same thing influences others, and reinforces what the group believes.  At that point I applied my 'What if' principal (See Chocolate Manhole Covers in an earlier post) and said, "What if the power of belief could actually make that belief true?  Meaning, the more people that believed in something, the truer it became.

Then, assuming that was true, how would that work with a prophecy?  Once this power became known to people, how would they use it to manipulate the world?  And after a lot of consideration, along came Dark Prophecies, the first book in the NexLord series, and (among other things), my exploration of prophecy and belief as a real system of 'magic'.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Chocolate Manhole Covers

A favorite author of mine, Larry Niven, wrote about one method he uses to comes up with ideas for stories (hence the Chocolate Manhole Cover reference).  It's sort of a 'What if?' philosophy.  You come up with something interesting, but not real, then analyze how that would affect the world if it was actually true.  How would it affect government, crime, relationships, history, laws, etc.

Before I even started work on the story of Cathexis, I thought, "What if there was a very rare metal, one so rare that you could never get more... like it came from a meteor, not from the earth.  And... what if that metal had a unique property?  It could take on a kind of psychic imprint.  In this case, the entire imprint of a person's memories and personality... or multiple people, as long as they kept it in contact with their body for a sufficient length of time.  That was my 'What if?'.  From there I started thinking about what this might mean, to a fantasy world.  After much more thought and many more 'What if' questions and answers, the Ardellen family story was born.

If you read my Cathexis series you will slowly come to realize that everything in the world is driven by this unique property of this strange metal, so rare there were only nineteen known items made from the meteor the blacksmith found.  That was 3,000 years before the story begins, and in that time Cathexis has changed the world forever.

Here is one dictionary's definition of the word Cathexis:

ca·thex·is definition
Pronunciation:  /kə-ˈthek-səs, ka-/
Function: n
pl ca·thex·es ; Pronunciation:  /-ˌsēz/
1 :  investment of mental or emotional energy in a person, object, or idea
2 :  libidinal energy that is either invested or being invested

NexLord Covers

The three books in the NexLord series use images from the story, created within the MMO RPG gaming world on which I am the Lead Designer.  It was fun to setup the scenes from the books in the game world and then screenshot them for the book covers.

The first book cover for Dark Prophecies shows the four friends running the roofs of Strakhelm.  The second cover for Black Chains shows the mysterious attack on Aerin, Phoenix and Ricard at the Inn at Landers.  The third cover for Grim Realities shows the dragon outside the throne room of the Fortress of Fear.

Welcome to my new Blog!

I've been so busy publishing my books and working on my MMORPG game that I haven't had time to setup a Blog, until now!  I'm going to set aside some time now to post some information here now and then.

Right now I'm working on editing the third book of the Cathexis Series, which is four books in total.  The Cathexis series was an interesting experiment in stories for me.  I set out to write two trilogies that co-existed.  They both use the same characters, in the same world at the same time, but the first trilogy goes from book 1 (Necromancer's Dagger) to book 3 (Sorcerer's Ring), where it concludes in a big climax.  The second Trilogy begins in book 2 (Conspirator's Coin) and reaches it's big climax in book 4 (Desecrator's Sword).

The fun is that the reader gets to build to a very large climax... twice, as both book 3 and book 4 reach epic moments that resolve their story trilogy.  I can't tell you what those are or I'd spoil the story, but you do get a double payoff in these books.