Building the lore (Part I)
When I started to think about becoming a miniatures designer, I had in front of me two possible choices: to design alternative versions of miniatures of other companies (you know, alternative Warhammer characters and so on) or to try to make something more original. I used the italic format to write "original" because I think that originality is such a complex concept and doesn't mean only "something that nobody has ever seen before". There are plenty of artists and companies that, despite starting from concepts made originally by others, manage to create unique sculptures full of character and artistic value and I'd dare to say that it's really rare to find a concept 100% unique: my miniatures make no exception, of course, because inside them there are plenty of contaminations of artists that I admire and that carved their influence into my own mind and creative vision. So I don't want to say that I wanted to make something original, with a kind of hipster attitude like "oh, my characters are so unique and original!", not at all: I just felt to have a story of mine that I would love to share with others not only with miniatures but also with proper novels and other media!
Compared to designing alternative versions of already existent characters, the road I wanted to travel with my miniatures is for sure riskier and longer, but I'm sure that it's worth the effort: building an interesting fantasy universe is not easy at all, but if I like the idea that behind all the minis that I make, there is a story to tell, and with this blog post I wanted to start to narrate you the world I'm building since I've started to design my own miniatures range.
Inneath, the shattered world
I started to write the lore when Games Workshop decided to destroy the Old World, a scar that still burns on my skin and that I'm not sure will ever heal (omg, this could be a perfect Evanescence's line!): at that time I was so pissed off that I decided to create my own fantasy universe (With blackjack! And hookers! cit.), starting from that background: one day, the world collapsed destroying almost everything. That world is called Inneath, a word that has no particular meaning, I just tried to imagine a name that could sound cool enough, like Hyrule.
We still don't know exactly what caused the great calamity that tore Inneath apart: I've decided to narrate the lore through the eyes of a fictional character of the Second Government (Inigo da Lucci!), so I like that you, the readers, will find out more about all the mysteries of the many stories of Inneath as you are as you were part of the world itself!
The narrator is not omniscient, so it would be fun to slowly dive into the abyss of Inneath without exactly know what you are getting into. Moreover, Inigo is a Second Government old ambassador, former Bluecoat, so despite he truly lived so many adventures and saw so many places, peoples and weird creatures, you will see Inneath through the eyes of a Second Government character: expect then, for example, to see the Second Government described way different than the other nations, and you can't say if what you're reading can be considered 100% objective, or influenced by the personal bias of the author.
It would be incredibly funny to write about Elves, because, at the eyes of an average citizen of the Second Government, they are like aliens for us: there is no clear evidence of their existence, and the whole "Elves topic" is handled by average people with diffidence, superstition and also with a strong conspiracy thinking attitude!
So, I was saying: Inneath.
We can say that there are two of them: the Inneath before the great calamity and the Inneath after the great calamity.
We (and so you) know little of the world before the calamity: we only know that, once upon a time, there was a huge continent surrounded by seas, where the ancestors of Dwarves, Humans, Orcs and (who knows?), Elves lived. It is said that ancient civilizations flourished with magic and they were more advanced than nowadays.
When the cataclysm hit the world, the original continent was shattered into infinite islands and among the many nations and peoples of the past, only a few managed to survive. The magic, once abundant and relatively cheap (the Ministry of Recovery found ancient magic artefacts clearly designed for everyday life, so modern scholars are confident to say that magic was a source of common use), suddenly disappeared and only in recent times we discovered where the magic went and what happened to it (if you want to know more, read the books :D).
The survivors of the apocalypse had then to build their lives from scratches, and only after centuries, we can say that new nations rose from the debris of the past.
As you may imagine, the new civilizations were far by being advanced like the previous ones: the vast majority of knowledge and technology went lost, like the memory itself of the world before the calamity. But mortals being are stubborn and voraciously ambitious, so slowly but relentlessly, they built again the foundations of new societies and nations in a world deeply changed.
The Second Government of Inneath
Inside "Peoples of Inneath Vol. II", you will find out plenty of information about the history of the biggest nation of Inneath. I won't spoil you the story, of course, but I wanted to take a risk and bring some reality into my fictional fantasy universe.
In Inneath, we find the same nations and names of our world: imagine its story like an alternative universe of our own: something is there like we all know, something is there, but with other shapes and script.
I deeply thought about whether to insert real names and places in my story, because I feared that something could appear controversial to the readers, but in the end, I decided to go for it and see what will happen!
The Second Government of Inneath has been founded by Napoleon Bonaparte. Or better, an alternative version of an alternative universe, of Napoleone Bonaparte!
After a long, troubled and bloody war that saw France, Britain, Spain and even Venice, Florence and Rome (and Orcs!) fight each other, a new bright nation born like a phoenix from ashes!
I know, it sounds crazy, but I suggest you to give a chance to it: there is plenty of funny patriotism and twists and turns, and I'm sure that after that you won't see the Second Government range as an average collection of miniatures, but something that might relate directly with your ancestors!
The Second Government, in fact, is a nation that contains nowadays thousands of islands once belonged to the fictional versions of our countries, just like a brutal, disciplined, militarized EU.
Inside the Second Government troops, in fact, we can see men and women belonging to islands once under the control of France, or Spain, or the Italian municipalities and despite they are now proud citizens of the nation (the present of the lore is set 88 years after the Second Government foundation), they maintain some traditions and costumes of their ancient roots: the first garrison of the Bluecoats, for example, was founded in Venice and unlike the other Bluecoat troops, they wear orange/gree uniforms and have in their banners the winged lion, a traditional symbol of Venice!
The whole Second Government lore has been written to create a link with your own history, despite, obviously, names apart we are talking about a way different story.
What the Second Government is?
As you will see, despite described through the eyes of a patriotic citizen, the brighter a light is, the darker the shadows cast by it are, and the Second Government makes no exception: despite the original ambition of Napoleone and the SG founders, that wanted to create a nation able to unify the mankind under a single flag and bring it to a bright future, are still pursued with passion and true devotion, there are plenty of shadows that surround it.
The Ministry of Recovery or the M.A.S.K are a clear example of what I'm talking about: officially founded to study and recover the lost knowledge of the past and unveil the mystery of the Inneath before the calamity, these two ministries are nothing but ruthless and well-organized machines, constantly in the march to claim the resources of the earth, starting with raw magic, and to annihilate the enemies of the nation, no matter how.
The Second Government imperialism is a fact, and since the discovery of magic sources, I fear that their behaviour has become more and more evident, generating more of a concern in the other nations of Inneath.
Magic, indeed, it's the keyword of the lore, but not as you may expect it: after the calamity, everybody thought that magic was simply disappeared from the world, and in fact it really seemed so. It's only in relatively recent times that the peoples of Inneath discovered what happened to it: magic has been swallowed by the earth itself, and now it lies underground, like a muddy chemical substance.
Imagine it like a mix between oil and atomic energy. Raw magic, at its state, is almost useless: technically, there is a way to use it to cast spells, but sorcery is a kind of forgotten art and only Elves have the knowledge to use it pure, like a magical source.
The Guilds of Zorn Uzul, however, found out a way to alchemically manipulate the raw magic, with a highly engineered process that is able to transform raw magic into a proper source of energy, able to activate magical artefacts or to work as our electric energy.
As you can imagine, such a rare resource is fiercely contested by the nations of Inneath and the Second Government is in the first row of disputes, concerning this amazing source of power!
However, the exploitation of raw magic has started to expose some unprevented side-effect: it seems, in fact, that it is not healthy at all to deal with raw magic and workers of the alchemical industries (and even people that live nearby) have started losing their health, if not their lives.
Considering the incredible economic value of the magic business, the authorities are not excited to investigate about it, and at the moment they prefer to lie to the population, covering as much as possible this controversial situation.
As you may see, everybody has a skeleton in the closet and the Second Government possibly keep a whole collection of them!
THE PAST, THE PRESENT, THE FUTURE
So, here are some hints about what you can find inside "Peoples of Inneath, Vol. II".
Of course, if you haven't read "Peoples of Inneath, Vol. I", dedicated to the Dwarves of Kazhuk Izril, you can give it a look with the digital version that I put today in the store: a very cheap way to start to learn about the fantasy universe I'm building (and a way to support me in this journey!).
My intention is to write the foundations of the lore with this series of novels, each of them dedicated to the 5 main ranges that I've designed (or I will design!): Dwarves, Second Government, Elves, Orcs and Necromancers. As written at the beginning of this post, it is not easy at all to create a brand new story, but I'm so happy with how it's coming out!
I take advantage of these lines to thank again my friends Davide, who made amazing illustrations for these booklets, Luca, Francesco and Paul Bullock that worked on a proper English translation of them!
In fact, not being able to directly write in proper English is a big obstacle for me, I would publish more stories about the lore I've in mind, but I can't complain too much about it, after all.
I hope you may give a chance to my creations and, above all, that you enjoy the reading!