• Welcome to the Fantasy Writing Forums. Register Now to join us!

Dwarven Techno-Scorcery!

Alarming, innit?

Anyways, the focus of this particular thread is the attempt of possibly creating a world that really nothing short of an 80's and 90's Saturday morning cartoon. Something I've been playing with for a rewrite of a story (if it could be called that) created back when I was still a teen. Also the sort of probably power fantasy that you listen to the likes of Gloryhammer, Songhammer and various other metal songs of their like to really drive it home. Still being a fantasy sort of world, with very mixed tech, magic and the kitchen sink likely thrown in or being thrown at some baddie because it was available.

Things would obviously not be entirely what ends up listed as a standard fantasy world, possibly more science fantasy. Hence the title, one of the biggest things to stick out for me was what would make dwarves stick out? Give 'em tech magic and take the forging abilities to the limit in a fairly high magic world. Elves all but impossible to find, but having advanced city states surrounded by forests filled with incredibly deadly plants and animals. Humans in a variety sort of ecosystems supremely themed with elements and all that. Dinosaurs of the classic mold to really invoke the classics, with maybe some modern versions popping in and out. Mostly because I feel modern pterasaurs are far freakier then all but the oldest versions of them and others can get very weird. Alongside with the standard roster of monsters and the like.

Of course there are ancient things, dragons and Atlantis, really everything shows up it seems. Giant mecha? Why not? Triceratops with archers on top? Yes. Cyborg wizards with hit squads of raptors? Sure. Flying knights? Yup. It did basically start as a 'why not throw everything in' sort of world anyways. So thus, maybe trying to make it work is the other thing.

Then the Dark Lord and the usual suspects with him, along with the line up of lieutenants and commanders. Feasible? Possibly, but could take a lot of wrangling. Still sounds kind of fun as an idea, but maybe a little hard to build an actual story out of it. Especially given how wacky and insane cartoon plots of those times could go. Thoughts, general wtfery? Wondering what I've been drinking (Mostly Mountain Dew). Anyways, that's the long form.


Dwarven tech + Giant mecha = perfect match. I like it, it all makes sense.

I immediately thought of Dwarven tech vs Goblin tech but probably unrelated.


Myth Weaver
Yeah...but what were you putting in that mountain dew?

Just thinking back, but the only cartoons I recall from the 80's is He-man and Gi-Joe. 90's, I think that was sponge bob and power puff girls, and of course, Samurai Jack (which kind of has all of this actually, minus the dwarves).

Is that what you are thinking on?

The dont see having any issues with the creativity, but to have the cartoon feel, you may have to show a lot of things blowing up, but the baddies escaping just in time. And it might not hurt to have a dark lord type waving his fist to the sky, screaming 'Next Time!'.

What do you anticipate the issues being?
Being a child of the 90's, most my shows were quite a bit more coherent, with Beast Wars and the like. Power Rangers ever the stand out with all over plots. Also the Turtles. But yeah, thinking a bit of He Man aesthetic and the like. Maybe going all the way back to Thundaar and those sorts of not quite sword and sorcery. I do remember Samurai Jack (Still got to check out the creators new Primal show) quite well.

I think my biggest issue is trying not to try to subvert the absurdity of it all. Thought of also going a bit darker with it, with it being more or less a power fantasy and all. Give an inexperienced person all the power and say their the chosen one and everything they do is seen as right? Because when originally writing it, or more comic panelling it out way back when, it definitely tried to be a bit edgy and also pull of super saiyan stuff with power levels and dragon lords and mobile fortresses made by dwarfs.

Playing it relatively straight is likely to be the hardest thing. Granted I'm sure most of us have our own particular oddities in our world's built. Though also outlining just basic plots outside of the usual portal start into it. Suppose slice of life might also work.


Absurdity is an aesthetic.

As absurd as the world is it is still home to those who live there and how things are is just the way things work. You can still explore the relationship between an abusive mother and her daughters when one of the daughrers is a cat lady, the other has a magic sword that turns her into a seven foot tall warrior lady and the mother is a masked shadow witch. Or you can have a character with a disability that needs to be regularly managed through medication only the disability is a curse that turns her into a giant owl monster.

Now, to say that the absurd world is still home to those who live there is not advocating for excessive grim darkness due to having characters react 'realistically' to what happens. Frankly that negates one of the big advantages of the absurd.

We have certain... expectations in both tone and substance when we go into a story. What's your mental image when a book starts out with a fleet of ships bombarding an alien world? Do you think Star Wars? Star Trek? One of the other Stars, hmm?

The absurd, particularly starting out, allows us to break those expectations. That fleet consists of ships made up of green living wood and is crewed by Elves. The alien world is infested by spider demons complete with massive webs reaching across mountains. Its lowest reaches connect to the Abyss itself.

This helps prime people to accept things at face value more readily.

Harry Potrer is a setting where a cat can turn into a witch, an old man can flick a lighter to extinguish street lamps and a very large man can arrive on a flying motorcycle to deliver a baby. That's all just in the first chapter! Sure, some of that is tonal. Similar to Alice it's a child's petspective of the absurdity of the world of adults which is why the world building breaks down a bit as Harry himself grows older, buuuuuuut that's only part of it. Frankly we don't need to know why flicking a wand in a certain way and saying some faux latin produces a specific effect (despite most of the books taking place at a school for magic) because the world is absurd enough that we take the idea that it works at face value.

Next, a second use for the absurd, or even the fantastical, is to provide an emotional buffer to help tackle topics that might hit too close to home. Disney is great at this. Generational trauma? Have it star a family with magic powers where the cracks in the family become literal cracks in their magic house. Racism and bias? Well a city full of cartoon animals is a classic. What to do as you face your twilight years and your loved ones have all passed on? Well why not dress up a lesson in forming new bonds and taking joy in the sight of those with their entite life ahead of them by including an adventure featuring a talking dog, a rare bird and a truly ridiculous number of balloons.

Now... to be fair as glorified toy commercials you're not likely to see a lot of that in an 80's inspired setting, but the option is still there.