TapestrY: Period Pieces

Here’s a link to the previous post in this series: https://thewubbaexperience.wordpress.com/2021/04/06/tapestry-chronicles-of-kythera/

And here’s a close-up of the part of the meme this post will be talking about:

This was the planting of the seed.

So at this time, Colin and I knew the setting we wanted to make. We call it:

“Historical Mytho-Fantasy.”

And it’s, ideally, a world where history, mythology, and fantasy mesh well together.

The problem with this setting though, was that it was about as limited as regular historical period pieces are, and the magical aspects were just added as an extra feature that didn’t find its way into the world well enough.

Sure enough, there were Roman wizards, Gaulish priest-mages, and minotaurs and centaurs. But magic didn’t proliferate into this world as it should have, and other than a few people having access to it, it didn’t effect the day-to-day living of the average citizen in this world.

TapestrY was meant to be a high-magic HMF world, and in my opinion, a world where magic is highly proliferated is a world that should be radically different from the real one due to the amount of spellcasters in the world.

We also had to come up with a name for this game. And we searched and searched, but it seemed every name was taken by someone, somewhere.

Eventually, we decided on TapestrY – the name refers to the “tapestry of time and space, weaving the fates of men and nations.”

We also struggled with some game design problems that plagued us long after this period of designing TapestrY. How to balance the different Attributes? How to balance magic vs non-magic? How would the classes be arranged and built, or done at all?

These were problems we struggled with every Saturday, and sometimes one or two days during the week too. Colin was working whatever job he could get, and I was looking to get into civil service.

At this time, I changed therapists after changing my health insurance. And I met a new therapist who – to put it bluntly – kicked my ass.

He asked me to tell him about myself, and I told him. It’s funny, when he and I visited this session again now in 2021, he said that I sold myself so short, downplaying pretty much everything I had done.

I was the first person in my immediate family to have a Bachelor’s degree. But then, there are millions of people with Bachelor’s degrees. Compared to them, I’m just a minnow in a vast ocean.

I was working on a giant role-playing game, and my therapist, a fifty- or sixty-something year old baby boomer, thought it was cool, he referred to me as an “inventor.” I once told him how impressed one of my other best friend’s family was that I was a game designer, and how surprised I felt and how heartwarming it was, and he said “You’re surprised? I hear ‘inventor’ and immediately think of someone cool, mysterious, and who’s a go-getter. How do you not think that?”

At the time, I just laughed him off. Plenty of people design role-playing games. What made me any more special or different than who I am normally? I told him that most people my age don’t really care about things like that, and he scoffed and said “Bulls*&^!”

He had me put in job applications to major corporations. He had me get interview mentorship at my city’s public library. He put me through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to counter my negative self-talk. And when I looked at it, I realized I had so much self-hate that I’d get a kind of social anxiety at the idea of going to Meetups or bars or events, because I’d think that everyone there would just hate me, would prefer that I not be around, would prefer that I didn’t exist. And a part of me, an insidious and smoldering part of me, believed that that feeling was right.

Did that actually hold up to how people felt? No. If you go to a bar, most people are there drinking or talking to someone and drinking, but otherwise minding their own business. Sometimes, you’ll go to a bar full of racists or something and they probably won’t like you, but most bars are full of decent people just trying to unwind. It’s not that they hate you or hated me: they were minding their own business. I probably didn’t register among their concerns.

But this insidious feeling inside me festered like an infected wound, and colored how I talked to myself, how I viewed myself, and colored how I gauged my place in the world.

Every once in a while, there was a reminder that I was loved and valued. And I knew my brother and mother loved me, and my dad who passed away loved me. But I always ignored these signs. I would think about it for a few minutes, and went back to just straight-up self-hate.

I continued building TapestrY, thinking that this was my ticket to being lovable. If I could be successful with a game, and make it big, so world-endingly big, then no one could hate me. And I would have no reason to hate myself.

I enlisted the help of one of my best friends, Yelena, to help with the history and mythology side of the worldbuilding, since she, like me, was a Bachelor’s in History, but she was way more academic, more knowledgeable, and smarter than me. Seriously, some people think I’m smart, or the smartest person they know, but she’s the smartest person I know, and leagues above me.

I also made a new best friend, whom I nicknamed ‘Clubba,’ who was an artistic genius. I met her in a Facebook group where she made 20-minute sketches of everyone as something cool. She sketched me as a knight wielding a mace, and I might update this post with that sketch if she gives me permission to post it.

Clubba grew to be a friend that I could confide in about anything, and she confided in me about a lot of stuff, too. I would tell her about the scandals and drama that happened in my university. She would tell me about the goings-on in her own country. Heck, she even fully adopted Wubba stuff, hence her accepting the nickname “Clubba.”

Clearly, the seeds of removing my self-hate were being planted. And I had really great friends to help me in that process. But those seeds faced a lot of trials before them.

Tune in next time.

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