EndWorld Everlasting...A game for the dead. Spend life eternal in a Fantasy world of swords and magic, monsters and quests.
In this post, I will provide a little explanation as to why I decided to write my first series as a Dark Fantasy LitRPG. A Battle Mage Reborn, as a series, is Denton's journey of coming to terms with his death. That's a pretty heavy subject, one that is a little more complex because he never wanted to be uploaded to this digital afterlife. At least, not as far as he can remember.
You see, EndWorld Everlasting is a game-based Fantasy world. A game for the dead. But what does that mean for my characters, and why did I find this theme so important? Keep reading to find out more.
I am a child of 1980. This means that I grew up having one foot firmly planted in the analog world, but the other stepped into the budding digital age of Atari and Nintendo and the first home computers.
I remember the era when kids would place their quarters on the arcade screen to mark their place in line. I remember computers before Windows, navigating the MS-DOS menu, and playing Rogue -- blipping my little golden yellow smiley face through dungeons for hours on end. I remember loving when we got to go to the computer lab at school to practice our typing, spelling, math, and got to play The Oregon Trail on those green screen Apple monitors.
In high school, before the Internet really took off, I would use my modem to call in and log onto Bulletin Board Systems (BBSs), where I would chat for hours with strangers in different chat-based forums. I uploaded copies of my poetry to a BBS called LowerLights, and my future wife found them and read them well before we met.
You see, gaming and technology and writing have been my passions going back almost as far as I can remember. I wrote my first short story in first grade, which was "published" on the board hanging outside our classroom for the entire school to read. I loved games like Ghostbusters on the Atari, Wolfenstein, Super Mario Bros, Star Fox, Hexen, Unreal Tournament (and 2k3), and so many more. Final Fantasy XI was my first MMO, a Christmas gift from my wife, and I fell in love with gaming all over again.
Become the Hero you always wanted to be.Conquer your enemies and forge new friendships. Rise up and leave your mark on distant lands.
Before we can dive too deeply into the gaming aspects, however, I think it's important to discuss the spiritual ramifications of a digital afterlife. This is vital because, to me, it sets the stage for why EndWorld Everlasting (as a shared world for multiple series) is heavily steeped in Dark Fantasy.
My spiritual journey has always been very important to me. I also really enjoy many aspects of technology and science. My first series, A Battle Mage Reborn, takes this intersection to the very heart of the adventure. The first book, Second Chance, introduces us to the concept of this man-made afterlife, but it also opens some very big questions. Here are just a few:
- What does it mean to be human?
- If you could digitize yourself, would you still have a soul?
- What impact would "unfinished business" have on the mind of the digitized deceased?
Someone once told me that every great story begins with a what-if. I wanted to explore dark realms in LitRPG, and to look into the psychological depths that exist in Dark Fantasy. This intersection of faith and technology was very interesting to me, and so my 'What if...' looked a little something like this:
What if a man with strong spiritual beliefs found himself facing death, but had the option to live forever in a digital world?
That's a pretty complex 'What if...' -- but what if we could take it one step further?
What if that man awoke in the digital world, having not given his consent to be uploaded, but was given a chance to see his family one last time? A chance to say goodbye...
What would you do? For some, this question is easy. If there is no god, no afterlife, just death... Well, in that case, this would be a boon. But what if you believed? What if you had believed in God, in heaven, and in the idea that there is somehow more to us than just flesh and bone -- and what if you had believed this for all of your life? What crisis of faith would you be forced to face?
That is the very crossroads that Denton, our main character, finds himself facing. On top of that, he's never really given an opportunity to stop and grieve. Everything happens so fast, and then before he knows it he's caught up in this immersive adventure gaming experience that's almost altogether overwhelming at times.
One thing to note about Denton is that he's not just some bible-thumping Cleric. That would have been too brazen, and it doesn't fit his personality at all. He barely has a grip on his own spritual situation, so he isn't about to go prosthletizing to the masses. Furthermore, everyone else (as far as he knows) chose to have their consciousness uploaded into EndWorld Everlasting. These are people who turned their back on the concept of faith, who chose a guarantee over belief. There's just no room for any of that in Denton's story. He's a normal guy, not some zealot.
In a world of swords and magic, gods and ghastly horrors, and everything in between, Denton is just a man on a journey. That is all.
Dark Fantasy creates the perfect space for that journey. Game-inspired fantasy elements help make up a large portion of the worldbuilding. This gives us a gateway into exploring dark magic inside the virtual realm and traveling the road of quest-driven storytelling. I have strived to use immersive storytelling techniques to weave Denton's story through the tapestry of EndWorld Everlasting, to give him space to exist while he tries to make sense of game mechanics and group dynamics within his budding party.
Each character has their own story. They had their own lives before they died, they had their unique tutorial experience, and then there's everything they've encountered since entering the world. Ely, for example, managed to lose almost everything in the game prior to meeting Denton. Raven has trust issues, Attia is carrying her own dark burden and looking for answers, and Pops was similarly betrayed by his party in the Frostwind Mountains. And yet, somehow, this ragtag group of adventures come together to save Fort Morrow from an impossible threat. A threat that still looms in subsequent books in the series.
Why did I create a Dark Fantasy LitRPG world?
Because I love gaming and I love writing. I love the idea of tackling deep questions that stir deep within the human psyche. What does it mean to be human? If someone could guarantee that you could live forever in a video game world, would you take that chance? If you did, would you really be you, or would you be a program that was written based on the cumulative traits of who you are as a being? And if you weren't you, would you even know the difference?
If you would like to know more about EndWorld Everlasting, you can check out this post: Why is EndWorld Everlasting so Secretive? Or start reading Second Chance, Book 1 of A Battle Mage Reborn, today. (Also available in audiobook via Audible, here.)