Another New Series
This article marks the first of (hopefully) many articles in a new series called It’s the Little Things That Count. To read more about what this series is all about, check out the series’ hub to learn more about it.
This week’s tasty morsel to add to your settings is a memorial (as if you couldn’t tell from the title). Memorials are a great tidbit to add, since they add flavor and history to your setting. What they commemorate gives a bit of history and how/what it commemorates and how it looks help to add flavor to the setting. We’ll go over how you can use them to describe the history of the setting and what you can do to add extra flavor to fit your setting.
The very fact that a memorial commemorates something lets players know that something happened in the past, since memorials are there as a reminder of such things. Remember, though, that memorials don’t need to commemorate the lives lost in a war; they can be there to help people remember any major event. A celestial event that caused major changes to the world, for example.
The memorial itself need not be directly man-made (or made by any other race for that matter), if what it commemorates left a very visible mark on the world. Most likely, the people, if they actually wanted to commemorate the event, they would at least put up a sign that explains what happened there.
As an example, say a tsunami wiped out a large chunk of a population and caused a sinkhole, both of which ended up killing many people. To commemorate those that died (and/or maybe as a reminder on how to avoid the same thing happening again), the people fence off the sinkhole and put up a sign listing all those that died.
You can often tell a bit about a culture when you study their memorials. Simply putting up a memorial means the people put at least some stock in what happened in the past and trying to learn from it (probably). A war memorial that lists the names of the dead usually shows that people believe that every individual has worth.
What the memorial commemorates is very telling, too. A memorial listing the championships of a sport shows that those people care about their sports. Religious ‘tourist sites’ show how people care about the history of their religion.
In addition to what is commemorated, how it’s commemorated can add flavor, too. Going back to a war memorial, if it depicts a large clash of armies and makes the killing of the enemies seem glorious, then it shows that their culture glorifies either victory, prowess, or even just war itself. It may also simply be showing how much that specific enemy was hated.
Lastly, noting how a memorial looks can show what the people care about. Is the memorial placed in a notable place, like the center of a courtyard? Does the memorial get taken care of, or do people not care about it anymore? What does the memorial depict? There is so much that can be done with memorials to add flavor.
As you can see, memorials can be used to add a fair amount to a setting. I can tell you that there are already several memorials in the setting that Delos and I are putting together. Many aren’t true memorials, since they’re mostly named landmarks that show off past events, but as I stated earlier, these can be used as memorials as well.
Got anything to add? Just add it in the comments below.
As a bonus for reading this far, I’ll tell you guys about a memorial that Delos and I have put into our setting so far. It’s called the Tree of Daeron or Giver of Life. It’s a large 100 ft tree that bears the likeness of an elf with ram horns and other animal features. Before, the elves were like typical elves, living long lives. There was no arcane magic, but many elves knew how to wield a primal magic. Something happened (that I will not divulge here) that caused the elves to become infected, removing their long lifespans from them. Some elf shamans were able to figure out how to use primal magic to extend their own lives to its normal span, but at a great cost (also not being divulged). Not all elves were capable of working with primal magic, though, so Daeron fused a huge amount of primal energy with himself and became the Tree of Daeron. It bears a fruit that makes it so that any elf who eats of it can use primal magic, and therefore extend their life.
Again, we’d like know what you think. Just drop a comment.
Thanks for reading and please come back any time.