…but it looked so cuuuuuute
Return Of The Dociverse: 21st Century Update
Ok, so after a few months off, I’m getting back to this piece of writing/world building. I’ll start off by reprinting everything I wrote in the first three posts. New content will start appearing tonight.
For those of you who are uninitiated to it, the Dociverse is what I call the universe in which all of my roleplaying games and much of my fiction take place. I first started writing about it way back in 1990 in the pages of Alarums & Excursions, in which I did a timeline detailing its history. Just about every fictional/historical character/genre that I liked found it’s way into the Dociverse. The great pulp heroes, toons, supernatural creatures, steampulp, fantasy, sci-fi…they were all there. Perhaps the biggest influence was the Wild Cards universe featured in the series of shared world novels. Indeed, several variations of the Wild Card xenovirus were responsible for why the world was so jam packed with strangeness (except for the toons, who were no doubt drawn here from the Tooniverse by that omnipresent strangeness).
Without going into great detail, a timeline of the 1990-2004 Dociverse would look like this…(and yes, I know this differs from what I wrote in A&E in 1990)
Up to about 1710: Normal world history
1710: First Takisian xenovirus creates supernatural creatures
1780: Second Takisian xenovirus mutates some humans so that their children will be superior to normal humans, yet not have superhuman powers). This is my take on the Wold Newton Family/Universe.
1850: Third Takisian xenovirus creates what we would call Weird Scientists. The age of Steampulp is soon born.
1928: A rift between dimensions is opened and Toontown springs into being.
1948: The Fourth and final Takisian xenovirus creates the Wild Card mutations.
2254 (approx.): Something happens to the Magic/Tech balance of the world and technology becomes virtually impossible. Magic increases. Dawn of the Fantasy Dociverse.
And so, with ongoing tweaks and additions, went the Dociverse until the summer of 2004. It was during the drive home from GenCon (and our 50% Vacation From Hell) on Route 66 that I decided that the Dociverse needed to be divided into at least two separate, but connected universes. The influence of the Wild Cards series would still be fairly strong, but a much stronger fictional influence had occurred to me and was, on that long and fun drive, incorporated as the main shaping influence for the new improved Dociverses.
See, on the trip, Grace and I had been reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix to each other as we drove. I think I was driving through the Texas Panhandle (and Grace was napping) when it struck me that J.K. Rowlings wizarding world could solve a whole bunch of my Dociverse problems.
Another thing that inspired me to update the Dociverse was the release of the Sixguns & Sorcery supplement for Castle Falkenstein. Admittedly, much of it’s attraction has to do with a Native Californians belief that the world would be a better place if the Bear Flag Empire of California did exist, but the whole idea of North America being divided into several countries also has a big roleplaying attraction.
So, in the new improved Dociverse, the Bear Flag Empire exists…along with the Republic of Texas, the Native Nations Union, Canada, French Canada and The United States of America. Relations between these countries range from very friendly (California, Texas and the NNU) to cordial (Texas and the USA) to businesslike (NNU and the USA) to strained (Canada and French Canada, California and the USA).
The rest of the world is also a bit different from our own. Germany is larger, as are France, Portugal and the British Empire. South America is laid out a bit differently and Mexico doesn’t exist because it was absorbed into California and Texas.
This is where I point out that while the Potterverse brings a great many attractive things to my world creating table, it is still not without it’s flaws. First off, the whole Faery Realm is barely touched on. Demons? Hardly a word. Really ass kicking bad guys other than Voldemort? Few. The whole ignorance about how the Muggle world works thing? Pretty hard to swallow.
Fortunately, there is another wizarding world in print that, properly mixed with the Potterverse, gives me just about exactly what I’m looking for in a modern day magical realm. And it has a Harry, too.
Of course, I speak of the Dresden Files series. It is, in some ways, kind of like a Harry Potter Grows Up series, but with a much harder edge and a more fully realized (and yes, fully Americanized) world. In Dresden’s wizarding world, Voldemort would be about 2 steps up from a street punk and if the White Council didn’t catch him, you can bet someone from the Black Council/Faery Realm/Vampire Courts would soon make him their bitch. And speaking of the White Council, if they catch a wizard screwing up, they don’t send him to no steenking Azkaban prison…nope, they cut his fuckin’ head off!
So anyway, the wizarding/magical/monster aspect of the new improved Dociverse is damned near equal parts Potter and Dresden. A more detailed description will be posted soon.