5 Authors That Influenced Ingenium
When I first put pen to paper in 1999 to begin creating Ingenium’s world of Eiridia, I was a voracious reader. The Web was not as pervasive as it is today, and instead of consuming blogs every day, I would read novels.
Two authors influenced those early days of Eiridia, and three more later proved highly inspirational.
1. Mercedes Lackey
The first of these was Mercedes Lackey. She’s not as well known as the other four that I’ll mention in this post, but she had a major impact on how Eiridia evolved. Her stories of Valdemar sparked my imagination. It was the first time I’d read of mages with the power to shape worlds.
Her concept of supernatural “Gifts” granted seemingly at random to people all over the kingdoms later translated into the Talents of the Ingenium system. Gryphons, which figured prominently in several of the Valdemar novels, also figure prominently in Eiridia.
2. J.R.R. Tolkien
The second of the earliest influences on Eiridia was J.R.R. Tolkien. I read the Hobbit in middle school and Lord of the Rings in high school. His flowing descriptions of the strange lands of Middle Earth fascinated me. I wanted to capture some of that magic in my own writing. Back then, I didn’t come close. However, as the years passed and I grew as a writer, I started to at least be able to echo some of the essence of Tolkien’s works.
That influence on my writing style came through the strongest in the Gods of Eiridia chapter of Ingenium Second Edition. A few years ago, I started reading the Silmarillion. It’s a difficult book to get through, since it’s not intended to be a story. It’s a collection of notes compiled into a book. Even so, I couldn’t help but love the flowery writing. The Gods of Eiridia’s creation story brings a little of that to Ingenium.
3. Robert E. Howard
In the early 2000s, I first encountered Robert E. Howard’s writing. If you’re not familiar with him, he’s the author of the Conan stories. Howard’s greatest strength as a writer was in his ability to paint a vivid action scene in your mind. He didn’t waste a lot of time setting the scene; the first words of one of his stories invariably involved some action or other, and usually it was something violent.
Despite that, Howard’s setting of Hyborea was a fantastic creation. It drew from myriad cultures of Earth and wove them into a colorful tapestry. It’s the cultural landscape of Hyborea that drove my desire to see a strong diversity of culture in Eiridia.
4. H.P. Lovecraft
I still have not read a single story by H.P. Lovecraft. But the stories of the Elder Evils, their cults, their monstrous followers, and the mysteries surrounding them have become pervasive in our culture. The great old god C’thulhu is everywhere now, and though I haven’t brought him and his ilk into Eiridia, there are creatures and powers like him operating in the shadows.
The first published adventure for Ingenium, A Darkness at Summerfort, has one such story twist to it. Future Ingenium works will undoubtedly feature others. Most will be far beyond the heroes’ power in the early days, but unlike a Lovecraft story, it will be possible for the good guys to carry the day.
5. Raymond E. Feist
The final author who influenced Ingenium the most is Raymond E. Feist. His Magician grabbed my attention and held it for all of its 800+ pages. The story of a young orphan who grew into a mage so powerful he could cross dimensions and bring empires to their knees was exactly the kind of story I wanted to help Ingenium players create.
While there is very little in the way of dimension-hopping in the Ingenium core rules, players can certainly become world-shakingly powerful and shape the destiny of Eiridia. All the tools are there, both literary and mechanical.
What story will you tell? Which authors influence your stories?