I spoke a little previously on my blog about how The Thirteenth Hour came to be, which touched on the inspiration behind The Thirteenth Hour. Today I’d like to dig a little further and share where some of my world-building inspiration came from.
The Thirteenth Hour is set in the Edwardian-inspired city of Chime. Here, the homes are made from brick and brass, the trams and elevators powered by steam, and the street lamps lit up with the silvery-blue magic of aether. But that’s not all that is remarkable about this world. Chime is home to a magical portal that connects to the twelve domains of the gods. These domains are unique in design and are ruled by their own divine being. These gods create mortals who exist in their image; mortals who can freely travel to Chime and the other domains to experience existence in their god’s stead.
While I’d always had a similar idea of magical portals when I was a child, I’ll happily admit that much of my inspiration comes from video games! RPG’s and adventure games are my favourite because they allow me to explore whole new worlds, and nothing quite ignites my passion for world-building like a good video game. Here, I’m going to go over my two biggest gaming influences:
The Elder Scrolls
I’m a massive fan of The Elder Scrolls series. My entrance into this sprawling saga began with Morrowind, and then I played Oblivion so much, my disc snapped in half. Skyrim is one of my favourite games of all time and I regularly go back to modding my own custom experience and characters via my gaming PC, though lately I’ve been spending my spare time playing The Elder Scrolls Online. While I also love Bethesda’s Fallout series, The Elder Scrolls will always have a special place in my heart.
Much of the inspiration behind the cruel gods of The Thirteenth Hour, as well as their domains, comes from the Daedric Princes of The Elder Scrolls. These Princes are gods who rule their own plane of Oblivion, magical dimensions that they can manipulate according to their whims. The Princes are generally trapped in their own domains but like to interfere with mortal lives. Some Princes are more evil than others, though they are all known for their specific attributes, such as Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of madness. Throughout The Elder Scrolls series, you’ll come across shrines and quests dedicated to each of the Daedric Princes, and may even be able to enter their own crazy domains! One thing is for sure; Daedric Princes are not to be trifled with.
While every-day citizens in The Elder Scrolls world can pick a Daedric Prince to worship as they wish in the hope of receiving blessings and boons, in The Thirteenth Hour, mortals are bound to their specific patron god, and choosing to worship or serve another is considered an unforgivable sin. In my world, mortals can freely enter the domains of the gods for various reasons ranging from tourism to trade, but as you wouldn’t want to piss off a Daedric Prince, so you wouldn’t want to mess with any of my gods!
As mortals are owned by their gods, that also means they are at the mercy of their god’s moods and whims.
My very first Final Fantasy game was Final Fantasy VII on the original PlayStation, though I frequently credit Final Fantasy VIII as “mine” since I bought it on its release day. I’ll admit I haven’t played all Final Fantasy games, and you’ll forgive me because there are a lot of them these days, not including spin-offs! While VIII, X, and XII are among my favourites, VII will always be my absolute favourite. And I’ll tell you, I was super hyped to play the Final Fantasy VII Remake!
So while The Thirteenth Hour’s aesthetics are closer to Final Fantasy IX than VII, there’s a lot of elements from VII which subconsciously bled into my writing. Chime is a city which merges magic (aether) and technology as many Final Fantasy worlds do. My world also has a fantasy selection of animal-humanoid races, such as the Amnae (fish), Leander (lion), and Zephyr (bird) which wouldn’t look out of place in a Final Fantasy setting, and each race have their own magical powers and abilities. The story itself focuses on a rag-tag group of rebels who fight against the government (the gods and their Wardens) and who ultimately want to attack and dethrone the gods. You can’t get more Final Fantasy than that!
The city of Chime is also built on layers with plates overhanging the slums, much like VII’s Midgar. And this may be a slight spoiler, but we’ve got our own Jenova-inspired character too!
The world and characters of The Thirteenth Hour would fit perfectly within an RPG like Final Fantasy, and who knows; maybe one day the video game version will exist!
Do video games inspire your own writing? Which ones? Drop me a comment!