What do they do in their spare time?
Posted by aogFriday, 19 March 2004 at 23:01 TrackBack Ping URL

I’ve been reading quite a bit of fantasy fiction lately, instead of working on my weblog. Something that I’ve wondered about on and off over the years about the standard denizens of fantasy novels was brought to my attention again by this article in Slate about a TV show that follows the “off-game” life of various video game characters.

The question is, what do all of those spirits, sprites, powers and anthropomorhpic landscape items do when the adventurers aren’t wandering about nearby? Imagine being a waterfall sprite. How long would it take for that to get old? Yet when ever the main characters go wandering about, all of these things are waiting about.

The only thing that would seem to work is for them all to have no long term memory. That way there’s usually something “new” to do because they don’t really remember the last time they did it. It would also explain how apparently unstable relationships among the persist for very long periods of time until the main characters show up and wreak havoc.

This is probably why I’m a code slinger instead of a novelist - I’d never get the book written for concerns about designing around details like this. Oh well.