Sunday, June 05, 2011

Tharduin: an Open-Source World Project

Imagine a world built by many minds -- from professional game designers and bestselling novelists to weekend dabblers and hopeful-but-unpublished writers; imagine that world taking shape through prose tales, poetry, multimedia, and gaming products.  Now imagine if a shared world like that, in all its myriad complexity, was freely available for you to make use of, in your own tales and games . . . and what you created would then becomes a part of the fabric of the world!  That's the idea behind THARDUIN: a shared world created under an open source (or creative commons) license.  It would then be free to use, distribute, publish, emend, and embroider upon -- under the stipulation that whatever users create becomes fair game for others to use, as well.

Now, this is not to say you may plagiarize another users tale or game product, slap your name on it, and put it forth as an e-book.  Far from it.  But, what you can do is lift elements of setting, alter it to fit your needs or use as-is, and write your own tale . . . and other readers may do the same with elements you create.  Imagine Sanctuary from Thieves' World or Robert E. Howard's Hyborian Age being open and free to use!

The project is still in its infancy, and it remains to be seen if others will embrace the notion of a wide-open fantasy world.  But, I already have a couple of projects slated for Tharduin: a cycle of tales featuring a pair of Orcish witch hunters, during a time when Tharduin was under the dominion of the Orcs, and another tale that catapults my heroes a few thousand years in the future to see the final degradation of their race . . .

Let me know what you think, Gentle Readers.  If you're a writer or game designer, would you take part in Tharduin?

EDITED TO ADD: An important point -- in NO WAY may previously published, licensed, copyrighted, or trademarked material be used without the express written consent of the owner.  Thus, no adding elements from your favorite TV shows, books, or films UNLESS YOU'RE THE COPYRIGHT/TRADEMARK HOLDER AND CAN PROVE IT.




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12 comments:

Tom Doolan said...

You have my sword. And my bow. And my axe. And my keyboard!

This sounds wickedly awesome. Though I fear that my tales may be shadowy echoes of yours. As a world dominated by Orcs is just too juicy to pass up.

Charles Gramlich said...

Great idea. I've always loved these Shared World stories. Especially the Thieves world tales.

Paul R. McNamee said...

I'd give it a shot - for the esteemed company, if no other reason.

Wayne Borean said...

I'm interested. I could recycle some work that never got published. Nothing wrong with the basic idea, it's just my writing skills were't up to my dreams at the time.

Anonymous said...

Scott,
As a veteran of several shared worlds, most notably Thieves World (R) and Heroes in Hell (TM), this concept is interesting and Chris Morris and I might participate, to see how it works -- as long as no pre-existing series or authors or franchise rights are violated, which is clearly what you intend.

Janet Morris

Victoria Dixon said...

Sounds cool! I'd be interested.

David Alastair Hayden said...

Sounds cool, Scott. I wouldn't be opposed to playing along!

Wayne Borean said...

Hum. Looked at the Orcs page. Reminded me of an old joke. Adventurer tries to distract Orc by insulting it:

"Your mother sweats bacon grease!"

"Duh, you know mom all right," comes the response.

Wayne

Igloo said...

Sounds quite interesting!

christian feilberg said...

I was just Watching some Documentaries of the Making of The Lord of The Rings, when i had an Idea very similar to this, thinking that this idea was so good, I came to the conclusion that someone must have come up with the same idea before me, I looked it up on google and I found your page here.

Lots of people make fanfiction, some are okay, some are good, and a few are great. Very few of these great pieces of written art actually actually go beyond the web and out to the public, I think often as a result of copyright conflicts.

The idea I had was to make a Wikipedia like site where creative people would contribute to a Consistent world and where the community around it would actually decide what would be part of the "Accepted World" and in this way shape a world, that also film studios, game studios and writers can use.

In conclusion I think this is a great idea and I have a bunch of other ideas.
I also found your facebook page on this and the Map is great.

Chrfeilberg@gmail.com

Goliath Arcanum said...

I would join your company so long as it keeps the Orcs of my back whilst I practice my Magic!
I think that This could really work but you might want to set up a whole new webpage for it
it may get too crowded here and it would be a shame to start and then move it coz you always lose so many people and great art/stories etc. in the process no matter how careful you are!

Create a photo book said...

Creativity can work at its best when collaborative. Tharduin sounds like a really inspiring idea!