During the month of January 2007, there was a major debate over fanon, specifically a fanon article on Menekai written by Gallus. After a GREAT deal of discussion and some hard feelings, one of the diamonds that came out of the discussion was the issue of PRUDENT PROJECT SELECTION.
I wish to make it clear that I am not trying to tell people WHAT to write, I am just trying to share what I have learned about the pros and cons of writing about different locations in my experience as a fanon author, occasional freelance writer for CGI and duly appointed member of the OGD
. Use or ignore this information as you wish.
I welcome any and all fanon about any location.
During this discussion, I will be rating articles on the Laser-Guided Canonic Bunker Buster
(LGCBB) scale (credits to D-Man for coming up with the great name!) which gages the relative chances of a fanon article being hit by the dreaded LGCBB
(i.e. a canon release by CGI/KP about the same location as your fanon article).
(Edit to clairify the purpose of the post)
Please note: If you do not care whether your fanon article covers the same location as another canon / fanon article or wish to present an ALTERNATE view of said location, then you have nothing to worry about. Please ignore this post.
= one bomb, VERY LOW
chances of your fanon article being superseded by a CGI or KP canon article, not zero, but it is highly unlikely.
= two bombs, LOW
chances of your fanon article being superseded by a CGI or KP canon article. It could happen, but not in the near future or unlikely.
= three bombs, MEDIUM
chances of your fanon article being superseded by a CGI or KP canon article. There is some chance of it being overtaken by new material, but likely not in the immediate future.
= four bombs, HIGH
chances of your fanon article being superseded by a CGI or KP canon article. This specific location or type of location will likely be released as canon, however this may be a while in the future and so your article may stand on its own for quite a while.
= five bombs, VERY HIGH
chances of your fanon article being superseded by a CGI or KP canon article. This location is (or will be) released at some point in the near future. However, there are always plenty of room in or around the canon article for new fanon.
On Harn *****
On Lythia * to ****
(ask the KP guys about which ones are four stars)
All of the Harnic kingdoms will be redone. The ultimate goal is to get all of the kindoms back into print with a new and improved version two. I do know some of the Lythian kingdoms are being worked on by KP. However, I am sure someone could talk to Jeremy Baker (Fastred) and find out which kingdoms are the furthest down their list (and hence the safest to write about without fear of being superseded).
There is plenty of opportunity to write fanon which amplifies or expands information in the kingdom modules. For example, the sections on royal bureaucracy or very slim. There is plenty of room to develop articles on the sheriffs, bailiff of the hundreds, the exchequer etc.
CITIES * to *****
All of the cities have been released as canon publications already (in Cities of Harn and Son of Cities). It is virtually guaranteed that all of the cities of Harn will be redone in the future. That being said, they should not be considered out of bounds...
Golotha and Tashal have already been redone. The chances of CGI returning to them in the forseeable future is VERY LOW. Therefore any fanon articles in these cities is quite unlikely to be superseded.
Rethem is next on the CGI agenda, thus cities in Tharda, Kanday, Melderyn will likely not be touched in the near future. Golotha and Tashal give fans a good idea of the type of locations that will be covered in future city articles (i.e. the castle, major temples, key business areas, high profile locations) and what will NOT LIKELY be touched (i.e. individual businesses, side streets). Therefore, authors can judge for themselves what the chances are that their location will be superseded and (THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT) if they even care if their article is superseded by a canon article in the near or distant future.
A good example of the type of articles which have been successful is James Currie's Cherafir:An Expansion
. That article was released in 2003 and may stand a decade (at the current rate of production) before ever having to worry about being superseded. It is an excellent example of a fanon article doing yeoman service to fill a void between canon versions.
Castles are the key seats of the Kings and Earls. They will all likely be detailed at some point
. Rethem's castles will likely all be detailed similar to what was done with Kaldor. However, the castles of Melderyn, Tharda and Kanday will likely not be detailed for several years to come. Thus, authors can choose to write these locations knowing that 5 - 10 years from now, they might
Techen Castle by Patrick Nilsson is a good example. First released in 2001, HarnFans have had use of it for five years and it may be another year or two more before it is superseded (yet to be determined). Who knows how much gaming use the article has got during that time. It is an excellent example of not being deterred by what MIGHT come in the future.
Key, special or otherwise important keeps ****
Lesser keeps **
While most castles WILL be detailed, most keeps WON'T be detailed. The exceptions are generally in those keep of some special importance or significance to a given kingdom. In Rethem for example, Bedenes will likely be detailed because it is the only keep of the Warriors of Mamaka, the fighting order associated with the Agrikan Primate of Harn. While at the same time, Quoso Keep, just a few miles away will likely NOT be detailed because it is a subordinate keep to the Earl of Tormau and his castle has already been detailed (in Rethem v1) and will likely be revised.
Therefore, if an author was thinking of doing a keep, picking one like the highly acclaimed Lerenil
in Chybisa is a good bet, because it is unlikely to be superseded.
MANORS, ABBEYS & MINES
Unique Locations **
Majority of Locations *
Most manors, abbeys, and mines will never be detailed. There is neither the time or the inclination for the canon authors to work on these smaller locations while the kingdom modules and key cities and castles are out of print. The only risk that such a location may be done is if it is somehow unique or special. As an example, it is very unlikely that any Rethem manor will be detailed, but there is a slightly higher than zero (but still low) chance that Vinarsa Manor (the home of the Agrikan Primate of Harn with six subordinate manors) would be detailed rather than Vimen Manor (a single manor held by the Bailiff of the Hundred) which is directly above it on the subinfeudation chart.
I am currently writing Erone Abbey. It is slightly more risky than say writing about Charmic Manor, because Erone is one of only two Peonian Abbeys in the whole of Kaldor. However, since Kaldor is largely finished and the writing team is moving on to Rethem and other points, I feel fairly confident that it won't be superseded and have decided to accept the risk. However, should it be superseded, it would be relatively simple to redo it as a Peonian Abbey in Melderyn or Kanday.
UNIQUE LOCATIONS *
Some places are unique and have or will be detailed (i.e Araka-Kalai and some Earthmaster sites for example). However, that should not deter fanon authors from writing about them. Earthmaster sites in particular are great because they allow authors to do all sorts of things not possible in mundane sites. IMNSHO, these sites could easily have a dozen variants and still not be overdone. Araka-Kalai only covers a very small part of the huge potential of the site and so could easily be expanded with fanon articles.
In conclusion, this is only a scale of relative risk. If you don't care about being superseded, then you can safely ignore this whole post and write what you like. It is just a guide for those who need or want such a thing. I make no promises as to its accuracy, it is only a relative guide.