Mix-It-Up Day: Plot Challenge!

I would like to thank Tobias Mastgrave for providing a Plot Challenge, this particular one being the sixty-ninth instalment of his long-running topic.

The requirements for this challenge are:

1)  A modern fantasy setting;

2) At least one city and at least one rural environment (bold);

3) One major colony of fantasy creatures; and

4) At least three major landmarks (italicised).

Ok, here goes…

– Su –

Yudhoyo Basungba is a young Boholano man living in the Phillipines. An avid naturalist, he has recently moved from his home on the island of Bohol to the bustling metropolis of Davao City on Mindanao.  He won a nation-wide competition to be employed by The People’s Park, the largest international man-made tourist attraction in Davao City.  Until more permanent accommodation can be arranged, he is staying at the Green Windows Dormitel near his new worksite.

The opportunity is a fantastic one, but Yudhoyo begins to feel constricted in a city that has almost the same amount of people as on his whole home island.  He takes the opportunity on weekends to walk around the outskirts of the city.  His first trek has him follow the path of the Davao River out of the city proper and into the mountain ranges, seeing the many fruit orchards that the region is renowned for.

Another weekend, he decides to walk around the Mount Apo National Park.  The namesake mountain is an inactive one, and the largest in all of the Phillipines.  He travels here to see the bounteous growths of durians and mangosteens, and observe the world-renowned variety of plant and animal life.  He strays from the designated path, his eye catching a particularly beautiful set of flowers.  As he continues on, he notices movement.  Seeing the small form running away, he thinks it a boy and gives chase, hoping to save the young one.  To his surprise, he sees the figure duck into the side of the mountain.

Well hidden by hanging vines, Yudhoyo finds and follows a well-rounded tunnel.  He enters into a subterranean orchard, with the many different types of fruit.  Continuing to follow the path, he is met by a set of well-armed dwarfs.  The small man at the front is telling them how he was being chased by this intruder.  They capture Yudhoyo, and place him in a cell awaiting a decision on what to do with him…

– Su-

Well, it’s a start…  Thoughts?

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7 responses

  1. Dj, What always surprises me about you (though I don’t know why it should now, you seem to be so capable of it so often) is the extent to which you are familiar (or else very good at pretending!) with many different civilizations and cities and communities on the globe. Have you done a lot of travelling, or something?

    1. Passable at pretending. I have not done an exceptional amount of travel, but rely on the electronic aether and my reading to research the locales.

      Putting dwarfs in the Phillipines seemed like an exotic adjustment to the regular scheme of things =)

      Thanks for reading =)

  2. I really like the concept for this setting! I would like to see the actually settings developed more independently. Remember that the focus of developing a setting is to build the world in which the characters will interact. This is a part of plot development as the plot must effectively interact with the world. I think this could be a great story, and right now I really want to know more about the Phillipino dwarves.

    1. Thanks for the feedback =)

      Being dwarves, maybe a huge underworld tunnelling underneath most of Mindanao, playing off a more parallel version of the ‘world within a world’ idea. But an underworld sort of locale may necessitate the need to include drow elves, threatening to invade the surface world.

      Since these fruits grow all over the South-East Asian islands, that would need to be accounted for. Island-hopping pirate elves in the distant past looking for promising mine sites, who eventually settled on Mindanao? Mount Apo was an amazing source of metals. A side effect of their mining inside the mountain could be a particular fertiliser mix that abundantly grows the mangosteens and durians.

      I will keep working on it, and see what eventuates. Thanks for the inspiration; the exercise definitely got the neurons firing =)

      1. Welcome, James. I will caution you not to get too D&D with the setting unless your planning it as a D&D fanfic style setting. It’s easy to simply go with what we know and assume that’s the way things should be. So, if a world has dwarves it has to have elves, right? Maybe throw in some gnomes and hobbits too. Perhaps Duergar, Svirfneblin, and Drow are all fighting over the underworld around the Philippines? There are two major problems with this 1) if you go public or try to publish you might be stepping on copyrights or trademarks that can land you in court, and 2) when all the worlds are the same they get pretty boring. D&D stole from Tolkien, Tolkien stole from Norse Mythology, and now everyone steals from D&D. Admittedly, there is a strong tradition of theft among fiction writers, but still, why don’t you try something new. Maybe there are dwarves, but no elves? Maybe the dwarves are native to the Philippines and have just always been there? Or there are other races (you could steal a few things from various Oriental mythologies)? Perhaps the dwarves are there as sacred protectors and they hunt the manananggal (a Philippino form of vampire)? Just a few thoughts.

      2. Thanks for the pointers Tobias; they are greatly appreciated. Something new is what I always strive for =)

        I did think to have the dwarves by themselves, but absurdly thought they might get lonely farming their subterranean fruit farms. The island protector role from an evil underworld force gives the characters some conflict, since peace in stories makes for a boring read right?

        I must admit to bias; I try to avoid vampires, werewolves or any ‘in vogue’ race as point of principle. It would only blend in with the sea of what has been recently released, whether retail or fan fiction.

      3. James, do some research on the Manananggal before you dismiss them completely. While I generally classify them as ‘vampires’ I throw lilitu, soucouyant, and such into the same classification. The Manananggal isn’t what you think of when you think vampire. However, it might not be what works for your world. Admittedly they aren’t an underworld force, they live in the above world. I’m sure you could find something interesting in Philippino mythology though.

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