Now, for something different. Inspiration.
The Difference Equation (TDE) was born of a number of inspirations - from a lot of different media. I studied political science in college and practice a form of it in my day job. So, of course politics and the study of politics would play a big role (and you can see it in the types of things I focus on while developing the setting). Music has also been important - I turned to edgy, experimental stuff that is a bit out of my comfort zone in a couple instances to see what emotions they brought on and where it would drive my writing.
And art. Obviously paintings/illos and graphics are an important part of the inspiration process. When I am stuck at work and need some time to myself, I often lean back and explore what the Jammers and ships and planets of the setting look like. Similarly, I will pop on DeviantArt, find a pic I like, and follow the links to see where it takes me.
And art. There are a series of painting by Thomas Cole - some of my favorites really. They depict the rise and fall of the an empire though the lens of an ancient civilization through the lens of American-centric sentiments. Its wonderfully complicated, with imagery and themes that fold in on themselves. Its an imaginary city - not unlike Tarshish or the remnants of smoldering Haifa. It also depicts the roll of time, and a critical aspect to the Difference Equation where the introduction of the PCs to the setting should have immediate and significant consequences that unfold over time.
The setting of TDE is an exploration into a lot of things -- power politics, the ascendancy of economics, dominance, identity, ethnicity, the cost of independence, hope, the march of history, unintended consequences... and more. These are things, I believe, the Course of Empire series deals with - and when I look at them, they inspire me to new directions with the setting. If you can, take the time to view each in the Course of Empire series and see if it draws out the same thoughts/ideas/emotions in you.
The series, in order: The Savage State, The Arcadian State, The Consummation of Empire, Destruction, and Desolation.
|The Savage State|
|The Arcadian State|
|The Consummation of Empire|
Want to know a bit more about the series or Thomas Cole? The wikipedia article is
here: The Wiki Entry
Next up, lets do a bit more on the Jammers.