Synthacrosia is an interesting project to me. It's always been born out of a love of DnD and pathfinder; it began as a small idea, whilst playing a friends pathfinder campaign. A magic floating city, slowly decaying and sinking into a cursed ocean. Over time, it radically transformed into the Tower of Souls it is today. Most of my inspiration comes from pictures, and books. The point that the world is at right now is still in it's construction phase; I'm building the world, and populating the characters. The stories are slowly being built, but they aren't the main focus. In light of this, the inspiration boards below are mostly just pictures! They help set the feel for with Synthacrosia. It's my hope that when you look at these images, you can picture exactly what is in my head when I think of the tower.
ExteriorThe tower is something much easier to invoke images of, compared to it's setting, purgatory. Purgatory can be many things, depending on your culture and beliefs. I choose to see it as a place of blindingly bright darkness, of shapeless clouds that stretch on infinitely. I see purgatory as a clashing mixture of positives and negatives, of true opposites existing together in the same place at the same time.
InteriorI like to use these images to build the skeleton of each floor. I want each floor to have a few themes; a general visual theme, an encounter theme, and a hidden theme that describes the meaning of the floor. I browse image boards or artist profiles, looking at images like this, to begin building a bank of ideas. The landscape is built off of these ideas. The cities, the ruins, the secrets hidden in deep dark places... those are born from my love of gaming. Those come from the stories I read growing up. Those come from the times I spent camping as a kid, exploring and using my imagination to create stories.
ClockpunkI've always loved clockpunk, steampunk, and anything that has an overabundance of gears. Just the finely tuned machinery working in near-perfect sync, it's fascinating. Synthacrosia has the genre "Clockpunk" attached to it. That label is applied in terms of the kind of creatures and vehicles found within the Tower. Clockwork beings play a huge part in the story, and in the encounters heroes will face within.
Literary InspirationEverything I've posted in this article is image based inspiration! Which is fine. In fact, a large portion of the inspiration I pull from is visual; I like to picture landscapes, and build the world and scenes and encounters based on that. I pull inspiration from other places as well however. Here are a few books, in no particular order, that had a significant impact on my imagination when growing up. These books shaped what I'm interested in creating!
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Video games and MusicThis section of inspiration is going to be considerably smaller. The reason being, I draw far too much inspiration from far too many games and music to be able to single any out. Gaming, more than any other medium, has shaped the kinds of stories and worlds I like to explore. This means it's also shaped the kinds of worlds I like to build -- I'm not going to build a world unless I enjoy it. I think, in recent years, there is a standout series of games I draw from. Maybe two series.
Dark SoulsI'm a huge fan of From Software's titles, even if I don't have the most experience with them. The game I'm closest with out of their entire library would have to be the original Dark Souls, though their newest game Sekiro comes close. I draw a lot of inspiration from these titles, though not in theme. Instead, I draw inspiration in the way the worlds are built. From the background information, and interconnectedness of the entire world. There's something magical about slowly exploring this ancient, inscrutable world, slowly discovering story piece by piece.
The Legend of ZeldaMy other biggest gaming love, Zelda. This is a series I've grown up playing since the N64, with Ocarina of Time. No other series has instilled upon me such a grand feeling of adventure and exploration. If Dark Souls inspires the slow and secret part of my worldbuilding, Zelda inspires the heroic and amazing. The worlds built in the Legend of Zelda series are so often incredibly vibrant landscapes, and the music drives that feeling home. Playing the games always filled me with such a sense of wonder and discovery, something I want to create in Synthacrosia.
Full Credits for Interior/Exterior Image CollagesFull credit to the artists featured in the collages above! The images within the collages are marked with the image's name, and author's name. Using that key, below is links to originals or to the authors website! Click on the crystals to expand the list of credits.