Monday, October 10, 2011

Empire of Bone: Tabula Rasa

memento-mori-engraving-by-alexander-mair1605One of the tricky parts about building a society of undead is their relation to the living. Are their living beings amongst them? How are they treated? Are they the enemy? The bigger question is about the sentient undead. Do they remember their life before they became undead? If so, how does that shape the rest of society?

In Empire of Bone I decided a couple of key things: the living are very much “off-screen” – they exist, but are incidental in a society of the dead. The second is related to the first: new citizens of the Empire have no memory of their former life. Personalities and skills are intact, but former memories of life would be “burdening” to a sentient undead. So says the Ministry of Existential Verifications, who also assign the newly dead their role within the Empire. How convenient!

This may sound like a bit of an easy way out, but this leads to a lot of interesting story questions. Is the tabula rasa effect a natural part of the resurrection process, or something engineered to prevent “potential problems” with the trauma of becoming undead? if so, what happens when the problem goes wrong? What happens with deaders awakened “outside the system”? Lots of story potential there!

No comments:

Post a Comment