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Allen J. Crom

Cromkhar

I’ve started working on the Cromkhar Codex, a collection of articles about the world mired between an ancient fantasy world and a new era of super powered heroes and villians. Did you ever wonder how the X-Men or Avengers would take out Sauron’s armies? Or the Balrog? Or Smaug?

This world is the playground for Supers & Sorcery.

Life and civilization was typical for the fantasy world of Cromkhar for thousands of years. Following the impact of an asteroid, among the surviving population of the world, a new phenomenon began to occur – creatures, plants, and all forms of life were known to sometimes become Warped. Some creatures were born with defects – extra or missing limbs, strange coloration, or even new organs that seemed to serve no purpose.

All life was affected, it seemed, but humans appeared to be the most susceptible. Warped orcs and elves were more of a rarity, along with all other warped life. And after generations of these minor and random mutations, some things began to be born with beneficial effects such as extreme levels of strength or toughness.

There were even rumors of an alligator that had grown as large as a house, with wings and could breathe fire. No one believed at first, but they began seeing even stranger things themselves, among people and animals they knew firsthand. The flying, fire-breathing alligator no longer seemed so far-fetched.

There was an orc that could disappear in an instant, and then reappear hundreds of yards away, no matter the barriers in between. Instances of this phenomenon were labeled “warping” and those affected were called the Warped. No one knew how or why these things were happening, but they all agreed that it must be related to the cataclysm from the previous era. Some strange energy that had fallen from the stars or had been awakened within the world. There is a warped ability that stands out even among all of the others, called magic or sorcery. It does not appears to obey the same rules or limitations that other warped abilities do, but it is also more rare, unpredictable and even deadly to the wielder at times.

Most warped individuals have gathered into small groups. In the modern age, lone warped beings are suspect at best and hunted at worse. They have been encouraged to identify themselves as part of organizations which police themselves and answer directly to kings. Anyone else is considered rogue and almost a criminal by default. Many of the sanctioned teams are called Tempests and fulfill many roles in society, some better than others.

Other types of civilization on Cromkhar are present as well – dwarves, goblins, trolls, etc. All of them are much different than those found in typical fantasy worlds. These will be described in their own articles, of course, along with various and geographic features of the world.

Book 3: Tempest of Chaos progress update

For book 3, I’m trying to use what I’ve learned with the first two and keep the story from being too large to fit comfortably within the 20K word limit. Unfortunately, it seems that the stories that I want to tell are just larger than this chosen format. I’m going to do the best that I can, but I think my next project will not have such a restrictive word count.

There are a couple of threads that are carrying over from earlier in the series, namely the relationship between orcs and humans, as well as the relationship between the Warped and normal people. There was a character referenced in Book 2 named Helsin that got no “screen time” but will play a more prominent role in this story. He is a non-warped human that resents the Warped and has dedicated his career to forming his own elite team of problem solvers but, for them, the problem is anyone that is Warped.

And we haven’t seen the last of Banning and Kardu, of course, but what does that have to do with Helsin? And what about the political turbulence that was uncovered beyond the city of Dramis? Right, we have to get the dwarves mixed up in this too. Don’t know much about them, do you? I’ll tell you now that they don’t conform to cookie-cutter dwarves in other stories. Oh, and King Osric may make an appearance which terrifies most of the human kingdom. Why is that?

Naturally, it all gets even more complicated when Dragon throws a tantrum, Aratus outdoes Gandalf and yeah, war is declared. Such fun!

Book 2: Tempest of Betrayal is complete

The second book in the Supers & Sorcery series, Tempest of Betrayal, is now complete and has been posted for distribution according to the pre-order timeline. I’m already working on the story structure of the third book, but again I’m bringing along some learnings. Once again, I tried to tell too large of a story in the second book, despite thinking I’d learned my lesson before. We’ll see if the third time is the charm. I was glad to be able to incorporate more magic in this book (the sorcery part of Supers & Sorcery) and will explore this further in the third book. I really want to have the super powers and sorcery go head-to-head in an epic way. Once again, I did not pay an editor and I made the cover myself. I continue to focus on the content of the story and spend more time on the characters which deserve more attention. Anyway, onwards and all that jazz!

Book 2: Tempest of Betrayal progress update

With the first book, I believe one of the mistakes that I made was using multiple points of view. The goal was to keep the book short and I think that the story could have been told better and had more narrative cohesiveness if I had stuck to one point of view throughout. There just aren’t enough pages to accomodate parallel threads that are told separately and tied together later on. It would be fine if I were planning 400 pages and not worried about an economy of words. So, for Book 2, I had to completely rearrange the scenes and story points to accomodate all the same events and subplots but tie them together into fewer scenes and use only a single POV.

The overall effect is that the story is a little more complex, given that the main plot and all subplots are basically woven together from the beginning. That doesn’t mean their connectedness is revealed in the beginning, just that I, as the author, have to consider it all even before the story starts. It isn’t a problem for me, personally. I’ve spent decades being a story teller for players of RPGs and I revel in twists and connecting seemingly unconnected plots. The challenge is really just the timing. I had a plan for getting the first draft done by a certain date and I thought I had a solid outline when I set that date. As it turns out, I spent some of my writing time actually rebuilding the outline. Fortunately, I have a daily writing quota that will get me to the finish line in time, and it’s really not even a problem – assuming that I stick to my quota going forward. Speaking of which: back to the manuscript!

Book 1: The Dragon Tempest is complete

The first book in the Supers & Sorcery series, The Dragon Tempest, is now complete and has been posted to the various retailers while I finalize the plot and beats for the second book. I have so many plans and ideas for the upcoming sequels, it’s hard to know what to do next. The first five books are already prepped in my queue, but I want to create a world guide written in narrative form from a character’s point of view within the world.

I want to write ancillary short stories that are sometimes interviews with the characters and sometimes just exploring their lives and backstory further. I’ll probably bundle these things in with novels but also make some available on the website and others available only to members of the readers group. I will be up front about the production for this first book and say that I did not pay an editor and I made the cover myself. While I think it is important, long term, to hire an editor and a professional cover designer, I simply can’t afford the cost in the short term. In the meantime, I’m focusing on the content of the story and that’s certainly where my passion is.

The Supers & Sorcery series is under way

This year, I’m kicking things off with a series called “Supers & Sorcery”. The initial book should hit the market by the first week of February. The first in the series will be called “The Dragon Tempest”. The idea for this Dragon Tempest saga came from the personal desire to use a role-playing game world that I’ve been building, off and on, for years.

Once upon a time, when I played role-playing games excessively, I found myself too be the game master of multiple campaigns back-to-back. And after a while, I wanted to do something different than usual. There were lots of ideas, but one that really appealed to me was having the actual X-Men* be magically transported to the Forgotten Realms* and deal with hordes of orcs, giants, dragons and mad wizards.

So, I cooked up a world that was pretty typical for fantasy roleplaying, with the usual elements like humans, elves, and dwarves but decided to twist all the tropes slightly. Additionally, instead of magic being a thing and characters being standard classes (e.g. fighter, rogue, wizard) they would instead be superheroes with superpowers. If someone wanted to make a parody of an existing character from their favorite comic book or television show, it was allowed.

And once they had their “warped” character (rather than “mutant”) we set out to turn stereotypical fantasy adventures on their heads. That goal hasn’t changed with me writing these books. I’m still a fan of subverting tropes, so that’s what is going to happen here. Welcome aboard and have fun!

*: X-Men and Forgotten Realms are property of their respective owners, and likely registered trademarks in multiple countries.