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  1. Recently, about a month ago, @demagogue mentioned the following in another discussion: While we're at it, someone really needs to write an official history of the Empire and a lot of associated fanfic to give our world backstory. And someone ought to make an art book with screenshots across all our FMs and some story, as if it were like one of those travel photo books. Something people put on their coffee table for discussion and just to flip through for fun, or in your case actually make the things. I see the idea you're talking about as something along those lines. I even promised demagogue I might look into it in the future. All of this got me thinking... We know The Dark Mod does not have a strict canon, per se. There's Bridgeport and The Empire, a few other cities, there's notes on what technology, society and the fantastical elements of this setting are, what the various typical "factions" are and how they vary greatly, what the atmosphere and tone is like, and so on and so forth. However, the rest of the things are far more nebulous and are generally down to what an individual player or fan of TDM is willing to accept as potential canon. We had the references to cities (Braeden) or minor setting elements (the mandrasola drug, etc.) throghout multiple missions by unrelated authors, and those are just the simplest of examples. In short, what constitutes as TDM canon, beyond those fairly official basics, is quite maleable. With all of the above in mind, and taking demagogue's ideas into account, I think we could compile a rough, loose history of the overall setting. It doesn't need to be obsessively filled with details, but we could give people some vague idea of what happened in the last two thousand or so years before what we generally portray as the "present day" of the TDM setting. I think we already have plenty of interesting source material to work with, if our goal is to create a rough timeline/outline of The Empire's history, the Builder church's history, and hints at what the history of the world outside of The Empire has been like (also counting with possibly biased accounts, in-universe). Now, speaking about that source material, what do I actually consider as source material ? Technically, every mission or nearly every mission made for TDM could be potentially considered source material. However, I am a little bit more picky about this. I think the closest we have to an established, "hard canon" for the game's universe, is a lot of the above-mentioned source material, and that occurs primarily in two places: In the two or three official missions that come with the basic TDM install (Training Mission, A New Job, The Tears of St Lucia), and in the main Universe articles on the TDM wiki. These are going to be my primary source for compiling the history, chronologically and otherwise. In addition to the official-as-official-gets missions and official universe notes, I am also willing to include stuff from all fan missions, if it expands the history of the setting in interesting, but reasonable ways. If the premise of a mission clearly doesn't fit the rest of the setting directly or is quite jokey, then I won't consider it a reasonable enough source for a potential addition to "canon". Why would demagogue suggest we should compile such a more detailed background history ? Personally, while I don't mind the idea, I am also fine with keeping things as they currently are. At the same time, I have noticed the number of people who come to the forums, clamouring things like "Where's the sprawling story campaign ? Where's the sprawling background story of the setting ?". Less of the latter thankfully, more of the former, for understandable reasons. Still, it seems that a lot of newcomers to TDM, especially those with pre-conceived notions from their time playing Thief (or other fantasy games), seem to want more from the overall setting than just the missions and mission series we have. Honestly, I'm torn on this. I've always been an elliptical storytelling style guy. Less is more. A hint here, a hint there, a throw-away comment there... Some games try to overdo it with super-detailed lore and the results can be... questionable and grating. Part of why I'd prefer that, if we do compile more of a broadly accepted "canon" for TDM's setting, then it should still be accepted in that "broad" way. I.e. it is soft and maleable enough that it does not tie mission-maker's hands, with regards to missions and stories set in the past, present and potential future of the TDM setting. A lot of players think they know what they want if they want a detailed setting, but more often that not, it just ends up with things being overexplained and losing their "charm" and a reasonable degree of mystique. After all, even die-hard Thief fans should acknowledge one thing: Thief didn't try to explain everything. Far from it ! The entire trilogy was very fond of elliptical storytelling, with hinted-at stuff and loads of unexplained stuff and references. I think TDM should keep with that, even if we potentially expand the "hard canon" parts of TDM's canon. Not stuff like "in this or that year, William Steele was born", but certainly stuff like "from the 4th to 7th century of its existence, the Empire was ruled by this or that dynasty, in a unique tetrarchic set-up", and similar.
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