“Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisoned by the enemy, don’t we consider it his duty to escape?.. If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we’re partisans of liberty, then it’s our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!”
— J.R.R. Tolkien
LLLike many kids, I often had my head in the clouds. What kid doesn’t? I was obsessed with history, fantasy, science fiction and really anything that provided me something to learn. Often times it didn’t really matter what it was, just that it was something. I remember browsing through my father’s medical books (with the majority of the actual content going over my head, obviously) and the field guides on the birds, plants and other things you could find in the wilderness of the United States.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that when I first heard of Dungeons and Dragons, I was intrigued. I still remember being properly introduced during a summer Cub Scout outing. Some older Boy Scouts had the books and I
asked very nicely practically begged them to teach me the ropes. I made a Gnome Fighter Illusionist named Mandrake Mirrorwhistle because of-course-I-did. He died to a trap in a dungeon… and it was embarrassingly hard to accept awesome.
One of my favorite things to do when playing with my toys was to think up scenarios in what we would essentially refer to as a crossover these days. What would happen if the Ninja Turtles ended up in King Arthur’s court? How would Transformers fare against Storm Troopers?
Two worlds of various different backgrounds interacting with each other. It fascinated me. I had some idea of a setting at this point, but it wasn’t anything solid. It was just ideas. No, more like… proto-ideas. The beginnings of thought.
October 28th, 1994. I was nine. My parents decided to bring me to a movie theater and we randomly picked a film. What is this new movie that just came out?
It was Stargate.
Trigate, at its very core, is about three things:
- Completely different worlds being able to interact with each other somehow.
- These worlds would follow unique paths of evolution in every way; life, civilization, culture, and everything else that makes up the world.
- Different worlds with different settings interacting with each other for consistent and continual crossovers.
Of course, that was only the beginning. How could it ever make any sense? Throwing everything together would just breed chaos, confusion and something not really able to be enjoyed.
I would later find out that the setting was the very definition of a Fantasy Kitchen Sink. What kind of madness would I have wrought?
“Think of the possibilities though, Zak,” I imagine myself thinking at some point. “Who wouldn’t want to explore the possibility of skeletons with firearms parachuting from lich-made airships, undead paratroopers invading a land of treefolk who’ve allied with dragons made of crystal and the treefolk can use psionics and…”
Yeah, I’ve had a lot of thoughts like that.
Any idea I’ve had, I essentially fit in somewhere. Read about something cool? Borrow it and use it here. I always assumed that you could find anything through one of those triangular portals — the Trigates of which the setting is named.
Now it was up to me to actually create it. Oh, and to stay sane and have fun while doing it.
Two out of three isn’t bad.
“How fitting, that the most terrifying time in my life should require me to do what I do best: escape into a book.”
— Alix E. Harrow, The Ten Thousand Doors of January