How Trinity Came To Be
Trinity began in the winter of 1995/96, during which I began writing something that was - in retrospect - horribly written, but became the basis of all my further world-building thoughts. That story - which was probably in the region of thirty pages, all handwritten in pencil - became the foundation on which Alistar, Kalrios Dilark, and the long-lasting legacy of Kotrit Wayveri were born.
It was not until a year later, when I returned to that story, that I sought to make something new and original. The original tale had been largely pieced together from other stories I had read or seen; as such, it was not really mine, but merely an amalgamation of everything else I had seen. I began work on a new story, one set in a world of my own devising. While I knew nothing of politics or geography, I crafted a small set of continents, something vaguely resembling a world conflict, and set myself to work.
That story, too, fell by the wayside. It was at this time that my interest in gaming intensified, and serious work on a more "playable" version of the world began. I envisioned a world based on the four elements, and constructed new "layers" of the world to compensate for that change. I added new continents, again utterly ignoring geography - my basis for the creation of new continents was that "I needed more geographical features," as I had given each continent its own unique geography: one continent had mountains, while another had forests, and another had rivers. Clearly, I had no idea what I was doing, but I was progressing.
New ideas began surfacing. I was constantly tinkering with the mechanics behind the second edition of AD&D, my gaming system of choice back in the day. I wrote new classes, toyed with new ideas, and attempted to implement them, though I lacked a gaming group with any sort of ability to commit.
Then, one fateful day, I was reading a Discover (or perhaps another magazine, but I imagine it was a Discover), and I noticed an ad for a game. I read further, as it had caught my eye, and found that it was an ad for Arcanum, a game which mixed magic and technology. Immediately, I felt a sort of awe - technology! Alongside magic! How neat!
And so I began to pursue that image. With my meager and horrible understanding of mechanics, I began hammering out game mechanics for technology, and attempted to incorporate it into my world. It was horrible, of course, but again - progress was being made. By tinkering with the system, I was gaining understanding. I was also beginning to see that the world had to have some sort of cohesion to it. I couldn't simply add or subtract elements when I wanted: things had to make sense.
Then, d20 came out.
I cannot begin to explain how much of a defining moment d20 is for me. I cannot begin to explain how much of my manner of thinking has been shaped by endless hours of work poured into assembling new pieces to fit into the d20 framework. I once spent over three years, off and on, finalizing a prestige class. A single, 10-level prestige class. That one prestige class shaped my worldview, my understanding of mechanics, of cause and effect, of the ramifications of so many things.
It also shaped the world of Trinity.
When d20 came out, I had no idea that it was a "different system." My first incarnation of technology involved the use of initiative segments! Obviously I had a long way to go. At the same time, I tinkered with the world constantly, adding new mechanics at an alarming rate. Anything I thought was interesting or "cool" was immediately put into the setting, with no rhyme or reason.
Templars? Sounds good, throw 'em in! Illithids? Sure, I'll find a place for 'em!
It grew more absurd by the moment.
At some point, the idea of an elemental world was thrown to the wayside. In its place, a new world emerged, one shaped by the competition of three forces - magic, psionics, and technology. Thus was born the first incarnation of the world you see today. That incarnation of the world was rather ill-defined, and for three years, the Diaclo Revolution and the Coldlands War were the focal point of every game played in the setting. I wanted the players to define where the world was going, and the outcome of the Coldlands War would define everything. I wanted to give that option to them, to see where they would take it.
But, being young teenagers, they didn't take that offer seriously. No one understood how much the setting meant to me, how many hours - even then! - I had put into it. It didn't matter that most of the things I had done back then were poorly-done, or simply broken, or not even that neat. The point was that I had put the time and effort in, and no one seemed able to respect that.
Regardless, the world moved on, both the real one and Trinity. I had decided that Time rested between the other three forces as something of a mediator, but then faced other questions. Why was Divinity not a force, but arcane magic was? What was nature? Where did akashics and learners fit? Gradually, I saw that three forces was simply not enough to contain all I had created. I needed to expand the framework.
The existence of Tarian has been a fact since only a few years into the world's inception. It was he who slew the Kotrit Wayveri (then known as the Illusionist), and his own force alignment changed over the years. At first, he was merely an extraplanar being, based entirely on the Legend of Zelda series (yes, honestly!). As time progressed, he was simply the bearer of Tarian's Blade, which became a weapon of Time. At some point, I had decided that Kotrit had a sort of spiritual mentor, who became a representation of the Void.
Needless to say, this dichotomy did not work for me. Not only was it messy - bits and pieces were added ad hoc, details spread across dozens of papers and text files - and so it all needed a reworking.
A couple years ago, I was ready to give up on Trinity. The geography was a mess; the history was a mess; there was simply too much for me to deal with. I wanted greatly to scrap the project and move on, start something new. But I realized that I was too involved with this setting to just let it go. There was so much history wrapped up in it; so many subtle nuances that had gathered over time, so many facts and figures settled in my mind, that I could not give it up.
A year and a half ago, I resolved that I would start again with Trinity, from the ground-up, but save as much as I could. I recast the world in the image I wanted - something geographically realistic, politically plausible, mechanically sound. I crafted a new geography, reset the Forces and added six new ones to accomodate all that had been added, and replaced time as the central force with a new, unnamed force. The ten forces in total would encompass all that Trinity was - its confusion, the almost utter absurdity, yet somehow coming together to form a cohesive and, at times, believable whole.
The end goal of Trinity, the "grand vision," is a relatively simple one: a world where anything is possible, yet still believable and - perhaps more importantly - internally consistent. To encompass classic fantasy, scifi, and steampunk under one roof, and still have it work and make sense. Where Firely can meet Samurai Champloo, where Lord of the Rings can meet Cowboy Bebop, where Neuromancer can meet A Knight's Tale, and yet still be true to the setting, and have it all make sense.
But that's not all. I want a world where there is a sense of realism, a gritty realism. A world more down-to-earth (metaphorically speaking) than most fantasy settings. "Real" people, as it were, getting along in a "real" world - just one where magic is a reality. I realize that there is a lot more work to be done if I am to achieve that level of depth, but I think - given a few years of focused effort - that it can be achieved.
For now, Trinity is what you see here, as well as what remains stashed away in my mind and text files lost to time. The major goal in making a wiki for Trinity was to see where the holes were, to see what needed working on, and to finally get all the information in one place. It also serves the purpose of convenience: now, my players can look for the information they need online, rather than ask me and wait for me to dredge through my mind or files to find the answer. It also ensures that both I and the world are consistent - now, when a decision is made, it is put here, and even I reference this wiki to ensure that I am consistent in how the world works.