[Was discussing exposition with Kristin McFarland, and how it’s preferable to have characters find clues or learn new information via in-world texts – instead of having Jagerspike Shatterpaw, Bear Pugilist and “Wise Wizard” show up and dump some plot on the main character’s heads. Here’s an excerpt from Lodestar with an example.]
The green flame’s bored directions soon led the barbarian to a large tome, nearly four handspans in length, and almost as thick as Agnar’s arm. The cover was simple leather, embossed with an ornate representation of the Arkanic symbol, Knowledge.
Opening the first page, a musty fume filled the air. Heady and thick, but not unpleasant. The scent of old books.
The first page was filled with large block representations of several major Precursor symbols, a few of which Agnar found himself surprised to recognize. The numbers, and the symbol for Fire seemed to jump out at him.
Turning the page, the barbarian found a simple rhyme.
How’d they come, and where’d they go?
Little boys and girls all want to know!
East of the Sun, and West of the Moons
On silver roads born of Star
Walking and singing their secret tunes
Far and near, near and far!
The green flame tried nobly to roll its eyes, before remembering that it didn’t have any.
The next few pages are gorgeously illustrated with a series of landscapes.
Primitive people going about their simple lives, farming and hunting. Agnar gazed critically at some of the spearmen — they were holding the weapons completely wrong.
A time of darkness, fire and death. Monsters roam the land, killing and maiming the simple tribesmen.
A shining knight, marked with the Precursor Sigil of Power — light shines from him in all directions, making the monsters flee.
The simple people’s village rebuilt, but grander and stronger. The shining knights walk amongst the people, helping them build things, till the earth.
The village is a grand city, with ships that sail through the air and towers in the clouds.
Agnar stops a third of the way through the tome.
The barbarian finds several pages missing, sliced neatly from the overall tome — the barest stubs of paper remaining at the center of the binding.
The next pages showed fanciful illustrations of scholars and researchers looking through the ruins of Precursor structures, with descriptions of the undying wonders left behind by their civilization.
Maybe you will solve the mystery! Maybe you…. one page had solemnly written.