So this scene went through a couple of big revisions. At first, Ardaic was communicating ONLY with Priestlord Gigundus. This reflected my belief that the Bloodshot Eyeball was a more powerful force in Gastonia than it eventually became: that Gastonia might even qualify as a limited theocracy, with the nobles we’d seen in Chapter 3 firmly below “Gigundus” (really Scarlett) in power. (We did know at this point that Gigundus was no longer really Gigundus.) After all, this is a society combining elements of the Middle Ages and the Industrial Revolution, and what was a bigger power in the Middle Ages than the Catholic Church?

Phil had a more distributed vision of Gastonia’s political power. He hadn’t yet come up with the Hall of Houses, just individual “Heads” who liked to fraternize, but you can see this scene leaning in that direction. However, it went through more changes after his official revisions, and I think he and Erica figured those out together, with me only giving the nod at the end.

At one point, the third member of this council was going to be not Don Pardo (who’s a bit uncharacteristically grim here) but His Grace Garriott, named for Richard Garriott, aka Lord British and General British, creator of the Ultima series and Tabula Rasa. Garriott’s the one who originally had the line, “My machinists have studied such theories for years,” reflecting his real-life namesake’s fascination with spaceflight. Interesting as that sounds, I think that in a world where houses reflect important industries, it’d be tough to justify Garriott’s focus on a field that doesn’t really exist yet, and the gnomes had already got “machinism” pretty well covered.