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Dragon's Cove Weyrhold is an experimental writing environment based on the published series of Dragonriders of Pern®™ novels by Anne McCaffrey and her son Todd McCaffrey. Set nearly five and half centuries after the events in the "Skies of Pern," our scenario focuses on what life is like for dragonriders, their families, and their neighbors once Thread is gone for good and the riders have settled into the Southern Continent.
DCWh is not a Pern PBeM club -- at least not in the sense typically found in Pern fandom. We differ in five key ways: no queens or hatchings, non-traditional leadership structure, non-linear time frame, minimal admin structure and self-governing membership, and a high civilian to dragonrider population ratio.
1) There are no breeding queens at Dragon's Cove. In fact, the Weyrhold has never even had a Hatching Ground. Dragonrider wannabes go elsewhere -- to the remaining Weyrs or to a major Weyrhold -- to Impress and train. Sometimes they will then move back to DCWh, after they have completed weyrling training, but most of the time they start their lives anew at the place where they Impressed. Occasionally, Dragon's Cove has been home to retired goldriders, but they have never had a mating flight or clutched here.
2) Without a breeding queen, or any queen at all, the traditional hierarchy that has governed Pern's dragonrider population for more than three thousand Turns is nonexistent at Dragon's Cove. In place of a Weyrwoman and Weyrleader (called Lady & Lord Weyrholder at the major Weyrholds), DCWh has adopted an electorial process for selecting a single Weyrholder who governs for a fixed term. Although similar to the process for selecting a Hallmaster, even after five centuries this process is still viewed as radical and subversive by traditionalists -- and especially Lord Holders, who consider it a threat to their power should their holders get it in their minds that an elected Holder might not be better than the current dynastic system. Weyrs and larger Weyrholds are also wary of the system because an elected Weyrholder does not have to be a dragonrider. Crafters and common folk have been elected and reelected to the post at DCWh and other minor Weyrholds.
3) Time isn't always linear at Dragon's Cove. While there is a baseline date (the Turnover from 3099 to 3100AL) from which most activity moves forward, writers are free to write stories set in the near or distant past, or in other locations on Pern, in addition to those set in present-day Dragon's Cove or Tunoco River. In this regard, Dragon's Cove blurs the line between a traditional full-post PBeM club and an e-zine club. As long as the stories are dated clearly and do not conflict with the canon database (see item #3), we see no reason why writers should have their creativity hampered by where and when they can set their stories. The future is the only place we try to go collectively, but even that isn't totally forbidden.
4) A database (currently in development) dubbed Canon Fodder (sic) is Dragon Cove's canonical reference to the backstories of characters, the world in which we write, all IC events from the writers' stories, and any OOC material the writers wish to include. This database serves as our primary means of persona approval and historical fact checking. Each writer at DCWh is responsible for reviewing the material in their stories and comparing its contents against the database to guard against conflicts before officially releasing the story to the list. The writers will also be the ones who enter and update the information in the database related to their stories and characters. Questions about canon, etc. are placed before the whole membership, not a governing Board of Directors, to debate and conclude by consensus. In many respects, this is an honor system of self-govenment -- we're allergic to fandom politics. There are no penalties for accidently messing up, but you might get pelted with rotten redfruit if you don't learn from your errors.
5) The fourth major difference is that dragonriders are literally a rarity at Dragon's Cove. Being a minor Weyrhold, there is ratio of approximately one rider for every thirty-five to forty non-riders -- or roughly 50 dragonriders in the combined population of 1800 people (c.3100AL) at Dragon's Cove Weyrhold and the neighboring Tunoco River Seahold. This ratio and population size are standards our writers are asked to abide by in order to maintain the feel of a small, non-traditional Pernese community.
Those five major differences only begin to scratch the surface of what Dragon's Cove offers that is either unique or rare in Pern fandom. The overall emphasis here at DCWh is going to be on experimentation. Will the time-shifting option work? Can a club self-govern and self-approve PC sheets without something going horribly awry? Will A'hunk ever tear himself away from the mirror long enough to discover true happiness (with something other than his own reflection)? I do not know; only Dragon's Cove's writers will be able to answer those questions. Are you up to the challenge of being one of them?
|All references to worlds and characters based on Anne McCaffrey's fiction are copyright© Anne McCaffrey 1967, 2001, all rights reserved, and used by permission of the author. The "Dragonriders of Pern®" is a registered trademark of Anne McCaffrey. This website is in no way related to, nor endorsed by Ms. McCaffrey or her son, Todd McCaffrey. Visit the Worlds of Anne McCaffrey, Ltd.: Ms. McCaffrey's official website.|