At its heart, “Tales Out of Anchor” is a game of Rise and Fall - the fortunes of characters rise and fall like the rock of Anchor itself. Furthermore, it is a game about Status and Gossip.
“Tales Out of Anchor” is also a game about swords and sky-ships; about gambling and smuggling; about dirty deals in dark corners and public duels with witty quips. It’s a game about “who you know, not what you know” and about dodging the Department for Internal Investigation. Events present a snapshot of life in the bustling city of Anchor, floating high above the cloud-deck, chained to a fresh-water sea.
Films: For Politics and The Bureaucracy, check out “Brazil”. For duelling and daring-do, you can’t go wrong with looking at : “Pirates of the Caribbean”, “The Princess Bride” or old Errol Flynn adventures like “Captain Blood”- equally, Tales Out of Anchor also owes a lot to “Casablanca” and Michael Gordon’s “Cyrano de Bergerac”. Finally, you should absolutely look at Hayao Miyazaki’s “Laputa - Castle in the Sky” and “The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello” by Anthony Lucas.
Books: The Austen Sisters - “Pride and Prejudice” etc, for Regency romance and Victor Hugo's “Les Misérables” for student revolution and riots in the streets. “The Edge Chronicles” by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell for floating islands and sky pirates - a major influence. The City came out of Frances Hardinge's “Fly By Night” and “Twilight Robbery”, as well as “The Pearls That Were His Eyes” by Ian Andrews for the winding streets of Cittàvecchio and Noble intrigue. Finally, we’re drawing influences from “Perdido Street Station” - China Miéville and “The Lies of Locke Lamora” - Scott Lynch.
Places: Venice - “But come back in November or December, in February or March, when the fog, la nebbia, settles upon the city like a marvelous monster, and you will have little trouble believing that things can appear and disappear in this labyrinthine city, or that time here could easily slip in its sprockets and take you, willingly or unwillingly, back.” - Erica Jong, “A City of Love and Death: Venice”
History and Culture: Monastic and royal power centers in the European middle ages. Blacksmiths and outsiders - liminal peoples and their place in society. Political and cultural revolutions throughout history. Historiography.
Games: Paranoia, for the labyrinthine ways of the Bureaucracy and Audit day. Hubris games “Maelstrom Storytelling.”