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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground

    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Terra Ephemera

    Default How should I set this up? (Ravine Game Setting)

    A while ago, I posted something on a setting I was designing (people were interested), and then something more (people weren't).

    Then I went off, got a wiki, and told myself and others that I'd regurgitate it (er, sorry, I meant "throw it up") onto the website in wonderful, coherent, well-indexed, cross-linked form.

    I, ah, didn't.

    You see, I started thinking long and hard about the way game settings are presented. I decided that I didn't like it. What got the most positive feedback the first time around were all the contrasting, contradictory viewpoints within Ravine the way no one seemed to know quite what was going on. And yet every setting, every suppliment, is all about detail, detail, detail, detail. Pure omniscience.

    When you stat out an NPC, you take away the mystery.

    When you produce a map of a city, right down to each tavern, shop, palace, and slum-apartment, you take away the mystery.

    When you create encounter tables for sections of wilderness, you take away the mystery.

    You also take away the DM's flexibility. The PLAYERS read these things too.

    Now, I'm not shovelling hate onto the standard format for settings. I'm just saying that I feel like trying something different. In my head, I'm calling it "Interpretations", which feels horribly Calvin-Klein-esque, but whatever.

    The setting itself wiould be painted out in broad strokes, creating a simple skeleton framework. In Ravine's case, the power groups and regional geography would be fixed, as would their overt relationships (these three are allied, those two are at war, everyone hates the Iron Tower). A few things would be said about each nation, race, religion, culture, etc, little more than a paragraph or five about the outsider's view of the society, people, government, politics, beliefs, and so forth, clinically brief. A framework metaplot would also exist, describing not the events of the timeline themselves, but rather history's rememberance of them (which may or may not be accurate).

    Then, the "supplements" would enter in, detailing nations, sub-nations, races, historical events, the like. But none of these would be cannon. They would be interpretations within the strict framework, rather than definitions which filled in the framework. "This nation MIGHT be this way", rather than "This nation IS this way." There could even be contradictory interpretations, different ways that races and religions and so forth COULD be. The idea is to give DMs the option to pick and choose, mix and match, or make their own, without having to explain to the players "I've made a few changes" and thus tip his hand... and, at the same time, provide those DMs with inspirations and ideas.

    And I have no freaking clue how to organize it.

    Anyone have any bright ideas? Know of anyplace where something like this has been pulled off successfully? Unsuccessfully, but it was a good attempt that bears examination? Bombed, so don't do what they did?

    Also, I'm considering divorcing Ravine from DnD and making it a generic setting conforming to many rulesets. Its DnD roots would still show (freaking dye jobs), but I could adapt it to the ST, Heroes, and GURPs (shudder) systems to name a few. Any suggestions on THIS front?

    And no, I'm not going to become a major setting publishing company. I just like to pretend I suffer from delusions of grandeur, from time to time. (I'm just pretending! Honest!)
    I'm not an evil GM! Honest!

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Pixie in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2005

    Default Re: How should I set this up? (Ravine Game Setting

    Ah, organizing a write-up. One of the hardest tasks there are to creating a setting.

    As a guide, you can always use the "big-to-small" style. Begin with introductory flavor, tell the people what your world is about, and what makes it unique. Then go a bit into the history, as that's always a good place to start. Detail the five (or four, or six) biggest events that have happend, such as wars, discoveries, etc.
    Then go into geography, tell people what is where, how the world is built up. As a consequence of that, you can then go to politics, which can be affected by both history and geography (trading towns, war-torn empires...)
    Finally, you can go into the real detail. Describe anything which you still want (magic systems, schools of fighting, certain customs, deities) and you have a good framework. it should be easy to then add on details here and there into the correct places.

    As supplements, just write one for everything that is a single item in your world. Is a nation an item? Or a single city? Your choice, really. A small kingdom might be one item, a powerful barony in another one might be, or a free city with great trading influence might be one. Or a certain culture of a race that lives at this place. Or a school of wizards that focuses on a new form of magic. Or a band of mercenaries that is a well-known organization.

    Hope this helps.


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