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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Beholder

    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    Midwestern nowhere, USA
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    Default How do you turn your projects into a game experience?

    I'm used to having to stick to core with my games because I usually have new players and don't want to overwhelm them with deviations from the books. Recently I got a group of some of my former players together to learn a new system (Pathfinder 2e), and once we're done with the introductory module, I want to start running something in one of my worlds. The last time I tried running something in my own setting, I had come up with a lot of interesting points that distinguished it from the core, but I think I struggled to portray them in the game itself.

    How do some of you folks convey your world's unique qualities at the table? Alternatively, what are some game design elements you lean into when creating a new setting? I feel like really digging into a specific subsystem or ruleset could help me explode this setting into something dynamic.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Planetar

    Join Date
    Mar 2020

    Default Re: How do you turn your projects into a game experience?

    Quote Originally Posted by jinjitsu View Post
    I'm used to having to stick to core with my games because I usually have new players and don't want to overwhelm them with deviations from the books. Recently I got a group of some of my former players together to learn a new system (Pathfinder 2e), and once we're done with the introductory module, I want to start running something in one of my worlds. The last time I tried running something in my own setting, I had come up with a lot of interesting points that distinguished it from the core, but I think I struggled to portray them in the game itself.

    How do some of you folks convey your world's unique qualities at the table? Alternatively, what are some game design elements you lean into when creating a new setting? I feel like really digging into a specific subsystem or ruleset could help me explode this setting into something dynamic.
    It's easy to convey a new setting's unique qualities to a group that's been taught a new system, if the qualities tend to be directly and seriously beneficial to the group. As for how less positive, neutral, or even negative qualities are conveyed, I try not to force it, unless the situation warrants a more up front display, so I'll usually just drop minor background elements here and there. For example, if a setting is relatively more technologically complex than what you'd expect standard settings ran using the system being played to be like, with a steampunk setting ran using the Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 Edition system being one instance of this, I'll slide in various bit of data about said complexity, like mentioning that a character has a monocle, or that the two armies clashing around the party are wielding gunpowder weapons.
    Last edited by Huzuhbazah; 2021-02-13 at 03:33 PM. Reason: Grammar issues.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Laserlight's Avatar

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    Sep 2012
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    Virginia Beach VA
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    Default Re: How do you turn your projects into a game experience?

    The DM's job is primarily to manage the emotions the players feel. Show how the NPCs around them feel about things. Are they wistful for lost Atlantis? Grim about their struggle to survive in the ruined desert?

    Come up with a few descriptive keywords for your setting. "elegant, treachery, webs, darkness" is different from "heat, thirst, illusions, tombs". Each session, make sure you hit those keywords, either directly or not. "You wake up hearing a yip yip -- a distant jackal. Your eyes are gritty but you don't dare wash your face; you only have half a waterskin left. In front of the queen's mausoleum is a fountain; you don't see water but you do see a glimpse of green leaves. The fountain is filled with sand; the leaves turn out to be sculpted copper, corroded by age. The dead queen's face is carved into the mausoleum door in alabaster."
    Junior, half orc paladin of the Order of St Dale the Intimidator: "Ah cain't abide no murderin' scoundrel."

    Tactical Precepts: 1) Cause chaos, then exploit it; 2) No plan survives contact with...(sigh)...my subordinates.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Beholder

    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    Midwestern nowhere, USA
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    Default Re: How do you turn your projects into a game experience?

    Quote Originally Posted by Huzuhbazah View Post
    It's easy to convey a new setting's unique qualities to a group that's been taught a new system, if the qualities tend to be directly and seriously beneficial to the group.
    This is such a simple but helpful statement (and explains to me why cross-setting content is so popular in this forum's theorycrafting). My setting's fluff is pretty concerned with sailing, especially smaller craft; I guess I need to dig into the rules and figure out how to make owning, operating, and/or working on a ship both simple to understand and useful for adventurers.

    Thank you Huzuhbazah!

    Quote Originally Posted by Laserlight View Post
    Come up with a few descriptive keywords for your setting. "elegant, treachery, webs, darkness" is different from "heat, thirst, illusions, tombs". Each session, make sure you hit those keywords, either directly or not.
    This is great advice too. I'm very detail-oriented, sometimes to my own detriment; my worry over conveying themes is probably because I realize in the moment that my descriptions are going to take too long, so I deflate them and end up with weak imagery. Having a list of concepts I can count on one hand and making sure I hit one or two in any description should help me make things punchier.

    Fortunately, I noticed my myopia before I started designing this setting, so I've already forced myself to focus on the big picture instead of the details; getting a few keywords out of that should be a piece of cake!

    Thanks Laserlight!

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