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Building a "world" to play in

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Building a "world" to play in

Post Number:#1  Postby Griswald » 25 Sep 2010, 11:39

The following are just my opinions based on my experiences. In no way are they to be perceived as facts or absolutes. All other opinions are welcome as long as it’s constructive and not confrontational or insulting.

I haven’t touched a set of dice in nearly 5 years except to put them in a box somewhere with the various RPGs I’ve collected. After recently looking through some of them I realized that I had quite a few and while my friends had “worlds”, I had really nothing more than a smattering of hand made maps of localized areas with no real concept outside running a scenario or in rare cases a module. This is because when I was younger I tried to run everything I could get my hands on. Mainstream RPGs would become stagnant at certain points and rather give in to running around on a road trip (which cost gas money no one had and usually ended up in something we shouldn’t have done), I’d pull out a new game. This lead to a lot of different genres and systems and a great deal of experimentation. The problem with playing so many games is that it becomes hard to narrow it down later and the “world” you were looking to make doesn’t emerge.

In the early days RP worlds mostly consisted of AD&D. Later on they seemed to mainstream under the Rolemaster System by Iron Crown Enterprises. Both have held their own to some extent, although my generation has pretty much settled on the original Rolemaster system after transferring/converting from AD&D. On the broader scale you are much more likely to be playing the latest edition D&D which is now reminiscent of many of the Rolemaster rules. To be more accurate I should say the Middle Earth Roleplaying game by ICE as it tends to be a bit more simplistic or refined than the volumes of calculations on a Rolemaster character. D&D also enjoys the comfort of having years of established worlds through expansion sets and various modules. We’ve all heard of Greyhawk and other settings. While Rolemaster has a few things like this I honestly can’t remember any of them as most of us had an idea of what we wanted for a setting and just grabbed the system and used it how we saw fit, or had already begun the conversion process.

I look now at trying to do the same thing as my friends and create a “world”. Since Rolemaster is pretty much the game of choice among my peers it’s logical to keep the same system for my world. However, I have issues with this system that I have always had and I’m wondering how much of it I can change without messing it up. My game will essentially be Rolemaster, but with the large amount of RPGs I have played there are things I would like to add to the system while removing others. To do this I have to look back at the games I ran, the best and worse parts of them, the best moments we had playing them, and then the inevitable move to the bookshelf to sit and collect dust.

I will make a series of posts divided by RPG ‘genres’ and the games I have played within those genres. I’d appreciate other’s views on said games if they remember an experience or have an opinion on the game as well. The object of this project is to gather as much information as possible before settling down and making “the world” with all it’s details and rules. Although I will be inevitably running a fantasy setting game, I believe there are a lot of things that can be added to it out of positive experiences and systems even if they are from different genres. My friends Matt and Greg both told me at separate times something that I have never forgotten: The Game Master has to have fun too.

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Re: Building a "world" to play in

Post Number:#2  Postby The Keeper » 25 Sep 2010, 13:40

I'll just comment here about my world system/view. It may help you - or not.

When I started with my world creation, I started with a map. I drew in the general outline and the features. I then placed points on the map, called them capitols and then gave them names. In that way I spaced out the different races and such. My world, Kell, believe it or not is actually continually expanding. There is no set size. The reason for that is that I am constantly adjusting the content of what I want to belong there. So if something does not fit in the immediate area the PCs happen to be in, I relocate it. My original map had no indication of the Isle of Dread. But at some point I needed a "treasure island" Bam, Isle of Dread off the coast of the Duchy of Perth.

This is a way to merge disparate things that you like, but that don't necessarily mesh with each other or with what you may currently have going. As an aside, I also decided at some point on an overall arching theme. ALL of my games in whatever system exist under the same universe. The gods in one game may not be present in the game of another, but I keep everything under one universe. It's what I do with Kell on a much larger scale. I'll even alter it as a separate timeline/plane/etc - whatever works.

My point in this is that you don't have to agonize over what goes and what doesn't. If you like two or more parts, but they don't work together, separate them as different parts of your world, universe, whatever.

BTW, one of my favorites. The world Hannah was in. I liked the concept of different colors of magic representing different themes/mages, etc. Really enjoyed playing her. Which reminds me, I still need to calculate my XP for her! :D

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