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Archive => Indie Game Design => Topic started by: Garbanzo on October 23, 2003, 02:43:41 PM

Title: Presentation of Light Setting
Post by: Garbanzo on October 23, 2003, 02:43:41 PM

I'm working on Ashen ( (Previous threads: on the premise/ race mechanics ( and on the card mechanics (, & I'm heading into that part of the process where I convert my setting notes to setting text.

I'm looking for tips on how to present light setting.

When I say light setting, what I'm talking about is just the good parts - step back AD&D, with your exhaustive lists of NPCs and buildings and stuff.  And step back, Harn.   Plate tectonics aren't needed.

What is it that Ron says?  You can have detailed characters in a light setting, or detailed setting with light characters, but not detailed setting plus detailed characters?  
That's the kind of light setting I'm doing; sufficient cultural details to ground the characters without defining all of heaven and earth (as it were).

Current Plan:

Start with an Overview chapter, explaining the Big Picture.  
Then cultural chapters, each with two sections:
Factoids describing culture-wide stuff (canibalism, coming of age rites, religion - Fvlminata style) and Options, which enable player definition (for the Gwennedd, this would define a clan - governance, interactions with other clans, mobility...).

Q1: How's the Current Plan sound?  I'm way open to suggestions.

Q2: Are there any references out there that are just TIP TOP in their presentation of light setting?


Title: Presentation of Light Setting
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 24, 2003, 08:48:09 AM
Hi Matt,

My reading suggestions include:

Orbit, Arrowflight, Fvlminata (perhaps a tad hefty for your purposes, perhaps not), and Dread (perhaps a tad sketchy for your purposes, perhaps not). All of these game texts, to me at least, presented exactly what I needed in order to play with very little hitchiness or sense of filling in gaps.

That's not to say "no prep" or "ready made adventure." I'm talking about the cognitive effort of repairing or filling in stuff that needed to be there and wasn't. These games were really, really well-written for saving me that effort.

As long as we're getting a little theoretical, I suggest considering whether *setting* is really what you want to be nailing down, or *situation.* In Fvlminata, for instance, it's the former, and in Dread, it's the latter.


Title: Presentation of Light Setting
Post by: Minx on October 27, 2003, 02:19:03 AM
I also recommend "Underworld", which is actually OOP but maybe there are some copies still floating around. After you´ve broused through the character creation chapter, you know pretty much how the world is. Add some background in the magic chapter and the books done.