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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 75 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Bronze] setting / cultures  (Read 5140 times)
dindenver
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Posts: 928

Don't Panic!


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« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2006, 06:28:56 PM »

Hi!
  Well, proof is ephimeral. Unless the deity speaks to you or appears before you, where is the proof. If I get a charm from a Priest and have bad luck, does that bolster your faith or weaken it?
  In a world with spirits and monsters, who is to say what a god is?
  I THINK there is room for questions of faith. But I guess that is for you to decide, lol
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Dave M
Author of Legends of Lanasia RPG (Still in beta)
My blog
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stefoid
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« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2006, 09:35:40 PM »

Hi!
  Well, proof is ephimeral. Unless the deity speaks to you or appears before you, where is the proof. If I get a charm from a Priest and have bad luck, does that bolster your faith or weaken it?
  In a world with spirits and monsters, who is to say what a god is?
  I THINK there is room for questions of faith. But I guess that is for you to decide, lol


what were your thoughts on the second culture, by the way?
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dindenver
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« Reply #17 on: February 14, 2006, 10:56:11 PM »

Hi!
  Well, the spelling and grammar are atrocious. There were less contradictions. But there was also a vague sense that you were unwilling or unable to characterize the nature of these people. Also, the religious section is TOO shallow. The Spriit Quest is described, but daily religion has almost no detail.
  I think part of the issue is that you are falling for the myth that cultures that were called barbaric were in fact barbaric. Even Vikings had complex societal mores and were more than willing to engage in trade with other cultures when they felt that raids and wars would not be productive.
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Dave M
Author of Legends of Lanasia RPG (Still in beta)
My blog
Free Demo
stefoid
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« Reply #18 on: February 14, 2006, 11:17:50 PM »

Hi!
  Well, the spelling and grammar are atrocious. There were less contradictions. But there was also a vague sense that you were unwilling or unable to characterize the nature of these people. Also, the religious section is TOO shallow. The Spriit Quest is described, but daily religion has almost no detail.
  I think part of the issue is that you are falling for the myth that cultures that were called barbaric were in fact barbaric. Even Vikings had complex societal mores and were more than willing to engage in trade with other cultures when they felt that raids and wars would not be productive.


by any modern sensibilities some of the things they get up to are barbaric.  They are into murder for fame and fortune. and torture.  what I hoped to portray was that their viewpoint makes this kind of behaviour seem perfectly moral and rational.  But I didnt get there?

daily religion:  are you referring to wanting descriptions of daily religious practices or just a general viewpoint on religion?  I hoped I did the job of describing their spiritual viewpoint.

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Joshua A.C. Newman
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« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2006, 06:31:13 AM »

Steve, you can go two directions here: you can give players the tools to make the stuff up themselves, of you can write a world so compelling that the players will want to use the tremendous, coherent detail you've given.

Guess which one I think is the better choice.
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the glyphpress's games are Shock: Social Science Fiction and Under the Bed.

I design books like Dogs in the Vineyard and The Mountain Witch.
stefoid
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« Reply #20 on: February 15, 2006, 02:56:36 PM »

Steve, you can go two directions here: you can give players the tools to make the stuff up themselves, of you can write a world so compelling that the players will want to use the tremendous, coherent detail you've given.

Guess which one I think is the better choice.

Do I win a prize? 

anyway, why are those options are mutually exclusive?

There is scope for many, many other cultures that will hinted at merely existing - the area Im covering is kind of an island unto itself, like china or india.  People turn up to the tent city market place by caravan, for instance....  from where, what are they like?  others turn up in boats to trade with port cities... again, from where, what are they like?

however, give players the tools to create their own cultues?  By all means if they want to get stuck in -- hell Id hope theyd be intersted enough to try.  But I cant think of any 'tools'  other than some guidelines as to what areas to concentrate on when doing a writeup/  is that what youre talking about?
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Joshua A.C. Newman
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the glyphpress


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« Reply #21 on: February 15, 2006, 11:40:25 PM »

Steve, you can go two directions here: you can give players the tools to make the stuff up themselves, of you can write a world so compelling that the players will want to use the tremendous, coherent detail you've given.

Guess which one I think is the better choice.

Do I win a prize? 

Sure!

Quote
anyway, why are those options are mutually exclusive?

Because either one is a large task, and because, if players can make up cultures fine-tuned to their own interests, they won't care about the canned ones.

Quote
There is scope for many, many other cultures that will hinted at merely existing - the area Im covering is kind of an island unto itself, like china or india.  People turn up to the tent city market place by caravan, for instance....  from where, what are they like?  others turn up in boats to trade with port cities... again, from where, what are they like?

however, give players the tools to create their own cultues?  By all means if they want to get stuck in -- hell Id hope theyd be intersted enough to try.  But I cant think of any 'tools'  other than some guidelines as to what areas to concentrate on when doing a writeup/  is that what youre talking about?

Nope. I'm talking about real rules. Like character creation rules, where you build the features of a culture, its geography, whatever's important to your situation. Dogs in the Vineyard will show you how this is doable.
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the glyphpress's games are Shock: Social Science Fiction and Under the Bed.

I design books like Dogs in the Vineyard and The Mountain Witch.
stefoid
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« Reply #22 on: February 16, 2006, 01:41:05 AM »

creating the setting for the game = fun

creating rules = not as much fun
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Joshua A.C. Newman
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« Reply #23 on: February 16, 2006, 01:49:00 AM »

Tell me about it.

But that's what you gotta do. Making bad rules is a bad thing to do. Not bad, as in sloppy or "aw, rats", but bad, as in it strains friendships, drives people away from games, alienates people. It's cruel to write bad rules, either on purpose, or because you weren't paying attention.

Good rules make it so that friends get to know, understand, and appreciate each other more. You find yourself hanging on every word your friends say because it totally matters to what's happening.

If you're going to write a game, it's your ethical obligation to make it good.

Fortunately, you strike me as someone who wants to do good, and your ideas are interesting. So you're off to a flying start.
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the glyphpress's games are Shock: Social Science Fiction and Under the Bed.

I design books like Dogs in the Vineyard and The Mountain Witch.
Warren
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Posts: 167


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« Reply #24 on: February 16, 2006, 02:17:13 AM »

creating the setting for the game = fun

Just to chip in here, as you've (accurately) pointed out that "creating the setting = fun", don't you want to increase the amount of fun everybody can have when playing the game by allowing everybody to create the setting as part of the game? Yeah, writing the rules to allow this may be less fun, but do that once (and do it well, of course) and you pass on a whole bunch of fun to every player of your game. Cool, eh?

Warren
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Adam Dray
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« Reply #25 on: February 16, 2006, 08:21:46 AM »

I can't remember if anyone already suggested this or not, but why not just write a setting? If writing rules isn't fun for you, use someone else's rules, perhaps tweak them for your setting, and publish the setting as a supplement for those rules.

Or write a novel. Or make a giant web page full of setting information.

I suspect the answer is that you want to show off your setting to your player group in particular, and you need a vehicle for doing so, and that means a game. Right?
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Adam Dray / adam@legendary.org
Verge -- cyberpunk role-playing on the brink
FoundryMUSH - indie chat and play at foundry.legendary.org 7777
Eero Tuovinen
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #26 on: February 16, 2006, 08:57:31 AM »

Adam's so very right. I suggest The Shadow of Yesterday for the rules set, by the way. Full support for heroic fantasy, including cultural differences of all kinds. It's free, too, and integrates rules and setting very solidly.
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Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.
stefoid
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« Reply #27 on: February 16, 2006, 01:58:23 PM »

I can't remember if anyone already suggested this or not, but why not just write a setting? If writing rules isn't fun for you, use someone else's rules, perhaps tweak them for your setting, and publish the setting as a supplement for those rules.

Or write a novel. Or make a giant web page full of setting information.

I suspect the answer is that you want to show off your setting to your player group in particular, and you need a vehicle for doing so, and that means a game. Right?

yeah, I have in the back of my head that this could be the setting for a novel as well as an RPG.  Would be funny to butcher it with my untested writing skills.

the point is I want to do the setting, and the rules for any RPG as well, but thats secondary in my priorities.  If I end up using someone elses rules, thats OK.
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stefoid
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« Reply #28 on: February 16, 2006, 03:01:14 PM »

whats peoples thoughts about 'canonical settings' here?  seems to me like it is the crazy uncle nobody likes to acknowledge publicly.

but its settings that sell games. hell, unless youre going into a store specifically to buy something that you know you want, it could even be illustrations and cool blurbs that sell games.

hmmm, front cover looks nice.... whats on the back?  OK, this concept seems pretty cool, have a quick leaf through it - ooh, theres a nice picture, what does the caption say?  hmmm, thats interesting, what else does it say on this page....
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Joshua A.C. Newman
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the glyphpress


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« Reply #29 on: February 16, 2006, 03:15:58 PM »

If that's the case, Steve, here's what I'd do:

Use The Shadow of Yesterday for the "game" part of the game. Play with the cultures "on the table", that is, tell the players about all of them so they can make informed choices. I wouldn't bother with the "secrets" thing; for the most part, it just pushes toward disappointment.

When I'd played for a while, I'd start to notice things that are different than I'd like them. Once I started changing them to reflect what I really wanted, I'd be on my way to creating a new game.

By no means give up on your vision: you have an idea for a setting that is compelling to you and presumably your group. Run it, pay close attention to the processes you use in play (when we make up a new culture, what exactly do we do? How do we come to agreement? Are there more effective ways of coming to agreement?) and write them down. If someone else wouldn't get as good results following the process you've written down, you haven't discovered the rule in the behavior yet. So keep writing down your observations.



In the meantime, play a lot. Use games that are really different from what you know. TSoy is great (and free). Dogs in the Vineyard is great and not free. Burning Wheel is great and cheap. Pirate them mercilessly for ideas. When you use one and the people around the table are all smiling and throwing in ideas, take note of it.

Also, design lots of little games. Every one isn't your magnum opus. Don't bother making them all with that in mind. Some will start to feel really refined. Some of them will seem hopelessly flawed until you realize you used the same idea in a later game to better effect.

Quote from: stefoid
whats peoples thoughts about 'canonical settings' here?  seems to me like it is the crazy uncle nobody likes to acknowledge publicly.

but its settings that sell games. hell, unless youre going into a store specifically to buy something that you know you want, it could even be illustrations and cool blurbs that sell games.

hmmm, front cover looks nice.... whats on the back?  OK, this concept seems pretty cool, have a quick leaf through it - ooh, theres a nice picture, what does the caption say?  hmmm, thats interesting, what else does it say on this page....

You're talking about book design, not qualities of the game. We can discuss that in Publishing if you like.

Sorcerer takes place right here, in the real, normal world, where people summon and bind demons into dysfunctional relationships in order to do their will. Dogs in the Vineyard is about Mormon frickin' cowboys confronting violence and sociopathy in fragile, homogenous societies. It's not the setting that makes these sell. It's that they're good games. That's why people create such cool alternate settings for them.

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the glyphpress's games are Shock: Social Science Fiction and Under the Bed.

I design books like Dogs in the Vineyard and The Mountain Witch.
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