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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 158 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Greetings... and some question regarding my rpg project.  (Read 1038 times)

Posts: 2

« on: July 29, 2007, 08:37:22 AM »

  Since this is my first post here, let me start by sending a warm greeting to everyone in The Forge.

   For some time, seems like ages to me, I have been considering making my own rpg. Maybe it was frustration towards the systems I tried, maybe I felt that most things out there did not agree with me, or maybe it was my unbearable arrogance which made my thing I had the bestest idea of all times! Wink
   Anyways, I recentl found some friends who volunteered to become my 'guinea pigs' in trying out my ideas and things have begun to take shape at last.
Since, at the moment I do not yet have set up a site or blog with my work (they are forthcoming), I won't go into more detail than is neccessary, due to the lack of avialable reference material.

  I will set aside the mechanics, or rules aspect of the game for the purposes of this post and go strainght into the setting...that is what my questions are about. Although I have to say that I do appreciate that the two are linked and might affect each other.

   The way I have been designing the setting is aiming at the creation of a world that ifeels and is alive and real. What do I mean by that? Basically, I used a method which I call (forgive me and do correct me if there was a term for this methodology already....to my excuse I am a design newbie!) 'designing from the inside out'. I have noticed that in several setting a lot of 'facts' are already known about the REAL history, REAL cosmology and cosmogony, of the REAL physical theories of the universe, the deities that inhabit it and so on..... albiet to a thord-party observe from outside the setting, i.e. the players.
   Admittedly, I was influenced very much by my studies in the history and philosophy of science. Reality (used in a very loose sense) has proven to contain more fantastic elements than many fantasy stories. However, in every stage of the human history there wasn't a single and unquenstionably real answer to the most fundamental of question....how was the world created, by who or what, accident or design. And that is only the tip of the iceberg. Each civilisation and culture had their own practices, morals, held their own theories, philosophies, religions and attitudes and so on. Conflicts between them was more a matter or differences in all the above areas that easy laid tags of right-wrong, good-evil and so on.
  So the principle I use in the design of the world/setting is to try to see how things would seem to be from the eys of an inhabitant of the world and how his outlook changes depending his cultural background. What I am aiming here is to give the players the opportunity to experience 'conficts' not only of a physical nature, (eg sneaking into a place to steal some stuff, fighting and what not) but also conflicts of a different kind. For example, how would a character hailing from a country with a religious and moralistic outlook react, or rather interact, with another coming from a culture where their language lacks words for the concepts of good and evil?

   And somewhere here lies the problem. A live world such as this does not have a give or predetermined 'direction or plot' , like say Vampires and Werewolf. Or mechanic of distinguishing good from evil that can serve as drive for the plot (like a DnD alignement system).
  What worries me here is whether by taking this path the whole game will lack a direction in such a way as to make players wonder, in a fairly regular basis, 'what on earth are we supposed to be doing?'.
   Do you think that this cultural multidiversity, which I am trying to put into the setting, will eventual broaden the scope of the game and hence make it void of some theme and direction?

I am sorry for the long ranting. I eagerly await for your comments

Posts: 67

« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2007, 09:00:06 AM »


Two games that might be worth looking at- Hero Quest (previously known as Hero Wars, and, you see a bit in it's older version of RuneQuest stuff from the 70's), and The Shadow of Yesterday.

Not for the systems, but because both of these games basically focus on the intersections of different cultures, and where they clash, merge, or co-opt each other for better or for worse.  Both games tend to do a good job of laying out some of the cultures and "What's going on with them" in the broad sense- war, disaster, religious schisms, etc.  Then the GM would create a specific situation, maybe concerning a specific village or town, or a clan, or a temple- and a conflict which usually presses on that situation specifically.

So "What do you do?" becomes very contextual to the society and situation, but it's not confusing in play at all.  "They're trying to convert my temple into heresy! (or at least what I think is heresy!"  "They're letting those OUTSIDERS move into our village!"  "The slavers took away all of our history-speakers!"  "My uncle is marrying off my cousin to a lying bastard!" etc.

The conflicts are often both personal and cultural.  The only thing to be mindful of is explaining that culture is messy- a lot of times people look at game cultures (or real cultures!) as rock solid well defined things- not shifting and changing, influenced and influencing, which is what it sounds like you're interested in dealing with.  I'd probably also be sure to include some ideas on how to set up these situations- usually either 2 cultures interacting or a single culture undegoing change tends to be the formula.

Moreno R.

Posts: 389

« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2007, 05:19:29 PM »


About Heroquest (or more precisely about his setting, Glorantha) you can look at this freely downloable pdf that list cultural informations about ten of the principal gloranthian cultures. Every one has a different creation myth, and a different view of the world.

Glorantha is a very big world, with a lot of material publiched in the last thirty years, but this should be enough to give you a taste of the diversity of cultures in the setting.


(Excuse my errors, English is not my native language. I'm Italian.)

Posts: 2

« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2007, 10:20:23 AM »

Thank you both for your replies.
  I'll be sure to check the material you suggested.

  Well, I do not want to go into more detail at this point (not for fear of someone stealing my ideas) but without some sort of reference it will make a more in depth discussion somewhat awkward and possibly too abstract. Moreover, I got some friends that volunteered to try it out (me acting as a Narrator/GM) so lots of things at this point are subkect to change.

  When I'll have the website, blog, etc. up I 'll be sure to seek out your advice again! ;-)
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