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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 174 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: To story, or not to story.  (Read 3554 times)

Posts: 7

« on: February 12, 2008, 12:59:05 AM »

Well I have been writing story after story for my RPG rule book, but none of them have gone down well, so before I take any action I would just like to ask a few questions.
1)  Do you think its simply down to me not having a good enough story?
2)  Would people like to submit their own stories?
3)  Would people prefer a rulebook without a back story so they can apply the rules to their own plot?

Posts: 22

« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2008, 02:07:25 PM »

Peter Nordstrand

Posts: 501

« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2008, 07:01:27 AM »

Hi there!

What do you mean it hasn't gone over well? People have voted, right? Looking at you polls, I conclude that the voters want a steam punk game, set on the earth in the future. They prefer fiction over realism.

The next question is where your problems begin, as far as I can tell. You've written up a number of backstories to vote on. You ask the question "Which, if any, of the five stories do you prefer?", and one of the options is "None". Two problems: 1.) Very few people have voted on this question compared to the previous one. Personally I think reading a couple of pages of backstory requires a lot more commitment than answering the previous questions. 2.) Half the voters have opted for the "none" option. I suggest that you don't include options that you yourself don't feel enthusiastic about. You are the one doing all the work, so you'd make sure it is fun.

Here's a link to the site, so that everybody can check for themselves: http://rpgdemocracy.blogspot.com/


Kevin Smit

Posts: 12

« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2008, 03:50:44 PM »

I've always found stories to be an excellent way to explain how certain elements of your game world function in practice as opposed to principle.  It's one thing to say that group A doesn't like group B, but providing an example of how group A and group B act when stuck together is much more powerful. 

That said, it's much easier to relate your system to your game world if the latter is already complete.  I fall into the trap of letting system get ahead of world development as well.  What's happened lately is that I'll be writing up a nice system, jiving along and letting to goodness roll, then I'll write down "Magic System" on my notes page and stop, completely stuck.  For my purposes, "magic" includes any special abilities above and beyond the normal human.  Then it strikes me that I don't have a truly developed world that I'm using as a template, so entire regions of my system are still blank.  Until you figure out exactly what people in your world can do and how they do it, it's very hard to design a system that will support coherent play, and the last thing you want is for design to be driving your game world.

If you're writing this rules system for people to use on already created worlds (not your own), then they don't need the back story.  If you're creating a complete product for your own reasons, either to run a group in or to publish, then you do need the back story.
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