Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Worldbuilding: The Magical Adventure Continues

In keeping with the "theme" of this series, here is a picture of a man trying to restore power to his groin. It's a long story.

Anyway, let's start jiggering with this setting. Or something.

Before I do anything else this time, I should establish what I want the core concepts of the setting to be. Tone, mostly. That's easy - looking back on previous games and checking with my players tells me that I prefer light-hearted games, or at least it would if I bothered. I didn't, because I already knew that.

What else? "Softer" games are fine, but there needs to be more than that. If you look at other settings, most of them have something - at the risk of sounding massively pretentious here, I will use the technical term here and call it a thingy - which defines the setting and sets it apart from the rest. Planescape has conflicts of philosophy and belief, Dark Sun has "everyone is thirsty and psionic", Eberron has low-level magitek and politics, Forgotten Realms has Elminster (I kid, I kid)...

I also know that there have been so many settings, "official" and homebrew, that whatever I do is not going to be super original. So I shouldn't worry about that, though I'd prefer not to just rip from someone else. Doesn't mean I can't use them as a jumping point, though!

Out of the ones I just presented, I really like Planescape and Eberron, though I am terrible at politics sometimes. What else? If I examine what I have put in my games before, a short list of common factors pops up:

  • Demons

Aaand list over.

I'm not sure why but I really like demons. I've started to branch out to other outsiders lately, but almost every single game I have ever run in this setting has eventually had everything blamed on demons. Wizard tries to explode the world? Demons. Giant monsters plague kingdom? Demons. Out of toilet paper? Demons.

So I guess outsiders should play a part, though not outsiders in general and probably not that often; my "steampunk" setting already has them showing up all over the place.

I could make "religion" a focus, though I always worry about offending someone if I go that route (but hey, it's a roleplaying game, screw those guys!).

I may as well go the simple route and push a bunch of these together: Let Otherworld have low-level magitek and make the core concept/thingy of the setting be that the forces of Good (mostly religious orders) are fighting against the world's corruption by demons.

I don't want it to be grim and dark, though, and I think it would make this setting a little different if the forces of Good were more obviously winning than, say, Warhammer or its space-themed sister game, Starcraft. They'd still have a long way to go, though.

I'm not done yet, but at least I've identified a place to start. I can probably start on the actual races and such now.


Patrick said...

"Out of toilet paper? Demons."

A world where demons aren't actually threatening so much as really, really incredibly annoying. Thousands of pint-sized demons in every city, just making everyone's day that much more annoying.

Chickenpika said...

I think a setting in which the major religions/nations/organizations were actually run by demons would be pretty interesting.

Dark Shikari said...


Sounds pretty much the same as Touhou's fairies: small, relatively non-threatening, interminably mischievous, impossible to get rid of, and blamed for everything that goes wrong from pots boiling over to keys disappearing.

Back on topic, a lighter-toned setting would be interesting. A lot of settings these days really get over-intoxicated with GRIMDARK, probably due to an overdose of Warhammer and Forgotten Realms.

Anonymous said...

So, Chickenpika, just like real life then?

Blastcage said...

>Warhammer or its space-themed sister game, Starcraft

Ettin said...

Insert your own awesomeface.jpg there if you wish!