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World-building Challenge
queep!
saxifrage00
I like world building. The fewer preconceptions I bring to the table when I create a world, the more interesting an exercise it becomes for me. A while ago I asked for people to give me ideas, just seeds, from which I might build a role-playing game setting. Just after that I wrote up a setting based on the look of the fog on the fields during my morning drive home from the graveyard shift job I was working then.

Since I'm going to be running actual games in the near future, I'd like to do some more one-off world building as a creative exercise. Here's what I'd like you all to do: come up with an idea that can be summed up in one sentence and post it as a comment. It doesn't matter what it is: a scene that you passed today, an idea that floated through your head, a description of the veining of a leaf. Really, anything can be made into a setting.

So, post away, and I will pick one (or maybe more) to flesh out into a game setting.

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from a dream this morning

I had a bee dangling from a string tied to my finger, like a yo-yo, and a passing economist said this was an example of an externality.

Re: from a dream this morning

Woo. This one's giving me an interesting idea just because making up a setting in which this would make any kind of sense at all is quite the challenge.

I'm thinking an isolated office building, labyrinthine, that somehow survived a apocalypse. Whatever they used to do there involved neural interfaces, and their several-generations-past-apocolypse society is a weird mix of the "real" and virtual world. And what happens when someone starts looking for clues behind panels and doors that have been closed for generations..?

That's nothing like what I envisioned, but I'm glad it inspires you!

It was inspired by the combination of the economist and the yo-yo bee. I figure the bee is some sort of virtual tool or macro that is externally manifested in the "real" world by virtue of everyone being jacked in and able to perceive both realities concurrently. And the economist made me think of an office-space sort of setting.

If I'm going to flesh this out, I'll do it in a fresh post. This is just gears churning. :)

This was originally an idea for a drawing....

but I wanna see what you can do with it:

Beta-People.
Like, people who are melded with (magical, scientific, whatever) Siamese fighting fish. Sort of like mermaids but with glorious dorsal and tail fins.
I am trying to think of a society that would work that way, but I'll leave that much up to you.

I noticed today in the Library that they have video cameras high up disguised as lamp standards.

Some children trying to watch a movie as others played with lego.

1) Instead of the usual Lawful/Neutral/Chaotic and Good/Neutral/Evil, how about a world where everyone is measured by their Meyers-Briggs rating?

2) Or, even more fun, their Jungian Archetypes?

3) Warrior Marketers, Wizard Salesmen, and Cleric Evangelists?

Funny, I was just talking with darthmaus about how most of the pantheonic gods in fantasy D&D-like settings can be understood best in terms of Jungian archtypes. An archtype missing from the Forgotten Realms elven pantheon even helped us establish her characters concept!

In other news, I will ponder these thoughts and see if they inspire anything. Y'know, this is a lot harder than when I just asked for a setting gimmick before. Building something out of random images and ideas is a lot less direct.

Re: Here's a few ...

Hehehe! So what kind of character *did* she end up with?

A while back WotC had a Fantasy Setting Proposal contest. Here's my entry:

1) Core Ethos Sentence

This is a world of adventure and exploration, of swords and sorcery, where heroes survive using their wits and magic, and more often than not, a good deal of luck.

2) Who are the heroes?

Anyone who is still alive generally as life isn’t easy here. There are kings and rulers from the past that are remembered by all and mentioned daily (especially in comparison to the current leadership) as well as knights and wizards that the bards sing about, all too often in a tragic epic.

3) What do they do?

The current day heroes are adventurers seeking fame and fortune the traditional way, by beating up monsters and “liberating” it from them. Every town has their own local heroes who, at some point in the past, stopped a rampaging horde of orcs or cleaned out a lair of ogres or put down an evil overlord.

4) Threats, Conflicts, Villains

The main danger on the surface is getting stuck in between the ongoing war between the rulers of the two main island-continents. There have been battles and clashes and conflicts and peace treaties for millennia. Right now though, it is not a time of peace.

The sea-elven nations wish to keep their world and the worlds of humans apart and will go to great lengths to keep their secrets. If this means yet another “mysterious disappearance” at sea, then so be it.

Re: Here's a few ...

4) Nature of magic

Magic exists but it is not readily apparent to most people. Those that can use it, do, although more often than not, it is used to hide its existence from others. Many people go their whole lives never encountering it (or so they believe) and never really needing it. Everyone believes in it, however, and the smaller villages usually have a local hedge-witch or druid who “help” in times of need using “natural magic” (shamanistic essentially) but because this not a showy form of magic (fireballs, teleporting, conjouring demons) they don’t believe that it is “real” magic. This is also how clerical magic is viewed, although any who witnesses a Resurrection would certainly call it “real” magic!

In the larger cities the kings and rulers know that there is “real” magic and will have access to wizards for their magic abilities. However, these mages usually keep a low profile and are rarely seen, often only being contacted through clandestine meetings. Even in battle, when magic is used, it is often difficult to know where it is coming from since directly offensive magics are rarely used. Preferred instead are the more indirect and subtle means such as directing weather, clouds of poison descending from the heavens or rising from the ground, scrying, illusions, etc. Magically enchanted weapons and armour for the warriors to use are commonly used.

On the surface, creatures of magic are largely unknown. There may be creatures whose evolution has been changed in the past by magic, but they do not need nor use magic or magic-like abilities in their day-to-day lives. Animals, beasts, humanoids, oozes, plants, and vermin are commonplace. Aberrations, dragons, elementals, fey, and magical beasts are almost unheard of. Undead exist but are generally created by the most evil of clerics or very special circumstances.

5) What’s new? What’s different?

The surface world is largely composed of two warring island-continents with a scattering of smaller islands in between. Currently each large continent has it’s own ruler, each bent on taking over the other. The ownership of the islands in between changes on an almost weekly basis. Because of this conflict, ocean-going ships are mainly island hoppers so the rest of the world is largely unexplored although all they would find would be ocean, ocean, and more ocean. Except at the poles where there are smaller island-continents, largely of past volcanic origin. These continents are now snow and desert covered but they are also riddled with ancient volcanoes and caves and are the main entrances to the underground realms. There are a few underground connections to the main island-continents and it is in fact possible to travel between (and this has been done) but only those who have been below know of this secret, but very few are alive to tell about it.

The ocean surface is dull and unexciting and because humans can’t breath water, below the oceans are largely unknown, except as a source of fish and other seafood. However, there is a vast civilization of sea-elves who know about the humans but who stay as far away from them as they can. Much like some dragons can take the human and elf form, some elves can take a dragon-like form, only more suited for water living and have used this form when they need to go near and observe the humans. Those humans that have seen these transformed elves call them whales.

Damned reply-length limit.

So what kind of character *did* she end up with?

We're still deliberating. We've only tossed around a few ideas for the basis of the character and the points of contact she might have with the location for the campaign. She was thinking of a historian and mentioned how she tends to play cleric-types. It occurred to me that the elven pantheon in Forgotten Realms is missing a god that fits the trickster Jungian archtype (and if I'm wrong, then they're obscure enough that I don't care), and suggested that a historian-theologist searching for this lost god might be an interesting basis for the character.

Re: Here's a few ...

Hmm, you mean Loki-like? That sounds pretty cool. Sounds like a lot of fun. Sorta a gnome/elf cross for a god? Having a character that's looking for this god would be the *perfect* foil for the DM to leave little tidbits out and about to lead the players on into new and exciting adventures! She's after info, everyone else can be after the gold! :)

Yeah, I really like the idea. Of course, her character has veered off in different directions than this one, now that she's solidifying. I can save it for another time, though. :)

Re: Here's a few ...

Oh yeah! You *NEVER* toss out character ideas. If nothing else, it could become a *VERY* interesting NPC to throw at her, especially if you make it someone who follows that "unknown" god and if a nasty SOB to boot! >:}

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