Wednesday, February 1, 2012

On Game Settings

Cool beans - Russ Nicholson has a blog!

I still intend to get down some more of that background information on the Thyatic Empire. Preferably before I try to run the first RuneQuest game set in it. I've just had other stuff going on lately, some of it gaming-related and some of it not.

However, something that Zak S. posted a while ago caused me to stop and think for a moment about how in-game information is conveyed to the players in your game. We GM-types will often go on and on about the details of the world we're creating (or modifying, in this case), but oftentimes I must stop and remind myself that the players may not really care about all that; at least not to the degree that I do. World creation is, to my mind, one of the best parts of being a GM. And, though Zak may not care for it, I actually do dig reading that setting stuff (though I'm increasingly willing to alter it to my own tastes, as I mentioned in my last post). My love for that aspect of the game is probably a big part of why I don't work on my other creative projects nearly as much as I should - I shunt all of that time and energy into that game-world instead of my comic book, and hey, since it's just for a game, I don't have to worry about how original it is. I can afford to be lazy when I want to, or swipe an element that I like from another game setting. This is an issue I'm still really struggling with.

Anyway, when it comes to reading about other people's gameworlds, I don't think that what's drawing me is necessarily the quality of the author's writing, nor even necessarily the originality of their creation. They may be rehashing Tolkien or Howard for the umpteenth time - or including yet another homage to Lovecraft - while writing at the skill level of, say, Stephanie Meyers or Dan Brown, but if they've got fodder that I can riff off of, I'm happy. After all, it's a lot harder to start creating from scratch than it is when you're working within established parameters; at least, it is for me.

But I think Zak nailed the reason why my eyes glaze over whenever I'm confronted with game fiction in a rulebook.

Now I want to create some random encounter tables for the Soderfjord Jarldoms. I need to find that page in the AD&D 2e Monstrous Compendium (I think that's where it was...) that shows how to make a d20 table, listing encounters by their relative rarity...


Anonymous said...




Devin Parker said...

Ah! So it is.

I'm suddenly seized with a desire to make an NPC named Monster Manuel.