Wednesday, September 4, 2013

D&D 30 Day Challenge - Day 4

Cut it a bit close today, but here is my entry...

The question for today would be what my favorite gaming world is. Again nothing I could answer fast and easy. I don't care that much for sold settings (but did use a bit Forgotten Realms when I started playing 3E). As far as worlds go I could go several directions. One day I should shovel it all into one big gaming world and call it my home brew setting.

The curse of every DM is that the mind explores imaginary lands so much faster as a character in-game ever could. Because of this, I fall in love with new settings on a regular basis. Maybe it's a minor form of Gamer ADD. I don't know.

Here are a few glimpses of worlds I fell in love with. My favorite gaming world is somewhere hidden in here:


Your basic fantasy tropes, but with very small people (source)
Didn't care that much for the story, but the setting was hitting all kinds of sweet spots. It's about, let's say, nature spirits (a bit like elves) living in a forest, fighting decay (orcs, goblins, etc.) and keep order in general. Classic black vs. white fairy tale, but with dogfights and races on fast birds and some swordplay. Especially nice were the ideas about how the "big world" physics influenced the "small world".

Maybe it began with the smurfs back in the day, but I always thought a world like this was ripe for a role-playing world. It's in a clearly defined area, but could fit everywhere in every setting, even in a backyard with a whole house as the campaign world or in the middle ages, even in a fantasy setting. Characters could be anything, stories could be anything, but the world is distinctive, easy to communicate and, of course, as dangerous as a DM cares to make it.

Thunder Rift

A big world, but with very clear borders. All it needs, really. (source)
There is no need to read or even own the setting. You just need the map, an idea why they call it "Thunder Rift" and what all the names on the map could mean and you're good to go. Finally you'd need a cryptic explanation why nobody is able to leave the Thunder Rift canyon. The mind could do anything in this confined area. It's all a DM could ever need for a campaign world.

I'm pretty sure I like this because of it's simplicity and I'm starting to see a pattern. How big should a campaign world be? How much preparation is advisable? One could start and never finish. But if there are some limits to the scope of a setting, it's not that difficult anymore to fill in the blanks. A map of Faerun just wouldn't do that for me, because it delivers so much, the details and features become insignificant.

Crash Canyon

The show may be ho-hum, but the premise is pure gaming gold! (source and a very harsh review of the show)
I saw this by accident one night on tv. I swear I couldn't sleep that night. Not because the show was that good, but because I couldn't stop thinking this would make a brilliant gaming world! Here is the basic idea:
"Crash Canyon is a Canadian animated series. It tells the story of the community living at the bottom of a canyon. The Wendell family is looking for an original holiday by caravan but their trip ends sooner than expected at the bottom of a canyon in Alberta, Canada. Canyon walls are too high to climb and there is no way out. Soon they find out there is a whole community of 25 survivors from previous crashes down there. Dollars are not accepted and they use golf tees as a currency." (from the Wikipedia page linked above)
Anything goes in this world,
and not because of GURPS.
A bit like Thunder Rift above. But there is one major difference: you could put anything in there you'd want. Dragons, roman legionaries, robots, strange artifacts or parts of weird architecture. It could be a trash bin of the universe, a trap, the result of wonky magic. And of course it would build new and strange communities. Maybe even factions. It could be a world like a megadungeon, but totally random at that (I'm thinking: hex field generator with results like "rusty WW2 submarine, Mushroom forest, two warring communities, one led by an A. I.., one by a viking with a chainsaw, main predator: owlbears" or anything else a crazy person DM could think of).

Basically I'd take Crash Canyon, make a world of sorts out of it and mix in some Riverworld.

Impressions 1 (source)

Impressions 2 (source)
Impressions 3 (source)
Impressions 4 (source)
Dragon Hunters is a cartoon series for kids. It's not that interesting. But the setting, on the other hand, is totally fantastic. It consists completely of floating islands and strange landscapes. Could be very difficult to reproduce in the game (at least the map would be a graphic designers nightmare...), but looking on those pictures makes me believe it should be possible...

Sometimes a picture is enough...

All of the following were found on konachan (beware explicit content over there...).

More random pics from the hard drive:

I could go on and on. Worlds are not "genre", they are wallpaper or a background. But most of all they are impressions and ideas. I couldn't possibly give a whole impression of what makes me like a gaming world or not, but I guess a hint is enough for now.

More picture may be found here.

What I'm up to right now is here (Tales of Karek Thel).

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