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MoonHunter Sayeth 20180129

MoonHunter

Game Guru-Thread Shepherd
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Know when to hold um. Know when to fold um.
Known when to walk away; know when to run...

It is an old song, but it has some solid advice.

We, in the gaming sphere, deal in ideas. Some are great. Some are meh. Some should never see the light of day after you think about them later. You need to use what is good (or seems good to you... I mean "Would you play this?" and then "Would your players play it"?), put down what is not ready to go for later, and when to just run away from the idea.
*** *O* ***
There is an idea in my head. It is the gaming equivalent of an Earworm. It just keeps coming back. It never quite goes away. I try to get it out of my head; to put it down on paper and away from my brain. However, it never quite gels into a solid setting.

That bugs me. So it crawls back.

So here is the Latest Manifestation:
60) Setting 49 or Fantasy ?

This is a setting I have tinkered with on and off for over a year. Yet to get a real handle on it.

They key to this world is "The Species"

Humans - though they might come in a variety of flavors

Gillmen - Somewhat amphibeous, they are most at home in the water ways.
*Most of the time they are fairly primative and moderate friendly The Freshwaters are not as cranky crazy as the Ocean Ones.
*The Oceanic ones are fairly advanced, but don't do well in fresh water without spending a lot of time transitioning.
*The Dam Ones. There is a group of freshwaters adapted Oceanics that have brought knowledge from some ocean ones. They have learned water control. They make dams, cisterns, and widen waterways. They have make many canals linking their new lakes. This allows them to be freshwater Gillmen, without being at risk.
http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?764269-setting-riff-Freshwater-Merfolk

Forest Folk - Tall, furry, strong, yet moderately peaceful and wise. They can move through the forest with speed and silence, occasionally entering the Shaman's Realm to move through things. They are wise Shamans that occasionally deal with the Noisy folk (Human and Gills) These are the only people with "magic", and it is not your normal D&D magic. More like Garou Magic in WoD

Greens: (These look like Greys of UFO Folklore). They come in tall and short varieties. They must spend time communing with the sun. They are highly skilled traders and workers that come from across the sea. Psionics? Slavers? I have bounced around a lot of options here. There might be several cultures of them, just like Humans.

There might be Vampires out there... dangerous evil parasites. They are our Demons.
Okay, it seems like it should work. Game settings have been created with less.

My problem with this is it lack a good hook. There is nothing there that is really interesting. The species are cool, but not that exciting. There is no innate drama in the setting. I have thrown some hooks at it. I have added magic, deleted magic, used "power crystals", thown psionics at it, added species "from beyond" to invade the sphere, put it in an ice age, added scary monsters and odd mythological things, even adding and deleting dragons. For fun, I thew it into an Inner Earth, but that didn't change the problem. I have... well except for adding intelligent ponies, I have added a lot of ideas to this basic idea.

As you can see, I have applied various bits ala the MoonHunter way in multiple combinations, but I have never had a GREAT (or even good) Chronicle Conception or Copy.

I am missing the spark for the setting.

So nothing great has ever come of it. Really good settings need solid conceptions to build upon, just like characters or stories. (Chronicle Copies can provide those things, even if they don't spell it out). You need that solid conception with a hook (something to capture your interest) to hold the players' attention and to help you choose "just the right elements" for the setting and chronicle. It also gives you a direction to develop the settings that helps support those "just right elements".

If I got a troupe and they "bought the ticket" for this setting, we might get some more. An infusion of new bits might be what this needs. It might be good, even great, or it might blah.

I don't do blah. Let me ammend, I won't waste my time on blah or meh gaming.

I needed something interesting to be "the background drama" for this setting, to elevate it beyond a simple fantasy sandbox with different races and not a whole lot going on.

I needed that "movie idea", where the super narrator would say..."In a world where..."

I have tried about five plus times, and nada, zip, blech. At its best, I got a "yawn".

So despite my loving the idea, I never has "the spark" that made it more interesting than any other generic fantasy world. (I mean I could make it a world, but there would be no reason to adventure except questing for wealth without excuse or apology.) I could of made it "invaded by the Dark Lord and his Bad Monster People (maybe borrowing the Wheel of Time Trollocs and some elements from that)". It would of been okay; a motley group of heroes stopping him from getting the dingus of power that would cement his rule over the world. I could do that... It would work.. but nope.

I like this idea. I want to use it with something great, or at least good.

Now many GMs would throw a huge amount of time and effort at it, waiting for it to become perfect. They would of broken The Mona Lisa Rule :
The Mona Lisa Rule
Spend only as much time on a world, map, scenario, or NPC as the amount of play time and enjoyment it will allow. Two years for six hours of play is not a good investment. Invest a few hours into the environment for a few dozen hours of gaming fun.
I have thrown bits of time at it.

It is my toy. I pull it out from time to time, shake it a bit, play with it, then put it back in the box for sometime, so I can pull it out again in the future.

You spend time on something that you can use or that is "working". You do not spend too much time with a toy.

You have to know when you are getting traction on a project and when it is time to "put it in the drawer" for a while. Eventually that brilliant spark of inspiration will hit and you will be able to make something of it.

Eventually.

*** *O* ***
So what is the takeaway from all this.

Pay attention to what you is bubbling out of your ideas. Check to see what is working and what is not. Put things away that aren't working, either to be tossed out or tossed into the idea pile to be pulled out later. Do what works, then when you have spare time... do what might work.

You time is too precious to waste on a subpar idea or game.
 
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