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Malruhn
03-07-2011, 08:16 PM
I just finished off about 20 hours of work mapping every corner of an obscure island in my campaign world that is desolate and is basically a volcanic vent with nothing more than hydrogen sulfide gas, cyanide gas and methane gas (with obligatory flame/explosions) and nothing else of note.

Why?

In 30 years of running my world, I have never sent character parties there, I have no hidden treasures sitting there, so for all intents and purposes, I have wasted my time.

But I loved doing it.

But really - why? How much is too much? I have stuff all over my campaign world that is locally known and VERY few players will ever even get a hint of all the Easter Eggs I have hidden around. Am I just losing my mind?

Dolanar
03-07-2011, 08:48 PM
Not at all, when we build a world, it is as much for ourselves as for the players, the stories they help to shape may lead another character there for some reason or another. Ultimately, IF you enjoyed making it, then it was worth adding whether it gets used in game as more than a Bard's Tale, or a place of intrigue.

Otakar
03-07-2011, 10:32 PM
You keep it up, Malruhn! I agree with Dolanar. I prefer GM to player because creating is the joy. The players reactions and interactions are the measure of my creation.

tesral
03-08-2011, 08:55 AM
I can't really add much to the above. Why do I add a paragraph about every NPC in a city? 90% of these stories never get seen, but they are there, and they enhance things for me.

Ampolitor
03-08-2011, 12:30 PM
umm I have like 6 sketchbooks of maps for a world I made, down to the towns, homes of note, and many,many journals of history (on vol 2, vol 1 was 238 pages) so don't feel bad........lol

epicfreak
03-08-2011, 08:22 PM
Yeah, pretty much everything that's already been said. To be a GM is to love to create worlds and stories set in such worlds...

Malruhn
03-08-2011, 09:08 PM
I want to thank you folks. It just seems just... silly sometimes. I guess I forget the "OMG" look on players' faces when I casually mention something like a mountain range that is called "Trebor's Range" and some idiot player asks what the story is about Trebor - and after blowing some money on a sage they find that the old name was "a'nalatreboral demegil" which translates as "The Sword Mountains of Tears" or "The Crying Mountains of War".

Then someone says, "Waitaminute... don't we have a mention in that old spell book about the 'Weeping Range' and the 'Sword of fire'?? Hey, does this range have any volcanoes?"

"Ummmm, yeah."

"We gotta go check this out - because that piece of that magical device might be there..."

And off they prance and it was accidental (kinda).

Anyway... thanks again!

Dolanar
03-08-2011, 09:25 PM
my pleasure to help rekindle a GM's love for the work they put into their world, its good that you still have this love & I wish your players luck if they attempt the Volcanic Island :).

rabkala
03-08-2011, 09:35 PM
It's usually too much when your kids can't tell you the states names, but can recite the countries in your D&D world.

Been there.

Malruhn
03-08-2011, 09:44 PM
Well, at least they are remembering something important!!

tesral
03-08-2011, 11:45 PM
That comes down to where the interest lies. School is something that they are made to learn and is usually presented in as mind numbing a way as possible. It is like the anti-interest, the turn off the minds of youth day prison for the young.

Memory is a wonderful tool if engaged. I've never needed to know the names of all the states and their capitals, on the other hand I enjoy singing the Horse Tamer's Daughter, a song that runs 14+ minutes. Why can baseball nuts recite endless statistics? It is what they love.

So if a kid loves D&D and loves your world, consider it a compliment that they remember these things.

Malruhn
03-09-2011, 11:49 AM
I once used D&D to teach a young man (about 13 years old) the differences between Democracies, Republics, representative democracies, monarchies, and all the rest of the political systems in the world as we know it.

It also helped to show the differences between conservatism, liberalism, and all of the other ism's out there. It was interesting to find a way to show it without a bias in my representation.

A decade later he graduates from college with a degree in political science. Twenty-five years later, he is now a State Assemblyman in a state that is embattled with political upheaval. I hope he learned his lesson!! I'm sure there are times when he sits quietly and wishes to himself that he could just find a big-assed mace... or maybe a morning star...

nijineko
03-11-2011, 12:34 AM
i hope you take good notes. cause someday when you leave stuff like that behind to your kids or other beneficiaries... some of them will treasure it. i know the hours i spent pouring over my dad's old dnd notes and maps and other castoffs certainly fired my imagination and trained me in creative thinking in ways school never seems to manage. and that training in creative thinking and playing a role (and countless hours of gaming and reading later) has landed me just about every job i have ever had. plus enabled me to cope with my deficiencies while learning how to overcome or grow out of them. ^^ bravo! if you ever put that material online, i would like to humbly request a full copy, please!

gaming poet
03-19-2011, 11:20 PM
Damn, you dudes are impressive!

Malruhn
03-19-2011, 11:46 PM
Impressive "good" or "OMG, they're losers"?

This thread was about whether or not I was wasting my life with a stupid game, doing things that were totally worthless...

I'm still torn about that... but it's fun, and nobody is getting hurt, so I continue...

And if was just mocking me/us for being geeks, okay, I admit it. So? (please read that with a wry smile and all the humor I intended with it!!)

magic-rhyme
03-20-2011, 03:17 AM
I just finished off about 20 hours of work mapping every corner of an obscure island in my campaign world that is desolate and is basically a volcanic vent with nothing more than hydrogen sulfide gas, cyanide gas and methane gas (with obligatory flame/explosions) and nothing else of note.

Why?

That sounds a great deal like some of the things Professor J. R. R. Tolkien did, so you are in good company.

tesral
03-21-2011, 01:37 AM
I'm convering some 25 year old hand drawn maps of a house no one will ever live in because you could not build the place to computer files. I'm also upgrading said maps with what I have learned about house design since they were first made.

Will it matter to anyone? Not likely. It's one corner of the world. I'm still putting a good deal of effort into it.

Soft Serve
03-21-2011, 10:54 AM
I hope someday I have notes as fleshed as yours. I like to make the baselines of the world and fill it with important sites and things. Then let the PC's find the details during our ventures. The finished product of an area is very fulfilling, and it's something the players and I made together. (Even if they don't know it or care.)

Malruhn
03-21-2011, 10:00 PM
What I've been doing is kind of ripping off the old "Volo the Traveler" shtick - I pretend MY character is walking around the world... what does he see? Who lives here? What's interesting in the area.

The threads on here about "Who's a Hero" and stuff like that is great - because I've found just how ISOLATED my campaign world is. There's LOTS of area that isn't settled. It's allegedly SAFE but there's nobody there to farm and settle it. Then, past PC's in campaigns I've run have settled in some areas - I have an enclave of psionicists that live a Shaolin Monk/hermetic type existence that is out of the way that only mages and such know exists, and there are some other communities from other PC's that were titled and retired.

But the HUGE majority of settled land has had the "good guys" living there for ages, and what is called "Bergasidda" used to be called Burgh Assidha and it translates as "Mountain-side Home". PC's will NEVER know that... and I was just wondering if I've taken leave of my senses.

I've mapped the world out with logical geological formations and in 30 years of playing, nobody has noticed that there are two caldera that have been settled.

Sure, _I_ know about it, but it's kinda like playing with yourself - if nobody is there to enjoy it with you, well over half the fun is just GONE.

Dolanar
03-25-2011, 03:08 PM
well, thats the point where you start leading people into the "unknown reaches" of your world, if you want people to go there, go with the old "Hi I'm a Mage, I want some rare obscure herb that only grows in an area no PC's have ventured, I would get it myself, but I am too old & Lazy, in exchange I will do a minor magical service for you, for cheap." thats USUALLY enough to tempt the PC's into going after it, & then you have a whole new section to explore, once they are there you should be easily able to hook them with the strange oddities they see.

KentDA
03-25-2011, 05:10 PM
Ok, from a guy working on writing a book, some food for thought.

There is a major technology that plays a pivotal role in a book I'm working on. The details of where that technology came from, and the organization that controls it has been written out. These details, save for maybe a couple of them, will NEVER enter the story. However, it was information that made it easier for me to write the story since I understand the 'World' better as a result.

That is perhaps the MOST important thing, the World does NOT have to be the whole Planet. If their adventures begin and end in a single country, with other countries only mentioned in passing (with the odd visitor), then the only details outside the country you need to flesh out are things like distance, culture and a few other basics. The above book focuses on his own home, the office he works at, and a couple other spots around town. So, I dont need details about the population of the city or anything like that, nor do they do anything for the "World". The story would be the same if his Home was in Nebraska as if it was in California.

Now me, I'm not as big into maps, preferring to keep events on a smaller scale (epic does not require that it be world shaking, just that it shakes the PCs world, but I wont go into my view about that), so I can have a very well fleshed out "World". Even if I've only fleshed out a single country on the whole planet, if the PCs never leave that country, or never have a reason to leave it, then I've created their World.

((This also makes it easier to take one 'World' and blend aspects of it into another.))

When is too much? That's a judgement call. If I was creating a world map, and saw a large stretch of empty land serving no purpose, I'd put something there. If only so when the PCs went through it, they wouldnt feel like it was just "too much land with a whole lot of nothing".

The fact that you HAVE to ask says you've got concerns that maybe in fleshing out 'unused' parts of the world that you're neglecting the used parts of the world. I'd start with that, and dont' worry about terrain, worry about the story. I mean, you could have the most detailed lake, but if it doesnt have a STORY then its just eye candy.

Look at Earth, of the emotions and the like created when one mentioned certain locations. If there is none of that in a spot in the world you've created, you have an issue. If the PCs travel there, some kind of emotion should be invoked. Even if its just the thrill of exploration.

To summarize (I tend to ramble), start by worrying about WHERE they will or can travel. Flesh that out. Look at possibilities of other methods they MAY develop for travel. If its impossible for them to go to the volcano, then its nothing but eye candy.

Yes, world creation CAN be fun (as can character creation, something I'm guilty of), but as a GM we have a duty.

The first duty is creating a SETTING for the players to romp around in, and that doesnt include obscure locations or odd details that they may never encounter. Once you have the "World" they'll be travelling in for quite some time fleshed out and detailed, then you can, at your leisure, add extra details (like the above mentioned volcano).

Was the Volcano necessary? That's debatable. The fact you've had the same world for so long and have never used it said you felt you had to create the "planet", and not the "World" (totally different beasts, something I've seen many GMs fail to understand).

In all the games I've run, I've never fleshed out a "Planet", as I've asked myself, "Do we need to know what goes on here?" and have never come up with a reason to know. As a result, I focus on putting higher levels of detail on places that ARE important to know.

Its a matter of priority, but you've had thirty years, so you've had ample time to get into the 'small bits' that while cool, have no real bearing on the story of almost all the players going through it. They're as you called them, Easter Eggs. But, if it really troubles you, the next game you use, USE those foreign lands, breath some life into them.

I'm just giving you some food for thought from a GM who has created a number of worlds over the years and has asked similar questions (I had a small continent so fully detailed I even had an artificial island detailed). The PCs only saw but ten percent of the world, nor did they ever find out about the volcano off the southern shores. I had maps galore, and it was after that campaign was over that I realized that to me, it was a waste of time.

Now, if I'd used the same setting for years and years, that would have been another story. But, I've also found that one can too easily get into a 'rut' if you use the same setting for too long. (I've been there myself).

Anyway, I've said a lot for you to read and ponder. If any of it seems offensive, my apologies as this was a lot of information to impart. I'm not saying the heavily fleshed out planet is a bad thing, I'm just saying that there are more important things to detail first.

It's all a matter of priorities.

I guess that's the best way to sum it up.

nijineko
03-27-2011, 04:43 PM
while you make very valid points about the scope of creation in relation to a game aimed at the players, i find that i must disagree on some points. there are certain times when creating the planet as opposed to the world, as you say, is advantageous and even desirable. i won't go into all the points or details, but i will mention a few relevant to me personally.

i make ways for many of my obscure locations and facts to work their way into the plot. not all of them bear fruit, but they were mentioned, and many times we can still go back to them later.

also, i create worlds for me, not for the players. i let them play in my worlds, but ultimately, it is not important to me if they discover everything.

nonetheless, i enjoyed your points, and will strive to incorporate them into my views of adventure and campaign scope.

KentDA
03-28-2011, 04:12 PM
Well, like I said, priorities. I'm glad it wasnt taken the wrong way. And even if I dont flesh out the "Planet", I do keep in mind other locations (if only for flavor text, though its always fun to bring in a character or two from a 'foreign' location, creates some mystery and excitement). And yes, they're playing in my world, but I guess I've always seen the first priority is making sure they enjoy what they're seeing. It could be the most detailed and fascinating (to me) world, but if it isnt alive (to them) ... I've failed at a major goal.

World creation is quite often an ongoing process as well. One game a player asked about the 'endless deserts to the south' (which I used as a way of limiting travel to the south so that they wouldnt get TOO sidetracked from events going on in the kingdom) and the horror stories that came from attempts to breach it. So, I expanded on the finer details of this "vast desert", and satisfied their curiosity (and as a result it curbed some of their wanderlust for some time).

rabkala
03-28-2011, 09:56 PM
I quite like your post, KentDA. I never feel a planet is done. The pc's world is on a need to know basis. They may never reach a certaian area, and I may re-write it 10 x befofore I like it. Sometimes the characers never reach a certain area, more because I am not confident my audience will like it as much as I did. I restarted my world in 2003, but it may never be 'finished'. I start with the big details and flesh it out from there... Though no matter how much I write, it is never done.

nijineko
03-29-2011, 12:32 AM
just like a real planet... ^^

Malruhn
03-30-2011, 09:22 PM
Actually, this fits with what I've been doing.

I've got an entire planet set up - all the way from plate tectonics to thumbnail ideas of metal/mineral/oil deposits for the entire thing. I've got mentions of, "Here be orcs" and "Here be dragons," because those are the predominant sentient beings in that area - but that's as far as I've gone with those. Why? Because PC's aren't expected to be going there any time soon.

BUT - for the little section that has my "campaign" on it, THIS is where I've gone overboard. I know specifically that if characters start digging in THIS particular grid-square, they will find (insert stuff here) - whether it be precious metals, gems, oil, dungeons, archaeological artifacts, or just plain dirt. I know exactly where that Elven clan lives and where they hunt. I know that this particular wizard is looking for an apprentice. Why? Because the PC's may end up going there - even if unlikely. Why? Because I hate to be unprepared when DMing crap that I feel that I should know.

I guess nijineko summed it up rather well when he said that he creates his campaign world for HIM - and he just lets players play in it. Well said!

nijineko
03-30-2011, 11:14 PM
thank you. it works for me, but not for everyone. i do think some valid points were also made regarding scope limits.

having said that however, i love collecting (and making) obsessive works such as yours, malruhn. if you ever collate that into an electronic document, may i have a copy?

tesral
03-31-2011, 11:25 AM
thank you. it works for me, but not for everyone. i do think some valid points were also made regarding scope limits.

having said that however, i love collecting (and making) obsessive works such as yours, malruhn. if you ever collate that into an electronic document, may i have a copy?

Have a house3284

Soft Serve
03-31-2011, 06:31 PM
i love collecting (and making) obsessive works such as yours, malruhn. if you ever collate that into an electronic document, may i have a copy?

Second

Also the name of Tesral's house got the song Momma Mia stuck in my head.

nijineko
03-31-2011, 11:48 PM
Thank you, Tesral! =D

tesral
04-01-2011, 10:20 AM
There will be more. The plan is still being worked on.

The scale on that is 2 inches to the pixel.

nijineko
04-02-2011, 11:09 PM
happy anticipation. =D

Matt James
04-11-2011, 07:54 PM
Let me ask you some questions. Do you enjoy doing it? Does it interfere with the functions of your life (work, family, etc.)? If not, then it is never a waste of time. You are using a part of your brain that enjoys stimulation. Regardless of what others may think, it is fun for you, yes? Keep on!

Soft Serve
04-12-2011, 10:51 AM
Let me ask you some questions. Do you enjoy doing it? Does it interfere with the functions of your life (work, family, etc.)? If not, then it is never a waste of time. You are using a part of your brain that enjoys stimulation. Regardless of what others may think, it is fun for you, yes? Keep on!

Agreed. Take pride in your best works, same as any other writer or artist would.

nijineko
04-12-2011, 11:57 PM
if you create worlds, you ARE an artist and a writer, not to mention a great many more things.

Kraven
05-17-2011, 12:20 PM
@OP

Damn we could use a couple of GM's like you around here.

Malruhn
05-19-2011, 09:14 PM
I may be willing to travel... but I dunno about all the way to Sweden.

And thanks for the words of encouragement.

tesral
05-19-2011, 09:56 PM
It's a hell of a drive.

Kraven
05-20-2011, 06:41 AM
Sweden? Lol, no it would be Denmark ya had to go to else there wouldn't be much point haha.

And oh yeah, I sadly have to agree there, it is probably a bit to long a drive.

Monkiesthrowingpoop
06-28-2011, 05:34 AM
Actually, this fits with what I've been doing.

I've got an entire planet set up - all the way from plate tectonics to thumbnail ideas of metal/mineral/oil deposits for the entire thing. I've got mentions of, "Here be orcs" and "Here be dragons," because those are the predominant sentient beings in that area - but that's as far as I've gone with those. Why? Because PC's aren't expected to be going there any time soon.

BUT - for the little section that has my "campaign" on it, THIS is where I've gone overboard. I know specifically that if characters start digging in THIS particular grid-square, they will find (insert stuff here) - whether it be precious metals, gems, oil, dungeons, archaeological artifacts, or just plain dirt. !



The idea that you want your players to be super-skilled geology experts and as much geoligical idea generators as you seem to believe you are is just... sad.

You need to control the tectoinic movement in your world? What kind of control freak needs to do that? Let us know what kind of soil we are making camp on tonight mein fuhrer!

---------- Post added at 04:34 AM ---------- Previous post was at 04:24 AM ----------


Impressive "good" or "OMG, they're losers"?

This thread was about whether or not I was wasting my life with a stupid game, doing things that were totally worthless...


No- they're worthless. Anyone who spends 20 hours plotting out gas vents on a fictional island no one will ever see or hear about should be asking questions like this. Kudos to you for recognizing the signs- maybe its not to late to get help. Hope this helps.

PS Not sure if you wanted negative feedback here??? Next time make sure you clarify ok? But I think you can learn a lot if you go back and read all my posts form tonight :)

rabkala
07-02-2011, 12:11 AM
:wave:

Malruhn
07-03-2011, 01:04 AM
The idea that you want your players to be super-skilled geology experts and as much geoligical idea generators as you seem to believe you are is just... sad.

You need to control the tectoinic movement in your world? What kind of control freak needs to do that? Let us know what kind of soil we are making camp on tonight mein fuhrer!
Thank you for your feedback. It's not that I want my players to be super-skilled geology experts, but that there may be a situation one day where something huge (planet-changing) occurs, and I want to know what might happen. Also, SOME of my players have been interested in geology, and if I have limestone caves in an area of lots of volcanic activity, their enjoyment of the game may be impacted by this geologic impossibility.

And, to be honest, as the Game Operations Designer for my world, I had better know the ins and outs of my campaign world - and if I'm not going to control plate tectonics, who will? Odds are that the players will never know, but that's okay with me.


No- they're worthless. Anyone who spends 20 hours plotting out gas vents on a fictional island no one will ever see or hear about should be asking questions like this. Kudos to you for recognizing the signs- maybe its not to late to get help. Hope this helps.

PS Not sure if you wanted negative feedback here??? Next time make sure you clarify ok? But I think you can learn a lot if you go back and read all my posts form tonight :)
And I thank you for your feedback yet again. I understand the reasons you formed your opinion, and I respect the fact that you were willing to share it.

PS: See? It's not so hard to do, is it? And I addressed all of your concerns. Let's keep the thread topics together, shall we? Cross pollination just takes things off track.

tesral
07-03-2011, 02:17 PM
SOME of my players have been interested in geology, and if I have limestone caves in an area of lots of volcanic activity, their enjoyment of the game may be impacted by this geologic impossibility.

Not actually impossible. You could have a hot spot break through in a sedimentary area.

Malruhn
07-03-2011, 03:01 PM
May I fall back on a "statistical improbability"?? :)

Sascha
07-03-2011, 03:03 PM
Eh, just model fantasy New Zealand, with its limestone caves *and* stratovolcanoes. (Horrible, nasty stratovolcanoes.)