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falinxelote
08-01-2014, 05:40 AM
So I'm an avid world builder. I create game worlds in my sleep, sometimes literally. I have been struggling with the fact that a lot of the information I create for my game worlds never gets used which is okay I guess because I recycle it into other games often enough. I'm looking to find a balance of information a level where I can get to that I have enough information to lead to a good game even if I have to add some details during play but I seem to always end up at one of the two extremes. I either have no where near enough or far too much. A good example of this is a Savage Worlds setting I have been off and on working on over the last year. Its called StarQuake and I have like 5 pages explaining the name alone, a bit much right.

My real question is how do you guys find a good design balance between time spent and quality or detail of information?

Skunkape
08-01-2014, 09:21 AM
I usually just write up minor details about my world, whether it be locations or denizens, whatever. Then as the players interact with the game world, I expand those details as required. Quite often, I've got a specific direction to go with my notes, but doing it in this way, it allows me to modify the world according to the players' actions!

I even get inspiration from the players as to where to take the game!

falinxelote
08-04-2014, 08:51 AM
Yeah I see your method, once in play my sessions often run that way too but I end up spending a lot of design time creating intricate histories, back stories, mythology, even fictional versions of each for the game world. But once the game starts I find a lot of that stuff is never used.

Skunkape
08-04-2014, 12:47 PM
I don't see anything wrong with creating the histories, back stories and mythology, even if you never reveal that info to your players outright, you can use it for motivations of your NPCs. There are mysteries about my world that I've never revealed to my players and I've been using the base idea for my fantasy campaign world for about 30 years now. I've changed a few things over the years, mostly the shape of the land that makes up the world, but that information helped me forge the world!

DMMike
08-04-2014, 11:51 PM
You're only writing too much if it keeps you from finishing the planning for your next game session. Game session ready? Write all you want! Set up a database if you're having trouble keeping all the ideas in order.

Game session not ready? Ignore all ideas that aren't related directly to the plot. Once those are in place, write up the first layer of details.

Example:
Bad guy: write it.
Bad guy's stats: wait for round 2.
Bad guy's henchman: write it.
Henchman's henchman: wait for round 2.

falinxelote
08-06-2014, 08:12 AM
To DMMIkes point this is Pre-group work I'm still writing the outline for the setting in question. To Skunkape's point most of my settings don't stick around for years the longest I've had a steady group in one game was just over a year. My players like to change the worlds and settings which is fine with me because I enjoy world building but I'm just trying to strike a balance somewhere between a one sided bland setting and a micro managed setting that I have to make notes when characters swat flies.

falinxelote
08-12-2014, 12:51 PM
The reason I say the micromanaged option is even on the table is because I have a strong organizational OCD when it comes to my campaign data.

Malruhn
08-15-2014, 02:03 AM
I feel your pain, Falin. I have crap set up for players that may never encounter it in 20 years of playing... BUT, it's there, just in case. Like DMMike said, as long as it isn't messing with actual gaming - go ahead and plan and plot and map and detail. Who knows - some day, someone may run into the east side of that mountain where the thing you hatched 15 years ago is planted. THEN maybe they'll see how well you've done.

tesral
10-18-2014, 10:57 AM
90% of the detail in my world is for me. No one else will ever read it but it is a remainder to me, two years later what the heck that was about. It keeps me consistent.

falinxelote
10-21-2014, 06:29 AM
Yeah that is about what i figured. I tend to write up complex histories and mythologies for my worlds and then rarely get to pull from any of it. Sometimes I'm able to have characters play for a couple months and then pick the game back up several months later due to life. When this happens the game often still has much the same feel as before. The monsters are themed to the world ruins are covered in references to mythology for the worlds past. Players find books written about the exploits of heroic figures. So when stuff like that comes up my players tend to actually understand that it takes some work to have a game world like that. I recently went back through a bunch of old campaigns and pulled information from several and with minimal tweeking I created a new campaign with a unique feel and a rich history. The IRL group that is playing is mostly New players and they love the detail I have. They are always asking "Where do you come up with this?" I just smile and remind them I've been playing for about 14 years now.

I had them run into a ritual grounds that another much higher level and very evil party had setup but never actually used. This ritual grounds was setup when i was 19 I'm 30 now. But I still had the information about the evil cleric that was setting the ritual up and died in the process because of a mummy. This group of players found barrels of wine that had turned to blood infected with mummy rot (by drinking it, lol) and then the ritual chamber. The spirit of the evil cleric was still there trying to finish the ritual. Traps the other party had placed at the entrance to the ritual chamber were still active. The spirit possessed a party member completed the ritual and opened a gate to the underworld. A whole mess of trouble cause by a party 11 years ago. I enjoy that sort of thing personally

tesral
10-21-2014, 11:20 AM
Rule one for a detailed world: Never throw anything away. Much easier in this world of tereabyte hard drives. One doesn't get buried by paper that way. I came close at one point.

I have several artifacts from my game sitting on the desk right now. Two are hand written, one typed on my old manual typewriter, they have hand draw art. This is the kind of thing I'm gleaning for Artifacts of Thindacarulle

(http://phoenixinn.iwarp.com/fantasy/fantpdf/Artifacts.pdf)Unused game bits can always be recycled Even used game bits can be refurbished and used again. Gangs of thugs tend to be very similar to example.

tesral
10-21-2014, 11:22 AM
I even get inspiration from the players as to where to take the game!

Some times I let them write it. I have started scenarios where I have not a clue as to the driection it is headed and let the players write it for me. They are very good.

Malruhn
10-22-2014, 04:15 PM
I agree with that - "sandbox" scenarios and campaigns can be VERY well written...

Something a published writer with whom I am friends just suggested was to consider WHY when writing. Also, if it isn't germane to the plot/idea, don't put it in. Nobody cares if the hero likes the smell of oleander if he's never gonna smell it in the story - and nobody will care if there's a hidden shrine in a lost valley in Oregon if nobody will ever see it.

He's taken my 240 page "Holycrapthisismycampaignworld" Tome of Neverendedness and has pared it down to 20 pages. Sure, I'm gonna keep writing my never ending book, BUT, my "Known World Primer," was finished in three days and after adding some pics, it will be ready for printing (think of it like the "Inner Sea Primer" from Pathfinder). I am ready to hand it out this weekend to prospective players - after YEARS of threatening to have something ready "soon."

Yeah, _I_ will know about that hidden shrine and that King Tarkus likes the smell of oleander - but it won't matter until people GO there... and that may be never. Now, at least, I'm ready for players.

tesral
10-23-2014, 12:42 AM
Primers should be primers, not encyclopedias. I have the same issue with the Vista City game world. A sizable wiki now exists of that game, but a primer for it must need be much shorter.. A game starting there does not need the information I have available, it would bury them. They need to make their own.

falinxelote
10-27-2014, 05:38 AM
I tend to run sandbox I just don't let my PC's know they are in a sandbox. They usually think I spend hours planning the game when truthfully they do most of the work I spend maybe 1-2 hours a week just writing NPC's and getting some cool encounters together. The main story is player driven. I create a detailed world where I know how the basic "law of the land" works and go from there. If the players decide to rip off the noble man in the town with a lot of influence that could haunt them for some time. But if they save his daughter from the bandits. Hazzah you have a valued friend. I just let situations happen and then see how they get through them. I've run too many groups that started good and eventually just apathetically went evil. "Yeah, what can this guy do for me? I'm not fighting Trolls without some kind of reward." That is totally ok in my games just don't expect peasants to worship you when it takes the life savings of the town to pay the group to kill a few Trolls. In fact they are going to bill you for room and board as well as a 10-20% increase in cost of goods. Plus the charismatic thief has sullied a few of their young maidens and that is sure to create some kind of trouble. Players can keep the game very interesting just by playing their characters correctly.

nijineko
10-29-2014, 09:51 AM
maybe I'm just spoiled by my experiences, but I wasn't really aware that there WAS another way to run a game other than let the players, you know, participate? shared game = shared creativity, or so I thought. sure, one person may be the driving force for a particular game or campaign, but it's everyone's game, right? it wasn't until I started reading stories on forums that I really became aware that the majority of people didn't have gaming experiences like mine.

falinxelote
10-29-2014, 11:31 AM
Yeah most people I have played under have very ridged story arcs and they want you to follow it exactly. My style has always been more sandbox than not. But lately I've gotten to where I plan only vague "at some point the players find a cursed coin." It will lead them to a story arc I have and if they follow it good but if not then ok. Then I have a spreadsheet with all the running stories and where they are so I can keep track. This tends to create a more living world kind of feel for the players.

tesral
10-30-2014, 02:31 AM
The ridged story arc I believe is an artifact of the ore-peropared module. By necessity they cannot be too free form. However GMs that grow up on this think that is how it should be done. Groups like the RPGA and Pathfinder Society do not help in the least as their games pretty much drag the players around by the nose.

The Old School free form GM might not be endangered, but I believe they are on the threatened species list.

Malruhn
10-30-2014, 08:18 PM
I disagree, Tes. I think we were endangered when the first modules were printed, but enough of us out there LIKE to wing it that we aren't that endangered.

Or at least that's the reality that I'm clinging to...

nijineko
11-01-2014, 04:56 PM
shhhh, if gamers ever figure out they can use their imaginations, sales might drop. ;D

tesral
11-01-2014, 09:42 PM
I disagree, Tes. I think we were endangered when the first modules were printed, but enough of us out there LIKE to wing it that we aren't that endangered.

Or at least that's the reality that I'm clinging to...

Well I have been darted or woken up wearing a radio collar yet. So the Bureau of Land Management isn't in on it.



shhhh, if gamers ever figure out they can use their imaginations, sales might drop. ;D

The public schools have been trying to kill that since the 80s. Good little mindless peons is their product.

Malruhn
11-03-2014, 02:01 AM
Sorry, public schools have been doing that since the early 1900's...

tesral
11-03-2014, 04:32 AM
They have been getting better at it. They still had art and music when I was attending. Hard to kill imagination with that and decent science available.

Far past time to kill the Prussian model classroom and get the politicians out of education.

Buuut we are hijacking the thread.

How much detail? How much do you the GM need when you come back to your scenario or location? Anything less is too little. IMHO anything more is gravy.

You should be able to lay down a work and return to it years later and understand what you were doing. To that end I find it useful to write as if I was writing for someone else to run the scenario.

falinxelote
11-03-2014, 05:11 AM
Good point. Aiming at teaching someone else the setting and you're sure to be able to run it again even years later.

Malruhn
11-06-2014, 04:23 PM
Good point. I concede to your wisdom - and sorry about the attempted hijacking.

nijineko
11-09-2014, 11:28 AM
I've always tried to do that, but my notes tend to be a mix of written notes and descriptions, visual drawings and symbols, poetry and free associations and streams of conscience. I can usually pick it up from where I left off but others find it tough unlessi am teaching them in person.

Malruhn
11-10-2014, 03:56 AM
Which is why I'm putting it all down on (e) paper. My Primer is in final edit stage, soon to be playtested, and my full phreaking TOME of the Known World is about 90% complete for the rough draft. After forcing myself to make 10-12 page descriptions fit into a one-column/half-page note, I've found that it's a whole lot easier to write the full descriptions out. And, still, the players won't see most of it... (insert sad face that is sadder than the included smileys)

falinxelote
11-10-2014, 05:00 AM
So I've been working on a space fantasy setting for about a year now and I started getting bogged down in the current and historic events section. So much so that each of the races at one time or another had a very expansive "how they got to space" history. I enjoyed writing all this but got very sad when the portable drive it was on crashed and I let out all the pretty blue smoke that makes electronics work. But in the end I have started over because it is a somewhat campy but very fun setting. A game based on different types of tech and handles magic as if it were a tech too. So I created this forum right after it crashed., just to see for my self if it was worth trying to recreate all of those histories, maps, ships and various other data. I think much of it will inevitably no be the same as before but maybe in the end it will be better.

tesral
11-10-2014, 05:15 AM
Which is why I'm putting it all down on (e) paper. My Primer is in final edit stage, soon to be playtested, and my full phreaking TOME of the Known World is about 90% complete for the rough draft. After forcing myself to make 10-12 page descriptions fit into a one-column/half-page note, I've found that it's a whole lot easier to write the full descriptions out. And, still, the players won't see most of it... (insert sad face that is sadder than the included smileys)

The alternative is the dread research dump. "I've suffered for my art and now it's your turn".

Sometimes we must be satisfied with knowing outselves. That is one of the reasons I post stuff here. To share what the players wilkl never seen.


I also have your issue. I have been requested to turn the Vista City Bureau 13 game into a sdource book. I have a massive wiki. Most of which is not necessary to start such a game. A 20 page source is likely enough.

Would you be willing to share your outline on your source book?



got very sad when the portable drive it was on crashed and I let out all the pretty blue smoke that makes electronics work. But in the end I have started over because it is a somewhat campy but very fun setting. A game based on different types of tech and handles magic as if it were a tech too. So I created this forum right after it crashed., just to see for my self if it was worth trying to recreate all of those histories, maps, ships and various other data. I think much of it will inevitably no be the same as before but maybe in the end it will be better.

I grieve for thee,and glad you got back on the horse. That can be very hard. I hope you have learned the lesson of backups.

Malruhn
11-15-2014, 12:06 AM
Tes, are you looking for a "Table of Contents" type outline, or something more? I can do either/both, but will need more specific request/directions for the "more" stuff.

Oh, and I will NEVER do a dump - once finished, it becomes public domain. I have WAY too much plagiarized stuff in there to ever try to sell it!!!

I tried to do a wiki, but it kicked my butt on the first page. Any suggestions?

tesral
11-15-2014, 12:40 AM
I'm looking for a table of contents thing. What is the layout of the book.,


Wikis can be a finicky beast to deal with. They have they own formatting styles and are not flexible. I've used HTML tricks to force some things, but fighting it is more work than it is worth in the end,.

How did the first page kick your butt? Miki markup[ is dumbed down HTML for the most part.

falinxelote
11-17-2014, 04:57 AM
I usually write up a table of contents for my stuff and since I'm a big fan of my Print to PDF add on to word I tend to just compile it all in a set of pdfs that are like "player info" and "stuff only i know". The latter is usually way longer but that, I guess, is cool. My contents section matches up the info from the 2 pdf's mostly because the "player info" never has all the details included.

I'd like to thank all of you for your input so far its been a great discussion an I look forward to continuing it. I've found a couple useful tidbits of data that have already helped me organize and data prioritize better.

Malruhn
11-17-2014, 11:23 AM
Okay, I'll put a ToC up as soon as I can get to it.

Now for tech questions:
1. I use GiMP to edit pics - which leaves them HOLY CARP big in size. Even when I export them into .png files, they are still usually 12+mb in size. Is there a better way to do this?
2. I use CutePDFWriter to "print" my stuff into .pdf files. Again, for whatever reason, it can take a single page of nothing but text in Word and make a 3mb size file. Is there anything better to make them smaller. I'm not putting them into "text" .pdf's where you could cut and paste text out of them, they come out as pictures in .pdf format - and can be multi-pages in length (however long the original document was). There's no way to adjust the settings to make them lower quality.


Halp!!

falinxelote
11-17-2014, 05:15 PM
I'm just using my work software. I think its actually adobe. The only setting change is just like a normal print to paper tabs and orientation etc...
i printed a 4 page excel with images to pdf and it was 550 kb. I double checked it is adobe software.

Malruhn
11-17-2014, 11:50 PM
Yeah, Adobe starts at $299... I'll pass on that because I'm cheap.

tesral
11-18-2014, 07:54 AM
Okay, I'll put a ToC up as soon as I can get to it.

Now for tech questions:
1. I use GiMP to edit pics - which leaves them HOLY CARP big in size. Even when I export them into .png files, they are still usually 12+mb in size. Is there a better way to do this?

I use GIMP I have no idea what you are doing. My artifact (http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/downloads.php?do=file&id=70) document is 1.8 meg in odf and loaded with graphics. I created it in Open Office and is 3.4 meg as an .odt document.

What level of compression are you using? I set PNG to "9" Even my big world maps 5400x3300 the most complex does not exceed 4 meg.



2. I use CutePDFWriter to "print" my stuff into .pdf files. Again, for whatever reason, it can take a single page of nothing but text in Word and make a 3mb size file. Is there anything better to make them smaller. I'm not putting them into "text" .pdf's where you could cut and paste text out of them, they come out as pictures in .pdf format - and can be multi-pages in length (however long the original document was). There's no way to adjust the settings to make them lower quality.


Halp!!

Graphic pages saved as pdf are much larger than the text files saved as pdf. In gaming books you can always tell if it was scanned and processed to pdf by the size of the file. Those scanned and saved as jpg first are monsters. The processed text files that you can but and paste from are smaller.

For the PDF files I upload I use Open Office, "export to PDF".

falinxelote
11-19-2014, 05:55 AM
Like I said its just work software for me, company laptop and all. I don't really know the specifics on cost or anything. But yea I agree with tesral there has got to be a setting you've got adjusted odd to make your files that large cause my biggest work stuff with exploded 3D models and all is not usually that big.

Anyway I have been writing a new game system and have been putting some of the info from this forum to work. I've also been working on my StarQuake fantasy space game setting. I actually plan on putting the two together and having StarQuake be a campaign with my new untitled game.

Its a fun little Hodge Podge game made combining a card game like magic the gathering with a table top game. I've been having fun combining the two into a fast paced system with few rules. It should be a good game. I've used a lot of the plan and record everything mentality that is presented in this thread. I think it might be paying off too. Though i have tons of rules I'm able to boil it down to those that you have to have to play and present the rest as options. I have a small paragraph like section in each of the sections of the game doc that lists the rules. Then another listing the optional rules for that section. The longest rules section so far is the deck building one. And its not really much more than how to determine card number max in your deck. The game play should be fairly go with it, not rule monger.

Malruhn
11-19-2014, 08:25 AM
Mr. Al Gore - THANK YOU for inventing the internet. Stupidly simple problems have been vexing me, and because of your invention, people on the other side of the country have been able to lend their assistance!

Okay, from Word, I was able to export my Primer as a .pdf - and went from 40mb in a .docx file to a 1.1mb .pdf. WOOO HOOOO!!!!! I never would have tried that. The CutePDFWriter printed the same thing to a 22mb file, so I learned something today!!

One of my "problems" is that I format my maps and such in GiMP with 6000x4500 pixels, 800 ppi, for detail - which makes a single national map some 50mb in size (or more). Jpegs from these end up at about 10-12mb in size... which I then have to convert more to .png's which end up at about 1mb each, so I really try to limit the original pics in each section.

You know what really sucks? I'm pretty computer literate and savvy when it comes to little computer "tricks" - and this has kicked my butt from the start.

Now... if only I can figure out how to start page numbering from "1" on page 3, and to get the numbers on opposite sides of the page bottoms... Off I go to scour the interwebs for help! (and thanks again!!!)

Malruhn
11-29-2014, 06:22 PM
Table of Contents for my Tome of Goodness (The Campaign World of Silvertide).

1. Intro
2. World Overview (planetary cultural and geologic history)
3. Known World Overview (short intro to the campaign area - two pages long
4. Known World Nations (about 10 pages each for all of the various nations - 23 nations strong)
5. Bestiary of the Known World (short entries on unique critters - only a couple pages long)
6. House Rules (two pages - and most are flavor with no game/rule impact, like all arcane casters are known as "sorcerers" while a new PC class is known as "Wizard")
7. New PC Races (included Warforged from Eberron - with no spellcasting ability)
8. New PC Classes (Included the Artificer from Eberron, and a new spellcasting class. Still trying to come up with an unbroken Warlock with no luck)

That's about it - for now.

Tes - I tried to cut and paste a document into a wiki and the formatting destroyed it. Now I can't get in to change it, and for some reason can't delete it...

And Falin and Tes, my thanks for your help thus far is genuine. I appreciate pointing me in the right direction!!

tesral
12-02-2014, 02:42 AM
Pathfionder? I have one you might want to look at. I'll e-mail it too you.

falinxelote
12-02-2014, 05:56 AM
Malruhn, I have to give it to you that is fairly organized. I have issues with a lot of D20 so I have a large file of House rules that make it bearable for me to run. Things like number of class limits, PC's have to train to gain new classes, feats have to make sense as a non-magic ability... Wizards are horridly weakened by the 3+dnd rules since the advent of the sorcerer and the spontaneous casting no one plays a wizard (at least in my games.) So I have a list of house rules to make them more appealing and a few rules to make the Cleric run a little smoother for my game world. But all in all I've got maybe 15 pages of reference for this game. It is a new world, I created it just for this game. Most of the standing game world I have are for AD&D or other systems and I tend to not like crossing them since I try to keep my game histories going in a linear fashion and a change of system in my experience tends to mess that up a little with players hearing about stuff that happened in another system but the same world. It has led to a few hard to explain situations before. I usually just write it off as "its a legend, they get exaggerated." Some of my long term player are not fooled but the others usually just think I'm that together and prepared. Its easy to make them think im way more organized than I am. My long term players often give me looks like they suspect this turn of events was planned from the beginning even when I'm running adventures off the top of my head.

One of my last sessions I conned a player into signing a contract with a fallen angle granting eternal servitude. A very steep price, but they had little choice. She will soon regret this with him popping in at random times to have his socks mended or various other mundane tasks, in addition to the usual go forth and fetchith me a thingy-ma-bob. The group in general is having a blast being so far in over their head they just laugh at ridiculously powerful enemies that should have them quaking in fear. They tend to just have this "Oh look a dragon" half psychotic mentality. They are average of level 3-4 and they have been to Limbo and Bantor. Have contracts with a demon prince, a fallen angle, a non-fallen angel, a Djinn, a Cat Lord, and Have managed to steal from the Githyanki and one is being "hounded" by a greater Hellhound. Yeah they are in for a rough ride. Ok, well that's my ramble for today.

Malruhn
12-02-2014, 10:05 PM
Falin, actually almost all of my problems with 3.5 went away with Pathfinder - and 3.5 destroyed almost all my problems with 2.0 (I skipped 3.0). I went from a 3" binder of house rules to about 3 pages with 3.5, and now I'm down to about a half-dozen "rules" I kept (killed familiars hurt casters, troglodytes are still stinky, and a couple more).

Almost everything else I have for "house rules" are flavor. There's an elite class of arcane casters that call themselves "Wizards" and all the standard arcane casters (wizards and sorcerers) are now called "Sorcerers," no matter what the actual PC class they have. Pure flavor.

Now that my Primer is 99% complete (final review/edit), all I need to do is playtest and get critiqued... I would MUCH prefer to have folks rip it apart before it is playtested... (that's a passive aggressive offer for any who would like to read it over and offer suggestions).

Tesral - it's a great write-up, but it's still OMG overpowered for Pathfinder. I may have to build my own - but I would love to use that as a starting template, if possible.

falinxelote
12-03-2014, 04:58 AM
speaking of overpowered have you seen the arcanist from the new advanced classes guide or really most of the classes there in. The arcanist gets active powers wizard per day spells with a spell book that they memorize from but then they cast like a sorcerer from those spells. I'm not allowing most of the classes in that book at all. But I've been using them on monsters, lol. Makes a mean goblin to give him the Blood Rager class for a few levels. I mounted on on a beetle and gave it 2 levels of blood rager and my 2nd level party was trashed after that fight. It was funny, 1 goblin and 1 beetle vs 5 PC's and the goblin kicked their tails.

Malruhn
12-03-2014, 12:12 PM
A CR3+ against a 2nd level party? I would hope they got their butts kicked - that SHOULD have been a TPK or close to it. Wow.

tesral
12-03-2014, 05:04 PM
Tesral - it's a great write-up, but it's still OMG overpowered for Pathfinder. I may have to build my own - but I would love to use that as a starting template, if possible.

I don't mind. That is what gaming is. My son and group are a bit on the power gaming side.

However I have used it and it balances will with pathfinder classes. I would play test as is before making changes.

Malruhn
12-03-2014, 11:23 PM
What about the mass damage for a first level character? 1d6 hitting two out of every three attacks, all day long, never running out of blasts? Wow. I'll give it a whirl, though.

falinxelote
12-04-2014, 05:26 AM
Ah my party usually handles worst than that I have trained them well to fight things that should kill them. They are a creative bunch using environment and skills to level the playing field. This fight was just brutal cause the goblin didn't give up he raged and just kept on fighting till they killed him, on a crit. It was awesome they basically just chopped his head off to end the fight. They killed his beetle first which is what sparked the rage fit, (house rule is you have to have a reason to rage or it takes two rounds to "Work yourself into a rage.") But in the end I think the cryo-hydra not even 1 full level later was by far meaner, especially since the party had 2 members not show up that day and they were in water at the time. insert evil laugh here... I never said I wasn't vicious to them. Its a fantasy world I designed to be just mean and unforgiving. The players get that and they know when to run, usually. The goblin threw them because it was a goblin alone on a beetle, granted I told them he looked super buff and fit for a goblin and had high quality weapons and armor. But at the end of the day they killed him gaining some decent equipment.

tesral
12-04-2014, 11:33 AM
It doesn't play out overwhelming. I have used the class. I didn't own the field. OK, I owned the field becase the rest of the players could not find their rears with both hands. That's another story.

Fighter, 1d8 +str, all day. with a longsword. 1d12+str with a great ax. All day.

falinxelote
12-08-2014, 10:24 AM
Ok so I had a topic I wanted to add to our discussion here, Names. How do you come up with city, game world, or for the system makers the name of the system. Just a topic I figured you guys might weight in on.

tesral
12-08-2014, 01:06 PM
No real single method.

Most of my city names are locational. Woodmanor, Seahaven Delta and so forth,. The world Thindacarulle is just Greyhawke in Elven.

Google translate is your friend for exotic sounding names that are not. For example the mundane sounding town of Hillside becomes Magal translated into Basque. Padina in Macedonian. I'll use one language exclusively in a given area.

Baby name generators are a must non naming NPCs. Sadly my favorite site went away.

Malruhn
12-08-2014, 04:22 PM
http://translate.google.com is the bestestest tool out there for exactly the reasons Tesral listed - you type in ONE word (or a series) and you can get about 30 different foreign words for it/them. And what's REALLY cool is the little speaker icon underneath the translated words. Click on it and you can HEAR how it sounds - a great way to spell out Chinese (or similar) words. And another thing is that for many translated words, it gives similar words (ala thesaurus) beneath the box on the right, so if one doesn't cut it, you usually have 4-8 more from which to choose.

It also lends an air of mystery and history to your land. Also, remember general naming conventions for towns, you have villages (Prattville), towns (Washington), burghs (Pittsburgh), burroughs (Jonesboro), and others. Besides, you don't have to spell things correctly, anyway, so New York magically becomes Newark, which becomes Nork which becomes Norkboro.

Something that fascinated me was that in Medieval times, a home would have a low (2-3' tall) wall around the yard to keep chickens and sheep inside. This wall was called the, "Tun." As neighbors built their homes nearby, sometimes this tun would wrap around several homes - and then neighborhoods - and, eventually, entire settlements. The "tun" would show the "city limits" as it were. It also became part of the city's name - where Smith's Crossing (Smith was the original family), became Smithton or Smithtown.... just like Washington, Hampton, Hillton, Barton, and many, many others. (and today's history lesson is complete)

With Tesral's locational stuff, you can twist Woodmanor to Forest Home, and Google Translate comes up with "msitu nyumbani" in Swahili. From there, depending on what I'm doing, I may 'Muricanize it, and it becomes Situ Numbani - and then Situnami (si TOO nam mee). That sounds "mysterious"... like a manor in the wood might be. If that name ends up being too close to another name (tsunami, anyone?), I might change it up to Mitani or something similar.

Baby names generators are good, but I usually stick to ethnicity for my nations, and in Situnami, I'd Google traditional African names (possibly toss in Zulu/Maasai/Swahili names), and then 'Muricanize the crap out of them to get rid of clicks and stuff.

And for your benefit, when I say, 'Muricanize, I mean shorten and pronounce lazily - like Elizabeth becomes Lizzy or Beth or Betta or even Bit.

Give me ten minutes and I can have a list of 200 names for my new barbarian warlord from Cimmeria... and his name won't be "Conan."

I also twist given names, sometimes. I grew up in Wisconsin - my gaming planet's name is Skonsa... which is what Wisconsin sounds like when spoken by a drunk. One of my more favorite character's names was Arno the Tall... and I got the name during PC generation when I looked up and saw a big jug of Drano drain cleaner... (ironically, he died by being swallowed whole by a purple worm and digested by stomach acid~~)

Whatever works for you is best - and I just ask that you keep a theme for a region. You've noticed that Bulgaria has similar town names throughout? Same for France and Germany and all over... do the same and people won't be confused. Can you imagine what our history would be like if Wyatt Earp went west from Tombstone to Sixteen Lotus Blossoms, then south to Fillyville?

Malruhn
12-08-2014, 05:34 PM
And for mapping hints: get some topographical maps from the interweb and print them out - go to a place like Office Depot or similar to get big, poster sized ones (should cost less than $5 for one good black and white poster).

Then choose an elevation marker - and starting at the existing waterlines, color in everything up to that elevation mark, as if the existing world is flooding. This leaves TOTALLY unrecognizable maps remaining. You could take them back to Office Depot to get scanned back into a .jpg file or just take a picture of it - and there's a brand new map for your world.

Consider these examples from the news today: http://www.fastcoexist.com/3039371/visualizing/this-is-what-your-city-would-look-like-if-all-the-worlds-ice-sheets-melt?cid=ps03101rss#6

tesral
12-09-2014, 02:05 AM
I've heard the topographical map trick. You cna reverse that as well and drop the waterlines.

Naming conventions are always good to have. It givce an area flavor.

Incidentally in England you can tell the areas that use to be the Danelaw by the town names.

falinxelote
12-10-2014, 10:08 AM
I generally use conventions too but the Google Translate was a new trick to me. Its a really cool way of keeping cohesion of names. Also I've got the map thing covered with AutoRealms software, I love making my own maps. I really like the software's layer feature allowing me to hid things from the players but still have it all on one map. Only trouble is the steep learning curb.

Malruhn
12-10-2014, 04:33 PM
I like the looks on my players' faces when they go looking for "Tomorrowland", and it just can't be found... until someone starts researching and discovers that there is a local place called "Kentucky" that, in the language of the Old Ones (TM), translates as "Land of Tomorrow". (it really does mean that!)

I have a thing about names and their origins, so I may be taking it just a little bit too far...

falinxelote
12-11-2014, 04:58 AM
its only too far if your group doesn't appreciate that level of detail. I think what this thread has shown is that any amount of GM/DM preparation is good and can never really be too much. You just don't necessarily share all that with your players.

nijineko
12-20-2014, 01:46 PM
names and origins, eh?

according to one very old native american story, the turkey is not native to the Americas, not to mention sweet potatoes, squash, certain types of maize, or pumpkin.

falinxelote
12-22-2014, 05:16 AM
well ok then, thank you for your input nijineko...

tesral
12-22-2014, 04:43 PM
its only too far if your group doesn't appreciate that level of detail. I think what this thread has shown is that any amount of GM/DM preparation is good and can never really be too much. You just don't necessarily share all that with your players.

One does wish to avoid infodump.

I'm currently putting together the Twelve Worlds Empire (http://vistacity.wikia.com/wiki/Twelve_Worlds_Empire). It is still work very much in process. Entire world defined with a few paragraphs. Obviously a lot morte detail could be used and if the place ever gets played in will be needed. I would call the current "write ups" minimal in the extreme.