Wednesday, April 8, 2009

World Building Prelude

This is meant to be guide to channel a GM's world building compulsions to be more productive, efficient, and marketable.

Marketable, now a lot of GM's and Artists have the temperament of making things just for themselves, the problem arises when they have some level of frustration when there is no affirmation after the large amount of sacrifice and effort. As a tinkering GM, I've gone through this so many times and I've understood many of its pitfalls.

In my opinion, there should be some management involved. Some coaching and direction the GM is given, because the practical aspect of world building takes too much time and the compulsions that govern the GM are taskmasters that have a will of their own.

World building projects will tend to be too big, simply because a GM, like an artist has sometimes greater expectations than his own capability. One must remember this little bit of knowledge: when the expectations far exceed the capacity, there will be frustration. Frustration is one of the biggest challenges of any artist. When GM projects are managed, the manager must relieve frustration or anticipate it as his top priority.

World Building Part 1: Design and Plan.

1st, Define Time Line.

When does the GM want to start playing?
When does the Players want to start?
How much time does the GM have to work on the Project?
Consider how long it takes the GM to processes a number of ideas to words, how quickly the GM can organize these ideas on paper, then consider how much work can the GM given in the amount of time?

2nd, Define Audience.
  1. Work with the Players and their Expectations. They will want more options and freedoms, while the GM can only afford them as many options and freedoms as he has time and resources to anticipate and prepare. This is basically working out the finer points of the "social contract" players have with their GMs.
  2. If there are no players for this particular case of world building, then skip this and proceed to step 4 and make sure to answer it completely.

3rd, Define Resources.
  1. What game system, books, setting, sources, adventures the GM has at his disposal.
  2. Consider the following Resources: Fief by Lisa J. Steel, Grain to Gold by John Josten, and magical medieval society: western europe. these are a highly recommended Basic Reading.

4th, Define Goals and Objectives.
  1. The first among the list of goals of a setting, a GM must answer what kind of game he intends to play or what story he intends to tell. The GM asks "What do I want to be able do in this setting?"
  2. It is usually best to draw on other settings and describe the difference the ideal setting has with these more well known settings. Usually differences between settings come in the level of detail, organization, style and intended design. The GM must be able to answer this completely

Note: The world builder or GM is meant to answer each point with a sentence or two. This should only take an hour or two as the GM refines or continue to refine the ideas. If there is enough time, the GM should be able to have a night to really thing about most of his answers. The dialog with players should only take the same amount of time. The GM should push any harder than a day to answer this, a swift execution of all the initial ideas is very important in this process, even if its partially thought out. The GM can refine it further down the line, but most importantly the ball should be moving immediately.

To be continued...

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