To differentiate this from the collaboration done to populate a setting, there is collaboration where in we experience the affect of other games or other stories in our immersion as well as we play.
Shared Worlds and Living SettingsLiving Settings would have been this reciprocal and personally involved collaborative world building but is has not yet fully developed and matured to meet such goals. Among its many challenges any community with a setting ultimately fractures and cannot sustain the connections over time. Pretty much it suffers the problems of transitioning from an Organization to an institution. As An institution it would have a core set of processes, goals, and methodologies in dealing with issues and conflicts with its goals. As an institution it would have greater levels of cohesion.
While this is going to require a lot of steps and skills to bridge the RPG community to an RPG institution, I'll think about this a little bit more. Particularly what are the trade-offs of the Institution-like qualities it will need to be a collaborative process in such as the scale of several Game Tables.
World Building as We Play.One set of Tools in World Building I've only heard about but not has fully developed is the Build as we Play model. Particularly tools that Facilitate Collaborative World-building as we Play amidst a session and not after or before we begin the story.
I dont mean a front loaded preparation process, instead we have the tools that facilitates quick building of the many consequences and iterations of a particular aspect of a world. That when a Player introduces an Element of the Setting - it takes an elevator pitch or a 1-2 min spiel by which he alters the reality of the game and change the setting. Unleashing this idea into the world doesn't mean it gets to be dictated by that player solely - the other players set Scope, Constraints, Mindset, and Unintended consequences of what one Player has set upon the world (see Gamer Skills Counterpoint Technique).
My Hypothesis Process:
- The game begins with 3 key assumptions about the setting all the players agree on.
- Recommendation: 3 criteria assumptions
- Timeline. Example Ancient (specific ex. Axial Age, Mythical Age, Proto-Civilization age, Dark Ages, Low Medieval Age, Enlightenment, etc... )
- Realism (called Austerity by Kenneth Hite in GURPS Horror; His definition is one of the best thought out and worded ones around) . Mythical, Fantastic, Sorcerous (magic that has a lot of limits and scarcity), Heroic, Gritty etc...
- Scale-Scope. Scale is how much of the actions and consequences ripple out in the setting, and Scope is what the Players can directly affect. (another thing discussed by Kenneth Hite in GURPS horror).
- As they create characters and fill in their backstories, they talk about the world and the setting. This is when they introduce elements like: Magic, or Magical Items, Lost Artifacts, Lost Technology, Psionics, Aliens, Other beings, Wars, Treasure, etc...
- The other Players Modify these elements as the Player tells the back story. So while one player takes 2-3 minutes talking about his background the other players modify the: Scope, Constraints, Knowledge/Ignorance/Misinformation/Common Practice, Attitudes, and Unintended Consequences of that Setting Element. (see Gamer Skills Counterpoint Technique). each player can have a turn in modifying.
This means the player building his character will work in feedback from the other players as they collaboratively build the world as they play.
Setting ElementsThe next step would be making setting elements like Manorial vs Specialized, Republic, Empires, Scientific Method, Various kinds of Status Quo, Communism, Theocracy, Capitalism, Liberalism, Fascism, etc.. Drawing from various "Civics" (from Civ 5) about cultural and institutional constructs.
Making these elements modular, where the Setting Impact will be spelled out and how it affects individuals and societies made into a formula or mechanic (a way to simplify the huge mental load such Elements of the Settings reality).
Heuristic. Adapt most feedback to Yes and or Yes but. This tests the Improvisation and collaboration Skill.
A well known technique in Improvisation discussed at length in Happy Jacks and other more Narrative Driven Gming Styles.
Heuristic. Alter someone's contribution with Yes And/But/Or with the following ways
- Constraints (ex. Scaricity, rarity, costs, time, availability, utility, etc…)
- Mindset (which is Knowledge/Ignorance/Misinformation/Common Practice/Attitudes regarding what people think or feel about this; Example its taboo, its a mistaken assumption, no one knows that its wrong and its really something else, etc...), and
- Unintended Consequences