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Episode 1932: Had to Destroy the Setting in Order to Save It

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Sharing the creative tasks in a campaign worldbuilding exercise can lighten your load and make the job more manageable. You can give specific tasks to people who enjoy them or are good at them (preferably both), and achieve more in the same amount of time.

This can also invest players into a campaign world. If you give each player the opportunity to design some aspect of the setting, then they have a reason to pay attention to it. Whereas if you just present your own design, they can sometimes tend to ignore setting details that you worked hard on, or that are actually important to the adventure.

The disadvantage of course is that your vision for the setting can end up getting warped, or outright turned upside down.

... Although if you approach it with an open mindset, this could actually become an advantage!

Commentary by memnarch (who has not seen the movie)

The last year of college was both the toughest I had and the easiest oddly enough. Hardest, of course, because of the material I needed to learn, but also the extra part of ensuring I had everything straightened out to graduate. Easiest, because I'd finally gotten into the rhythm of balancing study and life outside school. It was quite tricky though, and I did have to cut down on some of the activities I'd previously had time for.

The stories, the metagaming, the worldbuilding, the technical aspects; there are lots parts of different parts of video games to discuss without actually playing the games, and that's not even touching any fan-works about the game or the game's characters. For video games that I don't have time to play, my preference is to read about the worldbuilding or the backstories behind the games' creation. The extras for movies are typically just as enjoyable as the movies themselves if not moreso, and some of my favorite shows are about how things are manufactured.

Getting help on campaigns, or really any project, is definitely a tricky balance. If you're not careful in how much assistance you receive, or what expectations the other person has been given, it can be easy to lose control of getting what outcome you're looking for in the end. That has happened to me a few times with projects at work where I've thought something should happen but ends up being changed about half way through because someone else started assisting and introducing unplanned changes when I'm not around to provide input. The end products might be all the better for it, but they were definitely irritating situations at the time.

Commentary by Keybounce (who has not seen the movie)

Ahh, now we get into some fun. Yes, I can fully understand school getting to the point where you are spending so much time on studying that you barely have your needed 2-3 hours a day for reading Usenet, err, playing video games. As well as spending too many hours in online groups discussing something instead of doing it. Didn't I just say that when I mentioned 1+ hour per day on Usenet? (I went to college a long time ago, we didn't have modern Discord or forums. Heck, our World Wide Web was based on pizza boxes with nothing more powerful than a <B> tag!(*)

And yes, talking about systems, about worlds, designing them, etc - all that is a lot of fun. Coming up with workable hard magic systems. Trying to set your plot up in them - only to find that the magic system you set up won't support the plot you wanted, so bye-bye to the hard magic system :-).

And we are back to the question: What is Corey's campaign? Sally came up with the entire setting, so whatever it is, it will be...

Why am I thinking Zootopia? I mean, that is definitely a setting that Sally would have come up with.

(*): The first implementation of an HTTP browser was done on NextStep, which ran on what was called a "Pizza box" - the NeXT computer was the size of a pizza box. The server itself was pretty much stock Unix and could run anywhere, but the UI for the display initially used NextStep's graphical library to seriously cut development time. Wiki says this came out in 1991, and my UCLA time ended... '91 or '92. And I was still heavy on Usenet at that time.

Transcript

Kylo Ren: Anyway, I have a year of study to go. I still have to work out what to specialise in.
BB-8: Final year is a slog. At least in AI and machine learning. I have hardly any time for gaming.
Kylo Ren: You’re here.
BB-8: Sorry, video gaming. I found this online group, but mostly I’m just discussing games, not playing them.
Rey: Metagaming is where the real fun is anyway.
Kylo Ren: I really like the worldbuilding.
BB-8: That’s why I asked you to design the setting for my campaign.
Kylo Ren: Yeah! That turned out great!
Finn: Oh, Sally helped you?
BB-8: “Helped”? I guess that’s one way of putting it.
Kylo Ren: It was so much better than your outline!


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Published: Thursday, 17 December, 2020; 01:11:03 PST.
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