Friday, March 01, 2013

World of Samardan: Developing A Planetary Romance Setting...

Good Afternoon, Everyone:

Today, I'm going to outline the basic flow of development events for the World of Samardan campaign setting. If it looks rather similar to the Traveller Sandbox Experiment development process, that's okay. This method has proven to work for me in a wide variety of sandbox settings. Of course, I will likely leave the course occasionally if something in the process sparks a side note of some sort that I want to capture, such as notes on the cultures of Samardan, that kind of thing. However, I promise I'll quickly come back to these steps if I happen to stray from time to time.

Generate A Map: In this step, I will generate a basic map that I will use as the foundation for the campaign setting.

Establish Cities: Here is where I will place the various cities and townships that will serve as the major population centers for Samardan. I'll likely scatter ten or so cities across the map, to encourage travel and exploration.

Resource Sites: These are sites that hold the potential for great wealth and economic success, if they can be properly processed. I'll choose eight to ten different sites, and use the descriptions to help establish what is considered valuable in the setting.

Ruins: The meat and potatoes of any campaign setting, ruins here represent the structures left behind by the ancient civilization that once existed on this world, before they vanished long ago. Of course, these sites are vast, holding much wealth in terms of lost technology and valuable goods. Unfortunately, they are also protected by their inhabitants. I'll place about ten or so of these on the map, and create some notes on their nature, for reference during actual play.

Lairs: Every hero needs something or someone to fight, especially in a Planetary Romance setting. Lairs represent opportunities for our adventurers to shine. I'll have anywhere from 10 to 15 of those scattered around the map, many threatening cities or resource sites.

Hall of Infamy: By now, you guys probably know that this is one of my favorite parts of any setting. At this point, I'll want to create the major villains that will be causing plot-arc level problems in the region. I love challenges that last more than a single adventure, and these will be the stockpile from which I will draw my inspiration.

Bestiary: Here's where I'll provide the details for the creatures I'll introduce in passing in previous steps. I like monsters, and in this section, I'll want to generate around fifty of them, so I have a lot of variety in my arsenal as a Referee.

Glossary: Along the way, I'm bound to create quite a few words as part of the naming language I'll use in setting design. Here's the step where I gather all of that together and make it presentable, so I can use it in the future.

Gazetteer: Finally, I'll want to pull together all the cultural notes that I create along the way, and organize the information in a short gazetteer. That way, both the players and myself have a reference for when we need it. I'll likely introduce the material piecemeal to my players over the course of our adventures, but they'll also have access from the beginning, in case they want to learn it on their own.

The last two steps are pretty new to this process, but really, it's because I want to make it usable. There's little actual creative work in the final two steps, aside from gathering and collating data, and perhaps filling in a few blanks if they become obvious as I put these two documents together. At any rate, if you feel that I'm leaving something undone, please feel free to let me know.

Next time, we'll move on to the first step, and begin work on our campaign setting map.


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