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An Open Setting


Suggestions/House Rules/Homebrew

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Sometimes I have "new" ideas only to find out that someone else has already done it. I hope this is one of them.

Is there any existing "open setting"? That is, a traditional game setting and world info like Golarion, Oerth or Faerun, except that it isn't closed content?

I think it would be very a helpful thing for people who want to generate content like adventures, where you could lessen the load on the GM integrating it into a campaign.

Such a setting would have to play to as many generic fantasy game tropes as possible, and embody the letter of the Pathfinder rules while we're at it. If it doesn't already exist for me to support, I've even thought of a name: Vancia!

Has anyone tried it? Anyone interested?

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I'm picking up what you're putting down. I think the Tomes had that quality, if not widespread acceptance. Where is that link...

Here are some homebrew settings on wiki.


TriOmegaZero wrote:

I'm picking up what you're putting down. I think the Tomes had that quality, if not widespread acceptance. Where is that link...

Here are some homebrew settings on wiki.

Interesting. But are there any settings specifically created to be a kind of "Rosetta stone" for adventure content? One where not only will the creator not come looking for royalties, but people are actively encouraged to write for the setting openly?

Let's have a little discussion about what such a setting would look like. Obviously, to prevent adventure authors from running amok with NPC plots and mary-sue PCs getting written into the canon, the whole thing needs to be a snapshot of the setting — never ever to advance in time. Or regress in time, if you have one of those GMs.

It would be tricky to manage things like geography in such a way as to retain maximum usefulness. I wonder if it would be best to not even name things like cities, countries and organizations except in generic terms.

You might be best served by gathering all of the generic components most used over the years and finding a way to fit them together.

There's a lot of potential there... Especially when it comes to independent authors being able to write adventures.

If there were a central administration, a website or such, people could submit their amateur adventures, or publicize their published adventures. We couldn't expect such a venture to turn a profit, but man it would be quite the experiment.


While I might be willing to contribute, I don't know if it can actually work. I mean just look at the shared universes of comic books.

Qadira

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I think this is a really interesting idea. I had two thoughts:

What about a kind of database? If a GM says, I need a thieves' guild, they can look at the fully written up, open content thieves' guilds and pick one that suits their purposes. I know this doesn't fully fit what you're talking about, but I think one way to increase usefulness is to contribute components rather than overarching, unifying setting themes. Also, I think this might cut down on the NPC plots and mary-sue PCs you mentioned.

Random thought about geography. Your whole idea for some reason makes me think of a storybook, where you turn the page and a new city pops out. So I was picturing that, and wondered, what about a world like an origami creation--where you travel almost through folding space, or paper. That way, geography hardly matters. Every time someone creates a new city/region/etc., you just put another fold in the paper.

Okay, actually I have a third thought. One thing I think would be so helpful in adventure modules would be a sidebar at the beginning saying, "Looking to insert this in your own world? This module essentially requires 1) an isolated swampy area for a hidden temple and 2) a forgotten serpent god." Like, a list of the essential setting pieces. I don't know if that makes sense, or would be helpful to anyone else, but it seems useful to me.

Anyway, count me interested. I'll be paying attention to your thread.


Database, generic plot-anchor points, very good ideas.

A distinctive setting gimmick (origami type thing) is also really interesting, but I would worry about sticking out too much. In the end, what we're looking for is a setting that won't make waves in any campaign, but has a home for everything you need in a "default" setting.

That's one of the reasons none of the settings on that link that TOZ dropped quite worked for me. They're all too cool and original.


Cool idea EL. What if someone's adventures threatend a global cataclysm? I have the pocyclypse planned at the end of my current campaign lets say - will that affect anyone elses game?

That being said if your just looking to mine components I've gotten a lot of ideas surfing Obsidian Portal (www.obsidianportal.com). They have tons of different homebrews and adventures and such to sift through for ideas and inspiration.

As for a fully open game setting I've never known one. The closest I've come was a friend of mine made a cute little wiki for our own homebrew of Calligorum and posted some of his own stuff while I (as GM) posted other items.

I like Calandra's idea though of just making it a wiki site of components though, like the pathfinder database only you could drop more than just NPC's and item writeups.

Consider combining the fluff of someone's homebrew complete w/maps with the components of the Pathfinder Database and the module writups of dndadventure.com

It'd be a one-stop shop for burnt out GMs. I have a few hours til gametime and thanks to 3000 lines of code I haven't even thought about the adventure for days. I'll drop by Evil Lincoln's and see if there's a swamp-adventure or a 4th-6th I could snag and drop in for tonight.


What you might want to think about is doing a many worlds kind of game. Think of it in terms of a sci-fi space opera where just about anything can fit in though rather than spaceships (a touchy subjects here) you have gates to other worlds/planes that appear naturally and are stble paths.

This type of setting would allow for people to use whatever they want from any publisher by creating another world. Even if someone writes in a Mary Sue character somewhere, they are still tiny in comparison to the scope. You could even throw a cataclysm that wreaks havoc on the world and not threaten the entire setting.

The hard part would be cohesion, which would be a big strike against this style. It's possible to add elements to bind everything together though. For instance one pantheon of gods for the entire place, with the ability to alter them a bit based on cultural variance. A central starting place might be good, like a City of Adventurers that is run by Adventurers who have mostly settled down. But that's just my ideas.

Qadira

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How much would you actually want this to be a setting over an all-purpose resource?

A resource doesn't have to have much cohesion. A setting, on the other hand, seems to me to need a few things defined.

Like:
1) A pantheon
2) World geography
3) Cosmology

If you would actually want a setting, but as versatile a setting as possible, it seems to me that the cohesive elements would have to be there but could easily be dismantled. Like a puzzle-piece setting, I guess. The GM can just work with individual pieces, or start putting them together as necessary.


I think the timeline would have to be frozen. After all, there's more than one great apocalypse adventure... they would all have to be legitimate.

Such a setting would certainly need to copy Golarion's "no adventures have happened yet" policy. I would go one further and not bother advancing the in-world timeline at all.

I'd also probably not fight too hard to include space for the more out-there settings like Golarion does. Well, maybe who knows?

IF we went specific instead of generic: One interesting way to handle the geography it would be to build the setting like a bottom-up homebrew. Each additional adventure would expand upon the previous, and everything in that adventure could become canon. We'd need some kind of canon review process, and the strict rule that no previous adventure ought to affect any other, plotwise. Or not.

There are a bunch of ways to approach this. We'd need to quite clearly define what it is for, and have that definition guide every decision.


My biggest questions are about the cannon reviewing process. How is the reviewing being done, and who's doing the reviewing?

Is it[canon] going to be decided by the forerunners? Is it going to be decided by everyone with votes? Is it going to be decided by preset guidelines?


All good questions. It certainly feels like a nascent project, but other than offering the idea I'm not sure I can commit to much. If I had to express a preference, I'd like things to be democratic with a clear editorial vision.


So more like a set of guidelines where any new piece is voted for and discussed by the other contributors?


Giving it some more thought, although it seems like a good idea at first, the fact that it's lacking any specific direction and is just a general kitchen sink of fantasy most authors would find the setting either too boring or too broad to contribute anything concrete.

There are already so many other "general" fantasy settings, yet another fantasy setting would feel kind of cheap. There's nothing that pulls you in, that answers the question, "Why do I want to play here?".

On the other hand, I would love to see a database of cities and NPCs to be used for a general fantasy set up to come into existence.


What if the specific direction is usable? :)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

A wiki style set up could make it work.


Well I guess someone should set some guidelines and put it to the test.


I have my own homebrew setting, lots of material I'm proud of and my gamers have helped create, and all that; the only thing I stink at is MAPS! I have tried to create in photoshop (too complicated for my tiny brain), tried GIMP and others and simply can't seem to get a handle on it.

For that reason I'd only be able to contribute ideas and written content; I'd be next to worthless for creative art and such!

That being said I think having an open setting would be fun. I always liked how Greyhawk centered on ONE continent but always suggested the world was bigger so I created my first homebrew as an extension of these lands. An open setting would be similar; someone could always come along and expand the world with new lands claiming they hadn't developed the same way as the others in the world due to a host of reasons: political isolation, magical barriers, profane intrusion, whatever.


I think I'm okay at art and making maps. I actually have a lot of content for my own 'generic fantasy' setting. I'd be willing to share it, but I'm actually a little afraid of my ideas being seized and copyrighted by someone else (am I just paranoid?) disallowing me to make a profit off my own creations.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8

dddot

Cheliax

Dotting for when I get home, but this intrigues me, if you need any help feel free to contact me.


Looking through my archives of stuff, I've found an old setting that I created back in highschool (for me, it was my pre-DnD era). It's pretty much the kitchen sink setting. It's a world run by a couple of shades (the masters of death) in the background. There are portals to different planes and dimensions. When I found out about Eberron, I was intrigued but disappointed that the ideas that I came about on my own were not original.

Anyway I could pull my old content and share it, it had undead, werewolves, swordmen, mages, giant monsters, dragons, and a couple of robots. Right now my biggest concern is insuring that when I put content out that it remains open. I'm foggy on copyright laws, so I'd like to know that it doesn't become seized by some company.


If you want a campaign-neutral setting then what you really want to do is make a paraphrased version of the cut-down greyhawk setting that Dungeons and Dragons always used as their base campaign setting.. which is to say, a world with a defined cosmology, but without any inherent extraplanar effect on the material plane, and an unlimited number of material planes, allowing DMs to either use an existing geological and political setup, or create their own without changing much, and to change between them as they see fit.

The planes setup in that generic setting is pretty much perfect... a plane for each alignment, transitional planes, plane of shadow, elemental and optional paraelemental planes, positive and negative. Planar conflicts, but everything is pretty much balanced out.

If you want to create a specific world (geography and politics wise) then you whip something up with the main play areas being cosmopolitan (plenty of different races) and with weak political (so the amount of political/military presence varies wildly in the region.. to the DM's taste).

Really, the more specific you get with any aspect, the harder it is for campaigns to be dropped into the setting, and the more campaigns will be defined by the setting.


Rather than looking at what to add, it might be a good idea of what would be the big hurdles to overcome in the design of such a setting. Ones I can see are:

1) Ensuring that the setting remains open to all. This doesn't just mean pirating ideas and then copyrighting them but also making sure that everyone can contribute. This ties into the second problem.

2) Perception of various aspects of the setting for various players and GMs. Some big examples are races, gods, and technology; which can be some serious sticking points. Examples:
A)Races: Contributer B likes Halflings and wants to do something with them. Contributer A, who hates them, already painted them as being useless comic relief and monster bate.

B)Religion: This is a personal one for me, it always seems like there is a good god of war and an evil good of war. I write a god of warfare that is a more neutral god of mercenaries and adventurers as being the only war god. Others who want the Athena/Ares dynamic might not like that I've cut out their options "officially".

C)Technology in one word: Guns.

3) If Evil L. wants this to be a setting that anyone could publish from, it might be worth it to make it open enough for publishers to peddle their own works in certain locations. It might attract more publishers to use the setting.

4)Limiting the overall effect a contributer can have on the world. For instance, if I make a country/city state/demi plane, I shouldn't be able to declare it the bestest at everything. I should be able to express my ideas without having to worry that my ideas will be twisted into something unrecognizable but I shouldn't be able to run wild either.

That's what I had for potential issues at the moment at least. My mind has wandered off though so I might come up with more potential problems later.


Okay, I'll put up a couple of ideas to start the pot. These are countries I've thought up, but never really used or named.

The first was based on the idea on the idea of having a Dracula-like villian running a country but I thought vampires were over done. The kingdom was relatively unimportant due to the fact that a terrible dragon claimed much of the nation as its territory and would occassionally ravage it when it awoke. A prophecy was made that a great ruler would arise after questing to destroy the dragon and return with its blood. A young heir recently inherited the crown and sought to prove his/her worth to the people by slaying the dragon. Everyone believed the new ruler would never return but they were wrong. The ruler returned dragging the severed head of the beast behind. Since then the ruler as catapulted his/her country into a major power. The ruler is deviously cunning, charimatic, unstoppable in battle, and the people love him/her despite the draconian methods their ruler uses.

The ruler is the dragon, of course, taking the place of the ruler for equal parts entertainment and for increasing the value of its territory. The ruler might be dead or might be imprisoned so the dragon can use some form of magic to make its disguise harder to pierce. The dragon's head, its skull mounting the castle's main gate, was that of a suitor the dragon rejected as a mate or went preying mantis on it afterwards. While the dragon is evil, it does look out for the best interests of its loyal subjects, as they pay more tribute out of love than through fear. Also, they belong to it.

The second country was shaped by a tragic love story. The kingdom had a Paladin who embodied all the best virtues of his order. While he was righteous he was also humble and merciful. In his light one could see that the crown he served did not deserve such a servant, yet he was ever faithful. The ruler was nervous about having such a paragon around, as the ruler was a cruel and selfish person. Yet the ruler could not strike out against the Paladin directly so he sent the Paladin to deal with a cult worshipping a dark deity off in the wilds. The Paladin set out with his companions and over the course of several years for several battles with the Priestess and her cult. In the end though the Paladin and the Priestess fell in love and she denounced her faith to be with him.

They lived a happy life for many years. The Paladin continued to serve the court and the Priestess took to the study of the Arcane. Back at court, the Paladin became aware of some shady dealings going on and was piecing the trail that was slowly leading him to the crown. The ruler became fearful that, if the paladin learned the truth, he would turn against the ruler. So the ruler sent assassins to kill the Paladin and the Priestess. The couple was caught by surprise and the Paladin sacrificed himself to save his wife and unborn child. The ruler thought the assassins had been successful and held a state funeral to "honor" the fallen hero. The Priestess crashed this party, killing many guards in the process, and pronounce a curse that caused the rivers and lakes to overflow and turn to blood before she vanished. Now the kingdom has become a bloody swamp where terrible mutated creatures and undead roam.

Hope you enjoy them, and get some use out of them.


I'll note that filling in the cosmology, especially gods, with open equivalents is key. Those are the things that actually have a presence in the rules and can be awkward to work around.

On the matter of geography I am still mulling.


Where the pantheon is concerned, perhaps you could just have generic, unnamed deities (Sun God, Moon God, Ocean God, Earth God, Death God, Warrior God, Plant God, etc) and list variation suggestions, kind of like archetypes.

Example:
Sun God


  • Vengeful and sadistic overlord of the gods.
  • Compassionate life bringer.
  • Champion against undeath.

Just brainstorming on that. May not be as elegant a solution as it seemed in my head at first.

As for organizations, I think you have to have some specificity to make it useful. Perhaps you could make a list of things like thieves guilds and merchant guilds, and the list would be full of links to very specific versions of those organizations that people have contributed to the project. It could, in theory, expand infinitely in that way. All things going well, there would be enough to choose from that it would be suitable for just about any situation or would require minimal tweaking.

This would make a great project that I would be more than happy to contribute to.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

If you use deities from Earth myths then people might recognize the shorthand easier.


Skaorn wrote:

What you might want to think about is doing a many worlds kind of game. Think of it in terms of a sci-fi space opera where just about anything can fit in though rather than spaceships (a touchy subjects here) you have gates to other worlds/planes that appear naturally and are stble paths.

This type of setting would allow for people to use whatever they want from any publisher by creating another world. Even if someone writes in a Mary Sue character somewhere, they are still tiny in comparison to the scope. You could even throw a cataclysm that wreaks havoc on the world and not threaten the entire setting.

The hard part would be cohesion, which would be a big strike against this style. It's possible to add elements to bind everything together though. For instance one pantheon of gods for the entire place, with the ability to alter them a bit based on cultural variance. A central starting place might be good, like a City of Adventurers that is run by Adventurers who have mostly settled down. But that's just my ideas.

I actually really like this idea. It made me think of .//hack and their many worlds based off of one hub thing.

it would also allow cohesion as long as there's some kind of reasoning behind it as well as allowing much more variety and freedom with the stories and locales


aech wrote:

I actually really like this idea. It made me think of .//hack and their many worlds based off of one hub thing.

it would also allow cohesion as long as there's some kind of reasoning behind it as well as allowing much more variety and freedom with the stories and locales

Actually, now that I think about it, .//hack was probably a big subconcious influence, followed by Planescape, and Everway.

As for Dieties, something that might be good would be making gods with two light or dark qualities and one that would be in the opposite. It might be interesting if every god had their good side and bad (not necessarily good or evil).


I do like the idea of dualistic deities. Perhaps, go beyond the good/evil duality and choose a duality for each based on their particular aspects.

For some, that duality might not even have to be opposites, but two sides to the very same thing.

An example: A god of righteousness and valour encourages followers to be determined and stalwart in their pursuit of justice. However, the god's detachment from mortal concerns means that dedication to a cause taken to the point of obsession and twisted vengeance against perceived evils also fall amongst the portfolio. This is a god of a good thing, and also of what happens when it is taken too far. Champions of this god often do great good for the world, striking down vast evils. Yet this drive blinds them to the concerns and needs of those around them, bringing them to lose sight of the collateral damage caused by their crusades. Paladins of this god must forever fight the temptation to fall into obsession in their fight against evil.

Another: A god of history that exemplifies studious contemplation of the past gives boons to those that unearth old knowledge and enlighten the masses about lost lore. The very same god is an enemy of invention, progress and creativity, favouring unyielding tradition over new ways. Ardent followers are often eminent archaeologists and loremasters but refuse to see new methods and creations as anything but pointless folly at best and blasphemy to be destroyed at worst.


DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
If you use deities from Earth myths then people might recognize the shorthand easier.

Even if it doesn't happen that way, that's a freaking great idea, IMO.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting Subscriber

I'm reminded of an attempt to do this back over at the HERO System boards a couple of years ago. It was called the World of Generica. Might be worth taking a look at.

http://www.killershrike.info/

Also, I can help make world maps. Not too good at making cities sadly.


My homebrew: Calligorum. It is an island in the northerly seas, with cool temperate climates except on the southernmost peninsula where the city of Netherdam resides.

The land is a place of chaos, despite many noble factions scattered across the face of it. At one time when the Empire to the south (never named said Empire) sailed to Calligorum from the mainland to find it heavily forested and populated by elves, dwarves, and scattered tribes of barbaric humans (think celts, vikings).

The imperial forces first landed at Neth R'men Duun; a city of foul demon-worshiping barbarians. When diplomacy failed (or wasn't very heavily employed) the imperials used Gods, Gold and Glory to justify not only taking it, but all the land for themselves. After a century of hard-fought expansion the forests were ravaged, central Calligorum was tamed for agriculture and the "savages" were driven north to a hard highland called the Wolfen Downs.

Meanwhile a Black Dragon made an alliance with the Empire to leave him to his own devices and he'd keep the elves in check. He and his minions drove them to the dense heart of the Eldwynn Forest along the eastern coast, then he retreated to the other coast in the west, and the coastal swamps there. A smaller forest, vestigal remains of the original woodlands, were scattered along the fringes of the swamps; they contained the real treasure the dragon coveted - the twilight gates: runestones of great power.

The dragon learned to tap their power and use it to augment his own. Soon his power to stagnate water and expand his swamp unnaturally grew the area incredibly; most of the southwestern coast of Calligorum is now an area referred to collectively as the Mistfall Marshes.

In time the dragon betrayed the Empire ignoring their pleas for aid when the barbarians to the north began revolting. The barbarians in turn allied with goblins and surged down, out of the highlands, cutting a swath of destruction all the way to the gates of Netherdam which they sieged. When their bloodlust was finally sated and their hordes withdrew they scattered into the wilds of the land while civilization was left in tatters.

It has been a century since the fall of the Empire. In that time regional rulers scattered throughout Calligorum, referred to either as Barons or High Barons, have become covetous opportunists. A few have attempted to unite the nobles in half-hearted attempts to rule but the dragon's machinations ensure that NONE shal rule Calligorum but him.

Major Features: in the north - The Hammersong mountains and their foothills, the Wolfen Downs; along the east coast and inland as far as central Calligorum is the vast woodland known as the Eldwynn Forest; the west coast as I mentioned is a vast swamp of fresh and salt water dotted with scattered woodlands called the Mistfall Marshes; twin rivers flow down from the southeastern edge of the Hammersongs - the Mistrill oozing through the eastern edges of the marsh while the Eldwynn River lends its name to the forest it winds among.

Major cities: Netherdam - Fallen Rome meets medieval Gotham in this southern port city of ancient decadence; Dunspar - a free city on the northeastern coast where forest and foothills meet the sea; Mistwatch - the northernmost reach of civilization this walled town (my land's Keep on the Borderlands) is currently lordless but keeps a steady eye on both the barbarous north and the vile Mistfall.

One final note: the reason its called the "Mistfall" is because there is a near-constant haze of some kind over the entirety of this area. On clearer days or in high wind it may only be a light ground fog but at its worst the whole of the Mistfall is cloaked in a pea soup fog. The common belief is that the full might of the sun never reaches the ground of the Marshes; if it ever does the entropy and decay of the place might finally be destroyed.


Umbral Reaver wrote:
I do like the idea of dualistic deities. Perhaps, go beyond the good/evil duality and choose a duality for each based on their particular aspects.

That's what I was thinking and why I was using light and dark rather than good or evil. A fairly neutral god of death might still hold sway over the undead and/or causes disasters, accidents, and disease. I figure that a system like that would allow for cults that are tolerated by gods even though they might be against their alignment.

For example, using your two, you could have a Cult dedicated to righteous vengence and doing bad things for good reasons. The other one might be like the early anti-industrials that smashed automated looms or printing presses with sledgehammers.


Dotting to keep an eye on this.

Ihave a homebrew I have been running for 20+ years and is curretnly north of 2000 pages of content. I don't think the setting itself is somethingt hat is generic but many parts of it could be lifted out as a package and placed somewhere else.

I strongly second the idea of using mythos from Earth history. It gives everyone a common point of reference. What Ihave done in my home brew is there is only one god but he is worshipped in different aspects. So nature, the sun, the sea, war, healing, etc... All the same guy but different aspects. It really simplified things.


As others have mentioned, there are certainly issues in developing a completely open setting that anyone can contribute to. It'll be hard to get everyone that wants to add content to agree with everyone else on the broad stuff.

But I really like the idea of a more narrowly focused project. An organized collection of NPCs, set pieces, plot hooks, encounters, etc. that a DM could go fishing in to find things to slot into his or her own campaign.

Your level 8 PCs are about to dip into the cave where the MacGuffin is hidden and you need some ideas as to what they find. So you go to subterranean section and check the CR6-10 subheading to find some decent encounters that you can put in without a lot of work.

You crew took a direction you didn't anticipate and now you need a bursar's office for the wizards' college complete with NPCs, bureaucracy, and red tape along with a hook to get them back on track. Just hit up the database for a set and characters along with an minor quest to get them back to where you need.

It's not even just good for when you're pressed for time. Not every DM has the same toolset. Some are great at designing encounters but not so hot at the "around town" stuff. Some can dream up a pile of characters on the spot all with their own motivations and funny voices but they just keep reusing the same old ogres.

Letting everyone share what they're best at seems like a really cool idea. Creating a complete universe from whole cloth and expecting it all to be consistent within itself seems like it's bound to be full of heartache.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Evil Lincoln wrote:

Sometimes I have "new" ideas only to find out that someone else has already done it. I hope this is one of them.

Is there any existing "open setting"? That is, a traditional game setting and world info like Golarion, Oerth or Faerun, except that it isn't closed content?

I believe the settings at Pathfinder DB are all open content by requirement for posting them to the site.


LazarX wrote:
I believe the settings at Pathfinder DB are all open content by requirement for posting them to the site.

Ooh. *bookmarks*


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LazarX wrote:
I believe the settings at Pathfinder DB are all open content by requirement for posting them to the site.

Excellent! I was hoping such a thing would come up.

I still think that an open campaign setting designed with independent content publishers in mind would be a unique and useful thing.

I asked for James Jacob's thoughts here and got a thoughtful response.

I think I'm going to go ahead and form this project myself (informed by what has and will be posted here).

My current, 4-year-long campaign will be ending soon, it seems like a good time for new beginnings.


Ragnarok Aeon wrote:
While I might be willing to contribute, I don't know if it can actually work. I mean just look at the shared universes of comic books.

Could you elaborate on this for me? What are some of the big problems with shared universes? Examples would be awesome.


It sounds like a fun project. The first two steps I would do after setting up the administrative part would be:

1. Going through the rules system and making a list of everything I need to include into the setting to accommodate all the rules. For example, if the rules allow player to choose dinosaurs as animal companions, I need a place with dinosaurs. Same goes for gunslingers: I need a place where guns are manufactured. Of course, you need to do that for all aspects of the rules: classes, equipment, monsters, magic, magic items and so on.

2. Taking a close look at established and successful settings and noting what they have in common, or at least what can be found often. Prime candidates would be Greyhawk, the Forgotten Realms and of course Golarion, as you intent to do a generic PF setting. There are some staples that many gamers will instantly recognize, like the arabian/middle-east themed part, the asian themed lands, the medieval kingdoms and many more. Do not forget history, as that will play some part in incorporating adventures, too.

The list will have quite a few overlapping sections, but that is actually good.

For the technical part I would recommend a Wiki that can be read by anyone but only edited by registered users. Depending on your administrative set-up, registration should probably restricted to "accredited designers". Wikis are easy to work with and are perfectly suited for presenting setting information.

You probably do not want to be too original and detailed, as tempting as that may be. The setting should work best for its intended purpose if modules that are already written can be ported without much work, and that depends on the setting being easily accessible and painted in rather broad strokes.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

I'd be interested in participating. I do think that the first thing you need to start on is to think on an overall theme. Every one of the better settings out there, Golarion, Eberron, Dark Sun, Greyhawk, Gothic Earth, Mythic Europe, works because there is an overall theme that sets the tone for the cogent parts of the world. It leaves it's stamp on races, magic, the divinities themselves. Remember also that what you leave out from a world defines it as much as what you put in.

Vancia would serve as a working title for now but a better one may suggest itself once this part of the process has gone through.


Evil Lincoln wrote:
Ragnarok Aeon wrote:
While I might be willing to contribute, I don't know if it can actually work. I mean just look at the shared universes of comic books.
Could you elaborate on this for me? What are some of the big problems with shared universes? Examples would be awesome.

I was referring to where many authors write about the same world and/or characters and they have conflicting views and histories. TV Tropes explains it better than I can. That's why it needs some sort of filtering process at the very least.

As far as the whole "supports everything" process goes. Even Golarion has interesting unique aspects to it (such as the starstone or the "first world"). I understand that you want a setting where everything works, but if it doesn't have something interesting and unique then it I can't find myself wanting to actually write and expand upon it. Blandness is well bland and lacks flavor.


I'm not quite sure what I want, actually. Final Exams just finished today, so this is the first time I've had the spare moments to think such a thing through... but I feel strangely obtuse today. What few breakthrough thoughts I've had today have all been for my own, long-dormant homebrew setting that wouldn't work with this at all.

This is something I hope to see develop over a long time, though.

I like the idea of using earth deities, but I also have this idea of using the "portfolio" of each diety as its personification. A god named Death. A god named Strength. A god named Light, and so forth.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

If the point is to make a setting that:

A) Supports the assumption that all the core Pathfinder 1-20 rules are true.

B) Supports the assumed cosmology (material plane, linked to ethereal, shadow and astral, with elemental and outer planes)

C) Supports the assumption of pantheistic religions.

D) Can be easy for any GM and writer to know, expand and use without worrying about stepping on copyright.

E) Supports the seven core races.

Then I say regions should be modeled on Tolkien's/Howard's method of a forgotten epoch of Earth. Or perhaps an alternate Ancient Earth.


Evil Lincoln wrote:
I like the idea of using earth deities, but I also have this idea of using the "portfolio" of each diety as its personification. A god named Death. A god named Strength. A god named Light, and so forth.

Strenghth's avatar manifests every year for the annual Arm Wrestling championship - a disembodied massive right arm with a mustache.


You could go the route Bastion took with the gods. Where each one is dualistic in opposing elements. Like you have the god of Health / Illness. One for Battle / Peace. ect.


If you're going to use gods of ancient myth, pleasepleaseplease don't use Greek or Norse pantheons, especially Norse. Both are over done and the Norse, being largely Scandinavian in decent and growing up with the myths, I find that they are often more comic book than edda.

At least go for Egyptian, Celtic, or Mesoamarican. If you want to be a bit more original, use something like the Slavic or Persian gods. Shinto kami and Hindi gods I'd be a little iffy about as they are modern day religions.


Skaorn wrote:

If you're going to use gods of ancient myth, pleasepleaseplease don't use Greek or Norse pantheons, especially Norse. Both are over done and the Norse, being largely Scandinavian in decent and growing up with the myths, I find that they are often more comic book than edda.

At least go for Egyptian, Celtic, or Mesoamarican. If you want to be a bit more original, use something like the Slavic or Persian gods. Shinto kami and Hindi gods I'd be a little iffy about as they are modern day religions.

I avoid real world religions altogether, past or present.

If you use real world gods for an unrelated fantasy thing, it ends up looking like this to those that study, worship or just know a lot about those gods.

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