Advice/experience on creating a setting

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Psistrike
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Advice/experience on creating a setting

Post by Psistrike » Fri Nov 11, 2016 10:12 pm

To those of you who have created campaign settings, I ask some advice. How did you start out with the setting, did you try to compile everything from existing sources you planned to use first, or just some of it and retcon the others in? Did you figure out all the superhero/villain teams, organizations, etc. that were going to be in the setting and how they related to each other first or simply go with the flow as ideas came to you?

Any and all advice on creating a setting would be appreciated, as I'm having writer's block trying to figure out what to with my rebooted version of my Psistrike's Earth-8 setting and part of it is due to thinking I have to have every official/3rd party/other source NPC and details from such sources I'm going to use or adapt all written down first before working on anything. :?

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Bladewind
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Re: Advice/experience on creating a setting

Post by Bladewind » Sat Nov 12, 2016 1:58 am

This is going to sound really lame... start at the beginning.

Seriously. You need a concept for your setting and then you need to work off it. Is it a parallel Marvel World? Amalgam? Generational? For Superhero worlds it can be as easy as deciding that your own superhero team supplants the Justice League, and vaguely place them against similar threat that you flesh out as you go...

All you really need is a starting point.

You can also get player buy in.

Neo Paladin's Merge Universe was a premise, and he asked each player to mention two elements that were now part of the Merged World... So the Superhero world suddenly had a Death Star in orbit around Mars. Venus was a jungle planet, Jedi and Sith were running around the world proclaiming there could only be one (Well, not really, but you get the idea)... About as much of the world is player created as GM decided...
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Psistrike
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Re: Advice/experience on creating a setting

Post by Psistrike » Sat Nov 12, 2016 2:02 am

Bladewind wrote:This is going to sound really lame... start at the beginning.

Seriously. You need a concept for your setting and then you need to work off it. Is it a parallel Marvel World? Amalgam? Generational? For Superhero worlds it can be as easy as deciding that your own superhero team supplants the Justice League, and vaguely place them against similar threat that you flesh out as you go...

All you really need is a starting point.

You can also get player buy in.

Neo Paladin's Merge Universe was a premise, and he asked each player to mention two elements that were now part of the Merged World... So the Superhero world suddenly had a Death Star in orbit around Mars. Venus was a jungle planet, Jedi and Sith were running around the world proclaiming there could only be one (Well, not really, but you get the idea)... About as much of the world is player created as GM decided...
Thanks, that helps a little. Though I should mention I mostly am making a setting for characters I build for fun, never ran a campaign myself and not sure I could handle it as I get stressed easily due to having high anxiety syndrome, even with meds to help. Plus still debating with myself if I should just use the Freedom City/Emerald City/Earth-Prime setting as is with some changes and add things to it like I've done before or go with something else. Always feel like I have to use all the official characters when I use the Freedomverse/Earth-Prime setting.

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Batgirl III
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Re: Advice/experience on creating a setting

Post by Batgirl III » Sat Nov 12, 2016 3:05 am

Start small! You don't need to build a universe or even a full planet. One good city can keep a hero or group of heroes busy for decades.

That was my guiding principle for Cape City, which I never finished writing about online, but my players had a blast.
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Bladewind
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Re: Advice/experience on creating a setting

Post by Bladewind » Sat Nov 12, 2016 3:47 pm

Exactly what BG said.

Start small, at the beginning or whatever term you wish to use. Look at the big two, Freedom City and think... are there parallels I want to use? The easiest way to build a campaign is to say yes to that question.

Decide if your world has a Superman, Captain america or other iconic hero. Are they active now? Think about a few major events and that's it. Let that stew for a little bit.

Something a lot of people forget when world building is that the in each comic, the eponymous character is the hero and the others heroes in the world don't matter except in a crossover... so remember your PCs will arrive and they need to be able to shine. Being mistak n for sidekicks or legacies of the big guns is fun at first and works in the grand scheme but don't do it often...

Examples, the Avengers showing up to mop up after the New Warriors beat the big bad, the FF doing the same to the same team when they beat Terrax... It sets up the team, but they are making their name and deserve the same spotlight that the others get.

That is the appeal of Emerald City... its mostly new in an established setting.
Last edited by Bladewind on Thu Mar 30, 2017 11:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Ken
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Re: Advice/experience on creating a setting

Post by Ken » Sat Nov 12, 2016 5:49 pm

Years ago, back when the Internet was in its toddler phase, when I started my campaign world, I went about it very piecemeal. The quickest thing I learned was it's less about the setting, and more about the campaign. However, you said explicitly that you aren't really doing it for a campaign.

Essentially, it becomes what you want these characters you just build for fun to be? If you see them as urban vigilantes, or just local heroes, then you only need one city. If you picture them to become members of a big national or international team (like the Avengers of the Justice League), one city probably won't be enough. Different types of heroes need different types of settings, Or different pieces of the same, larger setting.

So, basically, my advice is just start with the characters. If you come up with an idea for a character that is a bullied high school nerd in his secret identity, you'll need a high school, with a few classmates and a few teachers, and administrators named. If you come up with a character who works at a great metropolitan newspaper, you'll need to work out some details about that paper: editors, other reporters. Places that are a part of a character's life, but aren't important to the stories, don't need detail: where s/he buys his groceries, where s/he may go to worship (if you picture the character as religous), these don't need detail. Unless that grocery clerk or the rabbi look like they might become important, then you can detail things.

Detail what you need to tell the stories you want to tell, assume that typical types of places exist. Eventually, the world will start looking populated.

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Psistrike
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Re: Advice/experience on creating a setting

Post by Psistrike » Sat Nov 12, 2016 8:03 pm

Thank for the further advice, everyone. Guess I was trying too much, too soon and trying to make a universe like Freedom City or even Tattooedman's T-Verse from the start when those were built over years.

Will get working on mine again soon, but need to rest after today. Having to dig a grave for our oldest cat, Scamp, who died between 12:11 and 12:22 am today. Would have turned 14 in June next year, close to 13 1/2 years old, thus around 76.5 years old in human years. He lived a long life and was a loving and sweet cat, it is hard losing any pet but especially the loving and sweet ones.

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Re: Advice/experience on creating a setting

Post by Ken » Sat Nov 12, 2016 9:45 pm

Psistrike wrote:Will get working on mine again soon, but need to rest after today. Having to dig a grave for our oldest cat, Scamp, who died between 12:11 and 12:22 am today. Would have turned 14 in June next year, close to 13 1/2 years old, thus around 76.5 years old in human years. He lived a long life and was a loving and sweet cat, it is hard losing any pet but especially the loving and sweet ones.
I'm sorry about you losing your loved one.

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Re: Advice/experience on creating a setting

Post by Sketchpad » Fri Nov 18, 2016 10:32 pm

Batgirl III wrote:Start small! You don't need to build a universe or even a full planet. One good city can keep a hero or group of heroes busy for decades.

That was my guiding principle for Cape City, which I never finished writing about online, but my players had a blast.
Excellent advice. I would start with a general idea on how the city looks and who inhabits it (both super and non). Write down names of the mayor, some police officers, a crime lord or two, and a few local celebrities (reporters, for example). The people your heroes will interact with are also great to have written down somewhere. From there, maybe ask yourself if there are other heroes in the city? Any gangs? Then start looking at villains you want to use.
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Re: Advice/experience on creating a setting

Post by MacynSnow » Wed Mar 29, 2017 5:14 pm

Sketchpad wrote:
Fri Nov 18, 2016 10:32 pm
Batgirl III wrote:Start small! You don't need to build a universe or even a full planet. One good city can keep a hero or group of heroes busy for decades.

That was my guiding principle for Cape City, which I never finished writing about online, but my players had a blast.
Excellent advice. I would start with a general idea on how the city looks and who inhabits it (both super and non). Write down names of the mayor, some police officers, a crime lord or two, and a few local celebrities (reporters, for example). The people your heroes will interact with are also great to have written down somewhere. From there, maybe ask yourself if there are other heroes in the city? Any gangs? Then start looking at villains you want to use.
What me&my late wife did years ago(up untill she passed away 5 year ago:we were married for 12 years and had our Setting up the entire time) was fairly simple and i personally recomend it:
-Start with a Generic Area(a Local City map for more Modern games&a Rural one for Fantasy),then write down in a Notebook(i'm Old so use your Fangdangling Commpuuter) everything that you would want in the area,making certain to seperate(?) it all by Sections:Hero Allies,Neutral's,Villians& Central Locations/Landmarks is what we did.
-After jotting all this down,do something you find Relaxing as you'll probably have a Massive hand Cramp from all this.I personally like to listen to my Guardians of the Galaxy Soundtrack while sitting outside with a Good Book(currently Re-reading Doyle's Sherlock Holmes Vol.1, BTW)Ounce Fully rested,Start coming up with about 5-6 General story outlines,then fill said notebook/Computer with Short Stats for the Main Outline Villians.
-By the time all of the above is done,you should have a working Setting Model to work off of.....

Hope this help's! :)

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