Here lies a subtle problem. On the hardness scale of SF
, Traveller is fairly solid; the one "magical" element (psionics) is mostly off-camera (and illegal in the core campaigning areas). Star Wars openly has psionics ("the force"), as does Star Frontiers. Dragonstar just calls its local variant of the force "magic", and Spelljammer takes it a step further, and even its ships are powered by a substitute for "the force". Of course, Spelljammer looks nothing like Traveller, but there is a definite continuum of campaign design concepts in there, and its rather arbitrary to draw the line between these points.
Personally, I see things like Shadowrun as science fantasy, as they are a clear mix of the two.
Ashtagon wrote:So, I guess the question is, how popular would such a split be, given that one possible consequence is to leave SF ideas in a ghetto a few screen-scrolls downward?
Splitting up the existing forums would not be too hard, but going through the Other Worlds forum (to split it into one "Other Fantasy Worlds" forum and one "Other Science Fiction Worlds" forum) would involve going through more than 500 threads. That is a lot of forum moving work (and a lot of admin work that would need to be done rapidly) and I don't really have the time to that amount of forum moving at the moment.
Also, if you are going to split up Campaign Worlds into fantasy and science fiction, does that also mean that The Crunchy Bits would need a science fiction clone for d20 Modern? That would (potentially) add even more stuff to the mix.
And given that users can type "CTRL" +"F" (or "CMD" + "F" on a Mac), then type "Star Wars" to scroll down to the Star Wars forum, I don't see that there would be a significant improvement for the users.
The Piazza was first and foremost a community for discussing the campaign settings of Dungeons & Dragons. Ashtagon set it up specifically to replace some deleted forums for out of print D&D worlds. It has radically expanded beyond the original remit she gave it, but the vast majority of posts here are still about Mystara and Spelljammer, with Blackmoor, Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance and Dark Sun occupying the mid-range and more and more minority settings coming onboard when fans build enough of a community around them to justify a forum request being processed.
I am very happy that there are Gamma World and Traveller fans here, but both of those forums are still minority forums (with less than 1,000 threads and less than 10,000 posts).
If the people that like science fiction gaming actually went outside The Piazza and brought back more fans (like I did with my hunt for Spelljammer fans a few years back) and helped build up the discussions of Star Wars, Star Frontiers, Dragonstar (not sure I agree that Dragonstar is SF) Star Trek, Starcraft here, then I think there would be a much stronger "business case" for asking the global moderators to shuffle hundreds of threads out of Other Worlds in a single day/night/weekend.
I'm still not convinced that splitting campaign setting discussion into genres would be a good thing, even if the number of scf-fi gamers here increased radically, but I'm not totally opposed to it and would of course do my bit if and when Ashtagon said she thought that The Piazza should evolve (again).
However, even if The Piazza retained the structure it has now, things would be exponentially better for sci-fi RPG fans if we had a highly active Star Wars forum and a few other forums for settings that are not discussed much yet.
I think what we could possibly
without needing moderators to split Other Worlds (or The Crunchy Bits) is move Gamma World and Traveller down below the Calidar forum, so that all the science fiction campaign settings are together within the existing
Campaign Worlds section. That would not be a lot of work (and Other Worlds would naturally cover both other fantasy settings and other science fiction settings).
The other thing that might
be worth considering is that Star Wars and Traveller are not really "worlds" they are "universes" (and neither are Spelljammer, Planescape and Ravenloft for that matter). So maybe
the "Campaign Worlds" section could be renamed "Campaign Settings" and maybe "Other Worlds" could be renamed "Other Campaign Settings". Perhaps a change like that could help ensure that people browsing The Piazza do not just think this is a forum for "worlds".
The strange thing as that Alternity and Star Frontiers are often mentioned in non-sf threads... they seems to hold the user's favour but not enough to start threads.
I guess http://www.starfrontiers.us
has been such a good job people prefer to post there.
I've noticed that with certain topics. If you use Advanced search to search for a campaign setting in threads (not posts) and then compare that to the number of times the setting name is actually in the post title, it can be pretty interesting to see the difference.
I think that some forum users are people that start threads, while other forum users are people who read threads and post interesting replies.
There are good communities out there for Dragonlance, Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms and Blackmoor, but that doesn't stop people from posting a lot of threads about them here. I think it is more that people are not wanting to come to The Piazza to talk about those settings.
I think this is an area where one of more fans of a specific campaign setting (like Star Wars) can make a big difference. Go out there, find some fans and invite them over here.
If you want to discuss this more, I would be happy to talk about bringing more science fiction fans to The Piazza, but Ashtagon wants to keep anything other than formal forum requests out of this thread, so please start a new thread if you want to talk about that
I even think that a request/discussion about the organisation of forums within The Piazza is a bit outside the scope of this thread and that should also be a discussion for another thread
shesheyan wrote:Thanks for the SW thread.
Thanks for helping to build
the Star Wars forum, Marc.