A question for homebrewers

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Angel Tarragon
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A question for homebrewers

Post by Angel Tarragon » Tue Mar 15, 2016 8:50 am

How far do you go in creating fluff for your campaign? For example, have you ever started work on a homebrew just by some random speck of information that goes nowhere near standard tropes? [edit: Hmm, maybe I 'm going about asking this question in the wrong way considering the next paragraph]

For example I am working on my latest project and I think the first solidifying piece of information regarding the setting is starting to allow it to take shape; based on alignment, elemental structure, ideology and planar layout. How did I get there? By starting work on a piece of information that I calling Sacred Numbers.
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willpell
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Re: A question for homebrewers

Post by willpell » Tue Mar 15, 2016 1:02 pm

Uh, yeah, sounds about right.

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RobJN
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Re: A question for homebrewers

Post by RobJN » Tue Mar 15, 2016 1:37 pm

Like, a keystone idea, from which other ideas keep cascading? Yeah, been there, done that ;)
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Re: A question for homebrewers

Post by timemrick » Wed Mar 16, 2016 3:11 am

The idea for my Time of the Tarrasque started when I started thinking about the implications of the Tarrasque having an Advancement line in its stat block. The rest has largely been accretion of other interesting ideas for pieces of the world, with occasional revisions to make better sense of how various pieces interacted.
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Re: A question for homebrewers

Post by willpell » Wed Mar 16, 2016 12:30 pm

I would assume they allow advancing the Tarrasque just because he can potentially get more powerful to challenge a more potent party. Doesn't mean there's more than one; maybe he like gathers power over time the longer he's left unchecked.

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Re: A question for homebrewers

Post by timemrick » Wed Mar 16, 2016 7:55 pm

willpell wrote:I would assume they allow advancing the Tarrasque just because he can potentially get more powerful to challenge a more potent party. Doesn't mean there's more than one; maybe he like gathers power over time the longer he's left unchecked.
That's pretty much exactly my interpretation. The stat block in the MM represents what's been reported by those rare heroes who survive getting close enough to study it, but it grows more powerful over time and the lore is out of date.
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Re: A question for homebrewers

Post by willpell » Fri Mar 18, 2016 12:50 am

On the other hand, it would be interesting to consider the possibility of tarrasques as a species. Presumably they're highly territorial, not even tolerating the presence of their own young. It might work best for Spelljammer. Maybe have a Dyson Sphere somewhere that's the species's origin; only in an environment with that kind of lebensraum could such a devastating breed of creatures have evolved, such that they consume entire planets worth of resources in the course of their life cycle. (And then postulate that maybe, they're not the apex predator of that ecosystem; something other than a limited food supply might be keeping them in check.)

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Re: A question for homebrewers

Post by Krimson » Fri Mar 18, 2016 2:33 am

I use a coil notebook and a mechanical pencil and jot things down as I think of them. This can be notes on game mechanics but there is a lot of worldbuilding. I might do a rough map on one page and then add random notes. Maybe on other page I'll work on races or species, not necessarily in that order and not necessarily for the same world. Though sometimes I go through my notes and I see stuff that I can piece together, such as suddenly realizing my species list can go with something I made in Fractal Terrains, or that some ideas I had on Aethyric Tech in a Gaslight Fantasy/Steampunk setting could be ported to said world. If I have enough information I'll write something up, usually in Google Docs so I can access and edit it from any of my devices.

Basically, I don't think there is a right or wrong approach to Worldbuilding. Some might prefer the top down approach (Starting with the world, then adding more detail) while some prefer the bottom up approach (Starting in a small area, everything is within a day's ride on horseback) though really most probably fall in the middle. From the previous paragraph I mentioned using a map made in Fractal Terrains. I use this and Campaign Cartographer. When you export from one to the other, you get various map layers: topological, rainfall, temperature, climate. I did this recently, and all of a sudden I had a bunch of information I never had for a game world before. So I had some fun with it. If you want to see the maps I have them all gathered up in this thread on another game forum. That was all from just entering random numbers to make a fractal. You can use whatever you like. If it inspires you it inspires you.

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Re: A question for homebrewers

Post by Merctime (Tim) » Mon Jul 18, 2016 3:27 am

Angel Tarragon wrote:...I am working on my latest project and I think the first solidifying piece of information regarding the setting is starting to allow it to take shape; based on alignment, elemental structure, ideology and planar layout. How did I get there? By starting work on a piece of information that I calling Sacred Numbers.
(bold emphasis mine)

!!!

This is AWESOME. Simply reading those words I am inspired to find out more about them, in-game or out! I think this is a great start to an awesome setting. What a beautiful idea to use as a basis for the development of a campaign! Even if it's not a 'central-to-regular-play' theme and just exists on the cusp of regular gameplay, I think having this sort of mysterious background adds quite a lot to the vibrance of a campaign. And if the Sacred Numbers are something that are related to thing such as cosmology and the planes, I mean... That's just ridiculously rad in my opinion. I wish to encourage you in developing this concept!
Angel Tarragon wrote:How far do you go in creating fluff for your campaign? For example, have you ever started work on a homebrew just by some random speck of information that goes nowhere near standard tropes?
I mirror the poster above me, Krimson, in this.
Krimson wrote:I use a coil notebook and a mechanical pencil and jot things down as I think of them. This can be notes on game mechanics but there is a lot of worldbuilding. I might do a rough map on one page and then add random notes. Maybe on other page I'll work on races or species, not necessarily in that order and not necessarily for the same world.
This is basically how I do it. It's all notes, and eventually my maps begin to become more solid as I progress. I tend not to really develop cosmology though, myself, as that's a ton of effort (applause to all who are at this level!). Most of my own notes are on various cultures and what might make them different than others. I like to follow R.E. Howard's ideas in worldcrafting, as I understand them... Take what is familiar and use that as a basis to provide an immediate understanding of someting.

For my own cultures, a few I have are 'Arabia' (this is a mix of a fantasy-styled Egypt but with a more sinister 'Stygian' bent), 'Anglica' (your typical English medieval society), and 'Tuscany' (which has a very early Italian feel; A bit more Etruscan than Rome). I don't have statistics that differ one culture to another, it's all 'fluff' meant to inspire how I might play them as NPC's or to help players imagine characters from those places more easily. Also of note is that I include 'friendly' player races into these cultures, as opposed to having an Elf or Dwarf nation as it were. So, one might find an Arabic Dwarf (and verily, the Dwarfish smiths of Damascus are world-reknown) or a Tuscan Halfling (likely a good-natured, rather dashing fellow who loves to tend the terraced gardens of his farm-home on the Tuscan Peninsula). But all of this is backdrop information.

From there, once I know 'who is who', I begin to get into immediately gameable stuff like writing local dungeons or making some notes of lairs or special places nearby a particular culture's patrolled territory. I'll focus on one dungeon at first, after asking players what culture they'd prefer to start in, encouraging them to choose from any available and to play 'visitors' or 'outsiders' if they choose as well as locals. That dungeon will get play off the ground. From there, the campaign tends to grow on its own organically, as play necessitates this. Player ideas on religion will come into being, or I might hear ideas they pop out to each other and like that, and thus inject those ideas into the world.

I really prefer campaign settings that players add to, myself, and try to encourage this sort of thing. Makes a world that we are ALL invested in, which I think is cool. To this end, I tend to do very little actual up-front world design and hope that my players add to it, whether on purpose or inadvertently, during actual game-play.

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