An Insane Idea

We left our old worlds, each of us. This is it. We can't go any farther. This is The Edge.
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An Insane Idea

Post by Thorf » Tue Apr 28, 2009 6:18 am

Over in the Forum Request Thread, David said this:
Big Mac wrote:I'd eventually love to see people in those forums create wikis and new fan content for all of these subsettings*.

* = I've got a plan. We could build campaign settings and suppliments. Start again from scratch. With just a handful of men, we'll start D&D all over again! ;)
....which struck a chord with me for a number of reasons. :)

In our community (formerly Mystara community, now including the expanded Piazza community) we have an awful lot of talent: writers of all kinds, historians, cartographers, and even some artists. But I have often thought that in some ways all of our talent goes to waste - not because what we are doing is not worthwhile, but because we are working under the yoke of a copyrighted setting. Because of this fact, not only do we have limited options on what we can do, but in fact we live at the whim of the copyright holders, who could in theory shut us all down at any minute. Everything we create is constantly threatened by this, even if we don't think the threat will ever become a reality. On top of that our setting is out of print and we don't have the right to actively advertise it, which means that our community is pretty much limited to people who were fans of the original printed works during their release 20 or more years ago.

Of course none of these facts really threaten our day to day activities and discussions. But it leads me to wonder... :?: what if we had control of these settings for ourselves? :?: What if we didn't have to worry about unfriendly copyright holders, lack of support, and lack of new blood?

:?: What if we used our greatest asset - our wonderful, talented, international community - to create our own sandbox to play in?

:idea: What if we created our own world? :D

Imagine it: a world built from scratch that is completely our own, based on our own principles and ideals; a multicultural, patchwork world, hand-crafted by writers of multifarious backgrounds from across the globe; a world of diversity and enchantment, where all our favourite themes run amok; a world that truly belongs to us, that truly reflects our own diversity and talent.

Doesn't it sound like it could be something great?

What I'm suggesting is that we work together to create a world which is governed by one of the creative commons licenses. We could structure it any way we liked - as a 100% democratic endeavour; with a committee of overseers; as a benevolent dictatorship (like the Piazza); with people assigned to "rule" over different areas; as a collection of parallel or alternate worlds (as Mystara currently is); or any other way we can think of.

We could advertise and distribute our world however we wanted to - including the possibility of eventual publication (which is why the creative commons license is quite important).

To sum up: we could work together to create a world in the spirit of our favourite TSR campaign worlds, but which isn't restricted like they are.

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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Ashtagon » Tue Apr 28, 2009 6:37 am

Actually, this was my secret plan all along when I made this forum ;)

I want to work on the rules. That's been my main publicly-seen project all along.
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Marco Fossati » Tue Apr 28, 2009 7:40 am

very good idea

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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by metal » Tue Apr 28, 2009 7:44 am

I'm in!!!!
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Thorf » Tue Apr 28, 2009 8:29 am

I actually already have a project of this nature on the go (since summer 2006), but with a much smaller team. I'm not abandoning that project, but what I'm proposing here is more of a community thing. It would involve all those who want to take part, allowing each member to work on the parts they are most interested in. Everyone would build off everyone else's energy and creativity to make a world we could all be proud of - and feel part of.

I had a look at the Creative Commons site, and it looks like the license we would want to use would be the Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike license. Effectively this means that everyone who contributes retains copyright on their own contributions, which must be licensed using the same Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike license. This also allows fan-created works based on whatever we come up with, but they have to credit us. It also restricts commercial use so that we have to give permission for any commercial uses. If we ever came to publish anything, we would need the consent of all the relevant contributors (authors/copyright holders) for each published work. This would likely be done in a way that gave everyone a share of whatever profits we might make; everyone would also retain the right to disallow the publication of their own work if for whatever reason they didn't want it to be part of the published work, though the license means it cannot be withdrawn from the project altogether.

The legal side is all quite complicated and worth more thought and research, but I think Creative Commons is almost certainly the answer. It's important to get this worked out before the project is started, because it will have a huge effect on things later on - especially if we are successful. :)

As to how we would go about the project, the first thing I would want to do is have a wide-ranging discussion about the themes we're interested in, and decide on some very basic features of the world, such as the roles of magic, technology, and science; which races are most common; the existence and nature of gods/immortals, other planes, and other cosmological features; and so on. At the same time we would come up with a world map (likely through trial and error) that we all liked enough to agree on. Once these things were done, we could move on to developing the world, probably in a Gazetteer-like fashion, with teams working on each area - although since this would all be done on a forum, anyone could contribute wherever they liked too. :)

I guess the first goal would be to assemble an overview like the Mystara Newbie Guide - something like the "writers' bibles" many TV shows use to lay out the basic features of their setting. In our case nothing would be set in stone, though - and everyone would always be free to stray from the guide, and even create their own complete continuity of the world.

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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by cab » Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:31 am

Okay... This is all good.

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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Havard » Tue Apr 28, 2009 12:17 pm

This is interesting! I think my main priority will still be Mystara, but it would be quite cool to create a Piazza-exclusive setting!

I am wondering, would it be a good idea to make this setting one where Piazza members would be able to use their own setting specific knowledge? For instance, some people would be interested in developing the solar system of the planet (assuming that it is a planet). Perhaps the world has accumulated many visitors from other worlds; ie the settings Piazza members like the most. OTOH, we should ask ourselves if we want to stay away from copyright infringements or not. Setting references could be obscured enough to get out of trouble, while still be retained should we want it though.

Or do we rather want to develop a more limited setting, like a city or island which could be located in any of our favorite settings?

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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by ravensmuse » Tue Apr 28, 2009 12:43 pm

I'm a homebrewer / writer / creationist and I love this idea. I'm not huge into Mystara so I always feel like I'm missing out when you guys talk, but the idea of a Piazza created world is such a great one that I think it would be stupid for me not to participate in it.

Would it be possible to make this system neutral? If I write something, I want it to be part of what I would be running at home, and since I have 4e as my DnD system of choice, I wouldn't want to constantly upconvert stuff just to run it or have you guys have to retrofit my work onto everything else. We could either go the Freeport way and use no mechanics or have multiple stat blocks.

I've actually got a homebrew setting that I'm writing bits and bobs of in my free time that I'm sure I could fit into what we're writing. I'm trying to keep it as close to 4e cosmology as I can, but I'm giving lots of love to kobolds and goblins because, well, I'm a sucker at heart. So if I wrote anything, expect it to involve friendly kobold and goblin NPCs and such...

In other words, completely sign me up for this idea! When do we get started?

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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Big Mac » Tue Apr 28, 2009 12:57 pm

Thorf wrote:Over in the Forum Request Thread, David said this:
Big Mac wrote:I'd eventually love to see people in those forums create wikis and new fan content for all of these subsettings*.

* = I've got a plan. We could build campaign settings and suppliments. Start again from scratch. With just a handful of men, we'll start D&D all over again! ;)
That was originally a bit of a joke, because the guy in the song has a "grand plan to reinvent the world", but has only dug a short tunnel. :oops:

However, I would eventually love to see that sort of stuff get done.
Thorf wrote:...which struck a chord with me for a number of reasons. :)

In our community (formerly Mystara community, now including the expanded Piazza community) we have an awful lot of talent: writers of all kinds, historians, cartographers, and even some artists. But I have often thought that in some ways all of our talent goes to waste - not because what we are doing is not worthwhile, but because we are working under the yoke of a copyrighted setting. Because of this fact, not only do we have limited options on what we can do, but in fact we live at the whim of the copyright holders, who could in theory shut us all down at any minute. Everything we create is constantly threatened by this, even if we don't think the threat will ever become a reality. On top of that our setting is out of print and we don't have the right to actively advertise it, which means that our community is pretty much limited to people who were fans of the original printed works during their release 20 or more years ago.

Of course none of these facts really threaten our day to day activities and discussions. But it leads me to wonder... :?: what if we had control of these settings for ourselves? :?: What if we didn't have to worry about unfriendly copyright holders, lack of support, and lack of new blood?

:?: What if we used our greatest asset - our wonderful, talented, international community - to create our own sandbox to play in?

:idea: What if we created our own world? :D

Imagine it: a world built from scratch that is completely our own, based on our own principles and ideals; a multicultural, patchwork world, hand-crafted by writers of multifarious backgrounds from across the globe; a world of diversity and enchantment, where all our favourite themes run amok; a world that truly belongs to us, that truly reflects our own diversity and talent.

Doesn't it sound like it could be something great?
I've seen some other people out their with projects to create a world. Have you seen the Vintyri Project?
Thorf wrote:What I'm suggesting is that we work together to create a world which is governed by one of the creative commons licenses. We could structure it any way we liked - as a 100% democratic endeavour; with a committee of overseers; as a benevolent dictatorship (like the Piazza); with people assigned to "rule" over different areas; as a collection of parallel or alternate worlds (as Mystara currently is); or any other way we can think of.

We could advertise and distribute our world however we wanted to - including the possibility of eventual publication (which is why the creative commons license is quite important).

To sum up: we could work together to create a world in the spirit of our favourite TSR campaign worlds, but which isn't restricted like they are.
Maybe something more modular would be the way to go. That way a bit could be created and published as a PDF, and other bits could be bolted on later.
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by ravensmuse » Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:11 pm

I think that a "bible" is a good way to start with - have us all working from the same base and moving out. But I don't think we should say, "okay, you write the Renaissance era country, and I'll write the one based on the Incans..."

In the homebrew that I've been working on, I haven't been writing up specific cultures or countries. I've got a sketch of a "Holy Bahamut Empire" that I've mentioned a few times here and there, but nothing more than, "..in the Holy Bahamut Empire, dragons are considered one step lower than the gods," and that's it. I've been focused mostly on writing up a town and coming up with a story for it, and fleshing out around it. Is that the bottom-up method? *shrug*

I think there's room for all sorts of creation methods. Allow people to write down whole countries - or allow them to write a module like Keep on the Borderlands or adventure paths like Red Hand of Doom. As long as we're all working from the same base set of assumptions everything would be fine. Especially if we keep records on the wiki as we go; say, "the Snowfang tribe of the Southern Sut mountains paint their faces white with varying lines of red and black streaks to symbolize their closeness to Snowwhite, their dragon lord." Then we won't have someone writing about the Snowfangs and saying that they're a friendly tribe of marmot-people, y'know? :D

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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Thorf » Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:21 pm

What I have in mind is a whole world, but it's completely acceptable to concentrate on whatever part(s) of it you want to. It may well be that we end up with a "starting town" place that is the conceptual introduction to the world, which gets more development than anywhere else. However it turns out is fine.

My initial concept is that we would come up with an overall map of an area (a la the original X1/Expert Set map) and then parcel it out into nations, which could be dealt with Gazetteer-style.

It's important that the setting stays all our own work, so no direct references would be able to be included. On the other hand, there's nothing to stop anyone from making crossover stuff between our world and other worlds - including the TSR worlds. That's the great thing about the Creative Commons license: derivative works are allowed by default, which means anyone can use our work for anything they like, as long as they (1) credit us and (2) don't sell it. This kind of crossover - or even encompassing parts of our world into another - would be great. :) Obviously they share the same dubious legal status as our work on Mystara.

I think it's also important that the world be system-neutral. People would be welcome to write stat blocks for any system they want to use.

Just to restate my whole purpose with this idea: it's not meant to replace our favourite campaign worlds, because that's impossible. What it's meant to do is redirect some of our creativity into something of our own. I fully expect that the guiding principles will be strongly reminiscent of our favourite worlds; they're meant to be, because the world we're making is going to be a world by Mystara fans, for Mystara fans. (And the same for Spelljammer or fans of any other worlds who would like to participate - it's a big world, and there's plenty of room.)

This is all linked to something I occasionally feel about fandom: we all put in so much effort and come up with such great stuff, but in the end, we're still playing in someone else's back yard. They can kick us out at any time, and it doesn't matter how great our creations are - we never get any recognition or success outside of our own small group. With this being the case, and with the amazing creativity we have in this community, it just seems like a waste to me that we don't work on our own stuff.

Making the leap from fan to creator is certainly intimidating and surely fraught with doubt and lack of confidence, but we're all already halfway there. In some ways I think we are being held back by the restraints of our fandom, and I truly think we could make something really great if we worked together on it.

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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Big Mac » Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:25 pm

Ashtagon wrote:Actually, this was my secret plan all along when I made this forum ;)

I want to work on the rules. That's been my main publicly-seen project all along.
Well, your thing seems to be a modification of the SRD. So anything you do would need to be published under the OGL (but not the expired d20STL).

I think the OGL forbids publication alongside another licence (like the Creative Commons licence), so that would stop you publishing any of your work under a CC licence.

However, if Thorf's shared world thing was published under the CC license*, that would not stop the "owners" from publishing the same work separately under another license (or any number of licenses). So Thorf's shared world could be republished as an OGL work and attached to your set of rules (or it could be republished as an OGL work and attached to the 3.0 SRD, the 3.5 SRD or a "reverse engineered Pathfinder SRD").

* = There are actually lots of different CC licenses, so Thorf would need to discuss the options.
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Thorf » Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:30 pm

ravensmuse wrote:I think that a "bible" is a good way to start with - have us all working from the same base and moving out. But I don't think we should say, "okay, you write the Renaissance era country, and I'll write the one based on the Incans..."
In practice this would all be on the message board, so anyone can contribute anywhere at any time. We'd probably end up with a thread for each country, with more added as and when someone decided to start developing them.
In the homebrew that I've been working on, I haven't been writing up specific cultures or countries. I've got a sketch of a "Holy Bahamut Empire" that I've mentioned a few times here and there, but nothing more than, "..in the Holy Bahamut Empire, dragons are considered one step lower than the gods," and that's it. I've been focused mostly on writing up a town and coming up with a story for it, and fleshing out around it. Is that the bottom-up method? *shrug*
Yep... What I'm suggesting is the top-down method to create a general picture - a guide to give us an idea of the shape of things - and then working on each section however we see fit, be it top-down or bottom-up. The analogy is the X1 map and very short country descriptions of the Known World, followed by their development afterwards. I think we'd want to come up with a little more than that to start with, but it's a good model for what I'm proposing.
I think there's room for all sorts of creation methods. Allow people to write down whole countries - or allow them to write a module like Keep on the Borderlands or adventure paths like Red Hand of Doom. As long as we're all working from the same base set of assumptions everything would be fine. Especially if we keep records on the wiki as we go; say, "the Snowfang tribe of the Southern Sut mountains paint their faces white with varying lines of red and black streaks to symbolize their closeness to Snowwhite, their dragon lord." Then we won't have someone writing about the Snowfangs and saying that they're a friendly tribe of marmot-people, y'know? :D
Yes, I agree completely. I guess a wiki would be essential, but maintaining it would be tough. Also, it's not necessary for us all to agree about everything. As I said, there are likely to be various different continuities, none of which is intrinsically more valid than any of the others. (Well, we might want to create a "master" version of the world, perhaps by popular vote, or chosen by a committee of some sort, or a benevolent dictator, but it still wouldn't have any more authority than the other versions. We could distinguish them by using variations on the setting names, or giving them entirely different names.)
Big Mac wrote:Well, your thing seems to be a modification of the SRD. So anything you do would need to be published under the OGL (but not the expired d20STL).

I think the OGL forbids publication alongside another licence (like the Creative Commons licence), so that would stop you publishing any of your work under a CC licence.

However, if Thorf's shared world thing was published under the CC license*, that would not stop the "owners" from publishing the same work separately under another license (or any number of licenses). So Thorf's shared world could be republished as an OGL work and attached to your set of rules (or it could be republished as an OGL work and attached to the 3.0 SRD, the 3.5 SRD or a "reverse engineered Pathfinder SRD").

* = There are actually lots of different CC licenses, so Thorf would need to discuss the options.
Yes, it would be possible to publish it with the SRD, but as with any other kind of publishing it would require the consent of all the copyright holders. (You can read my ideas about which Creative Commons license above.)

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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by ravensmuse » Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:32 pm

Big Mac's been here for more than ten minutes...I smell a big post coming up :D

That's totally true of any fanwork and I completely agree with you Thorf. We are creative people (you have to be to be involved in the roleplaying hobby) and while its fun to tool around with what's already been written, there's always that urge in the back of your head that says, "hey, I could do this. Why aren't I doing this?" I just don't want to see the awesome cataloguing work that you guys do for the different campaign settings fall to the wayside. I've learned a lot about DnD that I didn't know about thanks to this website.

I'm glad to see that other people would want to keep it system neutral. While I don't mind conversion work, its still work that takes time and cuts into other things. Right now I don't have much access to mechanical things, but "fluff" material is relatively easier to put out.

We could use how Pelinore was established as our template - we write the bible, publish that as a .pdf, and work outwards from there. Establish set ups for the world, land masses, water, gods, focus on one area in the beginning and use that as our "Thunder Rift", work out from there, that would be great. Have one person working on the newbie area, have another writing adventure paths, have yet another working on modules - it's a wide open idea that I'm really excited to be a part of.

...which would explain why I'm blowing off work to talk about it :oops: :lol:

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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Big Mac » Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:39 pm

ravensmuse wrote:Would it be possible to make this system neutral? If I write something, I want it to be part of what I would be running at home, and since I have 4e as my DnD system of choice, I wouldn't want to constantly upconvert stuff just to run it or have you guys have to retrofit my work onto everything else. We could either go the Freeport way and use no mechanics or have multiple stat blocks.
System neutral sounds like a good way to design things. A system neutral world would not end up tied to the OGL. If you build in anything from the SRD you get locked into the OGL. (Publishing a system neutral world under the CC, would not prevent the copyright owner from republishing the work, with the OGL attached - and SRD compatible content added.)

And the GSL is apparently a pig of a license that even some commercial publishers won't touch with a barge pole, so I would personally avoid publishing anything that supported 4e.
ravensmuse wrote:I've actually got a homebrew setting that I'm writing bits and bobs of in my free time that I'm sure I could fit into what we're writing. I'm trying to keep it as close to 4e cosmology as I can, but I'm giving lots of love to kobolds and goblins because, well, I'm a sucker at heart. So if I wrote anything, expect it to involve friendly kobold and goblin NPCs and such...
Making any use of the D&D cosmology (of 4e or any other edition) is a thing that should be totally avoided in any project that wants to use the CC license. Even the stuff in the SRD should be avoided.

If you are a fan of cosmological stuff, you should consider looking into public domain stuff (like mythology) and creating an open content cosmology (that could be used instead of The Great Wheel). I would actually like to see that sort of thing get published as an "Otherworld SRD", but starting from scratch would also allow it to be published under the CC or any other license.
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Thorf » Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:39 pm

ravensmuse wrote:That's totally true of any fanwork and I completely agree with you Thorf. We are creative people (you have to be to be involved in the roleplaying hobby) and while its fun to tool around with what's already been written, there's always that urge in the back of your head that says, "hey, I could do this. Why aren't I doing this?" I just don't want to see the awesome cataloguing work that you guys do for the different campaign settings fall to the wayside. I've learned a lot about DnD that I didn't know about thanks to this website.
That's precisely what I'm trying to say, yes. :)

Anyway I don't think there's any need to worry about Mystara or the other settings falling by the wayside. We're never going to give up on it, even if we're working on other stuff too. Especially if they're all at this site! ;)
We could use how Pelinore was established as our template - we write the bible, publish that as a .pdf, and work outwards from there. Establish set ups for the world, land masses, water, gods, focus on one area in the beginning and use that as our "Thunder Rift", work out from there, that would be great. Have one person working on the newbie area, have another writing adventure paths, have yet another working on modules - it's a wide open idea that I'm really excited to be a part of.
We seem to be thinking along similar lines. :) The bible is definitely the first thing to work on. I think it and the newbie guide are almost one and the same, although the newbie guide might be just a cut down version of the bible (depending on the length).

But you forgot about one thing: the short stories and novels. :twisted: As far as I'm concerned, they are essential parts of marketing a world and creating a following (i.e. fans). The sky is the limit if we own the rights ourselves!

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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by ravensmuse » Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:40 pm

Reading what you wrote Thorf, I like the idea of a seperate forum with threads for each part of the world we're working on. Maybe every month or so we pull together what the authors considered "finished" and publish them as a .pdf update. Maybe like a magazine? "In this month's installment of Piazza-o: The goblins of Leurk-eo continue establishing their moonbase. Thorf discusses the religion of the people of Montblack. ravensmuse gives us, 'interesting fish tales from the Moonlit Sea'."

And maybe have the authors responsible for their own stuff on the wiki. *shrug* A suggestion at best :)

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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by night_druid » Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:41 pm

Thorf wrote: :idea: What if we created our own world? :D
I've long thought about the idea, particularly with WotC's recent actions. The only thing that concerns me is that there'd be too many chefs over the pot. A setting needs a focus, a common vision, otherwise it can end up a mess of largely incompatible ideas. :lol:
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by cab » Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:44 pm

So... First things first.

1. Catchy name?

2. Starting 'map' - global map or something smaller scale to be bolted in later? Starting with a global map might save the later complex retrofitting Thorf has been struggling with for Mystara :lol:

3. Tech and Magic level. Need a baseline to start gelling ideas around.

4. Cultures/races/ethnicities. We're building this ground up so we can do better than has previously been done with the glorious mish-mash worlds like Mystara etc. If we start with something workable, we end up with something we don't have to rationalise later.

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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by ravensmuse » Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:47 pm

Big Mac wrote:And the GSL is apparently a pig of a license that even some commercial publishers won't touch with a barge pole, so I would personally avoid publishing anything that supported 4e.
Personally, my feeling is that the license is so strict partially because WotC had no idea what they were signing onto when Dancy started in on his, "this will revolutionize DnD!" bit. I'm not a huge fan of the OGL, but that's another thread.
Big Mac wrote:
ravensmuse wrote:I've actually got a homebrew setting that I'm writing bits and bobs of in my free time that I'm sure I could fit into what we're writing. I'm trying to keep it as close to 4e cosmology as I can, but I'm giving lots of love to kobolds and goblins because, well, I'm a sucker at heart. So if I wrote anything, expect it to involve friendly kobold and goblin NPCs and such...
Making any use of the D&D cosmology (of 4e or any other edition) is a thing that should be totally avoided in any project that wants to use the CC license. Even the stuff in the SRD should be avoided.

If you are a fan of cosmological stuff, you should consider looking into public domain stuff (like mythology) and creating an open content cosmology (that could be used instead of The Great Wheel). I would actually like to see that sort of thing get published as an "Otherworld SRD", but starting from scratch would also allow it to be published under the CC or any other license.
I meant cosmology as in the assumptions for 4e. Thankfully, WotC property rights are easy to work around - just look at how many variations of mind flayers there are in the OGL! :lol:
Last edited by ravensmuse on Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Ashtagon » Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:48 pm

Big Mac wrote:System neutral sounds like a good way to design things. A system neutral world would not end up tied to the OGL. If you build in anything from the SRD you get locked into the OGL. (Publishing a system neutral world under the CC, would not prevent the copyright owner from republishing the work, with the OGL attached - and SRD compatible content added.)
This is one reason why I am trying to develop my own game engine - no need to worry about licensing.
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Thorf » Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:48 pm

Big Mac wrote:Making any use of the D&D cosmology (of 4e or any other edition) is a thing that should be totally avoided in any project that wants to use the CC license. Even the stuff in the SRD should be avoided.

If you are a fan of cosmological stuff, you should consider looking into public domain stuff (like mythology) and creating an open content cosmology (that could be used instead of The Great Wheel). I would actually like to see that sort of thing get published as an "Otherworld SRD", but starting from scratch would also allow it to be published under the CC or any other license.
Yes, I think that we would really have to start from scratch and build upwards. It wouldn't be a D&D world as such, although I'm sure it would be a world that's compatible with D&D, if you see what I mean. Everything would need to either be original or be based on public domain sources.
night_druid wrote:
Thorf wrote: :idea: What if we created our own world? :D
I've long thought about the idea, particularly with WotC's recent actions. The only thing that concerns me is that there'd be too many chefs over the pot. A setting needs a focus, a common vision, otherwise it can end up a mess of largely incompatible ideas. :lol:
That is indeed a concern. And if you think about commercial possibilities then the number of copyright holders may also be quite daunting.

The need for unity is the reason why I proposed we start out with a wide-ranging discussion of themes, culminating in writing a setting bible. Depending on how we decide to structure things, there may also be a design oversight committee or even a benevolent dictator to decide what is part of the "master" version. But as I have been saying it's also possible to have alternate continuities, and anyone could in theory come up with their own take on the world, pick and choose the elements they like, and create their own special version. It's a campaign world with the grey legal areas taken away (the fan-related ones, anyway).

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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Big Mac » Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:49 pm

Thorf wrote:The legal side is all quite complicated and worth more thought and research, but I think Creative Commons is almost certainly the answer. It's important to get this worked out before the project is started, because it will have a huge effect on things later on - especially if we are successful. :)
Actually, the legal thing you want to get sorted out, would be some sort of "eternal profit sharing" agreement that means that if I put the "Island of Example" onto your planet, I can stop working on it, but can't demand that you expunge it from your planet.

Your world will be built up from building blocks and your options are to either do the entire thing yourself, or have a patchwork thing that can't be eaten away from the inside.

As I've said (in other replies) it might be necessary to republish your work, with another license in order to make it work with the SRD (or Pathfinder) or any other sort of Open Content RPG system. (Traveller is another RPG that has gone "open content" and this planet could possibly also be modified and then used as part of a science fiction game - but only if it was republished under the Traveller license - whatever that is called.)
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by ravensmuse » Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:53 pm

So, what are we looking for here? Cab's started asking the important questions... :)

How about some Indian themes? You don't see many of those in campaign settings. Elephant men, reincarnation, self-discovery, karma..

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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Thorf » Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:58 pm

cab wrote:1. Catchy name?
An absolute must, especially in this day and age. But it should probably wait until we have an idea of what the world will be like.
2. Starting 'map' - global map or something smaller scale to be bolted in later? Starting with a global map might save the later complex retrofitting Thorf has been struggling with for Mystara :lol:
Bingo! :lol: My current plan is to keep generating random maps in Fractal Terrains until we come up with one we really like - or one that can be modified into what we want. It's much (much much MUCH) easier to alter an existing map than to draw one from scratch, and having it modelled in Fractal form (complete with contours and such) would be a real benefit.
3. Tech and Magic level. Need a baseline to start gelling ideas around.

4. Cultures/races/ethnicities. We're building this ground up so we can do better than has previously been done with the glorious mish-mash worlds like Mystara etc. If we start with something workable, we end up with something we don't have to rationalise later.
These are all things for the bible discussion. I agree with what you're saying.

Incidentally - we should start a new thread for that discussion. :) This one was really just to test the waters and see who might be interested.

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