An Insane Idea

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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Big Mac » Tue Apr 28, 2009 2:32 pm

Havard wrote: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.
The thing about the "legal deal", is that it isn't so much about if you are "legally right", it is about if WotC's lawyers think they can throw a C&D letter at you and blow your project out of the water.

I would say, start from scratch to avoid any potential problems. (Although a bit of inspiration shouldn't be a problem if it isn't obvious copy and paste stuff.)
Havard wrote: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?
If you make the thing modular, you can go both ways with it. It could be a "Blackmoor" that could be "dragged and dropped" into another setting, but could then be expanded into an entire world, with its own cosmology added on and its own space rules added on.
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Hugin » Tue Apr 28, 2009 2:43 pm

Cool idea and I'll definitely look for opportunity to contribute. That said however, I've been so busy ever since last summer and now that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, I'd really like to put much of my free time towards some large-scope projects I'd love to do for Mystara.

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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by night_druid » Tue Apr 28, 2009 2:44 pm

Just tossing out an idea, from reading this thread:

The various D&D races (those we keep, and whatever races we create) did not evolve naturally on the world, or were created there. Most, if not all, came from elsewhere, via portals, sky ships, what have you. In a way, the whole world has become a cosmic melting pot of hundreds of races & critters from across the cosmos. It has taken on the nickname "the Piazza" or somesuch thing (although this may not need to be the official name).

Just chucking an idea out there ;)
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by ravensmuse » Tue Apr 28, 2009 2:48 pm

I like that idea! I was thinking we should work with the Piazza name somehow! :lol:

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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by night_druid » Tue Apr 28, 2009 2:53 pm

ravensmuse wrote:I like that idea! I was thinking we should work with the Piazza name somehow! :lol:
That's the idea ("Celestial Piazza" or something; I'm sure we can come up with something cool). Also, we don't have to explain evolution or make one race the "rightful owners of the planet"; everyone comes from elsewhere.

Also, one thing I'd want to see is a planet that's bigger than Earth. Give us plenty of room to stick an isolated continent of dinos and stuff like that; too many settings are just so small (Krynn, and I think even Eberron).
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Ashtagon » Tue Apr 28, 2009 3:00 pm

Piazzaspace? A sphere filled with immigrants, all of whom arrived after some disaster befell their various home spheres? :twisted:
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by maddog » Tue Apr 28, 2009 3:07 pm

First things first. We need the working structure in place before anything can be done.

1) Thorf needs to draw a map.
2) Thorf needs to name the new world. (Hey, it's your idea. You get to name it!) :D
3) Thorf needs to take on the role of an "old one". Someone here would need to herd all of the cats. :D
4) Ashtagon needs to create a sub-forum for <Thorf's world name here>.
5) All other ideas need to be moved into that newly created forum and worked on there.

System neutral is a good idea, so is OGL. Thorf should make the call on this one (again it's his idea). For a baseline rules between systems, we could use BFRPG as it successfully links from Classic all the way up to 35e. 4e is another beast entirely! I don't have any experience with it so I don't know if BFRPG would be a good conversion tool between Classic <--> 4e. :) However, if we go SYSNEU, then rules won't matter so much.

I'm on board and need a new project right now. Once the structure is in place, I'd be happy to right something.

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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by night_druid » Tue Apr 28, 2009 3:08 pm

Ashtagon wrote:Piazzaspace? A sphere filled with immigrants, all of whom arrived after some disaster befell their various home spheres? :twisted:
Heh, doesn't *need* to be all disasters; some disasters, some for other reasons, etc.

Not sure I'd used the "-space" convention, nor "spheres", since we want to avoid any, ahem, "WotC-erial" entanglements... :lol:
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by ravensmuse » Tue Apr 28, 2009 3:11 pm

The video game Kingdom Hearts operates somewhat like Spelljammer, only instead of DnD worlds, there's Disney and Final Fantasy worlds floating through space. They're under threat from being swallowed by entropy and when a world gets "eaten", the survivors end up at this out of the way part of space where most just settle down to live.

What I'm trying to say is that maybe this is how Piazzaspace works. It's the kind of place that you just sort of "end up" in. You get displaced in time or space and suddenly, you find yourself in this strange world with people that don't speak the same language as you.

That way we could get away with using of things without having to worry about, "why?".

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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Big Mac » Tue Apr 28, 2009 3:13 pm

ravensmuse wrote: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."
What wiki? :?:

I think that if Thorf had a wiki, it should be a self-contained one (i.e. not via a wiki farm like Wikia) and it should be a closed one (that only invited people can see). That way, you could make sure that everyone signed up to some sort of "shared royalty - no backing out deal" that stopped someone from trying to pull their own content later on (i.e. to see the wiki, you have to agree that "anything you add permanently belongs to the project" - you can "stop contributing" any time, but you can't "take back your contributions" after they have been submitted to the group).

I think a "writer's agreement" like that would be essential. Obviously the exact wording of it would be something that Thorf would want to sort out.
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by ravensmuse » Tue Apr 28, 2009 3:19 pm

I was just saying that maybe we should have a wiki. I like the writer's agreement though.

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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Idabrius » Tue Apr 28, 2009 3:52 pm

I'm all for this idea. Not sure how we're going to start, but it might be worth checking out Obsidian Portal. While only one person can enter information at a time, it's a pretty neat wiki system. I use it for my own campaigns so as not to fill up hundreds of notebooks as I would've a few years ago. As a sample, this is my current campaign (using 2e rules) http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/the-10th-age.
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Big Mac » Tue Apr 28, 2009 4:45 pm

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


Lots of little posts actually! :P
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by night_druid » Tue Apr 28, 2009 4:48 pm

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


Lots of little posts actually! :P
That's a first... :shock: :lol:
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by ravensmuse » Tue Apr 28, 2009 4:51 pm

Offtopic, but Idabrius: nice to see a fellow Boston-ite on here :)

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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by happylarry » Tue Apr 28, 2009 7:15 pm

I'm up for this - happy to be one of the cats rather than a herder...

on the wiki thing - would something using Moodle be of any use?

looking forward to seeing the map and getting started

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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Idabrius » Tue Apr 28, 2009 7:24 pm

I think before any serious design work is done, we need to hammer out the little details - is it going to be high-concept (theme)? Realistic fantasy in any of it's major forms? That sort of thing. These are the basic structures that will allow us to put together a unified project.
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Big Mac » Tue Apr 28, 2009 8:01 pm

Ashtagon wrote:Piazzaspace? A sphere filled with immigrants, all of whom arrived after some disaster befell their various home spheres? :twisted:
Hmm. That would be a bunch of powerful evil wizards who stole their way across the seventeen dimensions, found ten peaceful planets, stole the power from the gods of those planets and merged all the worlds into one big world, to help reverse some of the environmental damage on their own shattered coastline.

But what should we call these evil world merging wizards...

...Wizards of the Seaside perhaps! :P
night_druid wrote:Not sure I'd used the "-space" convention, nor "spheres", since we want to avoid any, ahem, "WotC-erial" entanglements... :lol:
Agreed. Much as I love Spelljammer and much as I would love to see Jeff Grubb bringing back Spelljammer, I would take the position that anything from Spelljammer should be forbidden from this project.

And to be honest, while I love the idea of open-decked ships sailing through space, I think that dumping a lot of classic SJ elements (that I do love) would make a new fantasy space system a lot easier to set up. I'd suggest things like:
  • No such thing as the vacuum of space (i.e. you never run out of air - you only die from a lack of water, a lack of food or because the space sharks eat you).
  • No such thing as spelljamming (i.e. you sail around in magical ships - not normal ships powered by a magical device).
  • A natural alternative to "spelljammer speed" (i.e. as long as you take enough supplies, you can jump on a giant eagle and fly to the moon)
If the world is going to have un-natural monsters, then the most logical explanation is that they came from somewhere else. That "other place" can either be another plane (or another dimension if the word plane is a bit dodgy to use) or it can be another world.

If the Brain Devourers of the planet Argon capture passing space dragons that land on their world and use the space dragons to invade other worlds, then that sort of backstory can explain their alien biology.

3rd edition D&D divinded monsters up into types that were fairly logical groups. If you created a new world where all animal headed humanoids had some sort of common origin and all giant animals had another sort of common origin, you could actually build up a set of lands, planets, planes, dimensions, magical objects that cause mutations or whatever, that actually give a logical backstory for the sort of range of creatures that people expect to see in a RPG.

D&D has big creatures and little creatures, so why not copy Gulliver's Travells and make them come from a "big" country/plane/planet/island and a "little" country/plane/planet/island?
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Chimpman » Tue Apr 28, 2009 8:07 pm

Well, I love the idea. I've been kicking around ideas for a "Thundarr the Barbarian" type world for quite a while, and I'd love to see some of those themes in our new setting as well.

Magic vs Science: I've never been averse to adding technology to a magic rich game, nor magic to a technology rich game. I think the key factor though, is to keep power levels equivalent. Neither one can be "better" than the other, otherwise the world becomes imbalanced and suspension of disbelief goes out the window. That's not to say that the two things can't fill different roles (because I think they should), but they should each excel in their individual roles.

Historic Examples: This has always been one of the things that has endeared me to the Mystara setting, and I'd love to see it continue.

Wilderness vs Civilization: Not every adventuring area has to be part of Empire X or Empire Y. I've noticed that in doing these kind of things (joint worlds) everyone wants to promote their own "Super powered Empire" which is something I'd like to avoid. Having a few large empires is ok. The same should be said for uncontrolled wilderness areas, and small kingdoms or city states.

Races: I'd like to see a happy balance struck between providing a number of races to players to make the setting enticing to them, and the number that could conceivably live (and evolve) on a planet together. Obviously using the melting pot idea will get around this, but I still think we should decide on the limit of races to include from the start.

Anyway, I'll keep watching this thread, and keep posting ideas as they come to me. So far everything I've read is spot on, and I'm really looking forward to some kind of collaboration with the exceptionally creative people who frequent the Piazza.
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Ashtagon » Tue Apr 28, 2009 8:48 pm

For your contemplation, I offer a fantasy universe I created years ago for a novel that I was writing 9which died when one of my old computers exploded).

The solar system was generally undefined, presumed similar to ours, but details irrelevant as far as I had detailed it. There were four vaguely earth-like planets, all on the same orbit, but 90 degrees apart on their common orbit. Each was defined by a specific theme:

* Technology world - basically, modern-day earth
* Psi-world - a world where mentalism-based powers had replaced technological development, but quite thoroughly. Most people have basic psi powers, and most modern conveniences have been recreated, but with a mentalism-base twist, such that a technology-world person would barely recognise anything.
* Magic world - a world where wizards were extremely powerful but reclusive. Mostly at a medieval level of tech at best.
* Dream world - a more a conceptual world than a physical one - the place where the subconscious goes when you are dreaming. Sleeping minds from the three inhabited worlds could interact here, and a lucid dreamer could create almost anything here, but it would all melt away once he stopped dreaming of it.

There was just one deity in this universe as I had defined it, called Darius. he was essentially godlike in power and scope, but childlike, barely aware that he was able to do anything beyond walk and talk, very inquisitive, but absent-minded and forgetful.

Since the novel this universe was created for is never likely to see completion (most of it is long-since lost now), I've thrown it out here for consideration for our shared universe.
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by galliard » Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:07 pm

I think it's a great idea and you guys should go for it.

The main conflict will be resolving what goes in and what stays out. When I tried to build a fictional universe with two friends of mine, we decided to do it via email. I started throwing out a bunch of ideas that I thought were great. One friend like some of them, but was very lukewarm on others, and then he threw out some ideas that I was lukewarm on. The other participant became very busy with real-life, and didn't comment or help us give the ideas any direction. The project fizzled. So this needs to be considered.

Check out this link:
http://www.20by20room.com/2003/11/lexicon_an_rpg.html
It's called "Lexicon: An RPG," but it's basically a system for collaboratively building the background for a fictional universe. I wish my friends and I had approached our project like this.

Good luck.

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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Idabrius » Tue Apr 28, 2009 10:50 pm

The Lexicon game seems absolutely awesome, and if we don't need it for the campaign, I suggest we get a just for fun version started.
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Chimpman » Tue Apr 28, 2009 11:16 pm

Idabrius wrote:The Lexicon game seems absolutely awesome, and if we don't need it for the campaign, I suggest we get a just for fun version started.
Heh, I agree. This sounds too fun to pass up.
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Belathauzer » Tue Apr 28, 2009 11:57 pm

Insane idea? I'm in!!! :twisted:

I really like the idea Thorf. I distantly recall mentioning something along the same lines sometime last year, but all the responses I heard then were crickets.

I like a lot of the responses so far, and especially like the repeating sentiments of distancing ourselves from WotC and the D&D brand. It's only right since they've already done everything in their power to distance themselves from us. ;) I also like the idea of creating a new rules system to go along with the setting, as well as keeping it neutral.

If you think about it too, Mystara is pretty much a fantasy version of our own Earth in many respects. Specifically the human nations in the Known World as well as most of the human cultures. That said, there's nothing to prevent us from having similar elements in the new fan-setting, provided nothing is blatantly plagiarized (place & people names, setting specific history, etc). The same thing goes for races - elves, dwarves, halflings, etc. are all viable as these are staples of fantasy that predate D&D (though D&D has done a lot to foster the modern view of them).

From a legal perspective though, the best way to go is to write new rules or keep the setting rules-neutral. From a setting fluff point of view, anything that is considered to be based in the real world is fair game (i.e. using historical cultures or events, legends, myths, etc.). As far as publishing it for profit I say make the rules and setting Open content & free; after all it is a collaboration of gamers, for gamers. This will further distance us from WotC and any Hasbro whores. Obviously anyone who is a writer wants to ultimately earn a living from it, but this is a great way for both experienced writers and amateurs to flex their creative muscles. If you want to get paid though, it's probably best to write, copyright, and publish your own material.

We could take examples from other "shared worlds", such as Thieves' World. Any writer contributions that add to the flavor of the world at large become permanent facets of that world and are open content to be expanded upon as the contributors see fit; but we should allow the original writer (or writers) to retain the ultimate copyright to their 'original' work, as well as to continue to receive credit for that which they helped to create (again - no plagiarism).

What's that? You want to host our content on your site? Go for it! You want to share our "free" content on your BitTorrent site? Go for it! The more people that have access to our rules and our game world the better. Anything that helps to tumble that lumbering, blind cyclops of a company that has ruined our favored hobby.

This is completely different from the manner in which WotC operates, which should even further distinguish us from them. If they decide to slap a C&D order on us we can just tell them to go F@#$ themselves. :mrgreen: It's easy to drag another company or single entity to court, but how could they possibly target all of us? Especially if we decide to forego individual credit, but instead take a collaborator credit with or without our real names. With our stuff being hosted on multiple sites & file sharing networks we'd be unstoppable.

Just some more crazy fuel for your insane idea there...
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Big Mac » Tue Apr 28, 2009 11:57 pm

Thorf wrote: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. :)
Just as I think the emblematic elements of Spelljammer should be removed (from any Creative Commons Fantasy RPG Space rules*) I also think that "Immortals" (at least as Mystara uses them) should probably be something you don't touch with a barge pole. Immortals are just too "stereotypical" of Mystara.

* = I know you said you were thinking of a systemless world, but from a space, point of view, you need to talk about things like air, gravity, travel times and that sort of logistical stuff. Those sort of things, and even things like how big the sun is are "rules of nature" and they would change the way that some parts of the game would play.

Having said that, I think it would be great to have "immortality" within the game and make it possible for mortals to become "immortal". I think we could also have the "elves are immortal" thing that many people expect, but do that properly (i.e. don't say: "they are immortal, but eventually get this urge to sail off to another land and live with the elven gods" - if you say that, you might as well kill them and have an elven heaven).

I also think that it might be OK to allow mortals to become godlike beings (which might normally take so long that they need to become immortal before they can gain godlike powers).

One thing I've been wanting to see someone do for a while, was a set of OGL pantheons of gods. But if this project got off the grounds, I'd change that wish to a set of "open content" pantheons of gods. I would like to see someone (or a group) study a specific culture, create a RPG model of their deities, cosmology myths and other important cultural/religious elements and then turn that into something that could be reused by other people.

And I would like to see the material published separately under the Creative Commons licence, the OGL, and any other RPG licence.

By this I mean that people playing with the 3rd edition rules (or other OGL systems like Pathfinder) could have an "Egyptian SRD", a "Polynesian SRD", a "Roman SRD", a "Viking SRD" (or whatever) that took the religious parts of that culture and explained it in Open Game Content terms. But at the same time, people playing with totally different open RPG systems could build an Egyptian, Polynesian, Roman, Viking or whatever version of their game.

Now, if you had those building blocks (and you wouldn't need to build all of them in one go, or even commit to finishing them all yourself) you could then have a "Thorf's World" and decide that the god "Pan" is worshipped on Example Island and people would have something to refer back to to know what you meant when you said Pan.

But - at the same time - if you republished these building blocks as things like a "Chinese SRD", an "Atlantis SRD", an "Arabian SRD" or whatever, you could actually use WotC's own SRD, to create a D&D compatible game (albiet only compatible with 3rd edition) that (like the original SRD that WotC published) can never be "cancelled" because they have been published under a "we can't take this back" licence.

I think you would eventually want to build on these things taken from the public domain parts of our culture (and create some things that only exist in Thorf's World) but the generic things really belong to the world, so I'd love to see a project that systematically creates open source RPG versions of our cultural heritage.

I'm sure that a raw version of this cultural stuff isn't what you would want to put into Thorf's World, but if you want to have one country that is "a bit like a mediaeval European country" and another country that is "a bit like anchent Greece" and a third country that is "a bit like an oriental country" you would probably be doing much of this sort of R&D anyway. You might even be going as far as looking for the layout of a typical African village or a typical Vietnamese temple or the sort of weapons that were common during the Bronze Age. So why not also offer that R&D separately. Something like that could allow people to build other worlds (or other countries on your world) that come up to the same sort of standards as Thorf's World.

As for cosmology, I think that depends on culture. I think that if you look at the sort of culture you might want to import onto your world, you can see if your cosmology should include an "Otherworld" or an "Afterlife" or "Mount Olympus" or whatever. I would say that rather than something like The Great Wheel, where you have a fixed number of outer planes, you could allow new pantheons to "bolt onto the cosmological system" in whatever way is most logical for that culture. So if a culture, like the Aztec culture, says that "the gods live in space" you create a planet full of Aztec gods and if another culture, like the Greek culture, says that "the gods live at the top of a mountain", you create a mountain full of Greek gods. These places could still be on another plane, but the way to get to the Greek "outer plane" could be a portal on a mountain top and the way to get to the Aztec "outer plane" could be to find a portal on an asteroid (or whatever works for that culture).

Planescape (as D&D describes it) wouldn't work, but we could still have dead people (and maybe living people) who live with the gods and find a way to travel from the realm of one god to the realm of another god.

Personally, I would downplay the cosmology, because avoiding having one would allow people to bolt "Thorf's World" onto a D&D campaign world or make it a port of call in a Spelljammer or Planescape game. But if you treat cosmology as a "building block" element, you can make an optional "Fantasy Cosmology" supplement that can be used for "Thorf's World" or any other RPG. You could actually make something that replaces Planescape as the way to connect different worlds. And if you made other planes that had a mythological theme to them, you could probably create "outer planes" that would feel more "normal" to players that have never "got" Planescape*.

* = I think Planescape is fine the way it is, but it does try to be "its own setting", rather than "the place people hang out when they die". If you had something that was more tied to the gods and the afterlife, characters would meet a number of NPCs from their own culture. They would also meet a number of NPCs from their culture's past. When you build an Arabian culture, you could also build the Arabian afterlife. A GM could even maybe run a Ghostwalk-style campaign if they accidentally have a TPK during an adventure and the PCs could go on a quest around the afterlife - an afterlife that works pretty much like a traditional fantasy world - in order to "win" the right to come back to the living world.

(If turned into an OGL version - with rules that work for 3.5 and Pathfinder - this could become a "Cosmological SRD".)

And as for Spelljammer**, as I said before, that can not be used. But I think that a system that creates isolated "planetary systems" that can still connect with each other is a really cool idea. A sphere around a sun is a really logical thing, but that doesn't need to be the same sort of sphere that exists in spelljammer. One way to reboot the connectivity would be to have a "celestial sphere" that had stars on its surface and make each of those stars something like the Stargate in the TV series of the same name. Essentially every star on the surface of a "celestial sphere" could take people to a different "celestial sphere" surrounding a different solar system containing a different homebrew world a different commercial gameworld or even some content that a GM grabs from Dragonstar, Spelljammer, Space 1889 or anything else they want to use.

** = I also think that Spelljammer is fine the way it is, but I think that a fantasy space system that, by default, implied that every star in the sky was a portal to another planetary system, would be hundreds of times more epic in scope. I think the average player could instantly buy into the fact that spacefarers could (in one hop) go to thousands of different planetary systems. I think that the average player could instantly buy into the fact that nobody has managed to find out where the alien monsters that take the place of the beholders or illithids come from.

(If turned into an OGL version - again with rules that work for 3.5 and Pathfinder - this could become a "Fantasy Space SRD".)

Ironically, I think that a set of space rules that was spun off of my teleporting-star concept would probably fit better with what some of the Mystara fans want than the sphere-portal concept of Spelljammer. Because, if you drew a map of the stars and each star was a gateway to another planetary system, it would be possible to say that a type of creature or a race of humans had arrived from Epsion Eridani, because you would literally fly a space-sailing-ship into the centre of Epsilon Eridani to get to where they come from. It would rob the game of "flow encounters", but would still retain all the other SJ control mechanisms (like isolating the gods within individual planetary systems).

The stuff I just said here was all made up on the spot, but if this stuff was actually thrashed out an entire system could be built that doesn't create different power levels between "spacefarers" and "groundlings" (or "planewalkers" and "clueless"). Interaction could actually be built into the system and made to be self regulating. "Groundlings" wouldn't go into space and hang about on asteroids near to the edge of the Celestial Sphere, because you would never know when an alien horde might come popping out of a random star. And "clueless" people wouldn't start planehopping, because when you got to the afterlife, you would sometimes be confronted by a bunch of NPCs that you had killed in earlier adventures (just imagine if they could somehow "steal" a PCs life and use that to get back to the real world).

I think that we could build a new cosmological system and/or a new interstellar system that would seem a bit more "normal" to people who haven't played with anything other than a traditional campaign world before and could be designed specifically with GM expansion in mind (because they say - right from the word go - there is no end to this system).

As you said before, GMs could mix your world and other game worlds (specifically TSR worlds), but I think that we could go far beyond that and create an easy to use (yet still interesting to explore) system that allows a GM to use a Mystara adventure, a Dragonlance adventure, a Thorf's World adventure and then a RuneQuest adventure without actually rebooting those adventures to put them onto a planet they were never originally designed to be run on.

Even if you are not a major fan of Spelljammer or Planescape, you could downplay the flying through space thing and run a plot where the PCs are kidnapped by slavers and then taken to another planet via "the planes" or "star-teleportals" and then need to hop from planet to planet to planet looking for the way back home. It would be a really cool way to skim past SJ or PS concepts (with a bit of handwavium), but still get to crack out dozens of classic D&D campaign settings and other out of print stuff.
Thorf wrote: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.
I'm sure that there are a ton of products out there that would serve as a good model to base a "writer's bible" on. And a lot of science fiction and fantasy TV shows have unofficial books that give an "A-Z of the <insert name of show>".
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
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