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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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Big Mac » Wed Apr 29, 2009 12:13 am

night_druid wrote:
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:
OK, so I did a long post too! :lol:

Hope you like it.

@ Night Druid: BTW: I made up this "new way to do SJ" on the spot, but if you want to use this concept as a springboard to help develop a new fantasy space game let me know. I'm looking to create a "universal system" that never dies* - a set of core rules that nobody can "shut down". Something that is a new type of fantasy space, but can also dovetail with Spelljammer crystal spheres (and Battlefield Press's Crystal Spheres game) and anything else that a GM owns.

* = And it never dies because I get to have the core rules published as a "Celestial Sphere SRD" under the OGL and no rich corporation can buy it and then "bury it when they get bored with it", because their will aways be some random fan who puts a PDF of it up on their website.
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Big Mac » Wed Apr 29, 2009 12:28 am

Thorf wrote: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!
Hmm. You know, one of the weird things about fictional worlds and Intellectual Property is that corporations generally don't want people to write fan fiction about their fantasy (or science fiction) worlds. Yet RPGs, by their very nature - a game that is never complete - demands GMs to create new plots. It demands that GMs and players throw themselves into the world and "believe" in it. I think that rubs off on people and makes (some of) them want to create art, cartoons, short stories and other things that are set in that world that they love.

Most people publishing gameworlds try to create the love and inspiration on the one hand and hold back the tide of IP threatening fan-fiction on the other hand. I think you could actually make the equivalent of WotC's "d20STL" and actually bundle out a pack that allows any fan to publish non-profit short stories and novels.

That sort of thing would still allow you to retain the rights to publish "canon" novels and short stories. And it would still allow you to retain the film rights and other similar things. But it could permanantly invite in fans and encourage a world that everyone feels they own a piece of.
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Big Mac » Wed Apr 29, 2009 12:41 am

ravensmuse wrote:
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.
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:
Don't take Mind Flayer variants as "proof" that you can easily side-step WotC's IP rights. Mind flayers are ripped off from Cthulu and any similar creatures could either be Cthulu rip offs of TSR rip offs.

I don't know the 4e cosmology. I only really know the 2e cosmology (and 3e's twists on it) and I don't think you could copy something like that. Something like The Great Wheel has far too many details for you to get away with filing off the serial numbers. You might be able to "steal" something small (like Sigil or the Gate Towns), but as an integrated whole it is too unlike "other stuff" to look generic.

I think it would be far better to look at 4e for inspiration and then put it to one side and handbuild something "better"*.

* = There is nothing wrong with 4e's cosmology if people enjoy playing it, but when I say "better", I'm saying that you need to invent a "killer concept" that makes people want to put down the Manual of the Planes and crack out your PDF instead.
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Big Mac » Wed Apr 29, 2009 12:43 am

Ashtagon wrote:
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.
Unless you want to encourage other commercial or non-commercial people to publish things that support your work. Then licensing becomes important from the other end.
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Big Mac » Wed Apr 29, 2009 12:53 am

ravensmuse wrote:How about some Indian themes? You don't see many of those in campaign settings. Elephant men, reincarnation, self-discovery, karma..
How about a standalone Creative Commons PDF that presents a comprehensive collection of Indian concepts for the GM? How about donating that work towards Thorf's World, but also republishing that "Indian Stuff" under the OGL and other RPG licences (with bespoke conversions to their native rule systems and names designed to sell Indian themed games to the fans of those communities*)?

* = So for the 3.5e and Pathfinder fans, this would be the "Indian SRD" and would include elephant men as a playable monster race, reincarnation as something to be featured in generation spanning adventures and a karma system that allowed PCs to "earn" karma (as well as XPs) while adventuring.
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Big Mac » Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:18 am

Thorf wrote:
cab wrote: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.
Please do not dump any of the maps you don't like.

The Spelljammer community has got dozens of unfinished planets that TSR "built", but didn't finish. :cry: It is possible that a map that you don't like, could be turned into the map of somewhere random (like the planet Boran in Greatspace or the moon Ora in Krynnspace).

Seriously, if you were a Spelljammer fan - instead of a Mystara fan - you could spend several weeks throwing out random maps and become a rival for Silverblade's spot of "number one Spelljammer fan artist". So if your own project is going to require you to do some of this stuff anyway, you might as well donate some of your cast off planets to some people who will appreciate them a lot more than you might imagine.
Thorf wrote:
cab wrote: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.
Hmm. This is something you might have a bit of trouble getting people to agree on. Some people love tech and others hate it. Some people love to mix clashing cultures and others want to have cultures that are all on an equal footing.

But feel free to start another thread about this stuff.
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Idabrius » Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:22 am

I think it's imperative that we petition Ash about getting a board up and running - or I could turn over the Homebrew board for now. Either way, we need to have a way to section this stuff off and begin discussion.
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Big Mac » Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:53 am

night_druid wrote: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).
I like this idea* and not just because the Spelljammer fan in me wants to create a "homeworld" for every race. I also love it because these different places (that are away from the "default" world) can have different physical (and magical and/or spiritual) laws that can be used to explain why their native creatures are radically different from creatures on the normal world.

* = Apart from calling this "Piazza World" - I think maybe you could have a "Piazza" that had a similar role to Sigil - or something like that - but the world shouldn't be focused on that to the extent that the Forgotten Realms is named after what it isn't.

Take elves (and their immortallity) for example. As one of many non-immortal races, that seems a little odd, but "build" them on a plane, planet or dimension where everything is immortal and elves are just a bog standard humanoid race. You could even sell them as the "alternate humans" from a parallel world (if you wanted to).

Now if you pick up a race of immortal elves and then dump them onto a planet where they are the only (or one of the only) races that is immortal, you give them a new and interesting twist. They take on the curse of having to watch everything around them die. A lot of fantasy sells us elves who are aloof. Well, if you had to watch 3 dozen non-elven friends wither and die, and that just was not normal for you, maybe you would disconnect from the world and pay more attention to things that can live for hundreds of years (like trees).

Moving on, you can spin this further for an elven subrace like the drow. If you take another branch of your immortal elves and have them visit another planet, plane, dimension or whatever, you can have them get transformed by some god/godess, or a disease. Or you could have them land on a planet with a "deathsun" that burns the spirit out of people and turns them evil. If you backtrack that sort of thing to another planet, you can use that to explain how their is not a drow-like subrace for every other race.
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Big Mac » Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:06 am

ravensmuse wrote:I was just saying that maybe we should have a wiki.
I've just realised I mentioned a wiki in the post that Thorf quoted! :oops:
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Idabrius » Wed Apr 29, 2009 3:46 am

Big Mac et al. wrote:Immortal elves and how to deal with them.
For my most ancient and most recent Homebrew (the 8th Age and the 10th Age respectively) I had immortal elves. The reason being, the 8th Age was my first campaign setting long ago in the distant reaches of time, and in that time I had crafted it with influences primarily from three major sources: Tolkien, Glen Cook, and the Baldur's Gate CRPG vision of the Realms (hadn't really known MUCH about the Realms then). I gave them what I thought was an interesting twist that it might be pertinent to share at this juncture.

The elves of Arunë are immortal in age. They can sicken, they can be slain, but they will never die of old age. Upon bodily death, their spirits are immediately whisked away to sit at the foot of their creator Anunë the Wind Lord. However, after around 1,000 years of life on Arunë they begin to loose connection with reality. At some point, the grief of continual loss overcomes them and piles down upon them until they go insane. They may choose to "fade away" and simply die at will, like a cyanide pill. Or, they may choose to linger on in agony as they loose the ability to perceive the long passage of time. Some may fade into specters and spirits, howling with anger and rooted to their homes while others roam the world mad. Most, however, willingly choose death over grief.
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Thorf » Wed Apr 29, 2009 6:11 am

It seems there's a lot of confusion about the whole issue of copyright, so I will sum things up as I understand them so far.

I have proposed that we use a license with three elements: Attribution, Non-Commercial, and Share-Alike.

Attribution means that your work is copyrighted, but that you allow others to copy it as long as they credit you. In fact, everything you ever write is copyrighted by default; this license means that you are forfeiting some of those rights in order to promote sharing and derivative works.

Non-Commercial limits this copying to not-for-profit works. In other words, it prevents people from making money from your works without your permission. While open source is nice in theory, in practice I think most of us would be rather peeved if someone took our hard work and made lots of money out of it.

Share-Alike means that anyone using your stuff (i.e. licensing your stuff - it's the same thing) must use the exact same license for any copies and derivative works that they make. This is really the central point of this world-building project, because it means that the initial designs being released under an Attribution, Non-Commercial, and Share-Alike Creative Commons license force all subsequent submissions based on those designs to also be released under the same licensing terms. This will be made clear in every thread we make, and eventually hopefully in the sub-forum for this project.

To sum up: everyone retains the copyright on their own submissions, licensing them out to the project using the Creative Commons license. This means that anyone can use their own work anywhere they like - it's not exclusive to this project. But where your work intertwines with someone else's, permission would be needed from the relevant participants to use that work elsewhere. If you can get that permission, then it's possible to re-release your work under another license in another project.

If all copyright holders agree, the work can be released under a different license, so it would still be possible (although complicated) to publish at some point in the future.

The Creative Commons license can be revoked, but doing so does not revoke existing licensed copies of your work. What this means is that even if someone decides to quit and revoke the license on their contributions, as long as someone has a copy of the original posts (or on the wiki) they are still covered by the license. So in practice it's not possible for anyone to withdraw all their work from the project.

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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Idabrius » Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:40 pm

Creative Commons is the way to go. I've published some internet literature under it, and found it to be eminently useful AND it upholds the original intent of copyright laws. I fully agree.
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by metal » Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:57 pm

I like your take on elves Idabrius. :)
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Big Mac » Thu Apr 30, 2009 6:35 am

Idabrius wrote:Creative Commons is the way to go. I've published some internet literature under it, and found it to be eminently useful AND it upholds the original intent of copyright laws. I fully agree.
I agree totally with the use of Creative Commons. I am supporting the move of Wikipedia to Creative Commons (if you have made at least 25 edits on Wikipedia, you may wish to surf over there and vote for the move) and will be pushing Wikia to move Spelljammer Wiki to Creative Commons if and when Wikipedia changes its licence.

My earlier comments about parallel publication of (some) stuff under the OGL (and other open game systems) would be to allow people to (legally) publish things that convert stuff I make to specific game systems. I personally wish that the SRD had been published under CC instead of WotC's own OGL, but it wasn't. That kind of means that anyone who wants to make 3rd edition material has one hand tied behind their back by WotC.

So (to help those 3rd edition gamers) at some point, I want to create (or help to create) a project that makes a 'Fantasy Space SRD'* that is compatible with WotC's SRD, but has nothing to do with Spelljammer. I would be very very happy to publish that sort of thing under the CC licence and also publish (a modified** version of) it under any other open gaming licence. In fact I would be delighted to develop it under the CC and then port it over to the OGL later.

* = This would be a basic "barebones" system that could allow anyone - commercial or non-commercial - to join up their own campaign world with other worlds.

** = By modified, I mean altered to ensure it fits in with that RPG system's own core game engine and any legal conditions of that company's licence.

I'm pretty busy with other things, but - if people were interested in space - that is the area that I could probably help this CC project with. Just be warned that I want to (eventually) push anything I make out to the 3rd edition community (and would also like fans of other systems - like OSRIC) to help me do the same thing for retro gamers.

And if anyone ever gets a wiki off of the ground, I would love to find a way that I could make a page of my own content into a template that I can automatically republish inside a page that is covered by the OGL, a second page that is covered by OSRIC, a third page that is covered by the Traveller licence, etc, etc, etc. That would seem to be an easy way for me to automatically roll a system out to several (annoyingly) incompatible licences. (And it would also seem to be the logical way to add on the specific RPG rules without needing to rewrite the "fluff".)
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by cab » Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:27 pm

If no one minds... Shall I kick off another thread to start out bashing out the basics; get a list of races and subraces together, then we can start on some ideas for cultures, and while thats going on it'll be easier to decide on what map we want?

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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Ashtagon » Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:32 pm

Sounds liek a good idea.

Does anyone have any good ideas for a pantheon(s)? Deciding on how the gods are set up seems important to me.
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by night_druid » Thu Apr 30, 2009 3:04 pm

Ashtagon wrote:Sounds liek a good idea.

Does anyone have any good ideas for a pantheon(s)? Deciding on how the gods are set up seems important to me.
Three options.
1) Real world gods. Zues, Thor, etc.
2) Totally new gods
3) Kitchen Sink (aka all of the above)

Not sure which I like; I see benefits & problems with all of 'em. Need to balanace being creative with the gods with not over-populating the pantheon and creating such off-the-wall-names that nobody knows how to pronounce 'em. Need to avoid overly generic gods, too (a big weakness of Dragonstar).
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by ravensmuse » Thu Apr 30, 2009 4:34 pm

I'm good with kitchen sink. We can just throw in as we go.

The important part is to figure out how they relate to each other and each other's mortal worshippers.

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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Ashtagon » Thu Apr 30, 2009 4:54 pm

I'm thinking, if we kitchen-sink it, we could start by taking the real-world pantheons written up in deities and demigods, and do original research to write them up properly. I'm sure more than a little game-reality has crept into the tsr/wotc versions of these pantheons.
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Idabrius » Thu Apr 30, 2009 4:59 pm

I'm thinking that this is going to end up as sort of a fantasy version of Riftworld, so I wonder if we shouldn't start by deciding the properties of this land in which refugees from collapsing/collapsed fantasy settings arrive.

Dunno if that's the direction we want to go in, but if so, it presents an interesting meta-setting concept in which we would have various things imported by various cultures that fled to this Piazzaworld. Real-world gods can have crept in with other cultures that fled there - pseudo-romans, etc.
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by cab » Thu Apr 30, 2009 6:01 pm

Ashtagon wrote:Sounds liek a good idea.

Does anyone have any good ideas for a pantheon(s)? Deciding on how the gods are set up seems important to me.
Perhaps a radical idea...

One god. Worshipped in many different ways by diverse races willing to fight and die over those differences?

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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Thorf » Fri May 01, 2009 2:44 am

Well, it seems there's no keeping a lid on the enthusiasm to get on with this project. :D I get busy for one day and look what happens! :lol:

That said... I want to make sure we have the legal situation in hand right from the start. Anything else could lead us into huge problems later on. The way to do this is to move our discussions to a new sub-forum, with a clear legal notice. And I think we also need to restate the legal notice at the beginning of each thread.

This should do it:
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. By posting in this thread, you are agreeing to release your own words and creations under the same license. Your work remains your own property, but you agree to share it as long as you are credited and it is not used for commercial purposes without your permission.
I don't know if it's enough to edit this notice into existing threads - we might be safer just to start new ones.

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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Chimpman » Fri May 01, 2009 4:26 pm

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. By posting in this thread, you are agreeing to release your own words and creations under the same license. Your work remains your own property, but you agree to share it as long as you are credited and it is not used for commercial purposes without your permission.
Is there a way that we can include this at the subforum level as well so that it encompasses all threads within?
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by Idabrius » Fri May 01, 2009 4:28 pm

If we made a sticky denoting that all content of this forum was Creative Commons, that should work I believe. Though I am by no means a lawyer and I could be grievously mistaken.
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Re: An Insane Idea

Post by OldDawg » Sat May 02, 2009 3:34 am

Hey everyone,

I wanted to offer a wish of good luck on the endeavor here. Three things that may be a good idea - in regards to potential commercial publication issues - are:

1) a rule that within the forum there is a ban on mention of particular extant or defunct game systems, worlds, etc. even as a means of comparison. Let your world be as formally de novo as possible.

2) maintain a thread where forum contributors are required to maintain a log of their contributions across the forum. That way if anyone ever proceeds with a commercial effort, they will know who precisely has the claim to "the serpent-men of planet x" or the "combat success" mechanic.

3) Formalize who has the authority [e.g. Thorf] to designate what contributions are to be held as root-canonical.

Best of luck,

OD
Moderator for Greyhawk and GazF forums. My moderator voice is cyan.

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