Role-Playing Games, Novels and World-Building

Posted on January 15th, 2006 @ 21:13
Filed Under Planning, World building, Writing | 7 Comments

This week-end, I went back to sweet hometown and met with friends I hadn’t seen in a few years. Knowing who we are and what our common background is, there was no doubt that it would end with a tabletop RPG session, and no surprise here, it happened. One of my friends had in fact built his own little world, complete with maps and background history, which is the universe we played in. It reminded me of a comment left on this blog some time ago, about handing out my characters to players, placing them in specific situations, and seeing how it goes.

I considered doing that with the world I created, but not with characters–just with the world. Freed from the pressure of having to conform to a role dictated by the Storyteller (a.k.a. myself), the players’ actions could turn into good ideas to use in the story (which they would be notified about, of course), into ideas to use in side-stories, for my practicing pleasure, or, all that simply, into excellent gaming moments. After all, this is what we’re looking for in roleplaying first and foremost. The rest is only bonus.

For the moment, this remains a possible project. I must admit that it would be fun to craft a few world-building sheets, ask a handful of friends to create characters for this world, and write a basic scenario for everyone to have fun with. The only important problem is that it would detract me from writing the actual story, or from planning it, as it stands, hence my hesitations. On the other hand, everything is so detailed in my mind that I wouldn’t need that much time to tell them about the world–and it may also help me see if there are any inconsistencies in it.

Would this be a positive project, or just another way of procrastinating? Good question. For me, it sounds like both. It also sounds like it can be much fun. I need to think about it some more.

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7 Responses to “Role-Playing Games, Novels and World-Building”

  1. fredcq on January 17th, 2006 2:17 pm

    I have a little bit of experience in RPG games (20 years). In the past, I have handed out characters for people to play to some degree of success. I would do this basically to challenge the players who were same core people for the 20 years that I had been dungeon mastering. If you have players that are really good and into the game, you should have no problem handing your own characters out to play.As far as procrastination goes, I actually quit playing RPG’s to write. RPGs are such a great creative outlet that all of my ideas and creativity were going into the game. I would spend enough time on the creating the game world that I had very little time or drive to write. When I stopped playing, I was able to channel all of my creative energy into writing.

  2. Yzabel on January 17th, 2006 9:32 pm

    That would be one of my concerns–to throw my creativity into the game instead of the writing. On the other hand, with our former groups scattered over 4 town and 500 kms, and our RP sessions being reduced to once per month at the best (if Mars is in Sagittarius, and the Moon, Earth and Saturn are in perfect alignment), I suppose that the risk is quite minimized… ;)

  3. Fredcq on January 18th, 2006 12:25 am

    I would love to play. Can I play with remotely via webcam or something ;) Seriously, I do miss playing sometimes. My best friend and his family actually may be moving close to me and my family so the potential for Role-Playing is pretty high. If that does happen, I will probably let someone else DM. If it even remotely began to slow down my writing, I would stop immediately.

  4. Yzabel on January 19th, 2006 3:08 pm

    Same problem — being a player doesn’t hinder me that much, since it’s only one evening here and there, but DMing, now that was another problem, depending on the games and the moments.And who knows, perhaps I could make it an online game, haha.

  5. fredcq on January 19th, 2006 4:30 pm

    I do miss playing but I am kind of unwilling to commit to anything. I actually ran an online game once at a place called Rondaks Portal. It was a hosting site for online games. It was actually kind of fun. Its what got me started on writing actually because the games are like a forum. I post what is going on and the players respond to each others posts. All of the dice rolls were done by me offline. It was very laid back.

  6. fredcq on January 19th, 2006 6:33 pm
  7. Yzabel on January 19th, 2006 9:57 pm

    I used to DM through forum–interesting, but for better or worse, things were moving fast, and at some point I nearly had to prepare 6+ posts twice a day, which was a lot. I guess this takes even more time than planning and preparing RL sessions once or twice a month.Thanks for the link, too, I’m going to have a look at this site :)

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