View Full Version : [CWBP2] CWBP 2 : Determining the genre and era

11-20-2013, 09:41 PM
Vote: you can choose as many options as you like. Genre and magic will be counted separately.


Fantasy: magic is common and generally accepted

-Dark fantasy (not horror) close to horror but different,. Horror emphasis on fear while dark fantasy emphasis on despair (The Brothers Grimm, Van Helsing or the Witcher)
-Fairytale or light fantasy: not as tragic as the dark fantasy but no need to be funny (Shrek, the discworld)
-High fantasy/heroic : in another world with an epic character or story (Lord of the ring)
-Low fantasy : often in real world is generally humoristic or horrific (Conan the barbarian ?)

Science fiction: technology or social engineering is the central element

-Post (apocalyptic) : after the destruction of civilization (Fallout 3, 28 Days Later, the last of us)
-Cyberpunk: emphasis on artificial intelligence and cybernetics or transhumanism (Deus ex, Brave new world, Shadowrun)
-Hard (obey to a complex system and/or based on real technology knowledge ( Isaac Asimov)
-Soft (fringe science) an approximate conception of science
-Steampunk: emphasis on steam-powered devices with anachronisms and future technologies incorporated into the Victorian era (Final fantasy 9, Eberron, Jules Verne, H. G. Wells)

Science fantasy: mix of science fiction and fantasy (most of the Final fantasy games)

Fantastique: magic is uncommum and the unknown generate fear so it's similar to horror but not always( H.P. Lovecraft, Guy de Maupassant,Edgar Allan Poe)


Alternate reality or alternate history if itís on Earth: no magic, same physic but with a different political/cultural background (Batman)

* Keep in mind that this list is non-exhaustive and of course it's also possible to mix the genres


Gurps and Traveller have already made a classification :
Tech Level Comparison Chart - Traveller (http://wiki.travellerrpg.com/Tech_Level_Comparison_Chart)

Traveller: Technology level - Traveller (http://wiki.travellerrpg.com/Technology_level)
Gurps: Tech Level - GURPS Wiki (http://gurps.wikia.com/wiki/Tech_Level)

*ItĎs also possible to mix eras and have anachronisms just like most of the Final Fantasy games

Magic ?

No magic: real life
Low magic: it is rare, only a few know how it work (Game of thrones, Star Wars, mutants?)
Common magic: you can go to Waterdeep to buy magical goods (Forgotten realms, Harry Potter)
Even more magic: other planes of existence (dungeon and dragon: Sigil), the whole society is based on magic and without it, it is doomed.

So, what is your favorite setting ?

11-20-2013, 10:23 PM
My favourite is High Fantasy, with Science-Fantasy as a close second. :)

11-21-2013, 06:04 AM
Mid Fantasy, era 1600 Earth (plate armour, really basic gunnes, horse calvary, castles)
Low to Common Magic
with Steampunk/sci-fi elements al la 1800 earth (Trains, ships and airships pretty much)
Possible post apocalypse with reversing technology (could explain the steampunk/sci-fi stuff still being around)

11-26-2013, 01:06 AM
I like steampunk and fantasy and I think it could be interesting to mix them in a middle age/renaissance setting, but fantasy would be great too. One thing we need is something to make the world feel unique.

Anyone else ?

12-03-2013, 05:37 PM
In terms of cooperative world building, I am fond of renaissance fantasy settings (like my own :P ) and alternate reality settings like one I used to participate in. Just my own personal opinion.

12-09-2013, 02:27 PM
I prefer the level of technology to be set either very low (definitely pre-gunpowder/steam era) OR high-tech futuristic to the point where it begins to look borderline fantastic. There's also the option of going for WEIRD technology, with things working in wildly different ways from reality.

12-09-2013, 04:25 PM
Ok so what I'm getting so far is generally more high fantasy and pre-gunpowder technology set in a medieval to renaissance era. I'd be happy to go with that. When I think of that I think along the lines of AD&D, or Jack Vance or Conan (if it was wholly in the dark ages for Conan though) sort of worlds. What level of magic does that imply? I tend to think of big magic thats essence is inaccessible to the general/uninitiated/trained population but wholly available for the right kind of cash. And also natural magic for many limited populations of people, creatures or beings.

Any ideas towards Azelor's worthwhile suggestion for something unique to set the world apart?

12-09-2013, 05:12 PM
Gunpowder was used before the beginning of the Renaissance. As for the magic, I would prefer an easy access for some that know how to use it. And also accessible for the others via items or by paying a mage.

By natural magic I suppose you mean those spell-like abilities, like the firebreath of the dragon ?

12-09-2013, 08:19 PM
Yes, gunpowder was used pretty early, but doesn't need to be included in a fantasy Renaissance era, which is why it should be dealt with separately.

Yeah thats what I meant with all the magic, just not as well expressed. Natural magic would also include humans with innate magical gifts as well. And faeries and the like.

12-10-2013, 04:58 PM
Any ideas towards Azelor's worthwhile suggestion for something unique to set the world apart?

If we end up going for fantasy instead of sci fi, we could make it a world where instead of magnetic poles, compass needles will point toward mystical locations -- stonehenge-esque megalith structures of unknown origin, holy mountains, eternally swirling whirlpools in the world's oceans, places where deities fell to the ground, gates that lead to other dimensions, etc. That could affect cartography, as it might not make as much sense to refer to longitudes and latitudes when defining a geographic location.

12-10-2013, 05:09 PM
After thinking about this, it might be better to left gunpowder out of the setting because of the impact it would have on warfare and the society. Or maybe just keep this one ? :) http://pcmedia.ign.com/pc/image/article/737/737316/medieval-ii-total-war-20061004054621466-000.jpg


Ghostman: Not a bad idea and I suppose people would also greatly rely on the stars and constellations map to travel.

12-10-2013, 09:05 PM
I am a serious fan of Ghostmans proposal.

12-17-2013, 03:48 PM
I'm mostly in line with previous posts:
low-mid fantasy
low-mid magic. preferably low. the more powerful, the less common.
no guns. "gunpowder", "greek fire" or other techno-chemical advances are ok if limited to experimental/highly dangerous cases.

I definitely think there is a need to make this world unique, rather than going with a generic blank slate. Yes, we need to leave plenty of room to develop individual ideas. But adding 2 or 3 really distinctive traits (such as Ghostman's mystical compass idea) or themes would enhance, rather than detract from creativity, while encouraging collaboration.

I've been working on a project to create a "realistic" world from literally scratch, based on current astro-physics, planetary science, etc. So my uniqueness suggestion is to make the "heavens" something very non-Earthlike. Perhaps the world is actually a tidally locked moon of a gas giant? Or is part of a binary system that causes dramatic shifts in weather/magical/aurora activity when the secondary star is nearby?

12-17-2013, 06:48 PM
I like the idea of a binary star system and that Idea first came to me when reading A song of fire and ice by Georges R.R. Matrin where the explanation remains a mystery. A binary star system could do something similar.

The movement of the planet would be similar to Earth's but seasons would not always be the same because of the second star. Some summers would be hotter than other and some winters colder but everything remains relatively predictable. It depends on how the two stars are aligned. When the 2 stars and the planet are in line, it means that a new cycle begins and ideally it would last for a couple of years.

I'm just not sure how to make this idea interesting and plausible. I also fear it might look too sci-fi.

And about using Greek fire and primitive flamethrower, it's always dangerous. Even if it was powerful, I don't think it was much used, but I don't know why. It gives an advantage to those that have it but just like magic, its not that common.

12-18-2013, 06:18 AM
Tidal locking (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tidal_locking) for those of us who have to look it up :) How would such a construction affect the ocean tides? and also how would it affect the day night scale?

I can't claim to have any idea what a binary star system would do to a planet either, but it could be interesting to explore. I'm more interested in the tidal locking thing though. Both of these things open up the possibility of some enterprising soul to do a system map though so that's is kind of cool.

With the gunpowder/greek fire thing I think we are getting a bit too involved in the detail as this is unlikely to have significant effect on the maps whatever or not we go overboard. Besides the overboard things like a sea of fire (would be cool in any case in my opinion). There isn't so much to worry about. (guns though do have significant impact on maps)

Don't worry about sci-fi cross over Azelor. I'm telling you, everyone should read some of Jack Vance's Dying World stuff, it just has an absolutely inspiring texture and atmosphere to it. And it is pure fantasy but has such an underpinning of sci-fiedness to it you'll see that they fit together pretty seamlessly. In addition it has all sorts of wizards escaping to far off worlds, which when you consider the ideas brought up above could open up more mapping possibilities. Perhaps even allowing people freedom to make maps if they feel the constraints of the co-op world too heavy.

12-18-2013, 11:17 AM
Tidal locking (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tidal_locking) for those of us who have to look it up :) How would such a construction affect the ocean tides? and also how would it affect the day night scale?
Since tides are caused by the shifting affect of gravity between two objects, and the world doesn't move relative to the planet, I don't think there would be (oceanic) tides. I'm no astro-physicist though, so I could be totally wrong. HOWEVER, tidal heating would be a MAJOR impact. One would expect significantly greater geo-thermal energy availability as a result of the tidal acceleration, leading to a) a "bulge" in the world that makes it an ellipsoid rather than a sphere (Earth is actually slightly ellipsoidal); b) the potential for lots of volcanos, geysers, etc.; and c) generally a warmer world than would be expected if it were just orbiting the star normally at the distance of the planet.

Other differences would include:
- Frequent radiation storms from the gas giant. Since it isn't a barren rock, the world must have a strong electro-magnetic (or in this case magical?!) field protecting it from this radiation. The practical affect is that aurora would be spectacular.
- One side of the world would always face the parent planet. The other side would never see it. (imagine the cultural differences that might create)
- A "day" would be equal to the time it takes the world to orbit the planet. That would typically mean a day longer than 24 hours, but we could fudge the number, particularly if magic is involved.
- Depending on orbital alignments, the side that faces the planet might get frequent eclipses. This might influence climate. It would certainly get additional light some of the time, due to the light from the star reflecting off of the gas giant.

If you want some crazy details, have a look at these papers:

If there's more interest in the binary system model, I can lay out the (mostly much less severe) possible impacts of that as well...

With the gunpowder/greek fire thing I think we are getting a bit too involved in the detail as this is unlikely to have significant effect on the maps whatever or not we go overboard. Besides the overboard things like a sea of fire (would be cool in any case in my opinion). There isn't so much to worry about. (guns though do have significant impact on maps)
Those were just examples of the "tech level" limitations that I think are critical to defining the limiting parameters of the world. Reasonable limits on certain realms, including weapons, but also transport types, energy sources, magical power sources (and anything else that would completely change the world by its presence) help keep the world in balance. But you're right. Unless it has global geo-political/cultural ramifications, it can undoubtedly wait until later to determine/resolve.

12-18-2013, 01:36 PM
I took a look at Ganymede and Titan, the two biggest satellites in our system to get an idea. They take about 7 to 16 days to orbit while the Moon takes 28 days. They are all tide locked. That mean that if your are on the tide locked side, you have nearly half of that time without light. This would make for big temperature variations and a huge impact of climate. It's possible to have a smaller orbit but then the tidal distortion is more intense.

So you need a gas giant or a solid planet heavier than the moon. In does not need to be very huge in fact. If you look at Pluto, the difference is rather small. And the planet could also be habitable but would be different from our earth for things like gravity and atmosphere. It is also possible that the planet could be tide locked with the satellite too, so both would end up tide locked. With two celestial bodies with a similar mass, it would greatly reduce the nasty distortion.

I'm not too sure about the amount of energy this would create but I don't think it would heat the surface much as it appears here in the article: ''However, the geophysical and atmospheric properties of extremely tidally-heated bodies are unknown, making habit ability assessments challenging. With Ioís surface tidal heating of about 2W/m2 in mind, which leads to rapid reshaping of the moonís surface and global volcanism, we thus focus on moons in the IHZ for the time being. '' so the closer you are, the more energy is generated but it also cause massive distortion. And if you bring it a little closer, you wreck the satellite apart. But not too far either because the satellite could move out of the planetís attraction.

Furthermore, the planet needs to be located in the habitable zone and correct me if Iím wrong but gas giant usually form far from the star. So I think a giant planet (or simply a bigger earth) would be a better idea.

This being said, I'm also interested at binary stars. I know how to make it stable gravitationally but I have not explored the impact it would have on climate yet.

12-18-2013, 02:41 PM
I took a look at Ganymede and Titan, the two biggest satellites in our system to get an idea. They take about 7 to 16 days to orbit while the Moon takes 28 days. They are all tide locked. That mean that if your are on the tide locked side, you have nearly half of that time without light.
That can't be correct. The time without light would last only for as long as the moon remains in the shadow of it's mother planet. That certainly does NOT mean anywhere near half the period of it's orbit. The span of time depends on the moon's distance to the planet, as well as the diameter of the planet.

EDIT: Ok, now I see what you meant - the time the side facing the planet is facing away from the star. This actually applies to every location on the moon (save it's poles) equally, not just the tide locked side. That said, my second point (below) may still complicate things, depending on the angle...

What's more, you appear to be assuming that the plane of the moon's orbit around the planet is the same as the plane of the planet's orbit around the star. If these planes are tilted relative each other at a significant angle, the moon won't actually enter the planet's shadow at all for much of the year.

12-18-2013, 06:40 PM
Happy to address some of these great questions, but I definitely agree that if you're following the known rules (however limited those are today) of planetary formation theory as it relates to habitability, gas giant moons make for interesting candidates for life, but probably wouldn't produce the kind of planet (earth-like) we're looking for. I still think another interesting quirk of the solar system that adds flavor would be nice though.

On a completely different tangent, how about making the atmosphere denser? Not so much to cause havoc with normal medieval life, but enough to make human engineered flight easier and evolutionary flight more common and with larger flyers. Plenty of interesting things can come of that...

12-19-2013, 12:33 PM
Yes, I considered that the moon was orbiting along an untilted planet equator because it ws simplier to start off. You could also have an orbit that follows the meridiens, with one pole always facing the star but the other side would never recieve light.
And I was talking about the tidal locked side but the opposite is true the the other side as well, just like you said.

Whit an inclined orbit, the moon might never be caught in the shadow of the planet if it's far enough. But this also mean that one hemisphere of the moon would receive a lot more sunlight than the other.

12-19-2013, 01:54 PM
I'm still confused how life would be without tides. Do moons have moons sometimes? I though I saw somewhere that that is a possibility, or I could be making it up... Is it possible to have such a moon that is not tidally locked? Or does the physics always eventually stabilize it that way?

12-19-2013, 03:13 PM
In generally, I don't think the physics allow a moon to have a moon. The gravity of the planet would almost certainly win out in a tug of war.

Digging a bit more, my point about a tidally locked moon not having regular (oceanic) tides wasn't correct. Only if the orbit is circular will there be no tides. Any moon, tidally locked or not, that has an elliptical orbit would experience tides due to the difference in gravitational pull at different distances from the planet.

Of all the peculiarities of tidally locked moons, I believe the one that presents the most difficulty with respect to it being a "normal" (earth-like) planet, is the length of day. Assuming the moon orbits along a different plane than the planetary orbit around the sun (a very reasonable assumption/possibility), then you don't have to worry about it being "in the dark" any more than is thematically interesting. But you DO have to deal with the fact that the day/night cycle is likely to take between 2 and 20+ earth days.

Now if you're allowing magic, particularly planetary magic of the type previously proposed to replace/enhance the magnetosphere, then there's no reason you couldn't hand wave the physics in this one case and declare that the planet orbits quite close to the planet and only has say... a 28 hour day. Happy/interesting side effect: the planet would be frickin' HUGE in the nighttime (and probably daytime!) sky...

12-19-2013, 03:41 PM
Since this is complex (and I have a few extra minutes), I'll summarize how the experience of living on a tidally locked moon would differ from life on a comparable independent planet:
1. For half the planet, there's a big ol' planet in your night sky! And possibly your daytime sky too... The other half of the planet would have no idea about the planet until they sailed/walked to the planet side (or got visitors).
2. Because of the reflected radiation from the planet, plant growth rates (assuming photosynthesis) on the planet side would probably be greater than the outward side. This would make a strong case for strongly different evolutionary paths not just for plants, but for the animals that consume them all the way up to sentients.
3. There will be a lot more volcanoes, geysers, deep sea vents, and other geothermal activity. Because geothermal energy represents a higher proportion of the total energy available to the world, it is more likely to be harnessed by lifeforms of all sorts, from bacteria to advanced civilizations.
4. Because of #3, you're probably a bit further out in the star's habitability zone than a comparably temperate independent planet would be, meaning the cultural relationship between the star and the planet might shift toward the planet.
5. Aurora are frequent and spectacular.
6. Depending on the orbit, there would be at least significantly longer and more frequent eclipses.

So yeah, I guess my take is that if we can resolve the day length problem, this could be great. The opportunities to leverage these differences to build unique and interesting geographies, ecologies, and cultures are many, but the baseline normality of the world is maintained.

12-19-2013, 03:42 PM
about moons :

Yes it's possible for a moon to have its own moon but it means that the main moon should be far from the planet and her other moons. The secondary moon would have to be much smaller and orbit very close. Otherwise, the planet will simply garb it. If Ganymede was not tide locked and orbited much farther from Jupiter, she could have a small moon. In fact Jupiter's moons are so close to each other that there is an attraction effect between them. But their orbits are stable for some reason.

Hey, a day on Titan would last for 383 hours, so no more: I don't have enough of 24 hours in a day to do all my stuff! Now you have 383!

If it's a problem, the day length could be shorter if the moon was not tide locked as the planet has her own rotation. In fact, I think this is another problem: having no rotation. You see, according to the climate cookbook, if a planet spins faster you have more prevailing winds. But what happens if the planet does not spin at all?

12-19-2013, 03:58 PM
A tidally locked moon still rotates, it just rotates in resonance with it's orbit around the planet. So as long as the day isn't really long (10+ days), you should still get a 3 cell atmospheric structure. At least in theory.

The other major atmospheric drivers are the temperature differential between the night/dark sides and between the equator/poles. Those would still apply as well.

That said, I'm sure it's more complicated than that. This is definitely something I'll try to look into further...

12-19-2013, 04:16 PM
A while ago, I bought a physic simulation software called Universe sandbox on steam. And apparently the rotation of the Moon around the Earth could be as short as 10 hours or so. She is at 23 600 km from Earth. Normally it's around 400 000 km.

The Earth can orbit Jupiter in 24 hours but would be tide locked for sure. Now there is something I don't understand with the simulator. For the Earth to make one revolution around Jupiter in 24 hours, she need to be at
290 000 km but 40 000 km for the moon to orbit around the Earth in 24 hours. That is a big difference.

12-21-2013, 10:36 AM
IMHO, just aswe have not mastered Dark Matter and Energy, the Magic Element could have some influence on keeping a moon orbiting a moon depending on the concentrations of elements in each of the 3 bodies.

This can also be used to "hand wave" numerous other questions and aberrations.

The effects of geothermal energy and solar storms on plant growth, social developments, and warfare questions don't need to be quantified to a rigid scale since it was vastly different in our world and wasn't heald to a rigid scale; the rainforests should've done more?

IMHO that is. Thank you.

12-21-2013, 11:10 PM
software question: FT3..the two displays, climate and altitude show in solid bandsof color...is there a script or alteration that will alter altitude to display in thin lines over the bands of climate colors?

thank you

12-31-2013, 02:05 PM
To recap, here's my view on the setting so far

mid fantasy:

Different races (human, elf, dwarf, orcs, goblin ...) . I think better to keep exotic races apart Example for Dungeon and dragon races: no asimar, genasi or tiefeling... Itís not really a cosmopolitan world where you can find mostly all existing races living peacefully in the same place. The number of races is rather limited and racism exists. Most nations tend to form around 1 race mostly. Minorities exist but multiracial states are rare.

Presence of monsters and creatures: dragon, troll, griffon, ent... but they are not a part of civilized nations. I mean, you don't have an army that uses dragon as they mount for example. Monsters are known to roam the world, but there is a sense of danger and mystery about them.

About planes of existence (again I'm using dnd terms so Iím sorry I you haven't played it) others planes exist but most of the stuff happens in this world. Links with other worlds are rare and usually don't have much impact on the world.

Mid magic:

Not everyone can do magic, only a relatively small portion can. Some are born with this special talent while others have to study years just to master some basic spells but with enough work and practice they can achieve wonders. Middle class people can generally have access to some magic to do simple things or repetitive tasks but most people cannot even afford such things.

Magic in the world affect it in some minor way but is influence should be limited.

Magical creature and items exist but as said before, mortals usually can't tame them. Magical items and services can be bought in a city large enough for those who can afford it. Mages can live a wealthy life by selling their services.

Views about magic vary according to the local customs. Some people may be friendlier to magical users than other. Some may even perceive magic as an incarnation of the devil or something evil.

Things like resurrection are either impossible or really uncommon and usually cause some trauma. It's is not considered a normal practice, some state may even ban the practice.

People usually travel normally like they would have done in the Middle Ages. Some rich trading companies might have mages or device to help them but the cost is often prohibitive. Teleportation should not be something common.

Technology: Here, I see two choices: (or it could be another era too)

High middle Ages:
High Middle Ages - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Middle_Ages)

Late middle ages:
Late Middle Ages - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Late_Middle_Ages)
It could be a late middle age without the diseases.

If I just look at the technology, I think I prefer the high middle age. But since itís a fiction world, technology could be different. Some countries will be more advanced than others and some countries might posses technologies that did not exists at that time. Europeans could already posses the Chinese and Arabian technologies.

About the world: (mostly astrophysics)

I think itís better to keep that part simple to avoid confusion. Yes it might be cool but think about how confusing it would be to role-play in such a world. Seasons and day length are different... So I think we could have something different as long as it does not affect the world too much. Having two moons with a very small and faint one or a binary star system with a second star orbiting at billions of kilometres of the planet... would have a visual impact but thatís pretty much all. The star is far enough so it does not heat the planet but it could be seen as a really brilliant object in the sky, even during the day maybe.

01-07-2014, 11:23 AM
If there's nothing different about this world, what's the hook? If the project is just to divvy up a map and come up with a sub-map and cultural/historical write-up for a mid-tech/mid-magic realm within it that may or may not relate to its neighbors, that doesn't seem very cooperative to me. It seems like folks are hoping to set up generic sandbox that allows dozens of people to contribute their own puzzle piece. Based my reading about the last project and the numbers/level of interest in the current project, I don't know if that's the best approach. Maybe I'm just looking for something different than others are though.

01-10-2014, 09:53 PM
The thing is : difference is great as long as it's not too much. Just enough so it feels unique, too much and it confuses everyone. But the last post was just some incomplete summary.

I agree modernhamlet, the project is not about assembling a puzzle.

01-24-2014, 01:42 AM
Agreed that we're not trying to put together a puzzle, we need some kind of unifying, homogenous idea, but I also fully understand modernhamlet's concern. As of right now, it looks like we're just aiming for "generic"? While that can be easy, shouldn't we be aiming for a challenge? Something unique and interesting?

This is entirely plausible while still remaining within the realm of the mid-fantasy genre. But wouldn't it be more interesting to introduce your friends/rpg players to something that they haven't seen yet? Even in the context of something comfortable and familiar?

I took a couple writing prompts from a website, and I came up with a few ideas. Mull them over.
Prompt --- My idea.

The outsiders --- perhaps this world is being visited by people or creatures from a strange land, a strange planet, a strange universe all together, maybe a strange dimension. How would a mid-fantasy realm react, and what would the repercussions be, to an incursion from something severely outside it's own "norm". What if it were visited by a space-faring race that had lost its own homeworld. How does technology collide with fantasy and magic?
What if they are being visited by beings that once lived on the moon, or if we are working on the moon, then beings from the planet? Even through a magical portal or some dimensional rift, what does the effect of one fantasy world have on the other if two otherwise independent fantasy realms suddenly converged? Or maybe two dimensions have merged into one, and only people with magical talent are able to see the beings from the other dimension, and vice-versa. What happens to a world where a small portion of the population can "see things" that nobody else can, and the majority of people from both dimensions are plagued by the actions and unexplainable terrors of the pull their actions unknowingly have on the other dimension. Does a fire in a firepit in one dimension start a housefire in the other? Is a man standing on a bridge in one dimension seen floating in the sky in the other?

I was here once. --- What if resurrection is a very real part of the life cycle in this world? How does that play out? What are the physical requirements for that to occur and what are the sociological and geopolitical repercussions of that fact? What about the religious effect on geopolitics? Most importantly, how could you prevent it, and what affect on the world would that have?

The guilt that haunts me. --- What if every major deed, good or bad, physically brought a demon of some kind into the world? Every life saved or taken had a physical manifestation brought into being somewhere. Free to interact with the world and help or prey on its targets and form coteries of spirits. How does this world stop them? How does this world still exist? It seems like a problem like this would nearly instantly create an interminable tide of darkness if not for some sort of balance between the good and evil in man. But what about the other races, what if their morality is not so ambiguous, and the invasion of dark spirits is something they aim to attain? And what role do the good spirits play, how do they work to protect the world? What of any religious/political ideas surrounding this problem?

There are ways to do a mid-fantasy world that still allows for a significant amount of "new" and creative ideas that affect both the story and writing side of the world as well as its physical and political manifestations.


01-24-2014, 03:34 AM
Omg, I don't know, but you certainly convinced me we should go balls to the wall with this. Both "the Outsiders" and the "Guilt that haunts me" ideas I found appealing.

With the outsiders I think its worth while considering how technology is analogous to magic. I'd like them to be somewhat balanced with each other though somehow. Perhaps it's technology the spacefarers no longer really fully understand. Perhaps that is what lead them to loose their place and come seeking shelter on this world?

I like the "Guilt that haunts" me idea just as baldfaced as it is, but another option is it could also be a mechanism to include or to interface one of the Outsiders idea into the world. Such as deed opening and closing the rift that is intersecting the two worlds.

01-24-2014, 03:03 PM
Not that anyone cares what I have to say since I just joined, but I'll cast my vote for some kind of steam punk or alternate history.

01-24-2014, 04:25 PM
Not that anyone cares what I have to say since I just joined, but I'll cast my vote for some kind of steam punk or alternate history.

It doesn't matter when you joined. If you can present good fresh ideas or back your opinions with good arguments then people here will care about it, even if they don't agree. You shouldn't refrain from participating just because you're a new member to this forum.

01-24-2014, 04:35 PM
I like the "Ghost that haunts me" idea above, but wouldn't that be reaaaaaally technical for a group project? I mean the *decision-making* on how that works could take years...

01-24-2014, 05:53 PM
I fully expect that everybody will bring something of their own perspective to this project no matter what direction it goes in. This, being the kind of collaborative work that it is, is going to run into decision making issues one way or another simply because it's asking for collective buy-in to a single idea, and that's generally pretty difficult to achieve no matter what the task is.

It is certainly possible to go with a number of options.
1 - Go generic, keep many people decently happy by playing to the normalcy of the setting, but you might disappoint people looking for something more unique and new.
2 - Pick a setting, have a vote, risk alienating a few people in favor of the popular opinion.
3 - Attempt some form of compromise. Pick a setting through popular vote, then deliberately apply a "reasonable and conceivable degree of ambiguity", and let everybody run with it. This method could help focus the project in one direction, without applying too strictly limiting factors on individual creativity.

For example...
A theme like "The Guilt That Haunts Me" actually plays in a positive way to that inherent problem of decision making by introducing a simple, core component. "This is a mid-fantasy setting in which moral and immoral actions have a tangible effect on the social and physical aspects of this fictional world through the manipulation of otherworldly beings." Boom, there's your unbreakable rule. The setting for each contributor has to stay in those basic guidelines, but the rest of the creative process can be left up to them. Much in the same way natural phenomena in the real world was described in different ways by different cultures prior to science deciding to show up and prove that Neptune does not in fact rule the waves and there are no sea dragons causing earthquakes because you didn't sacrifice fifteen sheep on the appropriate day in the appropriate way, etc.

One person may say it's caused by the way a soul's aura interacts with a naturally occurring catalyst prevalent in their region - we'll say, for the sake of argument, magically attuned crystal formations, and the spirits are selfishly growing on the power of soul's magical interaction with the crystals, somehow syphoning off their power.
Someone else may say "nope" to the crystals and decide people have a psychic link to an otherworldly dimension that pulls hungry spirits through to our world when a sufficiently enticing action makes them aware of the psychic link.
And yet another person may decide to go a strictly religious route and define the phenomena in a pure battle of good vs evil manner where our every moral decision increases the power of the beings on either side of that struggle.

That sort of avoids the whole "puzzle" issue. You have a unifying world phenomena, but with a totally reasonable degree of ambiguity that is very easy to play off as the differing explanations of various cultural perceptions that ultimately lets people still be highly creative without breaking the basic premise.

Then again, maybe nobody wants to do any of this, maybe everybody was happy with generic? lol.
I'm just one voice. ;)

01-24-2014, 06:23 PM
No, no, I get that...

I guess, probably because I just went through this whole long thing about populations, I was really thinking about what the addition of a life form that comes into being based on the social/moral obligations of another life form would have on the population AND on the geography.

You'd then need people to agree (or get a majority to agree, because it's a cooperative project) on all the little things an individual mapper could simply decide for themselves.


1) do the ghosts/demons/spirits have physical bodies?

If so:

1a) do they use resources? Build homes? have their own villages/dens/whatever? Those would need to be mapped, yes?
1b) Do they eat? Drink? Regular food? You'd need more farms in the areas where they congregate, regardless of who is mapping that area

If not:

1c) Can other people see your demon, or only you? If you alone, would anyone really talk about it enough to create theories on the concept, in a medieval time period? People tended to push things like that into the water closet...? If other people could see them, they must be made of something? Does that chemical or substance affect the air? The atmosphere? Those changes could affect temperature, growth of plant life, anything!

1d) If they have a physical presence (or if other people could see them, cause who wants to walk through an evil spirit?) how would that affect the amount of *space* available/needed per capita for your cities/towns?

1e) If it DOES affect your population, people would obvs try to stop committing any major deeds "good or bad" to control it, yes? So people would be less likely to do *anything* extreme. That includes exploration, founding new cities, creation of weapons, tools, machines... what counts as a major deed anyway? If no one ever does anything extraordinary, then mundane accomplishments/mistakes become great... do these call demons/spirits as well?

All of these things affect your *people* who, in turn, affect the *land*.

I have tons more question/examples, but I don't think it matters at the moment. My point was simply that first, if you go too far beyond "generic", you have to get the majority to agree on how much of this information is necessary, and then you have to get them to agree, seperately, on each relevant point.

And in the growth/development of an entire world, pretty much everything is relevant.

Now, that's fine if that's what everyone wants to do... but each and every one of those decisions takes time, and discussion, and polls.

I think the reason so many people are bent on what you called "generic" is because they'd prefer to get things decided, and start mapping.

Then again, that's all my opinion, and as you said, I'm just one voice. :)

01-26-2014, 12:21 AM
So far, not much has been decided. Well, we agreed on a couple of things.

For the setting:
Mid fantasy with mid magic (pretty common fantasy world)

Era: middle age or renaissance seems the most popular

Astrophysics: we tried to make it more exotic but in the end it will probably end in something that only have a visual effect (such as having 2 moons but the second one is very far)

Other suggestions:
The guy with the weird eyed avatar (Ghostman!?) suggested that people would rather use major magical power source instead of the magnetic poles to navigate/travel. Not that there is no magnetic poles, it's just that people either don't know about it or do not use it. They use magical sources and starcharts to get around.

modernhamlet suggested a denser atmosphere that would allow flying devices like daVinci or something. But if it's just about flying boats, magic can solve the problem too.

Aside from that we still need a world map. I see 2 ways to achieve this.

1: everyone submit a map and we choose the best.

or 2: we begin to wonder what we would like the map to look like and we build it together. Or one of us build/modify it and wait for approval.
At the beginning, I wanted to do #2 but too few people seemed interested at the time so I made a contest. It did not really work that well in my opinion. I'm sure 2 would be better. I think someone told me he would like a pangea world. Well that is the kind of suggestion that could start a discussion. So, what kind of world do we want? Any particular geographic elements? We don't need to have the whole world right on the beginning; we can just start with one continent. But the general layout of the world should be completed before mapping regional areas.

The other thing we discussed was dividing the map for regional mapping. Squared or odd shaped? With or without buffer zones?
Depending on how Viewingdale work (a mapping software), buffer zones might be unnecessary if it's easy to update. I'll ask Redrobes about that.

How to create the world:
1: everyone take some lands and decide what's on it. It end up more a patchwork than a credible world

2: decide collectively, vaguely what's on the land: approximate countries boundaries, or cultural boundaries, important cities. The idea is to make a credible fictional world that is interesting to read about or playing in a RPG.

ps: I know that my point of view is totally biased

01-26-2014, 12:42 AM
It does not need to be generic. I know my description was pretty generic, yet there is room for other ideas.

hum how about reincarnation instead of resurrection?

Guilt that haunts: good idea: bad deeds could create the evil monsters that roam the world. I think I already saw this idea somewhere, but I think it could be a good idea.

01-26-2014, 03:11 AM
Other suggestions:
The guy with the weird eyed avatar (Ghostman!?) suggested that people would rather use major magical power source instead of the magnetic poles to navigate/travel. Not that there is no magnetic poles, it's just that people either don't know about it or do not use it. They use magical sources and starcharts to get around.

modernhamlet suggested a denser atmosphere that would allow flying devices like daVinci or something. But if it's just about flying boats, magic can solve the problem too.
I am still all for Ghostmans alternate mapping points. I was considering that due to their "magical" influence the influence of the magnetic poles could not be reliably found and so they were used to more reliably navigate. Indeed one might suppose that if you could measure the distance to these nodes as well they'd be used for triangulation and be vary reliable. Or maybe there could be roaming nodes that screw this up every once in a while.

Ghostmans map node Idea could also be worked in with the Guilt that haunts idea. Heres what I have in my mind: There are various aspected nodes of "magical" influence through out the world, these grow stronger and weaker, and grow more and less numerous based on the level of "guilt" (whatever that may be) in the world. This is caused by the intersection of an alternate mirror world, based on the denizens moral doings. The more power these nodes have the easier it is to go from one to the other for those with the ability to do so. Also growing the power of the nodes could cause some interest in that some are obviously going to be inclined to increase their powers and some are going to try and eliminate such threats. I'm not sure if doing a good/bad aspect is going to work well, although this is an obvious implied element. Fullmetal Alchemist avoided the moral implications of a similar interaction for quite a while, but we wouldn't have the luxury of story within which to do so.

The astrophysics also made me think that what if their was only one moon on each mirror but they were visible in both somehow. Also what is perhaps on those moons, civilizations. Omniscient beings? Semi-immortal? Space dust and rocks?...

Personally the problem I have with the resurrection/reincarnation idea is the complexity of handling it. I'm all for either on a very limited scale, but in such a quantitative manner I'm not too sure where to go with it myself.

01-26-2014, 03:50 AM
Here's my 2 cents.

Mid Fantasy
Medieval + Hints of Renaissance
Astrophysics - Don't care. So long as it's practical.
Navigation by Starcharts/Magic Power Sources - Practical, possible, and ok by me.
Atmosphere - Eh... personally I'd prefer to stick with "Earthly" and blame magic for any flying of objects that shouldn't otherwise fly.

World Building - I prefer option 2.
A pangaea world could be fun to an extent. I would prefer a pangaea in addition to a few small outlying landmasses.
If I were to claim a piece of it, I think it would be really interesting to work with a Pangaea style landmass that had been split from a smaller piece of itself at some point by an angular impact crater which subsequently filled with water. I'll claim the southeast part of the Pangaea for that. Something like a peninsula that had been struck and separated by the primary landmass by an asteroid... maybe creating a large island and a few smaller ones and forking the land at the impact site. Perhaps this part of the world is also on its own tectonic plate, and it's got some mountain ranges on the western and northern borders, and a series of mountainous folds in the northeast that cause a locking in of moisture and wet weather patterns for that area, making the north shore swampy and giving the mountainous terrain plenty of rainfall, but the south shore doesn't benefit from this and stays fairly dry, with the west shore a comfortable middle ground. Domesday book demographics suggest six major cities. I'll say 4 coastal, 2 inland.
Something like this... would be an interesting place to develop.

http://i.imgur.com/xMhAAwC.jpg (http://imgur.com/xMhAAwC)

Map Divisions - Squares are easy to work with, and practical. If needs be, someone could take more than one square to get the territory they want.

01-26-2014, 04:05 AM
Falconius's reasoning is fine by me in regards to the navigation system.

Maybe we're sticking unnecessarily close to morality when we think of the word "guilt" though if we want to play with that aspect. Perhaps we should think of it in terms of criminality.

If the idea is that the world is being haunted by its guilt, if you view that in an aspect of criminality it becomes easier to justify some of our ideas. Perhaps there are these magical fonts of power throughout the world. They are so important they are used as navigational sources, as well as the stars. But perhaps these magical sources also grow powerful off of the abundance of magical energy that flows "free form" in the world by absorbing it. So when someone dies, and their magical essence is released back into the world, it is drawn to these magical power sources. A mirror world, or an other-dimensional world that could be connected to this one BY those magical power sources, could have discovered how to cross over into this world using those magical power sources, but only if they have sufficient energy.

For every living being that dies, the power sources are able to absorb that newly freed magical energy, and the beings in the other realm prey on that power to come over into this world and cause problems. Conflict fought within the world essentially becomes doubly self destructive, as it makes the magical power sources more powerful, allowing in more demons from the other world. And perhaps we can say that the demons, when "killed" in this world, don't actually die. They're tethered to this world through the magical power sources, so when they are weakened to the point they can no longer maintain that tether, they get sucked back into their own world. This actually weakens the magic sources because it draws energy whenever a demon is kicked back. So a collective effort to eradicate the demons would potentially work....temporarily... until people forget to stop killing each other over petty nonsense and the world goes back to the ways things were. So when the world is at peace and the population is steady or growing and there are people addressing the demon problem, the demonic influence subsides. When it is at war and death tolls are high, the demonic presence grows and makes matters worse.

Thus, "the guilt that haunts the world" isn't necessarily morale guilt. The guilt that haunts the world is forgetfulness and failure to learn from its past mistakes.

01-26-2014, 07:31 AM
Just going to drop some ideas here, latch on to any or all of them as you please:

Elaborating on the idea of reincarnation suggested by Azelor: this could be an interesting feature if your past life affects your present life in some profound way. The simplest option might be having memories of past lives, but it could also be that the things you experienced, learned and/or accomplished in your previous life affect you physically and mentally. For example, a patient person is someone who died after a long life, while an impatient one is someone who died young. Someone who died with deep regrets or having failed to fullfill their role in life might be born "incomplete" in some way, such as blind or deaf or albino. An open-ended mechanism of reincarnation, that allows completely new people (with no past lives) to be born as well as some souls to disappear entirely from the cycle would be ideal, since it avoids the issues that would arise from growing or declining world population.
Some kind of karma could be a thing. Imagine if the karma one accumulates had a visible impact on their person? Perhaps you'd grow taller, or change your hair color, or cast a deeper shadow, or display a visible aura around you?
Order and Chaos as real but impersonal metaphysical forces. To borrow heavily from Moorcock, either force is detrimental when it's present in excess: Too much Order brings about stagnation and infertility, resulting in a dead world frozen in time. Too much Chaos brings about perpetual destruction, resulting in a world where nothing is constant or predictable. This idea could potentially have major impact on the geography of the world, as the history of shifts in the metaphysical balance might leave imprints on the lay of the land.
Magical Gates that permit near-instantaneous travel from one point to another. Think stargates, except they're all present on the same planet. With there being a very limited number of these gates, no way for people to construct more of them, and no way to change which gate is linked to which other gate, the expansion of and interaction between various civilizations would be affected in interesting but reasonably simple ways. Geographic obstacles and distance would still be major factors, with the gates providing a few shortcuts here and there. Consider, for example, a pair of linked gates that connect a subartic region with a tropical region. How would a civilization situated in the proximity (on both sides) of this gateway evolve? What about a gateway between a desertly landlocked region and an archipelago of little islands in the middle of a vast ocean?

01-26-2014, 11:45 AM
I think that the guilt things is complicated the way you see it (or maybe I just find it too odd) I see it more like karma, bad deeds generates : problems/demon/monster/negative energy...
Reincarnation: I was more thinking of it as a religious aspect like in Buddhism. It would not have a real impact on the world. It is more a belief than a fact (the way I see it).

That would be a good start for a small continent or part of a larger one
Pangea was just a suggestion someone made a while back. I think if we go with this either if will be a fragmented bunch of close continents or a massive continent that include lots of inland seas or sort of. My best pick would be a mix of big and smaller contient. I prefer more variety.

Ghostman: I like the Order and Chaos idea because it's less related to good vs bad.

01-26-2014, 12:44 PM
Ghostman: I like the Order and Chaos idea because it's less related to good vs bad.I appreciate it it for that reason too, but is Order vs Chaos really that much better? It is also very well worn, and perhaps not as rewarding as something as simple and natural as good vs bad. I'd prefer we find some other sort of diametric concept, or avoid a diametric opposition altogether. Though I'm not sure what would occur in its place.

(I'm also pretty sure I'm looking for a word other than "diametric", but it works for now.)

01-26-2014, 01:13 PM
I'm sorry if that's already established and I'm just being counterproductive here, but I think that a low magic setting could be really interesting and allow deeper, better written scenarios where magic isn't just an easy way out and creative shortcut. I find fascinating the scenarios where the very existence of magic is questioned.

I like ghostman's suggestion, and the Guilt that Haunts idea is a promising concept, but I think that this dualism could impose severe limitations and produce poorer stories.

I think that we should make decisions collectively, but unless we are able to really organize things (with clear due dates and legislative-chamber-like procedure), it isn't practical to apply this to the every single detail. I think that we should be objective and vote on the most important features, otherwise we will spend way too much time on the details and never actually get to mapping.

01-26-2014, 01:15 PM
or avoid a diametric opposition altogether.

I agree, extreme manichaeism could easily lead to poor stories and cliches.

01-26-2014, 01:16 PM
I will second calsaverini's post in regards to putting a procedure together so that we can actually move things forward, vote on the important things and let the minor details sort themselves out through individual mapper's own creativity.

01-26-2014, 01:26 PM
As in the Any need for writers? (http://www.cartographersguild.com/cooperative-worldbuilding-project/19453-any-need-writers.html) thread I think we should develop some more templates, such as regarding countries, rulers, civilizations, cultures, languages etc. make some threads for posting them and then at least we have the cards so to speak to start making decisions. Or make threads regarding all the topics we want to cover in our general fashion, in which we collect these idea tickets and then work to assemble the pieces into something more substantial.... I don't know, just throwing out ideas here really.

01-26-2014, 01:26 PM
I agree, extreme manichaeism could easily lead to poor stories and cliches.

My elaboration on the "guilt" and "death" mechanics that I posted directly before Ghostman's post deal with that by eliminating the good/bad aspect altogether. The magic and demons become more powerful simply through the very natural process of death. And they can be removed from the world. But natural disaster, plague, famine, and war are all things that could bring them right back with a significant resurgence in strength that is outside their "normal" level of presence that has nothing to do with good and evil. It's related simply to the raw magical energy released when living creatures die. Larger, more magically inclined creatures would release more energy and power the crystals more, letting more demons through.

This could lead to any number of storylines that make the whole point of good and evil totally ambiguous. Perhaps a kingdom establishes a religion that deifies these demons as a natural part of existence and has blood sacrifices to deliberately let them into the world in small enough quantities that they can be managed. A neighboring kingdom may view this practice as evil, and misguidedly go to war to end this practice, oblivious to the fact that the death toll their war is causing is actually throwing an uncontrollable fuel on the fire. Who is the real evil then? The one trying to moderate the process, or the one making it worse by trying to stamp it out?

01-26-2014, 02:09 PM
I have a suggestion regarding procedure so we can move forward. I think that we should split each major topic into separate threads and give it a tangible amount of time (say a week) to assemble the purposes, trough guild members brainstorming, just like we are already doing. After this period is over, someone get all the purposes and create a poll for a few days (say four) so people can vote on the ideas presented. After the voting is over we have a winner idea and move on to the next topic, we could have several topics simultaneously being addressed/voted following a schedule.

This way we know how long the deliberation process will take and have a sure way to please as many members as possible while taking as many ideas as possible.

Right now we seem to be debating a huge range of issues with little order and perspective of resolution

01-26-2014, 02:32 PM
We've had very poor experiences with time limits so far. I definitely think that a week or a few days is too short for development or voting. The reason being is that we are not a concentrated and focused group working only on this. But you are right, we need to narrow down all this stuff to something manageable.

01-26-2014, 02:49 PM
We've had very poor experiences with time limits so far. I definitely think that a week or a few days is too short for development or voting. The reason being is that we are not a concentrated and focused group working only on this. But you are right, we need to narrow down all this stuff to something manageable.

Right, but we could still follow that with different time constraints that better reflect our needs. I just used the number as examples.

01-26-2014, 03:16 PM
Yes of course, however I think we should perhaps see how these major topic threads are going before determining the limits. Or perhaps let them mature enough and develop to a point where we feel we can do the votes. I'd also like to see time limits of course as I believe it would help provide much needed impetus to the project, but so far time limits have seemed to close off and confuse rather than strengthen. Maybe we need a critical mas of people regularly contributing before polls and time limits become effective in the way we want.

01-26-2014, 04:07 PM
That sounds very reasonable. So should we proceed into dividing the issue into smaller more approachable units and debating them on separate threads? What are the topics?

I'll put something here just to start the discussion:

Part I - Basic Settings:
A) Scenario
A.1 Era: When our scenario will take place, low middle ages? renaissance? Something different than earth's eras altogether?
A.2 Magic Setting: Source of magic, how common is magic, what can magic do and what are its interference on the day-to-day life.
A.3 Major driving forces / Uncommon effects / Themes: Like the Guilt that Haunts, reincarnation

B) Physical Characteristics
B.1 Basic world shape: Pangea? Craters?
B.2 Physics/Astrophysics: Is the world round? Does it spin? Have seasons? How many moons? Etc

C) Technical Details
C.1 Mapping approach: Who can map? How are we going to assign maps?
C.2 World division: How will we divide the world for mapping?

01-26-2014, 04:28 PM
My thoughts...
1 - Mid-fantasy setting similar to earth's middle ages with some magical elements.
2 - All living beings possess some inherent "magical" aura, but physical manipulation of magic is very difficult and requires training, practice, and tutelage. A small percentage of sentient beings (15%?) would be capable of parlor tricks through natural affinity. Anything beyond that requires work, training and concentration most don't have access to. Maybe 3% of the population is capable of some sort of magic that could be considered "wizardry".
3 - Driving forces would be the magical fonts located throughout the world that are used for navigation. These magical power sources are also responsible for passively collecting and absorbing free form magical energy in the world that gets released when living beings die. As the fonts absorb more magicka, they become attractive to otherworldly beings that use the magical energy to project themselves into this world. Slaying these beings banishes them temporarily from the world and temporarily drains the magical sources of energy.

1 - I'm inclined to go with Falconius and say multi-continental world. I will be detailing a kingdom shortly in the other thread I started.
2 - Round, rotates, 4 seasons, 1 true moon and maybe an tidally locked asteroid or two.

1 - I can map.
2 - As people come up with kingdoms and cultures, they'll probably have a predisposition as to where these places belong and want to map those areas.

01-27-2014, 11:28 AM
my preferences:

A) Scenario
A.1 Era: Middle to end of the middle age with castle, cathedral (or something similar), caravel...
A.2 Magic Setting: I like the idea of GspRooster: magic is everywhere in a more or less scarce quantity but only few people really know how to use it. A part of the population can learn simple magic trick with effort and training and it's considered an achievement for the untrained. Those that specialize in magic often beging training in their childhood. By the time they grow up, they become much better than the average folk they are still level 1 mage; so no fireballs. Others more lucky, but far less numerous recieved the gift of magic at birth. They don't have to learn it but they still have to master their power.

So the way I see it:
50-70 % of the population can't do magic at all, even with basic spells with scorlls or whatever. ( dnd: they don't have ''use magical device'') It can also be because they don't know how to read or because they don't have the money for it.
15-30 % can do 1 or 2 little magic tricks often with the help of items
around 10% of people can do magic on a more or less daily basis, they are not all magicians but they have potential

those that received a gift would be less than 1 % of the population but these people have more chance to become proficient with magic.
Thta was the question of magic potential but some have more talent/ trains more than other. The less powerful the spell, the more mages will know how to use it.

A.3 Major driving forces / Uncommon effects / Themes:
B) Physical Characteristics :
B.1 multi-continental
B.2 pretty much like Earth. I would like to have a binary star system, even if it's just in order to have a very bright star in the sky at night and even during the day. it might even be brighter than our actual Moon. So the planet would orbit around the star at 149m km and another but smaller star (maybe a red dwarf but the difference in mass does not need to be important. If the difference is small the two suns might need to be further apart to avoid shattering the planets orbit) would orbit around the same star at billions of km.

C) Technical Details
C.1 and 2: I can map too ! :) Use an easy way to divide the map such as squared plots, possibly with buffers (I haven't made up my mind about this point yet). People should be ree to decide what area they want to map.

01-27-2014, 02:18 PM
Garg, this feels like filling out a government form :P (of course it may just be that I'mm doing that a lot lately) but it seems to be the thing to do so I'll go with it.

A) Scenario
A 1 and 2, High to mid fantasy. meaning really a mish-mash of various things, a little bit of the beginning of Renaissance but still without gunpowder, dragons, a plethora of other fantastical creatures, war technology is up to fancy ass plate armour for those who have the means, and of course everything leading to that. Shipping and navigation is of course without cannon and really would only be just beginning to be exploratory in our world, but is kind of moot because of the existence of magic. Magic would be ubiquitous as in most people think they have probably encountered it in their lifetimes, but the vast majority of sentient beings (other than those of a magical nature) are really unfamiliar with it and have very little understanding of it. I'm more inclined really to borrow the magic elements from Jack Vance's Dying Earth (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dying_Earth_series) stuff and Patrick Rothfuss's The Kingkiller Chronicle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Kingkiller_Chronicle) series.

I think that with the other elements like Ghostmans locus points and the Guilt that Haunts ideas there is going to be a fairly obvious magic element regardless of how much one wants to minimize. I also don't want to see arbitrary limitations such as those found in dnd ideas about skills (no offense, love dnd nostalgically, but it's arbitrary and bureaucratically mindless take on things is what drove me away from it in the end), that doesn't mean though that those with access to magic aren't a limited set. It'll be limited by knowledge, experience, availability (money, rarity etc.) and innate ability. That said if Peggy Sue the farmers daughter comes along and happens to find a button operated wand lying on the side of the road, I still want her to be able to accidentally blow her own head off.

B) Physical Characteristics (I think we should limit this part of the discussion to the map thread so as not to cause a traffic jam here) (http://www.cartographersguild.com/cooperative-worldbuilding-project/25298-cwbp-2-deciding-map-10.html#post234955) Part C is also extensively covered in that thread.

01-27-2014, 02:30 PM
A) Scenario
A.1 Anything pre-gunpowder goes for me.
A.2 I'd rather not state any source of magic. Because "magic" shouldn't be a singular thing but a rather a catch-all word for all kinds of supernatural actions. I'd prefer magic to be rare and have little to no impact on the daily lives of common people, but have the potential to have extreme impact on the magician's own life and those who (s)he directly interacts with.
A.3 I'll repeat my proposal to feature a small number of fixed gateways between select locations. Because this is something that would actually show on the maps, both via the placement of the gates themselves as well as the expansion and migration of peoples and kingdoms.

B) Physical Characteristics
B.1 I'm good with anything that provides an interesting variety of terrain and climates.
B.2 Similar enough to Earth that we don't have to reinvent how nature works.

C) Technical Details
C.1 I can map.
C.2 Right now I'm in favour of a hex grid on a Mercator atlas with reasonably small sized hexes, with limits set on how many hexes may be claimed for a single map.

01-27-2014, 02:54 PM
A.3 I'll repeat my proposal to feature a small number of fixed gateways between select locations. Because this is something that would actually show on the maps, both via the placement of the gates themselves as well as the expansion and migration of peoples and kingdoms.I've just always assumed that some if not all of your locus points that you proposed way back had a feature like this. If we do this I think we should treat them more like sci-fi wormholes which have variable stability and also that the do not necessarily have well defined exits (in other words that not all of them end up at other nodes, nor that their exits are so well defined as to be easily discovered). There could also of course be devices devised to create or stabilize these things. I also feel that they should take on the aspects of the node they occupy. So if it's a flame aspected node so is the tunnel, and the things sent thorough have to be prepared to deal with that.

Another thought about the tunnels is the physical aspects of being inside of them. At first I was thinking instant sort of portals and gateways as you suggest, but my overuse of the misplaced word "tunnels" has me considering that what if you had to take actual trips through these things like they really were tunnels and maybe they have branches, maybe you can get lost in them etc. Maybe some of them even have flora and fauna etc. That'd be cool in my opinion. It also means mapping opportunities for the tunnels themselves.

01-27-2014, 06:16 PM
An interesting idea Falconius. It made me consider folkloric faerie-land rules in the vein of "don't stray from the path no matter what!" -- there could be weird otherworldly vistas surrounding the "tunnel" with strange spirits lurking in there trying to trick the travelers so that they'll become lost in the space between the gates.

01-27-2014, 06:32 PM
omg i wanna map a wormhole tunnel...

01-28-2014, 10:51 PM
What if thats where the demons from The Guilt That Haunts idea come from? The magical portals could be used like tunnels, gateways into another realm, with that realm intersecting at magical points of power with the physical world. People could get lost by straying too far from the known pathways in that otherworld tunnel similarly to how the demons are drawn to the light of the gateways when the gateways absorb magical power, and the demons kust slip into our world.

That way its not that each individual action per say has a consequence, an individual death isnt a big deal, but large phenomena like war, famine, plague, natural disaster, things that generate large magical releases for the gateways to absorb draw the attention of the demons.

What about that? Mapping opportunity! The tunnel world just became physically relevent and physically intertwined with the primary world.... The demon world in "tunnel land" may be as complex and diverse as the world above. Much how we use the tunnels to navigate, they use them to escape or invade, or come to our aid to spite other demon factions.

01-29-2014, 01:26 AM
Starting to sound like greek/roman gods meet the Sunderer... @.@

Actually, that could be fun...

01-29-2014, 11:53 AM
I think that the gateway idea is a good one but at the same time it should not be easy to use it. I mean, imagine if someone could just move his army with it.

01-29-2014, 11:59 AM
What if thats where the demons from The Guilt That Haunts idea come from? The magical portals could be used like tunnels, gateways into another realm, with that realm intersecting at magical points of power with the physical world. People could get lost by straying too far from the known pathways in that otherworld tunnel similarly to how the demons are drawn to the light of the gateways when the gateways absorb magical power, and the demons kust slip into our world.

That way its not that each individual action per say has a consequence, an individual death isnt a big deal, but large phenomena like war, famine, plague, natural disaster, things that generate large magical releases for the gateways to absorb draw the attention of the demons.

I'm liking this idea but I'd change it slightly, so that death doesn't create magic but can be sensed by demons - and they find this sensation very pleasant, being thus attracted to it's source.

I think that the gateway idea is a good one but at the same time it should not be easy to use it. I mean, imagine if someone could just move his army with it.
As long as the number of wormholes is kept small and there's no way to change the destination of a gate, I wouldn't consider this to be a problem at all. It just means that you can have a kingdom that on the world map appears to hold territory on two seemingly distant areas.

01-29-2014, 12:32 PM
I'm liking this idea but I'd change it slightly, so that death doesn't create magic but can be sensed by demons - and they find this sensation very pleasant, being thus attracted to it's source.

I find this a really attractive idea! Maybe they feed on the energy that death releases, it makes them stronger and keeps them alive.

01-29-2014, 05:56 PM
I'm liking this idea but I'd change it slightly, so that death doesn't create magic but can be sensed by demons - and they find this sensation very pleasant, being thus attracted to it's source.

I find this a really attractive idea! Maybe they feed on the energy that death releases, it makes them stronger and keeps them alive.

I agree with both of these alterations 100%

01-29-2014, 06:21 PM
Now that sounds both fun AND plausible :)

02-02-2014, 02:20 PM
Ok, so I think we talked about the genre long enough. And by genre I must specify that I'm only talking about the genre as it is explained in my first post.
For the rest, such as the Era and the other ideas; I will create their own threads for discussion. Or if the author of these ideas want to, they can create a thread themselves as it might be simpler. Everyone can open threads here anyway.

here's the list of genre we have so far, just correct me if I forget one of them:

High fantasy/heroic fantasy (high magic)
mid fantasy (usually mid magic)
low fantasy (low magic)
science fantasy (variable amount of magic)
steampunk (magic possible)
alternate history (no magic)
science fiction (no magic)
post apocalyptic (usually no magic)

I've associated all the genre with a corresponding level of magic. I will make a new thread about magic so we can discuss that subject.
I will wait a couple of days and if everybody is happy with the list, I will open a poll.

02-02-2014, 02:57 PM
Sounds good to me. I have no problems with that list.

02-03-2014, 09:31 AM
Perhaps have two polls side by side one about the genre and one about the magic level, then we just tie them together at the end. Or make a multiple choice poll with hi, low, mid magic levels as additional options leaving the genre options bare.

02-03-2014, 11:45 AM
the maximum options for a poll is 35 so it's possible to have them separated. If people are ready to decide the issue with magic, there are no problems.

02-04-2014, 09:33 PM
Poll open. We will take the results in 3-4 days.

02-05-2014, 04:13 AM
Looks good. Please vote everyone. At least one vote in each section: Genre and magic.

Cunning Cartographer
02-05-2014, 06:45 AM
If you go for a non-magic/non-high science map then I think you are dividing yourself by style and technique and really hindering yourself on imagination. A "believable" map isn't as fun as a fantasy map in my opinion.

02-05-2014, 08:36 AM
Well fantasy by far got the most traction, so I would imagine most people agree with you.

A low magic world is not as much a hindrance as that though, it could merely mean that while magical forces may be very strong in the world people have very little cognizance of it and rarely experience overtly "magical" magic in their daily lives. Personally I'd be happier with low to mid magic than I would be with high. As to me high magic indicates its heavily integrated with everyday life and everyones walking around with ridiculous things like healing potions or scrolls of teleport etc. To bring it back to your point; having no limitations is just as divisive and as much of a hindrance as a world we limit to stark realism.

02-05-2014, 09:58 AM
I like both!! I like post-apocalyptic magic too :P

You know, the kind where someone (gods or men) destroys everything in a huge blast of ______insert idea here_____ and *that action* is what brings magic into the world.

It's overdone on Earth (radiation blast gives men superpowers) but what if it opened the rift through which you could see a star in another dimension, or maybe the way the demons/whatever enter.. idk

I've probably misunderstood the option anyway :D

02-05-2014, 12:14 PM
I don't think you've misunderstood the option at all. Post-apocalypseical magic torn worlds are right up there with regular old magical fantasy worlds. Thats why we split the magic and genre options.

02-09-2014, 11:03 PM
And I think we have a winner !

Genre: Mid fantasy
Magic: Mid magic

ok now seriously, we need to narrow things down a bit. It's still vague isn't it ?

I still consider the Forgotten realms a good example for this.

02-10-2014, 12:00 AM
Mid-magic, mid fantasy... great! :)

But what KIND... It could still be science-y or steampunk-y, serious or silly, etc or etc... :P

(okay probably not either etc.. but....)

02-10-2014, 07:00 AM
Really? I've always considered Forgotten Realms high-magic. Of course the only module I had for it was high level and set in some deadly forest in a ruined magical city. I think it was The Ruins of Myth Drannor.

Anyways, where do we go from here? Good question, but I think at least we now have an idea of what to expect and where we ought to be aiming. I think the Genre will be getting more detail in the Tech thread, I'll open up a thread to deal more with the magic elements.

02-16-2014, 01:36 PM
I always thought that political intrigues where important in the Realms and that people do not always resolve their problems with magic. Well for me high magic is more like Asgard where everyone have exceptional powers.

But you are right, it's just a general guideline. A too specific ''theme'' might limit creativity.

02-16-2014, 10:48 PM
I disagree, my favorite settings always had a very strong central theme. MY favorite DnD setting for instance was Dark Sun. But all of their most popular had clear central themes: Ravenloft, Dragonlance, Forgotton Realms, etc.

I think that without a good strong theme our creativity will be lost and directionless. We need a medium in order for our creativity to clarify and age into something wonderful and that medium is going to be the theme.

02-16-2014, 10:56 PM
By setting I meant that the mid fantasy and mid magic are better if they only have a relatively vague description.

By theme did you understood something like the mood? I do not doubt Ravenloft and Dark Sun have a unique mood in them.

02-16-2014, 11:12 PM
Theme certainly includes mood, but generally has some structural artifice that propels that mood and atmosphere. So it's more than just the mood. It could of course be confusingly be interchangeable with the word "setting" too. Setting can of course mean entirely different things though and is a very general use sort of word.

Anyways, having progressed so far we might want to start looking towards getting our Theme more defined.