Jump to content

How much of an data dump do you need?


assault
 Share

Recommended Posts

Assuming you mean fantasy

 

Type of setting ie high magic or low magic

If you allow other races- which ones and what are their relationships EX Palladium has elf dwarf hatred

Any class (or archetype) restrictions EX dwarf means NO magic

Any key skills (if you have a skill system) that are needed 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

36 minutes ago, assault said:

I'm intrigued by the low importance people are putting on setting details, and the stress on game mechanical stuff that I would have ignored.

 

I was thinking the same. Personally, there are two types of info I need to know about.

 

First, the type of game we will play (power level, no/low/high magic, social/exploration/investigation/combat, non-humans races or not, etc...) which will  enable me to build a character that fits the game. Usually it can be very concise and sometimes referencing something might make it easier. "We will play a standard heroic game set in world similar to the Hyborian Age..." covers a lot of ground in a few words.   

 

Second, a description of the setting itself that will enable me to create a character grounded in said setting. The length requires will depend a lot of the game. A  game that is focused on one area might need a page to describe the world at a high level plus a map and a page to describe the area we live in in more detail (with map of city or region) with a who's who on the people we will interact with at the start. Three pages (more or less) is more than enough. If it is a homebrew, it could be less and we will discover the world as we play.  For fully developed settings, I like to know more. RuneQuest seems to have the right about of detail amount the setting for a game set in Dragon Pass. A few pages (10ish?) to explain Glorantha as a whole including a bit of history and maps and a Homelands chapters of about 30 pages describing the 6 main homelands in Dragon Pass. More than enough to make me understand the dynamic of the region and inform me which culture I'd be tempted to play.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 minutes ago, Greywind said:

I make a rogue. Now I need enough information from the GM to tell me what nations/cities/towns/villages might be nearby that I might have come from. What was the population like? Mixed or isolationist.

It also makes me think that you need to give the player enough to understand the context and pique there interest and let them come with questions so you give add to their individual sphere of interests. Greywind the Rogue might start asking questions about the local authorities, local justice and who are the rich and powerful. Dread the Barbarian might be more interested in the martial world, the mercenary guilds and the local warlord... and taverns... where are the best spots for drinking and wenching. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, assault said:

I'm intrigued by the low importance people are putting on setting details, and the stress on game mechanical stuff that I would have ignored.

 

Well, creating a character involves assigning your points, so it's pretty helpful to know what is considered too high or too low in abilities.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/11/2021 at 12:14 AM, assault said:

My question is: how much information about a setting do you need to create a character?

Enough to grok the genre, the setting, the themes. More info for home-brew worlds than published settings. In the beginning it is an agreement on terms.

Pirates, Count of Monte Cristo, Lace & Steel. Is that enough? It is a start.

As mentioned above, Hyborian Age, Human only, grim-dark.

 

Minimum I need is a page (500+ words), assuming I know the references used, literary, cinematic or historical. The more I read, the clearer the picture, the less time I need to FAQ the GM on his campaign before starting to build a character.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/11/2021 at 4:32 PM, assault said:

I'm intrigued by the low importance people are putting on setting details, and the stress on game mechanical stuff that I would have ignored.

 

 

A lot of us, I think, are like Asperion: give me a few details-- not a lot, but enough to build a character that makes sense here-- about the region and nearby villages or races, and I'm good.  I trust the GM to provide more as either we need it or to answer questions as we get curious.   I hear (well, I _read_ ) the phrase "campaign document" on this board a lot.  I have made a list of things for myself, and on occasion have handed out a few for unusual campaigns (like my Ta'LaKreth campaign was enough of a departure from our "usual stuff" that I prepared a handout of nearly two whole pages prior to character generation......

 

Yeah; I find anything more than 2 pages or so (not including character building requirements / limitations, of course) to do nothing but cause glazed eyes, a slight drop in excitement, and in the end, only half the players are going to read the whole thing and only half of them are going to remember it for the next session, meaning it becomes a "let's stop the game and flip through that thing again real quick" problem in a hurry.  I don't know why, but things the Players bump into on their own, during play, or answers to their specific questions, they tend to remember forever, and are more inclined to take notes about, just in case.  ;)

 

 

Besides, there have been a few times where the game versus the document has painted the story into a corner no one was really happy with, so we revised it, making it a couple of hours of creativity that we just threw away anyway.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/11/2021 at 4:32 PM, assault said:

I'm intrigued by the low importance people are putting on setting details, and the stress on game mechanical stuff that I would have ignored.

 

Well would you want me to show up with a dwarf that uses flintlocks? There are games out there name that do allow early firearms but that’s not everyone’s spice of life. Plus if I need skills due to setting details like various KS, that’s going to affect how I build my character. I.e. I can dump more points into combat if I don’t need frilly skills. 😁

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It really depends on the character.  Besides any mechanical restrictions and guidelines all characters will need information on the level of technical sophistication of the setting.  Knowing if full plate is available is going to be important to all characters even if they don’t wear it.  Most characters will also need to know what weapons are available.

 

Knowing the basic culture of the setting is also something g that all characters will need.  There is a big difference between an iron age Celtic setting and an French renaissance setting.  This will help is choosing appropriate skills. 

 

If I am playing a caster I need to know what if any magic system the GM has adopted and the attitude towards spell casters.  How common are spell casters is another useful piece of information that the character should know.  

 

If I am playing a religious (or anti-religious) character I need details on the religions in the settings.  Does the GM have a pantheon of deities or can I create my own.  What privileges are available to religious characters?  Of all character types this on will usually require more details on the setting them others.  
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have always worked off the concept that "less is more". Meaning that regardless of the stage of campaign,  the purpose of the GM is to make the world realistic and not provide everything.  There will be many details that must be done by the players.  Player responsibility goes beyond their own character and they will assist with with creating the city through both player suggestions and character interaction.  People,  societies, and the world are constantly changing. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What's the subgenre and tone?  

 

Is there a specific fantasy world the GM is trying to replicate? 

 

What does this world have that you wouldn't expect to see in a typical fantasy world?  (The printing press?  Railroads?  Airships?  Anything else?)  

 

What does this world not have that you ordinarily would expect to see in a typical fantasy world?  

 

Some basic notes about the world and its geography. 

  • "It's a flat disc carried on the backs of four elephants who live on the back of a giant turtle." 
  • "It's a pretty normal world with a sun and moon and stars." 
  • "There are giant floating islands all over the place.  You might come from one of those."  
  • "The world is a giant floating cube in space, and each face is a different fantasy world with its own races, magic systems, etc." 

Are there elves, dwarves, hobbits?  Are there other nonhuman races (catfolk, wolf people, winged ones, greys, etc.)?  Are there any "typically evil" nonhumans as playable races (kobolds, goblins, orcs, etc.)?  Are there racial animosities (i.e. elves and dwarves hate each other, catfolk hate orcs, etc.)?  

 

Are there gods?  Do they empower clerics with divine magic?  

 

What magic system(s) are there?  

 

What kinds of magic items are there?  How many?  How are they generally created?  

 

What country/ies are the PCs from?  How do those countries feel about one another?  

 

What other countries are there?  Name of ruler, type of government, are they "good" or "evil"?  A few other bits of detail about them. 

 

What organizations are there, that either the PCs might belong to or that might be hunting one or more of them?  You don't need detailed notes about a dozen; evocative names and a basic note about their goals and membership is probably fine.  

 

A rough basic timeline with a dozen or so entries and maybe information about the current "age" if there is one.  

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Exactly.   Dont get get me wrong: its wonderful, at least for those players who are into it, to have lots and lots of stuff.  But I have found that in general, about two pages is all you really _need_ to get started.  The rest of your document or background is a guide for what players will learn as they navigate the world or ask questions.

 

Even the history of your world is ptetty much something you do for you, or to make NPC stories interesting: most players flat don't care how the county lines and country borders got to be where they are, or what family was killed a hundred years ago to install the current royals, or what great battle is responsible for the destruction of the bridge that once existed where the "river pier" sits now, etc.

 

Why?  Because they care only about what the world has become as a result of those things, excepting only where those things specifically relate to their characters (you are all part of a secret society dedicated to restoring the rightful ruler to his throne) or the main thrust of the campaign (it is now time to restore the rightful ruler to his throne).

 

This is not a shortcoming in the players; this is reality.  To this very day, I have no idea who went into battle with Andrew Jackson, and if it wasn't for Little Jimmy Dickens, I probably wouldn't know it was in 1814.  Similarly, I have no idea who surrendered to Washington, or where, or even though I know it was July 4, I have no idea if that was the date of the surrender, the negotiations, or the signing of something.   I know Henry Ford popularized the gasoline engine, but I have no idea who invented it.

 

And on and on.  And you know what?  I dont know because I don't need to know; I live in the world that resulted from those influences, period.  What I deal with on a day to day basis in my life has absolutely nothing to do with any of it.  There is nothing I can do to change that, and nothing I have to do to react to any sort of direct, straight-line-from-Ford-to-me impact.  You can shout 'cars!', but we all know Ford didn't invent them, and assembly lines were on the way anyhow. 

 

Ben Franklin and electricity?  There is So much mythologizing about this subject that it is impossible to know what's true and what's romantic fantasy.

 

Same with religions: give me some local ones, period.  I live in rural Georgia.  I have never met a practicing Muslim or Hindu or Buddhist.  Before the internet, I knew _nothing_ about these religions, and today...  Well, the little bit I know today is less than useless to any non-gaming part of my life.

 

Your players are the same as we are: we know what we have to do to cope with the world around us because we have some small idea of what the world immediately around us is.  We don't really have any practical use foe how it got that way.  The players instinctively understand that there characters don't need to know it, either, and if the players themselves aren't interested in setting time aside to read your fancy world build, they aren't going to.  There are exceptions- myself, Chris, Scott (who may correct it and hand it back to you. ;)  ), etc, but for the most part, your massive full-world detailed build out is for _you_.  The players want just enough to make characters and interact with the locals, then they want to roll some dice.

 

😕

 

 

Edited by Duke Bushido
undoing the horrors of auto cat rectal
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's something I wanted to write but didn't have the patience. ^^^^

 

And Duke is the product of a couple of generations of schools which actively teach history. Just think about how much less someone would know after generations of a society which had no interest in learning history.

 

And actually doing research to figure out if the history you know (or teach) is accurate or not is very much a modern fetish. For centuries the height of learning was quoting what the ancient Greeks had to say about the world or repeating Josephus.

 

I'd fully expect any fantasy world to not have much interest in its own history unless there was some equivalent event to "the discovery of the riches of King Tut's tomb" to kick off some archeological/history craze.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Duke Bushido said:

Similarly, I have no idea who surrendered to Washington, or where, or even though I know it was July 4, I have no idea if that was the date of the surrender, the negotiations, or the signing of something. 

 

 

I'm hoping you are joking here.

 

The following is interesting. I live in a modest sized provincial city in Queensland, Australia, and the town is swarming with them. Sikhs, Yazidis and who knows what else as well.

 

1 hour ago, Duke Bushido said:

 

I live in rural Georgia.  I have never met a practicing Muslim or Hindu or Buddhist.

😕

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, assault said:

 

I'm hoping you are joking here.

 

Nope.  I learned them for the tests-- I actually still remember some of the tests-- that is, taking the tests that covered that period-- but all this time later?  Nope.  Heck, by the time I got to college that information was gone.  Seriously: when will knowing that ever impact my life?  They cancelled Cash Cab years ago, and we don't have taxis here anyway.  

 

I made it to sixty-one years old, and I can say this with absolute certainty:  after ....  I don't know how you guys say it-- do you do the England thing with "Year 10" or do you do the Freshman, Sophomore, etc thing?  Anyway, two years before the completion of public school was the very last time I ever had to know either of those things, period.

 

No one has ever asked me since, and having forgotten it who knows how many decades ago has had _zero_ impact on my life.  Unless your PCs are the instruments of change in your game (and let's be honest: they really should be), who did what umpteen decades ago isn't going to be important to them, either.  All the players care about is what their PCs are doing now, and what changes their own actions will bring.

 

1 hour ago, assault said:

 

The following is interesting. I live in a modest sized provincial city in Queensland, Australia, and the town is swarming with them. Sikhs, Yazidis and who knows what else as well.

 

 

 

I cannot offer a single reason for why I have never met one.  Seriously; I can't.  I know why I never met one back home-- Circle, Alaska is probably not a globally-renown community  :lol:    I have lived in Brunswick, Savannah, and a few other places in Georgia (as the places grew, I moved on.  I'm not a city sort of person at heart), and while I have no doubt that they are about, I have never actually met one.

 

 

I have met people from India (incredibly warm and friendly people!) ; I have met people from the middle east (amazing food!), but not actual practicing muslims (I know it goes counter to the political narrative, but atheism and choosing your own religion are global concepts; it's just harder in some parts of the world.  Like Texas. ) and no one practicing-- is it Hinduism?  Is that correct?  No offense intended to anyone if it isn't, of course.

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/14/2021 at 11:43 AM, Duke Bushido said:

 

and no one practicing-- is it Hinduism?  Is that correct?  No offense intended to anyone if it isn't, of course.

 

 

Hinduism is the name of the religion practiced by the majority of Indians. Or at least it is the largest religion in India, I'm not completely certain that Hinduism is more than half the population. There's a lot of religions in India.

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...