Does the world exist for the PCs? - Page 3
Page 3 of 11 FirstFirst 1234567891011 LastLast
Results 21 to 30 of 107
  1. #21
    Member
    Grandfather of Assassins (Lvl 19)



    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Arizona, USA
    Posts
    2,041
    The game exists for the people at the table. I don't see a point in making parts of the game that don't serve anybody at the table.

    Some DMs love that world building and I think that is great, so they can build that world as they like to their heart's content. That's value for a person at the table.

    I however hate using even a single iota of brain power on a part of the world that the PCs wont interact with.

    This isn't to say I tailor my encounters to PCs or railroad them. It means I think about how they interacted with the world in the the last scenario, then decide the consequences of that, then present the next scenario.

  2. #22
    Member
    Titan (Lvl 27)



    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    San Jose/Santa Clara, CA
    Posts
    15,249
    Quote Originally Posted by Reynard View Post
    What about the little stuff? Like, you have previously established an ancient hero who was buried with his famed weapon. The players' adventures bring them to the tomb. Do you make sure the famed weapon is one your party can use, even if for whatever reason your players have chosen are or esoteric weapons? And if so does that player choice impact the historical context of the hero?
    Heh. Reminds me of a punchline from the Gleemax forum days.

    "Excalibur is a Spiked Chain."
    Laugh BookBarbarian laughed with this post

  3. #23
    Member
    The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)

    jgsugden's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Soon to be Fort Mill, SC
    Posts
    3,596
    You blend it all together to tell a good story. There is no specific consistent formula.

  4. #24
    Member
    Scout (Lvl 6)



    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    86
    Quote Originally Posted by jgsugden View Post
    You blend it all together to tell a good story. There is no specific consistent formula.
    No formula, no, but there are good world building techniques and there are bad worldbuilding techniques. Even more important, there are Better worldbuilding techniques and worse ones. Whilst I also havent seen any codified guide to this, I think its not impossible that one exists or could exists.

    There are ways to create a world that lead to consistently more interesting ways to interact for the players and their characters. This of course may not be your goal as a DM. Perhaps you have a strictly narrative experience you want to provide where you are the storyteller and the players simply play the role you set out for them to. This is fine, those games are super fun for certain types. However, for those looking for a more sandbox style game or who want to let the players create the story? There are techniques out there that help build a world that encourages and supports that in a better way than other techniques.

    I guess I said all that to say this: Building a world specifically for the players characters leads to worlds that seem...off. That are less interesting to interact with. It creates a dissonance and disruptive feel where the players suddenly begin to stop thinking they exist in a real place, but more some odd illusion/matrix thing. It just severely lowers believability, and I'd argue that if you want to have a believable world, it CANNOT be built for the specific PCs.
    XP Reynard, Lanefan gave XP for this post

  5. #25
    Member
    The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)

    jgsugden's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Soon to be Fort Mill, SC
    Posts
    3,596
    Quote Originally Posted by HJFudge View Post
    ... I guess I said all that to say this: Building a world specifically for the players characters leads to worlds that seem...off. That are less interesting to interact with. It creates a dissonance and disruptive feel where the players suddenly begin to stop thinking they exist in a real place, but more some odd illusion/matrix thing. It just severely lowers believability, and I'd argue that if you want to have a believable world, it CANNOT be built for the specific PCs.
    This is mistaken. I have run, and played within, a lot of campaigns designed to focus around the characters. Some were great... others not so much. How believable as a setting they were had a lot more to do with the quality of storytelling than anything else. If I've experienced immersive, believable worlds that were tailored to the PCs... well, a believable world CAN be built for the specific PCs.

    For an example where an existing campaign world has been tailored to a party, see Matt Mercer's Critical Role world. He built an extensive campaign setting. Then he tailored it to his player's PCs, their backstories, and their interests. You can have criticisms of his style, but there is no real room to argue that it does not work as a believable fantasy world. It is immersive and evocative - and a lot of it is built to support the stories that grow out of his PC's back stories.

    Some of his most recent comments on Talks Machnia also may be of note - they discuss where his designs that were independent of the PCs (created prior to the PCs being made) ended up lining up perfectly with PCs and their backstories. They often discover - in game - new connections that were unintentional. If these connections occur organically, intentionally placing similar connections cannot, inherently, be disruptive, as you suppose.

  6. #26
    Member
    Pit Fiend (Lvl 26)



    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Aloha, or
    Posts
    5,724
    The world is a living world and doesnt exist or change for the PCs benefit. Changing something about the world just to cater to the PCs feels the same as fudging a die roll to get a result to favor a PC. To be used extremely sparingly. However, the PCs can, and often do, have a major impact on the world. Every action results...and all that. So after a long campaign, it can feel like the world is there for them because they made it that way though play

  7. #27
    Member
    Scout (Lvl 6)



    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    86
    Quote Originally Posted by jgsugden View Post
    This is mistaken. I have run, and played within, a lot of campaigns designed to focus around the characters. Some were great... others not so much. How believable as a setting they were had a lot more to do with the quality of storytelling than anything else. If I've experienced immersive, believable worlds that were tailored to the PCs... well, a believable world CAN be built for the specific PCs.

    For an example where an existing campaign world has been tailored to a party, see Matt Mercer's Critical Role world. He built an extensive campaign setting. Then he tailored it to his player's PCs, their backstories, and their interests. You can have criticisms of his style, but there is no real room to argue that it does not work as a believable fantasy world. It is immersive and evocative - and a lot of it is built to support the stories that grow out of his PC's back stories.

    Some of his most recent comments on Talks Machnia also may be of note - they discuss where his designs that were independent of the PCs (created prior to the PCs being made) ended up lining up perfectly with PCs and their backstories. They often discover - in game - new connections that were unintentional. If these connections occur organically, intentionally placing similar connections cannot, inherently, be disruptive, as you suppose.
    Critical Role is a show. It's there to entertain the viewing audience. It is not the same as designing for a gaming group game. If I was designing a game that was going to be viewed and observed, I too would change up how I approach the design process...since my goal would not be to make the best playing experience possible, but instead make the best *viewing* experience possible. This makes you value things differently.

    That said, Yes. A believable world CAN be built tailored to PCs, but it will always be strictly worse than a world designed outside of the specific PCs. Just because a thing works, does not mean it is good practice. Some players? They won't care. They just want to sit down and roll dice. But then, anything would be okay for that player. When designing a world for someone who cares about worlds...it's always better to design them BEFORE seeking out players.

    Hooks and quests and plots? Those arent the world, and sure if you are focusing on a narrative game with a story that MUST be told? Design them around the PCs. But again. The plot is not the world, nor is the quest nor are the hooks.
    XP Bawylie gave XP for this post

  8. #28
    Member
    The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)

    Mercurius's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    The center and periphery
    Posts
    3,660
    A DM has two spheres to consider: the world of the setting itself, and the world as it appears in the game. We can call these "the world setting" and the "game environment," unless better terms come along.

    It is up to each individual DM how much emphasis to put on both. The game is designed so that you only need to create the game environment, and can either run campaign books with only an implied background setting (the Forgotten Realms), or a sandbox or other approach in which the setting is only ever what the PCs experience and the DM only creates (whether through improvisation or other resources) whatever is required to bring the game environment to life.

    But some of us like to make up imaginary worlds; some even as much or moreso than playing the game itself. There are even world-builders who don't game, whether they create worlds for some other fictional enterprise--writing, art, etc--or just for the sheer creative joy of it. Or because making things up is fun.

    So it really depends upon the DM. But certainly I think a good DM has to time and effort into the game environment and be able to feed it for the sake of game play, and not only as a way to express their personal creation. But the two aren't mutually exclusive: world-building for the sake of personal pleasure and crafting a game-environment *for* the PCs. Ideally they are not only compatible but mutually enhancing.

  9. #29
    Member
    The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)

    Mercurius's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    The center and periphery
    Posts
    3,660
    I will add that as a player, I greatly enjoy when I experience or even just sense that the DM has put a lot of work and thought into creating a setting, whether that is through their own world design or deeply knowing (and perhaps adapting) the lore of a pre-published setting. If I sense that the setting is paper-thin in either respect--the world design or knowledge of the world--then it takes away from immersion. I feel less like I am exploring a living world, and more like I am playing a board game.

    This is not to say that all DMs "must" world design to create the "illusion of immersion." Some DMs don't world build much or deeply know their setting, but are just great at improvising...but it is very hard, and rather rare, and almost inevitable that some "thinning out" occurs, or cracks appear in the game environment, if it doesn't have a "deep setting" to hold it.

    I realize also that some (even most) players don't care, and that it may come down to "gamer personality types," whether GNS or otherwise. I can even enjoy a good "gamist romp," but to really love a D&D experience, to really care about what happens, I want the immersion.

  10. #30
    Member
    Lama (Lvl 13)



    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    7,866
    I tend to do theme group eg all the PCs are working for the church, or part of a circus, or part of a Trading mission to a foreign port, part of the town guard or the city sanitation crew - the setting itself is a fuzzy sandbox worked around the group theme with the PCs given permission to flesh out NPCs and p[laces of interest

    I do have an overarching metaplot in mind and also plot hooks and major NPCs in mind however

Similar Threads

  1. Would you buy FR novels if the game world didn't exist?
    By Brian Compton in forum *General Roleplaying Games Discussion
    Replies: 31
    Last Post: Wednesday, 19th December, 2007, 09:50 AM
  2. what is the best way to implement deities exist in the world.
    By brewedenhell in forum *General Roleplaying Games Discussion
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: Tuesday, 30th September, 2003, 11:42 AM
  3. What areas exist in your world?
    By blackshirt5 in forum *General Roleplaying Games Discussion
    Replies: 36
    Last Post: Friday, 25th April, 2003, 07:27 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •