Mamading Ceesay @ 2019-06-20 21:45:15
As a late-blooming GM, I never realised that designing monsters was such absurdly good fun. Have been creating a few for a science-fantasy campaign using Solar Blades and Cosmic Spells which has excellent tables for that sort of thing. What are the most fun bits of campaign/game prep for you?
Alistair Langsford @ 2019-06-21 00:43:20
I think its the creativity bit. So, recently something on reddit led me to Andy Slack’s blog posts on Traveller, the 1977 edition. That and the TalestoAstound blog’s posts in the same vein get me thinking about the look and feel I like in a game world. The fiction that inspires it. How that translates into gameable things, especially when that gets grounded in some numbers and real things like “this number of these types of ships”, and “these worlds are connected by space lanes (so the others are sorta backwaters: thus, why are they backwaters?)” and all that sort of thing. That is an idea I’d half forgotten about several times, so it was good to have that chance reddit post resurrect it. But alongside that is building up a vision of a humans only fantasy world. Humans only in that PCs are humans, but Elves etc can exist: just not as PC races. They’re the inscrutable, varied, contradictory and contrary fickle creatures from legend, mythology and the early fiction around them as I was growing up in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. So, Poul Anderson’s 3 hearts and 3 lions+Broken Sword, Tolkien’s the Hobbit+LOTR, a few select Moorcock for Elric, Hawkmoon and a few others, with a touch of the urban fantasy styles of Charles de Lint. Somewhere in there is the desire to have a forested/mountainous world that seems to me a large part of the few Japanese ‘samurai’ / ‘fantasy’ movies I’ve seen, which I’m hoping to plug into Yoon Suin for the mysterious East. On the way, the world of the Nighmares Underneath and perhaps also Ultan’s Door, via a slightly warhammer’d version of Lankhmar that has evolved into a city called L’Anarchie. Some doodles in a notebook suddenly turned into a map that resonates with some of the above. Then some more doodles... It’s the creative side. The hack work I’m not good at. But you’re question and this much longer response than I was expecting has actually pulled together in a neat summary half the ideas in my head, in a good overview. The creative part has two phases, I guess. Just noodling or doodling with different ideas is one. But when, suddenly, things start to link up, to gel: that is probably the best. When it happens - doesn’t always though.
Alistair Langsford @ 2019-06-21 04:02:58
Update: you’ve reminded me to check out sharp swords & sinister spells plus Dark Streets & Darker Secrets. Definitely some good tables and inspirations in those games.
K Yani @ 2019-06-21 10:19:29
Setting-writing, specifically gods (or the absence of such), magic, underworld(s), demons, dreams and otherworlds parts; also drawing maps. Nobody pays any attention to them in a real play, but this is a fun thing for me to do.
Mamading Ceesay @ 2019-06-21 11:32:51
@Alistair, yes for me it's the creative side too. Having designed a bunch of monsters, I then created a set of complementary NPCs that are responsible for the monsters and share the same location.
Whidou @ 2019-06-21 12:11:32
For campaign prep, I enjoy tying together the elements that surfaced during play. Stuff that was improvised on the fly. I ask myself what the justification for it could be, and think of the implications it could have. It feels so good to find an elegant way to tie everything together. It's like discovering a hidden part of the fiction. And then new elements get added, to help the players discover the same underlying truth themselves in play. Good times all around.
Alistair Langsford @ 2019-06-21 23:53:10
@whidou - definitely. Sometimes the patterns seem as if they were unconsciously laid down by you, and you just discover them. I had a player in my Traveller game link an odd animal encounter to an event run 2 years prior, with a similar odd animal encounter. It was gold, because I realise I had forgotten the link myself, but they ‘oh yeah/of course’ from the other players was great. They got a real buzz of discovery and putting together another piece in one of the many puzzles they’d encountered over the 5 ish years the campaign has been running.
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